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The Devil You Know

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“How do you like it so far?”
“It's pretty nice,” she sat on the floor in front of the couch, head leaned back against the seat cushion. “I miss driving on the right side of the road. Took me a few days to adjust.”
Her mom chuckled on the other side of the phone. “I bet. Get any fancy schmancy gross British food yet?”
She shook her head. “Nah, it's actually not that bad. But apparently jellied eel is a thing here, so…”
“Gross.”
“Fuckin’ right ‘gross’. I'd rather eat my own hand.”
Her mom laughed out loud at the comment. “Well don't run out of hands. I'm sure that's not the worst thing you'll hear about over there. Anyway, I gotta go. I'm gonna get back to work.”
“Alrighty, I'll catch you later. Have a good rest of your day, ma. Love you.”
“Bye, Corinne! I love you too!”
Corinne ended the call, feeling alone in the apartment again.  Too quiet.
No friends in London yet.
Everyone she’d ever known still back in San Diego.
A brand new life.

“You wouldn't move all of the way to London if you didn't want to isolate yourself,” a former coworker once stated.

Yeah whatever, fuck you.
She got a lot of criticism on the decision. She credited that to the divorce.
25, nearly 26 years old and already a divorcee.
Well… That's just what happens in a passionless marriage to someone you met at 19 and married at 21.
It wasn't Ben's fault things didn't work out. It didn't really seem like anyone's fault. It just didn't work. They weren't in love anymore.
At least they didn't have any children to have to battle for custody over. No pets. Just each other. Simple. Easy.

Corinne Smith got up from where she sat on the floor and made her way to her bedroom. The tiny London apartment felt too big for just her alone.
She did miss his company.
Laying in bed and plugging in her phone, she turned to the empty side of the bed and found herself wishing that it was warm with the presence of another body.
And the sex. She definitely missed sex.
Must've been time to start dating again.

“Corinne?”
“Yes?” She looked up from the laptop in front of her when she heard her name being called. She spotted Molly waving her over from across the office. Another new employee, who she stuck with during her first week at the office.
Corinne closed her laptop and moved around the other desks and clicking keyboards to Molly's desk- where she turned the screen of her desktop to show Corinne what appeared to be an old video of a large, human-shaped blur walking through a busy street.
“I know you like supernatural things,” Molly said. Corinne adored the accent. Still charmed after two weeks of living overseas.
“Is that from a movie?” Corinne asked.
Molly shook her head. “I filmed it this morning by accident. I was preparing a new vlog video and wanted some footage of the street.”
“You're fuckin’ with me,” Corinne gave her a wry smirk. “You edited it really good, I gotta give you credit, Mol.”
“I swear it, I didn't edit it one bit!”
“Spooooooky,” the American woman wiggled the fingers of one hand at Molly. “You should show that to Helene. We could start a paranormal page. ‘Haunted UK’ or whatever.”

Although, she hadn't expected for the idea to come to fruition within the week.
Helene had loved the idea of a paranormal column on their website- and put Corinne and Molly in charge of it effective immediately.
Which neither of them were particularly excited about. It meant they'd be the fools of the website- chasing ghosts and aliens and all kinds of bullshit that didn't exist.
“Good job there, bud.” Corinne opened her laptop at her new workstation. “I didn't think you'd actually pitch the idea.” They'd had to move their desks together- and Corinne had liked her previous spot on the edge of the room. The center was so crowded.
“How would I knew she'd like it!?” Molly groaned. “I didn't even suggest it, I only made a joke.’
Corinne gave her a wry look. “I thought you knew as a British person-- other British people don't have a sense of humor...”
Molly couldn't help but smirk. “Oh bugger off!”

Molly no longer writing product reviews, and Corinne no longer editing for the celebrity column. They instead had to research legends and potentially ‘haunted’ locations around England. Ultimately the job was kinda fun. And it gave them excuses to leave the office throughout the day to go to the locations and take a few quick pictures or videos. Then spend the rest of the work day out at lunch or just goofing off; and over the following weeks, Molly and Corinne had solidified a friendship.

“Eugh,” Corinne winced as she swallowed a mouthful of beer. “That's what Guiness tastes like!? It's like coffee with cream infused with a skunk's ass…”
Molly laughed, nearly doubled over their table in the bar-- or ‘pub’ as she was trying to start calling it. “You don't like it!?”
“No way, it's all yours,” Corinne slid the glass across the table to Molly. “I don't suppose y'all have Coronas here instead?”
Molly poured the remainder of her last beer into Corinne's discarded glass and drank. “It's an import here. A bit more costly.”
“Fuck it,” Corinne waved over their waiter and ordered a Corona with lime- unsure if she had to specify.
“You must not be very Irish,” Molly smirked, already halfway through the glass by the time Corinne got her Corona. Which she downed half of as quickly as a glass of water.
“I mean-” Corinne shrugged. “I might be. I was adopted so I don’t really know what I am. The red hair comes from somewhere, though.” She ran a hand through the long right side of her hair. It came down to her chin- the rest cut in a neat pixie style. A recent change. Once the divorce was finalized, she felt the urge to drastically change her appearance. So she cut off about thirteen inches of hair.
“I'm so jealous of your hair,” Molly slurred. They'd been drinking for some time now. They were off tomorrow so there was nothing stopping them from getting ‘absolutely pissed’ tonight- as the Brit said. And she wasn’t much of a drinker- but Corinne was admittedly a seasoned veteran. “Such a cute haircut. I could never muster up the courage to cut mine off…”
Corinne smiled widely at the compliment, elbow on the table propping her chin as Molly drunkenly stroked her own long blonde curls. Her eyes wandered toward a TV screen beyond Molly- where the news was on.

Nation still rebuilding as the 30th Anniversary of The Zeppelin Incident approaches.

“Hey, I got an idea,” Corinne said, pointing Molly's gaze toward the TV. “How about we write about the Zeppelin Incident?”
Molly's expression went grim. “What about it…?”
“I heard some bizarre shit happened.” Corinne said. She and Molly watched the screen together as 30 year old photos showed. London was a burning hellscape. The night sky glowing with flames that towered over the many buildings. The rest of the sky obscured by smoke and ash. Some other photos of the same locations afterward- of London rebuilding and improving.
“I couldn't tell you,” Molly said quietly. “I hadn't been born until 2004.”
“Were your parents there?”
“Yes, but they don't like to talk about it.”
“Do you think they’d be willing to if we can add, maybe, a crowdfunding effort to house some of the people who are still displaced?”
“Make our article a long term effort, crowdfund help for people and resources, write out individual survivors’ stories...” Molly mused.
“Visit significant locations, research the hows and the whys,” Corinne barely knew anything about the incident. Just that it was perpetrated by several different groups. Happened suddenly in the middle of the night. And had an enormous death toll that climbed for years and years as more bodies were discovered or hospitalized survivors died from medical complications.
And that many bodies were dressed in either Papal armor or Nazi regalia. History had mentioned that Nazis had been involved in the occult. Disgusting fucking animals.
The idea made it all seem more likely that something unnatural was at work. Hence the heavy Catholic presence.
So what the fuck was it?
“We should do some reading before we get started,” Corinne said. “This is gonna take weeks. But I think Helene is gonna greenlight it when she sees how much effort is going into it.”

Molly’s boyfriend was stuck in traffic and wasn’t going to be able to get her, so the two women walked to Corinne’s apartment where they’d stay the night.
“You’re… Suchagoodfriend…” Molly slurred in between yawns.
Corinne snickered and helped Molly onto the couch. “Yeah yeah, you’re gonna think different in the morning when the sun’s in your eyes.” She nudged over a small trash can from under an end table. “Here, in case you get sick.”
“You’rethebeeeeest,” Molly yawned and snuggled against the couch. Corinne laid the throw blanket over her and even plugged in her phone to charge.
“Mmmmmhm,” Corinne hummed. “And you’re an alcoholic with a low tolerance. But I like you anyway. G’night, Mol.”
“G’niiiight, Cori.”
Cori. Her parents and friends all called her that growing up. It brought back some nice memories as Corinne excused herself to her bedroom.

An older woman slept alone in a narrow bed in a big room. Corinne could hear the leathery creak of her boots as she walked closer-- aware that she wasn’t herself, but someone else.
Seeing through someone else’s eyes as they approached the unsuspecting lady.
Corinne could make out the stranger’s shadow as they leaned over the woman, tongue gliding over a razor sharp maw of teeth as they bent toward her slowly. Going for the throat.

She woke with a jump, gray eyes meeting the darkness of her own bedroom. Picking her phone off of the side of her bed, she aimed the screen away from herself to illuminate the room.
Alone. As always.
She even got up out of her bed to check on Molly-- snoring away on the couch.
All was well.
The redhead settled back into her room, taking care to close the door silently. The bed creaked a little under her weight, and she sat cross legged in the center of her bed, eyes wincing at the brightness of her dimmed phone as she wrote down the dream.
Just as she’d written down all of the others like it.

In the morning, Corinne woke Molly up with some water and some solid food.
“I’m never drinking again.”
“If I had a dollar for every time I said that,” Corinne smirked, sitting in the teal armchair adjacent to the gray couch.
“American dollars are worthless here and so is your pity,” Molly muttered.
“Okay, suffer then,” Corinne teased. “Guess you don’t want any aspirin to go with my pity?”
Molly gave her a moping face. “Please?
Corinne suppressed a laugh as she retrieved the pills. Molly sipped at her water and swallowed the pills once they were in her hand. Corinne sat back down in her previous spot and rubbed sleep from her eyes.
“You look tired.”
Corinne looked over at Molly and sneered. “Thanks! That’s the nicest way of saying I look like shit that I could ever hear. Love it, fam.
Molly rolled her eyes. “Did you get any sleep?”
“Weird dream. Had a hard time falling back asleep afterward,” Corinne yawned. She opened up the note on her phone where she’d written the dream down. The word 'HELLSING' stared at her from the bottom line in all caps. She didn’t know why she wrote it. She just knew that word when she woke up.
“D’you want to talk about it?”
“Nah, I’m okay.” Corinne slipped her phone into the pocket of her hoodie. Oversized and warm. One of the few things she kept in the divorce that was Ben’s. “I have a lot of weird dreams.”
“Ah,” Molly said and rubbed her aching temples. “Will’s on the way. He always teases me when I’m hungover.”

Chapter Text

Hellsing.
HellsingHellsingHellsingHellsingHellsing.
Google searches didn’t get her much other than vampire movies and novels. That much made sense. So what, she was dreaming about vampire shit now? Maybe she’d seen too many movies...
And the whole thought from the night before of Nazis doing occult shit could’ve been what triggered the weird dream this time. There was always something.
She’d been glued to her screen since Molly left with her boyfriend-- until a knock on her apartment door pulled her attention from her laptop later in the afternoon.
She left her desk with a sigh and looked through the peephole to see a postal worker with a package in hand.
Odd, she hadn't ordered anything…
She opened the door and the older man checked the name on the box. “Corinne Smith?”
“That's me, thanks,” she confirmed, signing her name on his tablet and bringing the package inside.
Ah.
The stupid DNA testing kit Molly had suggested the night before. Corinne remembered ordering it on a whim while they were still at the pub… But, like, shit, she ordered overnight shipping!? How drunk was she!?
This fucking test better have some good results because it probably cost a goddamn fortune. She'd check her bank account later.
For now: she'd take the test and mail it off. Then get back into researching Hellsing.

Survivors of the Zeppelin Incident recounted seeing bodies impaled on spikes. Hordes of what appeared to be undead appearing from nowhere and devouring Catholics and Nazis alike. Led by a shape changing monster with millions of eyes. Others saw no such things- only fire and ash raining from the skies as they fled for safety.
“Sounds pretty supernatural to me,” Molly noted, highlighting each similar bullet point from seven different survivors they'd visited over the last few days. “Demonic, even.”
“Well the ones who saw the weird shit were all in the same area, right?” Corinne sighed, leading the way down the street. “I did some looking around the other day and I guess the zeppelins might have been filled with hydrogen. And when they were burning the gas obviously leaked out. Hydrogen fumes can probably cause hallucinations.
“That doesn't sound right to me, where'd you find that?”
“Internet.”
“The Internet isn't all made up of doctors and scientists, Cori.”
“I don't exactly have any other ideas then,” Corinne groaned. “Like- zombies, monsters, literal rivers of blood, Nazis eating people in the burning streets- it all sounds ridiculous, don’t you think?”
“I thought you believed in paranormal activity?”
“I mean kinda. I can get behind ghosts, but like-- zombies, witches, vampires, werewolves? Seriously?”
Yeah the fuck right.
What would the Catholics and Nazis even be waging war over in the dead center of London, anyway?

Again, she searched for Hellsing online when she was finally alone at home. Page thirteen of results was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. But she finally found a link that didn't mention Count fucking Dracula.
A poorly made conspiracy theory website headlined: “HOW THE ROYAL FAMILY CAUSED THE SECOND LONDON BLITZ”.
Corinne scoffed and opened up the can of beer in hand. She could use a laugh. Might as well give it a read. Maybe she could bullshit a story about a cult sometime. Just for fun and mystery for the readers.

In the wake of the 1999 attack on London, rebuilding appears to be an immeasurably long road ahead. While many are focused on the world's efforts to aid our countrymen, I am here to determine why all of this happened.

“Neat,” Corinne flatly muttered with her lips to the beer can as she read. “Me too, bud.”
The writer rambled on for a bit about… some stupid bullshit. It looked like how their day was going beforehand. The black background and red text was starting to bother Corinne’s eyes.
She became impatient, starting to scroll down through the page to see how long just the homepage of the website was. She moved the page back upward when she spotted a picture.
Ah, finally something to break up the enormous block of text.
She clicked the picture and the full view opened in a new tab on the browser.
A picture of two people standing on a roof while London burned. Blurry, hard to tell what exactly they looked like. But she could at least make out that they were two women. Both different shades of blonde. One with long hair. Wearing an old school pantsuit and long overcoat. The other with short hair, in a red dress and torn stockings. The camera must have been a piece of crap. Or the picture was poorly developed- because her left arm was completely obscured by a black mass.
Underneath the photo was captioned “WHO ARE THEY?”
Corinne rolled her eyes and kept scrolling through the text block. When she reached the bottom of the page without another point of interest (aside from a listed date of a previous update in 2022), she went back to the top to see the other links.
Corinne clicked on the link to the image gallery.
A compilation of pictures taken the night of the incident, all from different survivors judging by what she could see. Whoever made this website really believed in what they were writing.
There were about 300 pictures. Corinne scrolled through the 10 pages, opening a few that caught her eye in new tabs.
A burning zeppelin, buildings looking to be neatly sliced open by an unknown force, a charred skeleton with a metal tag embedded on the left side of the skull. She couldn't read it.
What looked to be the vague shapes of two men standing across from each other. One in gray, one in red. In a standoff, but the photo was burned from the top down, obscuring both of their heads.
Something about it felt familiar, like she'd seen it before. The man in red just seemed to stand out on the picture- Corinne accredited that to, well, the red against the dismal gray background.
A mansion in the center of the countryside. Unassuming- but the weird thing about it was that it was unscathed. Fenced off. Armed watchstanders outside the gate.
“Hm,” she clicked on the picture. The caption underneath stated that it was taken in 2006.
She'd seen this building before too. Long ago, maybe in a dream. Maybe in a movie. Maybe a postcard.

“NO ADDRESS”  the caption read. “MILITARIZED TRUCKS SOMETIMES ENTER.

Hellsing.
The word came to the front of her mind again. Why, though? Who the fuck moderated this website?
There was a link at the very bottom of the page for submissions of photos.

“IF YUO HAVE INFORMATION OR IMAGES OF POTENTIAL PERPETRATORS OR CONSPIRATORS, PLEASE SEND.”

Nice typo.
Underneath was an addendum.

“NOTE, MARCH 2022: THIS WEBSITE IS HEAVILY ENCRYPTED. YOU CAN'T SILENCE THE TRUTH, YOUR MAJESTY!”

Only had the option to submit picture files. No text. Corinne had three idea of reaching out to whatever nutcase wrote all of this out. Apparently they were a survivor. The website hadn't been updated in at least seven years.
What was there to lose by trying?
Corinne moved over to her printer and grabbed a piece of paper, writing out a note in magic marker.

“I want to learn more about the Zeppelin Incident for journalistic purposes. Can we discuss?”

She snapped a picture of the note with her webcam, then attached the file to the website and hit submit under the screen name ‘JaneDoe’.

“THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUBMISSION.”

The idea sounded crazy. Stupid. Reckless even, if they answered. They could probably put malware into her computer and track her or even watch her through the webcam. If they answered. Seven years was a long gap for inactivity. But what was there to really lose?
With a sigh, Corinne downed the rest of her beer and checked her emails.
Spam, ads, subscription reminder… Nothing.
She looked back to the computer only minutes later and went back to the homepage.
Suddenly there was a text box up top that read “NEW UPDATE 10 JUNE 2029”
… What the fuck, that was today. Did it just automatically upload her picture to the gallery?
She went back to the last page of the photo gallery and saw her uploaded picture… And another new picture beside it.
She opened it up, seeing a screenshot of a different note just beside her own.

“What do you want to know, JaneDoe?”

Holy fuck. Holy fucking fuckity fuck. This was pure fucking gold.
Corinne turned her piece of paper over and wrote out a response. Communicating through pictures.

“What is that mansion? I've seen it somewhere before but I don't know where.”

She waited, and just minutes later, the moderator replied with another screenshotted message. “Can't discuss that here. We should meet if you're in London. The Eye. Tomorrow at 2200.”
2200, what the fuck is…
Oh, 10 PM… Tomorrow at 10 PM.
When had to search for what The Eye was- and nearly slapped herself when she realized: Duh. The fucking London Eye. The big goddamn ferris wheel. Awesome. What a wonderful way to be murdered by a stranger on the internet… Should she get somebody to come with…?

The next evening, Corinne had to decline plans with Molly and Will to meet with whoever the moderator was. A horrendously stupid idea- and she knew it. But she had the idea to bring a pocket knife with her just in case. And it was a very public place with tons of people. Who knows, maybe this would yield some good information.
9:57 PM, Corinne was at the very bottom of The Eye. She wondered just how she would be distinguished from the rest of the crowd by the moderator- so she wore a name tag. A sticker on her jacket that said “Hello, my name is-”
“Jane?”
Corinne looked to her right to see a middle-aged man approaching. “Are you the m-”
“Shh!” He waved off the question. Rudely, in her opinion. “This isn't a good place.”
She cocked an eyebrow at him. “You picked this spot.” He didn't quite look how she pictured him. More like a suburban father of three than a trolling internet weirdo. He even had a wedding ring.
“We're going inside,” he clarified, pointing at the very top car on the wheel.
Corinne felt sick at the thought. She hated heights.
But she wanted this information. This was of personal interest now that she'd laid eyes on that familiar mansion.

She and the moderator were silent in line, not even so much as looking at each other until they were at the front of the line. He tipped the young woman managing the line generously to have a private car-- despite the gripes of the people behind them in line.
“This should buy us about a half an hour,” he began once the doors closed and the wheel moved on. He offered a hand to her. “I'm Phillip.”
“Jane,” she answered, shaking his hand. She stayed leaned against the side of the car, feeling like it braced her from movement. Phillip didn't need to know her real name. “I re-read your website like three times today. You were a survivor?”
“I was,” he nodded. “I was thirteen when the zeppelins came. Dreadful night. I still have nightmares about it from time to time.’
Corinne nodded her understanding. “I've had dreams about it too, I think.”
“Bollocks, you must've been a newborn when it happened. How old are you, thirty? Thirty two?”
She sneered. “Twenty five but thanks for that.”
“Dreadfully sorry, luv,” his face reddened with embarrassment. “I was going to say you look very young for someone who could remember it. You weren't even alive then, how are you dreaming of it?”
“I don't know,” she admitted. “But the pictures on your website are so familiar.”
They'd triggered a dream last night where she was looking through someone else's eyes again. Floating high above the ocean's surface, watching London burning as they approached. Feeling… Excited. Excited to be coming home.
“I need you to tell me about the mansion,” she showed him the picture off his website she'd saved onto her phone.
“No Address,” he nodded. Corinne got the sense that it was his nickname for the place. “It took years of searching around records. But I came across the name ‘Hellsing’ in associated documentation.”
Hellsing. That's why the site even showed up in her search results.
“Hellsing,” she repeated, looking over the picture herself. The knowledge clicked into place as if she'd known all along. “Hellsing Mansion.”
“Is that what it's called?” Phillip asked.
You don't even know?” Corinne frowned in response, looking back to the picture. “I don't know, just… I swear it's so familiar and I'm not sure why…”
She felt like she'd seen it in a movie or a news article.

The rest of the conversation was next to useless from what she could see, but Corinne wrote out the details anyway. He had mentioned zombies and possibly even vampires. Same as others.
Corinne only nodded politely and thanked him for the information before they parted. She spent the entire ride home making sure he wasn't stalking her.
Vampires and zombies. What bullshit.
But she did get the general location of the mansion that bothered her so much.
She went online and searched for information as soon as she got home.
Hellsing mansion”
No results.
“Hellsing nazis”
Again, nothing
“Hellsing vampires”
Just movie based results.

“deja vu”
Déjà vu: a feeling of having already experienced the present situation.
Not quite. She hadn't seen the mansion before. Just been aware of it somehow. Like her memories weren't her own …
“seeing someone else's memories”
The results brought up the term ‘cryptomnesia’, which seemed to just have the same definition as déjà vu. She scrolled down the results until the words ‘psychic link’ caught her eye.
Ridiculous, but okay. If people were insisting on vampire nazis and zombies devouring them and catholic crusaders, sure, why not look into this too?
Multiple sources stating that psychic connections are reserved for those you're closest with. Loved ones. That didn't quite sound right. Who even was the person she would possibly be seeing through?
It sure wasn't Ben. And it's not like she was that close to anyone else like they had been at one point. Who would see the Hellsing mansion?
What if that dream from last week was inside of the mansion? Whose memories was she seeing?

“Moooorning!” Molly greeted at work, a week later, as she set a latte onto Corinne's desk. “You look exhausted. Did you get any sleep last night?”
“Not really,” Corinne yawned, pinning her long locks of hair back with a clip. She kept waking up from bizarre dreams about Him. They were so frequent lately. Why?
“You said you were busy last night-- was it a date!? Same guy!?” Molly gave her an excited look.
Sure, why not? “You got me.”
Molly gasped and sat in her chair, rolling it around their desks to be next to Corinne. “Tell me all about it. Was he good looking? Did you not sleep because…?”
Corinne chuckled at her friend's enthusiastic queries. “Yeah, he was hot. Kept me up all night.”
She had dreamed of Him again. After a whole four months of not seeing him.
Molly stifled a high pitched ‘oooohhh!’ behind her hand and reached back to grab her own cup of coffee from her desk. “How did you meet him? Are you going out again?”
It was likely that she'd see Him again. She had dreamed of him so many times. It was what cost her her marriage.
“We're going out again this weekend,” Corinne lied.
It was absurd. A relationship failing because she'd become obsessed with a nameless, faceless man in her dreams.

