Disclaimer: If we owned either of these franchises, we would be filthy rich and NOT working our butts off in college.
Saku-Chan: My lord, it has been more than 2 years. We're sooo not good at keeping up with things, but I'm ready to give it another shot. Can't promise much, but we'll see if we can do better than an average of a chapter every half a year. So, we left off with an explanation of the transportation problem that is keeping Christine trapped with Alucard. I don't want to drone too long, so let's get to it.
Chapter 7: Roseblood Dreams
The French queen stayed in London for several days. Meanwhile, the men responsible for her safety checked every nook and cranny of her plane and swept for bombs. Experts were called in to check fuel tanks, electric systems, and anything else that could foul up flight and each expert was watched closely. Other experts were called in to double-check. No entrance to the plane or its workings was left unguarded for a moment.
Such a large amount of trouble for a single flight; but the queen could not be risked, and it was the only one allowed in or out of the country. After this, England would be under lockdown until the crisis could be solved. Even travel over sea had been banned, to make certain of citizen's safety.
Meanwhile, some of the less politically aware citizens complained about the government delaying their cross-country vacations.
Christine, as an orphan, didn't have a very reliable background. It had taken Sophie Maria a few hours to decide to bring Christine home on her personal plane, but her protectors had insisted the girl stay behind. They knew nothing about her, so she could potentially be a liability. Sophie didn't argue too much; though she felt for the girl, it wasn't really about her. She would have to return to France on a commercial transport, when one was available.
No one had told Christine about any of these conversations, not wanting to get her hopes up. It was just as well, in her current state she would have been in a state of elation after learning she might go home, and a dangerous depression when it had fallen through. Instead, she waited in a state that felt to her like a half-life, numbed by fear and confusion. She could only hope that either these people would hold to their word…
Or that Raoul would come rescue her. However, neither could happen until this unknown 'crisis', if it existed, was over. But these people might be lying… she had no way of knowing. It was a rather desperate situation.
She stayed in her room, trying to think. There were at least two vampires, though neither had tried to attack her. The girl she had spoken to seemed relatively harmless, as far as anyone who drank blood went. But the other one… she was afraid of him, though he had not done her any overt harm. He seemed to appear whenever she opened the door, as if he were waiting for her to leave. So she stayed in her room.
But she didn't feel safe in there either. He had appeared once in there as well, when she spoke to the vampire girl. It seemed he could go where he pleased, regardless of walls, doors and locks… there was no protection for her until she was far away. So she simply hoped; for rescue, for the vampire to leave her in peace, and most of all to see Raoul again.
But without anything that she could do, she waited. The butler came in to bring food, always saying nothing. Christine found him a little creepy. The rest of the time she was on her own, with a few books that she had found in the room. She had learned some English from travelling with her father, but she was very rusty. Working with the books would make it easier for her to communicate with people here… if there were anyone to talk to.
Integra was not sure she would have survived much longer having the French Queen in London. Although the real issue was, of course, Alucard's unpredictable behavior, the woman at times seemed more concerned about the stray girl than the overall political issue; a British representative's breaking of the law. It was a good thing that Alucard didn't officially exist, and therefore could not be tried for his crime. But it did put strain on the trust between the two countries, enough that an exception was made for the Queen's flight.
Integra had been as disappointed as Sophie to find that the girl couldn't return home with the Queen. In addition to solving the problem sooner, she also felt it would put Alucard in his place to lose his new toy. Despite her official control over him, the ancient vampire was excellent at finding loopholes in even the most direct orders. At times, she wondered how tightly Alucard was really bound. She tried to stop such thoughts quickly, since they could lead to a bit of panic. She doubted she had the skill necessary to recast the binding if it were to fade; the knowledge needed for that had died with her father, if it had even lasted that long.
So she worried when Alucard found ways around her orders. She had not mentioned to the Queens that the girl had been brought by supernatural means, because then they would want her returned the same way. And Integra was afraid that, if she gave the order for Alucard to return the girl, he would not comply.
The timing of the Irish attacks could not have been better for Alucard. While Seras and Sir Integra flew back from Paris, five planes crashed into clear land or open ocean. No major landmarks or population centers had been hit, and no one on the planes survived. An Irish extremist group had taken credit. England had tried to continue transportation with heightened security, but the attacks continued. By the time a day had passed and Christine was calm enough for travel, the whole system had come to a stop.
