The Cousin

Author: BigHead

Disclaimer: The characters depicted therein belong to their rightful owners, none of which are me. This is done for fun, not profit.

Summary: Sometimes, it really is all about the Blood.

Feedback: Always welcome.

A.N.: Changes in the timeline were made so the dates would fit. And a traitor is not.

Chapter 1 - Letters

Nine years.

Nine lonely and long years celebrated today. She had known back then that her life would never be normal, after all normal lives did not include protecting Britain and the colonies from supernatural threats, but she thought her father or her uncle would ease her upon the job, but no. Sir Arthur, her beloved father, has been taken by cancer, a disease that had systematically destroyed the powerful man until only a shadow of his former self remained.

And Richard, that bloody traitor…may he rot in Hell for all eternity.

Her thoughts darkening like the settling sun outside, Sir Integral Wingates Fairbrooks Hellsing stood up and lighted yet another cigarillo. This was not a good day, and the entire staff was aware of it. Even the vampire kept to himself today, not bothering her with his remarks.

The tall blonde looked outside to the grounds that rolled below. The activity over the training grounds were winding down, the troops readying themselves for their nightly patrols. Integra should be going out with them, but she was too distracted, and while she believed firmly in leading from the front lines, she was practical enough to know that distraction while facing vampires and ghouls usually meant death, not only hers but others too, so it just served to compose to the already moody situation.

A soft knock on her door made her lift an eyebrow and give another pull on her cigarillo.

"Enter," she said in her typical strong voice, and only those who knew her deeply could detect a hint that something was wrong with her. One of those people was the one who entered the room, a middle-aged man in a crisp Saville Row suit and a monocle. He closed the door behind him, and walked until he was standing right at her side, but at a perfect distance both to provide cover if needed, and to enable her to have an effective field of fire if she so desired.

"I'm sorry if I'm bothering you, Integra," he said, calling her by her first name only, one of the very few times she had seen him do so, "... but do you wish to go with the men?"

Another pull, and she finally turned to look at him. "I should, Walter, if only to find another thing to occupy my mind with," she replied, the glacial exterior she always wore cracking a bit. "However, I'll be putting other lives but my own at risk."

He nodded, a real small smile trading place with the smirk he usually wore. "Then perhaps I might have something to distract your mind from today, some mementos from Sir Arthur's past," he said, and removed a bundle of tightly wrapped letters from the inner pocket of his suit.

"Letters? From who?" Integra asked, while grabbing the bundle.

"That's… a bit of a history," he said. "Tell me, did Sir Arthur tell you about Alucard, and how your great-grandfather bound him into servitude?"

Sir Integra shook her head negatively, while cutting the tie that bound the letters together. Some of the original wax seals were intact, with the original impressions clearly visible on a few of them, a bird of some sort. "I know the basics from father's diary, because I needed to learn the spells in case they would be needed again, and how to control the seals, but there is no mention of how Grandfather Abraham did it."

Walter Dornez moved to the other side of the desk, while Integra sat down. She left the bundle to a side, paying full attention to her friend, butler and mentor. "When Alucard was still known as Count Dracula and was causing panic around London and Transylvania, your great-grandfather engaged in a series of battles with him. In those battles, Abraham learned two important lessons: one was that Dracula was too powerful and two, he was almost impossible to kill. However, these battles gave them both a deep seated respect towards the other."

"That is true," a voice came from a corner where only shadows inhabited, and in a few moments it coalesced into a tall human-shaped being, wearing a red suit, wide-brimmed hat and yellow-lensed sunglasses. His face held the smirk of a madman, showing a row of glistening fangs. It was a bit more contrite than usual, but there nonetheless. "Abraham was a worthy enemy, one of the very few people worth of my respect. A true man who battled a true monster, and won," he said with respect. "But enough of me. Continue your story, Angel of Death, I'll add when I feel the need to."

"Thank you, Alucard. As I was saying, Abraham eventually found a way to kill Dracula, but at the same time he also found a way in which, if successful, would bind the most powerful vampire who ever lived in servitude to his own blood. While the idea of slavery was abhorrent to Abraham, the idea that the world could still be plagued by something like or worst than the monster he'd just defeated gave him pause, and a reason to do what he eventually did."

Sir Integra nodded. "What does it have to do with those letters?"

"Abraham Van Hellsing was a great man, a doctor of strange diseases who was born and made his life in Amsterdam. He eventually came to London and got involved in a series of rather bizarre events, which culminated in Alucard being here serving the family and protecting England from supernatural threats. However, what Abraham never was, until then, was a wizard."

An elegant eyebrow rose. "A…wizard, you say?"

Walter nodded. "It's a little known fact, Sir Integra, held under many layers of secrecy, but there is a wizard's society living among us. The wizarding world, as it is usually referenced by those in the known, is a society formed by people proficient in magic, real magic, not those parlor tricks shown everywhere to entertain the masses."

Alucard snorted, which brought the attention of the room back to him.

"You have anything to say, vampire?" Integra asked.

"They're a rabble of the worst kind, sheep with delusions of grandeur, that think that because they have some meager power they're better than the rest of the world."

The comment made Integra once again raise an eyebrow, this time towards Walter, its inner question clear to the older man. "He's…mostly right, Sir. They are rather full of themselves in general, but there are some nice fellows among them. One, or better, two of them are the ones responsible for the letters you now hold in your hands."

