His heart leaps around inside his chest like an overexcited puppet, jerked around by inconsquential hands. Until you come along and cut the strings.

Never did quite find the sound of hearts intoxicating. Never enjoyed the feel of death in your palm, never derived any twisted pleasure from it, did you? It gives you nothing at all except a feeling of... reflection. How did you ever come to enjoy the brief rush of the kill, the hot ambrosial rewards glistening like gems on your fingertips before the sparkles release, melancholy, into the darkness? How did the pathetic human bundle of nerves, organs, bones - complicated machinery, that's all - ever survive past infancy, past childhood when every reckless choice had the most dire of consequences? You'll never know, because the asking seems so trivial.

But you keep watching his eyes, and you remember for awhile - just for a millisecond - the cheap thrill the kill gave to a younger version of you. It's only his eyes you watch, while your fingertips soil themselves in his flesh, creeping around his body like eyeless parasites. He's watching you but not watching you at the same time, but you can almost still bear witness to what he was thinking before his body failed to endure your playtime. His faith. Filled with cracks, holes with which to peer inside and see the weak-willed man within.

Breakdown.

Dark hallowed confession room. It was a proper place to have this secret little meeting. You think it's ironic since the priest uttered nothing of his sins before his death. The tongue was lying in a coagulated puddle of gore on the floor.

Boredom sets in. And the body is nothing more now than pieces of flesh slowly succumbing to degradation and decay and dirt.

That describes the universe in full. Decay.

Freedom is yours now. Those you would have called master, dead.

The woman Integra had fascinated you for awhile. But she was just another, like her father and grandfather, to command you to their beck and call. She had asked nothing more than what was necessary. You were beaten when you were bad. You were relieved from your duties only insofar as you never left the house, never went very far, when you were a good boy who listened to your master. Never killed anyone but what your restrictions dictated as undead. You were called Alucard then. But deep down inside festered the inexorable, inconsolable No-Life King.

It was exciting to be enslaved for awhile. Gave you an opportunity to get to know the ridiculous habits, so much so that you could almost read their minds. Integra was in love with you. Her emotions became more powerful than her reason at one point.

Try not to remember the details. Try not to remember her screams, the flames as they consumed her, the massive mansion she lived in, the cigars she enjoyed. Try not to remember as you stood in the wreckage that everything you found at least interesting, precious to you... was gone.

Try not to remember the butler leaning on a piece of wood, hobbling toward you, monocle imbued with rage and betrayal.

"Are you happy now?"

"No." The truth hurts. And burns.

His body was old and decrepit. But still honed as a masterpiece of war, using his monofilament wires to dice a body as easily as steak, bone and flesh alike. And yet you notice he doesn't attack, that his only weapon is his anguish. That he stood there, spearing you with that look until you glanced away

Try not to remember that, as you realize that you care about how he feels, that his pain is more real to you than your own, you snapped him in half and left his body to roast on the dying embers.

Don't remember it.

You'll fall apart if you do.

Even as you try to smother memories, you start to laugh as you leave the church. The street isn't as empty as it was when you entered. There are vehicles and news vans crowding for space in front of the holy sanctuary. Your shadow is made huge by the floodlights mounted on military vehicles. If you wanted to look back, you would see the shadow of a monster instead of a man... and that is how you feel, like a man, free from servitude but ill-equipped to use it intelligently.

Then you stare at the people gathered around. They're not smiling. In fact, most of the individuals pouring toward you and halting to level weapons in your direction are not smiling at all but look afraid, or excited, or just plain empty. All are tools to the Queen of England. But not you. No longer. As you wonder why some of them may be weeping with fear, you realize: Perhaps they don't appreciate modern art as much as you do.

"All my children... welcome. Welcome to Hell. Now... let us begin the feast of saints."

Your shadow leaps first. Explodes into a multitude of black winged figures the size of men themselves, and swoop down on the armed soldiers, the men armed with cameras. Blood paves the streets a glowing vermillion, illuminated by every the garish floodlights that dare put you in their sight. Death pervades every other smell. You walk among the carnage even as it unfolds around you - blood, bodies, screaming all an anthem to your false reign. You smile, but inside, as each soul reaped enters you, fills you, despair evolves from fear. Eats away at the walls, making the hole bigger. Nothing like these filth will ever fill you, ever taste as sweet. Nothing will.

You realize it's been over long before this... long before Integra Hellsing entered your arms and felt her own demise with your every touch.

