A/N: I own nothing of Hellsing. I do not own any of the characters. However I do own my original characters (oc's).

Wowzer! This. is. an incredibly long chapter. I'm so sorry. Bum ache for you all I'm afraid.

I had so much fun with this chapter. It took me a while to organise it properly but in the end I got there. Sorry for the wait.

I have to say this is probably one of my favourite chapters. And the next one is going to be the shizzle! ( ;0) read on, you'll see what I mean)

Here is chapter 35 of my story Dark Guardian

Let me know what you think, please. All comments and thoughts are welcome.

Enjoy :0)


Chapter 35

-x-x-x-x-

The resounding bang of a shot being taken echoed and shattered the silent hall like a crack of momentary lightning. The bullet whizzed and imbedded itself deep into the target, a thick padded dummy staked a good distance away from the line I was standing at. I released the breath I had been holding in a sudden whoosh and smiled to myself slowly, satisfied. I am getting better at this, I thought to myself as I watched the dummy finish swinging on its axis to see that my bullet had managed to find its way in the bottom left of its leg.

Slow progress, but progress none the less.

I lowered my arms carefully; they were trembling from the strain and aftershock of the shot. I lifted the protective goggles on my face so they rested on the top of my head and then removed the muffs from my ears so that they dangled around the back of my neck like a pair of headphones.

" Not bad." A voice, deep and low came from behind me.

I turned to see who had spoken and felt my face warming slightly when I saw Stephan leaning against the only doorframe into the soundproof room. His dark eyes twinkled playfully at me. His combat trouser jingled, the silver loops and chains clashing together as he stepped towards me and eyed up my 'injured victim' in the distance.

" I didn't see you there," I said to him, still slightly taken aback by his sudden appearance.

" You're getting better, Missy Lizzy, but your arms are still failing you," he reached over and lightly took the gun from my hands, " Maybe we should do some muscle building exercises to make those biceps of yours stronger…" He patted his own lovingly, " … Like these babies."

I snorted derisively at him, sarcasm practically dripping from my voice as I said, " How modest of you."

He laughed at me and winked, " You know me, I like to charm the ladies."

I laughed gently back at him and then suddenly became serious when I could see that he had something serious to say to me.

" Sir Hellsing wants to speak with you," he said it as he turned away and placed the small black gun on the long counter at the far side of the room; the surface of the table was covered with various weapons from small handguns to assault rifles and even long bladed swords and knives. These were Stephan's pride and joys and were not to be used or touched without his permission.

" Sir Hellsing?" I asked, hoping I had heard him wrong, yet knowing I hadn't. Dread began to fill me from the bottom upwards, causing my stomach to twist and knot uncomfortably.

He nodded, glancing back at me only once. He was absolutely oblivious to my sudden change of behaviour. The sudden charge of unease and suspicion must have been written all over my face. I was only glad he hadn't noticed it.

I wiped at my slightly wet brow and took a deep breath, preparing myself. I told Stephan I would be back in a while and headed off to find my guardian and leader of the Hellsing Organisation. My footsteps, though booted heavily, were light and soundless as I moved across the gravelled pathway through the gardens and up into the main house. The door creaked ominously as I stepped through and gazed about the hallway for a certain butler.

" William?" I called out tentatively, knowing that at this time he should be about downstairs somewhere.

I was dreading my talk with Sir Integra. I wanted to find William, to talk him about it first. Surely he hadn't told her. The thought made my skin ripple with goose bumps. It had been nearly a week now since I had sat with him in the dining hall and told him about my adventures with a certain tall and dark vampire in the basement. At first I had been paranoid, always watching Sir Integra for any sign that she may already know or had found out about it. But as always, William had kept his word and she had remained oblivious to the information. As the days passed I began to relax and the lack of surprise appearances from Alucard only helped in settling my nerves and giving me the space and peace that I needed.

And now… I was getting worked up again. Did she know? Had William told her? Where was he anyway?

I gazed around the hall again and listened. No one had answered my call. I stepped to the room to my right and peeked inside the huge dining hall only to find it empty.

" William?" I called again, half expecting his aged and tall shape to come gliding from the kitchen corridor any moment and greet me.

Where was he? I began to worry to myself. William was a man of tradition and routine. To see him not in his usual haunt at this time in the morning was strange and abnormal.

After moving further on to various other rooms I gave up trying to find him and turned back down the corridor and then up towards the long stretch of hallway that would lead me to Sir Integra's office. As I approached the large double doors I lifted a hand and knocked gently on its thick surface.

I waited, the silence my only companion before a refined and feminine voice came muffled from the other side.

" Enter."

I turned the handle slowly and opened the door with a soft squeak. I slid my way inside and shut it soundly behind me before turning to face the tall but slender form of Sir Hellsing sat behind her wide oak desk. Her eyes from behind her glasses were a vibrant blue and gazed at me we a cool assertiveness that I knew so well.

" Hi," I greeted warmly and smiled at her, " Stephan said you wanted to see me."

" Yes," it came out drawled, measured as the blonde haired woman lowered her head back down to the paperwork she was currently working on, " Take a seat."

Without needing to be directed I moved forward and pulled out the simple wooden chair perched before her desk. I lowered myself into it and waited quietly, watching her as she scribbled something vigorously across the paper page.

I waited, for seconds, maybe minutes. I waited for the scolding that would surely come my way. The anger. The disappointment. However neither came, instead she just sat there writing furiously and without even glancing at me or pausing she said –

" William is not well."

It took me aback momentarily. At first I felt relief that she was still unknowing about the problem with Alucard, but the relief soon gave way to worry at the thought of William being unwell. That would explain why he wasn't downstairs, I thought knowingly to myself, I wonder what is wrong with him?

" Where is he? Is he alright?" I asked softly, my brows furrowing.

The hand that was writing paused. A soft sigh came from Sir Integra's lips and then she slowly lowered the pen, her head rose and her silken hair rippled as her eyes landed on me almost sadly.

" He is fine, resting hopefully." She explained, " I have given him the day off."

