Summary: This short story takes place in volume 3, before Alucard is given his assignment to go to Hotel Rio, Brazil, South America. As a new Hellsing fan but an old fanfic writer, it appeared to me that Integra drew on some inner strength for Alucard's Brazilian assignment and became even more of a decisive leader from then on.

Integra was deeply asleep. Alucard knew this from not only hearing her breathing but also from feeling her heartbeat. Steady and strong, with an insistent rhythm, it echoed throughout his body, forcing his own undead heart to beat in synch with hers. Ah, but that was the beauty of the hunt, a rare treasure he had had to give up after being blood-bonded to his master more than ten years ago. These days, life only became interesting when he was chosen by his master to carry out his assignments. And talking with Walter, the present butler of the Hellsing mansion. Alucard smiled to himself. If looks could be deceiving, then Walter deserved a prize. Very few people knew Walter as the 'Angel of Death', ex-trashman for the Hellsing organization over fifty years ago. Fewer people still knew the full extent of his expertise or of his brutality. Walter and Alucard had taken apart the Millennium organization all those years ago. Walter was a force indeed to be reckoned with and Alucard hoped he would never have to face him if Hellsing's enemies ever drove him insane. The vampire was certain he would win but was uncertain of how much damage Walter could cause him in the process. No, it certainly would not be pretty. On both sides.

Integra moaned once and shifted in her sleep, bringing Alucard's thoughts back to the present. His master was having a nightmare again. Well, that was nothing new. After learning about the Millennium group's existence, Integra was keeping more and more late hours. She had doggedly refused to take any medications for her sleeplessness and paid the price for it with insomnia, and tonight, with bad dreams. Headstrong. And practical. Very, very practical. Alucard sighed. Two words that described his master. But she was young too. And naïve. Naïve about the new enemy they faced. No person, no one living or dead who had not encountered the Millennium group's carnage previously could be aware of its full single-minded power and its sheer insanity. Now, that made Alucard smile. While most at the Hellsing mansion thought he was crazy, Alucard used his immense to achieve his goals. Even in life, when Alucard, Dracula, was known as 'the Impaler' he killed to keep his country safe. Now, he used his preternatural abilities to slay vampires and ghouls for the Hellsing organization. He took out the trash for his master and took pride on doing it well. Millennium group was oddly disconcerting to Alucard since it had no goals or ambitions except to wreck havoc on the world. It did not want neither King nor country. Unless you counted Alucard's head on a plate. That, the organization did want. Probably with most of Hellsings' corpses displayed on the gates leading to Hellsing mansion.

His master also didn't realize that the Hellsing organization desperately needed more vampires. While Alucard was the best at his job with Walter coming in a good strong second, more 'fire-power' as it were, wouldn't be bad. If only his master would allow him, Alucard could make her his. And what a fine vampire Integra would be. Even when Alucard was young, he always praised the traits of women, trying to argue, even then, to his backward thinking men, that a woman could be equal or better in battle. Alucard had found two women of that sort in his life. One, Mina, he had lost over a hundred years ago in a battle that he should have won, save for his carelessness and his feelings of love. Integra, his master, was the other woman Alucard thought more than measured up to a man. And here and now, Alucard swore to himself not to make the same mistakes he had previously done. He would wait until she was read to accept his gifts.

Even now, if she wanted, he could be so much more to her than just a hired assassin. While he killed succinctly and with a surgeon's precision, there were other arenas in which he could use his skills just as well. And himself too. His master's blood had tasted like the finest champagne as it dripped smoothly down his throat those many years ago in that dark basement, waking him to consciousness. Alucard licked his lips slowly, remembering the sensation. Oh, how he longed to taste of that exquisite vintage again. But, alas, as with everything else that could ease his master's suffering, Integra chose the harder road. The road of more resistance. The road where she had to prove herself and rely solely on her humanity. This is what drew Alucard to Integra and thus created his obsession with her. If she yielded to him, she would become less the woman she was and Alucard knew he would like both of them less. Alucard would wait. War was coming and with it anyone's guess as to what the future held.

