The beginning of the car ride passed as a blur to Hermione. Feeling emotionally exhausted after what had happened to her over the last few days and devastated by the way she and Ron had left things, she found herself unable to concentrate well on what was going on immediately around her. Trying to interrupt the endless loop of her recent traumas that her mind seemed intent on endlessly replaying for her, she resumed her mental review of everything that she knew about vampires and compiling a list of questions to ask her mast...Seras. After a while of coming up blank, she eventually had to admit to herself that the topic probably should have been covered more in depth at school since most of her ideas about vampires and their strengths and weaknesses came from Bram Stoker.

Hermione found her thoughts directed back to the other night. Was it one night ago or two now? It all seemed like such a blur. She tried to focus on what she had seen Seras do that night and to ignore the part of her memory detailing the sickly smell of blood and the sight of her parents' bodies on the floor. She could recognize the older vampire's superior speed and strength, but her ability to bend her arm in impossible directions and to levitate and control her severed limb were beyond anything Hermione had heard about vampire abilities.

"M...master? May I ask you a question?" Hermione stammered, consciously forcing herself not to raise her hand as though she were in class.

"Of course you can, Hermione," Seras replied with a kind smile. "And you don't need to call me 'Master' if you don't want to. I know it takes some effort to overcome the compulsion, but I'm sure you can do it if you try."

Reassured, Hermione continued, "I have to admit, I really don't know very much about actual vampires, their, I mean our strengths and weaknesses, abilities, or history. Most of what I know, or rather most of what I think might be true, comes from works of fiction."

Seras nodded at the implied inquiry, "Well, if you're as well-read as I think you are based on Molly's descriptions, I have to imagine much of what you think probably comes from Bram Stoker." Receiving a nod in response, Seras continued, "Most of what is depicted in Dracula is based on fact. Actually, the only part of the book that is outright wrong is that Dracula dies at the end. You see, my master, Alucard, is Dracula. He was captured and...I suppose enslaved really by the Hellsing family who spent decades developing him into the ultimate undead."

"A lot of the information in the book regarding vampire weaknesses was correct, though as we become more powerful many of those weaknesses are nullified. At this point, the sun is no more than an annoyance to me, and it would take far more than a wooden stake to end my unlife. You will exhibit most of the weaknesses traditionally associated with vampires since you're still very young. Garlic, silver, mercury, blessed objects, sunlight, wooden stakes, and running water are all going to be issues for you for the immediate future."

Smiling at her fledgling's expression of rapt attention, Seras continued, "Unlike our weaknesses, our abilities aren't very well chronicled anywhere, in part because a great deal of our abilities aren't shared with the majority of vampires. Due the my master's augmentations at the hands of the Hellsing family, we have numerous powers that are unique to our family line. Most of those talents will remain locked away for you until you've become a full vampire, but I will do my best to train you with the powers that you do have."

"What powers do I have?" Hermione inquired.

"Well, right now most of your abilities are passive. You have speed, strength, and stamina far beyond that of a normal human now. I'm sure you've also noticed that your vision and hearing have become much more sensitive than they used to be. You should have use of your, 'third eye,' as my master called it, which would allow you to see things much further than normal and should allow you to shoot flawlessly as well." Seras paused in her description to take a glance out the window. "I can take you to the range whenever you're ready and try to teach you, but it looks like we're already here."

Hermione's attention snapped to the window as the car came to a gentle stop in front of a large mansion. Hermione's eyes widened slightly at the sight of the structure. While it was nowhere near as large as Hogwarts castle was, the building had its own aura of majesty. Despite the construction scaffolding covering at least half of the building, the imposing facade just about shouted nobility and old money to Hermione and she couldn't help but feel intimidated as she extracted herself from the vehicle. She found Seras standing next to her even before she had closed the door to the car. Her master gave her a reassuring smile before taking her hand and leading her up the path to the front door.