" A day off?" I stated aloud, on the brink of laughing. Asking William to take a day off was like asking the pope to give up being catholic for a day – it was unheard of. I could only imagine what kind of arguments he and Integra had shared over the matter. " Are you sure that is wise?" I asked playfully.

Sir Integra looked at me and then slowly showed me a small smiled. It was a true smile that was full of warmth and held a glimmer of mirth behind it.

" Common sense would say not," Her pale otherworldly features changed and turned into that of determination that meant strictly business, " I need you to complete his duties for today."

I paused, taken by surprise by the simple request. No, not a request, it was an order.

" You want me to take Williams place?" I enquired, double checking to make sure I had understood her properly.

" Only for today while he is away," Sir Integra looked down at her papers again as though our conversation was suddenly over.

Silence took hold of the room as I sat there staring at her dumbly. It was not until a whole three minutes had passed did she finally glance back up at me again.

" You've seen the tasks William does during the day haven't you?" She queried to me and I nodded, " You can start by bringing me some Earl Grey tea. That is the first thing William does in the morning," She looked down again and began to write quickly on the papers again, " Then you can bring me the post; if there is any. All the bed sheets need changing and the towels in my bedroom need refreshing…"

I simply sat there, awkward and silent, nodding every now and then as she relayed her orders to me.

" The local grocers are delivering sometime today at dinner, please make sure they come through the side door. I don't like to see vans clogging up the drive. For breakfast, I will have something hot - William usually makes egg and bacon on Mondays and Wednesdays. For late dinner I will have something light, make it as you wish. The mirror in the upstairs hallway needs polishing and Seras and Alucard need their blood delivering to their rooms before six."

Sir Integra lifted her head and stared at me firmly, " Any questions?"

I shook my head at her in reply. My temples throbbed as I tried to remember every detail of what she had just told me. There was a lot to do, but I was not going to complain. I knew by default all the chores and tasks William had to deal with. I also knew that the ones Integra was giving me was only a small percentage of the 'to do list' that the butler had to complete every day.

Without waiting for her to speak to me again I got up from my seat and began to get to work straight away. As I exited the office door I glanced at the wall to the side of me, the clock hanging there read 8:43am. I still had plenty of time to shower and get things done before the evening hour would come round.

I stepped quickly to my room and hopped into the shower, washing away the grime and sweat that the training session had produced in me. I then got changed into a pair of straight legged jeans and a t-shirt. I knew for a fact that I was going to get warm pretty quickly with all the running about I was going to be doing. I grabbed my hairbrush and quickly brushed my locks before pulling the front sections back and tied it away from my face.

I left my room and began to walk down the stairs to the kitchen. Once there I slipped Williams cooking pinny over my head and tied it around the back of my waist. Without further more to do or say I quickly washed my hands and began to crack on with making breakfast and tea for Sir Integra. Having done this kind of thing before, I knew where to find things and where they were placed. There had been many an occasion in which I would help William with his chores or would take it upon myself to make my own cakes and sandwiches.

I started by brewing the tea, being sure to put two spoonful's of the tea into the pot to make it was double as strong in a way that I knew Sir Integra would like it. I then began to fry some egg and bacon in a pan over the stove and placed a few rounds of bread into the toaster.

After finishing cooking the breakfast I placed it all on a tray and carried it upstairs to her. She savoured the tea and seemed surprised by the meal I had cooked for her but nonetheless relished and enjoyed it. After she was finished with it I took the tray back downstairs and cleared it all away.

The next two or three hours was spent dusting and polishing the house. From doorways, to mirrors, to vases and bookcases and mantle pieces. By the time I was finished my brow was glistening. My clothes were beginning to stick to me and my hair was beginning to fall loose of its band; stray dark locks were falling forward into my face. The house began to look and feel cleaner - much to my delight. Surfaces gleamed and shined in a healthy manner. The scent of the polish was sweet and citrusy, making it pleasant to the nose as soon as you walked into the room.

After all the cleaning was done I moved upstairs to the bedrooms. There I removed, washed and replaced all of the bed linen. As there were only a few of us living in the upstairs rooms it was not a hard task to complete. With all the bed sheet sorted I then moved onto refreshing the towels, I removed the dirty or wet ones and replaced them with clean ones from the heating cupboard by the stairs. By the time I was finished with the rooms I looked at the clock and it read three o'clock dead on.

For ten minutes I decided to take a break. I simply sat downstairs at the counter on a bar stool in the kitchen and had a glass of chocolate milkshake – my favourite. It barely felt like a few minutes to me but I was determined to get these jobs over and done with. I did not want William to have to work extra because I had missed doing something.

The idea of delivering blood to the vampires was a daunting and uneasy task to me, but I felt I could accomplish it as long as they were not about as I did it. I was only glad that they were way for a few days on a mission in Kent; they would not be back until late tomorrow morning. The last thing I wanted was to bump into or have the need to talk with Alucard. I was trying to avoid him at all costs, especially after what happened at the party. Just the thought of it made my body tingle.

With a light sigh I got up and began to prepare dinner for the evening. I decided to go with a simple sandwich of cheddar cheese and sweet pickle spread. I then added a plate of custard crème biscuits to the tray and a pot of fresh boiled Earl Grey tea like this morning. I even added a slice of coffee and walnut cake that I had found in the pantry. It was a basic dinner but it had a variety of different things to choose from and would no doubt curb any snacking cravings Sir Integra might feel during her long hours of working. I headed upstairs with the tray and balanced it carefully as I opened the door to her office. From where I was standing she looked tired and overwhelmed by all the piles of papers on her desk but the moment her eyes landed on me with the food her eyes lit up and she smiled at me warmly.

With much thanks and appreciation I placed the tray down on her desk, poured the tea into a cup and left her to munch until her heart was content.

