Author's note:

I'm assuming that prior to and during WWII Alucard could have used his talents in the area of disguise to walk freely among the SS and German military, perhaps even disguise himself as a high-ranking officer. And that could be where he first met Rip, a German navy officer.

Also, I chose 'September, 2000' as a random date for volume 5 events, since I couldn't find a date anywhere in the manga. Please, correct me, if I'm wrong.

With all of this said, this is just my vision of Alucard/Rip relationship. Plus, I haven't been keeping up with the Dawn events, so this story is based on Hellsing only. Therefore – slightly AU.

Oh yes, almost forgot -- Hellsing characters belong to Kohta Hirano, not me. Don't sue!

---

Black smoke envelopes the deck. Flames leap and engulf the emblem of the Third Reich you painted all across the landing strip. Steel and swastikas. What a useless pile of junk. Nazi blood on corrugated iron sheets, tongues of fire lapping at the blackened railings, stars swimming in the rippling heat of the sky.

You're silent now, black strands of hair obscuring your eyes. Why don't you sing for me now, fraulein lieutenant?

---

A song of war and victory and horror I could feel running fast through your veins on that day. Dressed in all-black military, an iron Hakenkreuz burning on your chest. The absurd insignia all over walls, uniforms and eyes of men. The red, the white, and the black. Black as your hair, surrounding you in sinister waves. White as your stainless gloves. Red as the blood could not wait to shed.

You were laughing, baring your teeth in an insane smile, hands up in the air, as you shouted their slogans. The smell of blood in the assembly hall, stronger than in a slaughterhouse - it was driving you mad, it was driving me mad about you, lieutenant.

---

A rainy, dark evening in Berlin, 1938. It was a city like any other, life and death intermingling in a daily routine. Clerks hurrying home from office, shouldering their way through the crowd, black domes of umbrellas raised defensively, water dripping on lacquered shoes. Streetlamps casting orbs of light on the wet asphalt of Wilhelmstrasse. Newspapers spitting out the latest propaganda – the usual litany along the lines of "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer."

A thousand windows of Staatsoper Unter den Linden were alight, all seats taken. The third act of the opera was just beginning – scene one "What excels the pleasures of the chase". A show of passion, deceit and black magic – Der Freischutz, a play you worshipped.

You didn't lower the lorgnette all through the finale, hearing and seeing nothing but the macabre tale you've long ago learnt by heart. Ironic, isn't it, fraulein, for if only for a second your gaze would have wondered aside you would have seen the true monster, sitting just a breath away, eyes full to the brim with hunger man has never heard of.

---

All patriotic hypocrisy aside, wars were and always would be all about torture and bloodshed. October, 1940, the gates of military camp in Antwerp swung open to admit a procession of three black Mercedes Benz. You were humming "Silence, let no one warn him", as you drew up the collar of the uniform against the uprising wind, and walked briskly to the welcoming committee of black-caped soldiers and white-clad butchers.

The scent of blood, with a strong reek of burned flesh and antiseptic. White poorly lit corridors, men with soft-heeled shoes and wan faces, smiling politely at their enthusiastic guests.

You took interest in every torture devise they've shown during your daily excursions, the shark grin never leaving your face. Your steps resounded in the sections of the ward, where not many doctors had the nerve to keep you company. Heavy bolts sliding, sickly blue paint peeling off the corroded iron door, the physician adjusting his little round glasses: "And in cell number 635 we have…"

Walls faced with cold enamel, blood stains etched deep into the steel of surgical sinks. Men in white powdering their hands before putting on surgical gloves - to keep hands from sweating. Bars on the windows, dusty double panes obscuring the hazy white light of day. "The operation will begin momentarily." You'd clasp your hands in adoration.

And late at night, as moon rose through sky heavy with ashes from the crematorium, and the engines of death halted to rest until morning light, I could hear that faint melody once more – you were singing, fraulein lieutenant, you were singing an aria for me.

---

It was all the same to you – a death camp, a grand opera, a fascist rally, a war parade with swastikas painted on every inch of available surface, a heavy warship marine battlefield. You stalked death every day of your life, or was it the other way around?

Memories of those days play in my head like a silent black and white film – clouds heavy and malevolent in the sky, the surface of water black and still, as your warship cuts its way toward foreign waters, black silhouettes of anti-aircraft artillery, faceless dummies in navy uniforms swinging 'Zieg heil!'. You wave a salute, smiling for the camera. Then again, those days the smile stayed on your face night and day.

I had yet to sample a full spectrum of fear and uncertainty on that exquisite face of yours though, lieutenant. A brief transition as a predatory grin gives way to a victim's grimace. A song cut off in the middle of the verse.

The screen is black, save for dust and scratches. In the right corner a date is scribbled – March, 1942.

---

The skies were just as dark that night as they are now, in the war-torn blood-soaked year of 1944. The whole squadron of warships was burning down to hell in the waters of Atlantic –fireworks I've arranged just for you, lieutenant. You were standing on the top deck, the sea blazing with wreckage just over the rusted railings, the verses of act one, scene two 'O sun, fearsomely it rises' escaping your lips in faint sighs. All your men left for the dead, the ship breaking apart, unable to sustain the damage.

That primal fear in your eyes at our untimely meeting, I found it fascinating. You whispered "Zamiel", another name for the devil, but reserved only for me, clutching your old-fashioned gun. Interesting that after witnessing my death and resurrection so many times, lieutenant, you still intended to destroy me with magic bullets.

Your tear-drenched gaze never left me, as I pulled you up by the Hakenkreuz, pointing a luger right into the middle of that smooth white forehead. The same fixed wide-eyed stare, even as your skull cracked and splintered, the bullet entering it without as much as a sound. Then you were falling - a long way down from the fire-decorated top deck into the black cold depths of Atlantic.

It was then that we said our last aufwiedersehns, as you were sinking deeper and deeper, entangled in waves of ash-black hair, eyes still wide-open, but already impassive. My last present for you was a silver bullet. A silver bullet for fraulein lieutenant.

---

September, 2000. Flames lick my boots as I walk to meet you. It wouldn't do to keep the fraulein waiting. With each step the music in my head grows louder – the finale of Der Freischutz, resounding from the blood-spattered steel deck, the blackened skies. The orchestra is playing to bring down the house. The decorations are eye-blinding. The darkness all around only highlights the brightness of the center-stage.

And I am asking you, just like on that day almost sixty years ago: why don't you sing for me, Rip van Winkle?