Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: Set during and after volume 2 of the Manga. Edited by Madame Manga, this is for 30 kisses in livejournal.
"For our kind, blood is not the sole craving. We have other traditional means of nourishment, Police Girl."
Seras felt fortunate that Alucard had given her time to change into normal clothes and relax after returning from the museum, but she cast down her eyes before her Master's scowl.
"If you repress both urges, you'll lose control over one of them." He shook his head in obvious disapproval.
What did he mean? Her lips trembled. "I-I'm sorry. I just can't!"
"At least acknowledge your hungers." Alucard sounded resigned as he faded and vanished from her sight. Seras heard a car engine cut out and the sound of a door opening upstairs. Integral and Walter had made a timely arrival and pulled her Master's attention from her.
Seras sighed and glanced at her plate of steaming chips. Even though she had felt ill at the first bite of food, she was going to finish this meal. With stubborn determination she reached for another chip; she was starving and simply had to eat something.
"What other urges could he mean?"
Her head jerked up in alarm at the voice from the doorway. That scruffy mercenary, leaning uninvited on her very threshold! His long red-brown braid draped around his neck like a scarf, and instead of his military fatigues he wore jeans and a Mint Royale T-shirt. His trendy outfit made him look far too attractive for someone so annoying. She blushed at the sudden unwelcome thought.
"You've been listening!" Seras narrowed her eyes at Pip. "How long have you been there? I didn't notice you skulking around."
"Well, girl…" Pip casually lit a cigarette and took a deep drag. "I suppose you must have been too busy wallowing in your woes to see me."
Her face flushed even more deeply. Certainly her embarrassment wasn't due to the look of that tight-fitting T-shirt! "I can hear footsteps all the way upstairs, so I should have detected your heartbeat," she huffed. Of course she had been paying attention! Could her Master have deliberately hidden the Captain's presence from her? Why would he do such a thing?
"You're the vampire here, so you tell me what is going on." Pip exhaled a stream of smoke and glanced at her meal. "A vegetarian vampire?"
Seras slammed the cover on the dish and crossed her arms. "I like chips!"
"That trash? It isn't even good food for the living. How can it nourish the dead?"
"I'm the vampire, aren't I? So I should know!" She put her nose in the air.
"Ah, but a vampire who couldn't realize I hear all the conversation," Pip pointed out. He displayed a toothy grin with his cigarette firmly clamped between his incisors. She wanted to smack it right out of his lopsided smile.
"Get out of my room!"
Pip blew her a smoky kiss and turned to depart. "You are always welcome in mine, girl. Come any time to discuss your…urges. I always want to help my men the very best I can do."
She slammed the door in frustration as he left, then sat down again to her meal. She forced herself to swallow most of the greasy plateful of chips, holding back her nausea. That rude man should stop pestering her--she could take care of herself perfectly well. Trying to ignore the implications of his bold invitation didn't help her digestion.
I'm a professional police officer, after all…Seras told herself. Who was killed on her first mission and made into a vampire who…cannot even drink blood.
How lame. Her stomach ached more and more; she would have to contemplate her woes later.
Seras went to bed early and curled up around her painful abdomen. With unblinking undead eyes she stared at the ceiling, then shut them. She hated enclosed spaces and could not rest with the lid placed over her coffin. As soon as her conscious mind slipped away, the dreams started.
She saw herself stalking the corridors of the dark mansion in her pyjamas, sniffing her way and listening to the living heartbeats all around her. A hungry growl rose in her throat; she kept seeking her target. With inhuman speed she went upstairs, passing the mercenary guards and the maids on duty as if she were invisible. Her eyes scanned the doors of each room as she passed; they all looked the same but each had its distinctive smell. She reached for the doorknob of the first room, but felt a visceral rebellion within her body that did not allow her to proceed; she had not been invited and would not be welcome. Continuing her search, she stopped in front of the last room to the left.
Here she was free to enter--she stealthily opened the door.
The sheets pushed roughly to the foot of the bed, he was peacefully asleep and dressed only in trousers. With shameless interest her gaze moved over his bare chest; she counted the scars that marked his muscular flesh, distinguished the odd tattoo on his shoulder. She licked her lips and shut the door; the man remained blissfully unaware of her presence, snoring lightly and rolling to lie on his right side.
She approached with her mouth open, her tongue lashing her elongated fangs. She had been invited to take him; her blinding thirst drove the impulse to climb onto his bed. Her fingers caressed his long loose hair with a possessive gesture and she leaned on his left breast, listening to the beating heart that pounded with the blood she needed. Salivating, she drew shallow breaths against his skin. Enthralled in the ritual, she did not catch the flutter of a lifted eyelid.