How sad was it that she had to lie about dating someone just so she could get some time for a wild goose chase?
Having to bullshit Molly about it only made her think on how she could be getting laid, but nooooooooo. She just had to take interest in the supernatural instead.
Goddamnit, she missed having a sex life.
Yet here she was: driving out to the countryside just to see if Phillip's information about the location of the mansion was legitimate. Her knowledge of the metric system was… not good. So the whole miles-to-kilometers conversion had her feeling lost when there weren't many indications of distance between turns anymore.
A fork in the road came up. Nothing as far as the eye can see in both directions. And no fucking signs of what was in either direction. She checked her phone for any indication of what could be ahead. And saw that this was a dead zone. No signal at all.
Fucking Europe. She might as well be driving in Middle-of-Nowhere, Iowa.
Phillip’s directions didn't mention anything about a fork. Had she taken a wrong turn?
Fuck, man, why was she even going there anyway? What was she possibly going to gain from seeing the mansion?
Left.
The thought came as a strange compulsion. Not so much a voice or a thought, but an instinct. As if she'd taken this drive before.
“Why left?” She asked herself aloud, as if there would be an answer.
Well… How much more lost could she get?
“Fuck it.” She turned up her radio as she took the left side of the fork.

Something about turning left felt correct. Like the familiarity and anticipation of speeding down the last stretch of road before you got home.
So blindly confident in the choice, she didn't even notice the other vehicle she'd passed by.
Flashing lights appeared behind her, and she immediately realized that she'd fucked up.
“Oh, fuck me…” She muttered, pulling off onto the side of the dirt road. The car pulled over behind her and two tactically dressed men got out.
They looked more like SWAT than police.
“Was I speeding?” She asked out the window as they approached. There wasn't a posted speed sign for miles so she genuinely didn't know.
“Out of the car,” the taller one ordered.
Corinne blinked. “... Huh?
“Get the fuck out of the car!” The other demanded, gun raised toward her.
Corinne froze up, hands raised to where they would stay visible as the taller man forced her out of the car.
“You're fucking kidding me!” She gasped, hands shaking as she was made to put them behind her back as she was cuffed and patted down. “Are you seriously arresting me right now!? What the fuck for!?”
Next thing she knew, she was blindfolded and put into the back of their car. Without answers, without her phone, without even her car keys.

“-I want a fucking lawyer!” Was the end of her ten minute rant during the drive to an unknown location. The longer she thought on it, the sketchier this was. Police usually read rights- at least in the U.S. they did. Was that not a thing in Britain?
The brakes of the vehicle squeaked when it stopped.
“Noncombatant, I see.” A voice outside the car said.
“Found her driving inside the perimeter, just as Captain Victoria said. I'm certain she'll want to speak to her.” The driver said.
“She and Sir Integra both wish to speak to her.”
“Copy. We've checked her for weapons and a surveillance equipment, but her vehicle remains unchecked. Send a recruit to fetch it.”
“Copy, clear for entry.”
Corinne could hear a gate opening and soon the vehicle was moving forward again.
“Where is this?” She asked. Neither of them answered. "Where are you bringing me!?"
The vehicle soon stopped again and she was removed, guided by the sleeve of her jacket up some stairs and presumably into a building- where her blindfold was finally removed.
It looked like the inside of-
“The mansion…” She muttered under her breath.

Holy fuck, she found it.

Her eyes scanned every inch of the place. It looked different than she remembered… If she remembered.
“Thank you for bringing her in, Lieutenant. I can take her,” a woman's voice pulled her attention to the side, where she saw a young blonde in a red skirted uniform. Something about her was familiar...
And then she remembered: the blurry rooftop picture from the website.
“Yes, ma’am,” the taller officer had brought her in, and excused himself after a brief stand at attention.
Corinne noted the coat of arms on the girl's uniform. Hellsing.
This was definitely it.
“Uh, look,” Corinne said. “There's been a misunderstanding. I'm not-”
“I wouldn't explain just yet,” she interrupted sternly, taking Corinne by the arm just as the other officer had and led her through the corridors. Her grip was firm, and Corinne felt like she wouldn't escape it in a million years. “My master will be asking you questions. I would advise answering honestly.”
Corinne kept her mouth shut on the walk, but frequently peered behind her shoulder.
She felt something watching for the entire walk into a large, sunlit office, but glances back showed nothing. Not even security cameras. Was this place haunted?
Another familiar face sat behind a desk. An older woman with long hair, white with age. Left eye covered by a patch. Dressed in very classical, very upscale attire.
“Seras, uncuff our ‘guest’ please,” she ordered, speaking in a low monotone.
The younger blonde did as ordered, and Corinne rubbed the reddened skin of her wrists. The cuffs had left marks.
“Sit.” The older woman ordered, and Corinne obeyed. Sitting in a seat in front of her desk. Captain Victoria stood at her boss's side. Corinne stared at them both, transfixed.
They were the figures in the blurry rooftop picture.
“Now. Answer me this: what were you doing skulking around my property?”
“I wasn't trying to intrude,” Corinne said carefully. “I just… I wanted to see the mansion.”
“Why?”
“I saw it in a dream. I saw you in a dream. And I knew you. I don't know how, but…” She shook her head, unsure of how she could further explain herself. It sounded ridiculous, really. “I think- I was meant to meet you, Sir Integra.”
The older woman froze up for a moment, caught off guard that Corinne knew her by name without proper introduction. Her cheeks flushed with some color too. Corinne didn't exactly intend to make the statement sound so dramatique, but hey; whatever works.
Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing.
Why did she know that?
The idea of psychic connection became a little less ridiculous with every second Corinne spent inside the mansion. Was Integra the connection???
“What is your name?” Integra continued.
“Corinne Smith,” she replied.
“Where are you from?”
“San Diego.”
“There's no attractions this far out of the city. What's an American doing in this part of England?”
“I moved here for work,” Corinne answered. “I work for a news and media website.”
“And you came here for…?”
“I don't know,” she answered honestly. “I've been having dreams about this place. But I've never seen it or heard of it before. I thought maybe if I saw it, I might know why…”
“And do you?”
“I don't. I don't know anything… Am I gonna be arrested for coming here? Because I could just-”
“You're not under arrest, Ms. Smith,” Integra stated flatly, removing a cigar from a desk drawer. She cut the end and lit it soon after when it was between her lips. “But because you work in a journalistic field, I will ask you to sign a contract stating that you will not under any circumstances write a word about what you've seen today.”
“Before I do,” Corinne nodded. “I'd like your permission to come back. So I can piece together why I've seen this place.”
“Denied.”
“Then I'll come back without permission,” Corinne said.
She could see that the response caught Victoria off guard. Not expecting outright defiance. Integra only sighed. “Quite determined, I see. Why should I grant any favor to someone so insubordinate?”
“To be honest, I can't even think of a good enough reason. Just that I'm asking: please, can I come back here to figure out why I'm seeing it in visions?
Integra took a drag off of her cigar, flicking smoldering ashes into the crystalline ashtray on the corner of her desk. “Tell me, what ‘dream’ was I in exactly?”
“There was someone standing over your bed. I think it was a man,” she tried to picture the exact scene. “You were asleep and he was… I think he was gonna bite you… Jesus, his teeth looked like they belonged to a fucking shark-- Pardon my French.”
Integra and Seras looked knowingly at each other. Surprised by what they were hearing.
Then Integra sighed and exhaled a puff of smoke off to the side. “Very well, Ms. Smith. You have my permission to return, but only when invited. And if you breathe a word of this to anyone, I will personally bring your entire life down on your head.”

Within minutes, Corinne was signing a contract stating that she wouldn't speak a word of Hellsing's existence to anyone. She wouldn't write about it, she would record nothing, and she would allow a full background check on herself.
She was escorted outside afterward by a Hellsing soldier, finding her thoroughly searched car waiting for her outside.
“Who do you think she saw?” Seras asked, standing idly by as Integra observed Corinne getting into her car.
Clearly it wasn't you, ma cher.
Pip's voice insisted from within. Of course he was right- Seras would never want to hurt Integra.
Pip was their early alert system, after all. It was his presence over the mansion, and all of the land around it, that made Seras aware of intruders.
Maybe it was one of Millenium's leftover pieces of shit.
“It was Him,” Integra said flatly. She smothered the last of her cigar onto her ashtray as she watched Corinne's red Honda drive away from the mansion. “She predicted Him coming back.”
The two had always held out some hope that He would come back to them. But thirty years later, even with the alleged foresight of a stranger, Seras had her doubts.

Chapter Text

The floor didn't even creak under her weight as she walked toward her bedroom. She didn't even remember getting out of bed- or why for that matter. All she knew was that she had work in the morning. She and Molly were going to edit their first piece about the Zeppelin Incident to post in the morning. Tomorrow was the anniversary.
Her bedroom door was closed. Another thing she didn't remember doing. Weird. She must've been barely awake when she got up. She was never a sleepwalker before.
The door creaked open as she entered and made her way toward the bed.
But she was already in the bed. Asleep on her side.
“What the fuck…!?”
Corinne knelt beside her own sleeping form, hesitantly reaching out. Like the darkness was playing a trick on her. She became aware of a silver thread at her wrist, and traced it to her other self's same arm.

Corinne twitched awake, finding herself in her bed just as she was supposed to be. The dim light from the street outside showed that she was alone in her bedroom. Also as she was supposed to be.
She reached over to her phone, the time glaring at her from the corner of the screen as she wrote out the dream in a note.
3:00 AM, dreamed about out of body experience. Silver string.
Weird. It was like that crappy horror movie she saw like ten years ago about a kid who had out of body experiences in his sleep… And attracted demons. Whatwasitfuckingcalled-- Insideous.
The afterthought made her want to stay awake. Ugh.
“The fuck was that kid doing...” She asked herself, groggy, irritable, dying for a restful night of sleep for once.
Ass something.
Assssssstral projection. Was that it? A quick Google search of the movie’s plot told her that she was correct.
Astral projection is the nearly complete separation of consciousness from the physical body in a secondary vehicle, the Astral Body. Astral projection is used in magical work. Another term for astral projection is Out-of-Body experience.’
“... Did I fucking do magic?” She muttered, and smirked at the ludicrous idea. Magic. Like she was Harry friggin’ Potter.
… Although…
The whole thing about having seen Integra in her dreams made it seem a little more likely. Maybe the only thing to do was to try it-- but how did she even do it the first time!?

After a successful final three hours of sleep, Corinne felt rested well enough to get out of bed and make herself some breakfast. Once fed, she sat in front of her laptop with her second cup of coffee and began to do more research. She would need as much caffeine as possible to get through the day.
Notes on astral projection, notes on precognition.
The words ‘witch’ and ‘magic’ appeared again and again.
Not that she believed in witchcraft, but with every strange thing happening around her- maybe it was time to start.
“Makes about as much sense as anything else,” she muttered under her breath.
She Googled ‘Witchcraft’, coming up with millions of results, as she expected.
Ugh, this was useless.

On the bright side, Corinne found an occult shop in town and headed there on the way to work. Though she may be bullshitted by whoever owned the place, it was worth looking into even if it was just for kicks. Anything to make sense of what was going on.
The inside was well lit- and looked like something out of a Harry Potter movie. Shelves lined with books all of the way to the ceiling, a cage up front with some colorful parakeets chirping away in the sunshine. Moon, sun, and star decorations in many places. The whole place smelled of incense, and Corinne had to maneuver around a cat that was asleep on the floor to get to the book shelves.
… And there were too many books to even know where to begin.
Thankfully, the employee running the shop recommended a book to get her started based on what she was looking to learn about.
So with that purchased, she went toward the office.
She wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about the book. Something about it felt ominous. The black paperback cover was worn with age and use. The red and yellow lettering on the front garish and attention grabbing. It was also recommended that she purchase items for an altar- but that she could use items from around the house if she didn’t want a special set.

“Morning!” Molly greeted as Corinne entered the office. The redhead set a cup of coffee at Molly's desk, and a second at her own.
“Mornin’,” Corinne yawned, sitting down and immediately sipping at her drink-- which was noticeably larger than Molly's. She slipped her backpack off of her back. Likely to read about witchcraft in between editing.
“You mustn't have slept much,” Molly frowned.
“Definitely didn't.”
“Is that guy not letting you sleep at all? ” Molly still believed that Corinne was dating some mystery man. Might as well quell that thought now.
“Actually, no, I broke things off with him. I just keep having bizzarro dreams,” Corinne admitted. She'd tried astral projection, but to no avail. Instead she dreamed about a dark passageway. Stone on all sides. Cold and eerie. Looked like a dungeon with nothing but stairs moving down into an abyss.
“What’s causing them?” Molly asked, wheeling her chair over to Corinne’s side of their adjoined desks.
“Couldn’t tell ‘ya,” Corinne yawned, immediately following with a sip of coffee. “Maybe I need to lay off the sweets.”
It'd been two weeks since Integra had given her clearance to visit the mansion on invitation. And since then, there had been no invitations yet.
And without invitation, she had no means of finding answers. Four whole fucking weeks into researching the Zeppelin Incident and Hellsing.
And she still knew nothing.
She’d kill to look around that mansion.
“Maybe,” Molly agreed. “Try some tea before bed. Chamomile helps you sleep well.”
Camo-mile? ” Corinne smirked at the way Molly pronounced the word. “So like, walk a mile in camouflage? That’ll give me sweet dreams?”
“Oh sod off,” Molly nudged her with a grin. “You've got enough energy to test my patience so maybe you're sleeping well enough!”
“‘Well enough’ doesn’t include waking up every day at three on the dot.”
“Three in the morning,” Molly echoed. “Y’know, they call that ‘The Witching Hour’.”

And so, when she got home, she set about looking inside the book on how to make an altar. A cup, a fireproof thing to burn incense in, a knife, string, her book, some colorful candles, and the other side of her kitchen table that she only ever used for company.
The altar looked fucking terrible compared to the spooky ones she’d seen in movies, but hell with it. She wasn’t sure how seriously she could take this anyway.
“‘Red haired people are said to possess the power of magnetism in free-floating form available for projection more than any others’. Nice, ” she read, having found a chapter about sex magic and growing interested. “Blahblahblah, ‘when you wish to exercise your witch powers directly, especially in sexual matters, there are three things you should endeavor to do: One, fix your victim intently with your eyes. Two, get into manual contact with him. Three, contrive to breathe on him somehow.’”
Like, if she was close enough to breathe on a guy, it’s pretty safe to say she was good to go to hook up with him. Might as well give it a shot sometime. Just for shits and giggles.
It would take actual witchcraft to get her laid with how out of practice she was.

Apparently things happened based on what you willed to happen. Rituals were were used to build, focus, and harness intent. And you could only work with what was already there. You couldn’t just conjure things from nothing like in the movies.
Alright, so… What would a good experiment be?
After a few minutes of searching online, she found a ‘spell’ for sleeping well. No nightmares. It was easy enough, just a few household things put together on the altar, some words, and then she’d put the stuff in a sachet under her pillow.

Doing everything she could possibly come up with to de-stress before she even attempted sleep might be beneficial.
Fuck astral projection at this point, she just needed a decent rest. She’d sleep all day and night if she could make it happen- just to make up for lost time lately.
And just in case she was having a bad dream, she set a timer for four hours on her phone to wake her up so she could try again. Sachet under her pillow or none, she was determined to be rested tomorrow.
It was 7 PM, so four hours was a decent start. Maybe she’d even get up an hour early in the morning to make breakfast. As soon as her phone was plugged in to charge, she made herself comfortable in her bed and drifted into sleep.

“Apparently ‘Smith’ is her married name,” Seras said, reading over the background information she'd retried for Integra. “She's divorced, but kept her married name. Wonder why.”
“What's the maiden name?” Integra asked.
“Well- that's where things get muddled,” Seras answered. “Her maiden name is ‘Leonard’, but she was adopted. There’s not much information beyond that. No known record of birth parents, and her birth certificate reflects the adopted parents’ names. She was adopted immediately after birth.”
“Corinne Leonard,” Integra continued. Other information Seras had brought included marriage certificate, divorce record, social security number, past addresses, a clean criminal record (not even so much as a traffic ticket), list of schools she’d attended, past employers, and even social media handles and photos. “So she’s no one.”
She couldn’t quite explain why she had even given in to the redhead’s will. Something had compelled her in that moment to believe it was a good idea.
“I have an odd feeling about her,” Seras admitted. “Not like she’s a threat, but like- she’s different somehow.”
Integra had her suspicions as well. And if even Seras could sense it… “I think I have some reading to do. I'll be taking some books to bed tonight, so don’t wait up.”

The alarm waking her up at 11 PM had, unfortunately, woken her from a good dream.
… One that, also unfortunately, reminded her of how long it’d been since she’d gotten laid. Maybe it really was time to start dating again. Molly had suggested they go out to a club so Corinne could meet single people. Corinne wasn’t against the idea, just not sure how much luck she’d have meeting somebody at a club who wouldn't turn out to be a fucking creep.
Though the idea was starting to become appealing. Not like she'd need a stranger any longer than, say, half an hour?
“Psh, if that ,” she thought aloud. She then reset the four hour timer and rolled over into a new comfortable position, falling back asleep quickly.

The painting moved itself to the side. The abysmal darkness behind it showed nothing but the first of many stone steps. Going down.
This was the same place as last night. Had she projected after all?
The painting itself looked familiar- and she remembered in that instant: Seras had walked her past it. This was inside of the mansion.
The basement. Something in her subconscious was directing her to the basement.
Could she be hurt through her projection? Could she even be seen?
Well… Nobody had even seen her. And if the mansion's suspected surveillance couldn't see her…

The stairs didn't seem to have an end in sight. Stone on all sides. Dark, cold, eerie, what did this place need a secret passage for?
The painting slid back into place behind her- what even opened it in the first place? Hell, she didn't remember how she'd gotten out of her bedroom the first time she'd done this, maybe she did it and didn't remember.
She continued down the stairs- which seemed endless. How far down did this go?
All of the way down to hell, she guessed.
But, as soon as the thought had crossed her mind, she reached the bottom. A long hallway, and then… A door, bound shut with black ropes. 
What is this place? 
Morbidly curious, she pressed a hand to the door, but her hand passed through. Perhaps she could just walk through. 
And she did, the sealed room feeling freezing cold compared to the rest of the area. 
Blue lights on the walls- but they did very little to cut through the darkness. She could only see just enough. just enough. The room was large, seemingly empty. But she felt something. A presence. 

She found herself moving forward, as if reeled in by the entity she felt. So familiar yet so new.
A shape came into sight- a high backed chair.
A throne?
The table beside it containing a single wine glass and nothing else. But it wasn't what had been demanding her attention.
A red mass glowed just ahead. Small. And it didn't get much larger as she approached- but she nearly tripped on what was just under it. A wooden box- coffin shaped from what she could see. The red mass was… Words made of blood? The scrawl so messy she could barely make it out. 

‘The Bird of Hermes is my name. Eating my wings to make me tame.’

The top of the coffin was askew. Was it supposed to be? 
Blood wasn’t supposed to gl- 
The top of the coffin shifted slightly, and Corinne jumped back away from it. 
Morbidly curious, perhaps even too enthralled to leave, she leaned over to try to see inside. 
Blackness. 
Until an inhumanly large red eye opened to stare back at her. 

Corinne jumped awake when her second alarm went off and pulled her back to reality.
“Motherfffffffffffucker! ” She hissed, hand to her chest as if to manually calm her racing heart.
She swiped her phone off of the charger to finally turn off the damned alarm.
3 AM.
The Witching Hour.

How lovely that sunlight.
He made the mistake of only appreciating the view every time he died. And now that he was alive again, thirty years later, perhaps it was time to stop taking it for granted.
3,424,867 souls gone until his was the only one left. His last life to live. May as well enjoy it.
Seras Victoria and Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing had stayed awake since his reappearance that evening. And he watched the sunrise from the windows of Integra’s office.
His aged master at her desk.
His ‘descendant’ at her side, as Walter used to be, but closer.
“The two of you have certainly bonded,” He noted, turning his gaze away from the sunrise to speak with them.
Seras’s cheeks flushed pink, and she seemed to fumble for words. Moreso when Integra’s hand found hers.
“We have,” Integra answered in her place. “Seras is now my guardian.”
“Saying it like that implies that I’ve earned my freedom,” He smirked. “That my servitude to the Hellsing bloodline is over.”
“Not on your remaining life ,” Integra retorted, arms crossed. “God save us all if I allow you to wander free.”
Finally, she’d developed a sense of humor. It only took thirty years and losing an eye.
Alucard chuckled, staring back out at the rising sun. Thirty years had gone by. The world was certain to be very different by now.
Though… One thing did weigh on his mind now that he’d reformed.
Who was the woman he saw in the sub-basement staring down at him?
“There was someone in the sub-levels last night,” he changed the subject.
“Impossible,” Seras frowned. “I can sense someone as far as a mile away, and there was nothing.”
“Perhaps you’re not the watchdog you thought you were,” Alucard smirked, getting a sour look from Seras.
“Neither Seras nor our surveillance equipment picked up on anything,” Integra defended. “What did you see?”
Alucard turned back to the two women, moving over to Integra’s desk where a pile of documents laid. A mostly obscured photo stood out to him, and he could only see the top of the photographed people’s heads. He slid it out from the pile with his fingertips.
Her.
Seras and Integra stiffened, staring down at a printed photo of Corinne Smith’s wedding. She in her white dress, hair much longer at the time, standing beside her now ex-husband in a loving embrace. 
Alucard stared down at the picture as well and wondered- why was this woman familiar?

Chapter Text

“Did you see the moon last night!?” Molly beamed. They were off today, so they decided to hang out and relax (but only after Corinne had dismantled her makeshift altar). They were binge-watching the old Doctor Who from the 1960’s-- which Molly’s parents had raised her on. And now Corinne was getting into it.
Molly’s boyfriend Will wasn’t as lucky that day- having volunteered to cover someone else’s shift for extra money. Corinne couldn’t really see why. Between the two of them, they had great income.
“Nope, spent all night trying to sleep,” Corinne replied. The last four hours of rest were dreamless. Too deep for any imagery. So she actually felt rested. “Why, what’d it look like?”
“It was red,” Molly beamed. “Full, so close to the Earth, it was the most intense blood moon I’d ever seen.” She took her phone out of her pocket to show the pictures she’d taken. “It was at three, so I had set an alarm to see it.”
“That’s called a blood moon?” Corinne asked.
“Since it was so close, it was called a super blood moon.”
Given what she saw last night, it felt appropriate. “It’s pretty.”
“Oh speaking of, what are you doing for your birthday?”
“What does any of that have to do with my birthday?” Corinne smirked.
Molly gave her a cheeky grin. “Absolutely nothing, I’d just remembered that I’d seen it on the calendar at work. It’s tomorrow and I want to take you out to the club.”
“Girls night?”
“Will would come to keep the creeps away,” Molly offered.
“Okay, okay, since you wanna see my cute little ass in a dress that badly.”
“I mostly just want an excuse to dress up and get pissed, but suuuuure.”

