Title: The Lost Boys
Premise, or Lack Thereof: Slayers/Hellsing crossover (see Authoress’ notes)
Reason for Banishment: Lost steam, too close to the source material
After being tricked, betrayed, kidnapped, almost used as a virgin sacrifice—again—arrested, locked up for God knows how long, and one disaster away from being executed as a convenient scapegoat, I am free at long last.
As a Hellsing, it irks me that I owe my release to a demon who claims to be Alucard’s cousin, but right now I cannot afford to be picky. Whatever this Xelloss Metallium’s true intentions are, he is for the time being an ally; still, I know better than grant him any more trust than I do Alucard.
/Comparing me to him? You wound me, Master. We’re nothing alike./
Thou doth protest too much, Nosferatu. The resemblance is uncanny: that unconvincing innocent act; that disgusting penchant for pain, both in giving and receiving; and that irritating grin—
—why the hell is Xelloss humming Beethoven’s Ode to Joy?
“It’s a nice song.” Once again, my new self-appointed legal counsel smirks. “Don’t you think so, Integra?”
Oh, yes, they are related, all right. They even give me the same headache. “You will address me as Sir Hellsing. And you will not act cheeky in the presence of my men.”
His pout, too, is classic Alucard. “Come now, Integra, I know how to maintain proper appearances.” He opens a single eye, his purple, slit-like iris resembling a dagger all the more. “After all, I’m supposed to be your lawyer.”
I almost laugh as I catch Alucard suppressing his itchy trigger finger. I have been in that dungeon for so long I almost forgot how possessive he can be. He wants to be the exclusive focus in my life, annoyances included.
Walter and Seras are at the door to welcome us, but just the latter helps with unloading my luggage, the former still recovering from the injuries he sustained during Incognito’s attack.
“Welcome home, my Lady.” Walter nods, his arm cast preventing him from the usual bow. He turns his attention to Xelloss, his eyes cold. “Mr. Metallium.”
“Oh, just Xelloss would be fine.” Xelloss wraps his arms around Seras and gives her chest a lecherous squeeze, causing her to yelp in a mixture of surprise, pain, and indignation. “And I see you’re just as perky as ever, Miss Victoria.”
Contrary to my expectations, Seras remains calm after the initial moment has passed; reaching over her shoulders, she grabs Xelloss and twists him into shapes that no mortal body could bend before throwing him onto the ground hard hard enough to break bones, if a Mazoku had any. “Why, thank you,” she then replies, dusting off her hands. “But next time, please keep your eyes on my face and your hands to yourself.”
I allow myself a small smile. Perhaps this little family reunion would not be so bad, after all. “Nice moves, Seras. Good to see you haven’t been idle while I was—” I paused, searching for the right word to use, “—inconvenienced.” That sounds about right. I don’t like admitting to anyone, not even myself, of my vulnerabilities.
Seras now looks a bit embarrassed at the attention I am giving her. “Actually, Sir, Pip taught me that one.”
I raise an eyebrow. “Pip?”
“Captain Pip Bernadette of the Wild Geese, my Lady,” Walter explains while we pass over the threshold and I feel my body relaxing, even if only a little, as I am once again back in my own domain. “We have been quietly rebuilding Hellsing’s forces, even while you were—” he pauses in the same manner that I did and smiles, “—’inconvenienced’, as you so aptly put it, so that we would be ready to mobilize as soon as you returned.”
The Wild Geese, huh? The name suggests a bunch of mercenaries who would bolt at the first sight of danger or a bigger paycheck, but I trust Walter’s judgment. “Call Captain Bernadette to my office. I want to meet him in person.”
The minute Pip Bernadette enters the room, I learn three things from the way he carries himself. One, he lives his life on the edge, laughing in the face of danger. Two, he’s paid for that attitude at least once, in the form of losing his left eye. Third, he shows an adaptability that could have come from nothing but instincts honed from countless battles.
“Yo,” he salutes with the slightest touch of irreverence. Seras must have warned him about me, but he wasn’t above letting me know his true nature.
“Have a seat.” I bring out a cigarillo and light it, refusing to let him get to me.
He does, crossing his legs at first, but then gives me an apologetic shrug and positions himself in a more proper manner. “It’s nice to meet you in person, Sir.” His tone is casual but not flippant. “I take it that you wanted to find out about our qualifications straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.”