"Who is there?" He struggled to sit upright, groaning in a tired voice. "C'mon, you guys--don't play your stupid pranks on me tonight."
The spell was broken. She jumped away from the bed and hid in the shadows of the room. When the Captain switched on the light, she was already gone.
Seras woke a few minutes before dawn, the nightmare still fresh in her mind. She gulped and looked at the remains of her dinner. Perhaps she should have eaten something lighter right before bed.
Just a bloody nightmare. She exited her casket and peered out into the corridor. The mansion was still. Relieved, she closed the door and sat down, biting her bottom lip.
Of course that had only been a dream. She would never be so bold as to enter a man's room, and the mere idea brought Seras an uncomfortable shudder of embarrassment. Especially not the Captain's room!
"The only nice thing he has is that Mint Royale T-shirt, anyway!" she insisted aloud. No more sleep would come tonight; Seras sighed.
In the morning, Seras went to speak with Walter about her menu. Unsuccessful lessons in vampirism with her Master left her weary now, and her hunger was increasing. She had cut the training session short and left without cleaning and stowing her Harkonnen. But she felt so tired…
"A change in the menu?" Walter raised an inquiring eyebrow. "Miss Victoria, perhaps you should try to drink a little blood."
Seras shook her head. "Please, Walter…I just can't."
"Very well." Walter's face was always neutral; he was far too polite to show his opinion of her scruples. "Perhaps meat would agree with your system somewhat better? I will have a steak delivered to your room tonight."
"Thank you!" Seras beamed and bid him farewell. She hummed as she returned to the training ground to take care of her Harkonnen. When she arrived, it was gone. Where? She frowned and surveyed the mercenaries present. Most of them whistled and looked conspicuously innocent.
"I took care of your weapon, girl." Pip sauntered through the group and crossed his arms. "You are very careless to leave it out where just anybody can get his hands on it."
"It was only for a moment!" said Seras defensively.
"Ah, but you look as good as…dead." Pip winked at her--or rather blinked, since he had only one eye--and walked towards her. Seras's attention was now distracted not by the look of his clothes but by the smell of his body. Sweat bathed his skin beneath his fatigues and gave him an insidiously attractively human aura. To her disturbance, she could practically taste him on the tip of her tongue. "You should take a break."
"Rest until you feel strong enough to finish a practice properly." He made it a stern order, then grinned at her. "I know you want to keep a normal schedule, but unless you put this starvation to an end, you are in no condition to do that. I am worried about you, eh?"
Seras stared at the honest admission. This was the first time since she had joined the Hellsing Organization that someone had expressed concern for her aloud. Walter, her Master and Sir Integral did care about her, but somehow they seemed to be above such emotions.
"All right, when I feel better, I'll come back to practice." She put a little warning tone into her voice, but refrained from a tirade or opposition. She would not insult a superior's worries.
Pip looked equally surprised at her compliance, but recovered quickly. "Of course, I am always glad to watch you shooting targets. Your little short skirt rolls up even shorter and the way your chest bounces under that tight uniform is a beautiful sight. I will miss it dearly."
On any other occasion, she would have glared at him. Instead, she smiled back and walked off the training ground.
Later that night, after forcing herself to swallow a well-done beefsteak, the nightmares started again. Because she was a vampire, the space between dreams and reality often confused her. Sometimes she had the impression that she had been sleeping ever since that fateful night in Cheddar. However, now she knew this was not real; she was aware of the dreamy atmosphere of the mansion as she explored. Each movement felt as if she was floating and no one saw her pass. Except for the red eyes on the black walls. Her consciousness felt lethargic, and her body's actions were nothing that she would do while awake.
She came to see him again.
The Captain snored even louder on this occasion; he wore a white shirt with his green trousers. Hair soaked and dripping on the pillow: his body smelling freshly washed.
Seras's nose wrinkled. She had wanted to groom him herself, to taste the sweat that made him a living being. To bathe in his scent. She stalked towards the bed with gleaming, half-open eyes and leaned in to sniff his neck and hear the soft sound of his glottis as he swallowed. She felt his limbs shiver, but he did not awake; his muscles were only twitching after a long day on duty. Pressing her mouth to the pulse point on his throat, she nipped it.
Her jaw tensed as his body pulled tight for a moment. Hunger. It fogged her reason--she felt weak and he could give her strength. Seras craved his blood, craved the sight of him covered with salt sweat she had forced from his pores instead of favourless water. It was a dream…just a dream…
Pip muttered something in French, still asleep. Seras woke minutes afterwards in her coffin; she sniffed her arm and smelled sweat.
