Promises to Keep

"Alucard, do you pray?"

The vampire had come to expect many peculiar questions from his young Master but this was a new direction indeed. Over the years, Integra had begun to summon Alucard more and more frequently to her bedroom for nightly chats. At least, she called them that. He felt that they were more like interrogations. And she argued like a Jesuit.

So, Alucard drew himself up to his full, imposing height and answered haughtily

"Of course not, my Master. I am a vampire, after all."

Integra pursed her lips into a thin line and looked up, regarding the vampire. Though appearing upon first inspection dressed much like the upper-class average teenager in finely tailored silk pajamas and fuzzy pink bunny slippers, the books scattered on Integra's bed were well above the reading level of most teens. Within the year, she'd have her doctorate, be knighted by the Queen and become the sole leader of the Hellsing organization. Few young women at that age had so ambitious a career path in front of them.

"I should probably be more general in my question, then, Servant." Integra seemed more annoyed than usual by the vampire's evasive tactics. She pushed at the thin, wire-rimmed glasses that had fallen low on her face.

Integra thought for a moment, then asked the vampire "Well, did you ever pray when you were human?"

"Perhaps," Alucard answered his master, softly. Integra's question had awakened a very disturbing memory in the ancient vampire. For it was of the last time that he had been a living man…a human. The vampire remembered being on the battlefield and saying a quick prayer to God to help his men in battle that day. It was only a few hours later that a treacherous sword sliced through his back, ending his breathing life forever.

"But you were a member of the Order of the Dragon, "Integra continued, pleased at herself that she had done her homework on her servant's mortal background. "All men in the Dracula family were. And they were said to hold religion in the highest esteem."

"Religion in those days was a bloody business, " Alucard replied. He thought a little and grinned toothily in the dull bedroom lamplight, "In fact, you can say that it still is. Let me think. What's that famous quote now? Ah, yes. 'More blood has been shed in the name of religion than for anything else in the world'."

"You know, Alucard, you have a way of talking that you can say so little in so many words. "

"But I say them so prettily my Master, that not many women care what meaning they hold."

"Don't flatter yourself, Servant." Integra chided him. Then, she became thoughtful again. Integra looked down at the pile of books scattered haphazardly on the downy quilt of her bed. She scanned them, picking one up in particular. Integra opened the book, quickly perusing the table of contents.

"Aha, here it is!" Integra turned the pages and seemed to be happy in her find. She turned the book around triumphantly, so that the vampire could view the picture. It was a drawing of him, then Vlad Dracula, in full armor, proudly sitting on a horse as if awaiting battle.

"Look at this, Alucard," Integra urged the vampire. Alucard inspected the picture. "Why looking at you standing here in your modern clothing," she taunted the vampire "I just can't believe this and you are the same person. I bet that you have even forgotten how to ride a horse." Integra turned the book to once again stare at the image. Then, with a note in her voice that sounded very much like regret, she said "You look so noble and proud here. You were a real warrior in those days. I know it's impossible but I wish I had known you in those days. Too bad that can't happen."

The vampire was silent as Integra sighed and closed the book, throwing it to the floor.

"Well, Alucard, as always, thank you for indulging my questions."

"I am always at your service, my Master."

"I'm going to sleep now. I have an early class tomorrow." Integra started tossing the books to the floor on one side of the bed, out of the way. She got into bed, pulling the quilt over her.

"Good night, Alucard." Integra sleepily regarded the vampire.

"Good night, my Master."

Alucard stood, waiting in the dark, long after Integra had turned out the light. For some reason, tonight's talk had bothered him more than the previous ones.

The vampire glanced down at his master's bedside table. Not surprisingly, she had a copy of Bible out on it. Though she was not particularly religious, Integra viewed the Bible as an important academic publication, to be read thoroughly just like Shakespeare.

Alucard had long since become immune to religious objects. Once physically burned by any holy items, immunity from them had been one of the presents given to him by the scientists employed by the Hellsing organization. While they had also helped Alucard to great expand and control his powers, it was this one that troubled him the most. Though the vampire knew that he would now not be harmed from touching the Bible, Alucard found that he could not touch it even after reaching out his hand toward it.

So, the vampire placed his hand over the book and whispered "By all that's holy and unholy, I swear to you, Miss Integra, you will see me once again as I once was. On that day, I will kill all of your enemies and come to you, kneeling at your feet. Perhaps, at that auspicious hour, you will understand the power and majesty that lived," "that still lives" he corrected himself quickly, "in this name, in…… Dracula."

The vampire was shocked as he felt the 'Amen' automatically come from his lips. Even though he was impervious to the cold, Alucard shivered just a little. With one last look at his sleeping Master, he turned into mist and disappeared from her bedroom.