Author's notes: This is set just after Pip, Alucard, and Seras escaped from Rio in the chopper, before Alucard spoke with Integra on the telephone. Is short and plot-less. I hope it's not too OOC (remember this is the manga characterizations), since I hate those with a passion. In several parts Seras will be blushing. I am aware vampires –can't- blush, unless they had feed recently in fresh blood, yet in the manga she –does- blush in many parts. So…
Special Thanks: To my dearest beta Essie Aster, she had the tireless job of beta reading this, poor soul. My eternal thanks :D
It was a quiet night. The sounds of nature, the smell of fresh air, so unlike the smog stench that was so common in big cities, but Nova Santa Rosa was just a small urban district of no more than seven thousands inhabitants in the southern Brazil. This quiet town was the hideaway in which three members of Hellsing chose to dwell while escaping Rio de Janeiro's authorities.
There, inside her wooden coffin, Seras Victoria stirred in her slumber, restless and weary from the horrible conflict some days ago. The harsh voice of her Master still echoed in her mind. Alucard had never treated her like that. He often taunted her and teased Seras, calling her 'cop', 'police girl' or 'the lowest of the vampires'. But her sire was never as abrasive and as borderline cruel to her as he had been after she tried to argue against killing the mortals in the hotel suite. She could almost feel the pain of the officers who had died at hands of the monster, just as had happened to her friends at Cheddars.
Her eyes opened and she rose, almost hitting her head on the coffin. 'Did I just call my Master a monster?'
When she was a little girl Seras used to be afraid of the dark and of the monsters under her bed or inside the closet. Her father always tried to soothe her fears, telling they were not real and that was all a part of her imagination. But they did exist. And she was the solid evidence of that.
Those thoughts sank deeply in her, giving her a sullen disposition. As her eyes scanned the inside of her 'bed', the horrible feeling of being trapped and suffocated started once again. Not that she needed to breathe now, yet some habits were hard to get the rid off. Seras opened her coffin and stepped out, blissful relief spreading throughout her body.
"Ah I see you are awake at last", a deep male voice pointed out.
She winced inwardly at it, as a child caught by a parent. Alucard stood in the doorway, his red tinted sunglasses on the tip on his nose, watching his child's movements closely. "The night is young police girl, but you should have awakened an hour ago", he chided, a smirk gracing his lips.
Seras put her hand behind her head and laughed nervously. "I guess I was tired, Master," she gulped and looked down. She had tried to avoid him ever since they left Rio de Janeiro. Alucard had noticed this, though it hardly bothered him. Seras looked around, "Where's the Commander?".
"He left about forty minutes ago, headed for the airport", Alucard replied, folding his arms. "You seem troubled Seras. Why don't you take a walk?" he suggested, removing himself from the entrance of Seras' room. "And try not to stroll far from here. I don't have time to search for a careless missing child."
He chuckled at the thought and closed the door to his room. His fledgling amused and irritated him at the same time. How human she acted, even more so than his Master! The irony was palpable.
Seras nodded several times, "Then I'll go. And I wont get lost! I am not a child anymore!" she snapped, a bit angry, causing Alucard to laugh even louder. Labeling him as a lost case, she changed herself into a more casual wardrobe and donned a light orange, comfortable coat before going out. It was winter, after all, and even if she didn't feel the weather changes, it would be odd to see her walking with nothing but a small t-shirt. Seras exited the small room they rented, and walked aimlessly for about an hour, listening to the civilians' mundane dialogue, lacking monsters, secret organizations or psycho priests, and peppered with just about normal jobs, love relationships and social gatherings. She needed time to clear her mind and emotions, time to reflect the past happenings. Seras didn't like to feel so sad; she usually was happy to the point of bubbly.
Her steps lead her to a beautiful square. Praça da Bíblia, she read and examined the scenery. It was lovely, full of trees of all the shades of green, even some pines with a small water fountain in the middle. She was happy to find it almost empty, no doubt because it was a cold night by Brazilian standards.
The undead police girl sighed and sat down on a bench, looking at the starry night sky. 'So many…,' she marveled, feeling the cold gentle breeze caressed her hair. London's polluted atmosphere wasn't full of sparkling lights like here. She became so distracted and lost in the nature of the night that didn't notice certain watcher until he blocked her view of the sky.
"Boo", Commander Pip Bernadotte made the scariest face he could as he looked down at the sergeant who jumped in surprise and smacked him out of her view.
"Argh!", Seras exclaimed furiously, "Git! You scared me!" She glared in his direction while he laughed and rubbed his shoulder, faking pain.
