Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano. The Sin City quote to Frank Miller.

Author's Notes: Written as response of the Sin City quote challenge in bloody shorts of livejournal. I chose the quote: An old man dies. A young girl lives. A fair trade. I love you, Nancy." Edited by Dreadnot.


Fair Trade

He was not buried. The bastard who took the name of Hellsing did not deserve his own grave. Richard Hellsing's casket was welcomed by the flames of the cremation ritual as his niece watched him. Her blue eyes matched the intensity of the fire. Unlike the others, Integral was wearing white; it was proper, on his opinion, for she had nothing to mourn but her own innocence.

May those flames be the threshold to hell, Uncle, she was thinking. Alucard could hear her thoughts and taste her righteous anger. So much potential she had, but he needed to be slow, to make it bloom correctly.

He was standing at her right, dressed only in his own black suit, which contrasted with his white hair. Wearing either his cloak or his coat was an honour the little maggot did not deserve. His shadow projected over her slim form quite sinisterly but Integral did not mind anymore; her fright passed as soon he pledged alliance and put himself to her service. Walter was in front of her, to her left and squeezing her shoulder; he had not spoken to her. The Angel of Death was wise to understand Integral did not need comfort, even if she wanted it.

"I want to visit my father's grave," Integral stated bluntly, not waiting for the guests' condolences or the end of the ceremony. There had been no wake, she had refused to lament the man who had tried to murder her.

"As you order, Lady Hellsing," Walter replied, and opened an exit through the dumbfound crowd.

Alucard watched them, clucking his tongue in amusement at the unspoken protests and the half-condescending looks they threw at his new Master. Just like her father, the girl did not seem to care about social conventions, but unlike Arthur, she had a stronger sense of responsibility.

They walked from the cremation mausoleum towards the family crypt where Integral's ancestors were buried, quite the sight were the two tall men dressed in black following around the small little girl inside a prim white dress through the immense private Hellsing graveyard. The building was not impressive; a pair of archangel statues guarded the entrance, wielding their swords.

"I need time alone," Integral said, glancing at them with a sorrowful expression. "Please."

"Of course milady, we'll wait," Walter assured her with a smile. Alucard nodded in response.

Ah, but of course, she doesn't want us to see her cry.

"What about Richard's ashes?" Alucard asked while both waited for Integral to return.

"Integra told me the filth should be put where it belongs," Walter replied with a thin smile. "The dumpster, of course."

Alucard laughed, uncaring if anyone heard him and deemed him too boisterous in a resting place. Some dead chose to be silent, others, such as he, enjoyed being loud. "Master has a perverse sense of humour for her early age."

"Let's hope she will be more collected than her father was."

Alucard shrugged, unable to agree completely to Walter's wish because he rather liked Arthur at times. They did not speak further; neither had anything important to say, and both were aware that mundane chitchat was unappreciated.

Integral emerged from the entry after fifteen minutes, Alucard surveyed her features; despite her attempt to wipe away any traces of tears, he was able to smell the salty scent on her skin. "We will have something to eat before… spreading my uncle's ashes to his resting place," she informed them.

"As you will, Integra."

"Master…" Alucard interrupted, bowing slightly in front of her, each time he did that, her eyes glimmered and she was easier to talk to. "I want some time alone in the crypt as well."

Integral's lips pursed into a thin, tight line. "Wouldn't the holy ground hurt you?" she asked, sounding concerned.

"It will sting just a little but it is important to me to bid farewell," Alucard answered, inclining his head obediently and smiling to her. "I await your orders, my Master."

She took five seconds to decide, "You may go. Don't take long."

Alucard's smile shifted into wide grin and he entered, ignoring the shot of pain from the blessed entrance. The crypt was humid and untidy; grey spots ruined the formerly pearly white paint, spider webs clung in the corners and a thin layer of dust covered the marble floor. He walked towards the end of construction, to the oldest coffin; the stench of death was strong to his sharp senses. The sweet aroma of the decay of a finite dream.

"Dear Professor van Helsing," he started, making certain he kept his voice low, unheard by human ears. "Did you enjoy the show? One of your sons was more interested in whores and alcohol than in running your organization, until it was too late, and he was too old to be of use. The other? Was so focused on wanting your legacy that he wanted to kill one of his own blood, ironically murdered by the very victim." His eyelids dropped, fingers tracing the edges of the casket, careful to not smash the rotten wood. "A female Hellsing at last…" he trailed off, unable to hold his laughter but it died out quickly.

"In the end everything ended up happily, didn't it?" Alucard questioned, continuing his monologue even knowing there would be no answer, only silence. "An old man dies. A young girl lives. A fair trade," he paused, tone growing sly. "I love you, Abraham. Without you and your bloodline, I wouldn't be this powerful. Without you and your own, Integral would never have been born. One woman is lost forever. Another takes her place for eternity. A fair trade, don't you think?"

He ran his tongue over his left fang and started to make his way out, towards his little Mina in training. Now all he needed to do was to search a Lucy replacement, and all would be fair in exchange for what he lost. She could wait, she had not been that important in the first place.