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Dance of the Dead

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Summary: They call him the No Life King, but they have forgotten what that means.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > Hellsing(Moderator)FaithUnbreakableFR1511,9257185,98612 May 1012 May 10Yes
Dislcaimer: I own neither Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, nor Hellsing. They belong to their respective creators and I make not profit from this. Amen.

Warnings: Dark imagery, gore, violence, insanity.

A/N: This one's been lying around for a while. It's short and pretty pointless, but I am so very fascinated by Alucard. I'd love if you dropped me a line, letting me know how it turned out.

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Dance of the Dead

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They call him the No Life King.

Him, the resplendent, bloody thing of their nightmares, the monster under the bed, the one that sleeps in the chasm of every soul, teeth blank and eyes bright with the urge to kill simply for the sake of ending things.

He finds it amusing, this compulsive need to prescribe a name to every horror, to paint a face on every monster, but he has learned that humans need to have things defined in human terms in order to grasp them, to fear them. Things that surpass their capacity for horror break something inside of them, short circuit their brains and leave them as sobbing, drooling heaps in the corner, their own guns at their temples, begging for release.

They give names to the dark so they can clutch at one last shred of sanity in the face of the insane.

So they call him the No Life King.

The King, perhaps, that has no life. The King that is dead. Or perhaps the name needs to be reversed and he is not the lifeless King, but King of the lifeless. Ruler of those who are dead, lord of all the graves he surveys. He likes the image the idea creates in his mind, a kingdom of corpses. He imagines corpses sitting at desks, walking in streets with the stiff limbs of the slowly decaying, imagines them lurching through their little mortal lives with the flesh rotting off their faces. The picture, while not especially appetizing, amuses him greatly. There is not much difference between it and reality.

Maybe they call him that because where he is there can be no life. He takes it all, grabs onto it with white gloved fingers like a hungry child, devours their blood and souls and terror to feed his never sated hunger, to quench his never ending thirst.

So many interpretations and not a one of them correct. For centuries he has wandered the world in this body, has sown screaming madness in the hearts and minds of mortals and although they never truly forget him – how can you forget what lurks just out of sight, just a sliver of thought away, in the darkness of your own soul? – they have forgotten many things about him and invented other, new things to cover up their failure.

They believe that running water stops him, that holy water burns him. For one to be burned by the touch of God, one must first believe in Him and the No Life King does not believe. He knows. And once you know something, the believing stops and you can never believe again. He knows that God exists and thus cannot be harmed by him.

In a way, that makes them equal.

Humans have forgotten that. Like so many other things. Like the origin, the meaning of his name – one of many, admittedly, but somehow the most impressive of them all.

He is the No Life King.

The King of those that have no life of their own.

King of a race of bodiless, soulless entities of wrath and rage that came from the beginning of time, children of chaos and darkness, hidden beneath and beyond the worlds.

To call them lifeless would imply that once they had life when they did not. They are ideas, thoughts, nightmares. They exist in souls and minds and hearts, in the glint of a blade edge, in a dying breath, in the shadow of a ghost, in every nook and cranny of the mortal subconscious, in every animal scream. They exist everywhere that is not real.

Those that have no life cannot enter the realms of the living. They have no sense of taste or smell, they cannot touch for they have no body, they cannot speak for they have no voices.

Man has given them many titles, many names, over the years. More even, than the No Life King himself. The modern world calls them demons and devils, angels sometimes, avatars and monsters. The mass subconscious. Some call them gods. They have no name for themselves for they are less than ghosts, tangible as a whisper in the dark.

They are simple those with No Life.

But there is one loophole in the laws of creation, one way for them to become something from nothing. Mortal flesh.

Again and again, but not often, there are mortals that listen to the voices in their minds, that see the glint of the blade, the shiver of the dying and the poetry in it. Other mortals call them insane, name them monster. But they listen and in their bodies, sometimes, if the conditions are just right, bodiless gods can become real.

The name of this body he has wandered the world in for so many years was once Vlad Tepes. The man was a cruel, mad beast with a taste for screams and blood and he gladly gave up his mortal shell for terror beyond his imagination.

And nothing became something and Vlad Tepes became Dracula, became Alucard, became the lapdog of Hellsing, the weapon of the servants of God, the No Life King given substance.

