A/N: The last chapter of this story, I hope it meets with your expectations
Alucard raced along, the wounded Integra in his arms. She was bleeding from the wound on her head, bleeding badly. He was still too close to the Writs to apparate out, and with the mountain beginning to crumble around him he was having difficulties keeping his footing. He passed through a doorway, recognizing the corridor where he had rescued her several days previously. He raced along, knowing that Robin Sena and the dogs from Iscariot were only steps behind him. The Police Girl and Amon were even further back. He could sense Seras' grief, her anguish from here.
Then she had seen James' sacrifice, his willingness to give himself to end this fight, to destroy this repository of the Millennium group's knowledge. He felt a stab of pain and pity for her. She surely wouldn't take that well. She had been walled up after that mercenary died months ago, and she had become even closer to the half-breed than she had that human.
He probed Integra's mind. She was fading fast; he had to get her someplace that could attend to her wound. There hadn't been time to examine it in the cavern. He felt his powers rush into him, and he blinked out of the area as soon as he could, appearing in the medical ward of the Hellsing manor. Doctor Trevellian started at his sudden appearance, but at the sight of his employer in the vampires arms he began rushing about to help.
"What happened?" he asked, examining the wound carefully.
"She was struck by a large rock during a cave in. It happened approximately five minutes ago." He set her gently on the operating table, noting for the first time the amount of blood that had soaked into his sleeve. He hadn't even felt it as he had rushed through the halls of the cavern. Now he couldn't ignore it, the cloying smell taunting his nose, damming him for not getting here faster.
Trevellian looked at the wound, and he didn't look hopeful. "Can you help her?" Alucard asked, fearing the answer.
The doctor shook his head. "Her skull is severely cracked, I expect some of the fragments have been driven into her brain or she has a severe subdural hematoma at the least. I can't do anything for her, even as fresh as the wound is."
Alucard felt his fangs flare into existence, his anger immediate. Then it faded. He shucked his jacket and began rolling up his sleeve.
"Set up a transfusion line, now."
"What good will that do? She's dying as we speak."
"DO IT!" he shouted, his fangs gleaming in the light.
The doctor set about setting up a line from the vampire's arm to his injured master. Soon, the blood from the No-Life King was flowing into the dying human.
Seras rushed along, supporting Amon as they made it up through the rubble strewn corridors. They caught up with Robin and the women from Iscariot, who were holding up a rather groggy Anderson between the two of them. He was almost recovered from the serious crack he had received at the hands of Valar, and as soon as he was completely healed, he would be able to sweep his two compatriots out with one of his spells. Robin would glance up from time to time, incinerating rocks as they fell, protecting all that were moving with her.
She couldn't focus on anything besides her running. Outside of that, the simple go, get out, survive instinct, her entire mind was on the image of James holding that pillar up so that she could escape. Sacrificing himself so that they could survive, making sure that the complex was destroyed.
You stupid sod, couldn't you have found another way? She swiped at the tears that still flowed from her eyes. She refused to let this death weigh her down like Pip's had. She had to continue on, honour his last wish. Live, and enjoy what her life had to offer.
But right now she would mourn as best she could, mourn the loss of a dear friend, of someone she loved. It wasn't evil, it was natural.
But that didn't mean she didn't wish it hadn't happened.
Suddenly, as she passed into a hallway, she felt awareness flood into her, and she grabbed Robin's arm and phased out, appearing outside the mountain, the sinking moon illuminating the small field that separated the central mountain from the four that surrounded it. She put Amon on the ground and returned for the people from Iscariot, pulling them out just as the hall started to collapse. They all slumped onto the ground, exhausted and just stared as the mountain shuddered and began to cave in like a cake that had a massive air bubble in its middle; the top falling in, creating a crater, the sides following until it was just a massive rubble pile.
She just stared.
There was massive pain in her head, and a small fire in her arm. She was lying on her back somewhere, and she cracked her eyes open, bright lights stabbing her retinas. She saw an IV tube in her arm, linked to a pump of some sort. She followed the other tube to the form laying on a gurney very similar to hers. The body was pale, paler than normal.
