Damien Hellsing suddenly falls ill one summer day while accompanying his mother to oversee the new Hellsing recruits' training.
There was just something about Damien Hellsing that made the Hellsing soldier's skin crawl. What exactly that was, few could put their fingers on. The boy was both eerily quiet and beautiful--almost inhumanly so. That may have been part of it. He didn't act like the typical five-year-old. It unnerved them to no end to see the child tailing his mother everywhere she went--including the training grounds and shooting range. His calm amongst such violence at his young age was strange to say the least, especially when most children his age should be on a playground among other children wearing Whinnie-the-Pooh T-shirts and shorts--not marching through the barracks of a secret military base clad in a child-size business suit. One could imagine their horror if they learned, along with the boy's other odd characteristics, that he could not only fire a weapon, but was also advanced to the point of using live ammunition.
It was mid-summer and it was very warm and bright. Sir Integral Hellsing was overseeing the training of the newest Hellsing recruits, walking along the top of the obstacle course with her normal three and a half foot shadow close on her heals.
"Lieutenant Ferguson," Integral said, "Do we have anyone promising in this batch?"
"Ah, good afternoon, Sir Hellsing. Yes, there does appear to be a couple who would be fine Hellsing troops..."
As the two adults discussed the state of the trainees below them, the boy gazed down with a cool expression at the dozen men who ran through the rooms below, shooting at the dummies sporadically placed through the course. He absently wondered why the men had such a hard time hitting the targets properly. For as long as he could remember, when he was taught to shoot--with any sort of weapon--to only hit the head or the heart. Not only were these men shooting other parts of the dummies, some were missing them altogether. He didn't understand.
Damien reached up and pulled at his collar. He was hot, and he wasn't used to it. To say he was uncomfortable would be a gross understatement. He hated going outside when it was hot, especially when it was so bright. He wanted to stay inside in his room and close the curtains--but his mother would not let him be alone with anyone besides herself, Seras and his father--but his mother didn't like people to know when he was with the later two., He didn't understand that either.
"Damien," he mother said, "Don't dawdle."
He looked up to see she and Lieutenant Ferguson had walked away from him. He moved to catch up, pulling at his collar again. They were descending the outside stairs of the course. Damien desperately hoped they were going back inside, but he knew it didn't matter if he said anything, so he simply followed in silence.
As he came to the bottom step he suddenly felt dizzy. He gripped the banister of the staircase, feeling as though someone had just dropped a twenty pound weight on his chest. He took a ragged breath in, starting to panic, as any child would. The discomfort he had been feeling exploded until he felt like his skin was boiling. He clutched at his collar, barely able to gain his breath.
"Ma... Mama--" he cried, his small voice coming out in a squeak as he fell down to the ground. He couldn't breath. Tears stung his eyes in blind panic as he lost consciousness.
"Damien!?!" his mother gasped, spinning around and lunging to his side. She pulled him up onto her lap. "Damien? What's wrong!?!" She glared up at Lieutenant Ferguson."Go get help! Call Dr. Trevilian!"
"Yes sir!" he shouted before running off toward the main compound.
"Damien?" He was unconscious, barely breathing.
She could not panic. She would not panic. She stood, lifting him and ran with his limp body toward the Hellsing manor, screaming inside her mind for Alucard.
She felt the vampire's presence as she crossed the threshold of the complex. She continued to run with her son's limp limbs dangling from her arms as she raced to her room. Alucard's shadows followed as she shot through the halls to her personal chambers. She burst through her door, dropping quickly to her knees to lay her son on her couch. She felt a chill as Alucard solidified beside her.
"What happened?" he snapped, looming over her to study their son.
"I don't know--" she gasped, her chest heaving from her sprint. "I don't know--He just dropped. He's burning up--and barely breathing--" she gasped, putting her hands on Damien's clammy cheeks.
"Damien?" she said quietly, desperately trying to avoid sobbing. "Damien, honey, can you hear me?"
"Let me," Alucard said sternly, pushing Integral back. He knelt down beside the couch, pulling his gloves from his hands. He placed his hands on his son's face, studying the boy's face as he whispered to his mind.
