PLEASE READ: This is the last chapter of this story. However, if you enjoyed it and want more, review or send me a message, and I may add to it if people want me to continue. Thanks!
A/N: this was fun to write, although I thought I could have done better. This is a normal off-day at Hellsing, from Pip Bernadette's perspective.
All characters of Hellsing © Hirano Kouta
5. Pip Bernadette: Family
Pip woke to the warm glow of the morning sun streaming onto his quilts in bright patches. Well, maybe woke wasn't the best terminology to be used. Woken up would have probably been a better choice of words, which Pip was so abruptly at 6:04 in the morning.
He growled a stream of incomprehensible French at his analog clock, trying to decipher the reason for his rather early awakening.
"Go to bed, you ignoramus!" could be audible from the floor above. Pip heard another tinkling crash followed by deep, raucous laughter. The mercenary pinched the bridge of his nose tiredly. Usually Lady Integra didn't start shouting until seven, regardless of her daily caffeine intake. Today was going to be a long day, he surmised.
Oh, well. As long as he was up, Pip decided he might as well prepare for the morning. He grabbed a wooly towel and headed downstairs towards the shower room in the troops' barracks. Freeing his thick copper hair from its braid, Pip strode into the bathroom…
…and walked in on Seras Victoria emerging from her shower.
"C-Captain!" she stammered, scrambling for her towel.
"Why do you cover yourself, Mignonette?" Pip drawled, once again letting his mouth speak before his brain. Or rather, letting his mouth speak before his brain had the opportunity to quell his rather dirty question. "I rather prefer you with ze towel off—"
Unfortunately the poor captain did not get much farther before Seras flicked his face so hard that his forehead began to bruise upon contact. "Owch, girlie," he mumbled dejectedly, placing a hand to his tender brow. Seras stormed off to dress for the day. Pip couldn't help but admire the view of the female soldier's backside scantly clad in a towel as she slinked away.
After his shower, the one-eyed mercenary dressed and made his way over to the pantry, glad for an early breakfast for once. This meant that he could get to those decadent butter croissants before any of his troops.
Or so he thought.
"Why, good morning, Captain Bernadette," an elderly butler greeted him upon his entrance to the kitchen. For an old man, Walter was too "pip-pip-cheerio" in the mornings for Pip's liking. The veteran noticed him peering into the cupboard and said, "I'm afraid we're out of croissants this morning. You'll have to make due on Ceylon tea for now, Captain."
Pip groaned and rolled his good eye, drawing up to the table with a cigarette and waiting for his tea. At that moment, Alucard decided to make his entrance, phasing in eerily through the kitchen wall.
"Alucard, you're up late this morning," Walter remarked offhandedly without looking up. This had occurred on too many occasions for the butler to be even remotely surprised.
The Nosferatu chuckled, a dark bubbling sound and grinned deviously. "Master threw her ashtray at me this morning," he rumbled.
"May I ask what you did to provoke her this time?"
The vampire never got the chance to answer due to the debut of the young woman in question.
"Come now, Master," Alucard protested innocently, noticing her irate blue eyes piercing daggers from behind her rounded spectacles. "I was only having a bit of fun."
Integra drew her pistol. "Well, I suggest you go have 'a bit of fun' somewhere else before I decide to shoot you in other places besides your head," she seethed lowly. Her servant got the drift and abruptly glided out of the room. Even No-Life Kings had their limits.
Pip stood up, handing his empty mug over to Walter. "I'm terribly sorry that we were out of croissants this morning, Captain," the butler said apologetically. "We should have a new stock in by tomorrow."
The mercenary nodded and also left, making his way down towards the troops' barracks once again. Time for morning training. A few of his fellow soldiers clapped Pip cheerily on the back as he entered, being their usual rowdy selves.
"Alright, settle down, settle down, you know ze drill," he called out to his men, who formed into a line, the last vestiges of their morning-chatter dribbling away.
Once he could hear himself, Pip began. "Today's target practice. I'm sure I don't need to tell you by now to aim for ze head or ze heart—"
"—I'm sure if they were targets of her the Captain would have no trouble hitting there—"
"Zomezing to say?" Pip asked the young soldier who had made that remark to a fellow teammate, who had not even bothered to say it softly.