Seras knocked when they arrived and then, after waiting for a few moments frowned and knocked again, a bit harder. Still receiving no response, she rolled her eyes and stuck her hand through a pool of darkness which materialized on the door's surface at her command. Hermione watched in fascination as Seras plunged her hand into the mysterious darkness, frowning for a moment in concentration, before the door latch clicked and she withdrew her hand from the shadow to push it open. "Just a little trick. You'll be able to use shadow to travel too when you grow stronger." Finding that words had failed her, Hermione simply nodded and followed Seras into the mansion.

Hermione couldn't help but jump a little when the door closed loudly behind them. She had been expecting the interior of the mansion to be dark and gloomy and needed a moment to adjust to the reality of the situation. She squinted at first, her sensitive eyes hurting slightly before gradually growing accustomed to the brightness of the well-lit entrance hall. Hermione looked around in awe, taking note of the dark stained wood which everything seemed to be made of and the obviously valuable pieces of art lining the walls at regular intervals. The atmosphere was almost oppressively opulent but her master seemed not to pay it any mind. Seras stretched and yawned a bit before turning her attention to her fledgling, "I'll be taking you upstairs to meet Sir Integra for a bit before we get you settled in. Follow me, okay?"

Hermione frowned as she reflexively replied with a, "Yes, my master," before she could intercept the words. Still frowning slightly, she followed Seras up the main stairs and down a series of corridors before stopping in front of a rather imposing looking doorway. Hermione suddenly felt very self conscious. She was not dressed in what she would consider to be an appropriate manner for a meeting with nobility. Before Hermione could come up with some way of delaying the meeting until she could find something more appropriate to wear, Seras knocked twice on the massive doors.

"Enter," came an abrupt female voice from within. Seras opened the door without hesitation and led a clearly nervous Hermione into the room to stand before Integra's desk. "So this is your new fledgling," the woman, who Hermione supposed must be Sir Integra, stated. Hermione could practically feel the woman's icy blue gaze as it locked onto her. "Welcome to Hellsing, Miss Granger. I'm sorry about your family."

"Thank you for your condolences and for your hospitality, Sir Hellsing," Hermione replied, forcing herself not to stutter. Hermione liked to think that she wasn't easily intimidated after her time fighting and running in the last war, but she found herself wanting to shrink away from the woman in front of her. Integra's one-eyed glare seemed to be peering right through her. She forced herself to meet Integra's gaze, consciously tamping down on the nervousness bubbling up in the pit of her stomach.

After a moment's evaluation, a slight smile crossed the woman's face and she turned slightly to address Seras. "Very well, get her settled in for now. I'll meet with you both tomorrow night for a debriefing."

Hermione couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief after Seras led her back out of the room. She looked at her master a bit reproachfully as the elder vampire stifled a laugh at her reaction. "Don't worry about it," Seras reassured her, "She's not as scary as she seems." Despite Seras' reassurances, Hermione could practically feel a weight lifting from her shoulders as the pair walked further from Integra's office. Concentrating mainly on memorizing the route they traveled, Hermione paid minimal attention to the splendor surrounding them as they made their way toward the entrance to the basement.

Seras pushed the heavy looking metal door open easily and led Hermione down a lengthy flight of stairs. The transition between the house and the basement was abrupt and somewhat jarring. Hermione almost felt like she were crossing into another world as she followed Seras down the stairs, away from the brightly lit mansion above them. The basement was cool and dark with most of the visible construction made of stone lending it an almost oppressive air. Hermione made sure to take careful note of the path back to the main house, a task made simple by the fact that the room Seras guided her to was only one corridor off of the main hallway.

"This will be your room for the duration of your stay here," Seras stated as she pushed open the door to reveal an almost empty, but clean, room. The room itself was quite large, with enough space to seem empty despite being occupied by a large platform with a plain coffin sitting atop it, a table and chairs, and a dresser. "The bathroom is through that door there," Seras said with a gesture toward the only other door in the room aside from the one they'd come in through, "and my room is the one right across the hallway if you need me for anything."