Alucard, his eyes closed. His hair was beginning to turn white at the roots, his skin wrinkling somewhat. She tried to say something, but the pain at the back of her head overpowered her again.
She sank back into blissful unconsciousness, calling out in her mind.
He could feel the blood draining from his body as it was fed into her, sustaining her. He hoped that the healing qualities that it would impart on her would save her. He knew that he had probably given her enough, but he dared not remove the transfusion tube on the odd chance that it wasn't enough. He would rather be dried up worse than he had been after those twenty years of confinement than loose her. She had to survive, she had to. She had slit open her own throat to shed the blood of Bobhanshee that had been mixed into her veins, had survived three months of imprisonment in the Tower of London, the betrayal of her uncle, and a thousand other threats to her. Surely this little wound would not be her undoing.
But it was the uncertainty that kept him connected to the pump, to the IV. He felt his body shutting down to conserve what little blood still flowed through his veins. He fluttered on the verge of passing out. She had to survive.
He slipped from the world of the waking and fell into dark dreams in which he was trying to pull her from a dark pond where some vast monster held her in a tentacled grip.
She stared at the massive pile of rubble, heaped like a cairn over the grave of a giant.
Somewhere beneath the untold tons of stone was all that was left of James Hunter. She was kneeling by the edge of the pile, a few tears still dripping down her face. Robin, having wrapped the minor wounds on Amon, had joined her, saying a prayer and shedding tears as well. A hand landed on her shoulder. She looked up and saw Heinkel standing over her. The Austrian woman held out the holster containing Hunter's Colt and her Socom pistol. She took the equipment back, looking at the elderly pistol. Another part of him, the only part that survived. She had already strapped on the gunbelt that he had tossed at her, the large pistols strapped to her thighs. Pistols that he would never fire again.
"If it is of any consolation, I extend my sympathies for his passing." The woman looked down at her. "It is obvious that he vas special to you."
Seras nodded, not wanting to speak.
She just stared at the stones, not knowing what to do for some time. She became aware of another presence just behind her. She looked up and saw the massive priest behind her. A jolt of fear shot through her until he knelt down beside her and shut his eyes, murmuring a quick prayer.
"He may have been an inhuman creature by birth, but he saved a lot o' lives by doing what he did, taking out that monster. He was a worthy opponent, one of massive honour. I'll pray for his soul." He stood. "But if ye tell anyone what I just said, I'll hunt ye down and make sure ye stay dead this time."
Seras smiled at the threat. He'd hunt her down like that anyway just because of what she was, but the attempt at condolence was somewhat surprising.
The sun began to lick at the horizon. She pulled the pendant off, staring at the interlaced ovals that it was comprised of. A pendant he had given her as a gesture that he would come back. Something he had told her to keep as he held the pillar up.
She kissed it and laid it on the stones that served as his grave. Then, gathering Robin and Amon, she phased back to the base where Walter waited.
There was nothing left for her there.
She floated up a tunnel, drifting towards a light and a voice that was calling her name. She opened her eyes. The pain that had been at the back of her head was gone, replaced by a strange rushing in her ears, a sense of a wind rushing across her exposed skin.
"Sir Integra, can you hear me?" the voice asked again.
She turned towards the source. Dr. Trevellian, the same doctor that had operated on her when she had slit her own throat. She smiled weakly. "You must get tired of stitching me up," she said, attempting humour.
He smiled. "I didn't have to this time."
Then it all flooded back to her, the cavern, the collapse, and the blinding flash of pain as something struck her in the head, then the snippet of seeing Alucard hooked up to a transfusion pump like a blood pack. She looked over, and saw him still lying there, two transfusion bags hanging by him, dripping blood directly into him. His hair was solid white, his flesh the colour of parchment.
She looked at him, realizing what he had done, the sacrifice he had made. For him to look like that, most of his blood must have been siphoned off into her. She reached up and felt the back of her head, searching for a lump, a bruise, anything. "How long have I been out?" she asked.
