A/N: New update! Sorry for the wait. Again this chapter I didn't quite enjoy writing as much as the others but let me know what you think.
Many thanks to my reviewers and god bless. Here it is chapter 14 - Enjoy :)
It was then I noticed her smile, friendly as it was, I could see a glimmer of fangs from beneath her upper lip.
" Hi, you must be Elizabeth… my name is Seras Victoria."
I just sat there staring up at her, even from this angle knelt on the floor she didn't look that tall. Or old, in fact she looked young. She was quite pretty, at least I thought so anyway. A perfect womanly figure unlike my own skimpy stick like form with not a curve in sight.
We stayed that way for a moment, with nothing but occasional rustle of the wind through the trees to break the silence. Nonetheless she continued to smile at me - waiting patiently.
She was either a little too slow in realising I was knelt in the dirt weeping or she simply knew I would be here. Did she know? No, that wasn't possible, she couldn't possibly have known. But then I looked deeper into her crimson eyes and had a sudden revelation… My heart rising up into my throat.
She wasn't like everyone else.
" You're a vampire aren't you?" I asked, wincing and almost slapping myself when I heard the not-so-suppressed fear in my own voice. She didn't look the sort of person to kill people and try to rip them to bloody shreds.
Her smile turned sheepish, a small gloved hand rising to rub at the back of her neck.
Great, now I have offended her.
" Er… Yes. Yes, I am." She shuffled her feet almost comically.
Carefully, I rose up onto my feet, legs trembling. My cheeks burning a rosy hue when I thought of how I must of looked sat in a flower bed, crying. I wiped at my wet cheeks and my eyes flickering quickly about the numerous blooming bushes but trying to refrain them from landing on the female vampire before me.
Silence ensued for what seemed like hours, until finally I could take no more and glanced towards her. Her own eyes turned down towards her shoes. A thick slice of blonde hair falling into her face. Was she just as nervous as I was?
For the first time since being here, I felt the corners of my lips tug upwards a little. Who ever this girl was, Seras?, I liked her already. I felt a warm aura coming from her; it reminded me of something.
" It's nice to meet you," I finally said, though it came out a little forceful. I cleared my throat awkwardly. "My name is Elizabeth." I wasn't the best when it came to making conversation with strangers. I shuffling my bare feet further into the ground and mentally scolded myself - I really should have at least looked for my clothes before I came outside.
At my attempt to be friendly I watched her face brighten up again, diving forward so suddenly to grasp my hand between her two cold ones. Cold hands? The quick movement making me step back in surprise.
" I'm so glad to have finally met you," She spoke in a sudden rush, " It gets a bit lonely around, you know, being a girl and surrounded by men all the time. But I like it here. You do like it here too, don't you? You will be staying with us, wont you? Its not that bad when you get used to it. I can't wait. We can talk to each other about all sorts. Share secrets. Talk about boys. This is so wonderful! My master told me about you. I just knew you'd be pretty."
Finally after a minute or so of the silence that followed I slowly retreated my hand. Wide eyed I stared at her, I managed to get my voice working and mutter a single whispered syllable." Huh?"
What was this?
A house full of harassing soldiers, a male vampire bent on killing more people than Hitler did a butler, and a female vampire whom seems to be the most normal of the bunch. Not to mention a woman old enough to be my grandmother controls them all and makes them call her 'master'.
" This is madness." I murmured to myself, though the blonde girl, Seras, heard me.
But it doesn't matter, A voice inside reasoned, Because you're leaving right?
" Do you want to meet the others?" Seras asked, so suddenly taking my hand and pulling me that I gave a startled squeak.
" What?!" I had no idea what was going on anymore.
She giggled at something on my face, or was it my facial expression? Tugging me back towards the tall imposing building I had moments before fled from.
" Wait, No!" I tried to stop her, pulling to get my fingers back but the other girls grip didn't budge. Good god, what did this girl eat for breakfast everyday? She was unmovable, like a boulder.
Relenting, I went with her, albeit unwillingly. Letting her drag me back and forth through the familiar winding hallways until we reached another grand doorway. This one led to an open courtyard. A courtyard surrounded by walls, but had no roof. She pulled me through the open gateway, smiling back at me in reassurance when she saw my unease.
My heart seemed to stop from beneath my lungs.
It wasn't the fact that she led me into a training yard that bothered me, or the fact that thousands of dangerous weapons were mounted across the numerous walls. It was rather that the place was filled with men. Soldiers.
Very 'familiar' soldiers.
One in particular glared at me with dark eyes, and I was being dragged straight towards him.
" Hey guys!" Seras called cheerfully to the not-so-cheerful bunch. "This is Elizabeth…" She pushed me forward gently in introduction, " She's going to be staying with us from now on so be nice, Ok?"
A rumble of 'yeah's echoed around the room. I should have been relieved at the respond, but could not help but swallow hard when a couple of soldiers reached for their weapons or began cracking their knuckles. Glaring at me.
I'm going to die, I'm so going to die, I chanted to myself silently in panic.