“Correct.” I exhale smoke through my nose, savoring its taste. “And before you regale me with your war stories, Captain, I only wish to know if you have what it takes to deal with the sort of things we fight on a daily basis.”
He becomes all business now as he leans forward and flips his eye patch up. “Let’s just say I’ve seen my share of monsters, Sir, and leave it at that.”
My face betrays nothing as I examine the scarred remains of the socket, but I cannot help but wonder what he had tangled with to leave such a mark. “All right.” I stand and approach him, extending a gloved hand. “Welcome to Hellsing.”
Alucard appears before me in his usual manner, hanging upside down from the ceiling. “You called, my Master?”
Is this meant to be a taunt? Or perhaps his way of making me feel at home again? I’m not in the mood to play guessing games. “Tell me everything you know about the Mazoku.”
He floats to the ground, his long red robes pooling around him. “Why don’t you ask your new legal counsel?”
Alucard can be so petty and childish sometimes. “Unfortunately, he’s even less straightforward than you are. Besides, I thought you’d jump at the opportunity to give your side of the story.”
“Well, if you put it that way.” He leans back, propping his elbow against nothing but air and summons a long-stemmed wineglass filled with dark red liquid. “Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away—”
I have a suspicion that I might not be sleeping tonight.
Alucard takes a sip. “You did order me to tell you everything, my Master.”
In the beginning, there was Chaos, an infinite sea of untamed potential. It would have stayed that way for an eternity if Chaos had not, in what could be deemed a fit of pique, amassed and became self-aware.
The Lord of Nightmares took one look at the nothingness that surrounded her and decided to make things a little more interesting.
Boredom does funny things to one’s mind.
And so four great pillars sprang forth, each containing a world full of light, love, and life, but also darkness, hatred, and death. The Lord of Nightmares populated these worlds with creatures of all kinds, then stepped back to watch them vie for dominance. When that too proved to be unfulfilling, she took the shape of her children and walked alongside them.
Speaking of which, they were starting to become a bit of a problem. At the forefront was Phibrizzo, who had begun to take the entire “gleeful destruction” cliche too far. He was even planning to bring her into the picture whether she liked it or not.
That was an attitude she intended to correct once and for all.
“—but not only did she not annihilate all of creation, she blasted him into tiny little pieces instead. That was, I’d imagine, quite a nasty surprise.” The glass refills itself again. “But apparently, he hasn’t learned his lesson, and is trying the whole spell of mass destruction thing again.”
I can feel my headache start up again. “So Xelloss was dispatched to find a suitable avatar for the Lord of Nightmares in case things went south.” He had made it sound so harmless then, in the bowels of that prison. And with no other prospects of ever serving Queen, Country, or Protestantism again, I had accepted his offer.
Alucard is, for once, serious. “You made the right choice, my Master. A martyr’s death, no matter how noble, would have undone all of Hellsing’s accomplishments. The forces of darkness would have consumed Britain; worse, the Judas Priest would have been free to do as he pleased.” Then he returns to normalcy, or whatever. “Only I should have the privilege of doing that.”
One good turn deserves another, I suppose. “Over my dead body.” I remove my glasses and massage the bridge of my nose. “You still haven’t told me how you figure into all of this.”
“Why, Integra, I’m disappointed that you haven’t figured it out yet. Surely my old name would be some sort of clue.”
Dracula. That was what he had called himself before my ancestor subdued him and made him serve the Hellsings. Gears in my head begin to turn as I review the ‘family tree’ that Xelloss had alluded to and Alucard explained in full. Then I contemplate Alucard and his penchant for big hair, bigger coats, and even bigger guns. “Demon Dragon King Gaav.”
“Close, but no cigar. Gaav—” and here Alucard’s features harden, “—was destroyed by that upstart who dares call himself Hellmaster. But before that, Gaav had been imprisoned in a human soul to contain his power, and he traveled to this world in an attempt to rid himself of that weakness.”
All of Alucards quirks make that much more sense now. “And you were the result.”
“Brilliant deduction, Integra!” Xelloss appears between us, clapping. “Of course, I would have preferred that you not have so much information at your disposal until it was too late for you to act on it, but what can I do when you have such an obedient little lapdog at your beck and call?”