Anyone who thought about it too much realized that it would take massive amounts of knowledge and subterfuge to accomplish such a large-scale attack, something the small group claiming responsibility would be unlikely to have. The British government suspected a greater plot, but was unsure of which direction it was coming from. As such, even the Hellsing organization was given minimum information: the Irish attacked us, all transportation is down.
Alucard, however, knew all about it.
It was the sixth day of Christine's stay at Hellsing Manor. Walter was carrying a large dinner tray, with thick creamy soup, a baguette, and a beef pot roast. He was heading for the chorus girl's room. Serving the girl was one of his least interesting jobs; she always sat on the bed, watching him like he might turn into a dragon. He felt that one word might make her bolt.
He opened the door, and saw Christine sitting in a lounge chair with a book in her lap. Deep brown eyes glanced up as he entered.
"Hello." Despite the thick accent, her English was clean and clear.
"Good evening." Walter was more than a little surprised, earlier that very day she had been curled like a mouse in the adder's den. As usual, he kept a quiet composure, but he wondered what had brought on the change.
"My name is Christine. Who are you?"
"Walter, the butler." He turned away to place the food on the table, and walked toward the door with the platter in hand.
"Does everyone here know about him?"
Walter stopped, considered, and turned his head in the questioner's direction. "Yes." He left.
Christine had been afraid for so long now that it ceased to bother her, and her curiosity was rising. She had always had a curiosity that bordered on morbid, and she had dealt with things worse than this before. At least she wasn't alone here. She was unsure of the wisdom of leaving the room, but surely some exploration would be better than just sitting around.
She looked at the steaming dishes on the table. She had eaten little in the last week. Raoul would be disappointed if she were nothing but skin and bones when he came. She wolfed down as much food as she thought was reasonable, walked toward the door…
And stopped in front of it. She considered her choice. She knew that the vampire, Alucard, would most likely be outside. When she first met Erik, she had thought he was a supernatural being, and he had not been. His comings and goings had been disguised by illusions. It could be the same here, but she was unsure. If Alucard were truly a vampire, what she was about to do was very dangerous. But if he wasn't, then he was just a man, like Erik. And men could be killed and driven away.
It occurred to her that it might be wise to think this through before doing it. But she wasn't used to being trapped in a room all day, and she wanted to do something. Why wait?
She opened the door and took a step out. She heard a low laugh, and turned to see the supposed vampire not three feet away from her, a broad grin across his face. He was looking at her over the tops of his odd glasses. Christine took another step out of the room. She was unsure if she should ignore him and just keep going, say something to him, or go back inside. After a few moments, he made the decision for her.
"Finally brave enough to leave the cage?"
Christine considered telling him that this whole place was a cage, but his presence caused her no small amount of unease. Instead she just nodded.
"Good. The manor has some beautiful grounds surrounding it; you should see them."
"Would you like me to show you where they are?"
The longer Christine stood there, the more she felt she had made a very poor choice. Simply knowing Alucard was there, with no interaction, was not nearly as frightening as trying to talk to him. When she had known nothing of him, she had been quite bold, but now she was uncertain what she should do. It was too late to ignore him. Should she go back into the room? Or allow him to show her outside?
Except for the brief glance when she first saw him, Christine had not looked directly at Alucard. She looked beside him, at her feet or away. Alucard, on the other hand, was watching her intently. He could see her fear and indecision reflected in the doe brown eyes, and waited patiently. A minute passed, with her biting her lip and looking over her shoulder at her room.
Christine looked up at his face, trying to gauge his intent. He had removed the glasses at some point, and she could see his full features. He had a somewhat narrow face framed by stray strands of black hair. His eyes, though narrowed slightly, were taken up by huge crimson irises. He smiled (a reasonable facsimile of a friendly grin, despite the fangs), looked her in the eye, and offered his arm. Suddenly, her fear dimmed and she made her decision. She wanted to go outside.
"Yes." Christine took the offered arm, and the pair walked off down the hallway.
