This story takes place about 12 years after the series ends. It's just a continuation snippet revolving around my thoughts concerning the problems of an heir to Hellsing, which Integral would no doubt feel it was her duty to provide. I'm actually not too pleased with it, but I've done what editing I can, so any feedback with suggestions and improvements would be greatly appreciated.
"Integral…" the voice whispered at the edges of her mind.
"No," she hissed back at it, adjusting the white collar of her dress. She looked towards the mirrored panels by the bookshelf quickly and grimaced. A dress. Of all things. But it was traditional, she consoled herself, and it was proper. A bride should wear a dress. The thought made her choke slightly; but she composed herself, pulled the veil over her face and turned for the door.
"Integral…" the voice came again.
"Stay where you are," she snapped. "No. My answer is no."
She couldn't explain why she felt so crushed at his sudden withdrawal.
Integral blinked and shook her head, trying to clear her mind. She'd been trying to get through these reports for the past hour, but her mind had been constantly wandering today. She wasn't entirely certain why those mirrored panels by the bookshelf always reminded her of her wedding day, but it was certainly a memory she'd be quite willing to forget…
Integral shut the folder she'd been holding, resisting the urge to scream at her daughter as she slammed the study door open with a bang, wailing like a banshee. "Yes, Faith?" she asked, hoping her quiet tone would give the girl a hint. It didn't.
"Hope hit me!"
"Don't shout, Faith," Integral struggled to keep her patience. "How old are you?"
"Then don't act three."
Faith glared at her mother, flipped her golden curls over her shoulder, and turned around. "Papaaaa!" she yelled, "Hope hit me and Mama's being mean again!"
"You hit me first, you little brat!" Hope came tearing into the room two steps ahead of her father.
"Now, girls," Lord Camden soothed, taking one twin in each arm, "You know better than to fight around your mother. She's very busy."
"Mum's always busy," Hope sniffed, "With her stupid company and stupid Walter."
Integral clenched her hands at her sides, hard enough to leave bruised indentations in her palms but not quite hard enough to draw blood. Her blood always brought him running—no, she wouldn't think about him now.
"Faith, Hope, your mother's business is very important to her. Why don't you go play with Roberta in the gardens?"
"I hate Roberta," Faith answered. "All she ever does is sit under a tree and fan herself. Can I play with Seras? Seras always plays games with us."
"Sure," Lord Camden smiled.
"Seras is busy today," Integral snapped. "Go play with Roberta. That's what we pay her for."
Three pairs of identical brown eyes stared up into her icy blue ones. Then Lord Camden ushered the twins out the study door. "Go down to the gardens and wait for me there, okay? I'm going to talk to your mom for a minute."
Integral turned around and stared at the fireplace, at her armchair, and at her reports, lying forgotten on the desk. She heard the sound of the door swinging shut and the clicking of his shoes across the wooden floor.
"I thought we agreed not to disagree in front of the children," he said coldly.
"No, you agreed not to argue with me. I made no such promise. And besides, Celas is busy today. She and Walter…"
Her arguments died on her lips. "What?"
"Stop this; things can't go on this way. I know you love your work, but you're neglecting our daughters—never mind neglecting your duty to me…"
"What duty?" Integral cut him off in bitter humor. She had plenty of distasteful duties, but she wasn't aware she owed him one as well.
There was a strained silence.
"Don't act so bloody victimized," she continued coolly. "I didn't love you when I married you, any more than you loved me, and I don't love you now. That was the agreement, remember? You could have as many little affairs as you pleased, as long as you left me alone with my work."
"Integral, that's cruel," he answered, coming up behind her. She could feel his hot breath on her ear. He smelled like whiskey. It figured. "I always loved you…"
"No, you decided that you loved me when it suddenly occurred to you that you were getting old and your bed was getting colder and emptier every night," she turned to face him, daring him to argue with her, wishing he would argue with her. His face contorted into a mask of rage, and he lifted a hand to hit her. Integral didn't flinch. He wouldn't hit her. He wouldn't dare.
He didn't. After a moment, his hand dropped to its place at his side. "I guess I deserved that."
Integral sighed and rubbed her temples. "The children are waiting, Jack."
He turned to leave, and she turned back to the fireplace. The latch clicked; she heard the door open, but he paused in the doorway. "Don't you want me to love you?"
Her breath caught in her throat. Don't you want to drink my blood? She pushed the thought aside with some effort. "Not if it's a lie."
Not if it means abasing myself to you… she answered the other thought.
Part of her yearned for him to come back, to shut the door and say it wasn't a lie-- the same part of her that had always yearned to be nothing but a normal woman living out her life and dealing with the small problems of her household. The rest of her knew he would not say anything, because it would be a lie and even though there was no love lost between them, he respected her. She almost wished she could give him the same respect, but he was too complacent for her temperament. It was no surprise, of course, that was why she had married him in the first place—he wouldn't interfere with her mission. But she couldn't help but want him to be contrary every now and again, or argue simply for the sake of arguing, or to make things difficult simply to rile her up.
