She used to have nightmares.

Horrible nightmares.

Nightmares that you wake up from screaming. Nightmares that make you want to hide in the center of your bed, covers over your head, getting yourself as far away from whatever demons lurk deep in the dark bowels under your bed.

Dreams of memories. Memories of her family. Dreams of her mother. Dreams of what they did to her mother and father. Dreams of what they did to her mother's corpse. Dreams of the fork.

In her dreams, she could still remember what it felt like as the metal prongs pushed through the aqueous humor. She could still hear the man screaming.

For almost a year afterwards, she had been unable to eat food using a fork. She had been unable to escape the nightmares.

She could eat with a fork again, but she still couldn't escape the nightmares.

Sex had been an issue. You can't see something like that at a young age and be the same. In school she would go to parties, watch her classmates grope their way around the various bases, and quietly look away. Whenever approached by another boy, she would stutter a bit, cough, and claim that she needed more punch.

She couldn't escape the nightmares.

Then, when she got turned, more nightmares came.

The first was when she lost control. She drank the entire Hellsing membership. And it always ended with her tearing Captain Bernadette's throat out as Alucard stood in front of her and clapped lightly.

The other was when everything around her simply died. Everyone she knew got taken away by the hands of time and she was left alone in the ruins of the Hellsing Manor, unchanged and eternal. Then the great flap of wings and Alucard's laughter as she sunk the ground, alone.

Whenever she woke up screaming and crying from these nightmares, she would hide in a corner of her coffin until nightfall.

Who could she talk to about it? Who could tell it was just a silly dream?

Integra needed her to be strong. She needed someone to lead the new troops into darkness they never had to face before. Walter… Walter was distant. A butler. Friendly enough, but still…
The men… no, they wouldn't understand.

The Captain would just make fun of her.

And Alucard? Forget it.

Senior Officer Seras Victoria used to have nightmares.

And she still does.

He used to have nightmares.

Not the type of nightmares you wake up screaming from, but the type you wake up in a cold sweat from. The type where you have to convince yourself that you are safe in your own bed in an English Mansion, and an entire continent away from Uganda.

He couldn't even call his dreams memories. At least, he wasn't sure he could call them memories. Some he could recall in his waking hours, others were situations entirely new to him.

He wasn't sure if they were memories his mind had decided he didn't need to see or if, in a fit of sadism, his subconscious was inventing new scenarios to mess with his mind.

He had seen a lot of shit in his time. He had, after all, gone to war early. Too early. Far too early.

He never should have gone at all, but it appeared that his grandfather had been right at all. It was the family curse and the family's history and the family's fate. His grandfather had needed the operation, and Pip needed the money, and quite frankly this was the only thing Pip was any good at.

The worst nightmare, however, was a memory. And a very specific memory.

Pip could still feel his left eye, sometimes. He had read in a magazine once that people who had lost limbs could still feel them sometimes. "Phantom limbs", the article had called them. The magazine was unspecific as to whether "Phantom Eyes" existed, but Pip was fairly sure they did. There would be times when his left eye would feel unusually dry and he'd try to blink it only to remember that it wasn't actually there.

The memory, the dream would never leave him. He couldn't escape it. He could still smell the small building. The feel of the old, wet, frayed rope they tied him to the table with. He could still see the knife and the spoon move closer, and closer, and closer.

He was only able to eat with a fork for months after that.

He would wake up in a cold sweat, get out of bed, and stumble to the bathroom, where he would stare himself down in the mirror and splash himself in the face with cold water.

He couldn't talk to the boss or Walter about it. They were his employers. They couldn't worry about the commander of their troops old war dreams.

He couldn't talk to the men. He was their Captain. He wasn't allowed to be weak. He could be a clown, he could be a joker, he could be a friend. But he could never be weak.

He couldn't talk to the girly. She, more than anyone under his command, needed him to be strong. She was young, frightened, new to war. And still hard hit by whatever had happened to cause his hiring.

Alucard? Please.

Captain Pip Bernadette used to have nightmares.

And he still does.

They used to have nightmares.

Everyone has nightmares. It's simply part of life. And they never go away. They just hide on the other side of your unconscious, waiting.

What changes is you. And how you deal with them. That's the trick, really. Nightmares have no more power than what you give them.

Seras' eye opened. She was breathing heavily and had to muffle a scream. Beside her, she could feel someone sitting bolt upright.

Which is not really that smart of an idea when one is sleeping in a bed with a lid. For example, if one shares a bed with a vampire.

"SON OF A BITCH!" Pip shouted. His yells degenerated into a string of French curses as he clutched at his forehead. Seras giggled, despite herself.

"Question," Pip said. "I'm not, technically, real, right? You made a body out of shadow stuff based on my memories, than my soul took up residence in it. When I'm not taking up residence inside your body. Which, in a way, I still am in even when I'm in this body, since it's just part of you."

Seras smiled. "Do you have a point?"

"Yes. My point is, why does it still hurt when I bang my head on you're freakin coffin door?"

Seras shrugged. "It's a physical body. It needs to know when it's being injured."

"Ah. Right." He turned on his side and stared at Seras. "Why did you scream?"

"I didn't scream."

Pip tapped Seras on the forehead. "I can still hear you up here, cherie. Have a bad dream?"

Seras didn't answer.

"What about, then?"

Seras merely stared into Pip's remaining eye.

"Ahhh," Pip responded.

Seras looked down at their sheets. "Why are the sheets soaked in sweat? Come to that, how can you even make sweat? You're not real?"

"Maybe it's not so much sweat as the illusion of sweat. I think I'm sweating and therefore, I do. The sheets aren't really soaked with sweat and Walter won't have to run them through wash again, but we merely are sharing the hallucination that they are."

"…You don't know, do you?"

"…No."

"What were you dreaming about?"

Pip returned her gaze without speaking.

"Ah." She snuggled up closer to him and closed her eyes. "Good night, Pip."

"Technically it's not night," Pip pointed out as he put his arm around her. "It's somewhere around one in the afternoon."

"Why do you continue to annoy me like that?"

"Because you put up with it."

"Ah. Right. Sweet dreams."