Disclaimer—As always, I have no legal rights towards Hellsing and I seriously doubt that I am profiting from this.
Chapter Title—Somniator: Epilogue
Rating—PG-13. Just be mature folks.
Synopsis—Pain or pleasure is the question.
Author's Notes—I thank you for your patience. I did not want to spoil Somniator with a lame and cliché epilogue, which I must add, is a sin punishable by death. No doubt, you have read plenty of such cases and I had no desire to be added to the blacklist. I hope that I satisfied you.
Some find the dark disturbing while others relish in his endless embrace. It can be comforting, similar to the caresses of a lover, the words of a friend or the cocoon closeness of a blanket on an icy cold night—but, in the same element is it faceless. And one is alone.
The figure stirred in the darkness, moaning sleepily and swaying on the sea of infinite shadow.
Eyes open, Integra found nothing but the endless, bleakness of darkness and solitude—nothingness. It was silent as a forgotten and abandoned grave, save but her slight labored breathing. Instinctually she reached out half-hoping to find something or someone in this continuous mass of shadow and silence; instead her outstretch hand brushed against a solid mass, a wall. Her hand might have recoiled an inch, but Integra gathered a breath of courage and stroked, feeling the surface and searching for the length, an edge, or an empty space. There were none. Just walls…a top, two sides, a bottom…
Besides the darkness there was nothing but the walls touching one another. Four separate walls. Perhaps it was a room; however the space felt enclosed and tight. Like a box…long and narrow.
Then a haunting realization dawned on her.
Integra knew. To truly know—just what it feels like to wake up—inside a coffin.
A startled gasp escaped her and the distraught sound echoed around her like a cruel lover, almost laughing at her. The denial was so omnipotent that her erratic heartbeats pounded in her ears and could be nothing short of the roaring fires of hell overtaking the distressed cries and aching screams of the damned. And then she saw the flashes of the flames and the unimaginable scorching heat. Time was immeasurable as the soul-wrenching vision passed before her eyes. It illuminated the darkness but Integra remained alone.
She witnessed firsthand what it is like to live and be dead.
Desperate, Integra touch the wall above her and pushed. The lid slid to the side and a shiver of light flashed across her eyes, causing her to wince and recoil. Integra shielded her eyes and blindingly grabbed the edge, shoving it off. It fell off easy enough but in slammed into the floor with anything but a discreet silent sound. Gripping the sides of the coffin Integra bolted up, panting and peering out like a frightened and curious child.
A golden light illuminated the room as hundreds of candles flourished, drowning in hot wax on dark-stained furniture, such as the 17th century piano, bookshelf, dresser and thin cabinet. The slate-stone floor was covered in Persian rugs and thick rich tapestries draped the dark-painted, Gothic walls. There were no windows and only one English-oak door, bolted and locked shut. Waves of books, parchment and foreign manuscripts rose like a sea of literature from the crammed shelves. The density was so thick that it seemed that nothing else supported the low and vaulted ceiling. The blaze of the candles danced like fiery demons and melted off the polished ebony wood and chased the shadows lurking between each fold of blood red satin that lined the interior of the container of death, the coffin.
Stepping out and from the coffin's edge, her glaze followed towards the object propped up against the far wall, across from the death-box O, half covered in drapes and dusty cobwebs—a mirror. Like most things in the grand room the mirror was old, might be considered an antique. It was at least 15th century and the smoking edges were testament to its age. God only knew what it had seen.
While the reflection looked like her, Integra felt far from herself.
In a almost sensual manner Integra examined herself—she wore the same Victorian nightgown as in her terrible dreamscape, but she lacked the wounds, such as the bullet hole in her liver, scratches, heavy bruises and even the Silver-Kiss bestowed personally from the No-Life King. Again, she examined her unmarred neck. It remained untouched, unravished. It was Integra Fairbook Wingates Hellsing staring at herself, and yet, she felt as though the figure in the mirror was a stranger. For a moment she sensed as if the form, her body was an alien planet to her. Something foreign. It was her and not her, if that made any sense.
Perhaps it was her eyes.
There were empty.
A dry laughed escaped her, a mixture between relief and confusion—it felt so real. Everything seemed so real—the paralysis, his breath and sharp fangs, the hot liquid steaming down her neck, inviting and wandering hands and murmuring whispers. It must have been real but there wasn't any evidence to support such claim, other than her memories. But the mind does have its filters, and it can fabricate and distort reality; however, Integra had never been prone to such lies or illusions. Perhaps reality was a farce. Integra could no longer distinguish the different between the Dreamworld and the real world. It all felt the same and they could easily be mistaken or even considered as the same, to be the same, as one element, or thing.
