Disclaimer: I don't own, so don't sue.
Perhaps the sequel to Instigator, but once again strong enough to stand alone, although there are one or two references that you may not understand without reading the former.
Thus concludes the '-Or' trilogy, for lack of a better name.
It was not fair. Plain and simple. In English, even. Oh, but nothing about her great Master was simple. Emphasis on the 'great.' With an overdose of sarcasm. Ah, much better.
Some days she just did not feel like slaying dragons. Or Freaks in this case.
What a pain. In the ass, no less.
And quite literally, she might add.
She shook her head, not willing to make another attempt at standing yet. She glared at the concrete stairway, not even trying to mask her disdain for it. For her Master, rather. Yes, she decided, the poor steps were blameless; a product of their environment. They had not made the decision to be placed there where she might lose her footing. As far as she knew.
She was certain he had pushed her or…something. It was his fault either way. Such actions were not beneath him. These things were more inclined to occur at times like these; when her Master was bored and his imagination knew no bounds, devising a million different ways to poke fun at someone for his amusement.
She supposed it helped that he had chosen a fledgling cursed to be accident-prone. What a bother.
Yes, it seemed obvious that he had at least caused her to stumble. He knew she was terrified of this place. Oh, how she hated it. With a passion. A bloody, purple passion, the color akin to near-frozen steak just beginning to thaw. The same shade his entire body would be after she was through with him. Yes. Not unlike that at all.
There was no rational explanation as to why she feared and loathed this section of the basement so much. It was laughable that she, vampire fledgling to one of the most powerful Nosferatu in the world, was creeped out by a hallway in the very building she resided in. Laughable indeed. So laughable, in fact, that her Master had done enough taunting and laughing for himself and half of the Hellsing soldiers. Emphasis on the 'taunting and laughing.'
This time with a healthy portion of scorn.
Oh, he would receive his comeuppance, Master or no. She would see to it.
Never mind the fact that he never let his teasing cross the boundaries into cruelty.
Now if only she could force her limbs to obey her mind.
"Damn it," she hissed as she succeeded in kneeling. Her hip popped back into place. It had been one hell of a tumble. "You're so lucky I'm still a nice girl. Bastard." She paused, grimacing as she relocated her shoulder. Too many stairs. "And don't think I care about watching my words, either. Your fault for eavesdropping," she added. A shiver coursed its way through her body and she clenched her teeth together to keep form biting her tongue.
This place was just begging to be torn apart cinderblock by cinderblock. She found herself missing her coffin as surely as she missed vanilla fudge ripple ice cream, heavy on the whipped cream and caramel drizzle. Her thoughts otherwise distracted from her current location, her legs decided to listen to reason.
Well, sort of.
They moved, but not in the direction she would have preferred. Her legs, traitorous appendages that they were, seemed content to walk her well away from the stairwell.
"What the – damn you, you tricky bastard!" Her loud outburst was the catalyst for many annoying echoes. She could have sworn she heard her Master's laughter in her head. Oh how she loathed the hours when he was bored of being idle. Like now.
He was controlling her as one would toy with a wooden marionette. This was becoming a habit with him. An annoying one. And a problem to boot. Yes, she was growing stronger and learning to accept her new powers – had even come close to mastering teleportation – but she had not unlocked the ability to shake off his mind control.
She sighed, resigning herself to the fact that she was going to be in this detestable place for an unspecified amount of time. She could only hope that her Master would find something more entertaining to do, and soon.
"There's a lesson to be learned from this, no doubt," she muttered.
Her body ceased to move. She waved a hand before her face. She was free. If there was a lesson hidden behind this controlled stroll of hers, there was a multitude of possibilities as to what it may be: to better appreciate the true meaning of freedom; to have a taste of the powers she would someday acquire; to realize that she needed to work harder at sealing her mind from unwanted visitors.
Or perhaps to remind her that she could become quite creative when devising plans of revenge. Nearly as creative as her Master even.
Hm, yes, she preferred that 'lesson' over the others.