“She’s a witch,” Integra commented, setting down Corinne’s yearbook photo from her senior year of high school. 
Seras’s expression dropped. “I know she has different mannerisms, but that’s a bit harsh-”
Integra chuckled. “No, darling. She's a witch.”
The older woman retrieved an aged book out of a desk drawer and opened it to a page that was bookmarked with Corinne’s wedding photo, folded in half. "I'd suspected since I allowed her back here. Witches can, to an extent, bend reality to their will. If they want something badly enough, they need only to adamantly pursue it. And Corinne Smith wanted to know our organization. Why she had 'dreams' of us specifically, is still unknown. But with Alucard’s input, I confirmed that..."
Fingertip to the page, she searched for a particular line of text.
"There," Integra continued. "Across the world, every culture has legends of both vampires and witches. That is because witches descend from vampires. Simply put, witches are the children of those who have drunk the blood of a true vampire."
"Corinne's a witch..." Seras murmured. "And she doesn't even know it."
"At least, not that we know of," Integra added. "I suspect she may be…” She turned to another bookmarked page. “Potentially of Scottish ancestry, due to her red hair. But that would entail that she may be a descendant of someone who drank the blood of the Baobhan sith.”

Alright, so a ritual for good sleep only kinda helped last night. She was at least rested.
As soon as Molly had gone home, Corinne set about re-opening her book. She also decided to look for resources online. And now that she knew certain keywords and notions, she knew what websites looked like bullshit or not.
There weren’t real rules to witchcraft, so everything was basically DIY.
She didn’t have crystals, or incense, or sage, or anything, really- but intent would have to be enough for now. Maybe she’d look into getting the rest of that stuff tomorrow, before she went out with Molly and Will. After seeing the thing in Hellsing’s basement, she was ready to believe that this could be real.
So she was going to to project again.

Perhaps if she treated it like lucid dreaming, she could have better control.
She resolved to hang a dark colored sheet over her bedroom windows, so that the setting sun wouldn’t shine into her eyes while she was trying to doze off. Once the room was sufficiently blackened, Corinne made herself comfortable in her bed.
… Was there a specific position for this?
Sleeping on your side and sleeping on your back were very different, so… Which one was it?
“Fuck it,” whatever’s comfortable.

After what felt like hours, Corinne was feeling frustrated with not even being able to fall asleep. She hadn’t tossed and turned, but she was bored with just laying there waiting to lose consciousness.
Ugh, forget it!
She moved to get out of bed, feeling… Lighter than air. Odd.
A glance back toward the bed showed her- her own sleeping physical form.
Huh... She did it. Sweet!
A grin spread across her face, and she decided to get out of bed to wander the apartment and test the limits of her ability.
She learned that she could pass through things at will- or she could interact with them, as she could when she was awake. She could also jump from place to place in the blink of an eye- having tested going from her kitchen, to her bedroom, to her bathroom, to the living room.
Eventually, she decided it was time to see how to wake up again. She looked at the clock beside the bed- it was just a few minutes from 3 AM. The Witching Hour: the time she always woke up. Maybe it was automatic?
Either way, she would try to see if she could just lay back into her physical body.
And she did. That was easy enough. She decided to get up to get some water.

But discovered that she couldn’t. Even her astral form wasn’t able to move now that it was joined back with her physical body.
Odd. She felt awake. But she just couldn’t move. So she was forced to just lay and stare at the ceiling and hope that she would snap out of it at the start of the Witching Hour.
A glance at the clock showed that it was maybe less than a minute away. Cool.
She looked back at the ceiling and her heart may as well have stopped in her chest.
An eye stared back at her from the ceiling. The same inhumanly large red eye she’d seen in Hellsing’s basement.
Frozen, unable to move even an inch, Corinne had little option but to hope for the best.
And then a second eye opened. And then another. And another. And so on and so on until her entire ceiling was nothing but vermilion eyes staring judgmentally down at her.
The black mass that was the ceiling slowly began to dip down toward her. Corinne felt her pulse pounding throughout her entire body in panic as an arm formed from the mass, slowly reaching toward her face.

“What’s the matter, Corinne Smith? Are you afraid of the dark?”

Corinne gasped awake, throwing herself upright in her bed, eyes darting to the ceiling to see-- nothing. She turned on her bedside lamp, eyes squinting against the sudden brightness to see that her ceiling was normal. Three AM. And she was alone.
It felt childish, but she got out of bed to look underneath it- and in the closet.
She locked her bedroom door, took her blackout sheet off of her windows, and got back into her bed.
Even though she was alone, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t.
“Get out of my room,” she muttered to whatever she felt with her as she pulled the hood of Ben’s old sweatshirt over her head. She turned off her lamp, relieved to see that the street lamps outside illuminated the room enough to see. And she laid back down, pulling her blanket over her head as if it would protect her from the boogeyman. “Just get the fuck out. You’re not welcome here.”
“I never welcomed you to where I sleep.”
Corinne gasped, throwing her blanket off of herself to confront whoever was with her- and finally felt alone.
Whatever thing that was with her before was gone now.
But would it be back?
She didn't sleep for the rest of the night.
She'd heard a voice. She was sure of it. So she sat up in her bed, watching the darkness in the corner of the room. Afraid to move an inch.

She was well enough to rest when the daylight came. No strange dreams. No sense of being watched. No astral projection. Just heavy, heavy sleep...
Until her phone rang after an hour or two.
“‘Lo?”
“Happy birthday, Cori!!”
Corinne rolled over in her bed, hair plastered to the side of her face thanks to how she'd slept. “Thanks, Ma. What time is it over there?”
“Just about midnight. I wanted to call you as soon as the clock struck! Do you have any plans today?”
“Me and my friends are going out tonight,” Corinne yawned, legs outstretched under the sheets. She'd been curled into a ball that whole time. “Is Dad there?”
“Dad's asleep, he has to he up in four hours. But he says happy birthday and that he loves you and misses you. And so do I.”
“Aw. I miss you guys too.” She slowly sat up, glancing around her room to make absolutely sure that she was isolated. Sure enough, she was. So far. She got out of bed and peeked outside her bedroom door. Still alone. “How's home been?”
“Things are nice and quiet. No complaints here... You sound tired, were you sleeping still?”
Corinne tiptoed through the apartment to the front door. It was still locked. Nobody could've possibly been in there with her last night. “I was about to get up anyway.” Fuck yeah, sure was still sleeping. Might go back to it too. “Just having a nice, lazy day off. Been having weird dreams lately, though.”
“Wonder why?”
“Couldn't tell ‘ya.” Literally couldn't. Integra made her sign a fucking contract.
“Hopefully it's not because you're stressed? I imagine things would be a little tense working in any form of media.”
“Eh, not for the columns I write for.”
“Well that's good. Anyway, it's time for me to get to bed. I hope you have a great birthday, Cori. We love you!”
“Love you too, Ma. Bye.” As soon as the call ended, Corinne turned over and set her phone on her nightstand, then pulled her blanket over her head to block out the dimmed sunshine coming through the curtains. So she could go back to sleep. “I'm too old for this ‘monster under my bed’ bullshit.”

“Hey, welcome back,” the girl at the register of the occult store greeted Corinne as she entered. “How d'you like the book so far?”
Corinne wasn't surprised that she was recognized. It had only been what, like two days?? “It's pretty good,” she said. “I was hoping to pick up stuff to make an altar. And maybe some books about astral projection if you have any.”
“Jumping right into the deep end,” the girl grinned. “I like that. I'm Nyx, by the way.”
“Corinne, nice to meet you. Nyx. I like that name.”
“It's actually a nickname,” Nyx admitted, leading Corinne to the bookshelves. “My actual name is Cindy, but who's going to buy books from a witch named Cindy?
“Well, I'm here buyin' 'em,” the redhead chuckled.
“That's fair.” Nyx glanced back to give her a smirk, looking back to the books and perusing the titles. She mumbled them as she dragged her fingers along the spines, eventually stopping on one with a royal blue cover. “There we go. This one's got an entire chapter dedicated to astral projection. It's somewhere halfway in, I read it already.”
Corinne flipped through the pages after Nyx passed it to her and continued to browse the shelves. Lots of black and white pictures of various things. Casting circles, star Charts, altar diagrams--
A red eye stared at her from the center of two black pages.
Corinne froze up, horrified when she saw it move slightly as it focused on her.
She hadn't even noticed that Nyx had said something.
“Are you alright?”
Corinne looked up as soon as she heard the question. A glance down at the book showed nothing but white paper and black lettering. The page where the chapter on astral projection began.
Everywhere and nowhere.
“Yeah,” Corinne said, shaking off the upsetting idea of an omnipresent creature stalking her. “Just… Had some intense deja vu. Been getting it a lot lately.”

The altar in the corner of her bedroom finally looked decent. No more plastic cup and kitchen knife just sitting in the old spot on the kitchen table. Instead now with metal apparatuses.
“Now I just gotta get a black cat and a pointy hat and I'll be done,” she muttered. She stood back and admired the setup, soon turning and heading out of the bedroom to get ready-- until her phone rang.
Unknown number.
Odd.
She tapped the green icon. “Smith Embalming Services, you stab ‘em, we slab ‘em, how can I help you?”
“Er… Corinne?”
“Speeeaaaaking.”
“Oh, good,” the woman on the other side of the line said, not realizing that Corinne had been fooling around to deter unwanted calls. “This is Captain Victoria of The Hellsing Organization speaking, how are you today?”
“Fantastic, how about yourself?”
“I'm doing well, thank you. I'm calling because Sir Integra has requested that you come speak with her this evening.”
“Actually, it's a no-go for today,” Corinne said, heading toward the bathroom so she could get in the shower. “Can we reschedule?”
“I'm not certain. Sir Integra is a very busy woman… Did you have other plans tonight?”
“Yup, going out with my friends,” Corinne replied, setting the phone on her counter and putting the call on speaker. “Tonight's my birthday, so…”
“Oh! That's understandable. I'll let her know so you can come another time. Perhaps tomorrow-- Happy birthday, by the way.”
“Thanks,” Corinne smiled thinly, combing out her hair in the mirror. “I'll be waiting for the call.”

Tonight of all nights.
Now Integra was gonna assume that Corinne believed she was the one in charge of scheduling.
She might have just struck out on her chances to get information.
Fuck all kinds of duck.

Chapter Text

The club was full of people that Friday night.
Corinne felt a little odd being all dressed up in her peach cocktail dress and nude heels just to go to a fancy-schmancy bar with loud music and drinks. She was more of a casual setting person- who liked to drink on the cheap side. In jeans.
Sitting at a table near the dance floor, the trio ordered rounds of drinks in between dancing. Molly and Corinne, who were maybe Will's height and weight when combined, felt the effects of the alcohol much quicker. That, and he said he would be the one to drink the least since he was looking out for the three of them.
Molly, who was the lightweight, was drunk first. Well into the warm-fuzzies part of intoxication and behaving extra lovey-dovey to her boyfriend.
“You two are fuckin’ adorable,” Corinne beamed, propping up her head with her elbow on the tabletop.
“Eehhhhhhhh, It's mostly Mol,” Will nodded.
“Shhhhhhuddup!” Molly giggled, face red with joy and liquor. The last shot of tequila went straight to her head.
Will grinned at his girlfriend and pulled her in to kiss the side of her head. Molly beamed, aglow with the clear signs of having a great night. “I'm going to the restroom- we should dance again when I get back!”
“Only if you can walk in your heels and not fall over!” Corinne laughed.
“I'm not that drunk!”
“Suuuure, Drunkie.” Corinne winked.
Molly stuck her tongue out at her before getting up.
"D'you want me to walk with you?" Will asked.
"I'm good, love!" Molly beamed, leaning over to kiss Will's cheek and (wobbily) walking over toward the bathroom.
“Can you keep a secret?” Will asked once Molly had disappeared from sight.
“Sure fuckin’ can!” Corinne replied. “What's-- OH. Are you gonna ask Molly to marry you!?”
Will blinked. “How'd you know?”
“Well obviously, the extra hours at work kinda give it away!”
“Does she know?”
“I don't think she does,” Corinne shrugged. “OH-- WAIT! Do you have a ring yet!? Can I see it!? When are you gonna ask!? Not tonight- don't do it tonight.”
“Of course not tonight!” Will took his phone out of his pocket and opened up his pictures to show a beautiful diamond ring. "I was going to ask next weekend. I planned on taking her to the countryside for the weekend. Out in a cottage."
“Goddamn,” Corinne blinked. “I would've thought the iceberg that sunk the Titanic would be melted by now.”
Will locked the screen and slipped his phone back into his pocket. “Is it good? D'you think she'll like it?”
“Dude, I'd be shocked if she stopped crying tears of joy long enough to just to tell you she loves it.” Corinne grinned widely as a club employee stepped up. “Hey, can we get another round of the same?” She looked to Will. “This one's on me.”
“Uh, no, it's your birthday.” Will shook his head.
“But you're getting engaged.”
“I'd say that wins it,” the employee nodded.
See!?” Corinne laughed.
“See what?” Molly beamed as she came back, settling in beside Will just as before.
“Oh, we had a bet about whether or not Pluto was a planet again,” Will said. "Corinne won."
The employee smiled knowingly. “I'll go get those drinks.”

After the next round was down, Molly and Will decided to dance. Corinne wasn't much of a dancer, so she went directly up to the bar to get some water. She figured she was done drinking for the night- at least until they were about to leave and would do a couple of shots to keep their collective buzz on the cab ride home.
“Heard it was your birthday.”
Corinne turned to see a man talking to her. Tall. Handsome.
“What gave it away?” Corinne asked, cup of water in hand. She leaned against the counter and sipped at it slowly.
“I'm a little psychic,” he said. 
You and me both, Corinne thought.
“That, and your friend over there is drunk and kept saying it every time she came over to buy a drink.”
Corinne smirked. “Service is a little slow, so she kinda came up here a lot. She's an impatient drinker.”
“I can see that,” he chuckled. “So where's your boyfriend?”
“Couldn't tell ‘ya,” she replied. She looked past him for a split second and saw someone staring at her through the crowd. “Haven’t met him yet.” She looked back at whoever was staring. Still there.
She was surprised she could even see him from where he was. Clear across the building, leaned against a wall, hands in his pockets. Something about him was familiar. Hypnotic, in a sense.
Tall, black hair. Pale.
And absolutely beautiful.
Everywhere and nowhere.
Why did that thought come to mind again?
“-drink?”
“Huh?” Corinne asked, coming back to the fact that the man at the bar was talking to her.
“Can I buy you a drink?” He asked again.
“I don't take drinks from strangers,” she smiled.
“Well, maybe we get to know each other a little. Stop being strangers.”
They exchanged a flirtatious smirk. Corinne glanced past him to see that the man who was staring at her had gone.
“Alright, how about we start with names?” She said. “I'm Corinne.”

Corinne stumbled alone into her apartment, back against the door as she slid the lock into place. She kicked off her heels, a little steadier as she made her way toward her bedroom- where she collapsed in her bed. Dress, makeup, and all, lying comfortable and warm in the darkness of her apartment. Although the warmth was mostly because she was drunk, it was too much to lay under the blankets. She didn't move to pull them over herself. Two last shots of tequila with Molly and Will after the guy she'd talked to (shit, what was his name again?) had bought her a mixed drink with rum. She felt so fucked up. She was pretty sure she gave that guy her old cell number.
Regardless, she came home alone. She wasn't trying to have sex tonight. Too drunk for that. Besides, just because he bought her a drink doesn't mean she owed him anything.
"Seems you struck out."
"Nope, that's just my hustle," she answered- just before realizing that she hadn't imagined the voice. She opened her tired eyes to see someone was in her room. But she couldn't see him well; only his silhouette in the scattered light coming through her sheer curtains.
How did he get in? Red eyes stared at her in the darkness and she recalled her dreams.
"You're the thing in the basement."
"I'm the thing in your room." He corrected.
Cheeky bastard.
Corinne rolled her eyes. She should've been more concerned. But for all she knew, this was already a dream. No one was in her apartment. The door was locked when she came in. "You gonna eat me or what?"
"Sounds like a request." He chuckled, several more eyes opening to stare menacingly at her.
"Depends on the context."
No reaction from him. She thought he didn't have a sense of humor- but he just didn't get the reference.
Corinne sighed, rolling onto her back, arm over her eyes. “Are you the Devil? Did playing with magic make you come here?”
“Something like that.”
“And you've been watching me this whole time. Since I first saw you.” Why was his voice so familiar to her? So smooth and… Well, sexy.
She was always warned that the Devil would be hot. Goddamn it. "I saw you earlier. At the club. Right? That was you?"
"Yes," He said.
“I saw you watching me talk to that guy and then you suddenly disappeared."
"I'd seen enough."
She smirked, peeking over at him. "You almost sound jealous."
No answer. It was because of him that she went home alone anyway. Suddenly she felt like he was the one she should've been speaking to instead of a stranger.
"What do you have to be jealous of?" She chuckled, slowly sitting upright. The room seemed to spin. "You don't get to be jealous. You're not even fucking real. My stupid ass just dabbled in witchcraft and now I have paranoid hallucinations. It's psychology, motherfucker!” She tapped the side of her head for emphasis.
But he still didn't disappear. His shape didn't so much as fade in the shadows.
"Maybe I should show you how real I am," she could hear the cocky grin in his tone, silhouette moving closer in the darkness.

Corinne opened her eyes when her phone went off, three loud notifications that she had received texts all at once- probably from Molly. The sound and lights triggered her hangover's headache.
In the dim glow of her phone's screen, she noticed that something was off. Not necessarily wrong, just different. The blanket over her felt heavier, and with it wrapped around her, not as wide....
Red.
She picked up her phone and illuminated the screen to see again. She didn't own a red blanket.
She sat up in bed to try to see better, hands running over it to examine it.
... Sleeves.
A jacket?
"The fuck..." She remembered the dream about the Devil in her room, clutching the long red coat to her chest as she got to her knees and reached for the pull chain to turn on the lights.
When the lights turned on, the jacket was gone. Replaced by the small wool throw she usually kept on the couch for when Molly slept over. Blue. Not red.
"I must be fucking crazy..." She muttered, wincing still against the bedroom light overhead.
She shivered a little, realizing that she was still in her dress and had goosebumps. She was already awake- so she took the chance to drink some water, change into her pajamas, and wash what was left of her makeup off in the bathroom so she could go back go bed.
And found a couple of deep purple bruises on her neck and clavicle when she looked in the mirror.
... When the fuck did she get a hickey!? 

It was just a dream.
She told herself that on repeat when she woke again hours later.
Just a dream. Demons aren't real. I made out with that dude in the club and came home a little sloppy, grabbed the blanket off the couch, and passed out in my dress.
Corinne rolled over in her bed with a pained groan. Headache flaring when sunshine hit the curtains just right to put a beam into her eyes.
"Fine, I'm up!" She whined, grabbing her phone and turning over again.
The three messages from last night had gone unread until now.
Two from Molly. Sent at 4:45 in the morning.
"I'm never dribkibg qgqin"
"I hare tewuila"
"’I'm never drinking again, I hate tequila,’" Corinne translated with a smirk, sending a teasing reply asking if she had thrown up. 
Molly was more of a beer person. Hard liquor was... Definitely not her forte. Not that Corinne could brag today. She felt like shit too.
The third text was from the same unknown number as yesterday. Captain Victoria.
"Sir Integra would like to speak with you sometime today."
Gonna be hung over talking to the leader of a secret, paranormal organization. Perfect.

After weeks of not hearing from Integra, Corinne rushed to be showered, dressed, and caffeinated to drive out to the mansion in the middle of nowhere. The drive felt long- like she would never get there. But she was pulled over again by the soldiers. And instead of detaining her, they told her to follow their vehicle out to the gates. The sentry at the gate allowed her inside and she parked out in front. The place seemed bigger somehow.
Not as creepy as one would imagine. Just a big, white, U-shaped building with a beautiful garden and huge driveway.
When Corinne stepped out of her car, she was immediately greeted by the same face as before.
“Good morning, Miss Smith,” Captain Victoria greeted, smiling politely. “How was your birthday?”
“Mornin’,” Corinne replied, following her inside with what was left of her cup of coffee.  She didn't take her sunglasses off until she was indoors. “Lots of fun. How are you today?”
“I'm doing very well,” the blonde replied. Upbeat that her master was back, that Integra was finally at ease, and that they were in a peacetime. Not many serious paranormal threats these days. “Sir Integra had planned for tea but I see you brought your own.”
“Uh- coffee,” Corinne said. “I need it every morning or else I might as well stay in bed. I'm still good for tea, though-” She didn't want to be rude. She discarded the cup in the first trash can she could find with Victoria's help.
As they walked through the mansion, Corinne glanced down a separate passageway to see a glimpse of a familiar painting- the one she'd ventured past in her astral form. “Captain?”
“You can call me Seras if you like.”
“Thanks- What exactly does Hellsing do?” Corinne asked as she followed. “I mean, I can guess from the name alone; but I don't wanna just assume.”
“If you’ve seen any films or done any reading, your assumption’s correct,” Seras sighed.
“Ah, so you do carpet cleaning?” Corinne asked, giggling when Seras turned to her with a befuddled look. “I’m kidding!
Seras rolled her eyes, turning forward again to fight back a smile. Corinne was rather silly for being a witch. Seras had never seen witches portrayed in a non-serious, non-violent way.
“But for real,” Corinne said, admittedly a little anxious. Witchcraft was weird enough- but now they were talking vampires existing too? “You hunt vampires?
“Vampires,” Integra’s voice behind her made Corinne nearly jump out of her skin, whirling with wide eyes to finally calm down when she saw the older woman. “Extraterrestrials, the supernatural, and the Satanic.”
“Ah, there you are,” Seras smiled. “I thought you were still in your office.”
“I got tired of waiting,” Corinne could see a hint of warmth in Integra’s expression when she looked at Seras. The older woman’s gaze hardened again when she looked back at Corinne. “Miss Smith. I understand that being ‘fashionably late’ is an undying trend in the States, but I ask that you be punctual when summoned. I'm a very busy woman and I'm not getting any younger.”
“I understand,” Corinne nodded. “Sorry. I might have gotten a little bit lost again.” Not to mention that her hangover was lingering just enough to make her head hurt.
“Just as well,” Integra nodded, stepping back into the room she'd come from and motioning for the other women to follow. “You've at least come in time for tea.”