"No, Sir!" The young man said, although it was blatantly apparent to the troops (as well as to Pip) that he was lying. You just had to take one look at that feigned innocent stare.
"I will ignore that remark," Bernadette miffed, taking a breath to continue with his morning drill.
"—Aw, come on, we know you have the hots for Agent Victoria," another one of his men said before he knew what he was doing. A few others agreed.
Pip's cheeks sprinkled over rosy. "And when did zhat become part of your business?" He asked dangerously, although he hadn't exactly tried to hide his affection for the draculina during his stay at the Hellsing Organization.
Another soldier piped up, "Have you tried asking her out yet?"
"And what does zis have to do with training?"
"Come on, Captain Bernadette…"
The one-eyed mercenary sighed. "Yez, I have, for your information. Happy now?" Luckily no one could see his ears beneath his hair, for they were glowing bright red.
"No luck?" Pip grumbled something incoherent. One of the braver soldiers stepped forward and looped an elbow around his neck, grinning.
"Captain, you gotta approach her the right way. Woo her with your charm. Get into the mindset that you are unbelievably sexy."
"I kno—I mean, sure," Pip replied, temporarily forgetting about training. "But what am I going to say: 'want to go out for coffee?' She can't drink it! 'Want to go kill some ghouls togezher?' Zhat's not exactly romantic in my book."
The troops seemed to contemplate for a moment. Someone opened their mouth to speak but before they could, a familiar crimson shadow melted through the wall into the room, scaring more than a few of Pip's men.
"What are you doing up, vampire?" he asked the figure as it solidified.
"There's no way I can sleep with this much fun going on," Alucard replied simply. He removed his orange sunglasses expertly. "So what is this I hear about courting with my servant, human?"
Pip mentally slapped his forehead (an actual slap would have resulted in even more pain). He should have counted on the vampire overhearing. "Oh, really, erm, it's nothing—"
"I would think twice before telling me 'nothing,'" Alucard growled. "I came all the way down to this filthy place, so don't spoil my fun now." He eyed Pip's troops observantly, brightening up. "So, how will you do it, Frenchman?"
"What? I mean, I'm not sure yet," Bernadette groaned, refusing to believe that he was discussing something like this to a five-hundred year old count.
"You could always ask her to suck your blood!" One of his newer men quipped from the back row. This produced a few snickers.
"How about his, human," Alucard spoke, surprising them all. "I'll wake Police Girl up, and you take her for a daytime stroll in the garden. There is nothing more romantic than nature."
And Pip said nothing, knowing better than to question someone more than thirty times your age with a taste for human blood.
"So, what was so important that you felt the need to wake me up in the middle of the day?" Seras asked Pip, her blue eyes bright and sparkling in the afternoon sun.
"Eh…" Pip scratched the top of his head. "I just wanted to apologize for zis morning, Mignonette," he told her sheepishly. Alucard and a few of his troop members flashed him a thumbs-up from behind the tall shrubbery. Remember, you're unbelievably sexy.
"And I wanted to make it up to you." Seras gave the captain a wide-eyed stare but said nothing. They walked in a semi-awkward silence around the garden, occasionally making small talk. Of course Pip wasn't able to receive instructions on what to do from his men, seeing as how vampires had enhanced hearing and would immediately pick up on the followers.
"Compare her to something beautiful in the garden," Alucard had said. Pip swallowed audibly, deciding to go for it.
"You know, Mignonette, you remind me of a bumble-bee," the mercenary said smoothly, looking at the vampire with an emerald eye. He had just seen a bee buzz out from inside the bud of a flower.
"Really captain?" Seras inquired, cocking her blonde head in a gesture that Pip found beyond adorable. "How so?"
"Well, for one thing, your hair is zhat same lovely shade of yellow, and you both remind me of sweet honey." The corners of Seras's lips turned up with the slightest indication of flattery.
"Also you're both rather round, especially in ze derriere, and your stings are rather painful."
