Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano. Elements borrowed owned by Le Fanu (author of Carmilla).
Author's notes: Edited by Tazo, this is my entry for the Halloween fanwork contest in Hellsing livejournal community (go there for more information) and for 30 romances (theme: In the rain). It contains femme slash & het (aside of 'lolita' since Integral is fourteen). Beware. And yes it's very Alucard x Integral. ;)
The sharp elongated tip prickled her skin, wet and ready to receive it as it pierced the layers of the dermis very slowly. Integral did not wince when it penetrated her, so cold and thirsty. Her eyes were glued to the offender, expectant and still. The sensation of being drained of blood did not bother her, in her working field it was thought of with a taste of forbidden knowledge, a taboo that terrified and exited her. She blinked, feeling a slight dizziness and then the needle was gone.
"You are very brave, Integra," Doctor Seward praised, applying cotton to her wound. "You never once flinched since I meet you as a little girl. Most adults I know fear syringes, including my husband." Eloise Seward smiled at her, the lines of age accented when she did that. "The results of the analysis requested will be ready for Friday, right in time for your meeting".
Integral took the cotton to clean the bleeding hole and pressed it against her elbow as the biochemist carefully sampled her blood in a tube. The Sewards had never lost interest in traditional sciences, unlike her bloodline whose focus shifted to the occult, supernatural and politics.
"It doesn't hurt when you do that, Doctor," Integral replied. "The idea of losing blood because something long and sharp pricks you isn't so terrifying for me." Her tone was knowing, half cynical despite her innocent features. Eloise turned to look at her, those pitiful glances she loathed and did her best effort to ignore them.
"I suppose, Miss Hellsing, but your father was afraid of them. Walter had to drag him to my laboratory, the old bat," Eloise said with a nostalgic sigh.
"I am nothing like my father," Integral huffed, tucking down the white shirt and buttoning her sleeve. "I don't fear that."
"What do you fear?"
Integral did not reply, she stood from the chair and tidied her long blue skirt. Seward's grin widened.
"You are a brave little girl. The results of the analysis will be ready for Friday, right in time for your meeting. I assume Mr. Dornez will return from Scotland tomorrow, tell him that. Your former exams did not detect any infection after your incident in the basement. Your shoulder is healing well."
"Thank you," Integral responded, inclining her head, biting her tongue to correct about the little girl comment. It irked her but the woman was old and she was young, elderly folk had such privileges in addressing the rest. "Good bye, Doctor Seward."
"Farewell, Integra. And happy birthday. Fourteen… almost an adult."
She did not dignify herself to answer to that either, her tone and good heartened wink irritated her. Almost an adult? She had experienced death closer than most of them, that made her more mature. She had a country to protect, if she was really a child, she would be running an organisation of national security.
Integral Hellsing crossed her Mansion, far too long and empty, it had been always been like that since her mother died now with her father and uncle gone increased the impression. The personnel passed her, curtsying and bowing quickly muttering polite congratulations before renewing their paths. They were her people but felt like lifeless phantoms bounded to work only, less alive than her vampire sleeping in the basement.
She entered to her office. It was unusually quiet, the main phone line was disconnected upon Walter's recommendation, the upstarts who sought to latch at her ascending career would try to entice her with friendly words and invitations for her anniversary. She sat down and started reading the mail, selecting the letters to be opened by the sender: Royal family, Islands, Penwood, Goldaming.
The silence prolonged, Integral hummed under her breath while reading the newspaper of different districts, the murder cases and mystery crimes that could make her organisation usual again. She glanced at the empty seat on the other side of the desk, she had flashes of her father speaking to her and then Walter sitting to discuss her responsibilities.
Walter will return soon. She allowed her mind drift on the sound of the rain outside, nearly fading.
No one interrupted her afternoon, the only event that mildly distracted Integral was allowing entrance to a maid who was carrying orange juice and biscuits. She left as quickly as she came. The last real conversation was the one she had was with Seward.