In the blink of an eye, Alucard is upon Xelloss in Hellhound form, all pairs of blood-red eyes glaring at him. “Don’t forget, Xelloss, this dog still has bite.”
“Down, boy,” I manage to get out between fits of laughter disguised as coughs.
He doesn’t move. “Just a little nip, Master. I won’t hurt him much. Besides, he enjoys this sort of thing.”
“Perhaps, but I don’t.”
“How do you know for sure?” Xelloss asks, his tone far too cheerful for someone soon to be mangled in various horrible ways. “Maybe you have a pervy Mazoku fancier inside just waiting to get out. It would certainly explain why you haven’t started dating yet.”
I catch myself wondering if Xelloss has a similar vulnerability to silver. No. I will be calm. I will not lose my temper. I am a Hellsing. And if Xelloss’ plan comes to fruition, I may even become the Dark Lord incarnate.
“Do whatever you like,” I tell Alucard. “He is, after all, your cousin. I’m sure the two of you have a lot of catching up to do.”
Alucard is drooling now. He lives for these kinds of orders—vague, open to misinterpretation, and, in his words, ‘so very amusing’. “Do you have any idea how much I want to sink my fangs into you right now, Integra?”
I start walking out of the room. “Sorry, Alucard, but I draw the line at playing pawn for demons.”
Alucard lit one of Integra’s cigars, relishing its taste. She would kill him, of course, when she found out that he had raided her emergency stash, but somehow the action felt appropriate. Being around Xelloss always made him need something to soothe his mind. And Alucard didn’t drink—not wine, anyway.
Xelloss remained sprawled on the floor, the scattered bits of his body writhing in a teasing dance as it reformed into one cohesive unit. “It seems you’ve done quite well for yourself here, Alu-chan. I take back all the nasty things I said about you before.”
The universe was a cold, harsh, unfair place. He was supposed to be the irritating one, not this fruitcake. “I should shoot you for that, but I don’t want to waste perfectly good ammunition on a piece of trash like you.”
Xelloss pouted. “What, no ‘nice to see you too’? Or how about ‘thanks for rescuing my Master from almost certain death’? Or even, ‘how is everyone back home doing’?”
“First, you seem to forget that I hate your guts.” Alucard stepped on a piece of said gut to punctuate the point.
Xelloss didn’t miss a beat. “Aww, Alu-chan, you’re embarrassing me.”
“Second, you only saved my Master because she fit the bill for your plans. If she didn’t, she would have been left there to conveniently disappear whenever the Crown needed someone to die.” This infuriated him above all else. Just a little longer and Integra would have been his, and his alone! But instead, Xelloss offered her another way out, and she snapped it up like a fish swallowing a lure. Not that Alucard didn’t have something similar in mind, but at least he had been up front about the hook.
“Can’t you see that I’m helping you, Alu-chan? Once she realizes how much she enjoys being a monster, she’ll have a harder time resisting your advances!” He shook a disembodied finger at Alucard. “Although you really need to practice your technique. You have the worst pick-up lines!”
Jackal roared in Alucard’s hand before he could really think about it, further splattering Xelloss across the floor along with bits of blessed silver. “Third,” he continued, putting the gun back into the folds of his jacket, “you forget that I had a ring-side view of everything going on thanks to the little piece of Gaav I still carry.” He scowled at the memory. The Demon Dragon King had died in a matter most unfitting a dark lord, a meaningless sacrifice in Phibrizzo’s bid for the Giga Slave. “I will have my revenge on that little piece of shit, with or without your help.”
“Ooh, how touching. I can imagine it now.” Xelloss drew himself together again, looking no worse than before. He scrunched up his face in a mocking imitation of Alucard’s. “My name is Alucard. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Alucard grabbed Xelloss by his collar, closing his hands across the other’s thin, delicate throat. “I’m warning you, Xelloss. Your Beastmaster is not here to save you from me, and tonight, my Master doesn’t care much, either.”
Xelloss’ eyes opened, and his demeanor changed from jocular to predatory. “Who says I want to be saved?”
The Laughing Nazi Zombies ™ were worried. In all their experience, their glorious leaders showed no mood other than an insatiable appetite for mayhem and war. But now, Millennium felt just one emotion, one that previous to this instant was all but unimaginable.