Seras, whom was totally oblivious to the soldier response to me, pushed me forward gently further into the crowd, enticing me to mingle as she pointed out certain people to me.
" So this is Mark," She pointed out to a skinny dark haired man who waved at me. " This is Davis," another Blonde haired man but this time with a moustache. One after the other I learned their names, some glowered with hostility, some smiled or shook my hand.
" And this, Lizzy…" She said finally reaching my impending doom. The tall dark eyed soldier moved forward to almost intimidating closeness. Unlike the others he didn't try to pretend to be interested in me, in fact he just sneered down at me. " Is the captain of the Soldiers and Hellsing finest mercenary, Mr Stephan Lavreski Ferkov."
He took another step forward towards me, now within easy touching distance.
" Well, if it isn't you." He voice rumbled with some unknown intention and some of his 'friends' chuckled.
" Er…" Seras looked uneasily from me to the captain and then back again. Suddenly clicking on to what was going on, " So… so you've already met before?"
" Yeah. We've met." he answered sarcastically, looking back at his men and began to roll up a sleeve of his jumper. " By the way princess, I think I owe you something…" The other sleeve rolled itself up and he slowly turned to me.
His movement was quick and for a moment I clenched my eyes shut, backing away a step in instinct. Waiting for the blow that was going to come…
But nothing happened.
I peaked open my eyes to see him frowning at me. A small grin slowly twitching at the corners of his mouth.
For a moment I held my breath. Gone was the cold calculating glower he seemed to enjoy giving me. In its place was a look that would have made even the most masculine of females flush with his charm. His dark eyes twinkling with mischief and he stuck his hand out to me.
" I owe you an apology. Back then, in the corridor. I thought ya were an intruder. We hadn't been updated on your situation here, Missy Lizzy. No one tells us anything anymore." He murmured the last bit to himself.
I took his outstretched hand and shook it almost mechanically. Smiling uneasily, unsure to his intentions. Watching him as though he were a snake waiting for the right moment strike.
Ignoring me, Stephan and Seras embraced each other in friendship - it was a strange sight to see. A vampire and a perverted mercenary, hugging. It was like watching Freddy Krueger and Jason-x play hopscotch together.
" Ah. There you are Miss Johnson." A new voice broke the moment and I turned to see the familiar lithe form of the Butler, William, walk through the entrance we had come through.
" Is everything alright?" he asked, stopping at my side to look me up and down for injuries of sorts. I take it he didn't trust the others either.
" Yes, I'm fine." I reassured him. Thankful for his calming company in this strange bundle of individuals. I always hated large crowds.
I took in the soldiers with curious eyes. Everyone seemed so different here. So different and yet so accepted by everyone else. You could say I felt envious of their affection banter as they teased and playfully wrestled one another. Even Seras. I turned to look at her on the opposite side of the room. She was listening intently to a joke the captain was telling her, when he finished the small group around him roared with laughter. Seras including, her sharp front teeth glistening even from the other side of the room and yet no one batted an eyelash. They accepted her for what she was.
" Does it frighten you, Miss Johnson." The soft low voice of the person beside me broke me from my reverie. I looked towards him, a brow arched at his question. Nevertheless he didn't even glance at me as he continued, just merely stood and watched the others. " Does it scare you to know that maybe, just maybe, you could be more accepted here than you could have been in your other life."
It was a killer question. At first I wanted to remark snobbishly to him. You know, the whole 'its none of your business' reply, but it wasn't like me to be cruel. Not like Emily, with the look of an angel but the temperaments of a drowned cat.
" You could say that." I muttered so only he could hear. I didn't want to open up to him but found I couldn't help myself. It was true. I knew for a fact that if I stayed here, I would become attached to some of these unique people. It would kill me if I had to leave them too. There was only so much a person could take.
That's why you should leave, now. A voice hissed from the shadow of my mind.
" Look at them." He whispered, glancing at me from the corner of his eye before turning back to them. " These soldiers. None of them have families left…" My head spun to him, eyes wide with surprise. No family? " All of them either killed by vampires or long buried with the passing of time."
My gaze wandered back over the group, watching their smiles, their laughter. But no family?
" Funny is it not?" William continued, the conversation turned so serious now that I felt as though he was trying to point something out to me. Trying to prove something. " They came here, with nothing. No family, no home, no money. Willing to give up their lives to hunt vampires and ghouls; that's what we do here. And even though they have lost so much, they have found so much more to live and fight for."
What was that? My eyes asked him without words.
After a moment of letting him choose his answer he turned to me, a soft smile gracing his pale aristocratic features.
" Each other." He finally answered. Just two words, yet they held so much more importance to me than whole page full.
" All my life I have been shy, depending on others to help me. I can't fight they can. My friends had been there for me, laughed with me, even protected me from the worst…" I paused, sighing in frustration. Trying to force away the tears that suddenly began to blur my vision. " And now they were gone. I feel so lost without them."