"You should have seen your face, Draculina!" Pip kept laughing but stopped when he saw her raise her arm. He moved his hands in front of him in a defensive gesture, "Alright, alright no need to get violent, miss Seras. It was only an innocent stunt"
Seras resumed her brooding state, part of her still wanting to smite him with her gaze, and sat down, "Don't do it again or else!"
Pip raised a brow and leaned closer, "Oy… are you alright Seras?", he tried to sound as casual as possible.
"Why do you care? To mock me more?" Seras asked bitterly. "Just like Master?"
Pip frowned often, "I am not like Master Alucard, Sergeant Victoria", he pointed out, offended. "I am human."'And I ceased to be one', Seras thought miserably and slid to one side to offer him a place to sit down, "It's just, I been thinking…", she trailed off.
"What? You thinking!", Pip exclaimed grinning at her, he sat down by her side and looked at Seras with his eye.
Seras' eyes twitched, "Could you stop being an arse for one second?", she asked distressed.
Pip noticed the tone of her voice and regretted his comments, "Sorry. I wasn't aware it was something so serious," he apologized. "It's about Master Alucard?" He wondered how the normally cheerful vampire could get in such apparent deep depression.
Seras pondered his question, "Part of it, but is about everything. My whole world has been turned outside down in the past months".
Pip nodded in sympathy and lit a cigarette, his eye never leaving her face. "Uh huh. So I can tell," he paused. "How you are adapting in the organization? How have members treated you so far?"
Seras stopped looking at the ground to face him. "Walter is so polite and understanding, always helpful. And sir Integra, after the initial shock and once you know not to test her temper, is wonderful." She smiled a bit. "Strong, beautiful, brave, resourceful and intelligent". Her demeanor turned sad, "I never had a chance to meet my partners." Wretched the Valentines, she didn't want to lose her teammates again, the pain was unbearable.
Pip grinned, "You envy her? For her relationship with Master Alucard?" He tried not to broach the lost members subject, it was still touchy after all.
Seras shook her head. "No, I admire her. When we faced that psycho priest from the Vatican, I cowered and ran away. She saved me and faced him without fear, even if she had a greater physical disadvantage against him than me." She remembered their first meeting with Anderson. She had been paralyzed by the fear and after the whole conflict threw up. No wonder her Master mocked her mercilessly. "She inspired me to stand to him as well." She took her time to answer the second question, "And about Master…"
"Yes?" Pip raised a brow, her response piqued his interest though he did not know why. There was no secret among his mates that he fancied Seras. Ever since he laid his eye on her, there was more about the vampire girl that people gave her credit for.
"I am not interested in him in that way," Seras coughed, a bit embarrassed. She thought of Alucard more like a father now, a very maniacal parent. "And I don't think he is either. What gave you that impression!" she asked, horrified.
"Well… blame Hollywood and all those Dracula films about his brides," Pip snickered and thought of Seras with one of those nearly transparent dresses. It wasn't like she didn't wear revealing clothes daily.
Seras blushed scarlet as if noticing what he had imagined. "I am not a slut! Pervert!" she turned her back to him, offended, and folded her arms. 'Infuriating idiot'
Pip laughed a bit and nearly choked in the smoke of his cigarette. "Sorry sorry," he bowed his head in a submissive gesture. "I wont do it again. I swear," he promise as he crossed his fingers behind his back.
Seras huffed and looked at him sharply, "Alright…", she turned once more, arms still crossed. Talking about Alucard made her remember the Rio's incident, and she looked down again.
Pip's face became serious at this. "Seras… did he do something to you?" His tone bore a hint of concern. Oh if that vampire hurt her, he would… probably try to stand up to him and get ripped to pieces. Damn. It was good thing the young mercenary lacked chivalry and suicidal impulses.
Seras avoided his gaze. "No… yes… I don't know," she confessed. A hand rested on her shoulder and squeezed it gently in support.
"Tell me," Pip encouraged, "I am your commander, after all. I like to sort out the problems of my own men. It's a duty that comes with the charge"
She turned to face him, surprised by the seriousness and almost gentleness that her superior had suddenly developed. 'He must be up to something'.
She nodded and smiled, trying to lighten up behind her grim visage. "Well…". And she told him everything. How Alucard had viciously slaughtered those human cops in the hotel suite of Rio and how that affected her. "It reminded me of the old times in the police force."
Pip nodded, knowing the feeling quite well. During his missions and various jobs many comrades had fallen and he had seen them die. "What did he say?" He crossed his legs and made himself more comfortable on the bench.
The lights of the streetlights were starting to flicker, Seras closed her eyes and took a deep breath, her hands were shaking on her lap. "He… grabbed me by the collar and started talking about how those men came to fulfill their duty and that he had to kill them. About that I cannot change how wars are, nor him or anyone. The ones who didn't play their cards well, would ended up destroyed. I don't remember the exact quote, but it went along those lines." Her voice started to tremble and she once again tried not to burst into tears, 'Christ, get a hold of yourself Seras Victoria'.
