"A Changing of the Guard"

"3…2…1..Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, dear Integra…"

Alucard slumped in his tufted wing chair in the spacious living room of the Hellsing mansion. The vampire had positioned himself so that he could be out of the way of the main celebration that was now taking place in the dining room. However, the monster's vantage point left him an unobstructed view of his Master. And by his standards, he thought that she was looking rather delectable tonight. Good enough to eat, Alucard mused, this and other decadent thoughts bringing out a wicked smile in his strong features.

This was Integra's last weekend before she assumed sole control of the Hellsing organization and head of the Round Table. Though she had only just turned twenty-one, Integra had also managed to finish a doctorate in comparative religion at Oxford and would be knighted by the Queen within two days. Several major accomplishments that few women had ever experienced in life. It was by Integra's request that Walter had planned the party at the Mansion tonight. Though she had completed her dissertation with the interaction of only a few professors, Integra had physically taken classes at the University. In that time, she had come to know and befriend several graduate students. It was these friends then, that had gathered to help Integra celebrate her birthday at the Mansion.

"Oh, Integra, I'm so happy for you," a young, brown-haired girl squeaked excitedly, hugging her hard.

Alucard, who had watched the scene with a detached interest in the night's proceedings thus far, thought that the young grad student bore more than a little resemblance to what was it, his first or…his second wife? Ah, the little details really didn't matter, Alucard decided. He wondered absently, if she would scream during her orgasm. Probably wake the whole bloody neighborhood, the vampire mused.

He stretched in the chair, reaching down for his glass of cooling blood. The vampire drank down the contents in a single swig. Alucard made a face and sighed audibly. He hoped that Integra might yet allow him to go out and feed tonight. Though this was unusual, it was not rare and Alucard knew just who his 'victim' would be that night. Maybe he wouldn't even have to wait til the party was over….

The vampire's Master had given him strict orders not to bother her guests. So far, he had followed the rules. He had dressed up but not ostentatiously so, elegantly attired in white shirt and black pants. Integra had also instructed him to 'appear as normal as you can be'.

"I can't help it that I'm devastatingly handsome and cause all the feminine attention in a room to be drawn toward me, " Alucard remembered himself answering her with a self-serving smirk.

"Just try to act human, servant," was his Master's cold reply. "Though I doubt you even remember what that was like."

Integra had finally approved her servant's outfit and had decided that he 'would pass'. Integra's friends were told that he was a close friend of the family and a trusted employee of the Hellsing organization. Guess that meant that that snacking on one of the guests was out of the question. Oh, well, Alucard would at least get to watch Integra and her friends. And his Master couldn't prevent him from mentally forming erotic images in his mind of her and her various guests. And that brown-haired girl had one of the best set of breasts he had ever seen on a woman.

So, for the remainder of the evening, the vampire amused himself with decadent thoughts and sensual fantasies. Alucard even tried catching his master's gaze every so often so as to better show her how much he enjoyed thinking those thoughts. Integra knew him all too well. She avoided his direct stare but Alucard knew she was receiving his carnal imagery. He knew it was making her as aroused as he was. His heightened sense of smell told him so. And that made the vampire very happy indeed.

Integra rarely touched hard liquor and had never, at least to the vampire's knowledge, become intoxicated. His Master cared too much about being in control and so, would never allow herself to become inebriated to the point of impaired judgment.

However, tonight was looking promising for Alucard. Integra had started the party by violating one of her main rules. She wore a dress tonight. The striking blue color and the shortness of the dress made Integra look both classy and sexy. A very nice combination, Alucard thought. Now, if she would only drink more.

And by midnight, his Master had. Not falling down drunk mind you but Integra was definitely tipsy. The vampire could almost taste the change in his master's thought pattern. She was shielding her thoughts from him less and less. And what a bad little girl! Integra even sent him a pornographic image or two of her own. Mighty kinky ones too. He might have to discipline her. Well, that would come later. The servant didn't think it would take too much to get his master's permission for it.

Integra, with the help of Walter and a few servants, entertained her guests til almost 2 a.m. After the cake, it was gift giving time. Then, it was party games such as charades and Trivial Pursuit. Finally, they discussed University life and retold tales of their academic achievements.

" Remember, Professor McWilliams?" Integra's friend, Ruth prodded her. The girls were arranged in an intimate circle in the formal living room, some reclining on plush rug. And the room was massive in size so the group was situated far enough away from the stationary vampire. But that fact didn't bother him. He had excellent hearing, after all.

"Oh, yes!" Integra added. And she, with a wine glass still clutched in her right hand, went into a dead-on impersonation of one of the University's most hated professors. All of the graduate students laughed and applauded her performance. She swayed a little as she bowed. Great, the night was definitely looking up for Alucard.

The grad students finally left the party one by one. Even the small brown haired girl with the lovely breasts had departed. The vampire had rewarded her with one of his 'special' stares before she left the party. With widened eyes and a heart that beat just a little more rapidly than before, she held Alucard's gaze, frightened and aroused as Integra shook her hand and thanked her for coming.

"Well, that's the last of them, Walter," Integra addressed her butler, standing at the open door. "Thanks very much for helping me with the party." She gestured toward the remnants of the party. "I couldn't have done all of this without you."