"Master, um Seras?"

"Yes Hermione?"

"Do I need to sleep in a coffin?"

"Since you already started drinking blood, it isn't actually necessary, though I think that you'll find you prefer it. Your enhanced senses will make it difficult to sleep if there's any noise or light at all. An enclosed space like a coffin helps to cut down on that. They're also surprisingly comfortable," Seras reassured her with a smile. Noticing Hermione's unsure expression she gently embraced the younger girl, "I had a hard time with all the changes too. You're doing far better than I did already though. Don't worry about getting used to everything all at once, you've got quite literally an eternity to adjust."

"I won't lie to you, some of the changes take more getting used to than others. The physical changes are only the beginning, you'll need to learn to control your bloodlust as well as your other increased appetites. Eventually you'll have to learn how to hunt and you'll need to drink blood of your own accord. You'll also need to learn to defend yourself, and eventually you'll probably have to kill people.

Hermione surprised herself by blurting out, "Hopefully starting with the ones responsible for this," in response to Seras. At the mention of killing, her mind had gone red, and her focus shifted to lay singularly on the thought of tearing the persons responsible for her and her parents' deaths limb from limb. She lashed out with a fist, faster than she'd thought herself capable of reacting, when a hand grasped her shoulder. Her punch was blocked, a challenge. She grinned as she pushed against the force holding back her fist and tried to ignore the whispering voice calling her name. Who would call her name anyway? Her parents were dead. Dead and gone forever. Someone had to pay for their deaths, for her death.

"HERMIONE!" the psychic shout drowned out everything else in her mind. Her master was calling her. Slowly the rage clouding her vision melted away, revealing a very worried looking Seras standing in front of her, one hand open, effortlessly blocking Hermione's fist. Shaking her head to clear it, Hermione recoiled in horror at what she had done. She covered her face with her hands in shame and began babbling apologies as continued to back away until she felt the back of her legs hit the coffin. The familiar feel of bloody tears streaming down her face returned as she fell back to sit awkwardly in the casket as Seras slowly approached her, empathy written on her features.

"It's alright Hermione, just calm down," Seras said reassuringly as she slowly approached to lay a reassuring hand on the new vampiress' shoulder. She couldn't help but feel sorry for the girl staring up at her with wide vulnerable eyes. "What's happening to you is normal. As a vampire your urges, mainly violence and one or two others, will be much more powerful than they were as a human. It's going to take you time to get used to it and time to control them but I'll be here to try to help you as much as I can along the way." Hermione nodded silently, grief still written across her features.

Seras sat on the edge of the coffin and smiled as reassuringly as she could at Hermione, who had repositioned herself to properly sit at the head of her coffin, legs drawn up to her chest and still looking half broken. "Like I said, you're already doing better than I did after I was turned. It took weeks before I would drink blood or even sleep in a normal coffin. I promise you I'll support you more than my master did with me. My master, Alucard, seemed to enjoy watching me flounder about trying to figure things out on my own."

"Will…Will I have to meet him?" Hermione asked, her nervousness peaking once again at the mention of her own master's master. Surely he must be incredibly powerful, and Seras' descriptions of his behavior so far had led her to the opinion that she would rather not meet the man just yet. She was feeling fragile enough as things were, barely holding together under Seras' unfailingly kind and understanding supervision.

Seras shook her head somewhat sadly. "He disappeared at the end of the battle in London. I know he's still, 'alive,' so to speak, but not where he is or when he might be able to return." Seras unbuttoned her collar, revealing the bite mark still on her neck. Hermione stared in curiosity at the pair of fang wounds in her master's neck, still looking fresh after what she could only guess were a fair number of years.

"So the bite mark doesn't go away then. Interesting." Hermione couldn't help but comment as she ran a finger over the bandage on the side of her neck. "How did you turn me anyway?" she asked, cocking her head to the side, "I thought that you could only do that to someone of the opposite sex."