Pip stared at her and paused trying to generate his reply. "He's right," he stated quietly.
Seras shot him an annoyed look. "Now you are in his side?" she stood, hurt by the lack of support. "Silly, childish police girl"
Pip sighed and stopped her. "Wait… I said that what he told you was correct," he elaborated. "But his… uh… method of telling you that was very wrong. Is not like Master Alucard is known for his empathy after all," he joked a bit and grinned.
Seras turned once again. "How is he right?" she asked, never quite pausing to think over her Master's words, she had been too startled by his behavior to analyze them.
"Well… you see…uh…", Pip scratched his head, trying to find an explanation. He was a man of action, not of words. He loved guns not books.
Seras raised a brow and snickered, a bit touched by the effort he was making for her, but at the same time bracing herself for one really stupid answer.
"You see Seras, he wanted to tell you that… we are on the verge of a war… and in wars, soldiers don't make differences. Children, women, old folk, alive or undead, are all enemies." Pip cleared his throat, struggling in his speech. Damn, he hoped his peers would never hear him saying this, they would make fun of him for sure. "He wanted to prepare you for crueler things you'll find in the future. Shelter you wouldn't do any good."
Seras blinked, taken aback, she wasn't expecting for a coherent reply on his part. "I used to be a police woman, I am not ignorant of the world's vileness."
Pip gave a soft smile. "I know. I am sure he knows as well. But you also don't have much experience in your field." Seras was about to protest about that but Pip continued, "And you are… naïve and innocent." He saw her eyes narrow a bit. "It's not an insult. Is rare to keep such profile in our field. You are one of a kind."
Seras blushed a bit at his remark. "But… that isn't useful in the battlefield," she lamented.
"That's crap, Seras," Pip pointed out. "From what I can gather in my time in Hellsing's ranks, you are its conscience. The light. That's important as well."
Seras smiled fondly at Pip. "Thank you… I really needed a vote of confidence. Everyone keeps telling that I'm not doing a very good job." Especially her Master, her mind whispered. The uneasiness towards the older vampire was still around, but at least her fear had vanished. He had had the best intentions as well, but didn't know how to show it, now she wasn't wary of him anymore.
Pip nodded. "Anytime… is good to see you smile again. A depressed soldier isn't as useful as…" his words froze in his mouth when he felt cold lips against his cheek. His half finished cigarette fell to the ground.
Seras withdrew from the friendly peck and grinned. "Cat got your tongue?" she teased, a single fang glinting in the moonlight.
Pip recovered. "No… but that was unexpected," he admitted. Not that he minded, quite the opposite.
"I never thought you would be a good confidant," Seras remarked, looking up to see several multicolored parrots flying towards the wooded area.
"And I am not," Pip rubbed his right cheek, "I hope I don't have lip gloss on me," he commented trying to pull off his best that-was-nasty act.
Seras smacked him. "Jerk," she hissed and watched him fall to the ground. "Oops! Sorry, Commander. I didn't realize my strength," she apologized with a nervous smile and knelt down to nurse him.
"My back," Pip whined lamely, "Evil vampire girl." He wasn't in pain, he had dodged her blow for the most part. But he just had so much fun pestering her. The only thing he regretted was that she wasn't wearing that mini-skirt of hers.
Seras watched him closely and noticed the grin in his face. "You are faking!" she accused and dragged him up by the braid. "You are really frustrating, you know?"
"Ouch ouch. Not the hair!"
Seras let him go rolling her eyes. "You sound like a girl."
"That's not true! I just happen to like my hair", Pip faked offense, then looked at himself and gasped, "My clothes are dirty!"
"You are so silly," Seras giggled. "Come on Commander… we need to return before Master sends his hounds after us."
Pip shivered. "Hounds?" he asked not really sure if he wanted to know.
"Yeah. Sir Integra told me about them," Seras replied. She stopped, hearing his stomach rumble.
Pip coughed. "I think we need to have a stop in the Mc Donald's on the main avenue," he suggested.
"Males, always thinking about their stomachs," Seras shook her head. She turned to head to the fast food restaurant when she felt his hand grasping hers. "What!"
Pip gave a goofy smile and looked down at her. "Is there any problem?" he asked, teasing. "I am making you nervous?"
"You wish. Let's go before I decide to use you as my target in my next shooting practice," Seras' grasp in his hand tightened just enough to make him cringe. She shot him several discreet looks by the corner of her eyes and wondered why she had a sudden interest on this slackly creep. Only time would tell and, as a vampire, Seras had a lot of it.