Disclaimer: I do not own Seras Victoria, Alucard, the Hellsing Institute or the madness that is the Japanese legal system. I do own Sakura, her family and Aidan. Which is a dubious honor.
Dedication: To Angel Reaper,...um...Happy Birthday?
SO! This was totally supposed to be out the friday before Memorial Day. Except I didn't finish the last page and then (as anyone who followed the pretty link to the 'homepage' might have learned) a week of evil and aggravating things happened. So, finally, today I sat down and finished it.
"The Emperor, you understand, is never on his own," Aidan yawned as a series of images appeared on the screen. "And when I say he's never alone, I mean there are typically no less than fifty people in his presence at all times."
"Fifty?" Seras asked, startled.
"And that's when he sleeps. So fifty people on high guard. In the middle of a fortress surrounded by even more people."
"This goes far beyond healthy paranoia," she muttered, a touch of reluctant awe in her voice.
"Weakling," Alucard scoffed. Then, his expression cleared to a sort of grudging respect. "But he realizes it as a good ruler should."
"Glad you approve, Sovereign Psychopath," Aidan sighed, coming back into view. "Can I get on with this so I can get something vaguely resembling sleep?"
"Yes, please," Seras insisted.
"So, the only time this guy comes out in the open is when he is surrounded by people. Hundreds sometimes thousands. He is never out of the public eye or off television."
"So…," Sakura summed up hesitantly, "No matter what, this is going to be public. We are going to have to kill him in front of everyone."
"Pretty much, flower of grace."
"So how do we do that without setting the entire country at war with Hellsing?" Seras sighed. "If this goes wrong and we are caught, it would be an international incident no matter who offered what explanations."
Aidan grinned, looking the most awake he had for the entire conversation. Mad humor sparkled in his eyes as he leaned forward and asked one question, voice laden with triumph.
"Tell me, what do you know about Mount Fuji?"
"So, who gets to wear the kimono this time?"
"You look more the part, Sakura."
"Not really, actually. They were supposed to be fair with hair that shone brilliantly in the light of the moon."
"I still in no way look Japanese."
"Yes, but unlike me, you can fly."
"…We could make you fly."
"Seras, as contradictory as this may sound, this is the Emperor of my country. Vampire while he may be, he is not only the head of state but also the head of the Shinto religion, a religion I still follow…more or less. I hate to sound foolish, but this is a lot to ask of a person. Until very recently, I respected this man greatly. It is…like asking a Catholic to kill the Pope."
"I'd gladly kill the Pope."
"Master, you aren't Catholic."
"I was. The Church of England is hardly much different."
"If I were able to do this for you, Miss Tenjou, I would. I understand what it is to feel betrayed by your faith."
"That is a surprisingly…mature and sensible statement coming from you, Master."
"Unfortunately, I don't my wearing a kimono would have the same effect."
"There's an image."
"…Fine. I'll do it. But so help me, if I hear one word from either of you about how I look dressed up like that, I will do away with both of you."
"Thank you, Seras."
"You're welcome, Sakura."
"Now on to making my No-Life Queen look like a princess."
"…I'm never going to hear the end of this, will I?"
"Now, in one week, the Emperor is going to have a public hanami party on the banks of Lake Kawaguchi. It is the night of the full moon which should allow for as close to daylight night offers for the viewing."
Sakura looked over to Alucard who seemed confused by the odd term. "Flower viewing. For the cherry blossoms."
"If this weren't such an efficient country, I would say that you were all doomed," he muttered darkly, a touch of exasperation in his voice. "Throwing a party to look at flowers."
"Anyway," Aidan continued with a smirk, "they are making a right festival of it. A grand feast, traditional lanterns and kimono or yukata and a few performers."
Seras sighed. "Aidan, this seems like a foolish idea. There are going to be even more people around. Potential witnesses and casualties should be kept to a minimum."
"Yes, they should, O Queen of the Night," he allowed with a satisfied smirk. "But you are overlooking the special situation, the special opportunity for the spectacular to happen, a miracle."