Alucard looked at his master in her bed. How fragile she looked. How steely and resolved she would have to be in the coming months ahead. The Millennium group would test all their patience and resourcefulness. As long as I am alive, well, unalive, Alucard silently corrected himself, looking down up slight form that was Integra, I will serve you, my master, he promised. Until my true and final death. Until I cease to walk this earth.

Alucard bent closer to Integra. She was asleep and so could not order him around, could not make her wishes know, could not say 'Alucard, I do not want this.' He felt her hot, sweet breath on his cold, undead cheek, just as intoxicating to him as her blood had been. For one wicked moment, he thought to kiss her lips once, then Walter coughed discreetly, spoiling the moment.

"Now you know, Alucard, that is not something that Integra wants."

Alucard looked up, meeting Walter's disapproving gaze. "I know. I know." Alucard continued, in a soft whisper, "I'm bonded to her and so know her more intimately than she knows herself at times. I just wish she knew that I would move heaven and earth at her command."

Under Walter's watchful eyes, Alucard planted a light kiss on Integra's forehead.

"She knows Alucard," Walter replied, resigned. "And that knowledge is what scares her most."

And with another glance at Walter, Alucard stood up and, walking to the wall, appeared to melt into it.

Integra Hellsing looked down at her bare feet and the grass caught between them. If she focused harder, she could count every blade, examine each of their individual patterns. The air felt pleasant on her bare skin for it was being quickly warmed by the bright summer sun. Integra was in the expansive, park-like backyard of the Hellsing mansion dressed in a white, sheer nightgown. Oh, yes, it was going to be one of those dreams again. With sleep being so difficult to obtain, Sir Integra's subconscious decided not to wake its dreamer at the moment. Perhaps, when things got worse, she could get out. Practicality was both Integra's gift and curse. Depending on what happened next, would tell her which was which. Much like in dreams and, unfortunately, also in Sir Integra's real life, Alucard, appeared, as if out of thin air. He was dressed for his master's visual pleasure, attired in a white, open shirt and his usual trousers, boots and long duster. The soft breeze played with a few strands of his thick black hair, tossing it around freely since his hair was unencumbered by a hat. Her servant's face was also free of glasses but, for once, Integra wished they weren't. Alucard's eyes, already red with barely restrained vampiric power, held both a single-minded lust and obsession that was unsettling to behold. He stared at Integra and, walked towards her, never taking his eyes off hers. When Alucard was standing in front of Sir Integra, he dropped to his knees.

Looking slightly up to her, for the vampire was tall even at less than half his full height, he asked in a voice that the devil himself would have been proud to own,

"Master, give me my orders."

Integra's dream self answered her servant, "If you think you are worthy of my gifts, then take what I offer you."

Slowly but firmly, she took his large, left hand in her right one and looked at it. Cool but not uncomfortably cold, Alucard's hand dwarfed hers, closing around hers with surprising gentleness. Her servant, the vampire, had long, tapered fingers, the hands of a murderer or of a priest. Almost instantly, the fingernails became longer and sharper, not quite inhuman yet, but, almost. Alucard allowed Sir Integra to guide his hand to the left sleeve of her nightgown. Together, their hands pulled the thin strap off her shoulders and down her left arm, past her elbow. Integra's full breast was exposed to the air and yet she felt herself growing warmer. Alucard's, hand, now moving of its own volition, suddenly lashed out and fiercely made a slash across Integra's breast, very close to her now tightened nipple. Integra cried out, both out of shock and pleasure at being violated so. She looked down at her left breast and realized, in a disjointed manner, that her blood was now running freely out of the cut.

Alucard toothily smiled once into his master's gaze and with an unwavering determination, fixed his silky lips to her nipple, his warm, wet mouth taking in part of her breast. Pleasure doubled and then tripled for Integra as Alucard began to suck. Her blood. Her body. Her soul. All were intermingling deep down inside of her and somehow, being slowly, inexorably, pulled out of her body. Her nipple served now as the umbilical cord, linking master to servant, feeding him, nourishing him, pleasuring them both beyond word and thought. She moved her hands to his soft, dark hair as if to pull him away but this action only served to make him lock onto her tighter with an insatiable, almost cruel, hunger.