The room was a library. Bookshelves packed with various volumes of knowledge and fiction. Some new, some appearing older than time itself.
Corinne wondered if any of them had information about witchcraft. Perhaps it was dangerous for her to ask.
“I suppose you have many questions,” Integra began. She and Corinne sat across from each other in ornamental couches. Gorgeous, but not as pillowy as her own.
“Many is an understatement,” Corinne replied. Seras, seeming to be Integra's faithful servant, poured them each a cup of tea. Corinne nodded her thanks as she took hers. She felt watched again. Like the thing in the basement was staring at her through the concrete of the building. “So… For starters, you hunt supernatural creatures?”
“That's correct.”
“Like Ghostbusters?
“...”
“What, like vampires and werewolves?” The redhead frowned. “But they're not real. With a place like this, you clearly have a huge budget for the job, but… Seriously?
“Have you not felt that something in the darkness has watched you? The prickling on the back of your neck when the lights go out?” Integra asked. “Humans are born with an instinctual fear of the dark. That is because the demonic, the paranormal, and the evil all hide under cover of darkness. They're very real, Miss Smith. They desperately want to gain supremacy. And I take the task of neutralizing them very seriously.”
“I see…” Corinne trailed off, knee anxiously beginning to bounce as she reconsidered the thought of admitting to being a witch. “Do you kill everything you come across?” She glanced over to Seras. The girl was nice enough- but Corinne could sense something off about her. The unnatural eyes were an indication, obviously. But for all she knew, Seras had a melanin deficiency.
“Not everything,” Seras answered. “Only threats to crown and country.”
“Cool, cool,” Corinne nodded, slightly less nervous. “So last time I was here, you said you were having someone background check me. Any chance you found something on lineage?”
“Why do you ask?” Integra glanced up from her tea.
“I don't know anything about my birth family,” the redhead replied. “I was adopted. I always wanted to know where I'm from-- and there's been weird things going on lately. And I think they connect somehow. Shit, I'm waiting on results from one of those DNA tests you can get online… Should be showing up soon, actually.”
“Perhaps if you can bring that information in, we can do some tracing,” Integra offered. “If you have visions of me and my home, then I also want to know who exactly you are.”
“Solid,” Corinne nodded. “Group project.”
“Smith-”
“Please,” she interrupted. “Call me Corinne.”
Corinne,” Integra corrected herself. “You doubt the usefulness of my organization. Do you believe in the supernatural at all?
“I'm starting to.”
“You write for a paranormal column.”
“It's more of an entertainment page than anything else,” Corinne admitted. “People like ghost stories. People like urban legends.”
“And what of you? What is making you start to believe?”
“Seeing you,” Corinne said, knee bouncing again. “Seeing Seras. This place. Through someone else's eyes… Sir Integra? Can I ask you something that's been bothering me?”
“Very well.”
“Is witchcraft real?”
“It is,” Integra nodded. “Though it is has become a more mainstream, trending practice, there are few individuals who have actual magical powers. Those few are very hard to find. Which makes studying them a difficult task.”
Corinne nodded. “Okay. Cool.” So she was a witch. She really was. “One more question… What are you keeping in the basement?”

Chapter Text

“Y'know, as curious as I am, I feel like you're gonna feed me to it,” Corinne said, on edge as she followed down into the underbelly of the mansion. “You could just tell me what he is.”
“It's better for you to see,” Integra said. “I want you to understand two things: that what we do here is very real, and that if you should happen to breach contract, there will be dire consequences… In which case, then I’ll feed you to him.”
“Gotcha,” she nodded. The corridor underground felt the same unpleasant way as when she walked through it in her astral form. And the door at the end that was previously secured shut was now free to open. “I've been here before. I saw all of this too. And I've seen him. He came to my room last night. The night before too… Did you tell him to?”
“I granted him permission to observe you,” she answered, stopping short of the door and motioning for Corinne to open it.
He wanted to observe her?
Corinne reached for the door, feeling an icy chill run up her spine when she touched it. It was so cold. Just like when she projected. The weight of the steel took a moment to give as she pushed the door open. Blackness inside. Integra followed behind her, flipping on a light switch on the wall beside the door.
Fuuuck, man...” Corinne squeezed her irritated eyes shut while her pupils adjusted. “Warn me first!”
The coffin and throne were in sight when she opened her eyes again. And a man in red sat in the chair, wine glass in hand, swirling around what was too viscous and bright to be wine.
Blood.
“Finally, a proper introduction,” his voice deep and low- sultry even. She recognized it immediately.
“You…” Corinne said quietly, now able to put a face on the voice she'd been hearing. “You're the Devil.”
Both he and Integra got a chuckle out of that.
“Close,” he said. “But not quite.”
“Corinne Smith, this is Alucard,” Integra said. “The greatest achievement and most powerful weapon of the Hellsing Organization. A true vampire.”
“‘True’?” Corinne turned to her. “There's artificial ones? Not like-- like Edward-Lestat-Dracula, you mean there's actual people walking around being almost vampires.”
Without so much as a creak from the throne or footsteps behind her, she turned back to Alucard and immediately bumped against him with a startled yelp.
Fuck, he was tall.
That, and she was short.
“We can discuss those details later,” Integra said. “Let's go back upstairs for now. I have questions for you.” She turned and led the way back out of the vampire's quarters.
Corinne hesitated, momentarily unable to tear her gaze from him as he removed his yellow tinted glasses. Not just because he was familiar or had an eerie, unsettling presence. But because fuck- he was even better up close. Fucking gorgeous.
“So are you coming with, or…?” She asked, feeling somehow like he was in her head. Able to read her mind.
His red eyes narrowed slightly when he smiled. Menacing. “Or am I going to visit you in your home again?”
Are you?” She frowned. The thought of a vampire in her bedroom while she slept didn't exactly sound appealing. As good looking as he was, she knew it was better to stay far away from him.
‘Alucard’ didn't answer, leaving Corinne in suspense as she turned to follow Integra back upstairs. He made no move to follow, but she got the sense that his gaze never left her even when she was all the way back on the ground level where the painting on the wall shut behind her.

“I've been told that you've been dabbling in the occult.”
Corinne felt herself pale. “Kinda,” she admitted. “But not anything dangerous or weird. Just-- the basic stuff.”
“And I suppose it's not faring well,” Integra lit a cigar between her lips. Corinne didn't care for the smell, but it's not like this was her house. “You asked earlier if it was even real.”
“Hard to tell if I'm doing any good,” the redhead frowned. She wondered where Seras was. She was Captain- so possibly doing some kind of militarized stuff with the other Hellsing operatives. It was just Corinne and Integra now. With the strong sense of Alucard's presence. He was obviously her watchdog.
Corinne's knee bounced anxiously. “I've been trying little things like spells for sleeping well or good hair days or whatever- and those don't work. But I've been having visions in my sleep. And when I'm not doing that, I'm- and this sounds weird to say out loud- I'm astral projecting.
Integra nodded, allowing Corinne to ramble.
“That’s how I knew He was in the basement. I went down there when I was projecting. I just automatically ended up here and--” How though? It's like he was calling to her somehow. Would she get to ask him? “And it's cool that I can do it, but I still don't know all the ins and outs- and when I try to make myself wake up, I can't. Instead I got sleep paralysis. And ‘ya boy down there was on my ceiling trying to scare the absolute shit out of me-”
Integra smiled to herself at that. “He certainly does like to play with his food.”
“Now why would you say that to me!?” Corinne laughed nervously, worried that Integra might've only been half-joking.
“You mentioned a DNA test before,” Integra shifted the subject. “May I see the results when you get them?”
“Of course,” Corinne nodded.
“And, if you would like, I can have our forensics division conduct a detailed test as well. I doubt a commercial test is as accurate as we would like it to be. In addition to that, we can look deeper into your adoption. See how far back your abilities can be dated.” The old legends of witches mostly being women stemmed from how mainly women genetically inherited magical abilities. Much like how nearly every calico cat is female. Males were one in every three thousand, at best.
“Sure,” Corinne shrugged. “I wanna know just as bad as you do.”
Was witchcraft genetic? If so… Her birth mother might be a witch too.

“Her name is Corinne Smith.”
The candid photo of the redhead leaving her apartment in London showed her lips pursed as she dug through her pocket, backpack slung over one shoulder, sunglasses on top of her head. She didn't seem out of the ordinary in any way. Nor did she seem competent enough to be up to anything serious.
Heinkel Wolfe, however, wasn't sold on it. “American, mid-twenties. Hasn't lived in England for long.”
Bishop Makube looked up from the photo to the file gathered on her. Adopted, attended a Catholic private school from ages 7-12. No criminal record, no signs of poor character. An otherwise reputable woman- until she had been sighted entering a Pagan bookstore and leaving with books. Entering Hellsing's den of filth and leaving unfettered by the vampire Seras Victoria. Perhaps she had been invited?
“Signora Smith doesn't seem to have any idea what she's getting involved in,” the bishop said. “Perhaps we arrange a meeting and ‘steer her back onto the path of God’.”

A full test of lineage. Even going as far as providing a blood sample. She wasn't quite sure how she felt about that.
Several days of normal life later, she received her DNA test results in the mail- only to not see any shocking results.
Mainly Western European, a bit Native American. Blah, blah, blah-- and less than 1% Unknown.
… What the fuck is ‘Unknown’?
“Ohhh, so you are Irish!”
Molly's voice over her shoulder made her jump.
“Uh- yeah,” Corinne nodded. “The ginger gene came from right there, I guess.”
The ‘Unknown’ glared at her from the screen of her laptop.
Maybe Integra’s forensics team could figure it out.

Corinne muttered the lyrics to a catchy song under her breath as she entered her local coffee house later that afternoon. One bud in her right ear, the other hanging around her neck as she stood in line, absently bouncing to the rhythm.
She looked down at her phone as the line edged further up, and saw a red eye staring back at her. No longer afraid of the unknown, Corinne shot it a dirty look and slipped the device into her back pocket.
“What is your deal?” Fucking vampire stalker. She was going to have words with Integra about boundaries next time she saw her.
“Corinne?” She looked up to see the man who bought her drinks on her birthday. Although now- he wore a suit and tie. Sharp dressed, hair nearly combed, face clean shaven. He even smelled nice- maybe he did before too but she was too drunk to recall.
“Hey,” she smiled.
“You remember me?” He asked?
“I remember most of you,” she admitted. “I was pretty messed up that night… Sorry to say I can't remember your name, though.”
“Better than trying to guess, I suppose,” he smiled. She felt like she was going to melt. “Nathan.”
“Nathan,” she nodded, then they shook hands. “The details are a little fuzzy, so sorry if this is a weird question- did we…”
“We did,” he nodded, shifting a little awkwardly, like he was admitting to something he rarely did. “Just a little bit. You were drunk, I was drunk, you were about to go home- wrong place, wrong time.”
“Gotcha,” she nodded. Relieved that Alucard hadn't been the one with his teeth that close to her throat. As good looking as the vampire was, she didn't consider herself as someone who wanted to fuck the undead. “Thanks for not taking advantage- not that I assume you would… So wrong place, wrong time, right guy, right?”
Nathan chuckled, moving forward in line with her, already with his drink in hand. “So-- Maybe we can fix the problem of the time and place?”
“Maybe we can,” she smiled. “How's later today?”

They exchanged phone numbers.
Something about that bothered him.
This random stranger she spent ten minutes with on her birthday- although she was right before. He had no right to jealousy. They didn't know each other. Why did it feel like they did? What was it about this witch that felt familiar? If she was descended of a Biobhan sith as Integra deduced, then that could be why. Some of them lived still relatively peacefully in the Highlands. He would need to taste her blood to know for certain. But without biting her and risking turning her into a ghoul. Then there'd be no answers at all. Same with simply killing her. She would need to consent. As unlikely as that was.

Alucard watched her go about her day, every day, certain that she knew he was there. No one else aware of the vampire's presence but her. She spotted him frequently, and shot him a look every time. Sometimes muttering under her breath for him to go away, sometimes flipping him her middle finger.
“Can you fucking stop!?” She groaned the very moment she entered her apartment and closed the door behind her back, striding toward her bedroom. “You've been on my ass for days and I'm just trying to live my life. Can you please-”
“‘Please’ what?”
His voice behind her made her spin, nearly falling onto her mattress. “Jesus. You're gonna give me a heart attack!”
She exhaled sharply, lobbing her cheap sunglasses at him. Actually surprised that they hit him on the arm and clattered to the floor. Like she assumed he was just an illusion. “What are you here for now? I'm not asleep for you to terrorize me again.”

Alucard gave her a bemused look, picking her sunglasses off of the floor and setting them on her dresser while she kicked off her shoes and dropped her backpack onto her bed before removing her olive green jacket. He'd seen her wear it quite a bit. Perhaps she was attached to it.
“Quite the altar you've made,” he said, eyes turned to the setup in the corner of her room. He had yet to really look at it in the daylight, but now he could see that she had neatly organized it. If it weren't for the altar, the astral projection, and the sense of familiarity, he would've thought she was ordinary in every way. Aesthetically pleasing, but average. “How long have you been practicing?”
“Right before I found you,” she replied. He looked back to her, seeing that she was unbuckling her belt. She froze when she caught sight of him- like she'd forgotten he was even there in the blink of an eye. “I get that you’re gonna watch me whenever you want and all that-- but can I be alone for a while?? need to change.”
Speaking of change, things were very different from how they were when he died.
May as well see just how different.

Corinne's phone blasted a loud, upbeat tune as she received a call on her way back into the bedroom. Alucard had left her alone after she asked for privacy. And since then, she'd showered and eaten a late lunch.
“Yeeeeeees?” She answered.
Molly on the other end of the phone, elated. “I think Will’s going to propose!!”
Oof. “What makes you say that?” Corinne chuckled.
“He planned out a weekend away for just the two of us,” Molly beamed. “We're driving out there tomorrow when we're off work!”
“Mol, maybe he's just being romantic,” Corinne smirked. “Is it your anniversary or something?”
“Well, yes, but-
“Well, ‘ya never know,” Corinne could barely hide her excitement. “I hope he asks!”
“Me too!” Molly beamed. “What are you doing this weekend? Just- I don't want to call you up screaming about how happy I am if you're at a library.”
Corinne laughed. “I'm going out tonight with that guy I met at the club. If all goes well, I might be doing him this weekend.”
“You absolute harlot!” Molly played up her accent, a laugh slipping through. “Get some.”
“That does not sound right coming from you,” Corinne laughed with her. “Anyway, I'm gonna get off here. I wanna take my time to be ready.”
“Oh absolutely,” Molly agreed. “Tell me details tomorrow!”
“Aye Aye, Captain,” Corinne smirked, ending the call.
She tossed her phone onto her bed and went to her closet to pick out something to wear- only to have to turn around again when her phone rang. Again.
Unknown number.
Integra or Seras, she assumed.
“Smith Funeral Services,” she answered, already pulling out the same dumb joke. “You stab ‘em, we-”
“Good afternoon, Signora,” a heavily accented man’s voice greeted. “Is this Corinne Smith?”
“Yeeaaaah,” she answered slowly as she tried to place the voice. Nobody she knew at work had an accent like that- or a voice as deep. ‘Signora’-- Italian? “Who is this?”
“I’m somewhat of a missionary for the Catholic church,” he answered. “Makube. I had hoped we could meet to discuss your relationship with the Lord.”
“I’m good, thanks,” Corinne said flatly with a roll of her eyes. Back in San Diego, churches would just leave pamphlets at the door. None of this cold-calling bullshit. “Sorry for wasting your t-”
“And perhaps we can discuss your relationship with Hellsing.”
Corinne side-eyed her phone as if her ears had deceived her. “Huh?”
“The Protestant organization,” he clarified. “You’ve been meeting with them, sì?
Corinne was at a loss for words. Contractually bound by Integra not to say a thing. And yet, here was the Catholic church, a rival of Anglican denomination, knowing of Hellsing. What did this mean?
“Perhaps we meet tonight, Signora,” he continued. “Discuss your options. Ensure that you’re no longer a slave of the Devil’s whore-”
In a panic, she ended the call, throwing her phone on the clear opposite side of her bed where it landed face-down on her comforter. It immediately rang again, but she made no move to answer.
Glancing around the room for Alucard’s presence, she found that she was seemingly alone. “I hope you fucking saw that, Count Orlok!"

It was reassuring that she was safe while she was out with Nathan. Having someone with her was better now more than ever with Alucard, and apparently, the Catholic church observing her from a distance.
Things went well on the date- and as much as Corinne wanted to go home with Nathan, she thought the best course of action would be to make him wait for it. Then the reward would be so…
“I haven’t done it in five months, I deserve a medal,” she muttered, hands in the pockets of her jacket as she walked home. The bar they’d met up at wasn’t more than a mile or so away from her apartment. And nobody was out. She wished he’d have walked her home- but he had gone in the opposite direction.
Ultimately, she didn’t feel good about walking home alone at night. As women of all ages, colors, and countries of origin didn’t. But she figured she’d be alright if she kept her head on a swivel and moved with purpose. Not to mention, she gripped her phone so tightly in her pocket that her knuckles turned white. If she didn’t have time to call for help, she’d smash the corner of her phone into an attacker’s temple. And she’d gotten a belated birthday manicure a day or two ago. So she had reinforced nails to go for the eyes with.
Man… She probably should’ve gotten a cab or something.
A scuff behind her on the ground raised the alarm. She only had a few more blocks to go. So she walked faster.
And so did they.
She slipped her phone out of her pocket, using her front-facing camera to pretend to take a selfie and look behind her.
Most of whoever was behind her was obscured by darkness. Having been in the exact right spot behind her so only the bottom half of their clothes were visible in the street light. Black.
So she tried snapping another picture further ahead. Again, obscured by shadow. But she could see more-- and spotted a gold crucifix hanging from around their neck. Black clothes, a cross…
… A priest?

Normally that might put her at ease. But with the call earlier? Now she was on high alert.
Corinne walked faster, nearly breaking into a run. Maybe if she could turn down some streets, she could lose them. But home was a straight shot from here.
She shouldn’t lead them back. And even if she called for help, who would anyone believe? A woman who had some liquor in her stomach? Or a priest, who would say they were just out for a walk?
Goddamnit, where the fuck was Alucard when she needed him!?
Sure, he wanted to stalk her in her sleep and harass her in her dreams, but God forbid he help her get away from someone following her home!
Okay, keep cool, she thought. She turned a corner, hoping she could see another person out. Even if it was late, she could hope. She neared an alleyway, and yelped when she was pulled in by her arm. Enveloped in darkness.

She blinked.

And next thing she knew, she was standing in her bedroom.
“What the fuck…?” She breathed, looking around, doubting reality.
“You’re safe.”
She spun, finding Alucard standing in the doorway of her bedroom.
“Did you bring me here? From the alley?” She asked.
“You seemed like you needed a lift,” he replied, face devoid of humor despite his comment.
“How’d you know I needed help?” She asked, looking around the room again. Had time passed or had it been instantaneous? “You weren’t even there, I couldn’t feel you there-”
When she looked back to him, he was gone. And she felt lonely.
“Huh...” She thought aloud. “Just like waking up from a dream.”

Chapter Text

Of course she had a hard time sleeping that night knowing that the Catholics had quickly resorted to stalking. But after all she'd heard about their involvement in the Zeppelin Incident, it all became much more believable. She doubted it when she first heard it. Now…
What were they fighting fucking Nazis for!?

“Hey Spike,” she muttered, rolling onto her back in her bed and staring boredly at the ceiling.
In an instant, as if always ready for her call, she felt Alucard's presence in the room. The corner near her altar became much darker than before.
“You do know I don't understand that reference,” he greeted.
“Just know that if I call you something ridiculous, it's a reference to a vampire,” she chuckled, sitting up in her bed. “You were there during the Nazi invasion of ‘99, right?”
“Yes.” He answered. And she could hear fondness for the bloodshed in his tone.
“What were the Catholics doing there?” She asked. “No one I've asked has the answer. I haven't asked Integra or Seras, but… I figured I'd ask my ‘number one fan’ first.”

“Is that what you think of me? An adoring fan?” She certainly liked to mask her fear with humor.
“No, I think of you as a stalker,” she said. “A predator that doesn't want anyone else to beat him to the kill- so you're with me all of the time to make sure you're first in line. Now answer my question.”
“You're in no position to give me orders,” he said. Something about her made his blood boil. The casual nicknames, the arrogance, the sarcasm, the careless way she created unrest in him when she flirted with dime-a-dozen strangers. It made him think of M-
“I'm not giving you orders, I'm demanding your fucking respect,” she retorted. “I am not a prey animal, I am an entire human being and a witch. Now- I don't give a single shit if you kill me, but I have a connection to you for whatever reason and I deserve to know why.
So stupidly fearless in the face of a monster with abilities she couldn't comprehend. He actually admired her for it now. It reminded him of Integra when they'd first met.
“Alright, Smith.” He found himself smiling. Thin, but genuine.
Corinne.” She firmly corrected.

Corinne.” He said.
The utterance of her name in such a low, sultry voice gave her chills. Was it a thing to just be attracted to a voice?
Regardless, he explained.
And she at least understood more of the Incident.
Her connection to him specifically, still a mystery to them both.

“Hey mom.”
“Cori!” Amanda Leonard beamed when she heard her daughter's voice. “Hey honey, what's goin’ on? How's London?”
“It's good,” Corinne smiled. “Things are going really good. How's home? How's dad?”
“Daddy's good,” her mom answered. “He's away for the weekend. Had to make a trip out to LA for work. We think- we don't know for sure- that they picked him for this trip to see how he does and decide if they promote him.”
“Oh shit,” Corinne beamed. “Go, dad. That explains why they've been keeping him so busy.”
“That's what I said!”
Corinne smiled, sliding down to sit on the rug in front of the couch. Her favorite phone call spot- for whatever reason. “Anyway- I called because I wanted to ask you something. I've been looking into genealogy lately and I was wondering- did you know anything about my birth family?”
Her mom went quiet, and Corinne's smile dropped in an instant.
“Ma?”
“I'm here,” Amanda answered. “I'm just curious about why. You never really asked for specifics before and I just-- never thought it mattered to you.”
“It didn't before,” Corinne admitted. “I've just been thinking-- what if I have something weird in my genes that suddenly pops up?”
“Like what?”
“Y’know,” Corinne said cryptically. “Stuff.”
Amanda went quiet again, and Corinne listened carefully, like the silence was the explanation.
“Your birth mother was a friend of mine and dad’s when we were growing up,” Amanda finally said.
“Okay?”
“She and her husband...” She paused, like she wasn’t sure where to begin. “They couldn’t conceive naturally- so I was their surrogate.”
“So technically you’re my birth mother?”
“I’m your birth mother,” Amanda said. “But you were their embryo. They were your biological parents.”
“So--- what happened to them?
“What we didn’t know was that your biological father wasn’t a good man,” Amanda said uneasily. “He um… He messed around with other women. One of which was-- too young. Your mother didn’t take it well. She… Killed him. And herself.”
Corinne listened, jaw dropped in horror.
“I’m sorry I lied to you when I said I didn’t know much before. I just didn’t know how I could tell you. It’s not a good truth.”
“Shit… No joke...” Corinne muttered. “And what about me? How’d I go to you?”
“She left you with me before it happened. I was your godmother.”
Corinne felt sick to her stomach. “I gotta call you back.”

it took an hour before Corinne's stomach settled enough to call her mom back.
“Something weird came up. And it’s gonna sound crazy.”
“What is it?” Amanda asked, anxious. Corinne had called her back, shortly after demanding that Alucard give her more alone time.
“I told you before about the man I used to dream about, right?”
“Yes…”
“Those dreams started when I was fourteen. And they kept up every once in a while- and I don't think I told you, but it's what made me and Ben drift apart.”
“Wait… Really?”
Corinne felt her face flush with color at the admission. “Yeah-”
“Honey-- I used to have dreams like that too.”
“Wait what? Why did you never mention it!?”
“I just… Didn't think much of it. I thought you were having dreams about the boogeyman. All kids did- and I thought maybe you were stressed out and it carried into adulthood. I haven't had those dreams since before I was pregnant- I haven't even thought of them in years.”
She gave them to me.
Corinne felt her stomach turn icy.
The witchcraft gene wasn't from her biological mother. It was the Unknown factor. From her surrogate mother.
“Y'know, uh…” Corinne began. “Nevermind. I dunno what I was gonna get at… Maybe I'm just sleep deprived from the weird dreams.”
After finishing their call on a lighter note about her parents considering adopting a puppy, Corinne felt a weight lifted off her shoulders once she set her phone down at her side.
“I contracted witchcraft in the womb…” She thought aloud. Did that mean her grandmother was a witch too? And her mother? And so on, and so on until the beginning of their bloodline? “This is gonna blow Integra's mind.”