"The presence of the immortal Emperor in the shadow of Mount Fuji – a smoking Mount Fuji – on the night of a full moon."
Suddenly, Sakura went very still, eyes wide and bright.
Once there lived an old man who worked through his long years as a bamboo cutter. One day as he worked at his task, he saw a bamboo shoot that glowed with unnatural light. Carefully, he cut it open to find a small child inside. Amazed, he brought the child home and began to care for it…
"It's the oldest recorded story we have in this country. We are taught it from childhood."
"Drawing from that which they are indoctrinated with from their earliest memories to cover up the murder of their sovereign. …Aidan Fitzpatrick, I must applaud you."
"Why thank you, Devilish Demon. I try."
…time passed and she grew to be as a normal human excepting her great beauty. So beautiful was she that even those who saw her for only a moment would speak of her beauty until the rumor of it spread through the land.
Seras ran her fingers down the thin fabrics nervously. She had been rather surprised to find that the outfit she would be wearing would not be a kimono. Rather, it came as close to Western clothing she had ever seen among the traditional clothing of Japan. The silken white cloth of the top made sensual folds over her chest before tying just under her breasts, ends fluttering loosely. Bright blue silk made the topmost layer of her full skirt adding a shock of brilliant color to the white. The entire ensemble seemed almost more reminiscent of traditional Hindu clothing without the detailed embroidery than the traditional kimono she had seen in the past.
She felt naked.
"I honestly can't remember the last time I wore this little clothing in public," she murmured embarrassedly. "If it weren't for the long skirt, I don't think I'd be able to do this at all, Sakura."
"I'm sure you've worn a bathing suit before, Seras," the younger girl chuckled as she styled the blonde hair.
"Not since about 1999 or so."
The Asian girl stilled in her movements, eyes wide and startled.
"You weren't kidding about it being a while weren't you?"
The vampire chuckled nervously. "Hellsing doesn't give you much time for leisure."
"No," Sakura agreed. "It doesn't."
"I feel so silly wearing this. I must look foolish."
"Quite the contrary, my draculina," Alucard chuckled, picking her hand up to press kiss to the back. "You look beautiful."
Soon there arrived five princes who sought her hand in marriage. Furious, the old man tried to send them away….
"I don't like the idea of so many men looking at you like this though," Alucard stated, eyes narrowed as he looked at his bride standing before him in all her finery. "They don't have the right to look at you."
...when they would not leave, she promised to marry the one who completed the task she assigned him. They quickly agreed and listened to each task she gave in turn only to realize as they listened that each were truly impossible and thatr she had no intentions of marrying any of them.
"You don't need to be jealous, Master," she commented distractedly as she adjusted her clothing, her mind more focused on the fact that it would be next to impossible to conceal a weapon in the skimpy outfit. "It's not like I'd want anyone else but you."
Her focus elsewhere, she missed the satisfied smirk of the master vampire and the happy grin of the girl helping her to dress.
…and when she refused a final time to come to his palace and meet with him, the Emperor ordered a royal hunt in the area near the bamboo cutter's home so that he might catch a glimpse of her. As he approached the home he saw a brilliant light and new instinctively that it was her.
Carefully, he approached her and upon finally seeing her beauty, he immediately claimed his love for her and begged that she marry him and return to his palace.
Stricken, she offered him no task but simply refused his offer of marriage. She told him kindly that she could not marry him since she did not belong to his country. He offered again and again she refused.
Years passed and his love for her grew deeper with each day but to him she offered no more than friendship.
"Now, for this to be truly believable, you are going to have to be very affectionate with him," Tenjou Makoto instructed as they prepared to leave. "No matter how miraculous events may be to witness, if you do not appear to truly love him, there will be immediate doubt."
"I'm sure I can do it for a few minutes at least," Seras shrugged. "Can't be that hard."
Sakura nodded. "You are a pretty loving person when you are yourself, Seras. It's why we like you so much. Just…smile at him and make sure you touch his face and hands and such."
