Youth and Innocence

Chapter 1

Standard disclaimer: All characters belong to Kohta Hirano and his publishers. I have no stake in them.

This is set in the period 10 years before the anime/manga begin. Elements from both are included here.


The young girl's hand rested on the door latch for a second before she jerked it away. Time blurred together, minutes or hours before when she had first put her fingers on the cold metal, an image had flooded her mind. A monster, horrible and hungry, stood flailing his black hair in triumph as men, soldiers, probably Nazis, died all around him; their blood going to feed his savage need. No hallucinations troubled her now. No, this time she was closing the door on her own horror. The same monster stood inside the room; she could see him in her mind. He stood triumphant, white hair flailing as he devoured the last of her uncle and his lackeys' blood.

I killed the bastard, she thought as she leaned her back against the door. I should feel really bad about this, and I do, in a way. I feel sorry he betrayed me. I'm sorry to have lost several agents, though their treachery now saves me from later trouble with them. Still, she reasoned, we haven't men to spare. Her top agent was away on a mission but due back shortly. He was her father's best friend and the man she grew up calling 'Uncle' Walter. Tears welled up in her eyes for the millionth time in the last few days. "Walter, I need you," she whispered. Laughter issued from behind the heavy door. Her shoulder still bled and stung whenever it rubbed against the arcane symbols behind her. I've got to get out of this dungeon and see what needs doing before Walter returns, she took off her glasses to wipe her eyes and looked up at the duct work. There was the vent she'd crawled through to get down to her father's crazy idea of protection. A sad smile eased along her face. Father. Dead and betrayed in such a short amount of time. Slowly, Integra headed to the stairs.

Savoring the last molecules of blood he could squeeze from one of the bodies in front of him, Alucard smiled. He often did, partly because it worried others, but also because of the joy he felt. Yes, as corrupt as he was, and as old as he was, the vampire felt great joy. Felt it all the way to his core, to the blackened souls of the damned he carried within him. It was what kept him going, kept his undeath fun. Boredom, he knew, was the enemy when you lived hundreds and hundreds of years. The devil had once told him that. It was part of the reason she'd let him become what he was, a king of the forsaken. He did alleviate her boredom, for a time. It was also the reason he'd been bound by this awful curse. I became too set in my ways, he considered, too predictable. Being the master vampire in Europe was boring. His wives? Boring. The young Lucy, however, his sweet English rose, she'd held the promise of shaking things up. Alucard leaned back, lying like a corpse among the others. He didn't usually gorge, but after 20 years with nothing, indulging himself could be forgiven. Morning had broken and the child was moving about far above him. Young... no more than thirteen, this child. Still, she'd stirred him. He loved the spark of fire she'd lit in him. Her ancestor had trapped him, bound him to their blood, but even with the torture, the experiments, and their attempts to redeem him, he was able to appreciate her for what she was, an innocent.

Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, he thought, my new 'Master.' Laughter shook his long body once more. Yes, this will be fun. Her purity made his teeth ache. As always, he was torn when thinking of innocence. Most of his being longed to defile it, but a small, older voice within him wanted to enjoy it, respect it. He shook his head and rose to reach for the door.

As soon as his dry flesh touched the latches, a surge of electricity, along with mental pain and the last rebuke of Sir Arthur Hellsing, Integral's father coursed through him. "Here you will remain until you are needed, servant." Dammit! Hadn't the girl broken the seal? Surging his shadow self near to but not touching the door, he formed a dog's head and sniffed. His muzzle twisted up into a snarl. On the other side of the thick wood, he could smell her, smell her blood lingering. New blood added to the old as she closed him in. She was smarter than he'd thought. That puts a new curve into things, Alucard smiled, his annoyance gone. I've rested twenty years, he thought, a blink of an eye to me, but a generation to them. A new generation to play with? How delightful. He piled the bodies into a low throne. Rigor had just begun to creep into them, keeping the chair almost sturdy as he reclined. He tapped his forehead with a bony finger, remembering what she'd said about Walter.

Without looking around, Walter felt the eyes of the soldiers on him. They were blatantly curious as to why he was there. To the men dressed in drab fatigues, he looked like someone heading to an office, which he was. Dark slacks, matching vest and dress shirt. The only thing he lacked was a tie, and that was in the black briefcase his feet pinned against the wooden bench. Walter was also about forty years older than most of them. He reset his monocle with a black-gloved hand. Even if they'd seen the Hellsing badge he'd flashed their commanding officer, they wouldn't have understood. To them, he was a civilian. To him, they were grunts. When numbers or brute force was necessary, he had no qualms about working with the army. For the work he typically did, though, he needed only himself and maybe a few select agents. Get in, make the kill and get out; that's the Hellsing way, he smiled. This last mission was simplicity itself, mainly an intelligence-gathering gig though he was able to let off steam on a few misguided followers of a vampire cult. It was a welcome distraction from all the pain of the past few months. Ah Arthur... A tear threatened to fall, but Walter rubbed it out of his eye as if fatigued.

"Mr. Dollnez, sir? Com line." The sergeant sounded most deferential following a quick conference with the officer in the main cab. Walter nearly fell off the narrow bench as the lorry lurched about a corner. His long legs helped keep his balance, reaching across several soldiers to grasp the heavy hand-held radio.

Color drained from his face as he listened. "Yes sir, Miss." The man closest to him couldn't resist eavesdropping, but Walter doubted he could understand anything between the code used and the scratchy connection. "Understood. I should be there within the hour. Please be careful Miss." The loud crackle as the line disconnected was audible to those around him, nearly deafening his right ear. Walter shook his head, quite a temper, that one.

"Bad news, then, eh?" A friendly jab in the ribs as he passed the handset back caused Walter to wince. Cracked ribs seemed to take forever to heal at his age.

"No, not especially," he pursed his lips tightly, then took an offered cigarette, "just… unexpected."