Chapter Seven

- Birdcage

It was a cold, normal day - a most ordinary date. Her prince had impaled many. One, two, three, four, five - she had long lost the count of the men dying in the courtyard. Seras had enjoyed the show, the wails of pain coming out the human's throats.

But she was not allowed to join in his fun any longer. Her prince was afraid she would misbehave again. No more political affairs or military campaigns for Seras Victoria, the Fair.

They both lingered from castle to castle; none lived up to the new Voivode of Romania's high standards. The current one was her personal favourite. Large towers guarded by stone gargoyles; they were remarkable listeners for Seras' long conversations. Halls filled with ghosts who danced to the silent tune of a nonexistent orchestra. And the wide river that strategically separated the building from the mainland. It contained crystal waters that reflected the sky above as if it was an immense mirror.

As her Prince attended to his government matters, Seras occupied herself with her own brand of duties. Pip was hungry, always craving and she complied to feed him. When she was done, as usual she cradled him against her nude chest and carried the child to her personal balcony. The fading sunlight crept between the bars of the tower. They were protected by the bars from anyone on the outside that might take her babe out of her arms.

Seras sat there and recalled what she had managed to order in her mind. Glimpses of another life that was hers but was not. The nameless faces haunted her at times - a blonde lady, an old gentleman, a one eyed scruffy lad and a vampire with turquoise eyes. For fleeting instances, Victoria uttered their names, summoning the secret that her mind buried deep. But to no avail, even her Prince had stopped questioning her about them.

Seras lapped Pip's head, placing her scent on her child. She would not think of peasants' matters, she was the oldest princess of the lands. Memory did not matter, as long she remained in power - that would be enough.

"Once upon a time, Pip…" Seras started, lounging on the satin seat. "In a faraway kingdom, a princess was fated to die by the splinter of a flax. Her father tried to save her, banning such items from his lands. Except one…

When she grew up, the princess discovered an old woman spinning. Curious by the yarn, she touched it, getting a splitter under her nail, collapsing apparently lifeless…

Don't worry, the tale doesn't end up there… A king went to find our Sleeping Beauty. But his attempts to awaken her are fruitless… all his actions, even when he ravished her limp body… Unknown to him, the King fathered two children before returning to his wife… Those babies eventually awake the Beauty by suckling her finger, removing the splinter…" Seras lips twisted into a feral smile. "Of course, the queen was not pleased by her husband's infidelity… she summoned the children at the court and ordered the cook to kill them and serve them as dinner for her husband…"

Sounds of light footsteps behind her cut her narration. Her annoyance for the interruption was short-lived, recognising her visitors: Bella and Sabina. The brunette twins of the gypsy camp her Prince chose to bring to their side. Victoria did not know when that was. Time was such a curious thing. When one did not measure it, when it left no consequences in one's body, how much passed became irrelevant.

"Seras, I beg you forgive our interruption, but we think that story isn't for a child," Sabina stated in a low pinched tone.

"It's a fairytale, Sabina, they are meant to be child's stories."

"Tell about the pixies and happily ever afters, then!" Bella retorted, temper aflame already. Seras shook her head; she had a lot to teach to her sisters, her Prince was not the most attentive professor. The lesson regarding territory was the most urgent, they needed to realise Pip was rightfully claimed as hers.

"But there are happily ever afters, only the tragedies happen first…" Seras elaborated, glancing at them over her shoulder - red eyes swirled in chaos and malice. The twins gave a step back to Victoria's displeasure. She would not harm her sisters. Everyone escaped from her, her family should not! "Life isn't about goody-goody heroes… and virginal princesses…" She laughed, the sound of her voice resounded on the corridor outside her chambers. "We all know this, don't we?"

The twins remained silent; their heads lowered in deep shame. Seras smiled, the closest of a benevolent gesture on her part.

"Come with me, sisters… Tonight, I'll teach you how to hunt."

"We're not ready to take lives, milady," Sabina replied.

"What about you, Bella?"

"I'm no monster."

"Yes, yes you are."

"Listen to your sister, she's right."

Seras almost squealed at the sound of the masculine voice. Her prince was there! He must have brought her meal! Was this time a handsome lad? A little girl? Or an old man? She tried to guess.

"There's no improvement of her condition, your excellency," Sabina muttered in a sad tone. Seras did not wish to see her sister hurt. But that was her Prince does - he was the Prince of Pain. Alucard said nothing, he strolled towards Seras. She in return, followed his advances with her scrutinised gaze. The grip on Pip tightened, the baby gave a muffled groan against her skin. No one would take away her child.

"Nothing for me! You can't return with your hands empty!" Seras exclaimed with a snarl after corroborating he had not succulent dish for her that night. She was hungry, starving.

"I'm not your servant, Police Girl," Alucard replied coldly. His digits stroke the line of her jaw then descended to her white neck, massaging the dead pulse point. Seras shuddered by the shivery caresses; the neck was an erotic spot for her brethren. Even more so than the genitals. "Come and hunt with me, I won't ask this again. Recover your fire, not this pale shadow you have become."

There was terminal implying meaning on his tone but that escaped Seras' ears and shook her head as a response.