"Three days." The doctor shined a small light in her eyes, causing her to blink away tears that came to her eyes. "I need to inform you of some small side effects that have surfaced," he said, his face grave.
She looked at him, a strange sense of dread coiling in her stomach. She had become aware that all of her senses were hyper alert.
"Go on," she said.
Two Weeks Later
Seras phased into the office, seeing her commander and Master sitting in her chair, seemingly fully recovered from her ordeal. Her eyes latched onto the blonde vampire, who was still unused to the slight shift they had made, a touch of grey clouding the blue she was so used to seeing. "You wanted to see me, Sir Integra?" she asked.
The older woman stood, brushing her gloved hands briefly. "Yes, Commander. I have an assignment for you that needs immediate attention."
Seras drew to attention. "Commander Seras Victoria reporting for assignment, sir."
"At ease, Commander." When the smaller woman relaxed, she continued. "I want you to change out of uniform and head into Soho and choose a pub. You are to enter it and chose a table, and order yourself some food and something to drink."
"And keep an eye out for FREAKS and ghouls, understood sir." She made to leave.
"Wrong, Commander," Integra said. "I am ordering you to take a night off and celebrate his memory. You've been cooped up inside here since that day. Robin and Amon will be leaving tomorrow, as well as Vash and his group now that they're all healed and rested. I want you to be there to see them off, and I want you out of this shell that you've fallen into."
"Understood, sir," she said. She'd rather go and blast FREAKS into dust, keep busy, but she knew that Alucard would be on hand just as much and would enjoy it more.
The taller woman came up and rested her hand on Seras' shoulder. "He's probably sharing a pint or two with Pip right now, so go and have one in his honour. Take a personal night. Alucard and the regulars can handle anything that might pop up tonight."
Seras nodded, and went to her room to change. She still hadn't quite mastered the ability to cause her clothes to morph into other outfits like Alucard and James could. She knew all it consisted of was the phasing of what she was wearing off and the outfit she wished to wear on, but she didn't have enough fine control yet. She was working on it, but she had a few shirts that were bastardized mixes of earlier attempts, or had wound up topless when her concentration had faltered. She pulled on a pair of jeans, a bland sweater so different from her usual pastels and a pair of half-boots, pulling on the same floppy hat that she was fond of. As she shifted her eye colour to blue, she thought back on the exercises James had put her through prior to the ball almost two months ago.
So much had changed, now. Integra had survived due to Alucard's transfusion, but it had resulted in the altering of her genetic structure in a subtle way. She was, for a technical definition, a Dhampir. She had the strength and senses of the race, and there were glimmerings of some of the other abilities. She was spared the thirst by the virtue that she hadn't died before acquiring those abilities, and it seemed as though she had picked up the immortality end of the deal as well.
It could be temporary, Trevellian had said, as the last time she had mixed her blood with Alucard's had been.
Time would tell.
Integra and Alucard didn't care to hide the fact that they had become a bit of a couple. The No-Life King's reluctance had been dashed by the discovery of the 'side effects' of his donation. Even if it wasn't true immortality, he had said once, it was better than loosing her after a few more decades.
She was happy for them, though at times she felt a stab of jealousy.
She snagged a denim jacket and pulled it on, feeling the weight of the pistol secreted in the holster built into the lining. She pulled it out, staring at the lines of the gun, the single word etched into its barrel. One of James' pistols.
She now carried all three when she went out in the field, those two modified Desert Eagles and her Gravedigger. She had retired her Socom now that it wasn't enough to put down FREAKS as they continued to develop more and more vampiric abilities. And each generation was stronger, being turned by the chipped vampires. They hadn't come across any new versions of FREAKS since the island had been destroyed, but she knew it would only be a matter of time. They hadn't found the designer yet, or all the repositories. It could be years, decades, or longer before they cleared them all out.
She tucked the pistol away after checking the magazine. She never went anywhere unarmed. She headed for the motor pool. She didn't feel like phasing to Soho, she wanted to spend a night without her powers. As she slipped the car out of the garage, she slipped a CD into the stereo. She had made it a few nights ago. It contained all the songs that she had heard James talk about as well as songs she enjoyed. Dave Matthews began singing as she turned onto the main road that would lead to Soho.
