Author's note: I was reading fiction haven's challenge (addiction) and it gave methe idea to write about how Integra developed her famous addiction. Thanks goes to LJ's SirHellsing in whose blog I read about her discussing Dracula/Alucard's 3 female obsessions.I also would like to thank LJ's Northsider for her suggestions about cigar boxes.
Third Time's the Charm
"Sir Integra, the associate director of Scotland Yard is here to see you."
"Give me a minute, Walter. Then, send him in."
Sir Integra Wingates Hellsing, newly knighted and now officially appointed head of the Hellsing Organization, sat back in her new, luxurious black leather chair and, was nervous. It was not every day that the police paid a call to the mansion. Absently, Integra wondered whether the police were upset with the organization's handling of the recent ghoul attacks. While all the brouhaha was kept out of the London papers, the casualties were adding up. Somehow they always seemed to do that, the Hellsing leader inwardly sighed. She was the official head for less than two months and already she could feel the job wearing at her soul. She could not believe her father had done this job day in and day out for over 45 years.
The shuffling of feet made Sir Integra look up into the eyes of a weary, middle-aged detective. She held out her hand which the man shook, though with a bit of hesitance.
"I thought you'd be older," was all the man was willing to say. He paused, thought a moment, then added, "And quite fetching too."
"Mr.---" Integra began.
"Williamson. Michael Williamson.
"Mr. Williamson," the Hellsing leader continued, "I am sixteen and therefore, of age, to lead this organization. In any case, my age and my…appearance are of no consequence. Only my birthright demands that I should be leader and I am."
"Um..well.." The older man stumbled to find the right words to say in reply. He had not faced a woman so young yet so full of inner strength and purpose.
Sir Integra motioned for the associate director to sit in one of the chairs facing her that were reserved for clients. The man did so and put a briefcase that he was carrying down on the floor beside him.
"So what brings you to Hellsing today, Mr. Williamson?" Sir Integra asked, "If it was about that last ghoul attack---"
"No, no, nothing of the sort," Williamson cut her off quickly, "It's just that I was asked by my superiors to deliver a very important package to the new leader of Hellsing."
The associate director leaned down and picked up the briefcase, balancing it precariously on his lap. He opened it and took out a large sealed yellowed envelope that appeared to be bursting at the seams. "Before your father, Arthur Hellsing died, he gave this to Scotland Yard. He sent instructions with it that the contents should only be opened by the new leader of the Hellsing organization."
Williamson closed the briefcase, set it back on the floor and stood up, handing the envelope over to Sir Integra. "I have no idea what's in here myself but I hope you will find it worthwhile. Good day, Miss---I mean, Sir Hellsing. Much luck to you in your new position."
Sir Hellsing placed the envelope on her desk and was left to stare at it as the man made his way out of her office.
"Yes, Sir Integra?" Hellsing's indispensable butler appeared at Integra's office door.
"I have something important to review. Make certain I'm not disturbed for at least an hour."
"Of course, Sir Integra." Walter left quickly, intent on carrying out the task. The butler was always around when he was needed. Almost like magic. He would be impossible to replace, Integra thought, a sharp pang, almost like fear, ran through her body. She put a hand to her forehead. I'm worrying about everything these days, it seems, she sighed, as she sat back down in her chair.
The envelope was sealed tightly with a large swath of masking tape so Integra finally decided to cut it open in the end. The contents spilled out on her desk. What seemed like mostly photos littered her desk. However, the Hellsing leader spotted a small neatly folded paper resting toward the bottom middle of the pile and picked it up. She unfolded the paper and began reading what looked to be a letter written in her father's famously precise, neat script.
"To the next leader of the Hellsing organization," it began, "This letter, along with the enclosed pictures will serve as a document of the Hellsing monster, Alucard's destruction and chaos as caused on -----".
Integra put down the letter, her hands trembling visibly. Alucard had told her months ago about this very incident. Of how he had literally gone insane and massacred Arthur's first wife, Mary Elizabeth Highbridge. Alucard had been assured through the years that Arthur would never marry and set the vampire free before his death. Arthur had made one too many promises he wasn't going to keep and ended up marrying the former Miss Highbridge suddenly and secretly. Alucard learned of the marriage only when Arthur brought his new wife back from their honeymoon. The vampire, once called Dracula, had always had a sore spot for liars and thieves. Therefore, Integra remembered how Alucard told her that it was the breach of trust between Arthur and himself, that eventually drove the vampire to insanity. And then, ultimately, to the murder of Mary Elizabeth.
The Hellsing leader inwardly steeled herself before picking up the first photo. Oh, good, they were all in color, she realized with a sickening feeling. Though Integra had seen some of what Alucard could do in battle, she realized that insanity would have driven him to commit worst atrocities. And, unfortunately, for once, Integra was correct.
The first photo, and actually, the five more after that that she could stomach looking at, showed the eviscerated, headless corpse of Arthur's first wife. The bed was in extreme disarray as was the room, making Integra realize that Alucard had tortured Mary Elizabeth before he killed her. The corpse was mutilated beyond human recognition but what bothered the intrepid leader more was a close-up shot of the bedroom door with a single, smeared bloody hand print near the doorknob. It was as if something had allowed the woman the fantasy of flight and then dragged her back, into the Hell that was Alucard's fury.
Integra's face went starkly white and her stomach threatened to rebel. She threw the last picture back into the pile and was quickly stuffing the lot of photos back in the envelope when several fell out. One fell almost in front of her vision and made her pause.
This photo did not concentrate on the corpse in the room. Rather, it was a photo of the back bedroom wall. The monster--Alucard, Integra mentally hesitated to put so familiar a name to so violent an act, had written on one of the walls. In Mary Elizabeth's blood, no less. The fact that the liquid on the walls was blood, bothered Integra less than what the writing said. Over and over again was the phrase "The third time's the charm."
Sir Integra's suddenly felt chill, cold to the very marrow of her bones. She had made it a point to study her servant's past history. Alucard..Dracula had been obsessed with two woman in history, Illona, one of his wives and of course, Mina Harker. And I am the third, Integra thought, her lips gone suddenly dry..
She looked down at the floor which seemed far away and out of focus. Integra collapsed into her chair, shaken and sweating, her heart hammering in her chest. She threw the offending picture on the desk, where it sat on top of the others, commanding, forbidding.
What had possessed Alucard to write that cryptic phrase in blood almost twenty five years ago? She had no clue and probably neither would Alucard. The vampire would simply claim that he was mentally insane and had no control of his actions and that time. Yet, it bothered Integra that the deranged monster's words might fortell her future. Integra rubbed her arms, trying to calm herself.
It was sometime later that Walter had found her, sitting in her chair, looking down at the pile of pictures still cluttering the desk.
"Sir Integra," Walter began, "a gent from the American embassy sent you these." The butler held several boxes of cigars in his hand. "I think they had heard that the new leader was to be addressed as 'Sir' and just assumed that you were male.
To Integra, it seemed like her butler was talking from far away. She was still in shock over the photo and the saying written long ago about her, in another woman's blood. She had to concentrate hard to hear him.
Then, seeing her agitation, Walter added gently, "Don't worry, Sir Integra. I'll take these. They look like good cigars."
"No, Walter. Give them to me." The butler inwardly was shocked by his master's request but handed them over to her anyway.
Integra accepted one of the boxes, opened it and took several minutes to inspected its contents before once again closing the lid.
"You know, Walter," Integra said conversationally, "these are just what I needed today." The Hellsing leader reached for the box again, her hands steadier than they had been in days.