Chapter Two

- Almost Twenty

"You called, Master?" Alucard asked appearing in front of her desk, or perhaps he came through a wall. She was not paying attention to her surroundings to notice the black-cloaked vampire's grand entrance. Integral was currently absorbed in reading Seras Victoria's file that Walter had brought to her about half an hour ago. She needed to judge if the fledgling was worthy to join the organisation, or just release her to her luck in vampire society. She had to admit, for her childhood's description, that the small girl had gall enough to face the difficult life of a Hellsing operative.

Closing the folder, Integral adjusted her spectacles and straightened her posture to acknowledge her servant with a nod. "I did… about ten minutes ago," she stated, a small hint of accusation was in her tone.

"I was waiting for the girl to finally fall sleep, Integral," Alucard explained, offering no apology for his delay. "She was a rather pathetic sight, weeping for her lost partners. But I trust she will get over it soon."

"Oh? Reduced to a nervous mother hen, Alucard? Who would have thought," Integral teased, good naturedly. She recalled how he looked over her when she was sleeping years ago, when she was not over sixteen.

"No, just taking responsibilities," Alucard gave a shrug and scanned over her desk, his survey stopped on Seras Victoria's file. "You have been reading about her."

"Yes, I was pondering if she's material for this organisation," Integral pointed out, resting her chin on her right fist. "And I finally came to a conclusion." She waited until Alucard asked for her answer, but he did not. "Don't you want to know?"

"It's not in the servant's place to question the Master's decisions."

Integral frowned. He sounded apathetic regarding his new charge. "Seras Victoria will join Hellsing and shall be put under your training for the first months of her stay," she said. "I trust you will teach her well, and bother to give a lesson or two to your fledgling this time, that maybe will stop her from getting killed." She closed her mouth too late; she had spoken too much.

"The weak die and I was unable to complete the baptise on the ones that really interested me," Alucard replied, indifferent. "But I will train her, she seems decent enough to endure my teachings."

"You don't sound very enthusiastic with the idea," Integral pointed out, lounging in her seat. A strand of her blonde hair fell over her right eye, covering half her face. "Why did you turn her into a vampire?" she asked; the idea had been bothering her since her servant returned with that police officer on his arms.

"A vampire held her as hostage. If I didn't, she would have died. I gave you the report hours ago."

"You did and I don't buy that excuse," Integral snapped, narrowing her eyes. Alucard arched a brow as she continued. "You could have vanished or turned into mist to kill him from behind. There were many ways you would have been able to destroy the vicar without taking away the girl's life. Now Alucard, I am not in mood to be lied to. Why did you turn her? Because she was a pretty, little thing?"

"She didn't give up. Her looks are far from appealing to me," Alucard told her, pursing his lips in one of those infernal smirks of his. She mirrored his smirk with a skill learnt from the decade they had spent together. "However, she was facing a hell with bravery, that spirit shouldn't be allowed to waste in humanity," he finished, words soaking in praise.

Integral remained silent, studying the vampire before her with new eyes. A small part of her felt jealousy but that was ignored quickly, replaced by pity. Seras Victoria's life would be difficult if her servant remained interested in her. She closed her eyes, pushing away both feelings. His reason would be convincing if she were another, but Integral shared a bond like no other with him; a link reinforced with the ten years that they had lived in the same house. "I don't believe you."

He said nothing.

"Was that the only reason you turned that girl, Alucard? Because she didn't give up? I have read her file, servant. Don't take me as a fool, I am fully aware of whom she resembles," Integral pointed out a bit more harshly than usual – they were talking about a girl's fate, for God's sake; it was not a matter to take lightly. She paused to seek a cigar in her pockets. The box was empty. Darn, I'll tell Walter to buy me more in the morning. She did not allow her tobacco depravation to distract her. "She's almost twenty. Did you know she will turn that age in September?"

His response again was silence. Integral's smirk faded to a frown, there was no change of expression. Nothing she could discern unusual on Alucard. "I suppose it is also a spooky coincidence that she is a faired skinned, blonde young woman with big, blue eyes filled with innocence. No one you have encountered in the past, about a century ago, fits in such description," she accused him. Was he toying with Seras Victoria's life? Why now? Why not a year ago in August, on the anniversary?

"I didn't find anyone suitable a year ago, Master," Alucard pointed out. She shot him a quick glare; the vampire had been reading her thoughts again. Then he started to clap, bowing in her direction. "Congratulations, Integra. I knew you were sharp enough to guess it. But I am afraid that the unfortunate Miss Westenra was better looking than this girl and nowhere near as courageous." He stopped his mocking praise and removed his sunglasses. "What more you want to know, my Master? Did she pant? If her breath shortened? If she felt the agonizing earthquake when I penetrated her?"

Integral grimaced, loathing her servant in that moment. She enjoyed his company usually, but there were some things that she rather did not like to find out. "I hope that for her sake, she doesn't remember that," she told him, her tone was dead serious. "What you did was awful, Alucard."

"It was her choice."

"Choice!" Integral snorted, slamming her hand onto her desk. "Asking a dying young girl to become a vampire or die is as willing as hypnotizing Victorian ladies and ravishing them while they couldn't defend themselves!"

"We have different definitions of what a choice is, Master," Alucard cleared up, pacing towards the door and spinning around to glance at her. "I won't antagonize you in that subject. But both, Lucy and this girl, Seras Victoria, were attracted to darkness. That came before my apparition and the context when they finally embraced their path. You know that, you have read her file."

Integral's face shifted from angry to collected, sighing. Indeed, Seras seemed to have violent tendencies when she was young. That was what Alucard saw in her? Just like Lucy's secret lascivious side caught his attention?

"Very well," she accepted his explanation, what was done was done. Part of her felt she failed to protect Seras Victoria. It was her duty to save an innocent life. For that failure, she vowed to herself to look after her and explain the best she could about her new unlife. The knight massaged her temples briefly, "You may go. Train her, Alucard, she is your responsibility," she commanded. "And…"

"Yes?" Alucard asked while half his body was on the other side of her wall. He thought himself very amusing to do that; she used to think that as well, when she was thirteen. Alucard did not grow up.

"I hope you aren't hiding the three sisters in the basement," Integral scolded while the vampire laughed in reply.

"I don't, Master. Don't worry, I wouldn't want those harpies in my unlife again," Alucard assured her with a devilish grin. "However, I am afraid that I have already found my Mina," he added before disappearing through the wall.

Integral's mouth hung open for a while, staring at her vacant office. Was he serious? Did she want to find out? She stood and walked towards the door to exit. It would seem she needed her cigar sooner than she thought.