Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano and Studio Gonzo.

Author's Notes: Thank you kelles for edit this ficlet (which is very special, the 50th fic in Hellsing I wrote!). It's set on Anime and could be taken as AlucardxSeras, romantic or no (father/daughter, for instance). I simply leave subtext to the readers' interpretation. Feedback is welcomed.

Almost Human

"Master?" Seras Victoria called out, clearing out her throat and knocking the door of his quarters. They were as silent and dark as the corridor where she was standing. She heard nothing – neither heartbeat nor breathing, not even the soft movement in the air that could be produced by the motions of the body.

"Master, it's me, Seras Victoria," she knocked harder, feeling a bit of apprehension. Was Alucard trying to unnerve her on purpose? "It's Police Girl, please let me in, Master."

In that moment the door opened and she heard his lazy response: "I thought you'd be upstairs, Police Girl, pulling crackers with the new Captain or attempting to sing a Carol. What brings you to my humble dark lair while the party is up there?"

Seras entered, seeking the switch to turn on the light but her actions were stopped by his commands.

"A vampire doesn't need light, Police Girl," he chided, "We can see in the dark." Seras did see him and distinguished the details of his spacious and empty room. Alucard was sitting his 'throne,' one leg over the other, his eternal smirk plastered over his lips. She had been in his chambers once during the Valentine Brothers' attack and noticed his lack of furniture; there was only a table, a sole chair and the well hidden coffin. Clearly Alucard was not a gracious host to occasional visitors.

Then again, Seras gathered few dare to descend to the basement to see him.

Defiantly, she turned on the light nonetheless; the illumination that the flickering bulb provided was sparse but it was enough. "I don't need it, Master, but it comforts me," she admitted, not ashamed of her own humanity.

"Hmm," Alucard stayed silence for a while. Seras ventured further inside the chamber and almost jumped, startled as the door closed behind her. "Dressed up according to the holiday spirit, Police Girl?" he taunted to her surprise. He had noticed the colours of her short dress – green and red.

"Originally, I was going to suggest Walter to dress as Father Christmas and I would have been cast as little, helper elf, but we needed a Rudolph and somehow you don't strike me willing to play the role, Master," Seras babbled, grinning.

"So you broke my peace to ask me to take the shape of a reindeer?" Alucard laughed, pulling down his hat to shield his face. "If you don't mind me having multiple red eyes instead of a big nose."

"No it's not that!" Seras stated, almost embarrassed then paused, thinking. How does he know about Rudolph?

'Simple, Police Girl. I have eaten people who knew about him,' Alucard's deep voice invaded her mind.

"I mean," Seras collected herself, clearing her throat again. She felt her stomach knotting, feeling this may have not been a good idea after all. I should have listened to Walter. Pushing away her doubts, she continued, "I was wondering why you aren't at the party, Master. It doesn't mean you have to join us - you can simply sit in a corner like Sir Hellsing does."

"Did Master send you to invite me?" Alucard asked, straightening his posture in the chair. "It's an order from her?"

Seras shook her head, lowering her gaze. She was thanking God that she had not drunk blood that day, otherwise her cheeks would be as red as part of her dress. "I came down here on my own behalf. Sir Integral probably doesn't know." Or care, she added mentally. She did admire Integral's strength and leadership and was aware her boss, deep inside, worried about their welfare specially after she was released from the Tower, but this matter was too superficial for her.

"You are wrong," Alucard answered, removing both hat and glasses, placing them beside an empty blood bag. "Master does care."

"Eh?" Seras blinked before sniffing the blood scent persistent on the empty package. She recognised the former content as Integral's blood. Inwardly, she licked her lips, craving for the long consumed haemoglobin.

"She delivers it herself on this date before she attends to the Mass. I am not supposed to drink it until midnight but… the prospect of her blood is quite difficult to resist," Alucard explained, a ghost of a smile appeared on his normally mocking visage. "It's a tradition that started over ten years ago when she came down here, just like you, and asked me the question that is plaguing your thoughts, Police Girl."

Seras nodded, suddenly understanding the similarities. "Master, do you hate Christmas?"

"No," Alucard replied, stretching his arms. He looked like a cat when he did that. "I was once Christian. And a very devout one. I simply dislike the fact it's celebrated on this particular date now."

Seras lifted a brow, she was mildly aware some Churches celebrated the holiday in January. Not exactly when, she did not care for those subjects. "Why does it matter?"

"I don't want to be linked in any way with the God I now despise," Alucard pointed out sharply. Then laughed, Seras did not catch the punchline of the joke, then again she rarely did when his humour was involved. "Maybe such as you and your light, the separation of that comforts me."

"But you accept Sir Hellsing's Christmas gifts…" Seras trailed off, not believing her Master was an hypocrite. He could not be like that.

"These aren't Christmas presents. I declined hers over ten years ago when she offered, as I will decline the one you are hiding behind your back, Police Girl," Alucard stated, chuckling. Seras' gaze fell to the ground again, slightly crestfallen. She had spent hours seeking the proper tie for him.

"I understand, Master," Seras replied, saddened and turned to leave. "I suppose I shouldn't wish you happy Christmas either."

"If that comforts your human needs, do as you like, Police Girl," Alucard said with a shrug, returning to his quietly lounging. She often wondered what the hell he was doing or thinking as he lay back there, looking like a wax figure in some horror museum.

Seras opted to leave in silence and vowed to herself that she would find out what the presents were about. She could take the easy way and ask Walter (interrogating Sir Hellsing was out of consideration), but she supposed Integral had not sought the butler either.

Seras did not appreciate being told what she needed to know anymore. She would rather research her answers by herself, thus she spent her spare time reading whatever bit offered her information. She had long suspected her Master's real identity, not at first but his name was easy to decipher. The first thing she consulted while she surfed in the internet was a webpage about Romanian history.

"Vlad III was born in Sighisoara, a small town in Transylvania, approximately in November or December of 1431. And he died on December of 1476," Seras read aloud, narrowing her eyes. So that was it. Beaming from her discovery, she started to scheme her gift for next year.

The following 24th of December, Seras waited until Integral left for Mass to deliver her Master a present – her own blood in a bag, and while it may not taste as good as Sir Hellsing's, virgin blood was virgin blood, along with a card that said: "Happy birthday, Master."

Alucard smirked widely at her and accepted her present, his eyes gleamed slightly in pride for a well fulfilled task. She was still unaware if the date he celebrated was for his birth in life or unlife, nor did she dwell deep on that either. Seras was contented to offer her Master a bit of unnecessary mortal comfort. It was almost human of him.