Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano (and Pip to Seras, but hush).

Author's Notes: Zachiel requested me a slight PipxIntegral ficlet just because 'people are discarding canon to write CeresxAlucard, we should do the same!' Merry Christmas, Cecilia! Pip's family background appears in the volume six of the manga. This is set before volume three, just after the Wild Geese were hired. Thanks to lawofar18 for her edition!

Following Tradition

She pulled the trigger once more until the clip emptied. Quickly, she replaced it with a new one, allowing the old one to fall to the floor, deemed useless now. She took aim at the paper target in front of her, eyes narrowed in concentration, and fired. The burst of three bullets passed perfectly through the same little hole on her fake prey's chest.

Integral Hellsing smirked at her accuracy, proud of it. All Hellsings had dead aim, even the failed ones like her uncle. She was supposed to follow tradition. Integral took several seconds to enjoy the enticing smell of gunpowder before raising her gun once more, when a noise beside the knight startled her enough to make her pause.

On Integral's left, Pip Bernadette was about to start his own shooting practice, loading his Colt Single Army Revolver. However, instead of focusing on the platform, he was looking at her – or rather at her chest -- with fascination. Admittedly, she knew that divesting herself from her coat could be a bad idea, room temperature or no. But Integral thought that for once, she had privacy; this was her personal firing room.

"Unless you plan to use me as target, Captain," Integral sneered, removing her ear plugs, "I suggest that you look at another thing, in another room."

Pip grinned, lifting his cowboy hat as a sign of respect. "Afternoon, boss."

"Greetings," Integral inclined her head. "Do you wish to speak with me? What's your excuse for invading my personal space?" Indeed, she was over-protective of it. But she had so little time to herself; Alucard hovered over her shoulder at night, and Walter followed her at day. She was not going to break if they were not guarding her welfare. It was frustrating.

"Just wanted a change of scenes," Pip shrugged, turning to the targets and firing at them with a skill that nearly rivaled hers. "Most of my former chiefs trembled when they grabbed a gun."

"Because none of them was a Hellsing," Integral pointed out, returning to her own session. She knew he was observing her. His gaze made her uncomfortable, but she did not show it. After a few minutes, the intensity became unbearable. "Bernadette…" she holstered her Beretta and turned to face him. "What do you want?"

Pip walked towards her, his features a mixture of goofiness and slyness. "Many things, boss," he replied, toes touching toes. "Christmas bonus check, more days off, a pretty girl…" He paused, making Integral redden in embarrassment and anger. "But I'll settle for fire now, please," he pointed out, gesturing to the cigarette between his lips.

"If that is what it takes to make you leave," Integral scolded as she searched her pocket for a lighter. "Keep it," she tossed it in his direction. "Is that all?" she demanded, not in the mood for taunts. The Lord knew she had enough with Alucard's to tolerate; now there was the flirty nature of her new Captain.

Pip lit his cigarette and exhaled smoke, looking around the room. "Walter showed me your grampa's and father's pictures during the tour of the Mansion. They didn't look like you."

"The portraits in the hall?" Integral inquired, and he nodded in response. "Certainly they didn't look like me. I'm not a man."

"I noticed." Pip lifted a brow and sneaked another glance at her bosom. Integral cleared her throat; she moved to push him out when he spoke again. "But that wasn't what I meant. They looked fanatical and focused. You don't."

Integral scoffed, "What's that supposed to mean? I'm like that as well. My duty to exterminate all undead that menace the Empire is something I don't take lightly." She was borderline offended by that. That mission was all that had mattered since her birth.

"But do you hate all vampires?" Pip asked, inhaling the tobacco stick. "Even the Police Girl and the creepy old one?"

"It's Alucard," Integral corrected him, then frowned, pensive. "No, I don't; quite the opposite."

"See, you're different then," Pip assured her with a nod. "According to your butler, your dad wasn't tolerant of them."

Her lips formed into a thin line; as much she loved her father, Integral did things her way. Had her own priorities. "My father is not myself, even if we follow the same tradition. We do things in our own styles."

Pip smiled at her – not mocking, not taunting or flirting, but with empathy. "It'll be a pleasure to work for you, Sir Hellsing," he stated respectfully.

"That is all?" Integral was starting to get frustrated.

"Unless you want to reward your Captain with something more?" Pip said suggestively, taking a step.

"Sleeping with your boss won't earn you a raise," Integral warned, crossing her arms against her chest. "Now move out of my way if you want to receive a bonus of holidays, soldier of fortune."

Pip lifted his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay, I was kiddin', boss." His grin widened. "Soldier of fortune, eh? Like my father, grandfather, great-grandfather and the ones before him. A big line of mercenaries that fight only for money."

"In which is assured your loyalty and work well done," Integral assented. For mercenaries, only cash mattered, not friends, religion or country.

"You already have that, Sir. Money is just an extra enticement," Pip stated, turning to leave. "Captain Pip Bernadette dismissed!"

"Why the sudden change of moods, Bernadette?" Integral inquired, incredulous of what she had heard. Was he jesting again? She would not allow a subordinate make fun at her expense.

He paused and spun around. Integral saw something different reflected in his eye. Not the mischief or the greed proper for one of his kind; instead she could glimpse something alien – the ideals of a child. "Let's just say, boss, that you're not the only one who has a personal way of following tradition."