Special thanks: To my beta readers, Lillian Dashwood and Puck 3/4.
A Ghost TaleChapter Three
When Pip opened his eye, he found himself alone. No camp, no Seras, no Jim, no sleeping Wild Geese hanging naked on the branches of the trees. Speaking of which, he recognized the forms that the tops of the trees made, gathered together. The sinuous path to pond of blood he had nearly drowned in hours earlier.
That wasn't the only familiar thing. The aghast scream pierced his ears. Déjà vu became reality.
I am dreaming again?
Effortlessly, Pip stood. His ankle didn't hurt nor did he possess any of his former bruises. He headed towards the source of the cries. In his way, a little child passed through him, like one of them wasn't solid. He was running in the opposite direction, eyes widened in fear.
The people were in Pip's range of vision now, but they were blurry. He couldn't distinguish details of their bodies, only shadowy silhouettes. Two adults and another child. One of the grown ups was female. She was being held by the man, whose head was buried in her neck. Pip wrinkled his nose, the smell of a fresh wound was in the air.
"Lionel! Go with your brother!" the woman shouted, pleading. "Don't harm him, monster!"
"Leave Mummy alone!" was the child's response before he charged against the two figures.
The man, released the woman, throwing her towards a tree like she were a rag doll.
The sound of a shot cut the air, and the man exploded before he reached the boy. Another one arrived on the scene. Long hair, fuzzy hat, about the height of a teenager. He paused to glance at the fallen figure.
"Beyond hope," his tone was of mockery, uncaring for the wounded woman. Lionel shielded his mother, spreading his arms. "Stay back, your father is coming. He wouldn't want to bury two relatives in the same week."
The boy didn't move a muscle. Shrugging, the newcomer pulled out the trigger, two bullets grazed the child's shoulders and sunk deep in his target's chest.
Footsteps grew louder behind Pip, someone else was arriving but before he had a chance to turn and see who was it, his body awoke. Last thing he saw was a crimson pool beneath the woman's cadaver.
"C'mon Captain, up…" Pip listened to Seras' voice as consciousness slowly came back to him.
"Police Girl?" he yawned a reply that gained a well deserved smack. Lucky for him, she had contained her strength.
"Don't call me that."
Pip grinned goofily before making himself comfortable on the birch. He had his head on a pillow and bandages wrapped around his bad ankle. His gaze fell on Seras questioningly.
"Police training doesn't only include firearms, procedure and self defense, you know? First aid is important too."
"Thanks," Pip uttered honestly, trying not to be a jerk for a change.
"You're welcome," she beamed, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear, almost shyly.
"I see you guys pulled them down without my help," the mercenary spoke, meaning his men who mostly were sleeping on the ground. "Did I miss the peep show of you climbing a tree in that mini skirt?"
Seras' smile faded and turned into a scowl. "Jim and Larry brought them down. I was busy healing you. Such low stamina, a fearless mercenary fainting over such little thing like a little girl."
"I would if Sir Integral would allow me to have a pet ghoul in the Mansion," she smiled wickedly, showing one fang.
"Oh, I knew you wanted to jump on my bones!"
"I think you hurt your head too much. You're starting to turn crazy."
"Ah, ah ah…" Pip waved his index finger in denial, "The bite is the most sexual experience for vampires."
"What…?" Seras blinked in utter confusion. "How you know that? Don't tell me you actually read some of the books in the library about vampirism. I don't believe you."
"No, my knowledge comes from a more… professional source."
"…I should have known," Seras muttered, recovering from the shock of the answer. Then she stood in a failed attempt of appear more menacing to Pip. He got an ample view of her lovely legs.
"Really, can't you remember Alucard's bite? How was it?" Pip inquired, wanting to confirm his theory. Case studies were better than reading a heavy volume.
"Now that you mention it…" Seras trailed off, rubbing her chin pensively.
Seras laughed, shaking her head. "Whatever pleasure was induced by his fangs paled in comparison to the pain of having a huge hole in your chest and one of your lungs blown out. So, I didn't like that too much."
Pip shuddered, imagining Seras without a boob. That was criminal. Alucard was a peril to the national treasures of England. "Ouch. Not Prince Charming, eh? Then what about the bite?"
"Charming isn't a word to describe my Master, Captain."
Seras licked her fangs with a look of mischief. "Although if bite is sex, that explains why it ended so quickly."
Pip stared at Seras before snorting and laughed. "I didn't know you had it in you."
"Hey, I used to belong to a squad full of males. I am not sheltered to sexual jokes, Captain. I admit it an amateur attempt but… fitting." Seras replied, sweeping the dirt on the ground, humbly.