By the time it reached a quarter to four I had ate my own meal and was now heading towards the end of the servants hallway where I knew a fair sized closet was situated. Inside was two chest sized freezers and a fridge that was as tall as my waistline. From inside the fridge I pulled out two blood bags, both of which had Seras Victoria's initials on them - thank the gods for Williams last moment of consideration for me. Beside the bags was a wine bottle. I did not need to look to know who this container belonged to. I had seen it many times, both on the table beside the high back in the basement and on the trolley when William had been delivering them in the past. The fluid inside was thick and crimson in colour, but has a light consistency that flowed and moved freely like that of a fine wine.

Without thinking much more on it and realising time was passing quickly, I placed both of the bags and the bottle onto a tray and exited the closet. I headed out of the serving quarters and down to the far east of the building.

Here the walls grew thicker. The soft pastel wallpaper turned to simple brick surroundings. The soft carpets turned to cold and hard wood floorboards and stone tiles. As I headed further down the corridor I paused at the third door to the left, knowing without guidance as to which room belonged to Seras.

I lifted a hand to knock but then suddenly changed my mind remembering that she and the others were away until late tomorrow morning. With some slight difficulty I pushed open the door to the room and entered. It was a basic room, with a large four-poster bed, a bedside table, a fridge, some chairs and a small dressing table situated at the left of the room. The room itself was a soft yellow colour and had no windows, only four endless walls. It felt slightly confining; I was only glad I wasn't claustrophobic. It was tidy and did not require any kind of care or cleaning done to it. In fact it looked like it hadn't been lived in, at all.

The room was eerily quiet.

I picked up the two bags of chilled blood. I then looked around once again, my eyes falling to the fridge sitting in the corner by the left of the door. It was a fair sized one too. I walked over and opened it, the light inside flashed on into my face like a yellow beacon. Empty. The entire fridge and its compartments were empty. There was not a single piece of food or liquid in there. It was strange, I thought, to have such a large appliance in your room without using it. Or better still to be a vampire who drinks only blood and therefore doesn't need it. I shrugged off my ponderings and carefully placed the crimson bags on the top shelf where I knew it would be kept coolest. After shifting them around and making sure the bag was upright in position I nodded in satisfaction to myself and then moved away and began to close the door shut.

A body took its place.

" Lizzy?

I screamed, sharp and loudly. I shot back a step. My eyes widened and shot to the person standing in the place of where the door had been, completely concealing them. My heart thudded and pounded crazily from inside my chest. My mind was whirling,

Sweet Jesus of…

There standing directly beside me, nought but a few feet away was a small but slender figure. The body was curvaceous and feminine. The person's hair was a bright golden colour, almost white and tied up into a spiked short ponytail. The eyes that looked back widely at me were crimson in colour; a colour that sent me into a fearful panic.

Or rather, it did, until I realised who it was.

" Seras?" it came out in a sudden whoosh, my voice thick with relief, " What are you doing here? You scared the hell out of me!"

Seras smiled at me sheepishly and rubbed at the back of her neck in an anxious manner. Her uniform creaked and crinkled as she moved, her legs shuffling, her boots rubbing awkward at the carpet.

" Oh, um, sorry Lizzy," She shrugged helplessly, " I didn't realise you were in here."

I laughed lightly at her, my heart calming and my breathing turning to normal as I looked at her. And then, something else suddenly popped into my mind.

"What are you doing back so soon?" I asked, my brow furrowing and a heavy weight falling in my gut as the answer became apparent.

" Oh, we got back just over an hour ago," She explained her face cheerful but at the same time filled with exhaustion, her ruby eyes kept glancing longingly at the four poster bed, " It's been a long few days I have to admit, but I'm glad it's over." She smiled at me and scrunched up her nose distastefully, " Hotels are definitely not my forte." As though a thought just popped into her head she frowned, her pale blonde brows furrowing deeply, " We did originally plan to stay until tomorrow but master was so adamant about coming home as soon as possible…" her voice trailed off, her voice a mere murmur as she added, "It was quite strange really."

I felt a cold shiver run down my spine, a solid lump of dread forming in the core of my being as I began realise that if Seras and the others were back from their mission, then no doubt Alucard would be too.

I glanced over at the tray waiting on the side table, the lone tall bottle sitting there like a waiting beacon. I felt like it was mocking me, sealing my fate. A reminder of what was to come, and very soon.

Without thinking I asked her, " So," I coughed, clearing my tight throat, " Is Alucard with Sir Integra then? Or out on patrol again?"

Wishful thinking idiot, I thought mockingly to myself even as Seras answered –

" No, master is resting downstairs."

I felt my eyes close in utter despair. I swallowed heavily, trying to think of a reason not to go down into the basement. I had promised William not to go down there again. I tried to think of reason as to why I would need to stay here with Seras Victoria or maybe go upstairs to Sir Integra. But alas none came to me. I was doomed. There was only one job left for me to finish tonight and that was to deliver the bottle of blood to the basement. To Alucard.

" Are you alright, Lizzy?" I heard Seras ask from beside me and I looked to her carefully hiding my expression, " You look a little pale?"

I shook my head to her, though it was the total opposite of what I was thinking.

" No, I'm fine," I tried to give her a convincing smile but it felt sour on my lips.

I straightened myself from my slight bent position from reaching down to the refrigerator. I sighed, slowly, carefully and headed towards the bottle and tray waiting for me at the table. I picked them up and stared at them for a while, trying to convince myself that all I needed to do was deliver the damn thing and get it over and done with.

I turned back to Seras and watched as she began to rustle through her wardrobe and began to draw out a fresh outfit. Seeing this as my queue to leave I said, " Enjoy your meal, I will see you later. Let me know if you need anything. " I then headed over to the door, not waiting for a reply, and headed out into the empty and quiet hallway.

One minute, I said to myself as I leaned heavily against the now closed doorframe, it would take only one minute to take it to him. I wouldn't have to touch him. Talk to him. Or even look at him if I did want to. And yet here I was, holding the wine bottle so tightly to my chest as though it were a lifeline. I was nervous, so terribly nervous.

But it had to be done.