You know she wishes it was different,
She prays to God most every night
Though she knows well He doesn't listen,
There's still a hope in her He might.
She says I pray,
Oh but they all fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself
To get out of this place?
Oh there's a loneliness inside her,
That she'd do anything to fill it in
And though it's red blood bleeding from her now
It feels like cold blue ice in her heart
She feels like kicking out all of the windows
And setting fire to this life
She would change everything about her
Using colours bold and bright
But the colours mix together
And it breaks her heart,
Oh it breaks her heart,
To grey, yeah!
She thought on the song. She found herself thinking about a lot of things as of late, deeper than she would have three months ago. Normally she would have just found herself tapping her foot or nodding her head in time with the man's mad strumming patterns.
But that was before James.
She fought back the sting of tears as she turned into a parking garage. It still hurt to think about it, but she refused to weep. She would remember him, the things he had taught her, and make sure that she tried to live. She may be undead, but that didn't mean that she couldn't have a life outside of work. After all, he had managed to have friends the world over. She had met several of them during the course of their adventure.
She parked the car and started walking towards the entrance, sticking her hands into the pockets of her jacket. She heard a quiet step behind her, and before she could turn, a voice piped up.
"Excuse me, miss, but I think you dropped this,"
She turned, already thanking the man. "Thank you, sir. Sometimes I swear I would loose my head if it wasn't..." she caught sight of what the man was holding out.
A triquertra on a silver chain.
She looked at the face of the person holding the pendant. It was a bit gaunt and paler than when last she saw it, but the smirk was unmistakeable, the rust coloured hair a dead giveaway. It was him, unless her mind was playing tricks on her.
It isn't, Police Girl, his voice said in her head.
"You bloody bastard!" she shouted, shoving him hard.
"Is that anyway to treat an old friend?" he asked. "And what about holding onto this, eh? You don't honour the last wish of someone you care about?" He had a broad grin on his face.
She advanced on him, and he backed up, fetching up against a pillar. She looked ready to deck him right between the eyes. She reached him and grabbed the back of his neck, pulling him down into a fierce kiss.
"How?" she asked when they separated, heading for the entrance to the garage.
He shrugged that loose shrug of his as he slipped the pendant back over her neck. "Not sure, exactly. Just as I started to loose my grip on that pillar, I felt a rush flow into me. I figured that some of the falling rocks must have torn the Writs, unlocking enough of the bindings to let me turn into a mist. I seeped out through the cracks and just collapsed outside the rubble. It took all of my reserves to make it out and I just laid on that island for several days. I healed physically, but my powers still seemed to be drained, and I knew that I needed to get some blood in me. I tried to phase back here, but wound up popping out somewhere in the middle of the ocean about thirty meters down."
He ran a hand through his hair as he slipped an arm around her waist. "I was picked up by a fishing boat and hauled back into mainland Spain. From there I made my way back here. I'm mostly recovered from the ordeal, but," he grinned. "I think a good meal and a drink with a pretty lady would go a long way to finishing my healing. You up to having a friend join you?"
"I don't know," she said, slipping her arm about his waist. "I just lost someone I care about."
"I promise to take it easy. Just dinner tonight."
"It better not be just dinner," she said. "You've put me through Hell for two weeks. You'd better have some sort of plan on paying me back."
He laughed as they passed out onto the street.
"I'm sure you'll figure something out, Police Girl."
They walked on for a few minutes before a voice behind them spoke up.
"Spare change, mate?"
They turned, seeing a man in battered jeans and a dirty shirt standing there, a taller companion beside him.
Seras shook her head. "Sorry, we don't have a lot on us. We were heading to a pub, if you want to join us we'll pay."
The shorter man shook his head and pulled a knife. "I don't think you understood me. Let's try again, lass. Wallet, now."
Seras looked at the blade and then looked at Hunter. She could feel his amusement. What do you want to do? she asked him mentally.
