A/N: I was going to include this as another chapter in my story 'Sunrise,' but decided against it. Maybe I should delete that other story... Anyway, I was able to fit one more fic in before I leave! Enjoy!

All characters (c) Hirano Kouta

The Deli

Sometime in the early 1940's


"Really," Walter Dorneaz grumbled, puffing angrily at his cigarette. The smoke wafted up in a translucent white cloud, making the pale girl next to him wrinkle her nose slightly. The two received several glances on their way as they walked down the cobblestone streets of England.

It was to be expected, though. Not every day would a passerby see two young teenagers walking under cloudy skies looking as they did: a dark haired boy in a prim and trim suit-and-vest accompanied by an even darker-haired girl dressed all in whites, a snowy tie at her neck and a cap topping her waist-length locks. They made quite the pair. Anyone passing by on a dreary day such as this would give them a quick stare and hurry away even quicker.

"Remind me again why Sir Hellsing sent us to the markets?" the young butler groused to his companion, not for the first time that day.

"I thought that you would have guessed by now, Angel," Alucard droned in a voice that was far too musical to belong to a human, moving a slim, androgynous body in a lithe stride that was not quite feminine. This was actually since Alucard was a five-hundred year old vampire, actually male, inhabiting a girlsbody.

Walter frowned at his remark, crinkling his nose. "Well apparently not," he stated. His face smoothed out, taking on a thoughtful expression. "Although Sir Hellsing was quite eager to have us gone, don't you think, Alucard?"

The vampire grinned wickedly, claret eyes displaying a malevolent mirth. "Of course."

"Are you not telling me something?"

"Who me, Angel?" The vampire gave Waler a falsely innocent stare. The visage faded, only to be replaced with a knowledgeable smirk. "Let us just say that Arthur won't be partial to loud noises or bright lights for the next day or so."

The young butler's face retained his previous look of confusion for a moment longer, before dissolving into annoyed comprehension. "That horny bastard," he rolled his eyes. "I suppose I'll find slips and spare stilettos around the estate if I'm not careful, too," Walter snickered. "I should have seen that coming, eh, Alucard? Fucking lounge-lizard."

Alucard, however, was diverting his attention toward an elderly couple passing them on the street. They must have been in their sixties, at least.

"Oh, Leon," the old woman cooed, gazing upon Walter and Alucard. "They're getting younger and younger these days. Remember when we were like that?"

The man smiled, taking the woman's hand. "Sure do, hon," he replied affectionately.

As they neared, the woman beamed warmly at the two dark-haired youths. Alucard flashed a dazzling grin up at her in return, whereas Walter scowled and expelled tendrils of smoke from his nostrils. The aged woman seemed only slightly taken aback at Alucard's feral smile, and the old couple continued on their way, muttering to each other about "young love."

"Well, fancy that," Walter sneered once the couple was out of earshot. He shot his companion a blue-gray glance, a marbled gaze that was slightly embarrassed. "Why do you go about in this form, anyhow? I do recall you saying that 'form means nothing.'"

The sides of Alucard's mouth twitched and turned up slowly as the vampire turned to look at the butler. "Why, for inconspicuousness, dear Angel," he replied.

Walter was silent. The vampire had a point. His original form, a towering man well over six-three, clad in an elegant vermillion trench coat and matching fedora, toting a whopper of a gun would perhaps draw slight attention.

"So, vampire? What should we do now? I'd hate to return home and interrupt Sir Hellsing's…frivolities."

"As much as I would enjoy that," Alucard added. The almond-shaped eyes of the girlsbody brightened with the premise of a new idea.

"Say, Angel, why don't we engage in the shopping of food?"

Walter surveyed the undead youth with a skeptical stare. "By that do you mean for you or for me?"

"Why for you, of course," Alucard grinned. "I 'ate' yesterday."

"If you say so," Walter droned, turning a corner and heading toward the deli. We'll be needing to stock up on the gin now…

-- -- -- --

The Deli was a sunny shop, filled with various delicious aromas and a cheery English ambience for the most part. A few droplets of light rain pattered on the pair as they entered the store, screen door swinging shut with a creak.

"Sometimes I envy the variety of the human diet," Alucard muttered as they strode into the eatery. All of the smells were making his nose tingle and twitch.

Walter approached the front counter, which was so high that the young butler had to stand on the tips of his loafers to see past the edge. He was greeted by a butcher who matched the archetype profession so well the cliché-ness was almost sad.

The man was podgy and red-faced, perspiring slightly in the humidity and had sleeves rolled up to his thick elbows. Alucard's eyes brightened at the butcher's stained apron: human blood was not the only appetizing nourishment for a vampire.

Walter extracted a gnawed cigarette from his mouth and was about to place his order when the butcher spoke.

"What can I do for ya, lad? Looking for some chocolates?"

"Chocolates, sir?" One who didn't know the dark-haired butler would have missed the underlying petulance and the slightly snide tone to his inquiry.