Alucard was still vigorously sucking with a primal wet sound that only caused to excite her more. His right hand moved to Sir Integra's hip, steadying her. In concert, she also felt his left hand slide under her nightgown, search, stroking, rubbing. Though the vampire had not removed his mouth from her breast, Integra heard him clearly in her head.

"Come for me. Come for your servant, my Master."

The orgasm, beginning somewhere in her lower stomach, exploded over her, engulfing her, engulfing him, drowning them both in a sea of burning hot need.

Integra's orgasmic scream ripped through her throat, bringing her wet and shaken, out of her dream world. She grabbed at the strewn covers, violently throwing them away from her body. Panting with the aftereffects of the morning's imagined passions, Integra was immediately horrified.

She quickly rose, grabbed her glasses, pushing them firmly into place. She looked out into the hallway of her third floor bedroom. Luckily, though it was morning, it wasn't late enough for the servants to be about. What would they think if they had heard her cries? Would they have come running in alarm or would they have laughed to themselves and whispered about the Hellsing master who could not keep her feelings in check when they all were about to face a greater enemy than most had known before? Integra hoped it was the former, but being a very powerful woman, surrounded by equally powerful men, save for two, Alucard and Walter, she knew her position was precarious. One wrong move, one wrongly displayed emotion could destroy both her and the organization that her father had fought so long to protect. If a woman in a position of power ever showed positive emotions, Integra knew, without a doubt, that these emotions would be misconstrued by some as making her into a being that was weak, ineffectual, less than perfect. Men in her same position could show happiness, joy, even love for someone and be thought of as a great man. Let an equally powerful woman favor someone with a mere glance and her career was over. She would be cast as a weakling, a true daughter of Eve who dressed like a man during the day, but then, at night, partook of all the forbidden pleasures that a man could offer.

Why did life have to be so goddamn unfair? At times like this, she didn't have an answer. Perhaps her body would continue to betray her but her mind would not. She was a sentient being and could make her own choices. No, she would not start down that road.

She needed to think some more. She needed to smoke. It was becoming lighter out and nowhere would she be completely safe from prying eyes. Only the basement, cold and dimly lit, but without any servant or living person, could be her refuge. Donning a dressing gown, Integra hastily grabbed some matches and placed a new .22 in a small, light holster that strapped to her waist. These were uncertain times and, even within the confines of her own house, she would not walk around unarmed. The .22, outfitted with specially blessed silver bullets, would injure any man or midian that she would encounter. Of course, it would not fatally wound them, but, when you had a retainer as gifted as Walter, you only needed to give him a few minutes time to arrive and permanently take out the trash.

The .22 had been a gift from Alucard and adapted to meet her needs by Walter. Alucard, upon giving her the gift at her last birthday, slyly remarked that at least she'd have something of his to always wear close to her body at night or in the morning. Sir Integra had rewarded her servant with a cold, harsh gaze but she could not forget the naked hunger in his gaze that seemed to sear through her body, reaching for her soul.

Sir Integra, now freshly armed, pulled her dressing gown tightly around herself and quietly, but quickly, made her way to down the three flights of stairs to the cellar. She opened the heavy cellar door and went down the stairs. Though dark, the cellar was lit by small, naked bulbs hung in a row. Integra ungraciously sat down on the cold stone floor, her back to the wall. At least she could think here without being disturbed. If she were lucky, they wouldn't start to miss her for another hour or so.

She gingerly took a cigar out of its package in her pocket and lit it. She inhaled deeply, watching the smoke as it exited her body. The hell with those bloody doctors and their orders. Smoking centered her. It gave her body something to do while her mind pondered, plotted.

What would her father think about her leadership? She didn't have an answer for that either. It was becoming a banner day for her. Questions, questions without answers. Shit. She wished he were here so she could have someone to talk to, to confide in. Her biggest worry and her reason for her nightly insomnia had been the knowledge of the existence of the Millennium group and its mission. Unfortunately, Integra had a lot of soldiers but not many advisors. Or, advisors that she could trust, she quickly corrected herself.