I tried to straighten my shoulders and lift my head determinedly. My main purpose was that I had to try and behave like Integra. I had to be firm and lay down the law with the vampire. I lifted a hand to my neck and touched the mark on my neck. It was still there, barely visible now and healing quickly. I hardly ever noticed it. However every now and then it would flare up hotly under my skin, making me remember it. Making me think about how it gotten there in the first place. I had lost all control that night on the balcony at the party. I could not and would not allow it to happen again. I had tried all means possible to try and avoid Alucard since then and now… I felt trapped.

I suddenly became aware of where I was. I looked about, realising I had been moving in the direction of the basement. My footsteps small, unsure and slow, dreading what was to come. As I ventured closer into the east side of the mansion I felt the air get decidedly colder. The chill from the brickwork seeped into me ominously. My footsteps became louder, echoing against the stonework beneath my shoes. The air in this part of the house was more oppressive, thinner, almost as though it was a being all in itself. It was like being in a cheesy gothic horror movie. Every step I took I was glancing all around, expectant and waiting for something to step from the dim lit corridors. A face. A shadow.

I reached the top of the stairs that led down to the basement. I paused there, staring down into the open blackness that awaited me down there. I had been here before, once, that fateful night. And now, I was more aware, more sensitive to the idea of venturing into that endless blackness. This time there was no black dog to find, no guide to lead me or for me to follow. There was only the steps; the thick stone steps that flowed steeply down into unknown room below.

I heard nothing down there. It was eerily quiet. Nothing. No footsteps. No voice beckoning me forward into the monsters trap. Nothing.

I was so undecided. Should I go down? Or shouldn't I? The problem was causing me to wrack my brain, to try and sooth the nerves rippling with unease under my skin. I just had to deliver the bottle. That's it. That was all. It would be easy right?

I took a deep and cleansing breath. I felt my fingers tighten on the bottle in my hands as I clutched it tighter to me. Without thinking, without pausing, I took my first step down into the darkness.

The moment I did I felt strangled by the empty blackness that consumed me. It was all around me, suffocating me, pulling me deeper. I took another step down, and then another, and then another. One hand let go of the bottle to lay it against the cold stone beside me, using it as an anchor to guide me down as I took another step, and then another. The stairs seemed endless, yet as I took another step down I caught the glimpse of flickering light from below. Using it as a guide I took the final steps down until I was in the room I hoped I would never have had to enter again.

So much for that notion.

The hall I was standing in was huge. It was narrow but seemed to stretch out forever into the shadowed distance. The lights I saw flickering where various candelabras lining the stone walls around me. Their flamed lights shimmered and danced in some unseen and unfelt wind. There were no windows in the room, so the candles were the only source of light or life in the room. The iciness I had felt in the hallway above could not have prepared me for this however. This air was fresh and icy cold I could see my breath every now and then puff out in front of my face. It held a strange musky scent to it, a smell I recognised, from somewhere or someone, but I couldn't place it.

I peered down the room trying to pick out shapes and shadows, expecting to see a pair of luminous maroon eyes burning at me from a pale face. But I saw nothing.

I took a step closer, my eyes glancing this way and that nervously as though expecting something, or someone to suddenly appear from the gloom.

And then I saw him.

He was there, Alucard, sat in the darkness waiting for me.

He was sitting with one slender leg crossed over the other in his high backed throne like chair. I could see that his head was tilted, his gloved hand placed under his chin, holding up his head in an almost bored fashion.

" Alucard," I spoke quietly, my voice shaking as I took another step towards his unmoving form in the chair.

Silence met my ears. He neither spoke nor made any gesture to acknowledge me. He made not the slightest of movements to my appearance. At first I was anxious, my heart pounding heavily as I swallowed and took another step closer to him. My legs weakened as I realised he was probably being silent on purpose; try to get me closer to him, trying to lure me in within reaching distance.

However that theory soon fled my mind like a feather in a breeze, because as I took another step closer to him I realised something. There wasn't a pair of crimson eyes looking at me from the chair. I couldn't see his eyes… for they were shut. His smile, that same egotistical and predatory smile was gone and in its place was an expression of utter peace on his pointed features.

He is asleep. The thought hit me like a boulder out of nowhere. He is asleep?

I took another step closer. I was so close now that I was only a few metres away from him and his motionless red covered form.

I stood there for a brief few minutes, watching him. He looked so different than what he usually did when he was awake. He looked so at peace, so relaxed and deep in sleep. It made him look… well, almost human. His face though aristocratic in structure appeared soft and inviting, making me want to reach out and touch him, to see if was as smooth as it looked.

" Alucard?" I called out softly, trying to wake him.

Again, only silence met my ears. His eyes did not move or even flicker as I spoke to him. Surely he could hear me, I thought. I took another step closer, feeling brave now that I knew that he was asleep and was not aware of my presence.

I smiled; a feeling of victorious relief washed over me as I took the final movement forward and reached out to place the bottle onto the table quietly beside him. I was so close I could feel the chill coming from his body. It would take little to reach out and brush against him. My hands shook as I placed the glass bottle down onto the table's surface. I tried as best as I could to keep it still and to prevent it from knocking or rattling against the wood.

I let out a breath slowly, quietly. My heart was pounding, but with a high adrenaline that was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.

I glanced over to the vampire. His eyelids were still closed. He neither stirred nor moved as I prepared to take the final steps away and leave the room.

But, I couldn't tear my eyes away from him. He looked so painfully beautiful. His eyelashes, I realised at this distance, were long and feathery, brushing against his porcelain coloured cheek. His nose, I smiled lightly, formed an odd point at the end which made him seem more like a petulant child rather than a deadly blood-drinking monster. His chin was angular in a proud sort of way even when asleep, which made me want to laugh. Haughty even in his sleep? I thought mischievously to myself. His lips, I let my eyes fall on them, they were neither full and thick nor thin and small. They were a pale colour to match his skin, but they had a slight bow to them. They were sensual lips, full of promise and cruelty, yet at the same time soft and kissable.