Did she die of a broken heart, or because you had painted her pretty with its blood?

The entire street is just an abysmal memory of what had occured, minutes later, as you step up to a tall building nearby and begin to scale it, running from the corpses that are growing cold behind you. There's nothing left for you there. Or anywhere. Even the company of others like yourself has become a bane. Disgusted, you perch on the building you've chosen. Cross-legged, you look at what eternity has for you; the city streets webbed together, glistening with the dew of mankind, the multitude of skyscrapers raping the stars, and the horizon that eternally taunts you with the rising sun or the moon colliding with the earth.

"Ah get th' feelin' yer not exactly hidin' up here, are ya, monster?"

A spark of interest, nothing more. "Why, Judas Priest. Did you follow me here?"

"Ah saw you come up here, after what ya did to those poor gentlemen down there!" Outrage mixed with fear in his voice; it makes you twinge. Anderson was never afraid of you; why now? The priest's footsteps are muffled by the long holy robes he wore to battle. He smells of sweat, holy water... and, damn the Devil, cologne. You quiver faintly, hands folded beneath your chin as you stare at the city of London with nothing but your own aching emptiness for company.

"So have ye finally thrown the yoke of Hellsing?" A touch of anxiety. "I heard the place burned. All of them died. And your little Draculina is nowhere to be found."

"I sent her away. She no longer requires further guidance. And I grew tired..." Eyes slip shut. "...just as I grow tired of you all."

Anderson says nothing. Your priest is silent, for once. He knows he'll have to do everything in his power to stop you. And he does it because of his faith... that goddamn faith that never fears the darkness inside you for what you truly are. He'll keep finding you, keep pursuing you for everything he's worth - for God. Or maybe for you. It brings him closer to God, doing His will, but the closer he gets to you, the larger his sin gets... Because he knows he's the only one you will allow come into contact with that emptiness. Tainting him with darkness, while he claims it.

Pierces it...

Fills it.

You.

"So do you wish to do the usual? Tear at each other's throats like ravenous dogs while feigning the noblest of intentions?" A smile somehow manages to crawl onto your face like a spider, lips wide, teeth shining.

He returns the smile in full, with his straight, perfect teeth, hinting of canines. And that, too, fills you and makes you reel with imagined guilt. Spread your arms out wide, pout petulantly and sigh, "Well, you caught me, officer. Oh, what will you do with me now?"

A steady glimmer from his left hand catches your eye. And then an ounce of hesitation - and you bark an order, "Impale me. Kill me. I don't care how, just do it. I tire of everyone's dawdling, pretending you have all the time in God's damned eternity. Kill me, you Judas bastard!"

The Iscariot priest gave a twitch of the corner of his mouth, all serious now, and stepped forward, the glimmer in his hand now redefining itself as a small metal box, polished to a mirror shine, the impersonal image of the cross emblazoned on its face. Impatient, not caring what new weak images of faith, attacking seems the best course of action. In half of one of Anderson's drumlike heartbeats, you have him, and his hands are clawing at your hair, pulling your face back from his throat... which you can smell has cologne, and deeper beneath the skin, a thrumming heat that warms your black heart to the core. Blood is the scent of betrayal... of the body and the mind.

"This can help you," he growls, pressing the hard cold metal box against my chest. It burns when it touches fabric, right through to sensitive skin. But his warm breath thrills you even more.

Lips brush against lips. We exchanged a breath, with words: "So can this." The metal box slips into your palm though, and your fingers clasp it instinctively. It is cold, hard, and exactly how you feel at this moment.

He pushes back with a firm shove; you let him. It hurts to be denied, but you don't have a reason to rush, no reason to take. Not yet. At least not this time.

"What the hell is this supposed to do?" Impatiently. The look in Anderson's glasses revealed nothing, but beyond that, his eyes burned with a peculiar fire... not the usual fire of the righteous or the theologically impaired. His lips purse and he motions vaguely to open it, unable to voice what was apparently rendering him mute.

The box opens easily. You could have crushed it with your one hand. Inside is a small vial, secured in place by small metal hooks which give way with a springing bouncing-back. It is filled with something the color of black blood... and it burns to hold it. It feels warm and delightful, and it seems to beat inside your grasp like a tiny heart. Like small moth's wings. Your eyes close and your tongue tip glides along your fangs as the thirst rises reluctantly, like a long-forgotten urge just remembered after a long inactivity. Sleepily your hunger rises, like a slumbering cat from a nap in the sun, to investigate the delicious scent luring it from stalking dreams.