Integra grabbed the oldest-looking one and unfolded it. The strange paper was surprisingly sturdy for its apparent age and started reading.

Dear Dr. Hellsing,

I hope this missive finds you in good health, and that the way it has arrived in your hands didn't cause more undue stress in an already stressful situation. It has come to my attention, thanks to a common acquaintance of ours that you're having quite a bit of trouble regarding the vampyr known as Vlad Dracul. While not really acquainted with this particular element, I come from a very specialized and highly regarded institution that has centuries of experience in dealing with these so-called Dark creatures, and I'd like to offer my help in whatever capacity you might need.

I know this might sound quite mysterious and strange, however any consistent and believable explanation, if you want it, should be given personally. If you agree to meet me, send an answer back by the same owl that delivered this message to you, she's instructed to wait for an answer.

Cordially yours,

Lord Richard Potter.

Integra shook her head. "Grandfather never made contact with him, did he? Because I never found any reference about this Richard Potter in any of the family's writings."

"Yes, he did, and you shouldn't," Walter replied, finally taking a seat. "However, I know for a fact that you uncle was named after him, unfortunately."

"This is not making any sense, you're talking in riddles. Explain at once," Integra said, her mood spiking.

"I'm sorry, Sir Integra. Let me explain," Walter said and took a deep breath. "When Abraham was deeply entrenched in the fight against Dracula, he contacted several acquaintances, seeking knowledge on how to defeat the vampire. One of those acquaintances contacted Lord Richard Potter, a graduate from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who was an expert in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms, two of the school's main disciplines. As far as I know, Hogwarts is considered the top learning institution for magic in the world, and Richard was considered their top student four years in a row."

Integra nodded, and Walter continued. "Abraham needed intel first and foremost, and even thinking Richard might be a quack, he offered to meet Lord Potter after some quiet inquiries that brought surprising results. After some demonstration of Richard's power, Dr. Hellsing accepted his help. However, Lord Potter's hands were tied in the extension of help he could provide."

"How so?"

Alucard interrupted before Walter could speak. "The sheep are only interested in their secrecy and their own bellies, and their ruling government forbid their involvement in matters concerning the non-magical world. Potter was a courageous man, he helped in what he could, even knowing the risks he was suffering."

Integra looked to the No Life King. "Seems to me that you know more about this world than Walter."

Alucard smirked. "I should, Master. After all, one of their schools lies within the borders of my old domains."

The Master of Monsters nodded. "This seems like a long conversation to have, but we're diverging from the main subject. Carry on, Walter."

"Richard could help, but only by providing information. His direct involvement had been forbidden by their government, unless Dracula posed a direct threat to them. Even then, Richard did actively help your grandfather hunt down Alucard, with the proviso of his involvement to never be mentioned in the annals being written by the good doctor. As luck would have it, Abraham had some magic in his blood, not enough to be used actively, but sufficient for him to cast and hold the magic needed to seal Alucard's powers."

"Potter was another man worthy of my respect," Alucard voiced from the darkened corner he had leaned against. "Powerful, resourceful and smart. I once cornered him and removed his wand…"

"Wand? You're telling me these …wizards use wands?"

"Quite unimaginative, don't you think?" Walter smirked along with Alucard, and Integra shook her head.

"As I was saying, I removed his wand, the only real weapon he had against me, and while he should have cowed and ran in face of certain death, he challenged me using only his fists, even though he had little to no ability in unarmed combat. The action was so absurd that I laughed for a while, instead of attacking. It was enough to call the attention of Abraham and he came to the rescue of Potter, which took my brief distraction as a chance to recover his wand. With both of them now armed, I decided to walk away."

"You ran?" Integra asked, incredulously.

Alucard's face turned from maniacal to enraged in a fraction of a second. "I ran from no one," he growled. "If I were to finally die that moment, then so be it. However, I was more interested in the hunt than a simple kill, and believe me, it would be easy to kill one of them that night. That proved to be my mistake."

"Yes," Walter nodded, "that is true. A few nights later, Richard's research proved fruitful, and Abraham finally defeated Alucard, after killing all of his servants and releasing Mina from his grasp. Richard helped your Grandfather apply the Cromwell Seals and tie them to the bloodline of the Hellsings."

"Potter learned much about blood magic," Alucard commented.

Integra stood, followed a moment later by the retainer. She turned back to the large window. "Why I was never told about any of this?"

"Honestly, Sir, I had forgotten about those letters until today. I was taking a gander among Sir Arthur's old possessions and I remembered where he kept them. I also miss my old friend," Walter replied.

"I need to think about this," she said, without turning around. "Leave me."

"As you wish, Sir," Walter said, and walked out.

Once she and Alucard were alone, the No Life King spoke again. "Do not let this information sullen the image you have of Abraham. He was a great man, and so was Potter. Together they formed a great team, one that, if still alive today, wouldn't require your use of my services."

"Why did you never mentioned it yourself, Alucard?"

"Why should I?" he said with a smirk.

Integra's shoulders shook momentarily, the only reflection of her amusement. She turned around abruptly, the fire back in her ice blue eyes. "What are you still doing here? My orders still haven't changed. Search and Destroy!"

Alucard's insane laughter echoed through the manor. "As you command, Master," he said, and vanished into the shadows.

After some time of silent contemplation, Integra Hellsing sat back down in her chair and started reading.