Sheer, raw panic marred Joleen’s tattooed features. Schroinger paced back and forth like a caged beast, muttering under its breath. The sound of innumerable glassware breaking echoed from Doc’s lab. Tubalcain tried to shuffle his deck, but only ended up playing Fifty-Two Pickup over and over again. Even the stoic Hans would break out in a cold sweat from time to time. And Montana Max, monster and Major of Millennium, was on the verge of wetting himself.
“Xelloss!” Montana screamed the name of his tormentor, sending another collective shudder down the ranks. “Why does that scheming little bastard always get in my way!”
In reality, Xelloss could care less about who won this latest round of hide-and-seek. But when the Lady of your Lady comes to Wolfpack Island in person—well, not in the human sense, as She had changed avatars by this point, but you get the idea—and requests your services, all of your other pet projects tend to kind of get put on hold.
Mother always did like Xelloss best, and all the other Mazoku hated him for that. Phibrizzo, in particular, topped of the list of those who wanted Xelloss dead. He was so jealous of Xelloss that he was willing to destroy all of creation just to get at him.
“Hellsing was supposed to be killed, her throat slit like the pig she is!”
But anyway, back to the scene at hand, which is relevant because, as revealed via earlier exposition, Phibrizzo had managed to survive the Lord of Nightmare’s helluva bitchslap, but had not improved from it. No, as the current state of Millennium showed, he was still very much a petty, whiny brat.
“And then Alucard would have been free to cause death and destruction and blood! But no! That pest had to interfere!”
Which one of these shivering, pacing, smashing, card-dropping, sweating, ranting fools was the Hellmaster, you may ask?
Tsk. That would be telling.
“XELLOSS!” Montana screamed again, his gesture and expression the very caricature of a certain starship captain.
Xelloss looks distracted as he enters my office. I mute the television and turn my attention to him. “Something wrong, Mr. Metallium?”
He blinks and forces a grin, but it is weak. “No, not at all.”
I interlock my fingers in front of my face and lean forward. “For a demon, you’re a pretty terrible liar.”
He puts a hand behind his head. “Ahaha! Am I really that obvious?”
I smile. I am sure it is not a nice smile. “Blatantly.”
His pout is that of a child’s whose hand is caught in the cookie jar. “Maa. Nothing gets past you, does it, Integra?”
“Just answer the question, Mr. Metallium.”
“Thank L-sama you noticed.” He sighs, letting all of his weariness show. “I hate being in stereo.”
I am about to ask him to explain himself when I remember that I had sent Alucard, Seras, and Pip to investigate some matters in South America. Xelloss must have tagged along, too, but left some part of himself here, to keep an eye on me. “Alucard’s not that incompetent. He’ll do his job.”
“Which is ‘seek and destroy’. An admirable goal, but one that lacks,” and here a shadow of Xelloss’ usual self returns, “subtlety. And besides, Hellsing’s budget doesn’t allow its pet vampires to go skipping across the ocean on a regular basis.”
I feel myself grow cold as I realize the implication of Xelloss’ words. “You would bring them here?” I hiss, pressing my gun to his head before I can get a hold of myself.
He opens both of his eyes, and it takes all of my self-control to hold his dark gaze. “They’ve been planning to turn London into their personal killing fields for a very long time, Integra.” He moves my gun aside, and I let him. “I’m just pushing the schedule ahead a bit so there will be something left of your precious Kingdom afterwards.”
I retreat behind my desk, not trusting my self-control—or rather, lack thereof. As much as I loathe admitting it, Xelloss is so much better at these mind games than Alucard ever is, or perhaps even could be. Like his deceased progenitor, a certain amount of wildness plagues Alucard’s demeanor. His idea of a well-organized plan seems to consist nothing more than goading me on a regular basis, as well as the occasional offer of un-life. Xelloss Metallium, however, is the plan.
“I assure you that you are safe from me, Sir Hellsing,” Xelloss had said to me when we first met. Even if he were telling the truth then, I am now an unwitting participant in some very dangerous schemes.
The phone rings, breaking the wall of silence that I had put up between me and Xelloss. I put the call on speaker. “This is Sir Integral Hellsing. State your business.”
