A/N: It's a regular morning in the Hellsing Manor, and Integra has encountered a certain hardship. I know this is a completely overused concept in any fiction: the "sounds-pervertedly-wrong-but-is-actually-something-really-innocent" moments. I just couldn't resist this one.

All characters © Hirano Kouta

Small Troubles


"Oh, bloody hell," Integra muttered darkly to no one in particular.

The early morning sun was poking through the double-sash windows of Sir Hellsing's lavatory as she stood facing her irritated reflection in the mirror. She had been occupying the facility for over a quarter of an hour and was starting to lose patience. This was a waste of time and was throwing her daily schedule into a rather precarious state.

After five more minutes of trying to accomplish her goal and indubitably failing, Integra rammed her finger into the call button on the bathroom intercom.

"Walter! I require your assistance in my quarters at this time. These items you bought me aren't…cooperating."

"Forgive me Lady Integra," Walter replied from the kitchen, "but I must go out and gather some more medical packets for Lady Seras and Alucard. We're running dangerously low."

Integra growled internally, retorting in her frustration. "Walter…" She could almost hear the butler grin on the other end of the P.A.

"I'm sure you will get the hang of it in time. Just keep practicing," he told her before disconnecting.

Grinding her teeth together, Integra Hellsing walked back over to the full-length mirror. She had not even changed out of her satin nightclothes yet because of this foolish ordeal. How could something be this hard to do?

People have been doing this for ages, Integra reminded herself. It couldn't be that difficult.

-- -- --

In the bowels of the Hellsing manor, the Nosferatu Alucard stirred in his sleep, finally cracking open his eyes in the blackness of his cellar. They glowed a brilliant claret in the dark, supporting slight bags from the vampire's lack of rest.

He could sense some disquietude in his master from the floors above. Even from down here Alucard could detect the turbulent vibes emitting steadily from her being.

The vampire mentally debated his options. Option one: he could go and investigate, but in the case that Integra was highly pissed off (which she probably was), he would almost certainly be scolded. Option two: he could do nothing and go back to sleep. However, Alucard surmised that slipping into a slumber would be quite difficult with her unrest plaguing his sleep, which meant that he would not get much of it anyway.

Scowling slightly, Alucard rose from his chair and slithered sinuously through the walls to the upper floors of the estate.

-- -- --

"Haven't you ever heard of knocking, servant?" Integra regarded the vampire through the mirror without even bothering to turn around.

Alucard chuckled lowly, having faded into the little bathroom through the wall. "'Servant?'" He repeated. "I was not aware that you had resorted to formalities when addressing me now, my Master." Integra silently seethed.

"Nice sleepwear," Alucard commented dryly with a pointed smile, surveying his master through hooded eyelids. From the mirror Integra tried not to let her cheeks darken with flush.

"If you don't have any business here you should place yourself elsewhere," she advised her servant warningly.

"Ah, but my business is your business," he replied unfazed. "Something obviously seems to be up your ass, pardon the expression."

If the vampire was any more annoying, it was when he was right, Integra thought. She turned to Alucard with a long sigh.

"If you really must know, I can't get this blasted thing in," she said impatiently, showing the vampire her open hand. Alucard's eyebrows were suddenly lost in his hair and he broke into a lopsided grin. A chortle began somewhere in his chest and soon erupted into a hearty bass laugh.

"That's it? That's all it is?" the vampire said between guffaws. Integra fixed an icy blue glower on him.

"I see nothing amusing in this, Alucard," she said, folding her arms over her satin-clad chest.

The No Life King had finally managed to control his sniggering. "I apologize, Integra," he answered humbly, referring to his master by her first name as a sign of respect.

"Those take some practice before you can get them in effortlessly," Alucard said musingly.

"Oh?" Integra's tone changed from irascibleness to curiosity. "And how would you know, pray tell?"

"I don't, necessarily," Alucard began artfully, "but I do know that Sir Maxwell had to practice for weeks before he completely mastered it. And the Judas Priest simply gave up trying. 'Too painful,' he said." The vampire grinned, imagining his rival enduring such torments.

"Maxwell?" Integra's visage took on a smug appearance as she processed this new information. "If he can do it, so can I," she said, turning to the mirror once more and attempting to try again. Alucard watched with a humored leer.

Integra drew air through her teeth in a hiss as she her endeavors were unsuccessful yet again. "How can something so small be so aggravating?" She snapped.

"Frankly, I don't see the difficulty in it," Alucard observed, cocking his pale head to the side.

Integra whipped around, her long blonde hair swishing fluidly around her. "Nor I!" she fumed. "I just need to properly lubricate it, insert it, and there should be no problem, correct?"

The black-haired vampire knew better than to disagree with his master, especially a master who was frustrated to the point of no end. So he nodded and smiled.

"Maybe you did not lubricate it enough, Master."

"I don't think that's the problem, Alucard," Integra told him wearily. "I wet it so much that it's gotten all over the floor and sink," she gestured to the bathroom behind her. "Not to mention that half the bottle is wasted now."

"Then the problem is obvious, isn't it?" the five-hundred-year old vampire inquired innocently (well, as innocently as he could get).

"To you maybe," Integra scowled. "Care to enlighten me?"

"The problem lies in the insertion," Alucard stated, running a white-gloved hand over his smooth chin knowingly. "It is possible that you are doing it too fast, or in the wrong place. Perhaps you have it in the wrong position as well."

"Perhaps," Integra agreed with her lips pursed. "Nevertheless I cannot fully concentrate with you in my presence, so go back to sleep Alucard," she said to him.

"I will try, my Master," the Nosferatu rumbled with a slight bow. As he phased through the lavatory walls he turned to her, a scarlet iris crinkled in a smirk.

"Good luck."

Integra only nodded curtly.

-- -- --

Ten minutes later the Hellsing heir was fully dressed in her charcoal-colored suit, complete with its Victorian-style tie and crucifix at the neck. Glancing down at her watch she saw that she was a whole thirty minutes late to starting her day. Walter had not returned, so the manor seemed lonelier than usual.

Integra whisked down the hall to her study, where the butler had already laid a tray of English breakfast out for her. It was no doubt cold by now.

She eased into the chair behind her desk and produced a case of rolled cigars. Not even bothering to light the one she had extracted, Integra picked up a pen and began to file report cases. It was soon after that she felt a sudden chill in the air, signifying the approach of the elder vampire.

"It's not like you to give up, Master," Alucard noted from the shadows. He had not yet returned to his cellar, and was without his wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

"Give up?" Integra questioned calmly from her papers. "Who said I would do such thing? I will merely try again tomorrow."

Alucard snorted softly, exposing a sharp white canine. "Forgive me for saying so, but I think you look better with them," he said deeply. Integra raised her blonde head; it was rare for the vampire to express his personal opinions so openly to her.

"They give a proper English sophistication to your physique," Alucard continued. "You would look rather naked without them."

Integra suppressed a smile behind her dry cigar. "Is that so? Then I think I'll keep them," she replied urbanely, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose. They flashed blindingly as the sunlight reflected off of them.

"Having to put in those contact lenses every day would be quite irritating," Integra added. "I never knew that getting those little bits of plastic in your eye could be so difficult."