"The penalty for a man touching you is death."
The three looked at Alucard who loomed dauntingly in the corner.
"Well, Alucard, that is rather the idea."
…after months of her strange behavior, she finally turned to the old man who had taken in her in and raised her as his own.
"Father, I must at last tell you that I am not of this world. Truly, I belong to the kingdom of the moon and there I must return though I do not want it so."
Her adoptive parents gasped. "No, daughter! How can you leave us behind?"
"I do not wish it," she replied sadly, "but on the night of the enxt full moon, I shall have no choice. I must go."
"Now you are somewhat impervious to things like freezing and suffocating so the farther up you can be when you come down, the better."
"I'm sure I can go pretty high."
"Just make sure you stay in the light of the moon during your desent. If it is clouded over, you'll lose the crowd."
"Can't have that."
In his grief, the old man sought out the Emporer, pleading with him that he command she stay. But for all the Emporer's might, she insisted that she must go. Tears in her eyes, she wished the Emporer farewell…
"You ready for this?"
Seras looked over at Sakura, trepedation in her eyes.
"Hard to say. If everything goes right, this should be easy and the most bloodless extermination of an enemy in our history."
"A boring thought," Alucard muttered.
"But if it goes wrong, not only is there the probability of starting an international war but there will be thousands of people trying to kill me all at once."
"Then make sure things go right," her former master grumbled.
Seras smiled, the expression sweet and loving.
…after she drank a portion of the elixir of immortality, she turned to those who had been sent to retrieve her and asked them to wait. Quickly, she wrote a message to the Emperor and attached what was left of the elixir. She sent it with a messenger asking that he take it to the Emperor as quickly as possible.
She stepped up to the opening of the aircraft, wind rushing past them at the high altitude, and took a steadying breath. It was one thing to give oneself enough forward momentum to overcome gravity's pull. It was another thing entirely to control that pull to maintain an even speed of descent.
Her feet were bare, toes curling over the lip of the doorway and the cold metal giving a touch of reality to the surreal moment. Turning her head slightly, she locked eyes with the stern face of her former master, nodding slightly to him. Then once more she turned her eyes to the gleaming world below.
And stepped out into the open air.
…upon reading the words, the Emperor was overcome with a great sadness. Heart wrent with sorrow, he asked of his soldiers which mountain was closest to heaven. In turn they told him it was the Great Mountain of the Suruga Province…
The sky was cloudless and the glow of the moon cast the great Mount Fuji in an otherworldly glow. Before it, along the banks of one of the lakes, lights danced in the night and laughter filtered up into the night. Wind whispered softly through the trees, occasionally scattering the precious blossoms into the air to land gracefully on outstretched hands, silken hair and smiling faces. The atmosphere was alight with cheer and comfort, a festival to end all surrounding a pastime so a part of their history as to be inseparable.
And the Divine Lord Emperor sat before them all, childlike joy gracing his ever fair features, open for all the country to see. He sat on a platform above them all so that any who would gaze upon the faces of he or his family could do so with ease. A display of generosity and love.
And it was into that harmony of night and beauty that a lone figure was seen in the moonlit sky, drifting slowly down from the heavens. She seemed bourne from the ethereal light that surrounded her, her beauty springing from light and from myth.
And to the earth she gently glided, face serene, to stand before the Emperor.
…sending his soldiers with the letter and the bottle that held the Elixir of Immortality, he commanded they burn it at the summit of that Great Mountain with the hope that the message would reach the Kingdom of the Moon and his beloved princess. For without her, an immortal life would mean nothing.
By the time she gracefully set foot on the platform the Emperor sat upon, the entire gathered crowd was captivated, gaze immovable from the sight. The creature, for she could be no mortal man, seemed entirely composed of beauty and serenity. Her pale features held a wistful smile as her eyes sparkled with compassion and love. Everything from the long hair that shone silver in the moon's glow to the crystal blue of her ageless eyes spoke of otherworldly grandeur as she stood motionless before the Emperor.