What do you fear?
Integral nearly choked on her juice, the needle stung on her arm and she scratched the spot. Taking a deep breath, she coughed a few times to swallow the liquid correctly. Her fingers tapped on the desk a few times and tucked the newspaper close to stand up, walking towards the window. Her footsteps sounded hollow on the marble floor, noise to keep herself distracted. She could read a novel, practice fencing or watch the news on television.
Peering outside, Integral inhaled the humid the scent of the rain falling on her garden, silence was peaceful, it made her solitude tolerable. Her peace was shattered by a giggle, a girlish laugh beneath her window. She surveyed the backyard and saw a girl standing soaked wet there with her arms spread. She was about her age, her luscious black hair contrasted with her fair skin and white clothes giving her an ethereal aura. She waved at her and gestured to come down. Integral was stunned on place, staring, unable to distinguish her features because she was too far.
Integral knew her, she remembered her.
The sting of the needle tickled her again.
Integral batted her eyelashes when Alucard called her, the girl was gone, vanished as if she was never there. She took a few steps backwards and spun. The vampire had lounged on the empty chair on her other side of the desk and was staring at her curiously. At least he was not wearing that outrageous hat and tasteless glasses he had taken a fancy since his freedom.
"You look pale, Integra."
Blush coloured her cheeks upon being discovered and she pushed her glasses further up her nose to dismiss her embarrassment.
"Doctor Seward extracted blood of me today. The knights want to be certain if I wasn't infected with any possible disease down in your lair, Alucard," Integral explained, returning to her chair and sitting down. "A poor excuse to push my knighting further in the schedule."
"There is no need for that. You are healthy," Alucard proclaimed arrogantly, his tongue toyed with a tip of his fangs in an unnerving manner. "Seward should know the only one who sucks blood in this house is me."
Integral smiled and relaxed. "I have a mission for you," she announced, attempting to sound certain of her job, covering for her lack of experience. "The police won't contact me until I am rightfully knighted but you could take a look to this case," she opened an issue of The Times and turned him around to share the article. "Two murders in Hyde Park, bloodless corpses with strange marks."
"The victims weren't turned into Midians or ghouls," he said, shrugging dismissively.
"Because they were found in the lake," Integral explained. "That could have stopped the process."
"I will take a look at it if you want me to, Master," Alucard perked, stretching his arms. "But there hasn't been Midian activity in more than twenty years."
"I am fully aware of it." Her tone was dismissing enough but Alucard did not leave, he just stared at her intently.
"Do you have friends Master?"
Integral lifted her brows, shocked at the questions. "W-what?"
"Friends, your father had them," Alucard insisted. "Isn't this your birthday? He used to gather and throws parties when he celebrated his, your office is quiet."
Integral was are of Arthur's parties, he kept his tradition even when her mother was alive and she was very young. "No, my father had social life enough for the both of us," she replied. "I once believed that I had a friend."
"Yes," Integral admitted, wanting to kick herself to let that information slip. He would laugh at her. "An imaginary friend, very common of the age I was at."
She recalled vaguely her friend. Her long, lack hair, pale skin and red lips. Her unnerving giggle and her whispers to play inside the curious laboratories of her father. Each time Integral reached to touch her, she faded, puff like she had never existed.
"For a while I thought she was the daughter or relative of the personnel but she looked… noble. But there was never someone like that inside our staff."
Integral concluded her story and picked up a biscuit to nibble at it. "Carry on the mission, Alucard."
He rose and bowed. "As you order, my Master."
Integral sighed relieved he was gone but as soon he disappeared she also started to miss his presence. The chair was empty, the office was quiet once more. She munched her cookie and rose, heading out, going downstairs. She would watch the rain fall on her garden that would clear her bleak thoughts.
The staff left the rooms she entered, the maids stopped dusting the furniture and departed in silence. The sting of the needle on the crook of her arm annoyed her. She scratched herself once more before opening the back door and stepping outside.