Damien... my son, can you hear me? Can you answer me? The child was still as death aside from the low rise and fall of his chest. Damien. Answer me. What has happened?
A small, faint voice trickled out to Alucard. A lesser vampire than himself would not have heard it.
Daddy? I'm scared...
Alucard stroked the boy's heated skin with his cool digits./ I'm here, son. What happened?/
I feel so hot... I can't breath... Am I going to die?
You're not going to die.
"Integra," Alucard said, "I think he has reacted to the sun. He's overheated."
Her brows creased, "But he has never had any problem before!"
"I know, but this is a vampire's reaction to daylight..." He reached forward and pulled at Damien's clothing, peeling articles off the boy's body until he only wore his child's briefs. "We need to cool him. He won't wake up until his body temperature goes down."
"I had Ferguson call Dr. Trevilian," she said, touching her son's bare leg, a shiver running down her spine at how warm his skin was. "Could he die, Alucard?" she asked, her voice breaking as she spoke.
"Only if he gets hotter. I'm taking him to the dungeons--it's cooler down there. Call for me when his doctor is here--though I doubt he will be of much help."
She nodded, watching as Alucard lifted the nearly nude child into his arms." We may need to resort to an ice water bath--but I don't think it will come to that."
"Keep him safe, Alucard."
"He will be all right, Integra. I will see to that."
Holding Damien close to him he dissolved them both into shadows and disappeared from Integra's private rooms.
Integral remained kneeling on her floor alone. Her mind swam as she reached out, taking her son's jacket and clutching it to her breast. She was a terrible mother... This was her fault. She should have known better. She stared forward, holding the jacket tighter.
She swallowed the guilt plaguing her mind and stood. Still holding Damien's jacket, she turned to go to her office, when Dr. Trevilian would contact her. She had to be strong--there was no room here for self-pity. Her son was ill, but according to Alucard he would be okay. She would just need to put plans in force to avoid the situation reoccuring.
In the dungeon Alucard was reclined on his coffin lid, the over-heated bundle that was his son resting beside him on the cool wood.
Do you feel any stronger, Damien? he whispered to the boy.
Since they had entered the darkness the boy's breathing had become a little stronger, though it was still weak.
I'm tired, Daddy...
Then sleep/, he answered. /You have a fever. Once it breaks you'll feel better/. He brushed a lock of the boy's curly hair from his forehead. Alucard's brows forked. His son would not be going into daylight for a long time. He would not let this happen again. Integral did not trust the staff to watch over Damien by themselves--both because she was surprisingly protective and because she feared for Damien's secrets. But he would have no more of it. Damien was a dhampir--a nocturnal creature. He would begin sleeping during the day--or at least through the hottest noon-day sun--and be in /his care during the night. He would not see this happen to his son again--not for some human paranoia.
He heard Integral call for him and he cautiously enfolded his son in his arms before whisking the child through the shadow's to his master's office and the waiting doctor.
They called it Sol Solis Morbus, or sunlight syndrome for lack of a better description. As Alucard had said, Damien's "attack" had been a vampire's reaction to sunlight, or at least one of their reactions. The most common and most widely known was burning and blistering, which thankfully, the dhampir never showed any signs of. The second most common was over-heating, or sun-stroke--which was what the boy had finally succumbed to.
Of course, Dr. Trevilian had never seen anything like this before, but as it was, he'd never had a patient like Damien before. The best way he could describe the occurrence was like an overloaded solar battery. Damien had never reacted to sunlight before--but there was no doubt in either Dr. Trevilian or Alucard's mind that that was the cause. It was as if a reaction had been building up in him for the first five years of his life.
Damien was in a coma for three days, unable to move or speak. Alucard was able to communicate telepathically with him, and so they were able to tell he was essentially well. Damien was kept in his bedroom, the temperature kept in the low sixties to help his body cool. Although he was not visible, Alucard remained with Damien the entire time, just in case some enemy of Hellsing tried to use his vulnerability against them.
By the end of the third day, Damien finally began to stir. Although his mind was sharp as ever, his control over his motor functions came back slowly over the course of a week. All in all, Damien's sickness had him out of commission for half a month.