Kissable? I took a step away from him quickly, ashamed and surprised that such an image had conjured itself inside my head. Where had that come from?

A rustling of fabric beside me caused me to panic and shoot my head towards the figure in the chair. He was moving, his left shoulder rolling until his entire arm fell over the side of the arm of the chair, causing it to hang limply to the floor. His hand, gloved and white, hovered above the stone floor by a mere few centimetres. Despite the small movement, he did not wake or open his eyes. He simply settled into the new position and became a motionless statue once again.

It was not until two minutes had passed did I realise I had been holding my breath. With relief I let it flow out in a heavy whoosh. That had been close, too close. I felt my hands shaking beside my legs as adrenaline surged violently through me.

I took a step back carefully, my shoes light as they touched the floor. And then another step.

" Mina."

I froze.

It had come from his lips, a deep and rumbling sound straight from the cavities of his chest. The tone was low, with a hint of something soft to it. Something full and wanting.

My heart surged as he spoke. My first instinct was to move, to leave as soon as possible as he was very close to waking up. Without thinking I took another step back, but my feet somehow managed to tangle with themselves, dancing disastrously.

My arms on instinct flared out like wings, trying to keep my balance from hurtling and falling to the floor in a heap.

My arm knocked something. Something heavy and brittle crashed to the floor. The sound of something shattering echoed about the room like a death toll to my ears.

My eyes flashed over to the table and to where one of my arms was still hovering over its surface. Only this time, minus a bottle. I lowered my vision only to see the bottle now in pieces on the floor in jagged shards. The crimson liquid it had contained now spread and growing in size across the grey brick work.

Oops.

I turned to the chair and almost let out a startled cry when I found the figure still slouched in its confining's, the eyes in the pale slender face were open, vibrant and crimson, watching me silently.

I swallowed and without thinking rushed back a good four or five steps away from the chair. Terror filled my lungs like a heady gas as I tried to think of something to say to the vampire who was now awake and looking at me in, what one could only interpret as, amusement.

"I…" I started, stumbling over myself as though my tongue was made of lead. I was utterly petrified. My eyes were wide as I watched him carefully from across the short space between us.

This was bad. Very bad.

The vampire moved, it was the barest of movements but I saw it nonetheless. He smiled, slowly, cleverly. His head tilted to one side, his long black hair falling around his broad red shoulders like spilled ink.

" What are you doing here?" Alucard's voice sounded thick as he asked the question. His eyes, sharp and cat-like, perused my frame as though in interest.

" I'm sorry," I started, my cheeks heating up as I tried to find the words to speak. I glanced around the room, trying to look at everything and anything but him, but my eyes kept heading back to him. " Umm… I was trying to wake you up."

Well done, now you sound like an idiot, a voice berated from inside my mind.

Alucard's head turned and his scarlet orbs fell to the puddle of dark liquid on the floor, the broken shard of glass glittering lethally in the dim flickering light.

" Is that my dinner on the floor?" It came out so easily, so simply.

I wanted to laugh at the situation. There I was standing before him, cowering and shivering like some sacrificial lamb, worry my mind away of what he might do to me and yet he was more concerned about the fact his meal was ruined. It was all becoming too much for me to take.

"I'm so sorry," I blurted suddenly, holding up my hand to him in a 'don't touch it' kind of way; even though he neither moved or shifted from his spot in the chair, " I'll go get some towels and get you another one."

I span on my heels, my dark hair flying around me as I took a step back towards the stairs up to the house.

I took the step, but then my body fell into contact with something. Something soft and slightly chilled to the touch. Blackness surrounded me. That same musky scent rose up into my senses as I frowned and took a step back in surprise. My eyes travelled up and up the blackness until it came to Alucard's smirking face.

He was right in front of me.

My legs weakened dangerously. I whipped my head back to look at the seat where he had been sat in, only to see it empty. He had moved so fast! I hadn't even seen him move. I had not seen even a blur of him or a shadow.

I turned back to him, my neck straining back as I met his mocking hooded eyes. My throat convulsed, tight and dry. I swallowed heavily in comprehension as to how close he was standing to me, covering me with his huge shadow. I could only stare at him in a cross between wariness and awe.

" You will do no such thing," He said smugly, surely to me. His lips peeling back to reveal a brief glimpse of pointed teeth from underneath.

"But…" I tried to gather myself, pointing over to the mess waiting to be cleaned on the floor, " I have to…"

" Leave it." It was command, nothing more, nothing less.

I felt engulfed by his size and presence.

He chuckled suddenly, lowly in his throat, " When you get as old as me, Little human, eradication of blood as plain and tasteless as that can become a blessing." His eyes blazed suddenly as they fell on me again, the corners tilting up in a sly and calculating manner. " Besides," He took a slow and measured step towards me, causing me to panic, " I've seen something far more fresher that I want," he took another step and this time I moved back a step with him, intending to keep the space between us, " I want something far more sweeter." It was sinfully drawn out from his lips, so crisp and confident.

For each step he took towards me, I moved back one. One step. Then two. Then three. I glanced to the stairs waiting for me at the other end of the room. My escape. My freedom. But I knew silently there would be no getting passed Alucard without him catching me first.

I took another step backwards and the back of my knees met something solid. Before I could prevent it, I wobbled back and fell into the chair waiting behind me. A tall high backed chair. His chair. My arms lifted and grasped at the arms of it tightly, intending to push myself up and hop out the seat as though it were made out of fire.

However before I could do so his large white gloved hands clamped over the arms too, his fingers a mere centimetres from mine as he bent deeply towards me. His body bowed elegantly, towering over me with ease, causing me to lean back and press against the hard back of the chair to keep our eyes connected.

Alucard chuckled. It was a deep, rumbling sound that seemed to throb and resonate around the empty stone room. He lowered his head to me, his silken raven locks fell forward at the movement. His face, cool and angular, burrowed itself within the crook of my neck.

"Wait…" I stammered, my heart thudded quickly when I felt and heard him inhale deeply, "w…what are you doing?"