Something about her seemed different, even to the vampiric eyes of the Lord Emperor who rose to stand before her. Something in the way she stood, in the shadows of her eyes and the way she held her head, spoke of a power older than any they could understand. It spoke of true immortality and yet of innocence and peace. She was, indeed, a thing apart and there was not a mind in the vastness of the crowd that didn't think of the tennyo, the celestial maidens, and the story of Kaguya-hime. He stood before her, in awe of a creature for the first time in his memory.
"My memory was taken from me the moment I put on the mantle of my people," she began, her words a bare whisper that still seemed to echo through all of the festival, "but before they left I had sent the Elixir of Immortality so that, over time, I might be reminded of the one I had loved but could not have."
She looked away to the smoking mountain in the distance, tears shining in her eyes.
"It was burned and sent in vapors up to the Kingdom where I live, the embers of the love we were forbidden to share waking up the memories I had lost. But the chance was gone. Sorrow broke his heart and a broken man, he died not long after."
Her eyes returned to his, a smile peeking through the sorrow of her expression.
"But his soul now lies within you, blood of his blood and heir to his title."
She reached out a hand to him, fingers lightly touching his face in a caress so sweet that it brought tears to his own eyes.
"I see him in you, my lord Emperor. I see in you that man that I could not love. And now that immortal soul resides in an immortal body and could live with me until eternity." She paused, features composed of longing and voice in the tone of a beggar. "If you come with me."
The Emperor stared at her beauty and could not speak. The tale they had all been told in childhood come true before his eyes, for what else could it be? In centuries past vampires were once believed to be nothing more than myth and legend and they were proven to be true. Could it be that the celestial maidens so reverently spoken of were also of fact rather than fiction?
"Will you come with me?" she pleaded once more, her hand come up to press lightly to his chest.
He didn't realize that he had nodded and uttered a quiet 'yes' until, tears streaming from her eyes, she threw her arms around him. Whispers flowed like waves through the assembled crowd speaking of dreams and hopes and desires. It was a night that all knew they would remember until their death and beyond, passing it on to their children and on through the ages. The night the Divine Lord Emperor at last met with his immortal love and left this world behind.
And as they watched, the embracing pair began to glide silently into the night, ascending ever higher into the gleaming light of the moon until they were but specs of darkness in an eternal night sky.
So it was that the Great Mountain got it's name. For the soldiers and their heavy burden as they came from the mountain after their sorrowful deed. For the wish of love immortal tainted and taken away. Mount Fuji and the pillars of its smoke became the symbol of immortality and of impossible love that lived in hope…
She felt disgusted, holding him so close to her body as they rose into the night sky. However, flight was still a shakey enough concept that she dared not risk a looser grip lest he fall to the ground below and reveal their grand scheme to the masses below.
"Tell me," she murmured enticingly as they climbed ever higher. "What women have you had before me? I have to admit to being a jealous sort."
"I had a wife that I never desired. And I've had some…girls before. But it was nothing serious, just a step that must be taken to prevent their immortality."
"Just a step? Then they didn't want you?"
He shrugged, an awkward movement in their position. "They might have but it wasn't of upmost concern, honestly."
"So not only a mass murderer but a rapist, check."
His face broke in confusion before mortal shock stole his expression and an outcry of pain rent through the air. Looking down he found her hand holding a small blade pushed hilt to flesh into his most private of places.
"Rapists disgust me," she remarked scornfully before throwing him inside the waiting space of the hovering craft.
Pain ripped through him and if he even heard her scathing words, he did not give answer as he curled unto himself on the floor of the craft. She didn't seem to notice, more concerned with the stain of red that now coated the soft fabrics of her skirt. For the first time in mor than a century, she looked at the red liquid with revulsion, choosing to wipe the blood from her hands on the cloth rather than lick it from her flesh.
"Oh, good," her lover remarked as he stepped from the shadows, "you didn't kill him."
"He's all yours," she smirked.