“Hello, Integra and Other Self! How are you gentlemen? I hope you haven’t killed each other yet!”
Xelloss throws me an apologetic look that’s almost sincere. “For the love of L-sama, Mini-Me, put Alucard on the line.”
“That’s not fair, Other Self! You’re supposed to be on my side—gaack!”
An intense scuffle can be heard unfolding on the other side of the line, but is not long before Alucard’s voice reigns supreme, his tone neutral. “I take it you’ve been following the news, my Master.”
“Yes. Quite an unfortunate misunderstanding. We—” I do not say Xelloss’ name, not wishing to provoke a second pissing match; now was not neither the time nor the place for trivialities, “—have been attempting to negotiate a peaceful solution, but that seems rather hopeless at the moment.”
Alucard laughs. “Why so down, my Master? Doesn’t it excite you? Doesn’t the thought of crushing these fools send waves of delight up your curvaceous spine?”
All of this banter is so exhausting. “What do you want, Alucard?”
“What else?” Alucard breathes. “What could bring joy to my cold, undead heart?”
I look at the television screen, the mass of ignorant red shirts assembled on a suicide mission. God help us. God help us all.
“God is dead,” Xelloss informs me, still looking at me with his unnatural eyes. “Long live the Lord of Nightmares.”
I don’t quite hear what Alucard says above the roaring in my own head, but I already know the words by heart. They are a ritual, repeated every time I look into the Abyss. “What are your orders, my Master? What are you orders?”
The Abyss is starting to look back.
“Search and destroy.” And then, perhaps to reassure myself, I repeat the order. “Search and destroy.” My fist pounds the table with each repetition. “Search and destroy! Search and destroy! Search and destroy!”
It is Xelloss’ voice that pulls me from the edge before I fall in. So he is, after all, not without a taste for irony.
I collapse into my chair as Alucard laughs. “Yes, my Master, yes! That is the Integra Hellsing that I know and love!” He stops laughing, and the lights in the room seem to dim. “Order received.”
And then Alucard hangs up.
I bury my face in my hands. I hate it. I hate being the director of Her Elite Loyal Legion of Supernatural and Immortal Night Guards. I hate acting as the last defense against the things that go bump in the night and wondering on a constant basis if I am becoming one of them. I hate waking up in the morning and asking myself if hanging on to my family name is just a front because I am afraid that I would enjoy being a vampire.
He calls me, again. He almost sounds gentle, kind, pitying. But that’s a joke. He is doing this on purpose. He wants me like this, so I will be the perfect vessel for the Master of his Master.
I push him away. I do not want his help. I am Integral Wingates Farbrook Hellsing, the last of my line. I will not have any more monsters doting on me.
“Sorry,” I am aware of Xelloss saying as he places a hand on my forehead and begins to murmur in a foreign tongue.
I grab at his wrist, catching nothing but air. What is he trying to do? Where is my gun?
Oh, what pretty lights—
Xelloss tucked Integra in, being very careful not to put his hands where it would be inappropriate.
“Wouldn’t want Alu-chan to be upset,” he whispered, giggling. Half a world away, Mini-Me gagged.
/You’d better not be falling for her. Do I really have to remind you what happened the last time you dated somebody?/
Xelloss left the room and closed the door behind him before he elected to answer. “Aww, don’t be so uptight. There’s nothing wrong with window-shopping. Besides,” he smirked. “I thought you loved The Great and Almighty Mace.”
/The mace I could have lived with. It was the Golden Dragon who made me want to dig my eyes out with a blunt spoon./
“I know. That’s why I hung out with her.”
“I am, aren’t I?” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “All right, Mini-Me, time to switch.”
/What? But the fun just started! You can’t do this to me!/
But Xelloss was already on his way. He was, after all, always in control, even of himself. “I just did.”
/I hate you./
He smiled. “I hate you too.”
Alexander Anderson stalked the dark streets of Rio de Janeiro. He was a strange sight indeed, dressed in vestments meant to comfort and assure, but carrying himself in a manner that would have given even the stoutest of men nightmares.
He paid no mind to whether anybody saw him; at this hour of night, a mortal that was still awake was probably up to no good. Besides, he was on a mission from God.
“If God had any idea what you were doing, He’d be turning over in His grave.”