She did say she'd only come on invitation, but this was too major to skip out on. After shoving the printed off results of her commercial DNA test into her backpack, Corinne put on her jacket and carried her bag over her shoulder out of the apartment.
A little shaky with excitement, it took her a few extra seconds to lock her door before she was on her way outside-- where she stopped in her tracks at the sight of two people. A man and… Someone else she couldn't quite identify. Both wearing traditional religious garb. Black. Crosses around their necks. Catholics.
“Buongiorno, Signora Smith,” the man greeted in a familiar deep voice. The scar across his face stretched when he smiled. Though this eyes were void of warmth to make the expression genuine.
She recognized him as Makube.
The other, just as tall as him. Messy straw-blond hair. Face loosely dressed in bandages. Poor posture to match their eerie presence. They kept quiet, allowing Makube to do the talking.
“Morning,” Corinne said uneasily. At least it was broad daylight. The street was busy and alive with witnesses. “I see I can’t avoid you. Will you leave me alone if I donate like- twenty bucks in change to the church?”
All airs of friendliness were gone now that she'd seen one of their own following her. Apparently they already knew where she lived too. Great.
“I was hoping we could have a conversation inside,” Makube continued. But Corinne couldn't focus on the silver haired man. Instead refusing to take her eyes off of the other priest- who stared analytically at her with piercing blue eyes. Motionless. Not so much as blinking. Intimidating. “I had heard much about how hospitable Americans can be.”

Bishop Makube sat at her kitchen table. Corinne across from him. The priest he'd addressed as ‘Heinkel’ standing behind him with their arms behind their back. Poor posture, Corinne had noted.
She hadn't offered them anything. Why would she? She never wanted to host them. They simply insinuated themselves into her home. Though… Some part of her was concerned that they, perhaps, might have already entered once when she wasn't there.
They weren't like vampires. They could enter without invitation.
Speaking of which- she wanted to ask Alucard if that was legit.
“It must be difficult to live so far from home,” Makube began. Trying to break the ice. “You must miss your husband terribly.”
“I'm not married anymore.” Corinne answered flatly. “But I think you knew that. You know a lot about me. My name, phone number, address. Probably where I work too.”
The corner of his mouth twitched. Like he was trying not to give away that he knew exactly how this conversation would go. “The Church has done research. Although we could not solve why you kept your married name.”
“You ever wait in a social security office or in line at the DMV?” She sneered. “That's why. It was a pain in the ass the first time I did it, and I didn't want to have to do it all over. So I just kept it.”
Heinkel rolled their eyes to the side, clearly bored by this. Corinne wanted to say something to them, but decided against it… Recalling the priest who tried to follow her home. And getting the vague sense that it was Heinkel.

A typically lazy American, Makube thought.
Though he would do his best to maintain diplomacy, he was quickly growing annoyed with her. And Heinkel could see it. Their presence was tense behind him.
“All of the small talk aside,” he began. “We are concerned with the nature of your dealings with the Hellsing Organization. Were you solicited?”
“I don't know what you're talking about.” She said flatly.
“You don't have to hide from me, Signora,” he purred, reaching across the table and setting a hand on hers. A move of a comforting presence from a community leader. A small act of ‘kindness’. “The Devil can't come near you in the presence of the Lord's servants. If you tell us what's wrong, the Church can protect you.”

“Protect me?” She frowned.
“Yes, you would be under close watch by the Vatican at all times. Safe from evil, safe from Miss Hellsing's soldiers and abominations, safe from being defiled by the Devil himself. All you need to do- is tell us what you've seen.”
The promise of an out.
To be freed from contract under Integra's rule. No longer to be stalked by a vampire…
Corinne pulled back her hand and set it in her lap. Suddenly feeling Alucard's presence at her back. “Sorry, Father. I don't know what you're talking about. I’ve only ever heard of ‘Hellsing’ in vampire movies. And everyone knows vampires and monsters and whatever else aren't real.”
She sensed mirth in his expression- like he'd hoped she would continue to lie. But otherwise- gave no indication that he or Heinkel could even see Alucard. Maybe he wasn't visible?
“You may turn your back on the church, Signora,” he said. “But God loves even you. We will speak again soon.”
“No thanks,” she said flatly. “I'm not religious. And I'm comfortable with that.” She got out of her seat quickly enough for her chair to screech loudly against the floor, and she moved to the door of her apartment to open it for them. “I hope you both have a nice rest of your day.”
She could see Heinkel clench their jaw, fingers twitching at their side as if preparing to do something. But Makube’s disapproving look stopped them. He led them to the door. Not looking to put up a fight with an ‘innocent civilian’ in her home.
“If I may ask,” he said, stopping just outside of the door. “Why are you so certain that monsters don't exist?”
“Never seen one,” she said shortly, closing the door in his face and locking it.
She made no move to leave the door until she heard their footsteps fading away on the creaky floor of the hallway.
And once they'd disappeared, she leaned against the door and sunk down to the floor with a shaky groan. She rubbed her eyes, feeling like she was too afraid to blink that whole time.
“Were you watching?” She asked.
When she opened her eyes again, Alucard was sitting in her seat at her table. “Obviously.”
“Gotta make sure I didn't rat you out, right?” She chuckled anxiously, slowly getting to her feet and sitting with him instead. “I wasn't going to.”
“I could tell,” he nodded. The corner of his mouth raised into a smirk- but it wasn't arrogant. But rather a restrained look of relief. “You faltered a little bit, but you still didn't change your mind.”
“Because as weird as you, Seras, and Integra are, I at least like all of you,” she answered. “Something about them was shady. Like… Like they were gonna hurt me. Shit, they still might… I dunno if they know I'm a witch...”
She went quiet, trying to think out how to proceed. She frequently glanced at Alucard.
He stared at her, the way a dog stares at its owner while in wait for attention. Admiring, in a way. It made her nervous- like when she and Ben went on their first date. And something about it said ‘They won't hurt you. I've got you.’
“You look at me like you know me,” she said, without really thinking.
“So do you.”
“I do?” She snickered. “Jeez… Weird.”
She looked away, catching herself smiling a little too long and forcing it off of her face. Was this flirting?
She shook off the thought. “Do you think you could tell Integra about this for me? I feel like they're gonna be following me for a while. It's too risky for me to go to her.”

Chapter Text

“So if you're a vampire, why can you be out during the day?” Corinne asked, iced coffee in hand as they walked through a park. Instead of meeting with Integra, she'd gotten Seras.
Some legends aren't true,” the blonde replied. “We can eat garlic and look into mirrors. Even touch a crucifix.”
“Sounds like more of a lifehack than a curse,” Corinne noted. “Do you die if you don't drink blood? Does everyone turn into a vampire if you bite them?”
“I don't think so,” Seras frowned. “And I've never directly bitten anyone who was still alive… But only virgin humans can become vampires. Otherwise they become ghouls. Zombies, essentially.”
“Ah well, the USS My Virginity sailed like ten years ago. So I guess my lofty dreams of being a witchpire are a no-go.”
Seras giggled. “I suppose so!”
They sat down on a bench together under the shade of a tree. Despite the cloudy sky, Corinne liked the extra cover.
“I wanted to pass this on to you,” Corinne began, sliding her backpack off of her shoulder and onto her lap. From inside she retrieved the results of her DNA test. As well as a note explaining that she may have inherited the witch gene from her surrogate mother. “I'm sure Integra might still want a blood test, but this is at least a good foundation to build on.”
Seras folded the papers and slipped them into her shirt pocket. “It doesn't surprise me that the Catholics are following you now. It's risky to bring you out to us. And I only know how to draw blood one way.
“Gonna have to put that project on hold, huh?” Corinne asked with a bitter smirk.
“Sadly,” Seras sighed. “It shouldn't be too long before they give up. As long as they don't get anything from you. It's not like Sir Integra can just tell them to back off either. That'd be admitting your involvement.”
“I'm screwed then,” Corinne sarcastically beamed. “Awesome.”
“We'll figure something out,” Seras placated.
“Nah, I'll figure something out,” the redhead resolved. “I'm a real-deal witch. I can make things happen, right? So maybe I can make them magically fuck off.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor before her altar the following morning, Corinne scrolled through resources on her phone in search of any kind of keywords that resembled ‘banishing unwanted people for good’.
“Just how powerful do you think you are?” Alucard asked, having welcomed himself to sitting on the foot of her bed while she worked. Some of the witches he’d killed over the decades had very neat, ornate altar setups. Hers was haphazard and resembled something a child would make.
“Hard to say,” Corinne didn’t look up from her screen. At this point, she was used to him just appearing. “I can astral project on command now. So… Maybe pretty decent-ish?”
“You need to clean up your altar.”
Corinne looked over at him with an irritable sneer. “I’ll get to that later, Mom.
Alucard crossed his arms, bemused. “Nothing’s worked for you because there’s no order. If a wrench is jammed into the gears of a machine, the machine doesn’t work.”
Her expression shifted to a look of realization, gray eyes widening. “Ohhhh. Gotcha.”

“How’s this?” Corinne asked, picking an unlit black candle out of a small box of supplies she’d gathered. “Neater? Better? Worse?”
“Better,” the vampire said from behind her.
“Are you gonna watch me work?”
“I want to see the end result,” he said. “Magic doesn’t always work as intended. You need to be clear about what you want. Or else it’ll backfire.”
“Are vampires kinda like witches too?” She asked, gathering the rest of her materials. A lighter, black salt, black pepper, oil infused with banishing herbs, a small piece of jet, and a pottery carving tool she’d picked up from a craft store.
“Witches come from vampires,” Alucard answered. “Your ancestors- somewhere down the line, drank the blood of a true vampire and gained the ability to perform magic.”
She chuckled. “Anyone you know?”
“Possibly someone I’ve killed.”
“Neat,” she said flatly, not exactly hopeful for a family reunion. She arranged the ingredients on her altar and used the black salt to create a circle around herself. She carved ‘THE CATHOLICS WILL LEAVE ME ALONE’ into the side of the black candle with the carving tool. Then dressed it in banishing oil, sprinkled the candle with the pepper, set it into its holder, and lit the wick.  “The Catholics will leave me alone,” she began her chant. “The Catholics will leave me alone, the Catholics will leave me alone...”
Alucard observed her working the spell. She repeated the chant a few more times before she stood up and left the salt circle. She took her shoe box of supplies out of the room with her.

As she entered her kitchen, Alucard had already been seated at her small table, seeming to examine her laptop as she worked.
“What are you doing now?” he asked. “And- you know you’re not supposed to leave a burning candle unattended, right?”
“It’s a chime candle, it won’t last more than half an hour,” she said over her shoulder. “I’m making a witch bottle- as an extra measure. So nobody else shows up lookin’ to ask me about Integra.”
After putting on a pair of latex gloves, Corinne began to place her ingredients into a glass bottle. A piece of obsidian and a piece of clear quartz, dried pine needles, salt, a slice of lime from the fridge, mint, basil, garlic, rosemary, sage, dried chili pepper, black peppercorns, and finally- various sharp objects she’d gathered throughout yesterday's walk with Seras. Sewing needles, rusty nails, a few shards of broken glass, a thumbtack, and trimmings from her own fingernails.
Then she filled the remaining space in the bottle with apple cider vinegar until it was nearly to the top.
“Quite the assortment,” Alucard noted.
“Variety never hurt anybody,” Corinne smiled over her shoulder. “Just one more thing to add...”
Alucard watched, head tilted slightly as he watched her remove her gloves and drop them into the trash. She washed her hands in the kitchen sink, and picked up a separate sewing needle. One she’d excluded from the bottle for the sole purpose of keeping it sterilized.
She pulled a face, body noticeably tensing when she used the needle to puncture the tip of her finger.
She squeezed the pad of her index finger to push blood to the surface, and allowed a single drop to fall into the neck of the glass bottle. Some people used urine, but she thought that was a little extra. So a drop of blood would suffice. A more precious personal touch, in her opinion.
“This must be like porn for you,” she teased, putting her sore finger into her mouth to help stop the bleeding; other hand shoving a cork into the bottle and swirling it to ensure the contents were well incorporated.
“It’s closer to watching someone eating while you're hungry,” his reply made her pause.
“You need it now?” She asked, all humor dropped in an instant. “You’re not gonna...” Her hand went to her neck.
“No. I’m not.” He hunched forward until his elbows rested on his knees, hands neatly folded in front of him as he watched her move on to lighting a second black chime candle. Presumably to seal the cork onto the bottle. “Not unless you’re willing to share.”
“N-No...” She cautiously said. “I’m… My blood’s not like other people’s, so how do I know you won’t drain me like I’m made of Dom Perignon once you've had a taste?”
“I have self control,” the vampire deadpanned.
“I don’t know you that way, Alucard.” She firmly argued. 
They stared at each other.
Corinne’s gaze uncertain of what would happen next. Like he was little more than a vicious animal who would disobey and drink to his heart’s content one night when she was sleeping.
And his gaze reminiscent of of exactly that.
“Fine.”

She was suspicious of his desire to taste her blood. It was on her written list of things she was going to ask Integra about the next time they met.
Which hopefully would be soon. She really wanted to try the blood test and get it over with. Then once she knew everything about her lineage, she could hopefully return to normal, everyday life.
Where she was satisfied with her job, her friendships, could go on dates, and stay nice and deep in the broom closet with her new secret powers… And maybe even use those powers as a nice little added boost of good luck in her endeavors.
Once the witch bottle was finished, she brought it outside of her apartment building and buried it in the dirt beneath the rose bushes.
“I’d like you to leave now,” she told Alucard when she returned to her unit.
“What for?”
“I have a date tonight,” she told him, heading toward her bathroom without so much as looking at him.
He was already in there as well, standing where she’d just come through in the doorway and watching as she combed her hair and removed her stud earrings.
“Do you mind?” She asked indignantly, looking over at him as she shed her ex-husband’s sweatshirt and throwing it over his shoulder into the hallway. “There’s a lady getting undressed in here who would like some privacy.” She dropped her shorts next, not actually caring if he saw her.
And as much as he would’ve liked to further watch, the moment of denial earlier (on top of having to sit by while she gave her time to another man) had annoyed him. So he gave her time alone. It wasn’t his choice who she spent time with.
What was the worst thing that could happen, anyway?

Corinne let slip a breathy, high-pitched moan as Nathan’s lips met her neck.
With him lying on top of her, she was able to raise her hips slightly so he could push her skirt upward. Corinne was lost in the motions, no longer able to think straight with his hands on her. Greedily grabbing at the back of his shirt and pulling him in as close as humanly possible so she could feverishly kiss him until her lips were swollen and numb. Finally gearing up to fuck after months of abstinence.
“You got a condom?” She asked, remembering safety above all else in a time like this. She was drunk, not stupid.
“Isn’t that up to you?” He asked.
Suddenly this became a lot less fun. “Huh?
“It’s up to you, right? It’s your responsibility if you don’t wanna get pregnant?”
My responsibility?” She blinked, pushing him back from her neck with a hand at his chest.
“I mean, I could just pull out...”
Corinne was too buzzed to hold back a rude, mocking laugh. “Get outta here.”
“Huh-”
“No, really, get outta here,” she said, more firmly, still on the verge of laughter.
“You’re fucking with me.”
“I’m really not,” she laughed, shoving him off of herself and sitting up. “Get the fuck outta my apartment.”
After a confused pause, Nathan irritably got out of her bed and picked up his jacket on the way out. “Fucking tease” was the only drunken utterance she could understand when he was on his way out of the bedroom. Moments later, the door of her apartment slammed shut and she was left alone on her bed pulling her skirt back down over her thighs.
Gross.” The notion of nearly screwing someone that stupidly irresponsible made her skin crawl. And she left the bedroom to re-lock her living room door, relieved to see that she was alone.
Alucard would spend the night mocking her and she wouldn’t sleep.
Although with how the night had gone and how pent up she was, she’d rather he did other things with her to keep her from sleeping.
Noooo, Cori. We don’t fuck vampires in this house, she told herself. He’s probably freezing cold and asexual on top of that... I’d have better luck fucking a popsicle… Cocksicle.
She spluttered into laughter at the thought, mid-outfit change and accidentally putting her head through an arm hole of her tank top.
“I need to quit drinking,” she sighed, fighting off more giggles, righting herself, pulling on Ben’s hoodie, and laying in bed. With the lights out, she played a game on her phone until she fell asleep with it in her hand.

Things just always work out the way you want them to, don’t they?
Of course they do. I earn them.
Do you?
Suddenly she was face to face with the black mass of red eyes she’d come to know as Alucard.
“What does it say about you to face evil and not so much as blink?”
“Is that what you want me to do?” She asked.
He had no answer for that.
“I won’t...” She found herself reaching out for him, following the mass down as it sunk near the ground until she was on her knees. It took on his shape.
Also on the ground with her, staring longingly with her hands on either side of his face.
“I put a spell on you.”

And now you’re mine.
He became aware that she’d stabbed her fingers into his body as if he were made of clay; and that she could taste his blood through the gesture.
Suddenly he could taste it too, her lips against his. His hands at her bared hips, now hazily aware that she was naked when he felt the warmth of her skin.

He drew a sharp breath when he opened his eyes, still tasting his own blood. The sharp pain in his lower lip made him realize that he’d bitten himself in his sleep.
… That was new.
Perhaps he had been a little obsessive over her. He realized that when his first instinct was to check in on her to make sure she was home safely from her date.
What he hadn’t expected, was to see her floating over her bed. Limbs and head dangling just above the mattress as if held up by an invisible tether in the center of her chest.
A quiet moan slipped from her mouth- and if he wasn’t paying attention before, he certainly was now.
She moaned again, this time a tiny bit louder with a quick twitch of her whole body. He finally noticed how tense he was watching her just as her hands roamed over her still clothed body.
Had they shared that dream? Though he’d woken up, that would mean that hers had continued into uncharted territory. And was clearly going in a way she liked.
“Please…” She uttered in her sleep, just barely above a whisper. “I'm so...-”

Ecstasy spread through her core in less time it took to blink- and a loud, involuntary outcry woke her up from the fantasy. 
She dropped onto the bed with a yelp, going into fight or flight mode instantly and jumping off of her bed in a panic, pillow pulled to her chest.
What the fuck, Alucard?!” She shouted, ready to argue with the vampire about terrorizing her when she was trying to rest. Certain that he'd been messing with her in her sleep again.
But he wasn't there with her.
What the fuck was all of that?
Different, that’s what the fuck.
3 AM. Again.
The Witching Hour- and apparently now the Wet Dream Hour.

A quick Google search in the morning about floating told her that it was part of how puritans hunted witches. A test of buoyancy in water, usually. Sometimes pushing a woman off of a cliff. Often used in an element of horror films to depict a possessed or powerful woman as a form of toxic femininity, as many witches in movies were depicted. Usually sexualized in some way or another, because they were considered too powerful otherwise. An especially petty form of misogyny, in her opinion. 
"The whole history of witchcraft is interwoven with the fear of female sexuality."  A quote from some movie was included in the article. "They burned us at the stake because they feared the erotic feelings we elicited in them."
Huh...
Corinne's phone rang in the middle of reading the article, and she answered to hear that Molly and Will had gotten engaged. And as tired as Corinne was, she was happy for her friends. And because she'd planned a wedding before, she offered to help work things out for theirs. They'd start as soon as Molly came back to work on Monday.
And once the call ended, Corinne groaned and roll over in bed.
“Alucard.”
“Yes?”
“Can you ask Integra if I can try to come by today?” She felt weird talking to him normally after last night's dream. She drank his blood and they had sex. Though that part was a little blurry. She just remembered how it felt.
But it was just a regular dirty dream, right?

Helloooo!” Seras greeted happily outside the front doors of the mansion, in uniform once more.
“Heeeeey girl,” Corinne smiled at the blonde as she locked her car doors and followed inside. She'd been escorted onto the premises by the soldier again- and could tell that they resented the familiar tone she took with their captain.
But they went ignored as Corinne and Seras walked side-by-side in the corridor toward the library.
“My friends just got engaged yesterday,” she beamed. “I'm gonna help plan the whole wedding. And she asked me to be a bridesmaid.”
“That's wonderful!” Seras smiled, genuinely happy. She and Corinne had quickly come to like each other after their walk. “I'd never gotten to be a bridesmaid. Most of my friends growing up were boys and we lost touch over the years.”
“Hey, question- do vampires get married?”
“I suppose we could, but having a human partner just makes death part you quicker.”
“You have a human--- Integra?” Corinne blinked. “Really? Wow, she's rich and has a much younger girlfriend. Living the dream.”
“She's actually only three years older than me.”
You're in your forties!?

She found it difficult to look away from the needle in her arm. The deep red venous blood filled the connected tube in a single heartbeat and steadily flowed into the plastic vial on the end. Marked with a barcode as well as her name and date of birth. He asked her blood type, but she didn’t know it.
“How many of these do you need?” Corinne asked a little anxiously. It was one thing to draw blood, but another thing entirely to draw blood in front of vampires. Though Seras and Alucard didn't react to it, she still didn't like the thought of looking like an open refrigerator to them.
“Two should do it,” the medic said. An American, like herself. He said he was from Jacksonville, Florida. A former US Navy corpsman gone medical officer for Hellsing. “It's not flowing that fast.”
“I'm a little dehydrated,” she admitted. “I drank last night and I haven't had anything other than coffee since I woke up.”
“Did you know you were getting blood drawn today?”
Noooope.
“If you did, I’d have to give you that Monday morning talk I used to give my shipmates.”

After a second vial was filled to the brim, the medical officer withdrew the needle and had her put pressure on a cotton ball over the wound. He wrapped over it with tape and she was able to put her jacket sleeve back on.
“How long until we see results?” She asked, flexing the fingers of her right arm as if trying to re-stimulate blood flow below the elbow.
“A day, a week,” Integra lit a cigar between her teeth. “It depends on how far back your bloodline carries documentation.”
“... Huh?”
“How far back we can trace your recorded ancestry.”
“Ahhhh,” Corinne nodded. “In the meantime-- can I talk to you?” She motioned to the two vampires. “Without an audience?”