"Pray someone tell me, what is this deviltry?" she prayed, her primary focus was on God, who did not answer.
Something moved behind her, a shadow or perhaps much more.
Integra tore her eyes from the image and peered at the scene behind her. A chair faced the heavily decorated fireplace and the reflection from the roaring fire engulfed its silhouette and the figure sitting down in the rich ebony-black leather. It was stillness of the stranger that captivated her special attention. He remained unmoved, even bored at her presence and inquisitiveness. It was a majestic stranger dressed solely in black, save but the crimson tie constricted around his throat, long sleek-back hair, and a heavy five o'clock shadowed his chin. He held a wineglass filled with such mysterious red substance, which could only be guessed as wine or blood. An old book filled with Italian poems rested, ignored and placed on his thigh. The figure glazed into the flames, apparently lost and entranced by their sensual, liquid-smooth dance. Regardless his eyes betrayed his identify as once.
Stepping forward Integra asked in her bravest tone, "I must ask, is this another
Dreamscape, O No-Life King? Some element of the Dreamworld? Another one of your twisted games?"
Hearing her voice he jumped, snapping out of his rambling thoughts and memories. Quickly Alucard adjusted himself in the chair, turning and peered over his shoulder. Despite his comfortable quarters the vampire tensed rigid at the sight of her. The action reminded Integra of a child caught red-handed in the cookie-jar. His eyes glittered like firestones; but as he glazed hungrily at her his expression changed, perhaps it was pity, compassion or even confusion.
He did not answer.
Integra bit her lip and exclaimed fearfully, her voice was that of a child, "I cannot feel the difference."
"I feel…" her voice sharpened like steel, "I feel nothing. Emptiness."
The vampire raised a skeptical brow, closing the discarded book with a distinct snap and laying it beside the glass of mysterious substance. The No-Life King sat, leg crossed over the other, eyes dancing over his interlocked fingers. His sinister eyes absorbed her whole and she felt as though he was probing her like some mad scientist experimenting with a rare specimen.
"None of that was real," she stated indifferently. "None of this is real."
"On the contrary, I challenge that," he mused sweetly. The Cheshire-smile could have crossed his lips for any reason. He impassively shrugged his shoulders and remarked dryly, "But…Play innocent if that pleases you."
"This is your deviltry," she accused.
Alucard laughed mechanically, and as the sound echoed like the remains of a lingering a ghost he put his hands together, applauding her. He replied darkly, "Poor unfortunate Integra. This, "he mused lightly displaying his palms, "is not mine. It lacks my artistic flavor. God has his puppets. And you have just joined his endless collection."
She would not be mocked, at least of all God—but he remained silent.
"Answer me!" she cried out.
"The truth is bitter and even cruel, Integra," he offered empathically. Despite the red sheen in his glaze, his eyes appeared pained and sad.
Integra inhaled sharply but her raging demon would not tamed or calmed. If looks could burn than Alucard would be a pile of ash. She replied evenly, "Tell me. No more riddles. No more games."
The No-Life King heaved a defeated sigh. Standing to his feet Alucard beckoned her to follow him with his demon-dancing eyes and outstretch hand. He ambled pass the mirror, which naturally bore him no reflection and he paused in front of his coffin, and moments before served as her bed. "If it is truth you seek than follow me without fear into the darkness gloom. Come closer."
Against her screaming conscience, Integra heaved in a breath of courage and approached towards the coffin's edge. It was closed. Lid firmly latched in its original place. Together theirs eyes studied the proverb sketched in gold leaves; "The bird of Hermes is my name/ Eating my wings to make me tame." The No-Life King's coffin was one the processions that he treasured deeply, more than life or God. No one was allowed to touch it, much less breathe on its ebony-stone surface. It was his final domain—where he was born and where he dies. Alucard spoke dreamy, "You must admit that it is a lovely perspective. Wouldn't you say, Integra? Death may be a dark house...But it comes with an incredible view. O"
"It is just a coffin. There is no truth behind that box," Integra growled low.
"Than there is nothing to fear," Alucard replied low. "Nothing but shadows and silence." His features darken slightly as he kicked the lid off and mockingly invited her towards the death box with an exaggerated wave of his hand. His fangs flashed at her. Defiant and spiteful Integra advanced with her head raised and eyes peering into the coffin, Alucard's domain. Her uncertainty hung in the air like thick smoke and sacrifice to old and evil gods until; finally she was meet with a curious and yet, foreshadowing sight. Strangely, there was already a body lying on the satin lining—a bloodstain, pale beauty with moonlit strands, broken glasses, wearing a shredded shirt with a tie, eyes closed as if in deep sleep or perhaps death—it was herself.