Anderson drove his blades at the source of the sound without even looking, recognizing it at once. “What do you want of me now, Hellspawn?”
“As excitable as ever, I see,” Xelloss observed, dodging with casual ease. “You would be so delightfully wonderful in bed.”
“Over my dead body.”
“Hm.” Xelloss pretended to consider this for a moment. “While I’m not averse to necrophilia, I do find it much more interesting when both parties participate.”
Anderson managed to score a hit at long last, ripping Xelloss’ head from its neck. “Stop tormenting me and go back to the pits where you came from, demon!”
The head bounced a few times before landing on the body again, backwards. “But you’re so much fun, darling!” With a shrug of its shoulders, the face reoriented forwards. “Especially since sooner or later you’ll stop saying no to me and only say ‘yes, oh, God, yes’!”
“Hell will freeze over before that happens!”
Xelloss caught both of Anderson’s bayonets between his fingers and drew in until their noses touched. “Are you sure, dearest? Are you absolutely certain that the excitement you feel is joy in performing the Lord’s duty and not just your repressed sexual desire sublimated into bloodlust?”
As Xelloss leaned in, Anderson threw his head back so hard that he bashed his head against the window behind him, shattering it. Red tinted his vision, clouding it. “Get behind me, Satan—”
“Ooh, Alex-poo, that sounded so sinfully suggestive!” Xelloss put a hand to its face. “I think I’m blushing.”
Anderson was about to enter into one of his rampages when it occurred to him that Xelloss might be baiting him. With the last vestiges of his sanity slipping, Anderson did the only thing that would interrupt the magicks already at work.
He punched himself in the face. Several times.
Xelloss checked a non-existent watch. “Hm, only five minutes? I must be losing my touch.”
Anderson felt his eyebrow twitch, once, but he sat down against a wall and crossed his arms in front of him as he tucked his blades back into the folds of his clothes. “You didn’t show up just to see how long you could keep me riled up, did you?”
“Oh, I wanted you up,” Xelloss affirmed, eyeing Anderson below the waist for the briefest of moments, “but I was also wondering if you actually did anything useful after our last invigorating discussion.”
Anderson flinched again. The last time Xelloss shown up, it had taunted him about the Church he served with every fiber of his being. And if anything enraged Anderson more than a monster lying, it was a monster telling the truth.
The whole festering corpse of a truth.
“They call themselves Millennium,” he began as the pain washed over him again. “They wish to realize the Thousand-Year-Reich that Hitler had failed to achieve.” At the time, he had attributed the fall of that madman’s troops to the prayers of the saints, but as time passed, he began to learn of the real price of victory.
Even Hellsing had contributed its abominable vampire and a stripling of a boy they dared to call an Angel of Death.
But the Pope?
He had done nothing. Said nothing.
And that, in the face of the horrors that ensued, was evil enough.
“And?” Xelloss prompted, interrupting Anderson’s thoughts.
“I’ve only been able to get bits and pieces.” Anderson ground his teeth in frustration. Every time he had been close, they sent a wave of mass-production ghouls to distract him while the real culprits packed up and left town. “But they definitely have access to freak technology and enough conventional weaponry to level a small country to the ground. From what they left behind, they look to be mobilizing soon.”
“Not bad for a human, I suppose,” Xelloss mused. “And?”
He scoured his recollections and dredged up one that he hoped was relevant. “I think I might have heard one of the officer-level people call their master ‘Hades Lord’, or some such nonsense.” Which was of course ridiculous. No-one believed in those false gods these days, not even the self-appointed revivalists of the ‘Old Faiths’.
“Mei-Ou,” Xelloss repeated the name using Yumiko’s native tongue, his eyes opening. “Flaunting your name about like that, you naughty boy. Have you learned nothing?”
All of Anderson shrank into one, tiny point. He must stop looking. He must not stop. He must. He must not. Look don’t look love me hate me come here go away—
“Whoops.” Xelloss pulled his face back into a blank mask. “Didn’t mean to do that in front of you. Sorry.”
“What sort of—” Anderson tried to come up with a coherent term to call what he had just seen, but settled for just asking the question instead: “What are you?”
Xellss held a finger to his lips. “That is a secret.”
