I make no claims to own any of the characters contained within, save for incidental orphans who show up now and again.
Anderson had not really wanted to leave the orphanage; the offer wasn't very enticing. Go, they had told him, for a village is raising a ruckus and the local priest certainly does not know how to handle it. Beyond his scope, they told Anderson. Though they didn't want to make any undue assumptions, it was quite possibly that the locals were right and that the carnival passing through was actually harboring a demon.
Never mind the pressing questions of how the circus handlers were restraining it. Never mind the fact that Anderson's area of specialty was vampires. Never mind the fact that there were orphans to attend to.
The danger, they said, was disproportionate to anyone else since not even a normal exorcism would work if it turned out they were right.
So they'd sent him.
When he finally slogged his way from the road, through the field where the circus was set up to the tents, he was already in a bad humor. Rain was pouring and filling the ruts of the tire track with mud and his boots were sinking into the muck. An official was waiting for him there, looking nervously through the downpour.
"Where?" Anderson growled.
"Through there. The red cart."
He didn't even bother to look at the man as he made his way through to the garishly decorated vehicle. A faint murmuring seemed to come from inside and he slid out two bayonets, gripping them and walking up quietly. It wouldn't do to be taken aback, but he wanted to examine the situation more closely first. The circumstances weren't nearly as clear as he wished they were and he knew that, particularly with carnival folk, people sometimes got suspicious – overly so – and called in for things that weren't at all a concern.
Whatever they'd done to convince Section XIII, though… the phrase 'it's blue' had come up and that was about all he knew.
The paladin was almost to the point where he could see through the opening. He looked up at the wall in front of him and saw a thoroughly soaked poster depicting a creature which certainly looked demonic enough. 'The Mystifying Nightcrawler' it read, with a crude painting of a dark creature with claws, a pointed tail and devil red eyes. A nod, and then he flattened himself against the cart, edging closer to the bars and listening.
"… now and at the hour of our death, Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women…"
The Hail Mary? In German? Suddenly, the prospect of the creature being a demon seemed much less likely. Hardly likely at all. Demonkind did not invoke the Blessed Virgin if they thought they were about to die. Of course, if it was in German, particularly with the beings thick accent, it was possible that nobody in the town would realize what the creature was saying. Carefully, he walked in front of the bars and peeked in.
In the far corner, a shape crouched, clutching something and muttering.
"… fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
Once he was finished with the prayer Anderson cleared his throat. The creature looked up, a vision of what the demonic might be, but Anderson sensed nothing out of the ordinary and so did not react when the creature surmised him.
"Father!" He gave him a rueful smile. "I am afraid I have caused much distress, some by appearing more by trying to explain. I have heard that some are demanding my execution. Have you come to give me Last Rites?"
"Nay," he said, wondering. The face was young, and for all the pigment, mostly human. "How old are yeh, lad?"
The creature shrugged.
"I am not certain. Perhaps fifteen?"
A closer examination showed Anderson that there was, in fact, a rosary in the creature's hands. And fifteen – still a child. Older, but a child. Still, such a revelation raised more questions than it answered.
"Fifteen. And wha' is yer name?"
"Kurt, father. They call me 'Nightcrawler' here, though. I can't say I much care for it."
"Kurt?" He smiled. "'Tis a fine name. Do yeh mind if ah come in?"
"No the door is – "
He pointed towards an entrance at the end of the cart, but Anderson merely sliced the bars off with his bayonets. He never did like cages; he hated them when they held children. His boots oozed onto the wooden floor and, bending over, he lumbered to where the boy was and sat beside him.
"Wha' mysteries are ye on?"
"The Sorrowful, father," he said with a smile. "If I consider prayerfully the suffering of others, then my own tribulations do not seem so bad."
"Ah see. An' how do yeh account for yer appearance?"
He looked down.
"I am sorry, father. I fear zat my mother or father must 'ave done something truly terrible. I have been like zis since I can remember."
"My faith gives me hope that I shall be forgiven of my sins and theirs shall not be held against me." He kissed the cross on the rosary. "I hold hope zat I shall be loved as all of the Lord's children are loved and if I keep His commands shall one day, through His mercy, see His glory."
For the first time, Anderson felt himself truly relax. The boy was no demon; he was a child, and if his comments were anything to go by, the picture of devotion. Of course, the devil was a skilled liar and deceiver. But had he not kissed the holy cross? Had not utterances to Mary crossed his lips?
He supposed, though, that he ought to be positive, for the sake of thoroughness.
"May ah give yeh a blessin'?"
"Would you please father?"
He smiled as Anderson withdrew a phial of oil, uncorked it and put a little on his thumb then crossed Kurt's forehead. A silent moment passed between them before their eyes met again.
"Father?" He asked quietly. "They called me 'demon.' Are they going to kill me?"
Anderson regarded the blue child with his green eyes for what seemed to Kurt an eternity. He disappeared for a moment, into a moment in the past where a boy who could no longer be hurt was slandered with tongues instead of fists or blades. You didn't know why it happened or how it manifested. It came upon you without warning and there it was.
"No, lad. Yeh can come wit' me. I assume yer parents are gone…?" Kurt nodded. "Then yeh shall join me at the orphanage."
He grinned but then his face fell just ask quickly.
"But what of the circus managers?"
Father Anderson smiled again, but different this time. Broader, with more incisor showing. Kurt nearly shivered.
"It will nay be a problem. Come."
For a second, Anderson fell back, startled. There was a puff of smoke and a smell of sulfur, which cause him to cough.
"I've been vaiting to do that," Kurt said with a smile. "But I didn't dare risk my place, my safety."
Anderson stood and followed him out.
"Ye are blessed, child. And God will watch over yeh."
He gave him his cassock to keep the rain off and merely told the waiting man that the problem was taken care of. Kurt was hustled into the car and as they drove back to Rome and the orphanage, Anderson noticed something in the light which he had not seen in the dark cart.
"One for every sin," he said resolutely.
The priest nearly laughed; such a child! They were going to get along fine.
My first foray into Hellsing fic and it is indeed an X-Men crossover, with a slight focus on the movie elements. Movie!Nightcrawler was too devoted to avoid the tempation to write something like this. There will be more X-Men elements, some based off of 1602 (though not a direct AU from that work and vast knowledge of Marvel is not needed - just familiarity).
Reviews and suggestions are much appreciated!