Disclaimer:Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.

Author's Notes: Set in the Manga, written for the AlucardxIntegral couple in 30 romances with the theme "Devil's advocate." Edited by Lyanna Kane. Feedback is appreciated.


Trial

Walter Dornez took a sip of his tea and then cleared his throat. He would say this before he could be offered chance to feel any remorse. "If I may speak my mind, Miss-" he paused, noticing the glare from the young girl. "Sir Hellsing," he corrected, covering up his slip. "When you called me back, demanding my return from my one year retirement, you failed to inform me of several important facts…"

Walter's eyes fell on the pony-sized hound resting near Integral's feet. He opened one set of his eight eyes and blinked in his direction, then stretched and gave a jaw-breaking yawn, displaying his sharp and frightening teeth to full view. His fur was white, indicating he had just awoken and was in need of feeding.

"I wasn't sure if the line was safe," Integral replied, looking down to the hound, which curled next to her once more. "And I have many enemies, Walter. Both on the inside and the outside. I couldn't risk anyone using anything against me."

Walter nodded, lowering his teacup and rethinking his next words. He would regret them, but he had to say them aloud. "Have you considered returning Alucard to his cell, Sir?"

"Of course not!" Integral exclaimed, shocked at his subtle suggestion. He noted the slight disgust coming across her features and so contemplated her future with some concern.

She's already far more attached to him than her father ever was.

"I beg your pardon, Sir, but as much as I used to enjoy Alucard's company," Walter admitted, hesitating to disclose personal information, "your father locked him up for a good reason."

"And he told me to seek him when I needed him for a just as good a one," Integral debated passionately, eyes narrowing slightly. She reminded him of an eagle, unwilling to let go to her prey, or, in this case, her rival. "Besides, he saved my life and the future of my organisation. I already explained Richard's betrayal to you."

Integral had ceased to refer to Richard as either a Hellsing, or her uncle; Walter deemed disowning him from his position as head of the bloodline to be a punishment worse than death.

"I am aware of that, Sir Hellsing, but please consider giving Alucard a trial period. I don't want to commit your father's greatest mistake, that of being too lenient," Walter advised, his tone softer.

"There should be no trying him," Integral scoffed, bending to stroke the slumbering hound's head. He let go to a sigh, looking docile in his nap, despite his size. "He has already proven himself above all others in my eyes."

That stung - Walter felt a discomfort growing inside him. She had not meant it, but Integral had blatantly spelled out Alucard as her right hand, and this in spite of the decades he himself had spent in willing service to her father. But I wasn't here when she needed me.

"I apologize again." Walter gave her a sad smile. "I should have known the doctor who examined me last year was being bribed by Richard in order to facilitate his getting rid of me." And coming closer to harm you.

Integral straightened in her seat, her features softening. "It wasn't your fault. He fooled us all. But that's in the past. We need to look forward, to the future."

"That's exactly what I am concerned about," Walter pointed out. "As much as he might look the part, Alucard isn't a docile pet, Sir!" He was alarmed to see her treating him with such indulgence. Integral was just a thirteen year-old girl; no matter how brilliant she was, she was certainly misguided in this issue.

You think so lowly of my Master and your employer, Walter? You disappoint me, God of Death, Alucard's voice stirred in the back of his head. He shot a brief glance at him, one that the demonic hound returned with his eight eyes. Integral was speaking, but Walter was too distracted by the vampire's voice to listen. Do you really see her as a weak little girl who doesn't know what she wants? Someone you can decide for? That makes you no better than the traitor scum who tried to murder her!

Walter paused. There was anger in his tone, a furious growl for his mindset on Integral's behalf. He was dumbfounded for a moment, digesting the loyalty denoted by Alucard's speech. While he had liked Arthur as a Master, the latter had never won his complete respect.

"Walter," Integral called out to him, a tad exasperated. "Walter! Did you even listen to what I had to say?"

Walter shook his head and smiled pleasantly. "My apologies, Sir. I did not sleep well and my mind was wandering."

Frowning, Integral Hellsing sniffed indignantly, before smiling back. "It's fine, just make sure it doesn't happen again," she assured him. "Cutting it short, what I said was that you are right. Alucard is not your common pet. I don't consider him one either," she stated sharply. "But don't forget, Walter, neither am I your common thirteen year-old. He's a dangerous Midian, and I am a dangerous vampire hunter."

Walter's smile widened, more sincere now, rather than a vague attempt at being polite. He stood and bowed respectfully, "You are correct. How could I debate against such a skilled devil's advocate?"

Integral smirked, doubtlessly proud of herself; he poured her more tea and went on to discuss the details regarding the social gathering that traditionally followed the knighting ceremony. Walter never did clear up whom of the two he had been referring to; there was simply no need.