“Who were those priests who were stalking me?” She asked once the two vampires had gone. “They said they were like missionaries. Makube and Heinkel. I don’t even know if those were their real names.”
“They were. To the public, they don't exist,” Integra began. Sitting in a chair across from Corinne. “They belong to a special operations unit, Vatican Section Thirteen. The Papal equivalent of the Hellsing Organization- or so they strive to be. They don't employ vampires into their ranks, yet aren't afraid to genetically alter their own.”
“Is that what the deal is with the one with the jacked up mouth?”
Integra cocked an eyebrow at the question.
“It's like I'm speaking another language... Heinkel.
“Yes,” Integra nodded. “That's what ‘the deal’ is.”
Corinne nodded, thinking on what else she could ask. “Oh- and thanks for having Alucard keep an eye out for me. It's starting to feel less like I have a stalker and more like a guardian.”
Integra’s brow raised slightly at that, and Corinne got the sense that she never gave an order to guard her. “I'm glad to hear that you feel safe.” A knowing smile made Corinne feel a little on the spot.
“I also wanted to know more about witchcraft,” the redheaded continued. “I figured I could learn from books- or I can learn straight from someone who knows everything.”
Integra nodded and stood up. “One moment,” she moved over to the bookshelves and retrieved an old, well-preserved volume that had to be five hundred or so pages long. She sat back in her spot and flipped through the pages before sliding the book across the coffee table between them- over to Corinne.
“Witches have the ability to shape their own realities to suit their desires,” Integra began as Corinne skimmed over the words on the page. “If you've felt lucky that something turned out the way you wanted, if your friendships seem to come and go easily, if your relationships only last for as long as you wanted them-”
“Wait-” Corinne looked up from the page, visibly upset. “So… My relationships only happened because I wanted them to…?”
Suddenly the divorce made sense.
Ben had never meant to love her. It only happened because she wanted it to happen. And as soon as she stopped being infatuated with him, their marriage crumbled like a ton of bricks.
Her friendship with Molly had begun because Corinne was lonely and wanted to stick close to the other new employee in the office.
Her job, her finances- was everything just because she wished for it?
“Corinne?”
Integra's voice pulled her from her thoughts, and she looked at the older woman to see concern in her expression. “Are you all right?”
“I think I should go home.”

Chapter Text

Some people would find solace in knowing their whole life was under their direct control.
Corinne, however, felt that this was a fucking nightmare.
Nothing had been up to chance. Not a single thing. Friendships, relationships, employment, circumstance, and even how she came to know Integra, Seras, and Alucard. It was all by her design- even if she didn’t realize it.
Therefore: none of it was real.
How were you supposed to react when you found out that your entire life was a lie?

Furthermore, how did you go on living it?

“Are you ever going to leave your bed?”
“What’s the point? They won’t fire me- if I don’t want them to.
She’d called in sick that day- with maybe an hour’s notice before the opening of business at her office. Molly texted to make sure she was okay, but she couldn’t even bring herself to answer it. Had she only texted Corinne because she wanted Molly to check in as a good friend would do?
“Fuck, man…” She rolled over on her mattress, turning onto her side and clinging to the pillow behind her with all four limbs and looking across the room at him. “What would you do?”
“Not-” He motioned to her lying in bed. “-this. I'd take advantage.”
“I dunno if you realize, but I've taken advantage of my whole life already without even knowing it.”
“And it's gone well, hasn't it?”
“Does it matter how well it goes if every accomplishment was fabricated?” She sighed. “How do I know I'm not doing it to you or Seras right now? I like Seras. But are we actually becoming friends or is it just because I wanted her to like me? And you-” she stopped herself when she remembered that erotic dream. “You're around me a lot. Is that just because I wanted to figure you out…?”

“Witchcraft isn’t just conjuring something from nothing,” Alucard said, idly tilting a frame on her wall so that it was perfectly straight. “You can only work with what’s already there, even if you don’t realize you’re doing it.”
“... And?”
“Not everything is up to you. Only your own personal decisions like anyone else. Things directly under your control are just that: things directly under your control, magic or none.”
“So-” she sat upright, legs crossed. “I don’t control everything. Just things that aren’t left up to chance. Like- if I buy a lotto ticket, I’m not guaranteed to win just because I want to?”
“That’s right.”
“So what does that mean for you and all the other people I know?” She asked. “You didn’t answer that.”
He turned himself away from her slightly, and she got the sense that he was a little uncomfortable with any kind of vulnerability. “I’ve known about you since I caught you watching me in the basement. Once someone is aware of the possibility of being manipulated, the likelihood goes down.”
“So… Can I get an American English translation of that?”
“If someone knows you’re a witch, your magic probably won't work on them.”
A spark of realization lifted her expression.
So- Integra really wanted to help her. Seras really wanted to be her friend. And… Alucard really chose to look after her.
“So...” She didn’t want to get sappy, so she shifted focus. “Maybe it’s time to come out of the broom closet.”

But first, she wanted to confirm a theory.
“Hello?”
“Hi Gramma,” Corinne greeted. “It’s Cori.”
“Cori,” the older woman sounded happy to talk to her. “It’s been a while, honey-bunny! How’s London?”
“It’s great!” Corinne beamed. “Things’re pretty fun. I mostly just wanted to ask to see how you were doing.”
“That's really sweet of you, Cori. I'm mostly just missing you. I haven't been to the farmer's market since you moved, I miss our trips.”
Corinne really did miss their weekly trips to the farmer's market. They would always go and pick up fresh fruit to bake with. Apple pies, peach cobblers- whatever was in season. They'd have it for dessert every Sunday for their weekly family dinners. “I really miss it too,” she replied sincerely. “I'm glad to hear you're good. I also wanted to ask if Mom ever told you if she had weird dreams before I was born. We were talking about it a few days ago and it kinda struck a chord with me.”
“Dreams? Like what?”
“Like uh- about a man who wasn't my Dad.”
“Yes… She mentioned it when she was younger. She said they stopped when she was pregnant.”
“Yeah, she told me that too,” Corinne confirmed. “She said she thought it was the boogeyman.”
“I remember,” her grandmother said. “She thought he was the boogeyman until she was a teenager. Then I knew she was dreaming about a man. I used to have those dreams too.”
“For real!?” Corinne gasped. “You did? Did you ever see him? Did Mom know?”
“I never told her about it. They stopped eventually around the time I had her. I just didn't think much of it. Dreams aren't really what people think they are.”
“Yeah…” Corinne agreed. “They really aren't.”
“But it's interesting that we both had them. Do you?”

After a few more phone calls throughout the week, Corinne had determined that only the women of her mom's side of the family had strange, prophetic dreams and carried the witch gene. Aunts and cousins and their daughters alike- all of the ones who were alive and old enough to speak had confirmed the odd dreams of ‘Him’. A nameless, faceless man who they never saw in the dream. But they felt his presence. They had all done research on their own, but never came across any answers as to who he could be or why they saw him. And no one ever spoke about Him beyond believing that he was a paranormal entity.
Unfortunately for Corinne, she was the only one who had become so obsessed with Him that it affected her previous marriage.
And furthermore- she was the only one still having them. Everyone else's had stopped a few months ago.
Around the time Corinne had moved to London.

“Count Chocula?” She called from where she was lying on her couch. Notepad in hand with bullet points of information she'd gained.
She turned her head toward her table and saw that Alucard had appeared there, sitting with his hands folded in his lap.
“Can't you ever call me by name?” He asked with a sigh. His clothes were different. No longer a callback to the Victorian era, but modernized. All black, of course. With a red jacket. She wondered if that was by choice or if he did it to blend in with the rest of the world.
… Regardless, goddamnit, he looked good.
“Don't count on it,” Corinne shifted her position so that she could lay down and face toward him. “I wanted to ask you- are you fucking with me in my dreams again?”

What she meant was ‘are you influencing my dreams so that you can scare or manipulate me?’ He knew that.
But the way she asked was also technically true. “I've left you to sleep in peace since I caught you astral projecting in your own apartment.”
Since the night of their shared fantasy, he had sexual visions about her twice more. Each one involving her drawing blood from him some way or another. All violent. All arousing. All leaving him feeling unfulfilled thanks to the intangibility.
He wasn't sure if she had been aware of any of it. She didn't mention a word about it.

“I asked around,” Corinne replied. “The women in my family all had dreams about a man they couldn't see or recognize.” She got up from the couch and moved over to sit at the table with him. The soft patter of the rain outside was the only sound other than the two of them.
“And I have them too. It's been a little while, but…” Corinne felt her face go warm with color. “I can't describe it well. It's all foggy. But- that man was what caused me to fall out of love with my husband. Because I became obsessed with Him. And because I stopped wanting Ben so strongly, he stopped wanting me. Y'know- because witchcraft.”
She sighed, hunching over against the table. Eyes down on the surface so she wouldn't have to look at the vampire. “And since I met you, things keep getting weirder and shit’s falling into place. Everything but this: the thing that triggered the whole chain of events that brought me here… Is it you? Did you bring me here?”

Alucard was admittedly taken aback by the question. Being indirectly asked ‘are you the man of my dreams?’ wasn't something he thought would happen over the last 600+ years. Certainly not under these circumstances.
“I don't know.” He answered truthfully. “I can see where you make the connection. But I won't know for certain unless you give me a taste of your blood.”
“No.”
The rejection stung a little. Again. Especially now that they were comrades.
“That's not going to change,” Corinne said. Looking a little upset by the idea. “As much as I want to know everything… I'm not comfortable with that. Can you just-- pass this information on to Integra for me? Please?”
“I will. And- I'm not asking for permission to taste you,” he replied- clearly more gently than she had expected. “I'm only saying: this is how I know people. Blood tells all. It's something I can offer you. If you change your mind.”

If you change your mind.
The look on his face had been sincere and downtrodden when he extended his offer and she denied him. She thought about it for days.
It was awkward just to face each other the first few times they'd woken up from the visions, but now it was an unspoken question of whether it was something the other knew about. A game.
Alucard wasn't exactly the most welcoming individual to even attempt to try anything with… So fantasizing became the next step instead.
In a daze every day at work since then, Corinne had tried to immerse herself in writing as the hours ticked on.
Headphones in, she only responded to Molly or Helene addressing her as she typed away on the seemingly never-ending Zeppelin project. Their crowdfunding had reached a few hundred thousand pounds by then. And now Corinne was emailing a representative from a charity organization about the donation. They would hopefully be able to schedule some press time to get interviews from survivors, from volunteers who were helping distribute food and household goods, and maybe get a picture of Corinne and Molly in somehow with a big ‘THANK YOU!’ sign for their contributors.
As far as Molly West knew, none of the mysteries of the Zeppelin Incident were really uncovered. But Corinne knew just about everything now thanks to the Hellsing Organization.
If you change your mind.
The way Alucard had looked at her was frustrating. She hated how it made her feel inside. It reminded her of how Ben looked at her when they said their first ‘I love you’. And how he looked when they said their first ‘I think we should talk about the possibility of a divorce’.
Pained and… Longing…
“Cori?”
She looked up from her screen to see Molly peering over her own monitor with a look of concern on her face.
“Are you okay? You've had a thousand meter stare all day.”
“I'm good,” Corinne automatically replied as she pulled her headphones out of her ears. “Just sleepy. ‘Sup?”
“I just wanted to ask if you could peer review this piece for me,” Molly moved from her Word document to her Chrome tab next to show a bridal website. “And if you think this dress looks good for the bridesmaids.”
Corinne wheeled herself to Molly's side of their adjoined desks. “Yeah, they look great.”
Molly frowned, looking at the redhead with concerned scrutiny.  “You've been really distant this week... Is everything okay?’
“Yeah, just… I gotta tell you something.” She was probably going to sound crazy. “It's gonna sound stupid, but I got into witchcraft lately.”
“Okay?”
“And I've been noticing that the things I do are so effective that they actually come true. Sometimes without me even doing anything. And it got me wondering- and bear with me here- if we became friends just because I felt lonely when I got here. If-- maybe my need for company swayed you into it.”
Molly gave her a simpering smile. “We're friends because you're nice. And you're fun, and I like to work with you and hang out with you. No amount of magic can make a relationship genuine.” She playfully nudged Corinne's side. “And you're easily one of my best friends. Feel better?”
Corinne smiled. She felt foolish for asking the way she did but at least now she felt reassured. “Much better.”
"So stuff comes true, huh?"
"The only thing that hasn't is that I haven't gotten laid."

Tongues together in a heated, feverish kiss. Entangled in each other's arms. He didn't even have to be inside for her for very long for her to feel like she was coming undone at the seams.
This was the fifth time. It may as well have been the thousandth with how familiar it had become in such a short time.
“You can relax.” He told her, already hoarse as she leaned over him for another rough kiss. “Take it slow.”
“I don't wanna relax,” she breathed, in a mutual high that sparked with each movement she made. “I want you to tear me apart.”

Corinne woke with a sharp gasp, just shy of climax in her dream. Unsatisfied after all that buildup.
“Mother. Fucker!” She hissed, tossing herself over onto her back and glaring up at the ceiling. This was what, like the fifth time in two weeks she'd dreamed of fucking him? This was getting ridiculous! Even worse because she woke up too early every time!
God, she needed him. She physically ached inside for him…
Repressed, to say the least. Deprived of release. It'd been so long.
Hell, she hadn’t even touched herself since Alucard came into her life. Moments of privacy were few and far in between.
“Yo, Bela Lugosi- you here?” She asked her dark bedroom.
When there wasn't any answer, Corinne shoved her hand down her shorts. Urgently, and desperate for relief while the visuals and sensations of her dreams were still fresh on her mind. She had already been so close- this would only take a minute or so.
“Fuuuuck...” The word quietly slipped out on reflex, in addition to a twitch of her thighs, to a stroke of her fingertips against her neglected clit. She’d dreamed of him doing it to her a few times now, so it was easy to imagine his hands on her. His lips against her inner thigh. The underlying suspicion of whether or not he would bite her. He never did, but some masochistic part of her had wished that he could without consequence. At least without breaking the skin, maybe...
A stroke of her fingers brought back a memory of what she thought his tongue would feel like. Just kissing him had been out-fucking-standing, what would he do if he was between her legs?
“A-Al-” she pinched her lips between her teeth to keep herself from saying his name and accidentally summoning him from wherever he was. God, what would happen if he caught her?
Her entire body stiffened as she reached her peak. This time uninhibited, uninterrupted as she pushed herself over the edge. She hadn’t realized that she’d been holding her breath until she let slip a high-pitched whine.
She came down from the high with a deep breath to try to calm her pounding heart. She could practically hear her own blood rushing through her veins.
She wondered if He could too. From wherever he was tonight.
I need him here.

It’d been well over a century since the last time he’d given in to such human needs. Not since before Abraham Van Hellsing hunted him in the late 1800’s. Since then, he’d been kept as Hellsing’s dog. Isolated to the sub-basement and wherever his current master would order him to be. No more than an un-living, breathing weapon.
In that time, he had forgotten that he was still a man deep inside.
The fresh memory of Corinne Smith's warm body against his had triggered the memory of what physical intimacy felt like. The taste of her. The way she smelled. The sounds she made with each little teasing movement they'd indulge each other with.
How she begged him to be merciless and ruin her.
A final stroke, and the image of them together had set him off. His other hand gripped the arm of his ‘throne’ so hard that the wood splintered and broke.
And for once, he felt himself go slack, body settling back into comfort as he came down from climax.
He stared down at the mess he'd made. Both ashamed and unashamed of himself for the moment of weakness. After so long, it felt good. An old-but-new hunger rising to the surface with each passing day he watched her.
Needing.
“What are you doing to me…?” He wondered aloud.
I put a spell on you, he remembered her saying in their first shared dream.
And now you're mine.

“It's been almost a month,” Corinne sighed, following Seras through the corridors of the mansion.
“It has,” Seras agreed. “Sorry it took so long to reach out to you. We had no idea how detailed the results would end up.”
“So they're really that in-depth? Wow.”
“Mhm,” Seras hummed. “Thanks to the additional information from the commercial test, they at least knew where to look and we traced it as far back as possible.”
“Must be detailed then.”
“To say the least!” Seras nodded. “But Sir Integra won't let me look at it until she briefs you on it. She won't let Master Alucard see it either.”

Jesus, you weren't kidding about detail,” Corinne glanced back at Seras when Integra slammed a two inch thick binder onto the top of her desk. “So like- is this everything or is there more hidden somewhere?”
“This is all of it,” Integra replied, opening the first page that had been bookmarked with a neon pink sticky note. “Here is the first few generations. You, your mother, your grandmother and her mother. Simple enough with blood testing and the information you've given us.”
“Right, Corinne nodded, scooting her chair closer to the desk to look closer at the small text on every page.
She spotted Alucard appearing beside Seras out of the corner of her eye, but wouldn't look at him.
They had a hard time meeting each other's gaze- stubbornly unwilling to acknowledge that they'd fantasized about one another while awake. More than once now.
“As far back as our forensics team could trace, your ancestors had gone back and forth from London to America. Twice,” Integra continued. “And strangely, your earliest recorded ancestor was a woman named Abigail Williams.”
“Why do I know that name…?” Corinne frowned. It sounded so familiar- like she'd heard it once or twice a long time ago.
“Many people do,” Integra stated, removing a book out of her desk and setting it beside the binder. The Crucible. Corinne had to read it in high school as part of the curriculum. “Abigail Williams was the first to be accused as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts.”
“Sweet, spicy baby Jesus…” Corinne gaped as she picked up the book and flipped through the pages in astonishment. “So she's the first witch in the family? Goddamn. But what vampire did she drink blood from? Do we know?”
Integra shook her head, and Corinne saw her steal a quick glance at Alucard. “We don't. Because Abigail wasn't truly a witch. None of the accused in Salem were. The witch gene didn't appear in your bloodline until two centuries after she returned to England- in the late 1800’s.”
Corinne looked over at Alucard when she saw his head turn to Integra upon hearing the statement.
“The next generation of your family to immigrate to America was in 1920. Your great-great-great grandfather Quincey Harker. The son of Jonathan and Mina Harker.”

Chapter Text

If Alucard ever felt like a fool- it was right now.
Wilhelmina Murray.
The only person, living or dead, who ever drank his blood.
And Corinne was her descendant. Her bloodline so watered down by the generations of human genetics that he couldn't even distinguish his stain on it.
“Johnathan and Mina Harker?” Corinne frowned, unaware of the sudden tension in the room. “I don't know who the fuck that is.
Integra reached into her desk for another book, which she set on top of Miller’s The Crucible.
Bram Stoker's Dracula.
His master must have been loving this. Revenge for the times he had put her on the spot or made her feel uncomfortable in the past.
Dracula?” Corinne asked, incredulous. “Wait, he’s a real guy? My however-many-times-great grandma drank blood from Count fucking Dracula!?
“That’s correct.” Integra gave a smug look. “Anything to say for yourself, Count?”
Corinne looked between Integra and Alucard, then her jaw dropped when she finally connected the pieces. “That’s him!?
“You just figured that out?” Seras deadpanned. “It's his name backwards.
Corinne turned to the blonde vampire, mortified. “Do I seem smart to you!?

Evidently he was the man in her dreams who made her lose focus on her marriage. Who all of the women in her family had dreamt of and loved and feared.
Who made her, and all of the other women in her family, witches; and therefore the unwitting puppet masters of their own lives. The King of Vampires-- did that make her the Queen of Witches by default? (Or ‘The Supreme’ by American Horror Story standards?)
On top of that, the sex dreams were only ramping up still. And Corinne finally figured out that the dreams were mutual when she and Alucard stopped being able to even look each other in the face several days after the meeting where everything was answered.
Even with the revelation, they refused to speak about it- and something about that was starting to piss her off.
After a few days more of avoiding eye contact, they stopped speaking entirely. And eventually, he stopped appearing.

Seven generations of witches. Seven generations since the events of what the world believed was a work of fiction, and like five generations before that was a real piece of American horror-history.
… She really wanted to tell someone.
Anyone. Mom, Molly, Gramma, Dad, Ben- anyone she trusted would do.
Instead, here she was, trying to act like all was normal in a bridal shop while Molly tried on dresses. Wondering if she could get Integra’s permission to just share a little.
“Y'know, you don't have to have a dress ready this early.” Corinne sipped at the glass of champagne the fitting lady had given her. Molly's mom and sister weren’t able to come, so it was just the two of them.
“Is it?” Molly asked. “I feel like the most important pieces need to go first.” She turned in front of the mirror and tugged at the bodice of a beautiful ivory dress. “And this seems like one of the biggest things…”
“The biggest things are the venue, food, drinks, and whatever,” Corinne said. She flashed back to picking out her own wedding dress. She had been so excited. “The dress is important, but you're gonna change size a couple of times before you get to the point of wearing it. That's why people scramble to lose weight. For now- just find a fit you like. Keep it in mind, catalogue it away for later.”
Molly eyed herself in the mirror, humming a sound of disappointment with her lips in a tight line. She hated the idea of saying goodbye to this specific dress. But Corinne had planned a wedding before. She knew what she was doing. “I’m going to trust you on this.”
“I won’t let you down.”

Corinne found herself checking her phone multiple times- not that she was expecting a call. She just felt weird about not seeing or even just sensing Alucard. He became a part of her every day life so quickly.
“Are you okay?” Molly's question pulled her from staring at her screen. They'd left the bridal shop over an hour ago and were now breaking for lunch. A cute little French-owned bakery Molly loved.
“Yeah,” Corinne dropped her phone into her pocket. “I'm just zoning out a little- sorry.”
“Waiting on a call?” Molly asked- then added with an excited gasp: “From a date?
More like waiting for an indication that he wasn't too far away. She felt a little lonely without Alucard's reminders that she was being watched over. “I guess.”
“What are they like?” Molly beamed. “Got any pictures?”
“Nope.” She wondered if he could even be photographed. He had a reflection- but Corinne had remembered seeing something online about how mirrors weren't backed with silver anymore or something like that. “He's really private.”
“What's his name?”
“... Al.” Jesus fuckin’ Christ, Corinne. “We kinda-- things got weird between us a few days ago, so we're not really talking right now.”
“Awww,” Molly frowned. “What happened?”
“Hard to explain. But it got weird and now- it feels weirder to not talk to him. We've been seeing each other every day for like a month.”
“How come you never mentioned him?”
Corinne shrugged. “I dunno how serious I am about him?”
“Serious enough to want to talk to him every day.”
Corinne shrugged. “I guess.”
“Sooo.... Is he good in bed?”
Corinne pulled a face. “We haven’t had sex.” Not true or untrue either way.
“You're blushing!”
“No I'm not! It's warm in here!”