The butcher looked confused. "Well of course, my boy, for your lady-friend thar!" he replied in a tone that stated the blatantly obvious. He began to laugh heartily then, as if the boy's naivety was the most amusing thing he had seen all day (which was most likely the case).

Kill him now, please, Walter telepathically solicited Alucard.

Whatever for, Angel? His companion responded comfortably, the cadences of the vampire's voice rebounding softly in his temporal lobe. This is so much fun.

Walter placed the damp cigarette once more between his lips, even though it was unlit. It was the thought that counted. "No sir, I do not wish to purchase chocolate. My ah…friend here has a problem with sweet foods."

"Mmm," The burly butcher nodded, giving Alucard a quick look. "I understand. What can I get ya, then?"
"Beef," Walter replied without hesitation. "Three pounds. Raw. Oh, add a loaf of rye and a bottle of gin to that."

Angel, what are you doing?

"And butcher," Walter stopped the man as he headed into the back room, ignoring the voice in his head.

"Yes, m'lad?"

"The bloodiest one you have, if you please."

The corpulent butcher gave a quizzical nod and disappeared.

Alucard surveyed his companion through perfectly trimmed black bangs. "I do appreciate the offer, Angel, but I'd rather not have the soul of a cow running through my veins today."

The butler shrugged offhandedly. "I just thought you'd like a change from all the human blood we've been giving you." His marble-gray eyes looked elsewhere.

The vampire tilted his angular chin, causing his long, inky tresses to fall to the side like a curtain. "You know, I do not believe I've had cattleblood before."


"I have consumed the blood of horses, sheep, crow…" Alucard trailed off, a pointed tongue poking out from between his girl's lips and running over his small pointed incisors. "But cattle is foreign to me. Angel, bring me this cowblood. Hurry, hurry," he murmured, scarlet eyes swirling.

"Hold your fucking horses, Alucard," Walter sighed. "It'll come soon. Then you can do what you do best." He hadn't seen the vampire this excited since the last time they'd been on a mission.

"Here ya go lad," The butcher thumped a large brown bag atop the counter. "That'll be five pence."

Walter began to fish around in his pocket for the appropriate change. It took him a good minute. Why must his pockets be so deep? Damn, can't reach the change, blasted butler uniform.

"Cute lass ya got there," the butcher remarked gruffly, scrutinizing Alucard, taking in the glossy black hair, the moonbeam skin, and lean figure. "You're a lucky one, lad."

The butcher noticed the boy pause in the act of seeking out his pence and throw a glance at the pale girl. She appeared to be rolling up the left sleeve of her white trench coat. He gave her an unreadable expression, and the girl grinned all of a sudden. That grin sent a chill down the butcher's spine. If he didn't know any better he would have thought that they were reading each other's minds. But that was ridiculous, of course.

If the butcher hadn't blinked, he may have seen a slight flash of light, being the lamplight of the Deli reflecting off a near-invisible metal string. But unfortunately he had, so the man missed it. He had also missed the movement of the boy that had happened so fast it was almost uncaught by the human eye. The butcher blinked, and the next thing he knew that little girl's left arm ended at the elbow.

"Wh-wh-what the hell in God's mother Mary?!" He watched as vivid blood poured from the stump of the girl's arm and spattered onto the Deli floor. The girl smiled sweetly up at him. Luckily for them the eatery was mostly empty, or they might have attracted some attention.

"Ah, that's better," Walter sighed, using a feminine forearm to grasp the change that was too deep into his pocket for him to reach. He pulled the arm out of his pants, whose hand was closed neatly around the five pence, and dropped it onto the countertop.

"Thank you for the meat and rye, sir," The butler told the red-faced man, who promptly chose that moment to pass out cold onto the floor. And strangely, when he awoke, he would find no blood on the floor. None at all.

Walter began to snigger loudly as he and Alucard exited the Deli. "I loved that fatass's face when he saw the blood!" He cackled, holding onto the sides of his stomach. "Too bad we couldn't kill him. You'd think a butcher would be used to that sort of thing!"

"That was quite amusing," the vampire chuckled. "We should embark on food-shopping journeys more often, Angel."

Walter's snickers finally subsided. "Now let's get home. I'm sure you're just dying for this beef." Alucard raised an eyebrow.

"A figure of speech, vampire," the butler added, seeing the error of his ways. He produced a lighter and relit his chewed and mangled cigarette, breathing in the smoke and exhaling slowly. The two walked back toward the Hellsing estate Walter munching absently on the loaf of rye in between puffs, not caring if they disturbed Arthur of not. It was starting to rain again.

"Just curious, Alucard," Walter began after a caesura. They had been walking in silence for a while.

"Yes, Angel?"

"What made you change your mind? I thought you didn't want to harm him," Walter asked.

"True," the young figure mused. "But no one calls me cute and gets away with it."