Be Mean to Anderson Day continues. Aww.

Anderson, Integra, Maxwell, Rome, England, and the Queen all belong to someone else. But the small flowers are MINE!

+++++

It was a beautiful day in Rome. Anderson looked up at the morning clouds. Small flowers bloomed in bunches along the walk. Banks of lush green plants rose up behind them. It was a pity he was in too much of a hurry to pause and admire the gardening.

Maxwell was already inside. Anderson had gotten a flat tire, and was, regrettably, late. Changing the tire had taken far too long.

He stepped inside the building and was greeted with a flow of icy air. He was heading for the bathroom to wash the dirt from his hands when a servant headed him off.

"They're waiting, sir," he said, in slightly shocked tones that someone with dirt in his hair might decide to put personal vanity over keeping his betters waiting.

Alexander veered away from the door and followed the servant.

He found himself abruptly confronted with a room set up for a formal meeting. It took him a moment to recognise the man behind the desk; Alexander hadn't often seen him. Their stations were too far apart. This man gave Maxwell orders.

*~*

This was the sort of meeting that Integra hated. Formality, ceremony, and several hours that she could think of better ways to kill.

She was pleased to see that the Queen was apparently in no mood to waste time. "Sir Integra. We are pleased to see that you enjoy good health. May I offer you some tea?" Both women sat rod-straight. "We have been negotiating for some time now with Rome."

*~*

Maxwell coughed. The man behind the desk spoke. "Father Anderson, welcome. Please sit down." Alexander, cautious of road dirt, perched on the edge of his chair.

"I'm sorry that I'm late. I had to repair a flat." He mechanically spoke, his brain spitting out orders to repeat the words that he'd been thinking. As though he'd never heard a sound, the man opened the book on his desk to a carefully marked passage.

"Have you often pondered the book of Hosea, Anderson?" At the priest's nod, and before Anderson could speak, the man began reading. Anderson translated in his mind. He was familiar with the passage; this was the second verse of Hosea, in which God ordered Hosea to marry a prostitute.

*~*

"I regret the way that events have fallen out," the Queen said. "But I am afraid that I have much to ask of you. This is why I have called you here to speak directly. Hellsing needs an heir. Sir Integra, a match has been arranged between you and a priest of the Vatican."

*~*

"Father Anderson, the Church has to ask a difficult thing of you." The Bible closed. "As a high-ranking member of Section XIII, you carry a heavy diplomatic responsibility."

First time he'd heard of that responsibility. Usually, his responsibilities were limited to "Anderson, go kill that." Diplomacy, eh? Was he supposed to terrorize someone instead of killing them?

"The regenerator line must continue, and you must use your position as a member of the Church for a greater cause. A match has been made between you and a Protestant woman. If she agrees to go through with it, you can only be expected to comply."

*~*

"I was not expecting an arranged marriage," said Integra calmly.

"Sadly, neither were we. However, with such a wide diplomatic breach between the Church of Rome and our Protestant country, an alliance seems the proper step to take to solidify goodwill."

"And who has the Church chosen?"

"Father Alexander Anderson."

*~*

"A Protestant woman?" Alexander said blankly. "Marriage? I have taken my vows of celibacy."

"It seems that God has chosen you to walk a different path."

"Ah, with who?"

"The Queen has suggested Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing."

*~*

"I'm very sorry about your teacup, Your Majesty," Integra said mechanically. "And the tablecloth."

"Bring another teacup, please. And would you be so kind as to bring a plaster for our guest?"

Sir Integra stared blankly at the spreading stain on the tablecloth. "Anderson? But he's-"

"He's a man who needs watching," the Queen said bluntly. "He is allowed to come and go in this country. As matters stand now, we cannot control his actions. Marriage with you would curtail his movements here without stepping on the toes of the Vatican."

*~*

"But why her?" said Anderson, in a stunned and ungrammatical way.

Maxwell spoke. "In her household, you would be able to analyze the weaknesses of the nosferatu Alucard with much more accuracy. You also might learn the best way to move against the lesser vampire that Protestant sow keeps in her household."

"She'll install metal detectors in the front door," said Anderson practically. "With two vampires aware that I'm coming, I'm sure the house will be full of potential accidents for me to hit. Not to mention the chance of my running afoul of some projects belonging to their veteran assassin. I'll be lucky if I can last a day."

"You will have to spend less time in the field, with the details worked out between yourself and Sir Integra. However, we're certain that your regenerative ability and your skill will keep you alive." Anderson didn't like the little smile that went with the man's comforting words.

"Once again, Anderson, your church asks you to place duty above your ambitions," Maxwell said. "In any case, now that the match has been arranged, you and she must meet to discuss it." He paused, glaring. "And don't kill her!"

"I don't," Anderson snapped, startled. "Just her pets."

*~*

"I understand that this is much to ask," the Queen said softly. "You and he will meet first, to decide if this is possible or not. You know what we wish. Now the decision is yours."

"I will meet with him," said Integra slowly.

*~*

"Are you quite finished?" Maxwell asked icily.

"No." Anderson caught the look the man behind the desk was giving him and sank back in his chair. "Yes."

"You have heard the orders of Holy Mother Church. Go and do what you must."