"Why?" Her Prince hissed, bending down and bringing their faces close. "You kill without remorse if I bring you the prey… Why not hunt for them? Enjoy the glory of the night! Even as a human child, you craved for blood, Seras Victoria!"

Seras blinked, at a loss for words. She did not know the reason for denying his request. She just did, feeling that if she complied to that, something inside her would fade away.

"Just no."

"Then you will be remain here alone… without your sisters and deprived from the presence of your beloved son…" Alucard commanded, tearing the baby away from her arms despite her wailings and muffled protests. Pip cried and hissed on his hold, bearing his tiny fangs to his captor's direction.

Fight him! Fight him, my brave child!

"Oh God." Seras heard the twins gasped.

"Give him back!" Victoria demanded, ready to strike down her sire. Only the vampire baby as shield made her back down. Her eyeteeth were elongated, a trail of bloodied drool dripped from them as serpent poison. "You have taken everything from me! I would not let him die!" He would not leave her. Not her baby. Pip constantly craved to suckle her nipples, to gain his blood from the tiny cuts she opened there. No one else could provide him that but she!

"You'll have him back if you agree to come with me in the hunt."

Seras frowned, pacing around the room as a caged animal inside its cell. She stopped to scan their faces. Her sisters looked horrified, her Prince… she could never discern what he felt. A mystery, he was.

"I agree," she replied, shutting tightly her eyes.

Alucard approached her again. Seras did not quiver as his shadow loomed over her small frame. His lips brushed her forehead, pressing them in a hollow kiss born of mockery. He deposited the baby on her awaiting arms. Pip latched at the bleeding nipples as Victoria nuzzled his head.

"Your sisters and I will go to the Dragaica celebration with the gypsies. After that you and I shall hunt."

Seras nodded absently, lulling Pip on a slumber, rocking her arms. Alucard lingered for a moment more before fading away.

"You can come with us, milady," Sabina offered but Seras was engrossed in her task to pay her heed. Soon, she was left alone with her baby as the night fell on the Romanian soil.

"We'll be together. With my blood inside you," Seras assured the boy, detaching his mouth from her breast. She felt weak by his incessant feeding. The child kept staring at her chest. Victoria chuckled; Pip always was ogling at her attributes.

She froze, nearly dropping the baby to the floor. Seras drew her hand to his face, fingernails squeezing viciously his left eye. Pip was supposed to have two of them… he had one and was always grinning. Tears trailed down her cheeks, stopping her abuse over the crying boy.

Pip Bernadette. She remembered him now, he used to be her superior in Hellsing.

Hellsing. Integral Hellsing. Her boss and the person Seras respected the most.

Walter, the kind butler. He was a fine warrior that had gifted her with a formidable weapon.

Friends… all her memories struck back, leaving Seras stunned.

She recalled Ilona now. The one who had shared so many nights in Bucharest, learning customs of the country. How her beauty vanished of her burnt, severed head. Along with Mircea's hawkish features.

Before Vlad II was swallowed, eaten by his own son.

Her Prince, no, her former Master had killed them. And she had destroyed Radu.

Multiple thoughts race through her head: Oh dear God… What I have done? What I have become?

Pip bit down on her fingers. Seras dropped him in surprise. The baby's body imbued with vampirism did not break by connecting with the stone floor. She had not yet healed the injures when the child crawled to her, gnawing at her feet. Seras booted him, frightened. What on God's name she had created? Before he could recover, she rushed to the extreme opposite end of the balcony. Bars paused her way. Trapped. She was inside a birdcage, a pretty spot to be exhibited as she wasted away, until nothing she had known in freedom remained.

Except one thing: Seras had not hunted with Alucard yet.

A part of her that remained true. Not that her Master liked how she became, somehow she managed to make both of them lose their mind games. Seras must escape from the cage while the cat was not looking. She needed to cling onto her fading shred of sanity while it was still there barely lingering. Regardless of Alucard's pretences of wanting to make her stronger, he had failed – madness overwhelmed her.

Desperate, Seras tore the iron bars apart. She must be quick to purchase her freedom. With Pip snapping at her heels, Victoria leapt out of the tower, smiling at the feeling of the night breeze brushing her hair gently. Her arms shifted into spread wings and her flight towards the horizon started.

But the wings refused to move. Her whole body was paralysed and falling to a great speed.

Seras stared at the moon and stars above and below. The river returned the image of the nocturnal sky but not hers; she did not cast a reflection. To the distance, the merrymaking of the free spirits came to her ears. The maidens had escaped from their loved Dragon captors that night. But she had lost her virginity long ago to join them again.

And Seras laughed, unable to do anything else as the cold-water prison welcomed her to its confines…

And they lived happily ever after, or did they?

The End.

Author's Notes: Once again kelles, thanks for the edit. And for the reviews. What happened to Seras? She didn't become what Alucard want standing her ground, but the games were too much for her and break her. She lost, so did Alucard, becoming what he hated: A Bride. Did she die? No, she's just trapped on running water, paralysed, someday maybe someone will fish her out. Anyway, feedback is welcome, specially if it's constructive criticism.