I sit back and remove my glasses, rubbing the bridge of my nose as I ruminate on the information Alucard has gathered from the ex-Millennium operative known as Alhambra. “Thank you, Alucard. You are dismissed.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” Alucard emphasizes his pronouncement by slouching against my desk. “In a minute Xelloss is going to come bounding in here about some great and wonderful discovery he made while he was really being nothing but a pain in the ass.”
“Actually, he said he was exhausted from having to do twice the work and went to sleep.” That had surprised me. I didn’t think his kind needed sleep.
Alucard makes a face. “Even now he mocks me.”
I extinguish my cigar. “Not so fun when you’re on the receiving end, hm?”
He pouts. “You’re supposed to be helping me, Integra.”
Sometimes I have to wonder if his entire act is just an attempt to compensate for something. “I serve only Hellsing and England.”
“And the Lord of Nightmares, but only on Tuesdays?”
I chuckle. “Alucard, you’re hardly even trying.”
He leans back, letting his rich hair fall to its true length, its tendrils spilling over the desk. “I figure you could use a laugh. This is the last calm before the storm, you know.”
“I try not to think about it.” I threaten a lock of hair with my lighter as it veers too close for comfort. “I have enough nightmares of London turning into some sort of zombie playground as it is.”
“That would only be a nightmare if I’m not part of the fun.”
I give up trying to set Alucard on fire and settle with just flicking the cap back and forth. “You sure have a strange way of cheering people up.”
“The only other thing I can think of saying is ‘you really should consider being a vampire, my Master’, but I can already guess your answer to that.”
“Why be a mere vampire when I can be the Lord of Nightmares?”
My tone must not be as joking as Alucard likes, because he frowns. “I’m not certain of the qualifications for actually summoning Her, but I’m sure it’s no trivial matter.”
I raise an eyebrow. “You almost sound concerned, Alucard.”
Before I can stop him, Alucard reaches out and caresses my cheek. “Of course I am, my Master. I almost lost you once because I had gotten careless.”
I scoff, pushing his hand away. “You’re just upset because you didn’t get to sink your fangs into me first.”
“Integra.” Alucard removes his shades. “I’m being serious here.”
Alucard being serious doesn’t look too different from Alucard being catty, except he does manage to will his expression into a somewhat more subdued one. “Your concern is very touching, Alucard, but I’m afraid I have to doubt your motives.”
“Why? Afraid of admitting that I might have real feelings for you?”
“We are not continuing this discussion.”
Alucard circles around behind me and tries to put a hand on my hip. “Is that an order, my Master?”
I’m considering whether to give him a snappy comeback or just shoot him when Xelloss phases through the door wearing pink bunny pajamas. “My, that was a nice nap,” he declares, then pretends to be surprised at seeing us. “Oops. Did I interrupt something?”
“No. Alucard just finished briefing me on the situation with Millennium and is now leaving.” Alucard glowers but obeys my unspoken command. I return my glasses to the top of my nose and fold my hands on my desk. “And I advise that you do the same.”
Xelloss clicks his tongue and sits on my desk with a small hop. “You’re quite the workaholic. Don’t you ever sleep?”
“There’s too much to do for me to waste a third of my life in bed. Besides, I am planning to have a short nap, as soon as you leave me the hell alone.”
Xelloss holds up an enveloped stamped with the Iscariot seal, along with the somewhat questionable reassurance that it was NOT A BOMB. “Then I guess I shouldn’t bother you with this little bit of fan mail.”
I snatch at it, getting nothing but air. “Give me that.”
“If you want to know what’s inside, I can just read it for you.” Xelloss lays the letter across his forehead and concentrates. “Let me see. Ah, yes: ‘Dear Protestant Sow.’ Hm, it’s from dear old Enrico.”
Goodbye, nap; hello, migraine. “Give me the letter, Xelloss.”
Xelloss, of course, keeps going. “Ahem: ‘It has come to my attention that you may be in over your head regarding this Millennium business.’ Ooh, I think he just insulted us.”
I tackle Xelloss so hard that both of us fall to the floor. I grab the envelope out of his hand and tear into it.
Xelloss pouts. “You’re no fun.” He approximates a poking motion in the general direction of my rear end. “And you really need to lose some weight.”
Making a point to keep sitting on him, I read the rest of the letter to myself.