They continued through the convoluted halls of Hellsing manor without speaking. Alucard stared straight ahead, guiding Christine through various twists and turns. Christine watched him out of the corner of her eye, noticing also that there were no others in the great space. His red overcoat trailed behind him slightly, buoyed by the breeze of his brisk movement.
The whole thing seemed vaguely dreamlike, as though it were ghost leading her. It seemed the opposite of her experience with the 'Phantom' of the Opera Populaire. He introduced himself as an intangible creature, and as he led her down the cold passageways she recognized him as a mortal man. Alucard, though claiming to be a vampire, nonetheless called himself a creature of flesh and blood. Walking beside him in the bright halls, only the light touch on her right arm assured her that the apparition beside her was real.
The feeling subsided when they reached a set of doors. Each was three times as wide as a person, made of carved and polished African Blackwood. Fringes of the door were decorated with scenes of heaven and hell alike. At the top of the door, an odd sentence was carved: "We will not give up and despair, we are on a mission from God." He let go of her arm and pushed open one door, standing beside it with one arm outstretched in invitation.
She stepped out into a lightly clouded night. The moon was at little more than half strength, and the clouds seemed to take pleasure in blocking its waning form for as long as they could before being pushed off by invisible winds. Trees whispered their nocturnal song, while plant bushes and beds danced slowly and sinuously.
It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
She stepped past Alucard, and heard the door close behind her. A light pressure landed between her shoulder blades, guiding her past manicured hedges and carpets of delicate flowers, to an area that seemed slightly wilder. The plants here menaced her with glinting thorns, yet tempted her with fragrant blossoms. Morning glories grew like webs between the rose bushes, and a large acacia stood in the middle. There was nothing but clear ground between the roses and the tree, not even a single blade of grass.
Christine walked forward until she was near a rose blossom. As she reached for it, she thought about Raoul, and the fact that he had never given her another rose after the fiasco with Erik…
Raoul. Home. The thoughts distracted her, and she touched a sharp thorn instead of a soft bloom. Blood welled up on her finger.
Alucard stepped forward, took her hand, and kissed the bleeding fingertip. "You should go back inside."
Christine merely nodded. She felt as though she were floating in some kind of fog, though the world had seemed so clear only moments ago. She couldn't even keep track of the trip back to her room, and was mildly surprised when Alucard opened her door. She stepped inside and turned around.
Alucard was standing in the doorframe. "You never told me your name."
His gentlemanly parting bow was offset by the sly look in his eyes as he turned and walked away.
Christine didn't even bother closing the door. She went to bed, fully dressed, and was asleep in moments.
Christine was clothed in a dress made of dark grey mist. The thick vapor swirled around her feet as she moved, and tendrils clung to the grass under her bare feet. A large orb was in the sky, giving out a strange light, but she could not tell if it was the sun or moon, or some strange combination of both. Constellations moved slowly across the sky, drifting like clouds. Creatures of all types, built from stardust: Eagles, dragons, foxes, phoenixes, walking or flying past the unknown orb and off the edges of the horizon.
Everything was green grass, as far as Christine could see, except for a distant green-red wall. She moved toward it, the mist following like a bride's train.
As she drew closer to the wall, she could see it was a thick mass of roses. Black thorn-covered branches crossed themselves into a lattice that let nearly nothing through, leaving only small gaps through which she could peak through. She lowered her eye to one, as close as she dared.
Beyond the wall was a figure, clad in bright white, with brown hair cut in the fashion of French nobility…
The figure turned toward her and smiled. It was indeed Raoul, and he was waiting for her. She had to get to him. Heedlessly, she pushed against the morass of roses. Thorns tore at her arms, blood seeping into her misty clothes. She continued her attempts, until the blood flowed from her face, arms, torso and legs, leaving a puddle on the floor. The rose branches had not moved, and she could still see Raoul smiling behind them.
Christine was about to try again, but a hand landed on her shoulder and pulled her back. It was Alucard, and as he pulled her closer to him the dress began to stick close to her skin, turning a satin red from the blood flowing underneath. The color deepened until it match the vampire's own deep shade.