Seras scowled and let loose a feral, guttural snarl. "Well thank you, Captain," she hissed. "Now if you don't mind I'll be going back to bed. And feel free to look at my 'round derriere' as I leave you out here to be stung by the bees. Good night!" And with that, the Police Girl stormed off in a huff.
He could hear a distant cackling from behind the bush, mingled with the schadenfreudic mirth of all of his troops.
"Merde," Bernadette said softly to himself.
By the time supper had come around, the blue skies had darkened into indigo, the white fluffclouds transforming into tenebrous grays. Rain showered the earth in soft patters, confining soldiers and medians alike inside the Hellsing mansion. The troops' barracks had become too soggy to eat in, so tonight they all dined with Lady Integra and the higher-ups.
It was not pretty.
Pip could not believe the lack of etiquette displayed by his troops at the table. Where had they been raised, on the farm? The captain winced as a soldier emitted a hearty belch right next to Sir Integra, who stifled the urge to fan at the air.
"—So then I told him that I don't give a rat's—"
Pip elbowed the soldier next to him who had been on the verge of making a remark not quite appropriate for a British dinner table. His men were too gruff and rowdy. Seras was still in a snit, refusing to talk to him. Pip sighed. That was alright; they had been through this drill countless times. She would warm up again by tomorrow evening.
After dinner some of the men invited Pip for a smoke and he gladly obliged. The skies had cleared up enough to step outside again, that clear, after-rain smell lingering in the nighttime air like the sweet aroma of freshly-baked pastries.
By the time eleven had rolled around, most of Bernadette's men had retired, leaving Pip to wander around the manor amidst the moonlight. And, as always on most nights, he joined Walter for a spot on the verandah.
"I have to admit, I'm still not used to zis brandy," he told the butler. "I usually drink Bugey."
"It's an acquired taste," Walter replied comfortably.
Pip, although having consumed half a glass already, was startled by the loud bang that sounded from somewhere from a few floors above. Walter rolled his eyes and adjusted his monocle nonchalantly.
"I daresay Alucard is up, wouldn't you, Captain?"
An hour later, Pip trudged up to his sleeping quarters, thoroughly exhausted. He whipped around instinctively as he heard quick footsteps rapidly approaching. He gave a sigh of relief; it was only Lady Integra, still fully clothed.
"Good evening, Sir," Pip addressed the Hellsing Head with a little bow. She nodded curtly, cigar clamped between her lips.
"Good evening, Captain Bernadette." Integra swished past him, muttering under her breath, "Once I catch that blasted vampire I shall personally &!# his , and…"
She stopped suddenly, and saw Pip still standing motionless in the corridor. "What are you looking at, Captain? Off to bed with you!" And she huffed away in a whisk of blonde hair and smoke.
Pip permitted himself to chuckle only when he thought Sir Integra was out of earshot. After changing into his nightclothes, the mercenary flopped tiredly onto his mattress and rolled over to stare at the moon glowing outside his window.
You got used to the craziness at Hellsing. Nothing was ever normal around here.
But, strangely enough, Pip didn't mind the daily chaos. At first he had been reluctant to take on the job. At first he had not believed in vampires. At first all he cared about was the money.
Things were different now.
For the first time, Pip Bernadette felt as if he genuinely belonged. He couldn't explain it, and even if he attempted to it would come out sounding like a bunch of codswallop. A mercenary, living with Dracula and his master, a twenty-two year old virgin, alongside with a former World War II assassin and an ex-policewoman fledgling vampire? Absurd.
Yet, this was the first place Pip actually felt like calling home. The money had become so inconsequential, replaced by other things not so tangible and shiny. His men were good, all fairly honorable in their own way or another. Alucard taught him new things every day, and Pip had a new motivation for working hard—someone with a rather large upper torso and strawberry blonde hair, to be exact. Lady Hellsing had showed him that women were just as if not more powerful in their scary way than men, and Walter had showed him the wisdom of the elderly.
They all had become his family.
That night Pip Bernadette slept soundly, anticipating the new adventures tomorrow would hold, not even waking to the sound of reports coming from Integra's bedroom quarters at 2:30 am or the maniacal laughter that followed.