DISCLAIMER: Hellsing, "Dragostea Din Tei," and Monty Python aren't mine. I don't own anything. If you sue me, all you'll get is a buttload of lawyer's bills. Also: The opinions of the characters in this story are fictional and do not reflect the views of the author. Thank you.
Dragostea Din Tei is a song I heard sung by the Romanian band O-Zone. I really haven't the foggiest idea what it's about, as the translations I've read are rather hard to make out.
Wow… so many reviewers! (sobs with happiness) I'm so proud! Thank you so much! (distributes cookies to TrunksgirlBlaze27, Blue wings of bliss, Ridicully L, and ThePhantom'sSlave)
ThePhantom'sSlave: It is an honor to be reviewed so well by an author who succeeded in making my family worry about my sanity as I collapsed on the desk, howling with laughter, reading your story. I just noticed that my story involves Alucard acting stupid, and yours involves Integra acting stupid – is that why we like each other's so much?
Seras: Hm… (pokes cake) It's going a bit stale… is that a good thing?
Integra found herself unable to leave the ruins of the manor that night. After her wind had given out ("That smoking does no one any good," taunted Alucard), she had flopped down on the charred grass and lain there for a good six hours, unable to do anything but fume. Numerous attempts by her men to pull her up had resulted in heavy casualties.
Some people vent their feelings by drinking, some through art, others through speech – but Integra was different. When she was angry, she plotted. She considered how exuberant she would be if she were to accidentally trip the seal when Alucard was in the dungeon on some false pretext… how joyful she would be if she could get him into a tutu and parade him before her men… the sweet cheerfulness the rest of her life would surely contain if she could somehow reciprocate for every moment Alucard had ever annoyed her, ever made an inappropriate advance, ever pestered her in her office… yes, if only she could pay her servant back for every premature wrinkle and gray hair his antics had created, her life would be perfect. She allowed her mind to spiral into blissful thoughts of humiliation and torture, forgetting for a few hours even her lack of an upright house.
Unfortunately, her delighted ruminations were cut short by the arrival of the very person she wished least to see. Besides Alucard.
"Sir Hellsing. What are you doing on the ground? Why are your men bleeding? And why is the manor a heap of rubble?"
Integra knew she should get up and bow. However, she didn't feel like it. "Good morning, Majesty," she said, her eyes closed against the rising sun. "I'm on the ground because I'm plotting. My men are bleeding because I attacked them when they tried to stop me from plotting. And the manor is a heap of rubble because I had to go chase Alucard around London and I forgot the hall was on fire. Now go away, please, Majesty, I want to plot some more."
"Sir Hellsing, kindly get up. You're dirtying your suit."
"Can't get much dirtier than it is." Integra rolled over, using her arm as a pillow. She vaguely heard the Queen conversing with her men. The word "delirious" was discernible several times, but Integra didn't care. She was having too much fun plotting.
"Sir Hellsing." Integra ignored the Queen. "Sir Hellsing." Integra made a complaining "a-HEM" sound and covered her ears. "SIR HELLSING." Strong arms pulled her to her feet, and she accepted with sadness that she would have to save her plotting for later. For now, she shook off the Queen's bodyguards and gave a rather late bow.
Just then, Alucard relapsed. Suddenly he forgot all the events of the night. No one noticed – the Queen's reaction to the manor's obliteration was a bit more important to all assembled, particularly Integra. And the reaction was not a good one.
Her Majesty paced up and down the lawn in front of Pip, Integra, Alucard, and Seras (who had regenerated her clothing), most of who looked as though they were going to be sick. Integra had gone paler than Alucard, who seemed completely oblivious to the fact that he was about to be severely told off.
"Well, Sir Hellsing, you're certainly done it this time." Everyone present groaned inwardly; the Queen loved nothing more than to make wrongdoers stand witness to her extensive lectures. "I've overlooked a lot over the years. In the fifteen years you've been head of the Hellsing organization, London has been in mortal peril twice, first from Nazis, then from Catholics. Both times you half failed me – and half succeeded. But this –" she pointed with a shaking finger at the charred beams standing stark against the sky which were the only remnants of the Hellsing manor, "this is a failure through and through. There were millions of pounds' worth of antique furniture in there. The paperwork contained some of the most important records in British defense history."