"Maybe, but I would never have imagined that a girl who wears white knickers would utter those words," Pip winked. He had been enjoying the display since Seras stood.
Seras' face darkened and she took some steps back. "Don't force me bring squirrels, Captain. They would love to be intimate with your private parts."
His pupil dilated, remembering how… painful… the last meeting with them was. He didn't know the range of Seras' power and opted to remain tactfully quiet.
Larry strode their way, and Pip was grateful he was dressed and cleaned of his mess. The lieutenant paused, straightening his posture. "Lieutenant Miers reporting, Captain. I assume the responsibility for what happened," he spoke, not daring to look Pip in the eye.
"Save it, Larry. I know how difficult it is to resist the charms of that vixen," Pip spoke, standing with some difficulties.
"Which… makes me wonder why you weren't affected, Captain," Seras blurted out before she could help herself. "I mean, you aren't exactly a pure choir boy."
"It's all in the willpower, Sergeant," Pip chuckled smugly for his feat. He had been the only one who hadn't fallen to the ghost's whims so far. Seras lowered her lashes and smiled wryly, the picture of disbelief.
"Ok, ok… it was because she didn't fit my standards."
Larry and Seras exchanged a glance. The Lieutenant shrugged. Pip smirked; his mate knew his tastes.
"She didn't have enough of a, you know, rack…"
"Now you mention it…" Larry said empathically, "You're absolutely right."
"You're trying to tell me you are immune due to some perverted mind set?" Seras placed both hands on her head, swallowing the concept.
"Hey, come on now, Seras. The rack is as important for males, each one has their favorite sizes. Think about the obsession of you women and the length of…"
"Got it! No need to continue!" Seras exclaimed as she raised her arms, calling for a truce. Pip enjoyed riling Seras. Not such an expert on males, now, was she?
"We need to discuss the dead bird issue anyway," Pip searched in his pockets for a cigarette, disappointed to find out that the blood had ruined them all. He was about to throw the box when Seras' firm grip stopped him.
"Don't go tossing garbage in the woods, Captain. It's forbidden," she scoffed, "There's plastic bags for that."
"Whatever." Pip put them back inside his coat as he wasn't in mood for another verbal lash with the Sergeant. "Back on topic, does someone have any idea of how this woman can touch us? I thought ghosts didn't have physical forms."
"And, she could change it at will… like when I fired at her," Seras' brows knit, thoughtful.
"Duh… that's easy, she's not a ghost… she's a poltergeist. They are more dangerous and can acquire a tangible body at whim," Larry pointed out as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"And, how do you know this, Larry? Reading Occult books now?" Pip was taken aback by the information. He recalled the Poltergeist films, but he'd been too busy drooling at the actress when he was young to pay attention to the plot.
"Something like that," Larry averted his gaze, blushing. "Harry Potter."
Pip and Seras remained speechless.
"Well, if we were going to travel to England, at least one of us should read British literature! To… be in touch with the culture, y'know?" Larry defended his posture.
"… Try Shakespeare next time," Seras suggested, grinning in Pip's direction. Oh, she was so going to taunt him for ages, making jokes about they had hidden children's books in with their porn. Mental images spread inside his mind.
"It's ok, Larry. You're still a goose at heart… despite your… eccentrics," Pip patted Larry's shoulder. There was always a black sheep, and he had found him.
Seras cleared her throat, "I don't know about you guys, but I don't care what that thing is. What's important is getting rid of her."
"Maybe there's something in those nightmares I keep dreaming," Pip admitted, feeling at loss. "I don't see what it is yet. But, there must be a reason behind them."
"We should ask the Boss Lady," Larry proposed, gesturing towards Jim who was kneeling beside the radio. "How's it going, Jim?" he shouted.
Jim looked up. He had a spot of oil on his cheek. "Almost fixed. The cables were changed, but it's intact."
"That's a good idea. She could either tell us how to exorcize the poltergeist or send Master to help us," Seras agreed.
"Hellsing should have a budget for Hyper Beam pistols and Super Traps," Pip complained, leading the way towards the radio. In the path, he nearly tripped over one of the empty beer bottles that was carelessly left on the ground. Seras caught him in time.
"Watch out, Egon," said Seras as she helped him to regain his lost balance. "This is why you shouldn't throw garbage around."
"Thank you, Janine," Pip replied with a grin, renewing his pace until he arrived to Jim's side.
"Done, Captain!" the soldier exclaimed, seeking Hellsing syntony.
"Good job," Pip complimented, bending down to pick up the communicator. "Base? This is Captain Bernadette. Put Sir Hellsing on line."