She stopped short as she neared a room that seemed to hold statues of people. She entered the shrine with more than a little caution, a sense of welcoming overcoming her plotting. The stone carvings were those of deities from Greek and Egyptian mythology. An odd combination, to be sure, but when in Rome…or should that be 'when in Athens and Cairo?'
But Great Britain was Protestant, first and foremost. It had been Pagan way back when, of course, but even so the Hellsing Organization itself was monotheistic. Why would this room exist at all?
"It makes no sense," she whispered aloud. She was drawn to Tisiphone, one of the three Furies; the guardian to the gates of Hades' domain and companion to Cerberus. She was the avenger of murders. Who said justice was blind? Her sisters, Alekto and Magaera, stood to either side of the fearsome protector.
Her eyes strayed to Echo, the tragic nymph that had pined away for Narcissus until only her voice remained.
And in the corner stood Aphrodite, stunning and proud as she exposed her nubile charms without shame. If only the young draculina had even a tenth of the loving goddess's confidence.
She turned in a slow circle to survey the room's occupants, recognizing the faces from Greece's polytheism. Hades, Persephone, Ares, Hermes, Dionysus. Poseidon, Apollo and Athena, Artemis; there stood Hera and Zeus, Demeter, Eros, and Nyx. She grinned, proud of the fact that she had recalled them correctly.
There were but a few from Egyptian lore, and she only recognized Horus, Anubis, Isis and Osiris. Still, it was more than she would have expected.
She didn't feel so alone all of a sudden.
Where have you gotten to, police girl?
Her Master's voice was unexpected and she jumped in her surprise. She had nearly forgotten everything beyond this room. She narrowed her eyes at the unwelcome intrusion.
You can find me easily enough, she replied and regretted her words. She did not want him to know of her discovery.
I'm too lazy. My master has a mission for us, so do not loiter. His tone was one of some excitement. She allowed herself to relax at the mention of Sir Integra. At least he had some purpose in bothering with her, and this would surely keep him occupied.
I'm coming Master. She glanced about the room one last time. Maybe it would be beneficial to bring candles and cleaning supplies when next she visited.
It was rather dusty in here.
She allowed herself to hum along to the song blaring through her headphones as she sprayed Anubis down with all-purpose cleanser. She had been unsure of what to use on stone. Walter had told her this particular brand would do the statues no harm. He had even leant her his Discman, an object she never would have guessed to be in the aging retainer's possession. She was grateful that she had yet to be asked about her need for such supplies.
She glanced over at Hades and graced the god with a wicked grin. "You're next, big guy," she warned. It was a nice change to be surrounded by familiar faces. She was not very Christian, fascinated by Greek mythology since she had entered high school. Perhaps she would have been more religious had circumstances been different, but there was no use dwelling on such things. All in all, the only thing she cared about was the newfound feeling of belonging. Even if she felt such a thing in a room full of statues.
They were better company than most of the soldiers.
Oh, and they seemed less inclined to catcall her or judge her so harshly. A definite plus. She shook her head at the thought, using a gentle touch to clear the ancient cobwebs that hid the underworld king's face. "Hello, Master Hades." Her voice was soft. "How are you doing today? I brought more supplies to make the rest of you feel better." She smiled past him to his wife, magnificent and dust free. "From the looks of things, you have all been abandoned for some time, huh? Well, don't worry! Master has been sent out on a mission and he told me to stay out of trouble while he's gone. What better way to do it than by cleaning?"
She frowned at Apollo, who seemed to be giving her a reproachful stare.
"Well, it seems to work for Walter," she mumbled.
"What seems to work for me? Ah, I see." Walter's voice sounded behind her and she spun to face him, knocking over her bucket in her hurry.
"Walter! What – I'm not intruding, am I?"
"No. Calm down, please. I did not mean to startle you." Walter smiled. "You have been down here for two days with no signs that you were still here. Sir Integra contacted Alucard, but he assured us that you were still on the premises." He took another step into the shrine. "I had quite forgotten about this place." She turned back to Hades, continuing to scrub the underworld lord down.