Oh sure, after a dream like that, she would be more than welcome in Alucard's room. She was definitely certain she didn't want that kind of comfort. What was disturbing, though, was that ever since Alucard had drunk her blood and had become bonded to her, he seemed to know her better than she knew her own self at times. And the knowledge of knowing that, she had to admit, was pretty scary. When asked, Alucard did admit that tasting her blood had given him a vision of her soul. Well, if that's what he thought, then, that's the closest he would ever get. He could peer in and look but she was definitely not opening the door and placing a welcome mat in front of it. No, she would not let him or any vampire, for that matter, take her humanity, her soul.

Then, there was always Walter, her trusted retainer. Unfortunately, she could depend on his expedient killing methods but she could not look to him for advice. Integra also had in her service another vampire, Seras Victoria. She was Alucard's servant until she drank Alucard's blood and became a true master vampire. Integra didn't wholly blame Seras' decision outright. Until that time, however, Integra did not consider the Police girl a true force to be reckoned with. Sure Seras was scary, she was a big, bad vampire, for Christ's sake, but, unlike Alucard, and even, Walter, Integra felt more beholden to protect her rather than the other way around.

It all came down to this, then. Much like everyone else in the Hellsing household, they viewed her as the be all and end all. Orders started and ended with her. Everyone could lean on her but she was all alone. The epitome of power and of…loneliness.

War with the ghastly Millennium group was practically on her doorstep. Yes, the Hellsing organization would engage them soon. Or at least Alucard. And he took orders from her so it was a vicious cycle. God, but she loved to watch him kill. The ultimate in power, passion and precision wrapped up in one package. Stand him up against a hundred ghouls. Send him into the middle of battle with just his anti-freak guns. And the results would always be the same. Blood. Blood, expertly channeled chaos and mass slaughter. Mission accomplished, target nullified. More and more though, why did she feel that each time she let him release and use his immortal powers with a cheerful glee, did she feel as if she were losing her humanity, her soul, one piece at a time. Well, someone had to take out the trash, as it were, and Alucard was the best man, best vampire they had. And he was her servant to boot. But could he stand up against crazed madmen bent on total destruction and anarchy? Anarchy that might bring about even a nuclear war? Alucard was strong, powerful, at times so very inhumanly so, but how the hell could he stand up to a nuclear warhead? Even Integra was lost thinking about this possibility.

Her cigar almost finished, Integra ground it out onto the stone floor and put the remains in her dressing gown pocket. She hated to think that a servant might find evidence and gossip about her and Alucard, about her and Seras, about her and anybody. Damn, but she needed to be thorough.

For a moment, Sir Integra had a clear vision of London, nay, all of England, possibly even the world, on fire, in ruins, burning. It tore through her soul, causing her more pain than anything did since her father's death. Walter. Alucard. Organization. Queen, country, Mother England, all gone, gone because of some group's unholy desire to annihilate everything in its path. 'How the hell can I lead everyone who's counting on me into total disaster, possibly even to the end of the world', Integra thought, feeling suddenly so ungrounded. She fought hard but salty tears arrived at the corners of her eyes. For several minutes, she cried. She ranted. And banged on the stone walls until her hands were red and sore. Why the bloody hell did the path that she was walking have to be so goddamn difficult!

Even crushed and down to her last rationale thought, Integral was servant to no one, least of all to her treacherous emotions. She fought for control and regained it more quickly than most. 'Screw it all.' Integra thought. Let them come. Let the Millennium group try and threaten her and hers. She had the best goddamn men at arms, Alucard, Walter and even, Seras Victoria. Alucard had recently hinted that, if things got too 'sticky', he might even know of someone in Paris who could lend a little firepower. Good trashmen were hard to come by but Alucard had always assured Integra that he did indeed have an ace in his pocket.

Integra gave one last lingering look down the dark corridor that led to Alucard's room and his coffin. Probably one of the most powerful vampires slept in that coffin and only took orders from one person in the world, one woman, her, Sir Integra Wingates van Helsing.

From now on, she was going to make certain that all her orders would come without regret, without self-doubt. She would order Alucard to search and destroy. Search and destroy everything before it took her organization down and the world with it. She would order Alucard even to the gates of Hell. And perhaps, even beyond.

Slowly, Sir Integra stood with more conviction than she had felt in months and made her way to the basement stairs leading to the ground floor and her office three floors above it.