"Integral should invest in cell phones, next time…" Seras commented absently. Then her eyes narrowed, and sheturned her head in each direction.
"Seras? What's the matter?"
"She's hereeeeeeeeee!" The vampire had barely managed to speak before a branch of a tree enlarged and captured her like a giant hand, tiding Seras on the trunk.
The poltergeist floated from the sky towards Seras. Unlike the times Pip had seen her, she wasn't remotely human. The woman was made of blood, dress soaked on it from two holes in her chest. Her blonde hair was tangled in the red liquid, her features darkened in anger and in sorrow. She cried blood.
"Murderer!" she hissed towards Seras, sniffing at her as the branches held the vampire from moving. "Your blood is tainted with murder!"
"Hold your fire!" Pip ordered to the Wild Geese, who were loading their rifles. "The bullets will pass through her and hurt Seras!"
"Obey!" Pip insisted, thinking quick to get Seras out of problem. "Hey lady!" he called out. "You had shagged everyone but me… You are an old, ugly hag, and I'd never touch ya!."
The poltergeist snarled, turning fast towards Pip's direction. Bugs came out of the Geese' firearms, they appeared to shake as if they were alive.
"Pip! What are you doing?! Are you insane…? I am fine… I don't need to breathe…"
"Now you tell me!" Pip dodged the flying spirit, throwing himself to the floor. Shit! I can not avoid her next strike! Think fast!
"Captain!" Seras growled, watching as the poltergeist turned to attack again, fingernails like razors. Mustering her undead strength, the half vampire managed to tear the tree from it's roots, walking slowly as she carried it.
"Stay there!" Pip ordered while he shielded his face with his arms, bracing for the pain.
"Captain Bernadette! Do you copy me?" Integral's voice came out of the radio, stern and a tad annoyed. "Bernadette. This is Sir Hellsing. What's going on? Over."
Great, I don't know who is more scary. They must be related or something… Pip thought as he waited, but nothing happened. Baffled, he peered up from underneath his arms. The poltergeist was listening to Integral's voice, blood slowly vanishing.
Relate… Oh that's it!
Quickly, he picked up the communicator, praying to whatever deity for this to work. "I copy you, Sir. Sorry for the delay. Static," he forced his tone to appear like usual, despite his heart galloping inside his chest.
"Excuses. What is what you need from me?"
"Could you tell me your father's name, Sir?" Pip asked, glancing at the poltergeist warily. "Please? It's very important."
"My father? If you ever read the history of our organization, Captain, you'd know my father was called Lionel," Integral replied sardonically. "What's the point of all this?"
"And do you have an uncle?"
There was a prolonged silence, Pip could tell the Poltergeist was losing her patience.
"Had a uncle. Richard," she said curtly. "Now, if you don't tell me what's the purpose of all this…"
Pip laughed, scratching the back of his head. "Sorry to bother you, Sir. We were… testing our… knowledge about the organization's history," he lied, betting that the boss would get very angry if she knew one of her ancestors was wandering the Earth instead of Heaven. "Seems I won the bet, guys!"
"If you don't have more ridiculous questions to ask, Captain, I have business to attend. Consider your raise suspended until you learn manners. Over." There was a click, followed by static. Integral had cut the transition for good.
"Lionel… he… wasn't killed," the woman muttered to herself, audible enough for Pip to hear it. She landed softly on the ground with clean clothes and human appearance. "Hellsing is still around."
The foreboding atmosphere vanished as well the supernatural grip of the tree over Seras' body. She tossed it aside, rubbing her arms.
"No, you saved him…" Pip remarked, "Our boss is his daughter. You didn't fail…"
The dead Hellsing's gazed fell on Seras, "You carry his blood."
The vampire blinked in return, "You mean Master?"
"He murdered me," the spirit hissed, fury taking over her once more.
Pip moved to stand between them, disliking any menace to Seras. "He helped you in his own way, you were bitten, turning to a ghoul. If he hadn't killed you, you would have probably attacked Lionel."
"How did you know all this?" the ghost asked.
"You meant you didn't send me all those flashback visions?" Pip asked, the ghost shook her head in response. "Then how…?"
"Maybe it was the blood… Master said to me once that blood usually carries memories we can see when we drink it," Seras suggested, still looking at the ghost with mistrust.
"And that's true?"
"I have no idea. I don't drink blood."
"You don't drink blood? But you are a vampire!" The spirit exclaimed in bewilderment. "Why not?"
"My personal life isn't an issue to discuss now."
"She's right… now that you have found out your children were saved after your death, shouldn't you be resting in peace or something?" Pip asked, poking the poltergeist's shoulder. "You're still here."