I received no answer from him. I only heard a slow gravelly sound come from somewhere deep inside his chest, a purr, it vibrated up and was breathed deliberately against the soft shell of my ear.

I squeezed my eyes shut at the sensation. Goosebumps rose up against my skin. My hairs stood on end and I felt the deceiving beginnings of heat slowly throbbing it way to consciousness through my body.

" Stop." It came out firm and determined, more than I thought possible. I had to stop this now before it got too far out of hand. Before I became too engulfed by him.

He ignored me and defiantly buried himself further against me, so close that I could feel his lips, chilled and firm, brush against the arch of my neck. The skin there blazed into life at the contact and I felt my treacherous body lift and arch into him at the intensity of it.

" Please," it came out from my trembling lips, wavering and softly pleading for mercy.

That got his attention. I felt rather than saw his mouth twist into a smile.

"Hnn?," He purred to me, " Please what?"

His voice moved through me. It filled me and made me swell with something strange, something warm that ebbed through me and pooled somewhere deep in the core of my being.

As though I had just been physical struck by something, I snapped out of the headiness surrounding me. I lifted a hand and planted it firmly against his chest, try to push it away from me. I needed room. I needed to breathe. But it was like trying to push against a brick wall.

"Please, move." I said, clearer this time as I pushed at him again to get his attention, " I… have some jobs that need doing. I have to…" I didn't know what to say to him, of what excuse I could use, but I had to think of something. I had to get out of here.

I felt him shift back a little as I pushed and I sighed in relief, thinking he had gotten the hint and was moving away.

I was wrong.

He inched away a little but then his gloved hand, thick and long fingered, wrapped under and around the sides of my chin, lifting it. I felt my neck strain as I met his fiery eyes. They were so intense, so inflamed that I flinched under their watch. Up this close I could see that they were a rich maroon shade but the edges were tainted by a softer almost orange looking colour. Like the fires of hell itself.

He smiled at me wickedly, " While you are here, little human, you serve me." His fingers tightened dangerously and his face neared as he added, " And only me."

My heart pounded crazily. My lungs felt heavy. I was so frightened. He wasn't being threatening but the intensity of his eyes and the sudden possessive glint I saw in them made me want to cower under him.

" No." It came out before I could stop it.

I felt my chin lift a notch in his hold. I felt my eyes blaze back at him in defiance. I wasn't going to let him get to me. I wasn't going to let him play his games with me. I had to be strong.

Alucard tilted his head, his pointed feature softening into an amused look.

" Hmm?" It was just a guttural sound from him, but it held a question that even I could understand.

I gathered my courage and met his gaze head on and started, " I do not serve you, or anyone else for that matter." I tried to pull my face free of his hand but it was like gentle steel was encase around it, " Let me go," I warned him suddenly, " Or I will scream and then you…" I trailed off.

His thick brow arched at me in mocking inquisition, daring me to finish my threat. I felt my words die in my throat. A thought suddenly crossed my mind. Even if I did scream Alucard could break my neck in mere seconds before the sound could come out. He could also claim that I had trespassed into his lair. Or worse. He could tell Sir Integra about the night I sneaked out with Adam and Jade to the Winter Fair.

And he knew the same too, I saw it in the way his smile grew, as though reading my thoughts, into a dangerous toothy grin.

Dark laughter boiled up from his chest and into his throat, the sound curling around my senses.

His eyes slithered partially closed, their hooded depths glimmered mischievously at me as he said, "So, are you going playing the role of the courageous heroine today?"

He was mocking me, I may have been an idiot but I knew that part at least.

"How brave of you." He continued silkily, his lips closing but creeping into a sensual smirk that put me on edge, " A young, innocent virgin facing the monster vampire in a battle of wits. The irony of it is killing me."

Something boiled up into me, simmering silently to the surface as I stared at him in a mix between fear and irritation.

" You are a good actress, Little human," He leaned back so that he was upright and began to clap his gloved hands. The sound echoed, mocking me, " I commend you for your efforts. However," He stopped so suddenly, his smile fading in an instant as he reached out and lifted a thick lock of my dark hair into his hands. His fingers brushed and twirled it carefully as he looked at it, "… the trembling of your sweet body gives you away and your heart is beating so loudly, it is like a nostalgic melody to my ears." He bent and brought the lock to his nose, inhaling its scent.

The fire that was slowly building suddenly surged into life. I felt my hands tightening in fists. My shoulders tensed and all I wanted to do was scream at him. Why was he doing this? Did he really enjoy tormenting me like this? I didn't want this. I didn't even want to be here in this room with him, but he was the one keeping me here. He would not let me leave. So, what then? Did he expect me to just sit there and accept everything he was doing and saying to me? Did he really think me that small and little?

"Don't you ever get bored of playing your game with people, Alucard?" I said it, quietly, hollowly, " Don't you have nothing better to do?"

He smiled again, that dangerous and devastating quirk of the lips. "No," He replied easily, " My games are what have kept me entertained all of these long years." He let the lock of hair fall away back to my shoulder, " When you get to as old as I am, Little human, boredom is a sure and reoccurring companion in this darkness." He tilted his head, his orbs like molten lava as they ran over me from my toes to the roots of my hair, " Although, I have to admit that our little game is turning out to be very interesting indeed." He leaned forward slowly, his face a mere few inches in front of mine. I could feel the coldness from him reaching across the small gap to me, " And I very much intend to be the victor at the end of it." My heart juddered even has his grin spread further, confident and sure, " I always win the chase."

I always win the chase. It repeated itself over and over in my head for a minute. The chase? It was strange word for him to use. Was that what this was? A chase? Was I the rabbit? Of course I was, I silently admonished to myself. I was always the rabbit. I was always the weak one that the stronger ones victimised... And I was sick to the back teeth of it!

" You didn't win last time." I couldn't stop it from leaving my lips. My fury spreading through me, out of my reach or control.

A deadly silence took hold of the room then. Suffocating and thick. I watched, somewhat mesmerised, as Alucard's black head snapped upright. His eyes that were once fiery and warming, turned cold, rippling pits that were a deep bloody colour.

