I don't own Hellsing.  That's kind of obvious.


"Sir Hellsing."

"Your Majesty."

"Sit down, Sir Knight.  We have much to discuss."

Integra straightened from her bow and sat in the gilded chair across an expanse of mahogany from her Queen.  Although she would die before showing it, she was nervous.  It was rare that one would receive a private audience, and even more rare that the elderly Queen requested one.  And from the tone of the letter, it was a demand.  Please, God, Integra prayed, not again.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the second, looked across the table and met Integra's eyes.  There was still steel in this genteel old lady, and iron will that had survived the death of mother, Consort and eldest son.

"Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing."  Yet she did sound tired.  "You have served us well and faithfully as a Knight of the Round Table for many years, and for this we are most grateful.  But you still refuse to see the problem before you.  Your lack of an heir."

Integra gritted her teeth.  "Your Majesty, -" she began.

The Queen lifted her hand, commanding silence.  "The House of Windsor has done it's utmost to provide you with a suitable husband."  She lifted a paper from the desk in front of her.  "Let us recall.  Lord Marcus Gailsworthy.  In an institution, babbling about people walking through walls.  Sir Francis' eldest son, Edward.  Withdrew his suit after an unfortunate 'accident'."  Integra could hear the doubt in the Queen's voice on the word 'accident'.  "Sir Thomas White, who entered a monastery two weeks after agreeing to court you.  Shall I continue?"

Mutely, Integra shook her head.  In truth, she was trying not to laugh.  It seemed to her that all it took to be a male aristocrat in England today was the right parents and the ability to be a git.  None of the men the Queen had sent to court her had been a match, mentally or physically.  And she'd be damned before she'd muzzle Hellsing's most effective weapon just because he scared some petty lordling.

Elizabeth sighed.  Putting the paper back, she leaned forward in her chair.  "Integra," the casual name sounded awkward.  "The Royal Order of Protestant Knights must continue.  And should you die without an heir, that creature you control would be masterless, which would be a disaster for Great Britain.  You have just passed your thirty-third birthday.  Your time is running out."

Integra shifted uneasily.  "If your Majesty will permit my saying so, I needn't marry at all.  With artificial insemination –"

"No."  Her voice was firm.  "Forgive an old lady her prejudices, but a child should be conceived from man and woman, not woman and test tube.  No, I called you here to give you a choice, Sir Hellsing."

There was a warning in that voice.  Integra sat up straighter.  "My Queen?"

Elizabeth shuffled her papers once again.  "Your uncle Richard's only child was recently orphaned.  She is nineteen years old and living in France in a boarding school."  Her tone suddenly changed.  "We have added this girl to the list of the aristocracy as the only other living Hellsing.  Our command to you is this.  Either marry and beget an heir, or recognise the sole child of Richard Hellsing, your cousin, as the next leader of the Royal Protestant Knights."

Integra felt like she'd been punched.  Either allow some male to turn her into nothing more than a brood mare for the next Hellsing, or allow the child of her uncle, the man who tried to kill her, to take over her sacred duty.  Her mind raced.

"Your answer, Sir Hellsing?"

"If your Majesty will allow it, I would look the girl over for a week or two.  I know almost nothing of her."  That would at least give her time to plan a way out of this.

A small frown appeared on the Queen's face.  "There are not many that would attempt to bargain with the Queen.  Is a husband such and evil fate, Sir Knight?"  Integra let silence be her only answer, letting her face show nothing.  A sigh escaped the Queen.  "Very well, Sir Hellsing.  You will send for this child and I expect you for an audience two weeks after her arrival."  She slid a dossier across the table.  "She has been living on the remainder of her mother's ancestral fortune, but at this point she is almost penniless."

Integra took the folder and opened it.  A glossy photograph was at the top of the stack, of an unsmiling face shown in profile.  Messy dark brown hair and one green eye were featured.  A name was printed at the bottom of the photo in bold black type against the white.

"You are dismissed, Sir Hellsing."

Integra rose, bowed, backed up five steps then left through the door the Queen's minder held open for her.  She swept though the halls of the palace, ignoring the squeaky little official who tried to keep pace and escort her out.  She was already making plans for the weeks to come, for the arrival of this child.  This daughter of Richard, Genevieve Hellsing.