The rain had became a tiny spray, the sky was in a myriad of grey, black and blue. She filled her lungs with fresh air, crossing her arms to warm her forearms as she saw the dew slipping on the flowers and trees.
"What do you fear?" a girlish voice asked on her left.
The question took her by surprise, Integral jumped startled and saw her again. Droplets slid on her delicate shaped face, making her white skin glowed in a nearly eerily manner. Her hair was completely soaked and dripping, her expression were hooded by the bangs on her forehead. Her lips were red and dainty, they were pursed up in a smile. Her fuzzy white coat covered her body, she rubbed her gloved hands together and removed a strand of her face.
Integral caught her breath, she was the most beautiful person she had ever saw in her life.
"What do you fear?" she repeated.
"What do you mean what I fear?" Integral asked, wondering if she was a hallucination. Had Doctor Seward extracted more blood than she should? Was the needle clean?
The girl approached, tilting her head and explained: "You fear something, you seem like someone who is trying to run away from that phobia."
"I don't fear anything I am aware of," Integral answered, grumpily. She eyed warily the newcomer, debating if she was real or a product of her imagination. "Who are you?"
"Have you forgotten me?" she replied with a hurt voice. "Your father kept me away for you, so I wouldn't distract you from your studies but I was-I am your friend."
A likely story. Integral frowned and walked towards her, reaching for her cheeks, the girl stepped back and snagged her hand, squeezing it lightly. She was solid, this time she did not disappear. Her blue eyes widened slightly. "Where do you live?"
"Here," the girl pointed to the Mansion. "I have always lived there."
"Always?" Integral interrogated.
The girl giggled once more, it provoked her chills and made her shiver. Integral blamed the night breeze for it. "Of course not! I wasn't born there!" She started to knead her palm, touching points to relax her muscles before tugging her forward.
"Where are we going?" Integral asked, unable to struggle against the girl, to resist her thrall. She wanted to stay, to speak with her. She was real enough to break the silence. "Why are you here now?" She had waited for her as a child but one day she did not return anymore.
"I came for you, it's your birthday. I wanted to keep you company. You wished me to come as well."
"Where are we going?" Integral asked again, the dew fell above her, the wet aroma of the garden engrossed her senses. Her eyelids lowered and she walked, led by her friend towards a bench at the end of the garden. Garlands of Sweet Violets were covering it. Her lady friend swept them away and beckoned Integral to sit next to her. The rain intensified, numbing her senses.
Integral could not see with her glasses blurred, she could barely talk or listen to anything but the rain and the girl to her side. Her hands were now on her forearms, stroking, comforting. She muffled a coo as her body turned lethargic.
"We are safe. You have nothing to fear here," she murmured. "You aren't alone. You fear that, don't you? It's like a needle stinging your heart and making it bleed." She pressed her fingernail on the crook of her arm, over the syringe spot.
Integral filched. I don't fear…
"Listen to the rain… Listen carefully, it keeps secrets of the past, carries the omens of the future." Small hands removed her glasses gently and lifted her chin, forcing her to look at the Mansion direction.
Wherever was because she lacked spectacles or her imagination was overactive, Integral was able to see things within the rain. She spotted a broken body in boundaries, attacked by needles piercing the skin viciously. The screams were lost on the fall the rain, the blood washed away by it.
She kept observing.
They were twisted silhouettes veiled in the storm. Their pace was irregular and favoured one leg more than the other, their arms tried to reach her. She gasped, eyes widening in fright as their dead digits brushed her cheeks, pointing their index finger in accusation. The ghouls were dressed in uniforms with the Hellsing emblem.
She could barely restrain the nausea.
Integral heard her heart pounding faster, her personnel were truly ghosts in the rain. The floated and lingered inside the Mansion, fulfilling their jobs despite their limbs were missing, leaving a path of blood in their ways. She blinked and her Manor was devastated and gone, the rain was one of fire and steel.