"Not after Alucard got into the filing cabinet," Integra muttered, but her words were chopped down the instant they hit the air by a guillotine-like swipe from the Queen's hand.
"And besides that – by losing control of your pet, you completely broke my trust in you. No doubt there are several psychologists making a pretty penny off Alucard's appearance this evening."
"Integra shot me," Alucard piped up. Integra stared at him in horror – the blankness was back, that terrible regressive blankness! Thank God his hat hid his vacant smile – if the Queen didn't look too hard it might come off as a smirk. "Twice, in the head! But I'm aaaaaaaaall better now!"
Integra tried her best to send him a message via hate-waves: Alucard, shut up right now or you will be longing to be shot in the head compared to what I will do to you.
He didn't receive the message. "I went to the hospital and a nice doctor made the bullets go away!" Integra trod on his foot. He yelped. The Queen stared.
"Is Alucard all right?"
The nosferatu opened his mouth to speak again, and Integra trod on his foot even harder. "He's fine, just in a bit of shock. His coffin burned." She covered up his whimpering by saying loudly, "Where will we stay during the rebuilding?"
"The palace." Her Majesty looked less than pleased with this arrangement, but said with what could have been passed as good grace, "There are extra rooms there for you, and your men can share the barracks with mine."
"You are too kind to us, Majesty," Integra said, bowing again. Seras and Pip followed suit. After a prod to the back of the head, Alucard bowed as well.
"Where is Walter?" The Queen asked, looking around. "I should think he'd be off organizing something."
"It was his day off," Integra explained through gritted teeth. With Walter there, the day might not have been such a fiasco. "First in five years. He'll be back tomorrow."
"Then we need not trouble ourselves about him until then." Her Majesty turned and retreated to her limousine. "I assume your own car is in working order. Transport will be sent along for your men shortly." The door slammed, and her chauffeur drove back toward London.
The instant her superior was gone, Integra turned to Alucard with murder in her eyes. Thankfully, Pip restrained her, saying in a soothing tone, "Now, now, Sir… eet will not 'elp matters if you kill Alucard before we have a chance to straighten zis mess out. We should go to ze palace, try to rebuild ze manor, and not get in any more trouble zen we're already in."
Integra took a deep breath, quelling her homicidal urges for the moment. "Yes, Captain Bernadette, quite right. Killing Alucard won't do a thing for us right now." Relieved at her temporary change of heart, Seras and Pip relaxed – until Integra finished her thought. "However, he should know that this respite is a very – very – short one. The instant it is within my power to do so, he will suffer."
There was a silence. Ashes, blown by the wind, swirled by and caught themselves in Integra's hair. It gave her an even more fearsome look then usual, not at all hindered by the fact that she was filthy, singed, and bloody. All present cowered.
Integra basked in the cold silence for a moment. "Now then," she continued with the air of a very smug cat – no, a very smug tiger. "Captain Bernadette, you will remain here and make sure that all the men are taken to the palace. Please prevent rioting and widespread panic. And be sure you make very clear that just because the wine cellar may not have burned does not give them any excuse to search it for possible survivors." Looking defeated, the captain saluted and hurried off. It appeared that the thought of the wine cellar had already entered the minds of several Wild Geese. "Seras, Alucard," she said and snapped, "You will accompany me in the limo. I think the captain has everything under control here."
"Right," Seras said. "The problem being… well, sir, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but the limo's not exactly here."
"Nonsense. Where else would it be?"
"Um… sitting in the middle of the highway in London. If it hasn't been towed already… sir."
"Then what did I drive to get here?"
"That." Seras pointed.
In the driveway, smoke seeping from under the hood, was a small, old-fashioned Volkswagen Beetle. Integra remembered hijacking it after a moment's thought. The knowledge made her want to cry. "You're telling me we haven't got another limo?"
Seras shook her head. "The garage burned too. I guess you arrived after the gasoline explosion…"
Integra wanted desperately to do something violent, but controlled herself again. If this goes on much longer, I'm going to kill something, she thought. Ah well, that's what Alucard's for. Dismissing her anger with an effort of will, she strode over to the car and lifted the hood, pretending that she had some idea of what she was doing. Seras took Alucard's hand and followed, dragging him behind. All three leaned over the steaming innards of the car, intent on finding out what was wrong.