Oh, if only little Integra knew what it is she keeps in her basement like a pet. If only she knew that the bindings she relies on hold only the flesh and not the spirit. If he were willing to give up the body, the King could be free in the blink of an eye and slaughter her entire little club of tin soldiers in another. Alas, he likes this body too much to give it up yet, has spent centuries shaping it to suit his needs. Besides, Integra and her little game of war amuse him greatly.

He does not know what became of his flesh-made siblings. Some were trapped, some were cast out of their hosts, some have grown weary of human amusement. One way or another, they have all returned to the void between worlds, to the dark that spawned them and hang there, intangible, unable to do more than exist.

Boring. So very boring.

What is there that makes an existence worthwhile if not the ecstasy and agony of human flesh. Rage is nothing if it does not end in the breaking of bones, wrath means nothing if one cannot make another bleed.

Without life, their kind can know no death and Alucard has always been fascinated by the end of things.

He likes to make it with his hands.

But there is one who he knows still walks this world, a sister, or as much of one as a genderless, bodiless entity can ever be. One who has, for all intents and purposes, walked this earth longer than he or any of his siblings.

The humans, if they knew of her existence, if they could recognize her in the mortal bodies she wears, would call her the No Life Queen.

Not because she is anything to Alucard, who is King, but because among their kind, she is, next to him, the most powerful. Or perhaps merely the greediest.

She was, at least, before she became ensnared by human webs.

He is bound to his master but this body, corrupted and twisted as it is, is still mortal. Some day someone will find a way to ruin it utterly, beyond even his powers to repair and it will die. He looks forward to that day because to experience true death has its own thrill and once Vlad Tepes, this shell, is truly gone, he will be free to return to the nothing he came from, this place he craves as much as he abhors it.

She, on the other hand, is bound to something beyond human flesh. When one of her breakable, frail, little vessels dies another already awaits, an eternal line of them, in whom she lives, tiny and restrained, fighting, bloody, painfully, struggling under her enemies as life is stolen from her and she dies in agony. Only to blink awake in another body. An endless cycle of pain and death, gore and blood and broken bones.

The eternal return of the end of things.

Oh, how he envies her her suffering.

He flows around the enemy – a creature barely worth the title, nothing more than vermin, really – suffocates the bug in his darkness. He shows the pitiful excuse of a predator the truth he carries within himself and he dies screaming, clawing at his own eyes in mad agony.

How disappointing.

Maybe it is that disappointment, that sheer, numbing boredom that causes him to stay within mist and shadows, flowing freely through the night toward the place that feels vaguely like the blackness he hails from.

He finds her in a cute little house in a cute little suburb in a cute little town so sweet and human and sickening, he considers stomping it into the ground, just because he can. But the sun is bright here and he dislikes its glare enough to leave the place standing. There’ll be another chance. There always is.

He reshapes his body in a kitchen, between her vessel and two other girls, one red, the other brunette. They scream and tumble backwards in panic, leaving him to face her. She is tiny, as they all are, blonde and green-eyed.

Pretty only in the way humans find animals pretty. It is her insides he came for, not her outside. He bows, mockingly. As he does everything.

She inclines her head, eyes glowing brighter.

The fallen girl children scream, call for her, only to be waved off with a negligent hand. She smiles at him and the small room fills with darkness.

Darkness and teeth and claws and eyes and… he lowers his head, looks over the top of his glasses to study what lies before him. Light. For the first time since before the dawn of the universe, there is light inside either – inside any – of them.

It is small but persistent, a candle in what has forever been night. He takes a step to the left, lets his essence, his many shadows, flow around it. The vessel. She has bonded her vessel, bound it into herself. He looks deeper, backwards in time and history and finds a grave. A death. A true death and even from the snippets he gleans, it was a glorious one.

And then a resurrection and a tie forged outside time and rules. His sister, Queen of all that is blood, has broken her chains after millennia of imprisonment. She is tied now to only this body, only this vessel.

She is like him.

He smiles.

Around him, countless teeth snap in barking laughter, glints of white in the dark, mirroring his excitement.

She returns the smile as the kitchen comes back into view in all its mundane, breakable glory. Maybe he will raze this town to the ground after all. A celebration.

A celebration of his oldnew playmate.

The brunette girl screams in panic, the red one chants something under her breath that causes a tickle against his skin. He pays them to mind, offering his Queen a hand instead.

She takes it with a smile made of razorblades and candle flames.

Light inside the dark, he muses as he pulls them both into shadow and night. This could be… interesting.

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The End

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