Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: Dedicated to Ciarda Rois, edited by Iggy Lovechild. Set during volume 4. Theme "overflow" of 30 Kisses.
Fear of Death
"Those are huge," Pip said, whistling and checking out the equipment. "Are you seriously expecting a war?"
"I'm afraid so, Captain. Could you give me a hand with these?" Walter smiled at him, nodding and finished arming the huge cannons. Pip helped him lift and position them parallel to each other against the wall in the artillery storehouse. His neck hurt from the effort; he wrapped his braid around it, massaging the muscles.
"I do hope Miss Victoria can handle them. Do you think they are too excessive?"
Pip snorted, "The girl has a freaky strength, I'm sure if she can differentiate between allies, enemies and bystanders, this thing would do the rest." He flinched at the thought of depending on the vampire who has killed all the hostages in the firing practice.
"It's not a thing," Walter corrected him hauntingly, "It's the defensive long-range shelling artillery. One of my best works: Harkonnen II."
Harkonnen? Is the old limey obsessed with Dune? Pip thought, crossing his arms. He had never read the novels but had once watched the film with Sting when his partners had rented it. "I'd better get the girl here. She'll need to practice how to handle this if she's to use it seriously."
"She must be eating right now. Sir Integra was going to see her."
"I'll look for her."
Pip waved his hand and left to the Mansion, searching first in her room of the basement. He knocked twice and opened the door. She was not there; her casket was open and empty. Damn, her room is nicer and bigger than mine, he noted with a frown. And he was the Captain! Hellsing must hate him for being French.
"What are you doing here!"
Pip winced when she shouted loudly near his ears. She has a nice voice normally but when she raised her tone, it became painfully harsh on the eardrums. He turned around, leaning on the threshold with a disinterested shrug.
"What this looks like?" He rolled his eye. "Searching for you, idiot."
"How can I be sure you weren't trying to hide in my closet to see while I dress, ah?"
"I'm not suicidal. Anyway, you're not worth the risk."
Seras fumed, Pip grinned at her disgruntled expression. "I think you like me. You're dying to kiss me, aren't you?" he taunted, approaching. She remained still and wiggled her index finger threateningly. He stopped, recalling that she could harm him with a mere flick. "I was kidding, geez, you take everything so personally."
"Why are you searching for me anyway?"
"The old man has your new toy ready. The boss's and your vampire daddy's children's day present," Pip answered, amused by her puzzled look. "It's a bigger gun to play with."
"Oh." Her features turned different, softer, and more vulnerable. "So… so this is serious, really serious." She chewed her lip nervously. "Right?"
"Judging by the size of that thing, I think so. Yeah. They expect a large scale attack." He paused, her sudden change of moods stirred sympathy within him. "You'll be fine, you can blow a building for sure. A few of those pansy Nazis are no problem at all," he assured her with an encouraging smile.
Seras cast her gaze down, shaking her head. "I just drank blood. Do you know that, Captain?"
"Well good for you! You need strength for the battle!"
"I didn't want to but-" She paused, appearing overwhelmed with some deep worry buried inside her. "I'm afraid to accept being a vampire. My body is changing and I cannot stop it! What about my soul? Will it change too? If I die, I am damned. I won't see mum or dad. I thought that-"
"Not drinking blood would stop the process?" Pip finished for Seras, taking out a pack of cigarettes from his coat. He offered one to her, but she declined it. He lit his and saved the others in his right pocket.
"I don't know too much about vampires but you are one or you aren't. And you are one, girl. If you are afraid to die, then you shouldn't speed your demise by starving yourself. If you are weak, you'll get killed and put the rest in danger. That is reckless and as your Captain, I forbid it." He was stern for a moment, a veteran scolding the rookie for her own good.
"I-I'm sorry," Seras met his gaze, and there were tears streaming down her cheeks. Damn, he could not stand seeing her crying. Her kicked puppy face was his damnable weakness. He offered her his handkerchief, surely that was clean enough to stop her overflowing tears. "I won't die. Master is right, this was my choice. But I didn't have time to think about it really!"
"And do you have second thoughts? About this life?"
She shook her head. "I'm happy to be here. With Sir Integra, Master, Walter…" she trailed off and added in a softer voice, taking the handkerchief and wiping her tears. "You too, Captain. I'm just afraid to lose you all and never meet you again."
Pip took her measure for a moment. He wondered how long she had bottled up her emotions to let them flood now. He was touched that Seras had chosen him as confidant. It meant more to him than he thought was possible.
"You know… I envy you," he said after a moment of silence in which they just stood next to the other. She looked confused. "I envy all you religious people. Even when you aren't a fanatic freak," he cleared up, that cracked a smile on her lips. "You see, hell, heaven, reincarnation, nirvana, limbo, whatever really exists. You believe some of those would be your destinations. While big ole atheist me? I have no idea. My future is a dark emptiness where I cease to exist. That scares the shit of me. I don't want to die either. I don't want to be gone for good."
Seras' eyes widened at his words with visibly. She'd probably thought him a dumb pervert until now. That was okay; he had taken her as a big breasted bimbo, and she had changed his viewpoint with her confession.
"I'm sorry, I feel silly after my outburst. If anything helps, Captain, I think you'll go to a better place than me."
Pip tilted his head. "Maybe. But I'm an amoral, bastardly mercenary who kills people for money. Cash is my god. Are you sure I deserve better?"
Seras bit her bottom lip again but her grimaced expression switched into an impish one. "Then I think we'll have to keep ourselves alive when the time comes. Right, Captain?" she piped, more cheerful already. Pip grinned, how strange that sharing their own fears made the burdens of their spirits seem lesser. He felt better as well.
"Right, so girl. Now," he stated, stretching his arm to enfold her shoulder and leading her towards the staircase. "You need to practice with your shiny Harknonnen II so you won't miss a shoot and send me to the grave, okay?"
Seras shrugged off his arm and huffed. "My aim has improved!" she declared with an aggravated air, marching upstairs. Pip did not mind that she went first because her skirt was so short that he didn't need to peek in order to get a free show. "And Captain, my name isn't girl. It's Seras Victoria!"