Integra sat on the ground, tears of pain welling in her eyes, a lump rising on top of her head. Alucard stood nearby, laughing hysterically. "Scared you, Integra!" he giggled, jumping up and down. "Wow, look, you dented the car." Indeed, there was a large dent in the bottom of the hood where Integra's head had struck it as she jumped.
Seras put her arm around her boss's shoulder. Though she appeared to be comforting her, the vampiress was in fact trying to prevent Alucard's untimely demise. The strength in her arm was all that was keeping Integra from leaping up and impaling Alucard with a piston. Or perhaps her own bare hands. "There, there, sir," she said, pressing down on Integra's shoulder harder. "It's not that bad… just a bump on the head…" Integra was now emitting feverish grunts as she struggled against Seras' arm. Best to change the subject, Seras decided. "Er, how are we going to fix the car?"
For the third time in an hour, Integra was forced to control her rage. She could feel it, though, somewhere near her stomach – a small gauge that was about to burst with the pressure of her hatred for Alucard. Making no attempt to keep the daggers from her glare, she stood painfully and bent over the car once more, this time keeping a wary eye on her servant. He, however, was humming that numa-numa song again.
"Er… Seras, what d'you suppose is wrong with it?" Integra saw only that the smoke was coming from somewhere in the back of the hood area. "Do you think it'll last thirty miles?"
"I dunno. I suppose so. I mean, it's not on fire, is it?"
"It's the only thing that isn't. Fine then, get in. You drive. Alucard!" Hearing his name, he toddled over and cocked his head, listening. "Get in the back seat. We're going to London."
"I went there earlier," he reminded her. "I could get there really fast if I made a portal."
"No." Integra's voice was so cold, Alucard was surprised that it didn't splinter on the ground. "Get in the back seat. Now." Even the thousand-year-old two-year-old was cowed. He slunk into the back seat and buckled his seat belt, not even bouncing on the springy cushion. Integra took her place in the passenger's seat, and Seras slid behind the wheel. "Now then. Off to London. Again."
The carburetor gave out ten minutes away from Buckingham Palace. A very disgruntled Integra, tailed by Seras and Alucard, were forced to battle their way through a mob of tourists and explain their plight to an incredulous official. Their only troubles were the stares, and the idiot who yelled after Alucard, "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!" These people (particularly the idiot) were dutifully ignored.
Integra had not envisioned entering the palace like this. She had not envisioned being directed around to the tradesmen's entrance to convince the porter that, yes, she was Sir Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, and yes, she really did need to see the Queen, and yes, you idiot, those really were two vampires behind her. It took all of thirty minutes to get herself, Seras, and Alucard into the palace unhindered. By this time, her eye was twitching again.
They were escorted to three small sub-level rooms far to the back of the palace. This proved to Integra just how deep the Queen's anger ran. As she bathed and dressed, she ran over various groveling techniques in her mind, wondering which best fit the situation. She had no idea how much time would elapse before the Queen summoned her, and until then, staying in her room and not bothering anyone seemed the wisest course of action. She was so exhausted after the rather horrific night that she did not even care what Alucard was doing. She collapsed on her bed and fell asleep immediately.
Alucard did not stay in his room. He decided immediately upon arrival that it would be his goal to explore every inch of the enormous building that Seras had called "his happy home for a good long time." That sounded like fun. And there had to be more than that short hallway and this tiny set of rooms. He opened a portal in the ceiling and ascended with a happy cry of "Wheeeeeeee!"
He found himself in a vast, echoing hallway. The soft sound of typewriters came from several rooms adjoining the hall, and a murmur of voices was barely discernible from behind closed doors. Otherwise, it was very grand and very quiet. The air was saturated with grandeur and majesty. It was for this reason that Alucard felt the need to sing very loudly.