I swallowed at the warning glint in his eyes. I was suddenly in dangerous territory. I knew it. But I could not stop the emotions that were swirling and twisting their way inside of me. I felt anger at him for trying to belittle me. I felt irritation because he would not leave me alone and kept seeking me out. I felt contempt for him because he could bring out feelings in me that I never thought existed. Most of all I felt something heavy in the pit of my gut, a reminder that I was just another human. Just another toy. Just another body to add to his collection… just like Lucy was.

I lowered my head, unable to look at him. Something was stirring in me. Something ugly that I did not like but had to accept. It was a strange feeling that I recognised and have had lots of experience with during my childhood. I had felt it when my father had forgotten my birthday and hadn't come home to see me. I had felt it every time I had been picked last in sports practice. I had felt it when I had thought I would never see Adam or Jade ever again. I had even felt it when Alucard had spoken Mina's name whilst he was sleeping. Was it… disappointment?

No! I shook my head trying to dispel the ridiculous thought out of my head, That is crazy! Why? Why would I feel like that? It doesn't make sense!

I refused to accept any of it. I refused to acknowledge the feeling any further. I mentally pushed it aside and allowed my rage to come to the forefront.

Slowly I lifted my head and met Alucard's waiting eyes, " You failed last time, or don't you remember?" I mocked to him slowly, carefully, " Must be that old age of yours finally kicking in." I watched him blink as though in surprise. I felt my courage growing, "Tell me something." I slowly began to rise from the chair, despite him being in the way I actually brushed against him to squeeze between him and the chair until I was free and standing beside him, " Do you still feel cheated because you failed against the Hellsing's all those years ago?" I shook my head at him as though in disappointment. I wanted to belittle him, to make him feel small just like he had done to me so many times, " Is that why you are doing this to me?" I laughed at him, trying to mimic his low laugh, " Is it because you were bested by 'mere' and 'lowly' humans, as you so called them?" I started to get braver and without thinking took a step closer to him, my neck straining as I keep my gaze on his, " Did it ruin that ego of yours, oh great vampire?" I sneered it right in his face, " Did it sting your pride?"

There was no mistaking the potential danger coming from him. It was tangible and was felt all around the room like a living breathing thing. At some point his head had moved, lowered, until his inky midnight hair was covering his face until only one glowing eye was seen between the strands.

"Be quiet, human." It was growled. Low. A warning.

" No, I won't!" I practically growled back at him, " You may play your games Alucard, but people's lives are at stake for it." I wanted to give him a peace of his own medicine. I wanted him to feel the victim for once. I felt my hands shaking at my sides as I lifted my chin further and continued, " You took Lucy's life from her. Was she another one of your games too? And Mina…" I said the name before I could stop myself, "Did you honestly think they were going to stand by and let you take her too?"

"Enough!"

The thunderous roar came so loudly, so quickly. Alucard moved with a lightning speed. I had no time to react or to act in any way. Before I knew it I felt something thick and strong wrap around the column of my throat, and squeeze. I hardly felt myself moving or stepping with him but soon realised my back was pressed back against the wall. My body lifted.

My heart stopped.

Alucard's hand tightened as I wiggled against him. My throat felt like it was collapsing, closing in on itself. My legs hung limply and kicked weakly trying to find the floor somewhere beneath my body. I couldn't reach it. My eyes bulged and widened on Alucard. My strangled gasps were hoarse and dry as I tried to suck in any air that I could into my lungs.

He was so close, a single cold breath from his mouth blasted against my face. His orbs were glittering, swirling pits. I could no longer see the dark pupil at its centre; there was only the endless crimson of his irises.

" Aluca…" I tried to plead, kicking my legs and scrabbling desperately at the hand around my throat, " Pleas.."

" Haaa." It was breathed, deliberately and cold against my face. I flinched at it and he moved closer to sneer lowly in my face, " Do you feel that human?" His voice held no softness, only an endless promise of pain and death if I dare to defy him. " Do you feel that coldness creeping all over your body?" His hand tightened, " Do you feel the heaviness taking over your limbs?" I could. I could feel my body becoming weak. My lungs burning. My head becoming light. " Do you feel that blackness?" He moved even closer, his lips grazing the shell of my ear as he whispered, " That is your death approaching."

I let out a wheeze from my throat which would have been a whimper if my oesophagus wasn't being crushed. I felt tears swim at the corners of my vision. My eyes widened further.

He was going to kill me!

"Do not ever presume to know me, little one." Alucard rumbled it low against my ear, and then leaned back to look at me square in the face. Level to level. " You know nothing, you understand nothing." His teeth bared sneeringly at me as he all but growled, " You are nothing!"

A tear dropped, rolled down my face and fell onto the hand around my throat.

I saw his eyes fall onto it, watching it roll down. Watching it glitter and sparkle on his glove in the firelight. I saw then something surge under the surface of those violent orbs. They seemed both mesmerised and confused by the droplet and it gave way to another emotion. Something softer. Something… almost regretful.

I felt his grip slacken. My body lowered until my feet touched the floor. I took a deep cleansing breath, taking all the air I could into my lungs. I even coughed in his face at how dry my windpipe was. I felt my body slump weakly against the wall behind me and if it wasn't for Alucard's gentled grip still on my body I think I would have collapsed to the floor.

"You are… nothing." It was whispered hauntingly around the empty room.

I lifted my head, my own eyes falling on the giant being in front of me. His body was hunched over slightly, still looking at his claw-like gloved hand. He spoke so softly, so deep in thought that for a moment I thought he wasn't talking to me, or himself, but rather reliving something. Some terrible scene or memory that haunted him.

" You are nothing."

A sadness deep and all-consuming seemed to come from that voice; that voice which was supposed to provoke fear and dread.

I felt Alucard's hand slide away from me and dangle limply to his side. I lifted my own hand and held the area as though it were broken. The skin was throbbed, tender and warm from where I hand been dangling by his fierce grip.

