Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: Thus far nothing inside the Manga (up to Psyoblade, volume 9) contradicts this but the option is open in the future (probably AU warning). Edited by Puck 3/4. For 30 romances community.
Alucard caught her staring at his hands again. Upon being discovered she looked away and pretended to mind her business, reading the reports Walter had delivered in her office. He grinned down at his young Master, white hair concealing his amused expression. Ever since he was released a month ago, she had only fixated on his hands, not in his leather outfit or his demonic eyes.
"Do you need something, my Master?" Alucard asked, tone solicitous, eager to serve the young maiden. As a servant, he was requested to be her knight. The nights were quiet, he recalled the last days of freedom two decades ago having more movement than these. There was no established army except for a few guards and Walter, called back to service from retirement.
"No," Integral replied with an exaggerated headshake. She picked up her teacup and sipped it as her large blue eyes wandered once more to his hands. "My personnel is taking care of everything," she added, "And there haven't been any vampire attacks in the last four years."
Alucard did not move a muscle, remaining in front of her like a statue. He dreaded to hear that he was useless and was going to be put to sleep again. "I have no orders, my Master?"
Integral put the cup down and shook her head. "No," she smiled, a very different smile than Arthur's, there were still traces of innocence in it. "It seems both of us are useless for the time being. You could drink your blood now," she offered, gesturing nervously to the package at the edge of her desk. "And sit."
Alucard slowly complied, he moved his hands in front of him and watched her gaze scrutinizing them. "It's German. Gott Mit Uns. God with us," he answered her unspoken question.
Integral bent forward and stretched her arm to touch his glove; her hands were bare, human warmth passed through the cloth.
"God is with an animated corpse, isn't it ironic?"
Alucard did not protest regarding her curiosity. He liked her soft touch; it had been a while without any kind of basic contact. She brought his hand closer and adjusted her glasses.
"Where are these runes from? I don't recognise the language."
"Theban." And added to her blank expression. "The witches' alphabet. Your family keeps one of the copies of the first editions of Cornelius Agrippa's 'Three Books of Occult Philosophy' in the library."
A spark ignited inside the young Master's blue eyes. "I will read more about that to understand better your nature," she commented, her lips turned into a tight line. "Anglicans using vampires to fight evil and mentioning God with the witches' runes. My ancestors had a peculiar sense of humour."
"More than you know, my Master," Alucard replied, showing his fully sharp teeth; Integral recoiled slightly to the frightening sight. He had not told her about her surname, the Hells Gates. She had so much to learn.
"Your hands are cold," Integral switched subjects and released her hold over his glove. "Dismissed Alucard."
He faded away partly, while not physically in her presence, Alucard remained to watch the girl work, fascinated by her clumsy mistakes and her stubborn refusal to admit the little ones. She learned, as the vampire had known she would. Integral was an adept self-taught student who devoured the occultism books in a mere weeks, mastering hidden secrets with fascination. The golden moments of her teenage development were captured by Alucard's vigilance to remain.
And years passed by, Integral stopped being the young girl who had been interested in his gloves and had sought shy conversations inside her office. They shared together battles, hundred of fleeting fixations. Alucard always watched her work while she started to take interest in other than his hands. After the war, Integral's curiosity grew more intimate; she gave a new meaning about humans topping monsters.
The nights of abandoned passion became another pleasant memory; Integral started to feel the time catching up with her as she turned fifty-two. Her aging had not been unkind; her hair still possessed blonde strands hidden inside the grey mane, her nicotine-yellow teeth were almost complete. Her hips were intact and she only complained once or twice about a bullet wound on her left leg.
When she turned sixty-five, Integral started doing her paper work in her bedroom upon her doctor's suggestion. Alucard might have given up her warm body nude against his, but he never stopped watching her quietly from the shadows, his fixation at her small frustrations over insignificant issues never ceased completely. When flustered, her face turned red and she hit the keyboard of her laptop or inked her gloved hands with her pen. Her face contorted in frustration and Alucard became enamoured by counting the lines of age.
"Alucard," Integral called him, placing the opened royal envelope to a side. Alucard appeared beside her bed; she did not look at his face any longer. "We need to talk of the future. What will happen to Hellsing when I am no longer here."
