Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: Future setting, possible (most likely AU), spoilers for v8 about Alucard's own thoughts of his existence (but it's not really important). Edited by Lavinia Lavender, answers the theme of Janitor from 30 romances. This fic was inspired in Dawninhell's fantastic art: deviantart . com/deviation/34969742/ (expect more cooperation of tragic/dramatic art&fiction from us in the future).
A Breath Away
When the sun set in a myriad of reddish and orange hue, the sky went completely dark. There were no stars or moon above; heavy clouds covered their light. The citizens of England did not care, they had enough lighting in their cities, and enough brightness to eclipse the stars.
Through the concealing shadows, a crimson lightning travelled above. It was barely visible to mortal eyes; the speed and the clouds offered stealth to the flying vampire.
The lightning appeared to strike at the end of the long staircase of the fallen Hellsing mansion. Upon landing, Seras Victoria shifted her wing into her shadow tendril and climbed up, senses sharp to the surroundings.
She was not able to detect even the merest human whisper near the perimeter; there was plenty of sounds coming from the animals that scouted the forest at night in search of food or shelter. Seras could say something about the music of the night but she did not have her Master's flair for melodrama. Instead, she shrugged and opened the gates wide.
The doors made an unpleasant metallic noise, quieting several of the closest fauna. The vampire stepped inside and scrutinised the interior of the house.
It had remained in the same state since her last visit, when she had swept the ground floor with a broom and polished part of the ornaments. It was not her duty to act as janitor - LL4 she was a trashwoman, not a mansion caretaker, but Seras did not have the heart to leave her former home wasted away forgotten.
Home. This was the first place she had called as such since her parents died. It was empty now. There were no laughs coming from her beloved Captain, or Walter's routine midnight strolls through the grounds. Sir Integral had died decades ago; age caught her up and Alucard followed her to the grave.
Only she remained.
I should take care of the first floor, Seras thought, snapping out of the nostalgia and glancing thoughtfully at the spider webs on the long staircase. She took the broom positioned on the side of the door and went forward. She had a long job ahead to spend it depressed for her luck. The new Hellsing leader was a good enough fellow who loved her as one loved a big sister; the new headquarters in Berkshire were also adequate.
The installations there were more spacious and modern. And yet cold. Seras did not feel the same urge to protect it. That was not her home.
She arrived at the end of the staircase soon enough and surveyed the poorly-tended floor and walls. Grime and dust covered every surface. She walked the filthy hallways, flinching to see the once-proud Mansion in such depressing situation.
"We cannot afford to pay personnel to take care of that old house," the new butler had explained to her on one occasion. "Replacing the weaponry, soldiers and building these headquarters took away most of our budget, Captain Victoria. These are difficult times for England."
Seras was not that dumb. She knew that the King did not support the Organisation as much as had the Queen, particularly when the vampires' attacks were almost non-existence. They could not press due to sentimental reasons. Seras' only wish was that the project to turn the Manor into a museum would one day become a reality.
The old Hellsing needed to be remembered by everyone, not just herself. Seras felt a pang of sadness in her heart. Would she be forgotten too? Even if she were a vampire and a war hero?
She hoped to die if that day were to come.
"The Mansion is being taken care of, Captain Victoria," they had assured her, when she had expressed her concern a month ago.
Yeah right, thought Seras Victoria cynically, running her gloved hand on the dusty doorknob of Sir Integral's former chambers. Bollocks. She stopped herself before knocking on the door. Shaking her head in quiet reproach for the automatic reaction, Seras entered without announcing herself. It was sad, she knew, but no one would answer her call.
There was nobody home.
Only me, old Police Girl.
Seras felt her eyes watering when she ventured further into the dark room. It was miraculously clean by comparison with the rest of the rooms she had already taken care of. The bed was tended as if it was ready to be used that night and none of the belongings were missing, even the little jewellery Integral had possessed in life.
The twin wedding bands were shining. They looked like stars to Seras, like the lights of the glamorous cities she had flown over recently. She smiled, recalling the wedding day. It had been held in the courtyard that spring after the war. A quiet, private ceremony approved by the Queen herself.
Seras had been the bridesmaid.
"Police Girl should be our flower girl, Master," Alucard had proposed to her embarrassment. Fortunately, Integral did not listen to his suggestion.