Just play along.
"You know, there's a word for people like you were we're from," he said to the man in a casual tone.
"Oh, and what would that be, mate?" said the mugger in a term that implied that he really didn't care.
"Well, stupid comes to mind," Hunter said as he hauled Cain out from under his jacket. Seras arched an eyebrow. She had left that pistol back at the manor. But then, he had probably just called it to him, like Alucard did sometimes with his pistols. The two pair of eyes across from them latched onto the barrel like vices, following each miniscule motion like their life depended on it.
Which it probably did.
"But then, the term I'm thinking of right now is probably a bit more accurate," he said. Give them your best smile, Police Girl.
"That term being supper, of course," he said, flashing a fanged grin. He turned to Seras. "Which one do you want, dear?"
She eyed them like one would eye fruit at the market. "Well, the tall one smells delicious, but the shorter one is more my size. You know how I'm trying to watch my figure."
By that time, they had both vanished, running like they were on fire.
"Should we follow them?" he asked idly as he tucked his gun away.
"No," she said, pulling him towards the pub again. "They've probably wet themselves by now and they won't be any trouble."
"Good," he said.
"Neither of them smelled very appetizing."
Six Months Later
The woman ran, her breath coming in ragged gasps. She looked over her shoulder and saw the shambling forms of the creatures chasing her. They were gaining. She turned back to face forward and saw two forms ahead of her. One was a man with long hair in a leather duster; the other was a short woman with a vest hanging open in the front. They were both striding forward, both holding pistols.
Oh God, she thought. What have I gotten myself into?
The man fired. She waited to feel the impact of the bullet. For a moment she wondered what getting shot felt like. Then she realized that she had run past them, and they were still shooting. She turned, tripping over her feet as she did so. They were both firing at the creatures that had been after her. They were falling into dust one by one as the two people kept firing. The man looked at the woman and tossed his head back at her. The blonde fell back and knelt by her, offering her a hand up.
"You'll be ok, now," she said. "My name is Seras, what's yours?"
"Tammy," she said, trying to catch her breath.
"Are you ok, Tammy? Hurt in any way?"
"No," she looked on as the man entered into close quarters combat, hands and feet shooting out and knocking the creatures off their feet before shooting them. "What are those things?" she asked.
"Pests," the blonde looked back at the man, then at Tammy. "And we're the exterminators."
I never really feel quite right and I don't know why
All I know is that something's wrong
Everytime I look at you you seem so alive.
Tell me how do you do it?
Walk me through it,
I'm following every footstep
Maybe on your own you take a cautious step
Do you want to give it up?
But all I want is for you to SHINE
Shine down on me
Shine on this life that's burning out.
I say a lot of things sometimes that don't come out right
And I act like I don't know why
I guess the reaction is all I was looking for, yeah
You looked through me,
You really knew me,
Like no one has ever looked before
Baby on your own you take a cautious step
Do you want to give it up?
But all I want is for you to SHINE
Shine down on me,
Shine this life that's burning out.
I know, I know, girl you got something
SHINE (Shine it on to me)
Shine down on me (I wanna feel it)
Shine on this life that's burning out
Baby on your own you take a cautious step
Do you wanna give it up?
But all I want is for you to SHINE
Shine down on me (Just show me something)
Shine on this life that's burning out (You give me something that I never
SHINE (It's coming down on you if you can show me the way)
Shine down on me (I wanna know what's going in on your mind)
Shine on this life that's burning out
Don't you know I want you to SHINE
Shine down on me
Shine on this life that's burning out
Seras: Well, that turned out ok.
Hunter: I'd say so. Though, we are kind of stuck together for a while.
Seras: You see me complaining? And someone has to show Sir Integra how to use her new abilities.
Hunter: Isn't this supposed to be a preview?
Seras: What's to preview? This was the last chapter.
Hunter: Yeah, what's going on here?
Author: I can't let you guys say your goodbyes to the audience?
A/N: Even though it's done, keep checking back from time to time...I tinker and fix things regularly.