Why am I dreaming about him? She curled around herself in the embrace of the casket with eyes still closed, afraid to sleep again. Why does it feel so real? It could not be real. She would never do such things in the waking world…but in her dreams, lacking reason, fearless of consequences, it was so right. She managed to rest again and this time her slumber was dreamless.
For weeks following, Seras did her best to avoid Pip Bernadotte. This was no easy task, because the mercenary appeared wherever she went and not just in her nightly dreams. They bumped into each other in the corridors; when she took refuge in the kitchen with Walter he came in for beer and snacks, and when she fled outdoors for fresh air she met his eyes around every corner. Her embarrassment burned too hot even to let herself speak a word to him. That boy would instantly know that her knees shook in his presence. Most likely from lack of blood!
"Police Girl." Alucard broke into her thoughts as she paced her room. Seras jumped in startlement and glanced at her Master. "You are famished."
Seras looked at the floor, unable to deny the truth of what he said. "Walter will come with my dinner soon…he says a raw beefsteak might help."
"You are losing control." Alucard's expression was unreadable. "If you don't feed soon…you will die."
Seras opened her lips to protest, but was interrupted by Walter's knock. "Your dinner, Miss Victoria."
Alucard departed and Seras opened the door by herself. "Please come in, Walter." He entered with the tray and carefully laid it on her table. When he turned to her, the light flashed from his monocle.
"You look ghastly white."
"I don't want to be a burden."
"I have not yet informed Sir Hellsing of your eating habits…or lack of them. But if your deterioration continues, I must."
She put a hand to her mouth. "I feel like such a bother to you all…"
"You are a member of the Hellsing family. None of us can overlook your condition." Walter shook his head like a reproving elder relative. "Captain Bernadotte always inquires about your health."
"He does?" Seras felt a jump of excitement, almost hope: but she shook it off, angry with herself. "I…I mean, does he really? How odd."
"If you are curious as to his motives, perhaps you should ask him. As far as I am aware, he does not bite." Walter smiled faintly. "I must go to Sir Integral. Please enjoy your meal." He bowed and departed; Seras examined the hunk of raw meat before her without enthusiasm. Perhaps it would sate her, but she had little hope.
She forced down the meat with distaste; the cold slimy rawness of it made her nauseated and her hunger found no relief. Half eaten, she abandoned it. She changed into her only nightwear, a long yellow cotton gown that hid her body, double-checked the lock on her door and slid into her coffin. Of course she didn't sleep-walk; those dreams were not real, but the increasingly vivid visions of her Captain disturbed her.
Around him, she was always hungry.
Don't be afraid of even closing your eyes. She huffed at her own childish fears. I doubt Master would let me sleep in his bed because a nightmare scared me, like Father used to do.
As much as she would have liked to, she could not remain awake all night and sleep during the day like a proper member of the undead. Her human habits extended beyond her dinner menu. A mere half hour later, sweet slumber defeated her determination.
Even in her dreams, she was hungry. Like a phantom she left her bedchamber; the door she had locked stood wide open, inviting her. Barefoot she walked through familiar corridors, ascended well-known stairs, passed by sentries who gave her no more regard than a ghost. Tendrils spread along the walls and the eyes watched her, murmuring encouragement.
She did not hesitate to enter the Captain's room; her fangs dripped with saliva at the thought of tasting his blood. However, the moment she saw the sleeping mercenary something paralysed her. A peculiar smell, stronger than sweat, nearly as sweet as the promise of blood. The aroma came from his right hand and the junction of his legs.
Seras moaned and arched her back. Though she did not know exactly what it was, her body seemed to recognize it. Vampires could take means of nourishment from the living other than blood; blood gave them greater strength but another life-essence could still sustain them.
She climbed on the mattress, took his just-washed hand and licked it to catch the remnants of the substance that called to all her senses. What had stopped her in her previous dreams was the fear of losing herself completely, but this way could not lead to harm. She sniffed his skin; her tongue wrapped around his fingers, thoroughly cleaning them one by one. Pip smiled in his sleep, not yet conscious of the source of the tickling. She finished her grooming still unsatisfied--she wanted more, she was so very hungry. The urge to feed maddened her.
Growling, Seras crawled up the bed to position herself between his legs. She untucked the shirt he wore and roughly pulled down his pyjama trousers. Startled at the sudden motion, her Captain awoke.
"What?" Pip muttered, cracking open his sole eye. "What is going on?" Seras hissed at the interruption. "Girl--what are you--" When her gaze met his he closed his mouth.