Alucard hadn't left the mansion in a few days. Now wondering if she even wanted to see him again now that the mystery was solved and he was outed as the King of Vampires.
So he sat in his chair- one of the few items that belonged to him- and thought on how it all connected.
Mina.
How could he have assumed she wouldn't marry and have children with Johnathan Harker? Maybe he just didn't want to think about that back then.
Over a century of being owned by Hellsing had made him shift focus onto being a weapon. A monster barely even able to hold the shape of a man. Let alone maintain a human man's ability to feel.
Yet the memory of Mina brought a familiar, nostalgic warmth in his chest. And then it was replaced with a cold, sharp tightness when the memories slipped into Abraham Van Hellsing stabbing him there with a wooden stake.
“She will never be yours, Count.”
Adding insult to injury. And they both had been pure, equal agony in that moment.
He drank her blood, and then she drank his. But she never became a true vampire because it wasn't of her own free will. He had coerced her- and he realized it when Abraham had bested him. He still regretted that to this day.
And because the late Sir Hellsing hadn't killed him, Mina was never truly freed from him. Her DNA had changed, and it carried through the generations of women who didn’t know they were witches. Who dreamed of him and either feared him or longed for him, all of the way down to Corinne. Who was so obsessed with him, without ever even seeing him, that it caused the end of her marriage.
They were linked psychically by his blood. And she came to London and found him because she'd been instinctually drawn toward him as he spent her entire lifetime (and then some) regenerating in the Hellsing Organization’s underbelly. Her power had been amplified by his presence. So much so that she could see his memories when they were in close proximity.
She had no concept of how powerful she, alone, could become.
And because there were no other witches of Alucard’s brood, the Hellsing Organization didn’t even have a frame of reference for how powerful she could be.
Who knew what she was capable of?
And as harmless as she seemed, to leave her wandering free among humans was-
“Master?”
He'd been so lost in thoughts and memories that he hadn't noticed Seras entering his chambers. What was going on with him to make him so unfocused? Did her magic work on him after all…?
“What is it, Police Girl?” The old nickname made Seras grimace. Alucard respected her as a fellow true undead, but she would always be the plucky, naive Police Girl he'd taken a shine to thirty years ago.
“I wanted to check in with you,” Seras replied. “We haven't seen much of you and I know you’ve just been down here all alone- is everything alright?”
Had he spent so much time with the witch that it seemed strange to be away?
“Everything's fine.” He answered flatly, eyes back down to the floor where they'd been before she came.
“Master…” Seras sighed. “You’ve never lied to me before. So it's easy for me to see that you are now.”
He raised his gaze to her again, this time irate that she had called him out on the denial. She could've just left it alone.
“Everything's fine, Seras.” He insisted.

I think he misses his girlfriend, Pip snickered. A thirty year dry spell will do that to you- ow!
Seras pinched her left forearm to tell him to stop teasing.
“I'll be visiting Corinne tomorrow night,” the blonde added. “I can tell her you said hello.”
She left her master's space without another word- only frustration. Stubborn old man!
What's the matter, ma cher? Do you really want to play matchmaker that badly?
“It’s not ‘playing matchmaker’ if there’s already something there. And it's so obvious there's something there,” Seras told her beloved familiar as she headed toward the ground level.
And you want it to happen.
“Well…” She sighed. “Things have been different since he came back. He seems more-- I don't know. Lively.” And it wasn't until she saw Alucard looking at Corinne until she could see why.
He'd spent so long existing as a weapon that he'd forgotten how to be a person. And it was like he was trying to learn it all again.
“It’s just nice like this.” And Corinne, even knowing who and what he was, never looked at him like he was a monster. Seras wondered if Integra noticed it too. “I want it to stay this way.”

At home, Corinne had taken to going to bed early solely for the purpose of astral projecting or having dirty dreams. Although for the last week or so, all of her astral projection abilities had been used for fun. Traveling in the blink of an eye to various parts of the world to see the sights. The Louvre in Paris, the inside of Buckingham Palace, visiting her family in San Diego while they went about their day unaware of her presence. It had been very pleasant, and she always woke up feeling happy knowing all was well in her family’s lives.
But tonight, she was involuntarily brought to Hellsing Manor. Just like the first time.
Her power had the tendency of having her do things she subconsciously wanted. Hence the sex dreams with the hot vampire man. No preamble, no decisions leading up to it, not even any foreplay. She just fell asleep and became conscious right in the middle of the fuckin’. She wondered if he did too.
Sure, they couldn’t talk about it or even look at each other but they could at least keep banging it out in their sleep.
Guess I’ll visit. I’m already here.
It was late. Not like Integra was up to talk details anyway… Was Seras?
Who knew?
One thing was for sure. Alucard was likely to be awake. Maybe he’d be DTF tonight if she asked.
In the blink of an eye, she was in the sub-basement at his door. No longer bound shut. Not that it probably did much to keep him in anyway.
The door responded to her touch and swung open. Another thing she’d learned. She could move objects in her astral state if she wanted. Like a poltergeist.
Deeper inside of the sub-basement, Corinne couldn’t find Alucard in the darkness. She didn’t quite want to flip the lights on. Too bright, bordering on clinical. So she wandered in further until she found the throne. Empty. So she moved on to the coffin.
Was he asleep? Did he need to sleep or was it an option for him?
Corinne knelt beside the heavy black box, feeling the chill of the stone floor under her knees. Her fingertips grazed the smooth surface of the coffin and she traced out the script.
‘The Bird of Hermes is my name. Eating my wings to make me tame.’
“What am I even fuckin’ doing?” she asked aloud. "Did you bring me here too?"
The top of the coffin cracked open and slid to the side. Corinne jumped, falling back onto her rear. She wasn't sure what she'd expected, but the same black mass of eyes flowed from inside of the coffin and formed a circle around her.
Alucard, as he had appeared to her the first time she’d ever seen him.
"Alucard..." She softly greeted, moving back toward the edge of the box. "Let me see you."
The circle closed in on her until she had no room left to move. Alucard had been dreaming on his own before this. Unwitting fantasies her being naked with him, kissing him, loving him.
He could recognize that this wasn't the real Corinne, but another illusion. But as far as he knew, he was still asleep. It at least felt like he was with how fresh the imagery was. The visions were always like this anyway. She would just appear in the dungeon with him just like this.
The darkness enveloped Corinne in seconds. Neither cold nor warm, but she couldn't see a single thing but him. The formless entity worked itself under her clothes in a strangely gentle caress. Everywhere at once- something that felt impossible, and so good.
Corinne sunk toward the ground until she was sitting, propped against the side of the coffin. The only angular surface she could find that wasn't the floor.
"What are you doing…?" She asked; then gasped, legs reflexively closing when she felt the black mass venture inside of her. But she could feel him push her thighs apart, soon losing reach of the coffin and the floor. Lifted up, maybe? The shared visions were never like this. Every other time he’d maintained his human shape. This was the first time she’d up close and personal with this form.
"Fuck…" She breathed. Entire body singing with each second he touched her. Each passing second of him fucking her. She couldn't even see it happening, just feel the sensations. Eyes on all sides watching. This was too weird. Why did it feel so fucking good?
"Is this what you want?"
"Yes…" She whimpered, trying to reach out in the blackness to find his human shape somewhere in it; but could not. "No… I wanna see you. I want you." She was so close to the edge already.
He gave no rebuttal to the request.
He knew every move right on the dot. Combined with how the dark mass had encapsulated her in full-body stimulation, it was all so overwhelming. She felt like she was going to burst.
The feelings heightened and heightened in such a short span of seconds that she thought she'd pass out if she wasn’t already out cold in her bedroom.

Corinne woke with a start, sitting upright in her bed. The orgasm had been cut short by regaining consciousness. Ruined. Again.
She thought she would pass out from the intense pleasure. Instead she woke up. “Fucking bullshit!” She groaned, wishing she could flip a switch and fall back asleep to resume the act.
She sighed, having to catch her breath. Heart pounding in her chest. Feeling uncomfortably hot and tense with un-release. That wasn't like anything she'd ever felt before.
"God-" She hissed, hand over her heart to try to calm it. But it wouldn't yield. She couldn't even think straight. She wanted more and she wanted it now. "-damnit… Alucard."
She could make out his silhouette in the dark corner of her room the moment she'd summoned him.
They knowingly stared each other down. Corinne got out of her bed and stepped over to him.
He towered over her. Dark, ominous, and unmoving. With her eyes adjusted to the absence of light, she could make out most of his features- including the microexpression of his pupils dilating and jaw clenching when she was in arm's reach.
Did he know that moments ago wasn't him dreaming? That he had acted on a very human impulse with her?
She came even closer, hands finding the front of his overcoat and pulling him toward her bed. The mattress sunk slightly when they rested their weight on it, laying her back in the center. Hovering between her thighs, hands planted firmly on either side of her. She stared up at him, eyes strained in the blackness to see his face. Only able to make out the half that was closest to the window. His red eyes seemed to glow in the blackness.
He was so beautiful. She wished she could see more of him.
“Kiss me,” she breathlessly ordered, propping herself up to clumsily press her lips to his in a needful kiss. He was warm to the touch- not cold and corpse-y like she’d assumed. She never felt that in the shared visions.
He seemed to hesitate, but reciprocated the kiss. Going as far as to move closer to her, bodies meeting on the mattress. Corinne’s hips ground against his. A shameless display of what she wanted of him.
He was happy to oblige, doing the same. Getting hard from the touch.
Corinne felt lost in the movement, lightheaded in her still sleep-intoxicated state. Already aching to have him inside.
Her tongue probed past his lips, gliding over pointed teeth. His own tongue rubbed against hers, overtaking the kiss until she submitted to him.
She retaliated with a teasing bite of his lower lip, pushing his long red coat off of his shoulders until he helped it off. They broke apart for a short moment so she could pull off her hoodie and throw it across the room. Corinne feverishly worked at taking off the vampire's clothes- and she wondered if he even had form under it all. Like his clothes had been part of his body. But she found his bare chest after layers and layers. He even cringed a little when she touched the skin. Not used to this at all.
She smiled against his lips and let slip a muffled giggle. They broke apart once more so she could get out of her T-shirt.
Alucard didn't waste a moment. More than eager to touch her bare skin as well. Soft and warm to the touch. But he froze up when he noticed her working to get his pants off. He'd never been with anyone who showed such unabashed enthusiasm. It was actually exciting.
The last of their clothes were off within seconds, and Corinne impatiently pushed him onto his back to mount him. That had actually stunned him for a blank second.
"You certainly aren't afraid to take what you want," he noted.
"Uh-huh," Corinne blankly agreed, just before sinking herself onto his cock.
Alucard sharply exhaled, tightly gripping the sheets at his sides. Like he didn't know what to do with his hands.
Corinne began slow movements to get him acclimated- and to really feel him inside. Literally fucking Dracula after a half-year-long dry spell was something to be savored. Not like anyone else could say the same, right?
Plus: fuck, it felt so good! Just like minutes ago when she'd projected to the basement, only better. More real, more intimate and personal.
Alucard had gritted his teeth, trying his hardest to maintain composure and not ravage her. She was moving faster. Tirelessly impaling herself on him. She even went as far as to take his hands from the sheets and place them on her body. She knew exactly what she wanted, and he wouldn't hesitate to give it to her if it meant he could enjoy it too.
"Not one to take it slow?" He asked breathlessly. The last time he was even active, sex wasn't so… fast paced. This was throwing him for a loop- but he couldn't deny that it felt too good to want to stop. The slick heat of her pussy was foreign and overwhelming. He never wanted it to leave.
Corinne shook her head, not so much as slowing her pace even a little bit. Each stroke was so fucking perfect; right on the dot. "I don't wanna go slow, I want you to tear me apart."
The utterance of the familiar demand was too much for him to hold still anymore. With a sudden jerking movement that made Corinne yelp in surprise as she fell onto her back, Alucard had shifted positions. Lying between her thighs, he plunged his cock deeper inside of her than before. Corinne let out a brazen moan. Louder than intended- simply unable to help it.
Alucard decided that he'd liked the sound and proceeded to give her another hard thrust. He liked the result. Corinne's insides clenched around him in ecstasy; and he maintained the slow, rough pace just to keep feeling that. To keep hearing her voice raise with each time he buried himself into her faster and faster. Ravenously fucking her until she couldn't hold any of it back. Watching her go tense as she neared orgasm.
"Come for me," he ordered in a low growl.
"Together," she choked the word out, not even able to think straight by then. Lost in the rush of finally having him between her legs, making her feel like this. "Please!"
Alucard pushed her legs up and apart to fuck her even deeper. It threatened to hurt when he hit her cervix- but she was so close to the end that it felt nothing short of gratifying.
"I-I’m coming," she whimpered in an unwittingly high-pitched tone, grabbing fistfuls of the sheets at her sides and holding tightly like he was going to fuck her right off of the bed. "I'mcomingI'mcomingI--" the words were lost with a guttural moan as Corinne reached the edge. Her form stiffened under Alucard as he mercilessly fucked into her. Not slowing, not stopping, practically beastlike in how immersed he'd become in the act of sex. He just kept expertly stroking the exact perfect spot. He was so hot inside her that she felt like she could melt for him. She couldn't come down from the high even if she wanted to, legs twitching where they laid over his shoulders. "C-Come inside," she involuntarily uttered the words in her plateaued state of ecstasy. Fuck whatever consequence came of it afterward, she wanted this. She needed this. "I want you to come inside me...!"
The vampire obeyed as if she were his master, ramming into her as hard as her smaller, human frame could take. Then with one final rough thrust, he stayed buried inside as deep as he could and reached his climax with a feral, inhuman growl.
His cock was so deep inside that Corinne could feel each and every telltale throb of him spilling into her.
They stayed absolutely still for a few seconds, winded and trying to catch their breath. Staring at each other in disbelief. Like they couldn't believe they hadn't done this much sooner.
Suddenly his body closed the space between them and he laid on top of her and their lips crashed together. Passionately entangled in each other's arms as they kissed again and again, Corinne's legs wrapped around his hips.
Unwilling to let go.

Chapter Text

The following evening, the three women in Corinne's living room just couldn't stop laughing. Two out of three of them drunk. Three out of four invited came.
Corinne, Molly, and Seras all sat in different spots around the room while they watched a marathon of standup routines by various comedians. Molly was very drunk, and Corinne wasn't too far behind. Seras, however, didn't have anything to eat and had to pretend to drink so keep Molly from asking questions. Corinne had extended an invitation to Integra for their girls' night, but the older woman declined. Not that she didn't want to relax in good company, she just wasn't a sit-around-and-drink cheap wine kind of person. This was too low-brow for her tastes. 
"Oh- pause it!" Molly said. "I have to use the bathroom."
"Again!?" Corinne teased. "It's been like three minutes!"
"Oh fuck off!" Molly jokingly called as she disappeared in the hallway toward the bathroom.
Seras came down from a fit of giggles, pouring a fair amount of her wineglass into Corinne's, just to maintain the illusion of drinking. "I never really got to do anything like this when I was human. It's nice to do something simple and relaxing for fun." She came in casual clothing, which also wasn't something she did very often. 
"I'm glad you're having a good time," Corinne took a long drink from her glass now that Seras had filled it up again. "I know it's a little middle-class for Integra but she's welcome to join if she feels like slumming it with us next time. We'll go somewhere."
Seras took the lull that followed as a chance to bring up what she wanted to talk about. "... You know, Alucard's been taking up some of her free time since he came back… When he's not with you, that is."
Corinne's face felt warm with flattery, and she turned to try to hide it with another drink. "He hasn't come around that much." At least not since the last time they were all together in a room. Except for last night. Which made her wish he would show up again tonight. They opened the floodgates so they might as well go with the flow and screw like rabbits just for fun.
"He's mostly been sitting around brooding. Just like he used to."
Corinne gave a simpering grin at the thought. "Tell him to quit being such a drama queen. So my seven-times-great-grandma was his girlfriend, that's in the past."
Seras smirked playfully.  "And now you're-"
"Nope." Corinne took another gulp of wine. Not bothering to filter herself. "I have no expectations for our ‘relationship’ to go any further than it is now. I’m just living for me, y’know?"

After Will picked Molly up and Seras… did whatever vampires did to commute, Corinne was finally alone and working on sobering up. Laying stretched out on her couch, phone in both hands streaming a movie-- even though the TV was less than six feet from her and also powered on. 
The thought occurred that she could have 'company' over instead of wasting a perfectly good buzz on not having sex.
Corinne chuckled to herself at the thought, turning onto her side in a dramatic pose. "Ohhh no, I'm home all alone on this dark, spooky night," she said, struggling to hold in immature, drunken giggles at herself. "I hope a vampire doesn't come in and have his way with meeee-" she broke into a fit of laughter, sensing Alucard's presence in the room with her. And she sat upright to find him standing over her from behind the couch. "I'm sorry! I can't, it sounds like the opening of some really bad porn!"
"You must have had fun."
"It was nice!" Corinne beamed, deciding not to share that Seras might have known about them. "I was hoping Integra would've come too but there's always next time."
Though Corinne's style was too casual for Integra, Alucard did enjoy the idea of it. Corinne seemed to consider his master as a trusted friend. And Integra never had anything negative to say about the American. Alucard had goaded Integra about going so soft over the years that she befriended strangers who wandered onto her estate. That got her to throw a paperweight at him.
Corinne shifted onto her knees, reaching to pull Alucard closer to kiss him. He bent forward slightly to allow it. Still not used to this. But he did like it. 
Corinne pulled back to yawn. "I know I invited you to hook up but, like…" She glanced at her phone to see that it was well after midnight. And she definitely hadn't gotten a full eight hours the night before with him over. "I'm so fuckin' tired, I'd fall asleep on top of you."
The vampire fought back a thin smile at the thought. "I'll leave you to rest."
"You could stay…" Corinne offered, trying to sound casual- but her hand on top of his wasn't exactly subtle. He hadn't stayed the night last night. She thought it might be nice. "If you want."
"Is that what you want?" He smirked. 
"It's part of it," Corinne winked back at him. "C'mon…" She added softly, moving her hand up his arm and to his shoulder. "It's kinda cold out tonight. You can keep me warm."

Corinne had no qualms about undressing in front of him now. As she took off most of what she wore to put on the baggy sweatshirt she wore to bed, she glanced over at Alucard, who sat on the edge of her bed. 
"Do you sleep fully dressed?" She inquired, pulling on a pair of shorts. 
"Usually," he answered. He hadn't slept in a bed in… He couldn't even remember. It had to have been sometime between being a child prisoner and waging war against the Turks. 
Always the chair, or the coffin.
"You can get comfortable," Corinne reminded, climbing into her bed to sleep on the side closest to the window. She bent over the edge of her bed to plug her phone onto the charger. "I'm not your master, you don't need to wait for orders to do things here. Unless you wanna call me Master 'cause it sounds kinda dirty… No. No, actually, don't. It's not that sexy. I dunno, what do you think-"
Her rambling stopped when she looked back to him. He'd changed form again- similar to the modernized look she'd seen before. He kept his hair swept to the side (which she definitely felt was a good look for him), but he'd abandoned the red leather jacket. Still in jeans.
"Not gonna get more comfortable than that?"
"Not necessary," he insisted, settling into her bed. Albeit on top of the blankets.
Corinne smirked and turned herself toward him on the mattress and stole another kiss, not intending to move back anytime soon. In fact, as soon as she felt Alucard reciprocating, she moved to straddle him. Her hands cupping his face, fingers buried in his lush black waves. 
"Are you suuuure?" She asked playfully. "Because I think I ca-" a hiccup interrupted her flirting, and she felt her face redden with embarrassment. 
Alucard smirked up at her. "I think you'd better rest instead. There's always tomorrow."
Corinne sighed, fighting back another hiccup. "If I have to." She replaced herself at his side again. After she'd settled in, he shifted into laying with her, arm over her middle.
It had been so long that she'd slept next to another body that she'd forgotten how quickly it got too warm. So she sat up for a brief moment and shed out of Ben's hoodie. 
Much better than before.
One less layer between them. 
She probably wouldn't need to wear it to bed anymore.

Just because Corinne had needed to sleep didn't mean that Alucard did. He never truly needed rest. It was strictly voluntary. And since finding her in the void of his slumber, he'd decided to sleep more often. 
Always together in some way or another, he'd noted. 
With all of the evidence on the table, Alucard had recently begun to wonder: if Corinne had been able to see his memories, would she be able to recover Mina's? Was she Mina and didn't know it?
Regardless, being with her here and now felt like the equivalent of defeating his old foe. 
Just watching Corinne sleep felt like victory. The soft outline of her body against his. Her rhythmic, peaceful breathing. 
He brushed back the long locks of her hair when they fell over her face and she stirred slightly. And pushed herself further back against him for warmth.
His dear nemesis said she would never be his.
But now she was.

She'd fed the beast and it wanted more, as beasts always did.
What the hell did she do?
"Alucard… God…” Corinne involuntarily choked out the words, grasping feebly at the rug to keep herself from skidding forward against the fibers. The back of her hand was the only thing that kept her cheek from getting rug burn. Her knees were certainly suffering. As were her hips with how sharply bent forward she was- and how far her legs were spread. None of this compared to the hangover that morning. The very next morning after he’d slept in her bed.
Alucard's hand in the center of her back rooted her to the spot, the other hand pulling her back by the hip with each thrust. Each one better than the last.
She’d already lost track of how many times she’d peaked. He had yet to.
But she could feel that he was getting closer. Growing more erratic with his movements, even losing rhythm. 
She figured going literal centuries without fucking just did that to you.
With a low, animalistic growl, Alucard slumped over her back. Having to hold himself up, one of his hands ended up on top of hers by chance- and they instinctively laced their fingers together. 
Corinne climaxed again soon after, unwittingly exhaling in hoarse moans and praises.
"I can't…!" She cried out, shaking under him. She thought she was going to lose her mind. She desperately needed to rest-- or at least to get out of the uncomfortable position. One more orgasm and she might actually die. "I can't-- again...!”
You will,” he insisted, unrelenting now that they were in the thick of it. 
His fingers unlaced from hers to raise her face from the floor. Her head twisted to the side so she could kiss him, moans muffled against each other’s lips as they reached another high point together.
All she’d done was come back from a shower.
She didn't even get the chance to dry off all the way...

Molly glanced up from her screen multiple times Monday morning to see Corinne staring dreamily at her laptop. Keyboard clicking away, headphones in.
Odd. Corinne never smiled while she worked--
“Something happened.”

Corinne looked up from her screen, not having heard what Molly said, just knowing she said something.
“Huh?” She popped a bud out of her ear and paused her song to hear better.
I saaaaaaaaiiiiiid,” Molly grinned sadistically. “Something happened… You hooked up! Did you?”
Corinne’s expression shifted into sheer, unadulterated confusion. “H… How can you tell?”
“You did!” Molly beamed. “I knew it! I knew something was different!”
Corinne, at a loss for words, stared back at her; brows furrowed, head cocked to the side. “Seriously. Molly. How the fuck?”
“You’re not bitching about Helene today. And you just keep smiling… And you’ve been so upbeat all morning.”
Corinne shrugged, removing the other side of her headphones and letting them hang around her neck. “You got me. I did. Finally, right?”
The blonde was genuinely excited for her. "How did it happen?”
“Don't worry about it.”
"How was it? Good if you're happy today, riiiiiight?"
"Don't worry about it," Corinne repeated.
Molly could barely contain herself. "Are you together!? We could double date!"
Corinne hesitated to speak. What exactly did this mean now? She knew her standpoint. What was his? "... Don't worry about it."

With Iscariot's numbers and resources 'cut to the marrow' as Chief Makube had said, drastic action had been authorized as long as the ends could justify the means. They would simply report to the Vatican that all steps taken were necessary, after the fact.
Not like anyone but God was watching. And if they were doing God's will to find and eradicate sinners, heretics, monsters, the undead, vampires, witches-- then all was justified.