From one moment to the next, the screaming emasculated vampire on the floor dissapeared into the liquid shadows of Alucard's powers and was gone.
"Alright," Seras sighed. "Let's go back so I can get this stuff off of me and take a nice long bathr."
"So…the Emperor?" Sakura queried as the two relaxed in the rejuvenating waters of the open-air hot spring.
"Alucard took him away and is probably doing any number of things that I'm fairly sure I don't actually want to know about in detail."
"So we'll count that as a kill."
"Yes," Seras sighed, leaning her head back on the stone behind her, eyes closed.
"Aidan says you deserve an Oscar."
The vampire smiled. "Remind me to thank him."
"Not sure you want to," Sakura remarked with a shrug. "I'm sure he'll find some way to torment you about this for years to come."
"Probably," Seras sighed. After a moment, she opened her eyes and looked at her companion. "Do we have any official word on whether or not we are going to be blamed for all this?"
The native woman nodded. "While there is some video of what happened tonight, almost none of it shows your face and even then, it showed only bits at a time. So, we think you'll be free and clear of all of it."
"Nice to know. What about the Shogun?"
Sakura sighed. "There we might be in a bit more trouble. I was caught on camera, a pretty good shot too. And while it came by Imperial decree, the fact that I killed the Shogun will still not go over well with a good number of people. He had a lot of supporters."
"Still," the vampire smiled, "two more mean nasty vampires gone and the rule of your country has returned to humans once more. As it should be."
"I can drink to that," the girl grinned, plucking two saucers of sake from the floating tray.
Silently, the two women saluted each other before drinking the rice wine and looking up into the infinite night sky, completely at peace.
AN: So the first image I had of this chapter was Sakura dressed up like a celestial maiden and flying at the Emperor with a katana. Then they both had to die. And then it was Seras who has already established flying abilities (flying to London after taking a quick nip on Pip). ...And then my mass anger at the entire world last week left me kinda brain dead. "Castle" consoled me a bit cause Nathan Fillion is awesome but...yeah.
So it ended up a lot less bloody than originally imagined. A lot more...imagery filled.
Anyway, the fairy tale or fable or whatever that is 'quoted' throughout the story is my own retelling of parts of the "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" or "Princes Kaguya." I read about five different versions of it before coming up with what is said above. There is a LOT more to it as each prince gets his own subsection and is an interseting read. It is also the oldest known literature of the Japanese culture.
Also, as was stated above, hanami literally means 'flower looking or viewing' and is usually celebrated in March or April (depending on when the sakura are blooming) by going out with a picnic with family and friends or going for a long walk. You sometimes see it in manga and anime without them specifically mentioning what they are doing. (though there is a pretty funny chapter in Full Metal Panic! Overload that talks about it .)
Hope it was satisfactory if not great. .
Previews for next time!
Human, Conditional: (the title may change. I hate coming up with titles. Only summaries are worse.) Anywho, this is a Firefly/Hellsing crossover. It will be set in the Life Sentence Universe but..as any Firefly fan would tell you, a few centuries in the future so the only carry over characters aside of Seras and Alucard will be Shiara and Michael (with a very weird cameo by Aidan). It will feature much of the time line before the events of Firefly proper and deal with a lot of the backstory of the terraforming, settling of the worlds and the eventual war. It will also continue on through the BDM. Should all things go well (yeah right) it should be fairly epic...If you are a firefly fan.
(Untitled thus far): Somewhat inspired by my recent foray into all aired episodes of Castle, this will be a story about a homicide detective in London who, while investigating a series of murders, begins to have a series of very vivid dreams that have her living in the Dark ages and prominently feature a strange man she has come across during the investigation.
Should be intersting. I'm hoping to work out both timelines and story outlines before I start work on either so that I can write them simultaneously. I was bit by the bug.
...And I'm sure there will be a one-shot here or there somewhere along the way. Especially since I have a national conference in Flordia to go to. Nothing inspires writing like boredom and nothing inspires boredom like 4 straight days of Powerpoint presentations.
Til next time!