Despite our misunderstandings in the past, I wish to extend a helping hand. However our theological positions may differ, I think both of us can agree that undead creatures are an affront to God and should be eliminated from the face of the earth posthaste. We will be attending the next Round Table meeting as guests of the Queen. It is my sincerest hope that you voice your support when I propose that our organizations cooperate in this matter.
P.S. I’m set to be confirmed as Archbishop by His Holiness himself. So if you don’t agree, I’m afraid I’ll have to pull rank on you.
Xelloss vanishes into the shadows beneath me while I make confetti with the letter and reappears over my shoulder. “Ooh, a promotion for Enrico-chan, hmm? We should have him for dinner to celebrate.”
I’m about to show Xelloss the business end of my gun when I catch his double—or perhaps I should say triple—entendre. I chuckle, collapsing into my chair. “Get out.”
Xelloss pouts. “Curses. Foiled again.” He complies by fading from sight, starting from the bottom of his feet and ending with his wide, cheeky smile. “Sweet dreams, Sir Hellsing.”
Montana Max looked like he was about to sprout a new vein in his bulbous forehead. “For the last time, Warrant Officer Schrödinger, sit down.”
The aforementioned Warrant Officer spun on its heel and blew a loud, obnoxious raspberry. “No, no, and a kajillion more times, no! I’m not going, and you can’t make me, and that’s final!”
“Who do you suggest I send in your place, then?”
Schrödinger froze at the sound emanating from everywhere and nowhere at once, while the rest of Millennium snapped to attention.
“All rise in the presence of Lord Hades, god of Death!” Joleen bellowed, thrusting her right arm into the air.
The others followed suit. “Heil!”
“—and Undeath,” the Voice amended. “At ease. And do be a good kitty and take a seat, will you, Schro-kun?”
“See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?” An invisible hand ruffled Schrödinger’s hair. “Now, I realize you’re not exactly eager to go meet my fruitcake of a nephew, but you also know how important an official declaration of war is to the Plan.”
The young feline creature whimpered.
“Since that’s settled, why don’t we have a moment of silence for the fallen Tubalcain?”
“Rise, Sir Hellsing.” The Queen gestures to the table. “Tea?”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” I take a seat and begin nibbling at a biscuit. “What’s up for discussion today?”
“I am an old woman, Integra. My heir—” and here a pained look crosses the Queen’s aged face, “—I’ve spoiled him.”
“It’s natural for you to worry.”
“I wish it were only that.” The Queen sips from Her cup before continuing. “The Cromwell Pact that binds Alucard to Hellsing—do you know what it entails?”
“Not particularly, I’m afraid.” I had been so busy with Hellsing that I never had much time to study anything that didn’t pertain to my duties. “I only know the barest facts on the failed Commonwealth.”
“There’s a quote attributed to Cromwell. ‘The king is not England, and England is not the king; the issue is not the survival of the king, but the survival of England.’ Or, perhaps, in my case, queen.”
I am quick to catch on. “My imprisonment—that was a dress rehearsal for the real thing.”
The Queen nods. “Someday—soon, I’m afraid—you may have to make a very difficult choice. To remain loyal to England in appearance, or to serve Her in spirit, perhaps even to the point of treason—”
“Never say never.” The Queen smiles. “And do let up on my fine china before you break it and hurt yourself.”
I relinquish my grip in a hurry.
Alucard moped, lounging half upright in his coffin. Across from him, Integra sat backwards in the chair she brought with her, resting her chin on her elbows. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Alucard. You had your chance to nab that freak.”
“He cheated.” But more than that, Alucard was angry at himself for his own hubris. Over the years, he had allowed himself to forget that as far as Mazoku were concerned he was a small fish in a big pond. In jumping the gun, he had let that pesky little brat escape with nothing more than some minor injuries.
Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Crossover inspired by the stray thought of how Integra would handle Xelloss and further egged on by the discovery that Alucard shares voice actors with Gaav.
Writing Xelloss’ dialogue was great fun, but I’m still a bit worried that I might have taken things too far in some cases. How the hell do you stay in character when said character is amoral, masochist, and quite possibly multi-sexual? (And I use multi- instead of bi- because it’s not all that clear whether Mazoku have gender at all.)