Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: Edited by Puck 3/4, this story is an alternative (because I'm pretty sure Hirano won't do this thus I mark it - AU), surrealist AxI vision for the end of the Manga. I have taken in consideration the last chapters published to date (Castlevania I and II, chapters 70&71 respectively). So you'll need knowledge of what happens there to understand Alucard's dream and basic lore of the book of Revelations. This is for 30romances and most importantly for SinfulAttraction (one of Deviantart AxI communities) contest.
"So, did He ever really come down? And what of your Eden, your Jerusalem? What's wrong? Answer me, King. Lunatic King. Everyone died. Everyone died. For you, for what you believe, for your Eden, for your God, for the sake of your prayers, everyone died. You are not a king now. Nor a servant of God. No, you are not even worthy of being called a human anymore."
(Alucard mocking his old self during the flashback of Castlevania I, Hellsing chapter # 70).
Everything had been crashing in around her. The sky above and the earth beneath compacted and pressed in an attempt to join. Integral had felt a strong sense of nausea in her throat and increasing dizziness that barely allowed her to remain conscious as the world faded before her eyes.
The white, red, black and pale stallions had turned towards her direction. She had not been able to distinguish the riders. Integral had given orders until her voice vanished; she had raised her sword as final action. She had want to call for Seras, Alucard and poor old Walter, she had yearned to fight more but she had collapsed along with all things surrounding her. The knight had heard a woman screaming in the distance. A luminous figure that shone like the sun had risen to the sky.
Then… there had been only silence.
When Integral awoke she had no sword, no glasses and no clothes. She was floating alone on the waves of the ocean; her tired muscled massaged by the gentle water. Upon waking, she had accidentally drunk a pint of the liquid to quench her thirst; it tasted sweet instead of salty, sweet and strengthening. She opened her eyes, the water was blue, clear of all filth, and the multicoloured fishes inside it were unbothered by her presence.
This can't be the Thames, she thought in marvel, swimming towards the near shore. She squinted at the light ahead of her and felt a hint of remorse to leave the water to walk on the earth.
She started walking, confused on the warm, white sand that felt good under her bare feet, it was like striding over cushions, only easier but held the same easing feeling. Integral wondered for a moment if the terrible war had made her indifferent to the temperature and vanity for she felt neither cold nor shame to be nude on the mysterious beach.
The light increased as she advanced and Integral covered her eyes for a second, pausing to survey the deserted area. There were no trees, no animals and no other visible thing but the sweet water sea behind her, the traces of footprints on the sand and the ephemeral light ahead. There was no even sun, moon or stars to illuminate the sky. The light was enough to cover all in a warm glow. The air was fresh and easy to breathe; there was no smoke to pollute her lungs, no scent of fire and destruction.
The knight rubbed her temples in complete confusion but kept walking, her legs had moved independently of her mind's commands, following the countless footprints of those that walked this path previously. She did not know what was happening, where she was but she vaguely recalled the sky changing colours, the stars and the moon swirling until merging as one before it exploded.
I'm losing my mind.
That must be. She must have hit her head during the war and her body was unconscious on the battlefield. Integral pinched her forearm to awake in vain. She did not stir from this insane hallucination; instead she had an aching spot where she had pinched. It was real. She continued walking; there was nowhere to go but forward to get some answers.
Each step she took, Integral felt the world getting smaller, less overwhelming and endless. She paused her journey and glance at her trail behind. Her eyes narrowed slightly, noticing that she, and not the place, was changing. The footprints had increased size since the path had started where the sea had stood, it was now gone; she looked at herself, shocked to discover her body was no older than twelve possibly thirteen years old. She stared in disbelief at her hands, at her small bosom and little feet.
What trickery is this? Magic? I'm inside an illusion?
Troubled, Integral nearly lost balance to her bafflement and impossibility. She was not a child. This must be some trickery from Millennium. "Where I am?" she asked, her throat closing by the loneliness. Where was London and her loved ones?
"Jerusalem!" a young, male voice exclaimed behind her. "Crystania!"
Integral turned around and saw a boy with tangled black hair and pale skin, bare as she was, running excitedly towards her direction. She looked down, blushing in embarrassment when he stopped beside her, catching his breath.
"We did it! Don't you see, Integra! London is now reborn better!"
What are you talking about? Integral inquired mentally, confused at the statement. A perfect city to live, that was one of her secret fantasies to achieve but no one knew about it. "Who are you? Do I know you?"
The boy's smile faded and looked sheepishly innocent. He was handsome for his age and Integral felt revolted to think of a thirteen years old in an attractive light. But I'm thirteen now as well…her mind protested. He's even shorter than you are! Focus in the place not the company.
"Don't you recognise me, Integra? Ah it's because you never knew me as a child."
Integral blinked and caught his brown eyes, behind the innocent veil there was a hunger, a faith, a determination and built madness she knew very well. "Alucard! Is that truly you?" she inquired, reaching to touch his face, caress his warm, living cheek. He had no fangs, no vampiric traits any longer. Human… I have lost my mind. Absolutely.
