NEW CHAP(7): "An Anticipated Victory"

Seras blinked blandly at Captain Bernadette, who was vividly describing some sort of important discovery. She had taken a liking to tuning him out ever since he had recovered from his illness. Back to the old Pip again, his mouth was as dirty as a gutter and constantly ran day in and day out. Not to mention all the suggestive pinches and grabs he gleefully handed out to her on a daily basis. She grimaced as he chomped the sandwich he had been finishing, and went on talking while chewing. Eww…

"Zo, zen I walked around ze corner and zaw Al-"

"Pip, I really think we should be training or getting ready or SOMETHING. Sir Integra wants us on a mission to seek out Millennium tonight."

"But, Zeras! He-"

"I'm sorry, Captain. I need to go finish my training. Maybe we can chat later!" She tried to sound eager, as not to blow him off. However, as soon as she issued her quick exiting line, she fled from him. It wasn't that she didn't like Pip, she just had other things to do right now. Plus, that scene in the bedroom when he had that terrible fever… she just felt a little awkward, was all. Even if he didn't.

Her body suddenly shuddered as she felt her Master's aura moving about restlessly in the manor. She smiled pleasantly, savoring the feeling before it drifted away. The connection she had with Alucard was something she liked to acknowledge. It made her feel close to him when she could feel his aura, although she was not very good at it.

Her eyes drifted to the large window of Integra's office, then down the side of the building. What was he doing in there?

The No-Life King paced about his room.

Only 8 hours until the mission.

8 hours to hide his condition.

8 hours to get himself together.

And 8 hours to kill Bernadette with absolutely no mercy… or at least threaten his life so incessantly, he decides to commit suicide. Alucard had no particular preference.

Absently, as he mulled over possible schemes, he see-sawed a gloved finger under his nose, no longer really noticing he was doing so. He was hoping to stave off any urges (or at least practice) before the mission…

He was failing miserably.

"HRRAAACHT!… CHT!.. ACHT!!.. uuughh.." The vampire had been against excreting his own nasal fluid onto himself or his own clothes, but now he was beyond the point of no return. He had no earthly idea where the maids kept the tissues or hankies or whatever they were called. He had never carried one. So, he had no choice but to just make use of what he had, as disgusting as it was. He palmed his nose with his hand, collapsing into his lone chair. He watched with an agitated look on his face as the debris from his powerful sneeze drifted back down to the ground near the door. With a great breath, he snuffled. This was past anything he had ever been tolerant of experiencing. He had already shot himself three times, regretfully. That had just made his head ache even more than it had before.

Still, he thought wistfully as another batch of sneezes surfaced, The feeling is not exactly unpleasant…

It had been a long time since he had satisfied any bodily function:

Peeing.

Eating food.

Drinking things human's drink.

He did not miss it, precisely… but it sure felt nice to have a change once and a while-

"MASTER!"

Alucard, who had been tilting his head back to release his impulse, quickly gasped out of surprise and ducked his head into the crook of his arm, shaking with a few sneezes, trying to keep them quiet. It was very difficult.

"Master!?… What was that sound?"

Alucard rubbed his nose, snapping his head up to glare at the door. His voice, instead of a sonorous bellow, was a low croak.

"Get-!. Get out of here, Police Girl!" He punctuated his statement with a sniffle, feeling his face heat up with slight disdain for the sound of his voice.

Seras was silent for a moment, then her light, Cockney chirp squeaked from behind the door that separated them.

"Master, is something wrong?"

Alucard pounded a fist to the arm of his chair. His patience, he observed, was incredibly low today. "FINE!.. Jus-" His frame tensed as he quickly whipped his head to his shoulder. "HHRRRAA-MMPHH!!.. MPHH!!"

Seras knocked hesitantly. "Master!?.. Are you-?.."

The vampire swore softly, sniffling, then slumping back in his chair. All of his energy felt like it was just melting away… evaporating… like water when you let it sit too long. He only growled at the door as a response to her inquiry. Seras, he could tell, had grown suspicious of him.

"I-… I'll see you in a few hours, Master…"

She hastily left.

Alucard leaned back, letting out a breath and running a hand over his face. This was going to be a VERY long night.

Pip grinned as Charlie's eyes widened.

"You mean he-?"

"Yez…"

"But you-?"

"Of course not, idiot…"

Charlie blinked, then took a breath. "But HE-"

"Yep." Pip took a drag from his cigarette, coughing slightly on the first puff, but perfectly satisfied after. He breathed it out, watching it curl out into the air before looking back to Charlie. He loved new recruits. They'd believe you if it was a lie or not.

"Vampires can't get sick, can they?" Charlie asked, looking puzzled. Pip rolled his eyes a bit, then shrugged.

"Not unless zey drink unhealthy blood."

Charlie blinked again, then knitted his eyebrows together, looking deep in thought. Pip gave a sigh, throwing an arm over his shoulder. "Look, kiddo. Zee only zing we have to worry about iz if he friggin sneezes us off zee face of zee planet. His sneeze is like-… I don't know what… zome sort of atomic explosion…"

Charlie looked alarmed at this. "He might start nuclear war!"

Pip groaned at this, crushing his cigarette butt out on Charlie's thick uniform, then putting what remained of his smoke in Charlie's hand.

"Do me a favor, eh?"

Charlie brightened, looking delightedly baffled by the crushed-out smoke that he was now holding. "Anything, Captain!"

"Don't think so much. You might hurt yourself."

As the evening gave was to the murky dawn of dusk, Alucard had managed to pull himself together. He had taken a quick detour to a deserted men's room on the 2nd floor and endured through the strange custom of blowing his nose. Quite an adventure that had been. He suspected that was the only thing required of him, except when he got back to his quarters, he found himself slightly sweaty, which is NOT supposed to happen to a vampire. He couldn't force himself to eat anything except half a pack of medical blood because he suddenly felt less thirsty and a hair queasy. He concluded, after little consideration, that a nap would fix everything.

He was shocked to find himself drift out of sleep damp with sweat about 10 minutes after it was time to leave for the mission. He scrambled out of his coffin, momentarily stumbling, then straightening up self-consciously, as if someone had seen. He couldn't comprehend his rotten luck. His nap had had been contorted into an induced unconsciousness, to his disappointment.

Alucard pushed through his door and swept out into the hallway purposefully. If he was going to be late, he was going to make it good.

Up, up, up the stairs and then a right to the front door out onto the lawn. He found everyone: the troops, Seras, Walter, and even Integra, waiting for him.

"About TIME," Integra complained, shuffling a bit and lighting a cigar. "What were you doing? Playing patty-cake?"

Alucard let it slide by like concrete to a cheese-grater, giving a sly grin. "You could say that, Master…" He cleared his throat softly, trying to suppress the compulsion to cough heartily into a fist. Integra scoffed.

"Whatever… Just hurry along so I can brief everyone on the mission…"

Alucard bowed maliciously, then filed into the crowd, behind Seras. The young fledgling turned to look at her Master, who leered back with a deranged grin pasted to his pale, moonlit face. His eyes, hidden by his orange glasses, flashed bright as he turned his head up to look full at Integra. Seras smiled slightly, then turned back. Her smiled faded from her face, after that. She'd had a sudden rush of feeling, when Alucard had looked at her… a wave of aura… And she didn't like the way it felt.

Her Master was extraordinarily admirable for almost everything he did, one being his absolute inherent ability to lie. Deception was his code-name, and trickery was his word to live by. He could just about swindle anyone, unless ordered not to. And that was what worried her the most. With Alucard, it was very hard to determine what was truth… and what was just plain BS…