" They are not gone." His words, though merely riddles to play with my mind sent hope flooding through my chest like butterfly wings. " Not unless you want them to be. They are in your heart…"
I sniffed, wrapping my arms about my frame not for protection from the cold but for comfort as I watched the others with slight envy.
" In my heart," I muttered more to myself, " Well what if I don't want them in my heart. What if I want them here, next to me. With me…"
" Is it not enough that they are safe and with their own families?" He intervened curtly, his eyes cool and calm as they stared back evenly into mine. " You may have lost something precious to you Miss Johnson, but please do not wish the same on your friends. Would you ask them to give it all up for you? How very selfish of you."
Stunned by his harsh words I lowered my head, my hair curtaining shamefully around my face. In that moment you could say 'it sucked to be me' but at the same time I understood what he was trying to say to me. I hated to admit when I was wrong; I hated being proved wrong. And this time I 'was' wrong. I was being selfish, thinking about myself and not others.
" …Right Lizzy?!"
Thinking about it, I began to understand what William was trying to tell me. To lose someone close to you was painful and only by forgetting could you move on to remove that pain. In a way when I thought about it, I was happy. Happy that they were safe. Jade and Adam. Even Emily and her gang if I only admitted it silently to myself.
A sudden nudge of the elbow from William next to me brought me from my pondering. My head shot up to meet ruby orbs staring at me inquisitively, a blonde head tilted like that of a cat.
" Are you alright?" Seras asked, walking towards me.
" Yes." I lied, " Fine."
" We're going to play poker, wanna play?" She gave me that treacherous smile that usually had me eating out of her hands. Her features fell when she looked into my eyes and saw my indecision.
I should leave and find a way back home.
No, I should stay and help. If I went home would those vampires follow me?
" You will stay with us wont you?" Seras piped up again, a few of the men gathering around our little circle, making me gnaw on my bottom lip. As though sensing my struggle for an answer, I felt something brush against the back of my hand and I looked up. Williams calm yet now slightly mischievous eyes twinkled back to me… then it clicked.
" You said those things on purpose." It wasn't much of an accusation, though I tried to make it sound like one. My own small smile rising to the occasion.
He just nodded.
All that time. He was testing me. Trying me, and yet at the same time making me realise the things I should have done hours ago.
Just because you wasn't part of others lives didn't mean you couldn't stand by them or protect them. Some sacrifices are worth everything, even if the outcome is not in the best of your interests. Some things are worth fighting for even if they no longer existed in the world.
Dark eyes, Stephan, grinned at me and then… winked. And in that gesture I saw the answer to my own question.
" Shall I go and set up a room for you then Miss Johnson?" William asked, already knowing the answer.
With nothing more to do, I nodded.
" Alright lets get this party started!" Stephan howled, rubbing his hands lustrously. " Start getting your money out boys, we're about to see a strip…"
" Er, no one said anything about stripping." Seras intervened suddenly, arms crossed and glaring at him. Anyone else would have been terrified of such a look but Stephen just grinned at her.
I giggled at their antics but quickly smothered my mouth with my hand when half a dozen eyes landed on me.
" Come on then, Missy Lizzy!" Stephan hollered at me, turning to walk with the others towards the large round table in the corner.
Being the last one, I carefully made my way over to the table, feet shuffling as I lowered myself into a chair.
In the corner of my eye I saw William walk to the door and pause, his head tilting elegantly to something on his right. Then after a while he continued out of the door, shaking his head and his shoulder bouncing as though chuckling at something amusing.
I frowned at this. My eyes seeking out what could of possibly caught his attention so much. My gaze roamed to the darkened corner by the window and my heart stopped.
A familiar shape lay within those shadows. He was there. Alucard. Broad and tall, enveloped in flowing crimson. A wide brimmed hat covered most of the face I knew to be pale and a single slice of light reflecting from the tinted glasses.
Had he been there the whole time?
My heart stuttered back into its unsteady rhythm, the well-known sense of dread coming over me as I simply watched him; him leaning almost lazily, arms crossed, against the wall.
For a second I thought he had not seen me, or his focus was on something else. He wasn't here for me, I thought to myself in relief. But then, as though reading my thoughts, I saw his mouth curl from beneath the shadow of his hat. His head rising merely an inch to show me two cat-like shaped fiery rubies over the rim of his glasses, and all at once I was lost. I couldn't look away, like a deer caught in headlights. I felt swamped with his power, sensed it ripple from him in waves.
A brief second and then I felt someone draped something over my shoulders. Startled I found Mark, the dark haired soldier smiling at me, putting his coat around me. Reminding me once again I was sat with a group of males only in my nightgown playing a game of cards.
" Thank you." I thanked him bashfully.
I waited patiently for my cards as Stephan began to deal them out, but found my gaze drifting back to that darkened corner where the devil himself had stood…
He was gone.
I sighed, my heart slowing to its normal pace. Everything was so strange here and yet it felt like home.
I would try, I thought myself somewhat unsure, I would stay here for a while and try and help the others. Not like I had anywhere else to go anyway. I just hoped I wouldn't being seeing anymore of that vampire lurking about.
But I will try and live another day… for my friends.