Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: My gift to KharBevNor who asked 'Seras remembering Pip in Christmas' Eve after the battle with Zorin.' I thank Charis M, my editor!
Alone in Christmas' Eve
They knew the situation and despise this, they still hovered near, worried by her state. Integral and the troops took turns to check over her solace near the fireplace. It was amusing, to say at least.
Seras always became quiet in Christmas Eve; she excused herself to remain near the decorated tree, basking in the heat that emanated from the flames. Years ago, she had enjoyed another kind of warmth in the very same room. She smiled to herself while memories began to resurface.
It had happened a few months after the hiring of the Wild Geese. With the aid of the mercenaries, she had convinced Integral that Christmas decorations might help to lighten up the atmosphere after the losses during the Valentine Brother's attack.
"Very well, I don't agree with the pagan celebration of the birth of the Messiah but," Integral had explained, "it serves a purpose. You may proceed as you like. I grant you full permission."
Seras had been excited. She had been an orphan since she was a child, thus this was the first time she would celebrate with her new 'family'. Walter had been called to supervise the event, and everything had been running smoothly just in time.
The grim mansion was shining with the multicoloured lightbulbs. The glow was reflecting on the ground covered by snow.
Even her Master had been enthusiastic about the concept. One of his suggestions had been to offer blood sacrifices to him for winter solstice. Seras snickered, recalling Integral's response.
"Unless you wish to be sent to the Vatican with a red ribbon wrapped around your neck as a special present for Maxwell, keep those suggestions to yourself, Alucard."
The night of Christmas Eve, all the staff – soldiers and civilians – were invited to the grand dinner. Seras had fled from the dinning room, unable to bring herself to attend with the rest. She could not risk it and vomit the digested human meal in front of them, nor drink blood in their presence. They were her family but they were not.
Maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all, Seras had thought, feeling miserable and entering to the room where the tree had been displayed. She had stood beside it, staring at the tune of the artificial lights. Loneliness was starting to overwhelm her. Alone in Christmas' Eve was not appealing. Seras no longer remembered clearly if she had felt him entering or not. If she had been too engrossed with her self-pity to notice the light footsteps behind her or only she did when he cleared his throat.
"Police Girl," he had called her by the dreadful nickname. "Hey, girl. The boss is asking for you."
Seras had narrowed her eyes and spun around, glaring at the captain. "I at least want to hear my name on Christmas."
"Okay," Pip had smirked, "I'll call you Seras after twelve AM."
Seras had glowered, "It's not funny, Captain."
Pip had shrugged and stepped closer, "Why this attitude now? I never thought of you as a Grinch type."
Seras had sighed and turned her head to the tree again. "It's just … I wanted this to join and belong to Hellsing more and then I realize that…" she had caught a sob. "I can't be in the same world anymore." She had not minded on the battlefield, where she had come to accept her advantages, but outside, that was a nightmare.
"Bah, listen, girl. The Geese and I are mercenaries, we kill for money and yet we share the table with others who fight for ideals, country and religion. We aren't part of them either," Pip had rolled his eye. "But we make the effort to integrate."
Seras had pauseed, looking at him for a while. "I'm not ready yet … But thanks," she had smiled weakly. "You can go and join the dinner. I feel better now."
"Feh, and return without you? Acting against the boss' orders? Not bloody likely. I won't go unless you come with me," Pip had promised, passing through her to kneel before the tree. "Besides, I got something for you. We can cheat and open it before midnight," he had winked – or rather blinked – while handing her a blue package. Seras had taken it with reluctance, wondering if that was one of his stunts. Carefully she had unwrapped it and taken out the contents. It had been a large wool coat of a yellow shade, stamped 'RARL' on the front. She had brushed it; it felt warmth and soft.
"I know you're dead, girl, and you don't feel cold, but," Pip had grinned playfully, "I figured out that you could fake it and pass as one of us. You know, to be put a use. It was that or a thong … I can't change it."
Seras had stayed silent for a while, holding the coat. She had ignored the insinuation in his last comment; very aware he had been goofing around in hopes of unnerving her. "No, this is the most beautiful gift someone has given me since I was a child," she had confessed, settling it back to the package. "Thank you, Captain," she had beamed, but soon her smile had faltered, diverting her eyes. "I haven't bought you anything."
"I take my gift if you don't mind, Police Girl," Pip had approached and bent over her face, his lips puckering up. Seras had been quick enough to move her face, and so he had kissed her right cheek instead of her lips. He had huffed, "That's cheating … Look above your head."
Seras had raised her gaze after shooting him a smug look. There was mistletoe hanging out there. "Well, Captain, you cheated this Christmas. I'm allowed to cheat too. Let's be fair."
"I'll get you in next one."
"Assuming there's going to be a second chance," Seras had snapped, teasing harmlessly. She had laughed at her remark then. How prophetic her words had been.
Pip had not left, and they both stayed near the tree, exchanging gossip, talking about nonsense and watching the snow falling outside the window. And Seras Victoria had felt in that Christmas Eve that she truly belonged to some place.
"Are you alright, Seras?" Integral's voice interrupted her through the threshold. She had fallen asleep, remembering the past. "Won't you join us this time?"
Seras shook her head. "Not yet, Sir Integral."
Integral let go a sigh and shut the door, heading towards the celebration in the dinning room. Seras stood from her seat, straightening the coat Pip had given her for Christmas and walked in direction of the tree. She paused under the mistletoe, recalling his warm lips over her cheek.
"Shall we cheat again?" Seras asked to herself and glanced in direction of the gathered gifts.
Grinning, Seras bent down and picked a small package. She unwrapped it fast and saw that contained a delicate white eyepatch.
More girly. Will look better.
Seras took out the dark one that covered the socket where used to be her right eye and placed it. Then the stump located where her left arm had been snagged a bigger one and brought it to her. "Last one was stained in blood," she commented as her right arm opened the present. She smirked cockily at the sight – a cowboy hat. Whistling, Seras placed it on the top of her head.
Each passing Christmas they thought she was mourning alone but in truth, Seras would never be by herself anymore. The blood is the coin of life; Pip's soul was forever trapped inside her. They were one, mixed memories and willingly entwined spirits. She embraced herself for a couple of minutes.
It's time to belong, Seras.
"I know," Seras murmured, taking a last longing glance at the chamber that had been witness of their annual ritual before exiting, joining the party once and for all. Pip was a man of word, and had finally convinced her to go to the dinner. Since then, they were no longer alone in Christmas' Eve.