Author's Notes: This was a writtenas response for the challenge in the bloody shorts community in lj made by TeaRoses (Pairing: AndersonxHeinkel and keywords: dress, cross and hair), it came out a bit 'long.' Set after chapter 61 AU, edited by Dreadnot.
"This is hopeless, Anderson. We don't even know if they are there," Heinkel insisted, rubbing her forearms to attempt to induce some warm. Her clothes and coat were losing the fight against the merciless Carpathian wind.
"I have searched the for castle for years," he replied, growling and advancing beyond her reach. "He must have taken her there, Sister Heinkel. I am sure."
"Guide the way then, Father Anderson," she replied sardonically. They were playing the old game now, they pretended to be ordered again, to dress as clergy, wore their hair short and kept crosses hanging on their necks. They ignored the fact they had been defrocked.
They had been strangers in a strange land, all Iscariots. Never welcomed, only used by the rest who were afraid to stain their own hands. And as all tools, they had outlived their usefulness.
They had been a Legion of clergymen and clergywomen when they departed to war – they were only a handful when they returned to the Vatican, carrying the stigma of treason. And all the ones who remained were forced to depart again to seek new lands, deprived of vows, following Anderson in their Exodus.
Over the years, one by one left the group until only two were left. No matter what admiration tied them to Anderson, the true disciple of Judas in their ranks, they moved on to search their private promised lands. She supposed she would have left too, if that admiration over the decade they spent together had not grown into something else. More bitter and dependant for she was aware it was one sided.
Anderson still yearned to fight the Hellsing, his compulsion became obsessive. As did her own resolution to follow him.
She felt the wind lift her spectacles and throw them in the direction of the cliffs, towards the frozen river. She nearly slipped on the moistened rocks. "Perhaps we should return when the weather improves!" she cried out, it was the only way he could hear her with the blowing wind piercing their ears.
"No!" Anderson replied, "It's all his work. The devil wants to stop me, to separate me from my quest!"
It's only for her. Always her. Heinkel groaned, teeth crackling, limbs trembling and attempting to keep her pace steady through the difficult path that her age made worse. She felt her own members growing numb by the cold, her own mind blanking out. "I can't continue…" she murmured, losing consciousness and falling on the ground, on the unwelcome mattress made of stone and snow.
She dreamt then about the past, if she was alive or dead, she could not tell. That war had been hell on earth. And in her nightmare the last moments of Enrico Maxwell played on her sight.
A treacherous bayonet breaking the glass.
A swarm of doomed minions impaling the archbishop.
A call for help and an accusatory cry.
She had been staring at everything, the role of saviour was too much for her to play. Nor she wished it. Only one had been willing to take the chance, only one had risked herself to be the good Samaritan. Heinkel thought she had been left behind when she had refused to follow Hellsing and betray her commands.
Yumi Takagi desperately made her way towards the dying Maxwell, slicing and chopping whatever stood in her path. She was moved by a fanatical urge and the madness that was ever present in her eyes.
Heinkel saw the minions of hell sharpening their spears, thirsting for her partner's blood and flesh, and unlike Anderson, she had not possessed the courage to become Judas and let a fellow Iscariot die in that horrible way.
"Yumi," she called out, gaining the nun's attention before raising her gun and pulling the trigger, aiming between Yumi's eyes. Her death was quick and merciful while Heinkel's burden was lasting and painful.
She would have followed her, she had put the barrel on her temple, ready to become Judas, anticipating the shot that would act as the rope of straw. She would have, but Anderson stopped her, grasping her wrist roughly.
"Nay. Not like this, Sister."
He always stopped her. But she could not stop him.
"Sister, awake," she heard him say before realizing the cold was partly gone, so was the mantle of snow.
Heinkel grunted, opening her eyes. She saw the fire close to her face, providing warmth and light. She tried to sit, rubbing the bruises on her forehead as she kept groaning in discomfort. Her body kept shivering, it was all so frosty and hot.
"You have a fever, Sister, don't move."
Heinkel looked at her right. Anderson leaned on a wall, glancing at her with a worried expression. She noted he was lacking his coat before she realized it was covering her as a blanket. "Anderson…" she murmured.
"You have to rest and recover before we can continue."
Her features darkened when he added that. Not even her condition could stop him. "Go then, Father Anderson," she said icily. "Fulfil your quest and leave me behind as you left everyone else!"
He tried to speak but she interrupted him, continuing with her speech. "Will it really be worth it? To defeat her after all this time? Perhaps she is dead! Maybe she became one of them."
"Integral Hellsing wouldn't surrender," Anderson snapped back. "She is my ultimate enemy."
"She has won already," Heinkel pointed out, standing after much effort. She took his coat and approached him as she let over a decade of frustrations surface. "Look at you! You have fallen from grace, Alexander! The only reason the Vatican didn't excommunicate us was because they were afraid of you! We are damned, Alexander."
"We have always been damned, Wolfe."
Heinkel laughed mirthlessly as she stopped, toe to toe with him. Pulling out the Desert Eagle out of the holster, she pressed it to his chest. "But with a purpose," she hissed. "What is your purpose now? Chasing a woman for fifteen years." She wanted to press the trigger, she longed to betray him and become Judas as much as he was but did not find the courage. The safety was reengaged and she dropped the gun. "Look at us," she pointed out, roughly returning the coat. "Look at me! I still dress like the priest I never was, I still carry the same cross pendant. But I've changed," she reached for his hands and forced them on her face. "Can you feel the lines of age beneath your fingertips?" she questioned, moving the hands to her medium length hair. "Can't you see my hair has grown and stained with grey?" she added, closing her eyes as he felt his hands, caressing the strands. "Can't you see I have aged while you remained the same? That is what you cannot stop completely."
Heinkel released his wrists but his hands remained in her hair, caressing, soothing. She felt her face growing hot, probably a consequence of the fever, not her anger or embarrassment. Her breath shortened and heart skipped a beat.
"You are right," Anderson admitted, dropping his hands to her shoulders. "I see now, Wolfe." He dipped his head and captured her lips, she returned the desperate kiss and allowed their hands wander across their bodies.
And when the morning arrived, they had forsaken all dresses, all crosses, all fake vows as Anderson laid next to her, caressing her hair with his unchanging hands. The sunlight crept inside the cave as she stirred, feeling sore and contented.
"The blizzard is over," he murmured.
"What will you do now?" Heinkel asked, carefully, almost fearing the answer. She would not follow him this time. She would not bother to waste more breath to stop him. She had sweated enough for him last night.
"I don't know," Anderson replied smiling to her relief. "But I assure you my Exodus is over."