Author's Note Preface: I stick within the site's TOS when it comes to ratings, so know now that there are NC-17 scenes in this fic that you can't read here. You can find those on aff net; the link is in my profile. The differences are in chapters 10, 17, and 24. This is AU. That's an important point to make. The "what if?" is what if Abraham van Helsing thought that he had managed to kill Dracula and went on to found Hellsing without the servant vampire secret weapon. In my mind, everything flows logically from there. Whether it will flow as logically in the reader's mind is anybody's guess. It also means that I get to throw canon outcomes to the four winds and do whatever I please. There are many OCs, but there are many manga canon characters used in AU manners.
A shocked gasp. "Don't."
A soft shushing and another gasp.
A sharp rap of footsteps broke the silence in the mist-shrouded streets. Slowly, the tapping approached and a figure emerged from the fog, straight-backed and slender, with a shaggy mop of hair.
Something glowed red, like a scarlet eye winking open for a moment. Then the figure removed the cigarette from his mouth and blew out a last cloud of smoke to merge with the fog before flicking the cigarette into the gutter.
When the flood of rats boiled out of the sewer drain at the curb, he barely paused. In the milky illumination provided by the occasional street lights, they were more a roiling in the mist above the ground than a visible threat.
The figure made a graceful gesture with his hands, almost as though he were parting curtains, or perhaps the sea, as Moses had. The tide of rats parted with the gesture, the poor lighting and the fog hiding the shattered bodies of the ones that were in the path of the barely noticeable flicker in front of him.
He came clearer, a young man dressed in crisply pressed trousers, a shirt so starched and white it practically gleamed, and a tightly-tailored waistcoat. He walked through the bodies without a glance down, moving with such precision that not a hair or speck of blood clung to his cuffs, nor marred the impeccable shine of his shoes.
He wasn't there for rats. He was there for other vermin.
He stopped in the town square and leaned against the base of the statue there while he lit another cigarette. It was apparent that he didn't care that the pale grey-white figure seemed to be staring disapprovingly down at his casual disrespect.
With his back propped against the pedestal, he couldn't have seen the statue begin to move.
"You know," he said conversationally to the air in front of him. "I never did learn who that statue was of, but one thing I do know?"
The thing above him froze, its eyes suddenly flaring red.
"It was of a woman."
What came next was an explosion of motion – the former-statue leaping at the young man, the youth springing into action and away from the pedestal, both figures moving with blurring speed.
What would a bystander see? Little, one might assume. A blur of grey-white. A blur of black and white. And then they might see the attacker standing alone in the square, cocking its head to listen for the heartbeat of its prey.
"You'll have to do better than that, if you want to catch me," came the taunting voice, whirling the not-statue to see that its target was standing where it had waited, atop the pedestal.
"You don't even know who you're hunting now, do you?" The young man took the still-lit cigarette from his lips, smoke drifting out of his mouth along with his words. "You don't even know that you're already dead."
The hunter bared fangs in a snarl, bringing to mind one word – vampire – a word to strike fear.
But not in this one's heart. The human (presumably) put the cigarette between his lips, held out a hand, and crooked a finger at the vampire in an unmistakable invitation.
The vampire took the invitation and sprang off the ground in a leap that might as well have been flight.
Again the young man brought up his hands in the gesture that had parted the sea of rats. This time, he turned on his heel, one hand drawing something as tangible as a cobweb through his teeth while an almost invisible web wove itself in the air before him.
The vampire had enough time to register shock on its face before its leap transformed into an almost random flight of splattering gore. The young man who had just reduced a vampire into so much bloody waste leapt into the air and landed lightly on the cobbles below. The wet slap of meat hitting the pedestal resounded in the quiet square for a moment, and then there was silence.
Silence broken by slow clapping.
A girl emerged from the shadows, still applauding. She was tiny, almost frail, clad in a white hat and coat. Her midnight black hair and equally dark eyes were stark contrasts against the light cloth and her alabaster skin.
No. Not alabaster, the youth corrected himself. Marble. Cool, hard, marble, with fine blue veining underneath.
This girl was no human.
"Well done," she said in a clear, chiming voice. She sounded as young as she looked. He'd seen ones that had been taken young before, but this one was different somehow.
"Will you tell me your name, Hunter?"
She was far enough across the square that she would have time to react if he tried to do to her what he had done to the other vampire.
He'd also been sent here for that one, not a little girl. Not every vampire had to die if they kept themselves out of the human eye and kept their depredations among the criminal element.
Sir Arthur called it symbiosis – something mutually beneficial for both parties. As opposed to parasites like the one he had just destroyed.
"Walter Dornez," he said at last, decision made.
"Ah…." The girl sighed delightedly. "The Angel of Death. I have heard your name, servant of Hellsing. It is said that none can compare to you… in battle."
"None can," Walter said matter-of-factly. "No vampire can stand against me and survive."
He remembered his cigarette and took a drag, his eyes never leaving the girl's. "What is your name, then? We were unaware that there was another vampire in this town."
"You may call me Mihaela."
Her gaze was compelling. Walter thought he could just fall into it and…
No! He tore his eyes away from her face and focused on her hands instead.
"Well done," she commended, sounding almost proud of him. "I see that you are more than just a pretty face."
Walter clenched his hands into fists and bit back a growl. "Don't try that again. Trying to compel an agent of Hellsing is a capital offense." He looked back up at Mihaela's face, but concentrated on her mouth, avoiding her eyes. "And in this, I am judge, jury, and executioner."
"You can't blame a girl for trying, can you?" Her mouth shaped itself into a pretty pout. "After all, you're the boogeyman for my kind. I had to know you'd earned that reputation."
"I've more than earned it," Walter said firmly. "And unless you have something else for me, I'm done here."
Mihaela's pout melted into a smile, tiny fangs just peeking over her lips before she melted back into the shadows. "Nothing else now, Angel, but I'm so pleased we had this opportunity to meet."
"Mihaela?" Arthur pulled open one of his desk drawers and removed a crystal decanter and two tumblers. He held one up to Walter and raised an eyebrow, then put it away when the younger man shook his head.
"Yes, sir. She said her name was Mihaela. She was neither aggressive nor threatening, but I've not heard or read her name mentioned anywhere and I felt it was important that you know this detail of the mission."
Sir Arthur Hellsing poured himself a generous measure of whiskey and put the decanter back in the drawer. "Mihaela…. Interesting."
"You know her, sir?" Walter was surprised by his employer's behavior. Arthur rarely drank, and even more rarely did it in front of his retainer.
"No." Arthur took a drink and grimaced slightly before getting up to scan the many books that lined his study walls. "But the name is, I think, Romanian." With a small sound of triumph he plucked a book off a shelf and opened it to flip through the pages.
"Here it is. Mihaela – the feminine form of Slovene Mihael and Romanian Mihai, both meaning 'Who is like God?'"