Alucard started a slow waltz, while Raoul called out to her from the other side of the roses. She only heard him with half an ear. Alucard's presence made her feel as though her head was filled with the same mist that surrounded her. Raoul was calling her name, and her blood was staining Alucard's strange white gloves, but neither of the dancers noticed.
Christine did notice, however, when a figure in black somehow emerged from the roses. White porcelain glinted in the odd light, and a rope hung from white-gloved hands.
Erik advanced on the dancers. Christine watched, unsure whether or not she should warn her partner. Alucard noticed her distracted glance just as Erik slipped the noose around his neck.
The noose tightened. Alucard tried to glance over his shoulder, but otherwise seemed unconcerned. He pulled a knife from one of the pockets of his red coat, and reached up to cut the rope. The blade cut easily, but also left a slice in Alucard's neck. The wound did not bleed, and closed in moments.
Alucard turned to face Erik, who drew his sword. Alucard's knife grew into a sword to match Erik's. Christine stood, terrified, as the two fearsome men engaged in combat, turning up the gentle turf into thick mud.
As the battle continued, the combatants matching sword thrusts, Christine heard a rustle from the rose wall. Raoul had made it through, battered and worse for wear. He gave Christine a reassuring smile before plunging headlong into the fight.
Alucard barely looked at the young man, sparing only a moment to bring him down. Almost too quick for the eye to see, Alucard slashed Raoul from shoulder to hip and continued his battle with Erik. The quick footwork soon brought them away from Raoul's body.
Christine rushed over to check on him. The cut was unbelievably deep; it had pierced through Raoul's sternum and cut his heart in two. He had been dead before he even started falling.
The red and black warriors continued, oblivious to Christine wailing over the massacred body. No one noticed as Christine's own wounds slowly let out her life. The last thing Christine heard before death was the never-ending sound of swords clashing.
Christine was cold when she awoke; she had kicked the covers of the bed in her sleep. The door still stood open. She rose up, closed the door, made the bed, and stood looking at it. Should she try to go back to sleep, even after such a frightening dream? She considered it, but instead picked up a book and sat in a velvet chair. Perhaps she could make herself forget.
IMPORTANT: Due to heavy loads of coursework, the next chapter will most likely be posted during Fall Break, around mid October. That sucks, and we're sorry, but college is important, so bear with us! Almost a month isn't as bad as 2 years, at least.
Saku-Chan: I'll need to rewatch and/or read PotO, so I can add description on that side. As for Hellsing, the first manga doesn't have much background design in or around Hellsing manor, so I took that as an invitation to make up whatever I wanted. As is, I wanted to start another chapter before too much time went by. We'll try to catch the elusive plot bunny (which may have had babies in the last two years) and keep on it this time. Or at least I will. Mika-Chan?
Mika-chan: Holy crap, that chapter brought back memories of us writing in your basement. ^_^ I think it's great! Especially the conversation between Christine and Walter.
I suppose this should be a good time to mention that I am no longer under the username of XFamousXLastXWordsX, but am now Follow-The-Firefly. So if for some reason anyone wants to look me up, don't use the first one. You shan't find anything. ^_^
Right! So I'll be writing the next chapter as soon as I can get a grasp on how I think it should go forward…with Saku-chan's input, of course. And as a quick note, I should mention that updates (from me, at least) may be rare. I have five classes (many of them upper-level English classes), a campus job and am involved with four clubs. By the time I do get time to write, I'm usually so exhausted that I can't actually do so. I'll try my hardest to get it written in a timely manner, but that's just an update on why I might be taking forever and a day for updates.
And if you enjoy this story, please review and let us know! Or if you don't like it, review anyway and let us know what we can do to improve. And no flames, please. Flames will be ignored for something more worth our time.
So my last quote was Follow by Breaking Benjamin and mine for this chapter shall be "I know you'll find your own way when I'm not with you tonight."
Saku-Chan: My quote for today:
"I'm more than happy in my candlelight, how strange (how strange) that you should come to my dominion. In the middle of the darkest night, how strange (how strange) that you should even try."
Long, but fitting isn't it? Actually, if you don't know or find it, you should listen to it when I say what it is next chapter. It is not only an excellent song, but the lyrics all apply to various parts of the story.
Sakura Neko-Chan 13 x Follow-The-Firefly