The full moon was covered by three flying objects.
There were no tick woods, only a forest of spears. There were no rivers or lakes that did not run with blood. There was not anyone alive but her.
Integral trembled, unable to shake away the feeling of loneliness and failure. She was alone, she was weak, she was flawed to protect her people. That was why no one cared to establish a conversation, they saw her as she really was. "A scared little girl," she murmured, fighting the tears.
She felt her friend's arms embraced her, bringing her closer to her chest. She nuzzled Integral's forehead and breathed on her ear: "I am here, I will always be here. You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one forever." She licked her tears away and stroke her wet hair. Her eyes were red and glowing with a malicious light. The young Hellsing recognised the danger but the despair inside her made her impossible to move, to care. "A little prickle with my needles near your heart, you will bleed then you won't suffer that fate anymore."
Integral closed her eyes. "I am not afraid of needles."
Her friend was so cold, so dead but ironically more lively than anyone in her house would be. Her dainty fingers undid her collar, unbuttoned her shirt, whispering loving promises. Integral's back arched as she felt the flow of an icy stream against her left breast. A pair of large needles pierced her flesh, a little below her throat. Integral nearly screamed at the sharp pain, she had troubles to breath like if she was being strangulated.
She looked up, at the rainy sky, clearing slightly. She could swear she heard laughs inside the house, voices of her maids gossiping carelessly for the new day. She felt young and small, Integral hated it.
She was an adult, she could not give in childish fear. She was taking the easy way that everyone expected her to do.
She was a Hellsing and was proud of it. If she would have to face problems as mortal and alone, she would welcome them gladly. She was stronger than most. Who would defeat the monsters if she did not remain human?
"No!" Integral exclaimed, struggling without avail to the vampire on her breast, draining her of blood and her humanity. "I-I will fight," she added, her mind was blanking out. She managed to call Alucard with a whisper before fainting.
"Wake up, Master," Alucard tried to rise the unconscious girl on the bench. Integral was trembling, covered with his coat. Below her there was a pile of wet dusk and white gloves. The rain had stopped minutes ago.
Finally she stirred , he had expected her anxiously to sit straight and realize the situation. The young leader examined her wounds and her clothes, Alucard offered her glasses back.
"S-she-" she stuttered, uncertain, putting her glasses back, clutching further his coat, standing slowly to see the dust under her body.
"Your foe is gone," Alucard merely replied. "You broke the spell, Integra."
"The infection disappeared, that's what matters," Integral commented, relieved, massaging her left breast.
"It will sting for weeks. Perhaps more. Walter can take a closer look to-" he started to propose but she could him before he could complete the idea.
"No! Walter won't know about this," Integral stated, leaning on him tiredly. He offered her arm as sustain. She was still shaken by the experience, death came so close to his little Master in her young years. "I don't want anyone to take me as weak."
"You chose to fight your enemies as human, Master," Alucard praised, "You are stronger than me."
Integral looked up him, he was pleased at the surprise on her expression. Her features softened and smiled. "Stay with me, Alucard. I don't want to be alone for my birthday," she requested. "You could tell me war stories when you were human." She paused, offering her hand, he took it without hesitation. Her trust was unshakable now. "Thank you."
Alucard said nothing and allowed himself to be led into the house. He refrained to tell her the insignificant details about what foe was really dust beneath her body. Old Arthur and good Walter seemly had forgotten to comment that even in slumber he could weave illusions with his power or the reach of his shape shifting abilities. Those nuances could be overlooked.
"Happy birthday, Master. You would be an adult in my times," he congratulated, following Integral inside her office and sitting on the empty chair in front of her desk. She was strong and human like he wished he could be. He would follow her to the end or until he decided to put in motion the infection. He licked the remands of her blood off his needle like fangs before smirking at her.
Outside, a sinister rainbow of crimson hues was formed by the moonlight near the bench where they had sat together. The breeze blew away the Hyde Park vampire's ashes off it.