"What is it?"

"Whatever ye want it to be. Ah'm givin' it to you... although, thinking back, maybe you aren't ready for it yet."

"I'm getting tired of riddles." The small glass object holding the dark liquid inside pulses. The blood is the life the blood is the soul.

The vial breaks on your teeth, the seal unleashing the unbridled scent of blood. As the miniscule amount trickles over your canines and gums, your tongue slides over the front of your teeth to lap at the dribble escaping to the corner of your mouth. It tastes smoky, like a smoldering fire... and in the small electrical explosion when it hits your tongue, you See. Alexander in a white hospital gown, his body a spidery mass of wires, wires, and needles sticking into every inch of him where skin showed. The red line drawn in the garish glow of medical lights leading to a machine that pumps and pumps until Anderson was as pale as the white crisp linens he lay on. The mechanical vampire droning in a horrible, rhythmic noise, like gnashing metal teeth.

"This is your blood?"

"Treated with anything that can possibly destroy a monster like you."

You realize, Ah. This burns like fire and fills me with... But the smoky warmth of him counterbalances the pain. The empty box and the vial fall to the rooftop, skittering along stone tiles, hitting the ground below with barely a sound. You step toward him, enduring the message in the blood awhile longer. "And this flows in you now?"

"Aye." Anderson lifted his arms and let the sleeves fall away to show the pock-marked flesh where the needles had punctured his body. Indeed, the smell of him had changed. His skin looked far too sallow and unnatural to be filled with purely human blood. He was poisonous. It must have been filling him to endless agony to endure the unnatural fluids scraping his veins and arteries raw, as if hydrochloric acid was flowing within him instead of the delicious blood (which is life and not death). He was a walking poison cocktail to any vampire who sank their fangs to his skin. "And Ah'm willing to give it a try if you are."

Hunger roars in you... unwitting slave to the blatant offering Anderson made, his neck exposed now as his Iscariot uniform loosened. His smile is wide and charming, his straight teeth shining in the soft moonlight. You want to slap him, tell him to fight like a human... but in a moment of delusion you think he's doing all this because he loves you.

You think to yourself, I know better than that, but in a deep crying place inside you dare to hope.

But only an enemy would know what you want, just so he could take it away from you. And what do you want? More than anything in the world?

As he moves toward you again, your defenses are lowered... but you don't appear to remember how to be a warrior. You're thinking, He might be tricking me. He might now be working for someone to capture me, sell me to the world circus... or the science department of some backwater country to be studied... and put through even more endless torment than even dear Dr. Van Helsing could concoct in that bulldog head of his.

But then arms are locked around your chest, and his lips are close to your ear, breathing, breathing. His neck is beneath your chin. His heart painstakingly hauls each unit of venomed blood through its chambers and pulses agonizingly in his throat. He's in pain. From his every breath you recognize the agony of a man slowly tortured from within. You find amusement in how literally that statement is. But that's the last coherent sentence to be had before your mouth slides to his throat, and his small breaths quicken and throbs. The priest presses against your leg, his arms tightening, his teeth clenching.

"Take me," he growled haltingly. "Your last chance, monster."

You want to ask him something else. But for once, there is no room between your two tightly embraced bodies, not enough room even for this man to breathe anymore. His ribs are cracking slowly. His heart labors beneath your lips and all you want to do is push him and pull him at the same time.

Suddenly the world is bright again. A low, repetitive 'whuffing' fills the air and you pull back, eyes withering to little pinpricks of crimson.

Anderson looks back at you, the same shocked surprise and anguish and annoyance filling his expression. "Bloody—" The helicopter fixes its brilliant light on the rooftop where you both now stand. Anderson snarls in exasperation, blood filling his lungs before soaking back into his tissues where it belongs; the venom makes his voice raspy. "It's not wha' ye think!"

You say, "I don't believe you" in the calmest of voices. But to kill him for his betrayal was hopeless. The bastard would never die. He is the impossible quandary that challenges everything you do and are. He is nothing like the universe you know, the one about decay and endings that are really a beginning to something even worse. You know you'll seek him out for his offer again. You'll chase him, instead of the other way around, just like you do when you dream.

He shouts for you as soon as you disappear. You run.

You'll find him. He'll find you. Day and night. Your endless chase.