They'd been observing since their last meeting with the woman called Corinne Smith.
Heinkel Wolfe had been charged with the task of continuing to monitor her since that day, and watched the apartment complex while she slept inside every night. 
A powerful vibration filled the air around the front entrance of the building. 
Survey of the front of the building revealed an invisible physical barrier. The vibrations became so strong at a certain distance that Heinkel wondered if their body would fall apart just by touching the lever on the door.
"Magic." They muttered in their permanently gravelly voice, withdrawing their hand from deep within the vibrations. The glove on that hand had disintegrated from the force. As had their skin and muscle tissue. 
No matter, it quickly grew back. 
Heinkel had spent their life becoming a weapon of God- particularly the last thirty years. Struggling and working and volunteering themselves to take on the late Father Anderson’s power of regeneration when no one else rose to the occasion. To be worthy of the same honors in the eyes of their Lord.

They decided next to locate the source for the barrier. Nothing like this came from spoken word. Those were for short bursts of magic. This had an object somewhere with concentrated power. Made by the witch. 
There was no mistaking black magic when you've seen enough of it. It left a certain stain on its surroundings.
And there it was.
A single dead rosebush, in line with other still living ones, stuck out like a sore thumb.
Heinkel didn’t have to search very hard to find a glass bottle buried in a shallow hole in the ground. The witch must have only recently discovered her power to be so sloppy with concealing it.
The liquid inside was cloudy, and the sharp contents made a soft scraping sound against the inside of the bottle as it was moved.
“Witchcraft.” Heinkel reaffirmed, then smashed the bottle on the concrete to break the spell. “'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’

"So what are you working on now?"
"So far no big projects," Corinne said at her kitchen counter a week later. She'd resolved to start meal prepping so she'd spend less on going out to eat. 
She had her mother on speakerphone while she pre-sliced veggies. Hopefully this would get her to eat more of them- she knew she had been lacking lately. 
"How's your friend Molly doing? When's her wedding again?"
"They're pushing for six months from now, at most,” Corinne answered, slicing away. She wasn’t a master chef, but she was getting pretty good with a knife. Able to move pretty quick, even!
“Just six months?” Amanda asked. “Yours took a year and a half of planning! What’s the rush?”
“Will’s grandpa isn’t doing too good,” Corinne said. “They’re rushing so he can be there while he’s still hanging around.”
“Oooohhhhhh,” Amanda said slowly. “That’s a good point. At least they have you to help them plan it out! Are you doing a bridal shower and everything?”
Corinne’s knife must hot have been very sharp- it was starting to get difficult to cut through the thicker part of this stupid carrot. “She says they’re not doing a shower. They don’t really need a gift registry either. But I’m at least gonna surprise her with a bachelorette party.”
“Tasteful, I hope.”
“Eh...” Corinne shrugged. “I feel like any party is tasteful as long as there’s no strippers. I just want it to be fun--Ow!” She dropped her knife onto the cutting board and brought her bleeding finger to her lips.
“Did you cut yourself?”
“Mmmhm,” Corinne hummed, finger in her mouth. She’d gotten herself right at the tip. Maybe if she hadn’t trimmed her nails down, it wouldn’t have happened. Ugh.
“Is it bad?”
“Not too bad,” the younger woman sighed. “Just annoying.” She pulled back her hand to assess the damage.
And saw that there was no cut.
“Do you have any bandaids?”
That’s weird. She tasted the blood. She even saw it just before she licked her wound. Where was the source?
“Corinne?”
She… Healed herself? She could do that?
“Honey? You there?”
“Yeah,” Corinne realized she was still on the phone. She turned over her hand to make absolutely sure that the cut wasn’t somewhere else- as if she could misjudge her own senses. “Never mind. False alarm.”

“I don’t recall extending an invitation for today,” Integra flatly greeted the redhead. Surprisingly, no Seras or Alucard in sight.
“I got a little impatient, sorry,” Corinne replied, venturing further into Integra’s office. “Where’s Big Daddy Vladdy and The Girl Wonder?”
Integra failed to conceal a small smirk at the nicknames. “Busy at the moment. What did you come for?”
“I...” Corinne looked down at her hand in her lap. Not a cut in sight. Not even a scar. “I keep finding that I can do new things. I’ve woken up and dropped on my bed like I was floating or something- and I figured out yesterday that I can heal myself. And like- I think the things I find online might work for me, but how many of those people are witches by blood like me-”
“And?” Integra interrupted, fingers steepled on the top of her desk. A signal to get to the point.
“Sorry, I’m getting to my point, I promise,” Corinne cleared her throat. “And... You know a lot about the occult and stuff. Do you have, like… A real grimoire? From a bloodline of real witches?”
Integra had known this was coming since the day Corinne had realized her powers.
“Corinne.”
The redhead sat at attention, not sure what to expect to hear. “Yes, Sir?”
“Do you do a lot of reading?”
“I do lately.”
“By chance, have you ever read The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus?”
Corinne frowned, brows furrowed. “I don’t even think I have the patience to read a title that long. What’s it about?”
Integra fished a cigar from her desk and cut it. “A German doctor by the name of Faustus, who became jaded by the limits of traditional knowledge- such as law, religion, medicine, et cetera.” She placed the cigar between her lips and lit it.
Corinne still didn’t like the smell.

Integra continued. “And so Faustus begins to study the occult. Going as far as to summon a demon. Faustus tells the demon that he would exchange his own soul to the Devil for knowledge beyond what any other human was capable of knowing.”
“How does it end?” Corinne asked.
“Faustus is dead. His soul is taken to Hell, as he had agreed,” Integra took a long drag off of the cigar and exhaled the smoke. “Do you understand why I bring this up?”
“I’m not selling my soul, Integra,” Corinne replied. “I was born a witch- how do I even know if I have one at all? I could’ve just been doomed from the start, for all I know… Do you know?”
Integra tapped off the ashes at the end of her cigar on the edge of her ashtray. Opting to evade that question. “What do you intend to do with whatever answers you may find?”

Corinne understood this as an affirmation that Integra did in fact have books of real magic. “I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “I just don't wanna do these things by accident anymore. I wanna know myself. And it’s better to have knowledge at the ready than to have something happen and be unprepared… Right...?”
Integra had been ready to deny Corinne’s request, and opened her mouth to say so.
But Corinne hadn’t noticed, and continued to speak. “Maybe I could help people...”
The corners of the older woman’s lips rose into a confident smile. “Very well, Corinne.”
The redhead looked at her in surprise.
“I’ll share resources with you,” Integra said. “But there are stipulations.”
“Name ‘em.”
“Number one: you do not use what you learn for personal gain.”
“Done!”
“Number two: No one is to know, hear of, or see what I am providing. They are for your eyes only.”
“Done and done!
“And number three,” Integra took one last drag off of the cigar and smudged it out on the ashtray. “I can’t have a rogue witch amongst the masses. Regardless of your intentions, you pose a danger to the public and to the crown.” Integra could see on Corinne’s face that she was uncertain of these terms. “You are to be under my direct authority. You will belong to the Hellsing Organization, and will utilize your power to protect queen and country.”

Chapter Text

Belong?” Corinne asked. “You make it sound like you’d own me like property.”
“Somewhat, yes,” Integra said, as if it were nothing. “But only in the same sense that both Seras and Alucard belong to me.”
“Integra. Sir. I consider you a friend and I respect you so much; and I want you to remember that when I ask you this: are you fucking insane?”
Integra replied with her own question. “What is this knowledge worth to you, Corinne?”
Um. Not my fuckin’ soul, I’m not Faustus.”
“I’m not asking for your soul. I’m asking for your loyal service. Think on it.”

The specifics would be drawn up later.

For now, Integra led the way through the abysmal corridors of the mansion, to an entirely separate area that Corinne had never seen before.
“It’s like a museum in here,” she noted, eyeing artifacts on shelves and in glass cases. “What is all of this?”
“This is the Vault. What you’re looking at is the remnants of previous threats to humanity,” Integra told her. "All killed in action."
Corinne leaned close to one of the glass cases and tried to identify what was inside. It appeared to be a ribcage and a misshapen skull, but she couldn’t identify what it might have been.
That was an alien,” Integra said.
“No way!” Corinne looked over to the older woman with an excited grin. “What, did you take this from Area 51 or something?”
“They wanted to keep it. But it was our kill, so we had claim over it.”
That got a sincere look of astonishment from Corinne. “No fuckin’ way! What else ‘ya got!?”
As they walked through the Vault of Hellsing’s treasures, Integra identified remains one by one.
Teeth of el chupacabra, skulls of slain vampires-- all Alucard’s victims. The real Annabelle doll bought from Ed and Loraine Warren’s museum, vintage photographs of seances containing real spirits, splinters of the cross Jesus had been crucified on, the ‘Nail of Helena’ that had been recovered from the previous wielder's remains.
And one that Corinne recognized. A charred human skull with a metal tag embedded in the left side. She recognized it from the conspiracy website. “What does this say? It’s too scratchy, I can’t-”
That,” Integra paused, “is Mina Harker’s remains.”
Corinne’s demeanor shifted in an instant, from curious to somber. “This is her…” She looked back to the skull. Despite having met real vampires- and even Dracula himself, Mina still seemed fictional. But here she was. Nothing but burnt bone with a label.
Corinne had to turn away from it before she let herself think about it too much. What if she started mind-melding with a fucking skeleton? No time to unpack all of that.

After moving away from the artifacts, Integra led Corinne to a bookshelf containing volumes upon volumes of occult knowledge- some new, some seemingly ancient. None recognizable to Corinne. 
Integra removed one such book off of a low shelf and handed it to Corinne. 
It was heavy- about the size and thickness of a hardcover dictionary. 
Corinne flipped through the pages to see that the ink was a dark brown instead of black. The paper was old and thin, and the cover was… odd. It was brown- and the texture was smooth in some spots and wrinkled in others as if it had suffered water damage. Shiny, but also a little leathery. 
"This is a creepy ass book," Corinne noted, looking over the cover to find that there were no words. No title, no author. "What's it called?"
"It doesn't have a name."
"Ooooohhhh, Spooky."
"Do you know what else is?"
"What?"
Integra smirked. "It's bound in human skin."
Corinne paled, instinctively throwing the book away from herself with an involuntary yelp and scrubbed her palms over her pant legs as if it would undo touching the dead flesh.
The book never reached the floor, stopping mid-air as Alucard apparated from nowhere. Book in hand. Standing over Corinne with the same cocky look on his face as when he'd proven dominance over her. It made color rush back to her cheeks. Embarrassed that he'd seen her panic over something so small. 
"Frightened children shouldn't play with pentagrams," he chaffed, snapping the book shut and passing it back to Corinne. "If you don't have the stomach for even touching the book, you must not be ready for what's inside."
Corinne looked at him, clearly miffed as she took the book back from him. He didn't have to tease her like that, and he knew it. He just liked her reaction. She would have words with him later! 
"How was your mission?" Integra asked the vampire.
"Target neutralized, no casualties." He answered, red eyes fixed on Corinne. She dared not look away or blink. 
"And Seras?"
"I'm here!" The blonde burst through the door, out of breath from having to rush to catch up with her master. 
Corinne wondered if they didn't have the same capabilities. Seras never just appeared anywhere like Alucard did. 
"Hi Seras," the redhead greeted, finally breaking eye contact with Alucard before the sexual tension became any more obvious.

The greeting was immediately met with a bright smile from the draculina. "Hello Corinne! I didn't know you were coming today, I'd have rushed back!"
"Corinne will be aiding in our efforts until further notice-" Integra looked to the book in Corinne's hands. Seras noticed the redhead seemed nauseated just from touching it. Was it cursed? "-As the Organization's newest asset."
Seras looked to her partner in astonishment. "Really!?" She looked to Corinne next- and spotted Alucard standing very close to redhead, equally surprised. 
Maybe he didn't think anyone noticed- but Seras did, as did Pip, as Alucard's expression shifted slightly into a look of gratification. And when Corinne looked back at him, Seras swore she could read their thoughts.
I think I see what you mean, Cher, Pip noted. Never thought I'd see a human and a vampire eye-fucking each other this intensely… At least not since I first looked at you.
Seras's cheeks reddened with the comment and she pinched her left arm to get Pip to behave. 
Corinne noticed Seras's gaze linger in her direction- no, in both hers and Alucard's direction. 
The spark of recognition in Corinne's gray eyes told Seras that she knew what was going through her mind: she knew of their relationship.

Integra, however, didn't. Or maybe she did and decided to stay out of it and let them sort it out for themselves.
Corinne never did figure that out within the few weeks- while she came to the estate every day to practice magic where it could best be contained.
"Y'know I would've never actually thought potions would be a legit part of witchcraft," Corinne noted, getting her station set up for a simple ritual. Or at least she thought it would be simple until she read past the ingredient list. 
"Why is that?" Seras asked, tasked with supervising and damage control- if necessary. The two of them finally alone.
"It just sounds a little too Harry Potter to be real, y'know?" Corinne replied, skimming the words in the book- which, apparently, were in brown ink because it wasn't even ink at all. It was old human blood. The thought of it grossed her out every time she remembered it. So she just tried not to think about it.
"Did you always want to be magic?" Seras asked. "I just figured since you might've liked Harry Potter…"
Corinne shrugged. "I only kinda liked it. It's nice as a novelty but got annoying when people based their entire lives around what Hogwarts house they thought they fit into."
Seras frowned. "People do that still?"
Corinne snickered, combining ingredients like she'd read- into a boiling flask on a flame. She may as well have been in Breaking Bad with how weird it felt to do this. "Oh Honey. You must need to go out in town more often to really see what's up out there…" She looked away from her station. "Hey, why don't we go for another girl's night? I feel bad Integra didn't come last time. Maybe she could pick the spot so she's more comfortable."

Seras smiled warmly at the idea. It made her so happy that Corinne wanted to befriend all three of them instead of just Alucard. She fit right into their family like she was always meant to be there.
Look at you getting all sappy, Pip teased. Are you hoping to be her maid of honor- ow!
Seras pinched her left arm to get Pip to be quiet. Again. She recently told Corinne about him, and no longer bothered to camouflage the black, amorphous mass that made her left arm. 
"That sounds really nice," Seras agreed. "I'll see if I can't get her to take a night off."
Corinne nodded, looking away from the chemistry in front of her just for a second-- then it started to boil over. The frothing mixture dripped down into the flame and caught fire. Corinne yelped and jumped back from it, quickly grabbing the small extinguisher at her side and putting it out. Then setting down the extinguisher and letting out a shaky sigh. "Motherfucker!"
"Fifth fire today," Seras teased, marking off another tick on the notepad at her side. 
Corinne glared over at her. "You're keeping count!?"
Seras stifled a little laugh behind her gloved hand, sitting by and watching as Corinne salvaged her mixture. Double checking to make sure the burner was off.
"Oh," the redhead mused. "I guess it's supposed to do that. It came out the way the book describes…"
"How can you read it?" Seras asked. "The writing doesn't even look like English lettering.'
"It looks like English to me. Integra said it's something the book can do. Genetic witches can read it in whatever language they understand." 
“Ah! Like the TARDIS’s translating ability!” Seras beamed.
“... Did you just reference Doctor Who?” Corinne asked with a wry smirk at the blonde. “I can’t believe a vampire just referenced Doctor Who to me while I’m doing Harry Potter magic. This is like a shitty fanfiction, what’s next?”

“Am I ever gonna get to meet him?” Molly frowned. “You don’t talk about him much- but the more I hear, the more I need to see him.”
Corinne shrugged, sipping at her drink. Another night at the pub, their usual Friday night. A month and a half after becoming property of Hellsing. “I dunno, he’s not the social type. Prefers it to be the two of us.”
“D’you at least have any pictures of him?”
“Nah.”
“Well!” Molly huffed. “How do I know if he’s even real? Can you describe him, what’s he like?”
"Oh y'know… Hot."
"Describe!"
Corinne let slip a drunken giggle. "Roooows of teeth."
"What-"
"Like a shark!"
Molly didn’t look very amused, but Corinne was struggling not to laugh hard enough to cry. Poor Molly, she had no idea that Corinne was telling the exact truth. “Come on, how about an actual description?”
Corinne struggled, but managed to get her giggles to subside, leaning against the bartop. “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell… Ugh, he’s gorgeous. It’s not even fair, no man should be that pretty… Wavy black hair, amazing eyes, tall, jacked. Think Dracula but played by that guy from Lucifer-” Corinne struggled not to break into another fit of laughter at the description. Who would’ve known Dracula would be as hot as Satan? "But it's just sex, Mol. We're not in love."

The slow grind of her hips was maddeningly good. Each movement so deliberate and full of sensation. She could practically feel him in full detail inside of her. So fucking good she couldn't see herself ever stopping.
Alucard laid under her on the bed, watching from under half-lidded eyes, hands on her thighs to keep her from daring to get off of him. He could feel the muscles trembling under his fingertips; tired yet too deep in bliss to stop.
His hips involuntarily bucked, hitting the same wonderful spot inside of her that made her back give out and arch forward until they were face to face. They kissed. Intensely, tongue and all, as Corinne continued the lazy, euphoric pace of moving her hips in circles with his cock as deep inside as she could take. 
Her fingers buried in his hair as their motions became more intense and purposeful, lips practically swollen from refusal to part ways. They came together in a tight embrace, pulling back only for air. Eyes locked in a half-lidded, adoring stare in the afterglow.

Corinne idly rubbed her thumb against Alucard's hand, their fingers laced together as they came to rest. Both sated and comforted for the night. She came home just an hour ago from her outing with Molly.
"I never expected you to be so warm," she told him. "I thought of that the first time, I just never said it."
"Did you expect a corpse?" He smirked, lips to the back of her shoulder.
"Something like that. But I still went for it. What does that say about me?" she turned her head to him and they kissed for what had to be the thousandth time that night. Too contented with it, she turned over entirely to him, and they tangled in each other's arms.
When she felt lines on his back. "What's that?"
"Scars," he answered. "From when I was human."
"Can I see…?"
He seemed surprised of the question. No one had wanted to see them before-- but then, no one had known about them. Not even Integra or Arthur, nor Abraham…
Simply because no one had ever seen him so vulnerable since his undeath. Corinne was the first. 
Nonetheless, he and Corinne untangled themselves so he could sit upright in her bed and turn his back to her. 
Corinne's breath hitched at the sight. Scarring, all faded in color from age. So many harsh lines marring the skin of his back. Every direction, every size…
"God…" She found herself tracing the markings with her fingertips- which made him shudder, and she withdrew her hands. "What happened?"
Alucard didn't answer for a long moment- seemingly unsure of what to tell her. "... It's too much to explain."
Corinne thought on that for a moment- remembering before she met him how she was able to see some of his memories. Maybe she could like- mind-meld and see memories directly? "Do you think I could see instead…?"
He looked back at her. "Why would you want to see?"
"I--" she felt a little on the spot. Still being naked didn't exactly help with the feeling. "I wanna understand you more. Maybe… It could help."

She wanted to know him. 
To really know him, beyond who he was from the moment of meeting.
He wasn't sure how to feel about it.
Like a weight would be lifted off his shoulders after sharing his experiences. Something he had never done. 
That Corinne was so significant to him by then that she was the only one he could share this with so intimately.
And, inversely, that if she knew every dark detail, she might recoil from him and never want to come near him again. 
The truth was so ugly that even a vile creature like himself couldn't look back at it without flinching.
"I don't want you to see it." He said. 
"That's okay," she softly replied, coming closer and wrapping her arms around him again, cheek rested against his back. "You don't have to show me if you don't want to. But if you ever feel like you're ready… I'm here."
He found himself reaching near his shoulder and burying a hand in her soft red hair, turning his head and kissing her forehead. 
She was an odd woman, but she made every effort to show him that she did care for him. Deeply.
She was as irreplaceable as Integra and the Police Girl, but in a different way; and with that thought came a strange, anxious tangling of knots in his chest. It felt so alien that it took him a minute to figure out what it was.
"Let's get ready for bed," she said, slowly removing herself from him to get out of her bed and put back on her discarded clothes.

Laying side by side again, Alucard watched Corinne sleep as always. Peaceful, rhythmic breaths the only movement between them.
He felt like he could stay right there and forever keep watch over her; knots twisting in his chest all the while.
"What are you doing to me?" He quietly wondered, taking in every detail of her face as she shifted in her sleep at the sound. 
He fell in love with the witch. 
And that terrified him.

Another month passing by had shown a lot of improvement with Corinne's abilities. She'd managed to stop setting things on fire, for one. Then she successfully made a concoction that acted as what she called "liquid photoshop", and granted a temporary, limited ability to shapeshift. She played around with changing the length of her hair, the shape of her body- even the appearance of her fingerprints. But she found that she couldn't change general things about herself like coloration, or amount of limbs, teeth, eyes, etc.
She couldn't become a shadowy mass like Alucard, but she could at least make herself fit into any piece of clothing she could ever want. 
So just for fun she decided to go try on expensive clothing while she was still under the effects of the potion. 
"Wish I could look like this all the time," she muttered under her breath while she admired her reflection in the mirror. The dress she had on was practically something to wear on the red carpet, long and eye-catching and a gorgeous cherry red. 
She turned in front of the mirror, and with the blink of an eye she could see Alucard's reflection standing by her, leaned against the dressing room wall. "It's not the real you," he said.
She turned to scold him for appearing in the dressing room, but saw that he wasn't actually there. Just showing himself to her. Weren't vampires not supposed to have reflections? Or did I'd depend on the mirror? Because she was pretty sure this one was made of acrylic... 
"So? This could be me," she shrugged, running her hands down her sides to feel the pronounced curves. Waist narrower, hips wider, breasts bigger. "I could probably make it permanent if I wanted."
"Is that what you want?" He asked, surprisingly not eyeing her body. Just looking at her face. 
"Maybe," she answered. "Why? You don't like it?"
She could feel her body starting to return to its default size, and the dress started to become uncomfortable. So she unzipped it and stepped out of it, left in her underwear as she resumed her natural shape. 
"Do you not like your own body?"
"It's fine," she answered. "Not ideal, but…"
"'Ideal' doesn't mean 'best'," Alucard insisted. She watched his reflection wrap its arms around her, his head beside hers on her shoulder. She could even feel him there. "The way you are naturally is more beautiful than the ideal image in your head."
"So you prefer organic me?" She smiled, trying to hide flattery behind bland humor. 
"Very much so..." 
She watched his reflection slide a hand down her front and into her underwear. She gasped, having to cover her mouth with her hand. And she nearly fell forward, catching herself with her hand on the wall. 
"I'm in public!" She hissed, face red with a combination of indignation and arousal. He wasn't even physically there with her but she could feel his fingers on her clit as if he was. 
"You'll just have to keep quiet then." He smirked, hunching over her back and watching her expressions in the mirror. "Yours is the only body I want to touch. To make shudder. To make love to."
Corinne's head dropped with a particularly pronounced stroke, and she let slip a moan before covering her mouth again. Raising her gaze to him once more, gray eyes hazy with lust.
Absolutely perfect, just as she was.