Chapter XXI: the past

"What was that about?" Andrea asked as she pushed Helena's chair into the depths of the lab.

"Memories," Helena said almost coldly. But the despite the obvious resentment, Andrea felt her sorrow. But Sol's reaction when he looked at her sister freaked her out.

There was no surprise nor shock nor resentment. Only acceptance.

A person ready to die.

"People like Sol are the most dangerous of all," Helena said as she looked forward. "If a person had nothing to lose, he would devote his life into what he believed in. And in essence, going beyond the limits."

"Meaning he would do everything in achieving his objective," Andrea mused. "But he doesn't seem the suicidal type."

"Subterfuge," Helena closed her eyes. She, like many others, scoffed him off because of his antics and therefore underestimating him. And in underestimating him, she had lost the trust of a close friend.

"His antics are false, that I know. He uses them to trick people into underestimating him?" Andrea whistled. "Is that what happened to that Andersen person?"

"The reason Sol beat him is because he caught the Paladin off-guard. The next time they meet it would be a trial for Sol to fight him," the vampire looked at the young woman behind her and smiled. "People who misunderstood people like Sol end up losing their friendship with that person. Sometimes mistrust played an important part and sometimes... disbelief."

"You sound like you made that mistake before," Andrea said solemnly and by Helena's look she struck home.

"Nathaniel Harker," Helena smiled in memory. "He's been with me since before I can remember. His family was American. They moved to London after an incident he had not told me. Since he was the only child in my neighborhood, we became close friends."

"How close?" Andrea asked as she felt warring emotions within the vampire.

"Let's just say, despite my current form he was the person who made me into a woman." Andrea froze in her steps as she heard her say that. "Close your mouth before something enters it," Helena frowned as she felt the young woman gape. "And I was about seventeen at the time."

"Still..." Andrea slowly pushed the chair forward. "With your physique... How old was he?"

"He was two years younger than me," Helena kept her gaze forward as they went.

"And... how was he?" Andrea asked, genuinely curious.

"A lady does not discuss their amorous experiences to other people," she said tersely but Andrea could feel the embarrassment within her.

"That good, huh?" she teased. But Helena was silent. "What happened next?"

"Five years after that I killed him," she said it in such a cold manner that Andrea shivered. "And when I did... he had that smile. A smile of content that shattered my hate." Helena was once again silent and Andrea kept her silence in respect for the vampire.

Helena closed her eyes to keep the pain in her heart. The pain that she carried for more than a hundred years.

But a single tear escaped and trickled down her cheek.

Helena remembered the smile all too well for it was the only time her friend showed her his love.

"Why not shag her and be done with it?" Grim asked as Sol offered Integra Hellsing a seat. They were now in the living quarters of the lab. Sol was still puzzled that Celes had run off like that but he did not pursue. She needed time to think.

"You're losing your manners," Sol reprimanded but that did not stop Grim.

"How could it be complicated?" he asked. "She's a beautiful woman, you're a bloke. It's that simple!"

"Can we discuss this a different time?" Sol's voice demanded no argument and with a sigh, Grim slumped his shoulders.

"Very well," Grim relented. "So, what's the plan?" Sol felt Integra's reluctance in working with Grim for the simple manner that she did not trust him.

"The plan is to get Lady Hellsing a Knight she could trust," he gave the cloaked man a meaningful glance that made him growl.

"She still owes me," Grim said as he crossed his arms.

"Not another stupid wager," Sol groaned as he gave an apologetic look towards Integra.

With a huff, Grim took his coin out.

"Let's leave it to fate, Heads I go, tails I stay," he flipped the coin into the air and caught it in his palm. Opening it, he showed to his companions the coin.

It was heads, much to the relief of Integra.

"Very well, what do you propose?" Grim asked Sol who, to the Head of the Hellsing Institute, was forming a plan.

"She needs someone she could trust fully. We do not qualify for she's still wary. We need someone cool headed and can think through any situations." Grim growled and then sighed.

"Fine," he said. "I'll wake him up."

"But what about my fee?" Integra couldn't help but ask. However, Grim only chuckled and walked towards the depths of the lab.

"Give it to my replacement," he said strangely calm. He was not talking in his usual haughtiness but in a calm and kind voice she had yet to hear from him. "Farewell, my Lady. Stay Lucky." And with that, he was off.

Stay Lucky.

Her friend Meteo always told her that whenever he departed or said goodnight. It was like he was casting a spell over her so that lady luck shall always be with her.

And when he never returned, she stopped believing in luck.

"Where is he going?" she asked.

"First to call a friend and then back into the shadows," Sol said as he lay down on the bed.

"HE confuses me," Integra said. "He disgust me but then I feel safe when he's close."

"He's always like that," Sol said. "You must understand. We work in the pretence of irony. But to divulge that is to divulge our secrets."

"I've never heard of you before," Integra said as she looked at him lying there.

"That's because we left no one to tell the tale," his voice was extremely cold. Colder than anything she had heard before. It was like he was a void that engulfs the life of others.

Even hers.

Not even Alucard scared her like this.

"You cannot control me, Lady Hellsing," Sol sat up and looked at her without emotion. "And that frightens you, doesn't it?"

"For some reason, no," she was puzzled at her admission. "And for that same reason you feel like a brother I never had." With this, Sol laughed.

"You're a gem, you know that?" he smiled suddenly making Integra blush.

For some reason.

"Anyway," he sighed as he stood. "We've better get to the cryogen chambers."

"What's there?" she asked.

"A friend."