"That is generally the rule, however our bloodline's degree of control over with the souls of the individuals we feed on creates a loophole. Normally, if we feed on someone to the point of killing them, we will absorb their soul, drawing power from it, being able to communicate with them mentally, and if they're powerful enough, being able to summon them as a familiar. Instead of absorbing your soul I forced it back into your body. It also takes a lot of power to do that, I was exhausted for hours after I turned you.

Hermione was tempted to ask how many souls her master had consumed, but quickly decided that she was unlikely to like the answer and resolved to ask some other time when she was in a better state of mind. The next few questions to come to mind ran into similar objections. She knew she didn't want to hear why it was that she would need to kill people in the future right now. " the vampirism the reason I can't feel anything when I think about my parents?" she finally managed to squeeze out, the guilt plain in her voice.

"Hermione, I think you're still in shock over their deaths, especially the way you found out," Seras replied, reaching over to gently stroke Hermione's hair, "I...I also lost my parents when I was very young, even younger than you are. It took a while for everything to register and a long time to be able to get past it, but I'm going to be here to support you and you have a bunch of wonderful friends who will want to be there for you too. Just remember, you have a lot of people who care about you and who want you to be happy. It's going to be rough for a while, but you don't have to do it alone."

Hermione mulled that over for a while and eventually nodded a little in acceptance. "It just feels so wrong not to be sad and I…," she paused for a moment, suddenly feeling awful for missing a key piece of their conversation out of concern for herself. "I'm sorry about your parents," she whispered.

Seras smiled at her and gave her a hug, "Even at a time like this, you're so concerned about others. Thank you, Hermione but concentrate on healing yourself for now, don't worry about my past, it's been a long time now."


"Yes Hermione?"

"How long have you been a vampire?"

"I…," Seras paused for a moment, considering her reply. While she had certainly proven herself via trial by fire, she hadn't actually been a vampire for very long. It didn't take her very long to decide that she should tell the truth to her fledgling, if she were half as bright as Seras had been told, she would figure it out on her own soon enough anyway. "I've been a vampire for a bit over four years now," Seras replied. Noticing a surprised noise from Hermione she continued, "I hope you're not too disappointed, I'm really not very much older than you are."

Hermione looked up at her and after a moment of consideration replied, "Actually, I think that's kind of comforting. I'm not sure why, but it is. I think it would be intimidating if you were several hundred years older than I am." A few moments passed as she tried to think of more questions about her new existence she could ask without overly distressing herself, but came up dry for the moment. This conversation was helpful though, keeping her mind away from dark places as she sought to learn about something new. "Is there anything you'd like to know about me?"

Seras grinned at her with a bit of a sheepish look on her face, "Well, to be honest I have a lot of questions. I didn't even know that your society existed before I was assigned to try to save you. I think I'll wait until I can get my hands on some textbooks for most of the general history, but I'd love to know more about this school that you attended."

Hermione suddenly looked conflicted, and Seras began to regret asking her question. "Sorry," the younger vampire said after a moment, "I just realized that my plans to go back to school to finish my education may not be possible anymore."

"Hermione, you're a national hero to your people, I'm sure that if you want to finish school so badly accommodations can be made. Perhaps we should request that the head of the school should attend the meeting in a few days." Hermione's expression brightened a bit at the suggestion and she considered the idea for a moment before her expression changed from conflicted to devastated. "Hermione, what's wrong?"

"My wand…" Hermione began, choking back tears, "Under ministry law it's illegal for vampires to own a wand."


A/N: Poor Hermione, will things ever get easier for her? Thank you all for your continued readership, I really appreciate it. Also yes, I know the timelines don't match up perfectly with what's canon (though admittedly neither series here is particularly tied to any particular time due to mention of real-world events). So figure the events of Hellsing occurred a few years earlier.