"Seras Victoria," began Integra, gazing out of the blinds of her dark, stuffy office, "Do you care to explain precisely what occurred tonight, at the 'Typical Freak' club?"
Seras swallowed hard. She had taken orders from Sir Integra Hellsing long enough to know what this cold, heart-carving tone meant. If her explanation did not satisfy her, it wouldn't end well. She forced down the knot in her throat, and began.
"It was 2200 hours. We deployed in two strike teams, one for the right flank, one for the—"
"I am very aware of the tactical situation, Victoria. If you could skip to the part I am concerned with…"
She denied herself another hard swallow. "Yes, sir. When we burst through the doors, the attack was well underway. Most of the people had been turned ghoul, and there were two vampires commanding them. They were easily dispatched. Alucard was disposing of their leader. Seeing that he was outnumbered, a third vampire fled, taking what I thought was a dead body of a boy with him. I chased after him, and landed a hit, in midair, as he was leaping over a wrought-iron fence. He was killed, but dropped the boy, impaling him against the fence. I…realized that he had been alive all this time, only unconscious, up until then."
"And?" Integra urged, irritated.
Seras remembered it all so clearly; the boy, hunched over the fence, the tips of it coming out of his back. The desperation, confusion, agony contorting his soft, near angelic features. His pitifully gurgled attempts at speech as blood spewed out of his mouth.
"Please understand, Sir, there was nowhere near enough time to get a medical unit to him. He had two minutes to live, at best. And it was…"
"Your fault?" finished Integra, more a direct answer than a suggestion. "And, like a little girl finding a lost puppy, you decided to adopt him. The queen will be very displeased when she finds out that we have another vampire in our employ. By all accounts, I should have him terminated by morning."
Seras clenched her teeth, not so much out of anger as lost hope.
"However…" she continued, "Over these last five years, you have proven yourself to be a skilled and competent addition to the Hellsing. Perhaps you can make the same of this…new blood."
Seras fought the urge to smile like a pleased child. "Thank you, Sir Hellsing. You will not regret this decision, I promise."
"But know this well, Victoria." warned Integra, finally turning to face her with her stern, frozen scowl, "I want no more vampires in this organization. Three is far more than we need. That goes for you too, Alucard."
He chucked in that omnipresent way of his, his voice coming from the walls themselves. "Of course."
"And remember, he's your responsibility. Your's and Alucard's."
Seras felt the hairs on the back of her neck prickle slightly. Alucard had been a good, although harsh master for her. She wasn't sure how this new fledgling would take working with him, much less as a part-time master.
"Why mine, too, master?" asked Alucard curiously, stepping through the wall.
Still straight as a rail, Integra said simply, "Victoria may be a true nosferatu now, but you still dwarf her in experience. As such, it will benefit him to learn from you as well as her. That will be all."
"As you wish, master." Crooned Alucard, phasing back into the wall.
Seras marched out of the room and closed the door carefully behind her. She allowed herself a sigh of relief, knowing that her new fledgling was safe.
"How industrious. Not even one year a true nosferatu, and already you take a fledgling…I hope you are prepared for it." Alucard laughed.
"You make it sound as if I'm taking in a pet." Seras said, determined not to change her pace
"Aren't you? It was his eyes, wasn't it? Those big, blue, pleading eyes, just like a dog."
She groaned "Haven't you had enough fun tormenting that trash vampire?"
"Not as much fun as I'm going to have with this new one." In sight or not, Seras could feel that playfully wicked smirk stretching across his face.
Seras knew there was no point in even trying. "At least let him adjust first."
"No guarantees, Police girl." His presence faded from the hallway, as she walked up the stairs toward the infirmirary.
Her fledgling lay asleep in the second room to the right. She opened the door carefully and sat down in the chair next to him.
He was roughly sixteen years old, as Seras judged it. His skin had already paled; not that it had much color to begin with. Platinum blonde hair fell slightly over his face. She reached up and brushed it aside, and he shifted suddenly at the contact, and opened his newly-reddened eyes.
Seras smiled warmly.