"It's lonely without a companion," he said quietly. He was quoting her, the line she had given years ago when this deal was first being drawn up. For some reason, it wrenched her heart—the one that she had tried so hard to turn to ice. She remembered that day clearly; remembered saying that line, and remembered the face that had flashed through her mind. It wasn't Jack's.
By the time she turned around, he had gone. Integral sank back into her chair by the fire, staring into the dancing flames. Her reports would have to wait until she could compose herself. What was wrong with her these days? She felt so agitated as of late, but she couldn't put her finger on why.
So he did it for her.
"They'll never live up to your standards."
"What do you want, Alucard?" she sighed as she caught a glimpse of the red jacket appear to her left from out of the shadows. She didn't need his obnoxious tormenting now.
"You know what I want," he smiled—strange that his demonic grin disturbed her less and less these days. She closed her eyes and purged that thought from her head.
"I don't want to drink your blood," Integral snapped harshly. Every day, the same thing. She needed to find something for him to do. Surely there had to be more dangerous vampires somewhere. If only Seras wasn't so damn efficient with the Freaks these days.
"Integral…" he started, and then stopped, as if considering something.
"Go away, Alucard."
Her eyes snapped open and she brought her head up to glare at his leering face. "What?"
"I said no," he smiled again. "You'll listen to me today. You should always listen to your elders."
"Alucard…" she growled in warning.
"My master," he began, grinning as she bristled at him, "By the time you were eleven, your father had taught you most of the ropes in the Hellsing Institute."
"Children grow up at different times, Alucard. If you had any of your own you'd know that."
He ignored the barb. "You know as well as I do that Faith and Hope will likely never be able to lead Hellsing."
"You've never even met them," Integral muttered.
"As per your orders, Master, although you well know that I have watched them since their birth. Insatiable curiosity about my future master, if you will. You've already refused to let me turn them, so the only option left is to…"
"Are you a prophet now, as well?" she snapped, but he would not be put off.
He braced himself against the armrests of her chair, leaning in close to her face and effectively trapping her in her seat. "I'm the No Life King, Integral Hellsing. And I'm offering you eternity."
"Again," she refused to be impressed, refused to acknowledge the sudden skip in her heartbeat. "And again, I refuse."
Alucard hissed at her, baring his teeth. For one awful moment, Integral was sure that he was going to bite her anyway, and she was sure that she wouldn't really mind it. Then he shuddered and sank back, his dark hair hiding his eyes entirely. "Why?"
It was such a pleading tone, that she almost forgot what her answer was and always had been. She turned the chair so it faced the fire, away from him. "I have a duty to God and the Queen," she said quietly. "I will not compromise my mission."
"Yes," he admitted, leaving his place at her side and moving back to take in the whole room. "That was the whole reason for this charade, wasn't it?"
"What are you talking about?" she demanded impatiently.
"This," he gestured around him, almost bitterly amused. "This marriage, these children… you didn't want children, you wanted an heir. You didn't want a husband, you wanted someone to father that heir." He glanced back at her, his eyes barely concealing the malicious laughter in his tone. "Hellsing must go on, yes?"
She couldn't argue with his logic. It was true, wasn't it? She had only married Jack because he would father her children and then stay out of her way. She had never tried to convince herself otherwise. So why did it sting so badly when Alucard threw it in her face? "Yes," she said quietly. "Hellsing must go on."
His stance changed almost imperceptibly; but she had known him long enough to realize that he was remembering a time long past. "I didn't expect it to last as long as it has already. Too long protecting one family—I wanted to kill your father just to make it end."
Integral raised an eyebrow. This she hadn't heard before. "Why didn't you?"
Alucard smiled and retreated further into the shadows. "Because one does not kill one's master. And because he had you," the words grew softer, flowing around her ears like a night breeze. "And I would protect you forever…"
By the time she turned around, he had disappeared entirely. His presence was still there, though, somewhere in the room. She could feel it. "Why do you want me to drink your blood?" she pressed, standing. "What of Seras?"
He was behind her, his shadow dimming the light from the fire. There was a fine mist on the floor, covering the wood panels completely. Her study was quickly turning into a dreamscape from somewhere in his twisted mind, but she found that she didn't really care. He couldn't use that trick to frighten her anymore.
"Seras is a child," he whispered, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and tickling her ear with his breath. "She does not desire the liberty you command without trying."
"Alucard," she began, but found she didn't really have anything to say. He was too close to her, but she couldn't bring herself to do anything either to deter or encourage him. He seemed to sense her indecision, and chuckled lightly.
"I won't hurt you," he murmured, brushing her pale hair to the side. Integral shuddered and broke away.
"To become… like you," she couldn't bring herself to say the actual words, "Would compromise my standing with the rest of the council. Hellsing would lose all respect."
"That's just an excuse," he muttered. "You know that there's other ways…" he stopped abruptly and turned his back to her. "Tonight, I'll wait for you."
"You'll wait forever," Integral snapped.
That grin again! "I've got longer than that." Then he was gone, and her study was her study once more.