The worst of it was that none of the informed parties knew how Damien would react to sunlight from there on out. Thankfully daylight did not burn him, but if he went into a heat-induced coma everytime he went outside it simply couldn't be done.
Integral fretted over her son's condition every second of his recovery. There was no other person (to their knowledge) like him on the planet. He was the only existing dhampir on record--a fact that Integral had tried to hide from the day he was born. The very nature of him being a hybrid put him in danger. If his condition was known any number of scientific fanatics would be trying to study him, kidnap him, run experiments on him or worse. An even more horrific concept was being ordered directly by the queen to give him up for study. That would be war, because although she had pledged her life in the service and protection of the queen and England, Damien was /her son/, and like any good mother she would walk through hellfire to protect him--even at the cost of all her beliefs and ideals.
Knowing this, she had tried to avoid any suspicion of Damien's paternity through the years. That meant that he was constantly with her. She would not leave him in the care of any staff person for fear that they would notice some of his anomalies. However, that also meant that she couldn't leave him (publicly) with the two resident vampires--the suspicion of trusting a monster with her child over a nanny would bring too many people to the right conclusion.
Integral sat at her desk, her face buried in her hands, paperwork spread around her, completely ignored. No matter what she thought of, she could not decide on the safest plan for her son. She started slightly when she felt strong hands on her shoulders, a soft moan escaping her lips as the nimble fingers massaged her knotted muscles.
"You have been over-thinking this dilemma from day one, my Master," Alucard whispered, placing more pressure through her wool suit. "The sunlight will make him weak and vulnerable. It would be best to keep him out of it. Seras and I will care for him through the night and while he is asleep--he will be with you while you are both awake. He will be fine. Besides," he leaned down to whisper in her ear. "What fool in their right mind would dare to harm my son?" He sneered, baring his fangs. "There is a lot to say for diplomacy, but sometimes you forget how loudly brute force and sheer power can speak. If anyone comes to the right conclusion they will either be too afraid to make a move, or I will stop them before they can--and within a decade Damien will be skilled enough to protect himself."
"You're right," she whispered, still holding her temples. "You're right... but I can't help but worry." She finally looked up, resting her chin on her folded hands. "I hope this doesn't come back to haunt me. Go ahead and inform the Police Girl of the schedule changes. I have paperwork to complete." She half-heartedly lifted the form in front of her.
"Yes, my Master," he said, his grin spreading as he dematerialized.
Alucard was, indeed, right. Even if Damien was revealed to be his son: a vampire-human hybrid, the fact that Alucard was the father would deter most attempts. If anyone dared to make a move at her son--at their son--they would have to have a death wish.
She started again, seeing Alucard's shadows materialize from the floor until he stood before her, a blanketed bundle in his arms. "Someone wanted to see you," he said simply, walking around the desk, Damien's pale arms wrapped around his neck. The boy looked down at Integral, dark circles still under his eyes. She smiled and reached out as Alucard leaned down to deposit the boy in her lap.
She kissed his cheek as he buried his face in her neck.
"I'm sorry Mama..." he whispered, knowing that he was the cause of her distress. A bit of a lump rose in her throat as she stroked his curly hair.
"Damien, you don't need to apologize, none of this is your fault," she whispered. "But to make sure you don't get sick again, we're going to need to change your schedule." His arms tightened around her neck and she stroked his back in response. "It's okay," she cooed. "You're going to be spending more time with your father and Seras because it was being up with me in the daylight that made you sick. Do you understand?"
She felt him nod against her neck.
"There now," she pulled him back so that she could see his worried face. She put her hands on his cheeks and kissed his forehead, his skin feeling blessedly cool against her lips. "You'll be okay." She smiled warmly at him. "Now, why don't you go with your father and get something to eat?" He nodded and turned back to Alucard as the vampire's hands came under his arms to lift him.
She smiled slightly as she heard Alucard's voice as he dematerialized again with Damien in tow. "Do you want type A or type O?"
She shook her head. Vampires--sometimes you just had to love them.
/Disclaimer/: Vampire Hunter D/, (c) Hideyuki Kikuchi, /Hellsing (c) Kouto Hirano. I own nothing and am making no money from this...
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