"VREI SA PLECI DAR, NUMA NUMA IEI! NUMA NUMA IEI!" The echoes bellowed back at him, "…numa iei, numa iei, numa numa numa numa numa…"
People stuck their heads into the hallway and stared at the stranger. One of them sighed, dropped his paperwork, and hurried to the still singing Alucard, looking very annoyed.
"Look here, sir," the clerk said, speaking over Alucard's voice with an effort, "This isn't part of the guided tour. You'll have to return to your group."
Surprisingly, Alucard stopped singing. "Good morning!" he said. "This hallway echoes."
"Yes, that's why we generally like to keep it quiet here," he said as courteously as he could manage. "There is a meeting in one of the boardrooms down the hall, and we're all trying to get a bit of paperwork done." For someone a foot and a half shorter than the imposing stranger in the red coat, the man was very authoritative.
Alucard nodded as if in understanding. "That's like Integra. She always has lots of paperwork. She yells at me when I disturb her, but it's fun. Disturbing people doing paperwork is fun!" He broke out into song again. "SI TE ROG! IUBIREA MEA PRIMESTE FERICIREA!" The clerk winced and snatched at Alucard's arm. Snickers came from several offices.
"Sir, I must ask you to leave the premises now," he said firmly. "You're going to be arrested if you don't stop this unseemly behavior! You're in the palace!"
Alucard's eyes widened. "Really?"
The clerk concluded that Alucard was utterly mad. He wondered desperately what to do. Suppressed chortles came from several offices.
Alucard sighed. "People ask me to leave the premises all the time," he said. "I'll go explore somewhere else." He took two steps to the right, and before the shocked clerk could stop him, he slid through the wall and disappeared.
As he hung out of the ceiling in the adjacent room and fiddled with the crystals on a colossal chandelier (something he had always secretly longed to do), he heard a yelp, a thump, much laughter, and then the sound of someone being carried away. He wondered what the man had been so frightened of. He phased through walls at Hellsing all the time, and no one ever seemed to mind. "London people are pansies," he told the chandelier, and returned to fiddling with the crystals.
This occupation, however, though certainly not without its amusements, was not enough to hold Alucard's nonexistent attention span for long. His curiosity overcame his immediate desire to fiddle with chandelier crystals, and he landed in an undignified heap on the floor. Giggling, he sat up and brushed himself off. He was having a grand time exploring the palace, and could not wait to find another fun room to amuse himself in. He held out one hand, spun around a few times, and tottered through the wall his pointing finger indicated upon halting.
The new room contained clothes. Obviously, it was not open to the public; though the place had as much stiff-necked majesty as the rest of the place, it had a faintly bedroomy feel to it. It was lined by wardrobes of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Upon closer inspection, these were revealed to contain all manner of clothes and jewelry, none of which could have cost below a thousand pounds: Ballroom gowns, day dresses, evening dresses, and women's suits with matching necklaces and bracelets and rings and earrings, and shoes to go with every article for every occasion from Easter to bar mitzvahs.
Alucard partook of this splendor with wide eyes. Almost reverently, he reached out and brushed a silken skirt. These clothes were so pretty… what were they doing all locked up in here? It was almost sad, the way they were ignored. Someone really should be wearing them, he reflected.
The idea hit him like a speeding train of enlightenment. "Dress-up!" he cried jubilantly, and dove into the wardrobes.
Barry the guard was bored. His bearskin hat was slipping down over his eyes, his red tunic was becoming unbearably hot, and he wished nothing more than for something to pass the hours he would be standing here, immobile, while eager tourists on their visits to the palace snapped his picture until purple spots were swimming in front of his eyes…
Suddenly, he snapped straight as though someone had hit him on the behind. None other than the Queen, in one of her special occasion dresses, was stumbling down the hall toward him.
He stared at her from beneath the shield of his slipping hat, wondering when her hair had gotten so very dark… or when she had forgotten how to tie a sash… or when the ability to appear regal in heels had abandoned her. For a moment he was unsure of what to do. After a furious mental battle, he decided that, whether or not she was drunk, she was his queen, and her behavior did not make her any less a very important person. "Your Majesty," he said dutifully as she passed.
"Tee hee!" she replied sagely, and staggered past him.
As she proceeded down the hall, Barry the guard swore never to wish for something to pass the hours ever again.