"I found it by…accident, I think. Well…yeah. It was an accident." She turned the Discman off. "You're positive I'm not being disrespectful?"
"Certainly. Alucard and myself, and now you, are the only ones that know of this place. You have nothing to fear."
"All right. Thank you for coming to check on me. It was thoughtful of you."
"Of course. It was actually Sir Integra who requested me to look into your whereabouts, but I was ready to seek you out anyway. Especially since you haven't eaten for nearly three days." Walter held up an ice bucket containing several packets of donated blood.
"Would it…would it be okay if I eat in here?" she asked, glancing at Artemis.
"Yes. How did you say you found this place? By accident?" He settled himself on the floor beside her kneeling form.
Her eyebrows furrowed in thought as she opened her first package. "Well, Master and I were roughhousing a bit. He gets rather pushy when he's bored, it seems. I haven't decided if he caused me to fall, or if it was just my clumsiness, but either way I fell down the stairs. Then he took control of my legs and forced me to walk down here. That was just a bit cruel. He knew I was terrified of this place." She fell silent, sipping at the salty liquid.
Her companion frowned. "Alucard doesn't do many things by accident. Perhaps Sir Integra needs to have a talk with him about his behavior towards you."
"Oh, that's not necessary. Honest!" She bit her lip. "I think I deserved it some, considering the 'Frogger' incident. I know that Master wouldn't cause me undue harm." She paused. "Besides, I wonder if perhaps I should thank him."
"Thank him, Miss Victoria?" He nodded in understanding. "Perhaps we should as well."
"I beg your pardon?" She tilted her head. "I'm not sure I comprehend what you mean, Walter."
"We have noticed for some time that you have not been acting as you normally do. You have seemed more melancholy as of late. But after being down here for only two days you are the bright-eyed girl you once were."
"I was lonely," she confessed. "These are familiar faces. And I know that they shall not openly judge and reject me as most of the new recruits have."
"Humans can be stupid." He patted her knee in comfort, a gesture that reminded her of her late father. "I am glad that you have found peace here. I shall tell Sir Integra that you are fine. Unless you care to deliver the message yourself?" He waited patiently for her answer.
"Do you feel it would please her?" she asked.
He nodded. "I'm sure it would. She does prefer physical proof over hearsay."
Walter showed her in and she saluted before standing at attention.
"Miss Victoria. We were nearly certain you had disappeared on us," Sir Integra greeted.
"I didn't mean to cause worry. I was trying to keep out of trouble as Master requested." She was graced by a rare smile from her ultimate master.
"Alucard shall be sure to hear of how well you obeyed his wishes. You are looking better as well, if I might add."
"I hadn't been feeling quite right, but I'm okay now. I just wanted to tell you that everything is fine and I'm still here."
Sir Integra nodded. "Is there anything else you wanted?"
"Um." She hesitated. "Actually…could you tell me when Master is due back?"
"Some time tomorrow night, I believe. You are dismissed." She turned to leave, but stopped when Sir Integra called out. "Oh, and Seras Victora. I'm glad to see you back to normal."
"Thank you, Sir." She couldn't contain the grin that overcame her features. She spent the rest of the night finishing her self-appointed task of cleaning her deity friends before retiring to her chamber for the first time to sleep since her Master had been away. She rested well.
"What did you do to get on my master's good side, police girl?" Alucard inquired. His fledgling arched her back and allowed her head to hang upside down to look at her Master. She gave him an acknowledging shrug before scooting back to the center of her coffin lid to finish painting her ceiling.
"I stayed out of trouble," she replied. "And I helped her move some bookcases around. How did your mission go?"
He leaned back in her chair, feet propped up on the table. "Same old. A bit of a challenge this time. Not much of one though." He watched his creation in mild amusement. "What are you doing up there?"
"Painting a checkerboard. I got bored. It's been a very quiet weekend." She finally climbed down to stand before him. "Master, I wanted to thank you." Her words startled him.
"What for?" He attempted to scan her thoughts, but for this particular occasion she had chosen to contain her thoughts in that damned steel vault in her mind.