This is a dream. It's not real and I am not here. This is not me…
"A dream…she is taking my invitation…in her dreams…" His voice trailed off in dazzled bliss; he collapsed with open eye and transported expression. Seras pulled down his briefs.
She could not look, even in a dream. This embarrassed her almost to the point of defeat to her bold vampiric side. Thus, she shut her eyes and followed the tasty aroma between his thighs. She licked the head clean of the remains of his self-induced pleasure, but she craved more; her thirst could not be quenched by mere spillings. She opened her mouth wide. Pip moaned when she swallowed the tip of his member. Painfully, she clenched her nails into her palms to avoid adding to the scars on his chest.
Her sucking motions were slow and erratic; even famished, Seras was inexpert in this art. Nevertheless he squirmed at the action of her tongue; his hips rose, seeking further entrance to her mouth. At the touch of her sharp teeth he forced his body to relax.
"Seras…" he grunted. She took him in deeper, speeding her pace in blind passion. The sound of her name on his lips was as aphrodisiac as the lure of nourishment. To be well fed and sated, to become strong…
Seras's hands slid under his shirt as her voracious mouth kept Pip engrossed in pleasure. Her small fingers traced the scars of his abdomen, memorizing them by touch. Each mark had an unknown story behind it; she would never learn their histories. If this had not been only a twisted fantasy, she could have asked him about them. She could have told him about the scars she concealed beneath her own clothes and her past.
Every dream ended when the sleeper awoke. All bliss faded into a dim memory of a long past. Seras this would not continue much longer when Pip grew very stiff under the prodding of her tongue. His legs and hips trembled with building pleasure. He called her name again; he exclaimed it aloud. And though tempted, she did not open her eyes when she received his seed in her mouth. She swallowed eagerly. The concept might disgust her but this was natural, this was right.
Seras released and cleaned him, not wasting a single drop. His panting shot a feeling of triumph through her alongside the sensation of renewed vigor. She pulled up his briefs and trousers again before she was able to look at him again or meet his eye. "This is a dream," she said to him, to herself. Her world faded into shapeless darkness; the satisfied smile of her Captain vanished along with everything else. She did not know how long she remained in the darkness until her Master's voice brought her back.
Seras gasped and stared up at him as he stood over her open coffin. His shadow blocked the lamplight. "M-master?" she asked, blushing. Her memory retained a fragment or two of her dream--what she had done to Captain Bernadotte and how he had enjoyed it. There had been no shame, no masks, no phobias that stood between them for that moment. But that was an illusion. Boys were icky and the whole idea of sexual contact made her uneasy.
"You've slept all day." Alucard raised a brow. "Everyone was getting worried about you. Integral, Walter and the Captain have all tried to wake you. How do you feel?"
"Oh." To her surprise, her hungry weakness had disappeared. "I think I just needed a good long sleep to recover my strength, Master." He smirked: an insidious, knowing grin that unnerved her. "Maybe it was the raw meat, too."
"Raw meat? Surely the answer to any girl's prayers." Alucard laughed. "I think I will tell the Captain to deliver your next meal in person."
Seras touched her lips and shifted uncomfortably. Had he looked into her dreams? But how, and why? She shook her head. Her Master needed no excuses to break into her private thoughts, after all. "No…those were dreams!"
"What were dreams?" The innocent look on Alucard's face unsettled her.
"You know, Master!" She felt overwhelmed with sickness. "Th-those were just dreams! Right?"
"If you drink blood, I will tell you." Hardly a reasonable trade! "No? Then talk to your Captain to ease your doubts, Police Girl."
"No, no! It's just a dream!" Her eyes widened at the idea--how awkward, how horrible! "He would only take advantage of it and tell me some awful lie…the jerk."
Alucard shrugged and grew transparent. "If that's what suits you. My Master has a message for you: 'Close the door before you go to sleep.'"
Close the door? She had closed and locked it! "Master, I did--" He was gone. She stared at the empty room, lost in questions with no answers. Licking her lips uncovered no peculiar taste; she got up to dress for target practice. He was only trying to bait her, and these were only dreams, or nightmares. She did not sleepwalk, she did not do anything to Pip Bernadotte.
Seras pushed those thoughts away and buried them under denials. She certainly had no interest in tracing the scars she had imagined on Pip's chest and kissing each one in turn as he told her the story behind it…
Speaking of the Captain… Seras paused in dressing, put down her yellow miniskirted uniform and chose trousers and an oversized T-shirt instead. I will disappoint him during target practice.