That they had loved each other was only natural to her, but that they were allowed to seal and consummate it came as a surprise. The war made Integral more powerful and ruthless - the Round Table turned to indulge her whims. They were basic ones, those common humans have, a less steel grip in traditions and freedom.
Fleeting protests and weak oppositions would not stop the Iron Maiden. Most questioned if was possible that someone loved a monster. Sir Hellsing had not bothered to elaborate what words could not covey. Even Seras herself was hesitant to approve her choice. But she recalled Pip's affection and did not doubt Integral's anymore. Some humans were able to understand them and accept vampires fully.
Pity hers did not live long enough.
They used to look so happy, Seras recalled, smiling and picking the rings up. The broom dropped at her feet. They had not been able to have natural children, but artificial insemination was good enough to conceive an heir for the legacy.
The wedding bands still smelled like them, she noted, nuzzling them closely, her body trembling at the flood of memories. They had always looked happy, but there was a sadness that marred their expressions. It was only more evident when Integral fell ill. Death could separate them for good. Was Alucard able to follow her to the afterlife?
Tilting her head, Seras sat on the edge of the bed. It was as soft as ever, inviting her to sprawl further over the mattress. She had always watched over Integral during her time of weakness. Walter had perished during the war and she needed company - a friend to talk to.
I wonder if I'll be with them one day, she mused, uncertain of her future. It made her uneasy to not have a choice of her final fate. Wherever she was supposed to go, it was not up her. She hoped to see Pip one more time. She yearned to know if Alucard and Integral had met at last.
That had been their son's wish upon Integral's deathbed - when he drew the family sword through his father's chest, piercing his heart. He had to die one day; Seras had known a human must destroy him at last. She had once eavesdropped on a conversation the spouses had had. Her Master's control would have slipped completely without Integral's soothing presence. Alucard did not wish to become a mindless monster again.
Thus, finally, after centuries of denying death, the No Life King had passed away.
They had perished together, wearing their wedding outfits. Seras could not help but cry to remember the scene. She had picked the boy up and comforted him for the loss.
He did not want to live there after doing that. He was out of his teenage years and claimed that the dead mansion was no longer his home.
But it was still hers.
It was awful of her to not feel sorry for the boy's loss. It was horrible on her part that she was selfishly happy to see them die peacefully together.
Seras closed her eyes tightly and pulled the rings close to her chest. If the bands lingered together, so would they. Wishful thinking or not, she believed that. One day, they would all be reunited and she would introduce her boss and her Master to her parents and say:
"Look, Mum, Papa. They adopted me."
Abruptly, the balcony doors opened by themselves. Seras pulled herself up, feeling a cold gust of wind chilling the room and her bones. It was strange - as a vampire, climate shifts were not supposed to faze her. Wiping her tears away, the vampire saw a purple light glowing in front of her, bathing the dark quarters of the late spouses.
Two ethereal silhouettes were formed within the glow, sharpening more and more to become distinguishable.
W-What! I-I. This can't be! Seras squinted her eyes and stared in awe at the smoky apparitions of Integral and Alucard, dressed like the day they died but looking as when they wedded.
Alucard was a shadow, as dark as the night, and his skin was as white as Integral's strapless dress. Her hair was pinned up while his was long and flowing in the wind, just like her gauze veil. They were holding each other and smiling as they used to smile, but more genuinely, without any worry of the world.
Seras watched them in utter shock, unsure if they were the ghosts her Master had told her vampires could usually spot or a product of her tormented imagination. Either way, she felt relieved to see them so close and together. Her lips curled into a grin and whatever pain she had been feeling disappeared immediately.
They were with her. She was not alone anymore. Even if they were hallucinations who gave her a fake sense of security, Seras welcomed madness in this case. Loneliness was worse than insanity.
"Master! Sir Integra! I'm back!" Seras pointed out cheerfully, but they did not appear to notice her. Their gazes were fixated on each other. "Er - uhm. You do that, I'll be cleaning the other rooms," she added, blushing when she noticed their faces slowly coming towards each other's.
After quickly picking up the broom, Seras deposited the rings where she had found them and departed to fulfil her janitorial tasks. She did not see them kissing but could imagine they did. They were, after all, only a breath away.