"It was my pleasure, Miss Integra," Walter replied. " I just wanted to see you happy. And now, looking at you, I am glad that my efforts were worth it."

"Happy Birthday, Sir Integra." Walter held out his arms and Integra came into them, hugging him hard.

"Please Walter," Integra playfully admonished. She pulled away, but not out of his embrace, thoughtful for a moment.

"My knighthood won't be for another two days. You can save the title til then."

"Then, how about, 'Dr. Integra Wingates Hellsing?'"

Walter looked down into the young woman's face, beaming with pride. He was so very happy for all of Integra's accomplishments. After her father's death, he had been the adult granted sole custody of the child. And here she was, eight years later, a grown woman, with a doctorate, an impending knighthood and the rightful heir to the Hellsing organization. Even though Walter was not a blood relative, the butler could not have been prouder of Integra if she was his natural child.

Integra checked her watch. "Damn. Look at what time it is already. I'm bloody well exhausted. I think I'll retire for the night, well…morning," Integra finished, looking a little sheepish.

"Go ahead, Miss Integra, "Walter said. "I'll stay for a couple of minutes and do a bit of cleaning. I would leave everything but I think I would truly grieve if any of these wineglasses broke." He went to one of the sturdy tables and picked up a delicate-looking glass. It was expertly etched with a large, scripted 'H'.

The butler held it up to the light, admiring the craftsmanship. "You know, this set was given to your father."

"And by me, you should add," Alucard said. He rose off the chair to his full commanding height, but did not come over to stand by Integra and Walter.

Integra looked at her servant. In the electric light Alucard appeared younger and, for a moment, almost human. Maybe I did have too much to drink, she thought inwardly.

"Good night, Walter. Good night, Alucard."

Integra addressed each of them in turn and made her way to the stairs. She started up the staircase, lightly holding onto the engraved railing.

Alucard began to make his way up the staircase, following Integra from a close but discreet distance.

"Stop, Alucard." the vampire had gone up two steps but continued, as if seemingly oblivious to Walter's command."Alucard, I said 'Stop'." Walter's voice was a little firmer now.

The vampire turned on the stairs and regarded the butler at the bottom, eyebrows raised. "Yes, Walter? What is it?" Alucard's voice betrayed his annoyance.

"Come down here. I want to speak with you. Now."

Alucard sighed but did as Walter had asked him. He came downstairs.

"Please tell me what's so important that you dragged me back down here, away from my Master's side."

Alucard's annoyance had turned to barely controlled anger. If he was to convince Integra of an intimate encounter tonight, he was losing ground. And quickly. The vampire sensed that Integra had reached her bedroom. Damn. He would have to get this over. And fast.

"Do you think, Alucard, that you've been deceiving me all night?" Walter asked him. "I know what you're planning, what is going through your twisted mind right now."

"And that would be what, Walter?" Alucard dared the butler to speak his mind.

"That you realize Miss Integra is at her most vulnerable point right now. And knowing this, you see a perfect chance to take advantage of her. 'A window of opportunity as it were'."

"You're just guessing at all of this, Walter. And you may be wrong."

"No, Alucard, " the butler sighed, as if a weight had descended on his shoulders.

"You're very transparent sometimes. And don't forget that we have a shared history."

"You never minded my advancements." The vampire taunted Walter. "Her father didn't either if memory serves me correct."

"Yes, but, Alucard, when we chose to be with you, it was our conscious choice. We did not go blindly."

"Neither will she." the vampire's words were firm, as if saying them would make it the truth.

"No, Alucard. Miss Integra's faculties are a bit compromised tonight. So, even if she accepts you and all that you will offer her, she will not do it of her own volition."

"But she will say the words and, in time, she will realize that it was the right choice."

"Are you so certain, Alucard?" Walter asked the vampire, giving him a cold, hard stare. "Because, if you're not and she regrets what she does tonight, it will destroy her. And then, I will destroy you."

"You may try, Butler." Alucard added a haughtiness to his voice but behind the emotion, was surprise and yes, even a bit of fear. "Others have tried but none have succeeded."

"So far." Walter added, steely-voiced, "You know what I did to earn the reputation as "The Angel of Death". Think good and hard tonight, Alucard. Decide what you want to do. Because the wrong choice may cause you your death."

"I don't think so, Butler."

"Well, Alucard, I've never said this before to anyone, but that young woman upstairs is as precious to me as my own daughter would be. I may not succeed in destroying you but I will make you life a living hell while I'm alive. And vampire, do you really want me as your enemy? We've always fought on the same side. Please. Don't do this tonight."

"And if my Master requests an intimate relationship at a later date?" Alucard smiled like the snake right out of the Garden.

"Then, it will be her own decision and I will not stand in her way. Or, in yours. Remember, think on all that I've said. I hope you decide wisely. And "Goodnight, Alucard."

The butler gave the vampire one last glance and then left, moving toward some discarded party rubbish. Walter bent and, resigned, began to pick up and sort the dirty dishes.

When the butler stood up only several minutes later the vampire was gone and the house was quietly. Deadly so.

Walter hoped Alucard would make the right choice. While he would not want the vampire for his enemy, he would do all that he had said. And more. The butler worked until the living room was neat and presentable. Then, he started up the stairs toward his own bedroom and a new era for the Hellsing organization.