"Ah-ah, Master. No cheating," she rebuked in a gentle tone. "Would you come with me? I'll show you why."
His curiosity got the better of him and he stood. The tiny draculina shook her head and lead the way. Even after all this time the way her Master towered over her sent a shiver through her. Not a completely unpleasant one. But still. "Ah, this place again. You aren't still holding a grudge, are you?" he mocked as he peered down the stairs.
She rolled her eyes, but smirked. "Be serious for once, Master," she said and disappeared. Her body materialized in her shrine and she had to remind herself to keep her emotions controlled, no matter how excited she was at the task she had just accomplished.
The Nosferatu raised an eyebrow. Never before had his little minion been so bold. Then again, never before had she successfully teleported either. She was growing up. Now to find her.
Or rather, now to make her feel as though he had to make an attempt at finding her.
She was cloaking herself well, but he was no idiot. There was only one place she would be. The room he used to haunt years ago. So many years ago. He knew she would never come down here without a very good reason.
It had been borderline painful to see his fledgling spiral down into an alarming depression in only two weeks' time. He knew it to be from loneliness. Such a thing was rarely uncommon in new vampires. The weight of immortality was settling in. He had seen it before.
They shared a common interest in Greek mythology, not that she was aware of such a fact, and he had felt that perhaps the statues could provide her some comfort. It was unwise for a vampire to befriend mortals, and the statues were as timeless as they were. But he couldn't just drag her down there. Doing so would have gone against his better judgment, something rare for him to ever do.
So he had given her a little push in the right direction.
Okay, maybe a rather large push. But she had it coming. No one messed with his games and got away with it.
His logic was flawless.
Her Master grinned as he entered the lemony-fresh shrine. It hadn't looked so good since…he couldn't remember when. The candles were a nice touch as well.
She popped out from behind Poseidon and Demeter. "What do you think?" The way she flitted from statute to statue betrayed her excitement.
"It's an interesting place in better shape than I've seen it for a long, long time." He rested a hand atop her head to keep her still. Her frenzied movement was beginning to make him dizzy. "So this is what kept you out of trouble all weekend."
"Yes. Master, I wanted to thank you, like I said before."
"Ah, but you still refrain from explaining your reasoning."
She lowered her gaze from his eyes, enjoying the feeling of his fingers twining through her hair. "Thank you for pushing me down the stairs." He laughed, not trying to spare her feelings. She blushed. "That came out wrong," she mumbled.
"Police girl, if you had told me you're a masochist sooner…"
"Master!" She took a half-hearted swing at him. "I'm trying to be serious here!"
"My apologies, young one." His chuckles tapered off seconds later. "I am glad you are pleased with this place. Feel free to come here when you have a need." He cracked his neck. "Now why exactly were you painting a checkerboard on your ceiling?" His curiosity was sure to get him killed.
"Well, since I can phase through objects and hover now, I figured maybe we could find a new way to play checkers." She bit her lip, wary as the smirk gracing her Master's features stretched to his usual, insane grin.
"Now that is an interesting development," he remarked. He was proud of the little fledgling before him. He pulled her close in a rare show of affection. He cocked his head to the side as he watched her relax into his embrace. Her Master weighed the pros and cons of the action he wanted to take and ignored his better judgment just this once as he closed the gap between them completely.
He had only kissed her once. Right before he had turned her. But what the hell. It couldn't hurt much.
Well, except maybe his reputation.
"It seems you're growing soft, Master," she teased when he released her.
He smirked again, exposing a fang. "Oh I doubt you'll be saying such things after our next training session. It's nearly dawn. Time for you to get some sleep. That's an order, police girl."
She pouted, but melted into the wall anyway. Good morning, Master. You're the best.
He laughed as he appeared in his own chambers. I know.
And…I love you. Her hesitant words echoed in his mind as he settled into his coffin. His grin made an appearance once again.
Damn. He really was beginning to get soft.
Special 'thank you' to those that supported my silly little writings with kind words.