"No, it means I won't be as… angry," she replied, snapping Pip's intruding finger away. "But still around…"
Seras came closer, facing the poltergeist, whatever violence between them was forgotten. Her expression was that of sympathy. "What's your name?"
"Look, Edith… your children were grateful for your sacrifice, but I don't wish to lie you…they were sad too. They would love and hate you at the same time, blaming themselves and the people around for you leaving them," her voice was a murmur. "It has to be one of the most horrible experiences to behold a parent's violent death because of us."
Pip lifted a brow at her speech, she looked… like she was speaking from experience. The Captain had read her file and knew that she was an orphan. How she lost her parents, though, he didn't know.
Edith had a solemn expression, she leaned into Seras, pressing her lips to Seras's temple. "Consider that… an apology…" Then made fly away again.
"Wait!" Pip called out, "I want to ask… why this rape thing?"
"That was nicer than killing people," the poltergeist commented, "Killing is a mortal sin. Besides, one cannot rape the willing." She winked towards the Wild Geese who grumbled and waved at her.
"The marvels of the afterlife, one becomes more sexuality active," Seras murmured. "Who would have thought?"
"No real hidden motives behind that?" Larry inquired to Seras, a tad disappointed to the end of this.
"Apparently not. Maybe the next ghost will be… more twisted. We can, however, try to converse with the snapping, glowing skulls, if you wish Lieutenant."
"Now that this is all over," Pip commanded, taking a good look around himself. "I want my dinner. Supernatural business increases my appetite." Some groaned at his statement. "What? You got, hot ectoplasmic sex, I at least want a well cooked sausage. Move, show is over!"
Resigned, the troops withdrew to their 'chores' Seras walked towards Pip. "Give them a break…"
"And wash your hands before touching the food, Wilkins! I have enough incidents for a day!" Pip shouted before turning his attention to Seras. "It's not like they will burn their fingers for igniting a fire…"
"Maybe they want time to think about… The value of being selfless and sacrificing their life for their families," Seras started.
"Well, I did that already… They should have done it too."
"Of course, if I ever give my life, it would be for you," Pip said flirty. "Dashing in heroically and saving you from the big evil."
Seras rolled her eyes, "Oh please. I won't believe that until I see it with my own eyes. That's the lamest pick up line ever."
"I am serious," Pip's smile faded and stared at Seras.
"Stop that, Captain! I would be the one who will be doing the saving, human…"
"Oooh, speaking like Big Red, aren't you? Maybe you should borrow his old, fuzzy hat," Pip snickered, moving towards the fire. Barely believing that the girly teenager he seen in his visions was the bloodthirsty vampire.
"Fuzzy hat?" Seras blinked, following him. "What are you talking about?"
"Oh ask him… when we get back," Pip said, wisely avoiding a can of beer. "And don't even start about the rules of the forest… Sergeant. You broke them too."
"What! I never…!"
Pip pointed to the fallen tree. "I think demolishing one of those is forbidden as well…"
Seras grit her teeth, closing her hands to fists. "That's the last time I help you. Only causes me troubles," she scoffed, catching his pace to gather with the rest. "What is that noise?"
"A song… c'mon you know the lyrics," Pip cleared his throat and sang. "If there's somethin' strange in your neighborhood… Who ya gonna call." Seras hid her face on her palms. "C'mon, you wanted to be one of us, in good and evil…"
"I'm starting to regret my choice…"
"Now together…" Pip clapped and the rest of the Wild Geese followed his lead. "If it's somethin' weird an it won't look good…Who ya gonna call…"
A thunder rumbled on the horizon, followed by several lightenings.
"I call the meteorology service," Seras replied, "I think that nature wants you all to shut up."
"Everyone's a critic and Mother Nature is a bitch…" Pip pinched Seras' arsecheek, the vampire yipped startled and jumped. "We should share a tent. I'll protect you from the ghosts."
A branch fell on Pip's tend, smashing it. There was a whisper in the breeze, a chilling laugh.
"I think… Grandma Hellsing won't allow any naughty games between the children," Seras rubbed her cheek. Rain started to fall from the sky. "You need a shower anyway. Good evening, Captain."
Fuck. He thought as the rain fell over his head.
Captain Pip Bernadette spent the rest of the survival exercise with a cold. Nonetheless, Seras Victoria, remorseful much to her disdain, had to play nurse for him until they returned to the Mansion. No one spoke of Edith Hellsing and the incidents for fear of Integral's wrath. The only related subject about this, was Seras interrogating Alucard about fuzzy, white hats.
Thanks everyone for reading this! Constructive criticism is appreciated. And yes, Pip's promise is foreboding, he is a mercenary of word.