He disliked when Integral put it on those terms. She could change from a teen to an elderly woman but the idea of her absence was maddening. Yet she would not endure forever, both made certain to spoil any chance decades ago.
"I shall remain." He was honest. There was nothing else that he had considered his home that was still standing to date. Romania was no longer his lands; there he had nothing but the haunting defeats.
"I know," Integral stated amused. "I mean how you will remain?" she asked, her voice grew serious, wary.
"I am not a mindless beast, Integra. I only attack the enemy," Alucard retorted, slightly offended by the veiled accusation. He had his personal definition about what to consider an enemy.
"I will adopt a child," Integral informed him, taking him by surprise. "Some cover to allow you freedom in the eyes of the Round Table," she paused, "I will pretend to do a passing ritual from my bloodline to the chosen one's. They don't know that such thing doesn't exist or that…"
"There is no servant to pass around," Alucard finished for her, his gloved hand closed in on her aged one. Her bony digits traced the pentagram while his fingers caressed her protuberant veins.
"You are free yet you still have that sigil…" Integral murmured, closing her eyes.
"Brings memories to mind, doesn't it?" Alucard pointed out, sitting next to her, squeezing her hand. "You used to be so curious about me. Now you barely pay attention to me, or to Seras."
"Living together for over fifty years takes away all your secrets, Count."
"Really? You are still a mystery to me, Countess."
Integral's eyes opened and she stared at his face, she barely concealed her shock. Alucard smirked widely. She had finally realized.
"Your face…" she uttered in disbelief, her free hand reached to trace the age lines, to untangle the white hair. "Why are you taking an old shape!" she demanded to know, miffed. "You shouldn't do it for my sake!"
"I used to appear an old man before I travelled to England," Alucard shrugged and mimicked her motions into her own features. She applied oils in order to stop her aging slightly; she had dyed her hair to hide the grey mane. "You shouldn't scold me for this when you conceal your own age for my sake."
Integral blushed at his comment. Her eyes flashed in annoyance he had recalled when she was younger, more immature. "I can be vain too," she snapped, narrowing her eyes.
"And I can show my age," Alucard stated, releasing her hold and lounging onto her bed; he sprawled in an opposite direction to hers – his head near her feet and giving her a loathsome grin.
"If you show your age, Alucard, you'll be dust then," Integral remarked and pushed his feet off her pillow. "No boots!" His shoes faded, triumphal he had not been kicked out from her side along with them.
"So we are even," Alucard said, sniffing her clean sheets. "The human who stops her aging slightly, the vampire who doesn't."
"It would seem so, yes. We have always been a paradox," Integral took her glasses off and rubbed her eyes tiredly. He caught the glimpse of tears before she wiped them away. "I need new lenses, the calibration of these isn't good for me to read anymore," she added, probably knowing he was looking at her movements. Regardless of that complaint, she placed the spectacles back onto her nose and picked up another letter.
Alucard's attention drifted to her feet, removing his gloves, he touched the skin. They were colder than he remembered from their heated nights of passion, below human warmth. "Your feet are cold," he pointed out without thinking his phrase.
Integral glanced at him with an unreadable attention. "So are your hands," she commented, "Colder even. Perhaps age draw us closer to death, you are old enough to be Death itself and I am in the threshold of it."
"I find your aging attractive. Fragile, cold body holding a burning spirit," he admitted, appraising the lines of time she had not been able to conceal. "That warms me."
"Don't bother me, Alucard, I am trying to work. You act like an attention starved child sometimes," Integral scowled, flushed by the compliments and focused in her letter. But her mind was away from the paper, he knew.
Alucard said nothing more, instead, he retook his fixation of watching her work. Still the same warrior, determined to finish her duty despite the odds she faced: poor eyesight, lethargic proper of her age, and loss of memory. His face leaned on her cold feet as he realized how much he was going to miss Integral when she would be fully gone. But at the same time, how proud he would be when her life would be fully over. She was all he had wanted to be in life, everything he craved to protect, a victory no one could take away anymore.
Alucard fell asleep while Integral was still reading, imagining how stunning she would look while he held her cold body as her soul burnt forever out of this world. Perhaps when she found peace after her battles and victories, he would do the same just as his nightmares had become dreams.