The dead figure was her.
A started cry escaped Integra as she recoiled, practically leaping away, hand gasping her heart and tears appeared in her watering eyes—which, was ironic, given that Integra no longer had the need or the ability to breath, to shed tears or even have a beating heart. She was dead, nothing more than a walk entity, a soul trapped between the realms of the living and the Otherworld. O Not a ghost, just a soul.
Alucard remained unmoved by her distress.
Choking Integra pointed an accusing finger at the vampire and exhaled close to breathlessness, "This is not real." Integra glanced down at her body. It could not. It simply couldn't be. However, everything including the .22 bullet wound dodged in her fleshy liver, the bloodstained clothes and of course, the Silver-Kiss piecing and draining her Hellsing-blood dry, only intensified the evidence against her denial and mocked her expired mortality. "That is not real."
He approached the coffin as he traced the edge of the death-box with his index finger, his eyes glazing hungrily at her dead figure. Obliging as ever, he kneeled down at her side, as if her corpse now proved only to be a holy altar or a priceless instrument that he worshipped body, mind and soul. His touch remained on the dark-stained wood, caressing the surface as if it was her flesh he handled. Flaring his nostrils Alucard breathed in her stale blood, the remains of chaos and war on her cool flesh like fine wine.
The No-Life King mused bitterly, "You forget, my Love that death is not a dreamscape. Life is but a dream on the way to death."
It was difficult to perceive whether or not he was speaking to her or her corpse.
She whispered, "I am not dreaming."
He noted with deliberate sweetness, "You never said stop."
A memory flashed across her brain—his mouth latched on her like some mad leech so long-deprived of the necessity of blood and flesh. Leisurely with each passing moment her feisty and fierce struggles diminished as the No-Life King fed his diabolic craving from her veins, drinking in the hot crimson fluid that have been so long and repetitively denied him. Momentarily moans and gasps of pain escaped her. The color faded from her cheeks turning her skin pale, which was almost white as fallen snow. The sparkle in her sapphire-stone eyes lost its luster and she blinked, struggling to keep them open as a veil of darkness swathed over her eyes.
A voice spoke. It was the voice she was so accustomed to hearing within her mind and for a moment she stirred in hope but the voice fractured as the darkness and silence pressed around her. The monster, the No-Life King spoke mockingly, "My Love, Integra…your blood is like liquid fire. So passionate, intriguing and let us not forget so…" he paused searching for the perfect word or flawless phase before added jeeringly, "innocent…"
Defeated she snagged in his arms, hanging like a limp, ragged doll. She stared up eyes half-closed, not seeing him and the red-rubies that dripped from his mouth.
"Tell me Fallen Master to stop," his baritone voice purred wickedly and seductively.
Ill-fated Integra made no reply.
Smirking at her stubborn silence the monster caressed her cheek, the base of his thumb brushing away a single warm tear, which was strangely suspended on time on the curve of her cheek. "Defiant to the end, Integra. Or perhaps foolish. Tell me to stop and I shall."
Ha. She knew in doing so that it spelled weakness and would only add to his ghastly pleasures. Her voice was soft but audible, "Not never. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not in a thousand years."
Alucard seemed satisfied with that answer. "Of course. Not in a thousand years. Never stop. Happy to oblige, my Countess, my No-Life-Queen…" A Cheshire grin crossed his lips before he placed a zealous kiss on her lips, which revealed the scorching and intoxicating lust of his rage and passion, and perhaps hers' in return—and the vision faded.
A voice from a distant memory whispered, echoing and accompanying the darkness, "Falling but not yet broken…"
Alucard smiled fatherly down at the corpse of his Fallen Master, Sir Integra Fairbook Wingates Hellsing. The sight was simply exquisite and majestic. Too bad that the immortal-artists such as the Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli were born about six centuries too late, otherwise they would have an angel to paint, a goddess to model and praise—but Alucard had done one better. He had immortalized her in blood, smoke and the pleasures of murder and chaos. Close to her ear the No-Life King whispered, "Embrace your immortality, Integra…and come with me…"
There, I hope you like it. It was especially difficult to write. If you don't like than please write your own version and inform me, I would love to see another writer's point of view. Tell me, if you thought it was pain or pleasure, or even a mixture of both. Personally I think this might be too long. But—it is done.
O Death-box—a coffin
O "Death may be a dark house...But it comes with an incredible view."
--"The Consequence" by Darth Githoron
O Otherworld—or the next world, Life-after-Death, the Underworld.