"My name is Vlad and you aren't imagining this," Alucard said softly, taking her hands with his. Integral was uncomfortable to meet this aspect of himself. She preferred to keep thinking of an immortal psychopath no matter how much she liked him. Not as a young, mortal boy. He released one of her hands and grasped the other tightly, renewing their walk again. "I thought first, this was just a cruel dream. To see myself-" he paused, shaking his head, "Ourselves accomplished in our tasks. Our prayers finally answered! And to think I was so close to give up! About to wish to die! So close! And now it's real!" His voice was triumphal and her heart echoed his enthusiasm.
"What happened to London? To Seras? Walter? The enemy? Everyone?" Integral had many questions that wanted answers, demanded them in fact. She had been responsible for their safety, she felt guilty if something happened when she was strolling nude with Vlad.
"They are waiting for us in the city," Vlad assured her, his voice sounded funny. It was shifting to something more mannish. His bones were stretching until he became taller than she was. Integral tried hard to not cover her not so small boson or to stare at his muscled chest. She tightened the hold on his hand. "Anderson and the Major burnt down London but it has reborn as was prophesised."
Reborn. Integral had to know how. Logically, she must be imagining all this, no matter what Vlad claimed. This must be some complex illusion her enemy had weaved. Evil magic to lure her out her mission.
But wasn't this my mission? She felt guilty that no longer cared.
"We have arrived," Vlad murmured, bending over her ear. She shivered and looked up him before glancing at his pointed direction. "Behold London, the New Jerusalem."
All doubts fled Integral Hellsing when her gaze examined the glistening city. No magic, no figment of her imagination could build such lovely sight. The city was immense and with the form of a pyramid, it was made of pure gold as well as pure glass. Crystal gold. The foundations of the walls were decorated with precious stones and the gates were giant pearls that reflected the diamond light coming from inside.
"Are those sapphires?" Integral whispered, gesturing to the second foundation.
"Yes, they are," Vlad replied, stroking his growing goatee as they approached closer. "There are jasper, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth and amethyst as well if my memory is correct."
Integral could not stop staring, her jaw was opened wide and her heart pounded faster in her chest, overwhelmed with sudden rapture. Not physical, more intimate, more special, washing away her sorrows. "It's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen."
"We have fought for it," Vlad commented, tugging her to quicken the pace. "I wanted us to behold it together." She was inexplicably giddy and so was he. Integral could tell when he was not using the mask of amused cynicism, his mirth was real and honest.
On one of the pearl thresholds, a black winged guardian greeted them. Integral was still unable to digest all of the surprises when she noticed the angel was Walter. He smiled gently and inclined his head, pressing his finger on his lips to indicate silence.
"He wants us to enter quickly," Vlad indicated. "We can greet him later when he returns from his ride." He smirked at Walter's direction and the angel nodded in response. Dazzled, Integral allowed Vlad to drag her into the golden city; it looked a lot like London without pollution, traffic or crime, everyone seemed happy and peaceful. Without pain in an eternal bliss. She recognised some of the buildings, including Buckingham Palace and Big Ben all made of that special glass.
"Is that the Thames?" Integral asked, gesturing to the river, she tried to see it but everyone was standing on her way, blocking her sight.
"It's the River of Life, it born from the throne of the Ruler of the city," Vlad said with a darker smile. "Stay here, I'll get us a goblet to drink from it. It will take away all your lingering doubts, Integra."
Integral nodded and sat on a crystal bench while he was gone, losing himself in the multitude. She glanced at the crowd, for a second, she swore she could spot Seras, Captain Bernadotte and even General Penwood among them. She could not locate them anymore but she told herself there would be time for that later.
"Your drink, my Countess," Vlad offered, suddenly emerging to surprise her. He was kneeling before her and offering a goblet. She took the cup, not able to distinguish the content.
"Thank you." Integral smiled and inclined her head, watching him sit next to her, drinking his own goblet. His body was so close to her nude skin, she sighed deeply at her nervousness. No one cared about walking around bare here. Why did she? Why did she have to think this happiness was alien and wrong? She had fulfilled her mission from God already. Let it rest.
"For the future?" Vlad rose his cup with a grin. "For our New Jerusalem?"
"For Jerusalem," Integral repeated, mimicking his gesture. "Cheers." She brought the goblet to her lips and sipped the water. Curiously, unlike the sea, this one did taste to salt. To salt mixed with coppery - to blood. Her eyes widened, finding herself enjoying the taste, craving it.
"This is our Jerusalem," Vlad explained as the golden light turned scarlet. The skin of the citizens became ghastly and pale. "The one born in Walpurgisnatch. Our God came down and we killed it, She and He killed themselves. We drink from Their bleeding wounds."
Integral could not stop drinking the blood, she finished it quite quickly and handed the goblet back to Vlad; her eyes reflected her hunger, her mind was dazzled by the knowledge the blood had carried and given her.
"Are we dead?" she asked in a whisper. She was not afraid of dying; everything stopped making sense since the war started, since her world started to fade when the communications were cut. She shivered, feeling cold even in the core of the city.
"Death won't touch the chosen people. We cannot leave the city for that," Vlad assured her, drawing her closer into an embrace; he sought to warm her but only increased her trembling and her thirst. Integral leaned on him nonetheless, yearning to drink more of the river of life - to consume the source and all its powers. As her senses expanded, she listened absently to the supposedly ever-opened pearl gates slamming shut the city forever. Outside, the world fell victim of blaze of atomic detonations and the gallop of the Angel of Death on his pale horse.