As my breathing began to regulate so did the tears. They kept coming, flowing down cheeks hotly. I swallowed, berating myself, trying to get a grip over myself. My hands were still shaking, my body still trembling violently.

Alucard was so deep in his thoughts that I had the desperate urge to take the moment and run from the room. I wanted nothing more than to leave and bury myself into my bed sheets. I wanted to cry and vent out my misery into my pillow.

I took a careful shuffle to the side, my eyes honing in on the staircase. My escape. I took another step, crouching my body down, ready to make a sprint towards it.

However, the moment my wary gaze fell on Alucard's still form I felt myself pausing.

He still hadn't moved from looking at his long fingered gloved hand. He looked entranced by it. He looked stuck in some inner limbo that he couldn't escape from. His eyes I could not see, as his hair was covering them completely, shadowing them.

I felt a surge of something grow inside of me. Something I didn't want or like, but it was there, warming and tight in the depths of my chest… Pity.

I shouldn't be just standing here! I should be running. I should get away from here. Now.

But as I stood there for a moment and watched the dark vampire, I couldn't find it in myself to move my legs.

This was all my own fault, I thought to myself decidedly. And it was true. If I had not come down here in the first place I would not have been in this situation. If I had not gotten angry and made him angry he would not have attacked me. If I had not of mentioned her name…

I went limp, my body relaxing softly as I tentatively reached out a hand to place it on his shoulder. My fingers, trembling anxiously, brushed against the cool red fabric cautiously.

"Mina." I said it loud and clear for him to hear, "Did you…" I paused, gathering myself before gently finishing with, "… love her?"

I swallowed. Expecting the worst. Expecting him to just turn around and grab me, to finish off the job he had started for mentioning her name, yet again. But he neither moved or lowered his hand from in front of his face.

"Love?" It came out deep and quietly from him. He snorted derisively to himself; I saw his broad shoulder jerk at the movement. " I am a monster, little human, I am incapable of such an emotion."

I felt something inside of me melt at his words.

Seeing that he had dodged the question, I ventured again with it.

"Did you love her?"

There was an empty moment of silence. You could have heard a pin drop in the fullness of it.

A minute passed. And then another. And then another. Until finally I saw him shift. His head turned towards me, his black hair falling back to reveal his eyes to me.

I was taken aback with how beautifully sad they were.

"With all that I was." He answered.

I felt my heart breaking at the sheer agony I saw reflecting in his orbs. They were breathtakingly tragic and yet lethal all at the same time.

"Do you…" I started, pausing to lick my dry lips suddenly, "… still love her?"

For some strange reason I felt an urge grow in me. I wanted to hear it. I wanted to hear him say 'no'. I wanted him to say 'no'. But why? I couldn't understand it. I only knew that we were connected somehow. He was a vampire, a monster. But he was a monster that felt grief and aloneness. It made him more human to me.

Alucard shook his head slowly, his eyes became hooded, solemn, "Any warmth that I felt in my heart died that day they drove that fated stake through my chest."

My pulse quickened. My chest tightened. He sounded so resentful yet at the same time empty. Was it true? Had he really loved Mina? As in really loved her? I had only read about his past in the book called 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker. I hadn't been there or been told about it by someone who had. People could only assume what had happened. As far as the rest of the world went, it was simply a horror story, it wasn't real. But it was! Dracula was real, and he was standing right in front of me. He was a vampire, a creature of the night, a killer. Could it be that he had loved someone? Could it be that he had given his heart to a woman? If so then, why was she not here beside him? I thought back to the book, the part where Mina had helped the others by leading them to Dracula's hideout. I also remembered the fact that Mina married Jonathon at the end of the story – they even had children together. So where did that leave Alucard? What was his role in all of this? What relationship had Mina and himself shared all those years ago?

I was intrigued. I wanted to know about it. I wanted to know about him. I wanted to know him.

" Please," I whispered, my eyes pleading softly as he looked at me. I swallowed heavily at the thought of what I was about to ask him. " Tell me."

I wanted him to tell me about it. I wanted him to talk to me and share his past with me. Why? I do not know. I couldn't understand it. One moment he was a monster scaring and frightening me into submission. The next he was so gentle, so charming that I felt undeniably drawn to him.

I saw his eyes change, they widened a little in surprise. Their crimson depths thickened and heated suddenly as though in realisation of something. As though he knew something I did not. His gaze watched me, burned into me with such intensity that I felt myself holding my breath.

"No." It was his answer, firm and low.

I turned away, wanting to hide the disappointment I felt spark within me. My chest became heavy and I felt a sigh building up within my throat.

" I cannot." Alucard added suddenly, " I do not have the words to tell you."

I frowned. Before I could make heads or tails of what he had just said a gloved hand appeared before my face. I jumped, startled, as it wrapped around my chin and turned my head.

Alucard's hand was chilled but gentle as he held my face. My neck craned back as I tried to meet his molten cat-like eyes.

" I cannot tell you…" his rumbled, low and like hot velvet, "…but I can show you."

He lowered himself, his handsome pointed face nearing mine until we were a mere breadth away from one another. He inhaled suddenly, deeply and closed his eyes. His other hand joined the other, both hands now mirroring each other on either side of my face.

" Close your eyes for me."

Without thinking about it, I allowed my eyes to close and surrounded myself with nothing but him. With his voice. With his scent.

His head lowered head and it rested against mine. Forehead against forehead. I felt his hair fall forward and brush my face in a whispering caress.

It was then that it began to happen.

I felt the tell-tale headiness of something brushing over my mind. He was doing this. This was his magic. Its foggy density rushed over me like tiny spider webs, light and tickling. The mist weaved into my body, taking it, making it surrender to the darkness that was growing, threatening to engulf me. I felt his power thrum through me, taking control of everything that I was and could ever be.

In that brief moment, I was his. Completely and utterly his.

And then, through the darkness came a voice.

A woman's voice. It was soft and melodious.

Beautiful.

" Forgive me, my dark prince… Please, forgive me."