Integra in Training
Once she completed basic training, she was able to convince the captain to allow her to go on a raid in a purely supervisory position.
"I promise to stay out of your way and away from the action," she told him bluntly, knowing he had no real desire for her to tag along like this. "I have no intention of being the shortest-lived lord of Hellsing."
He laughed at that, a short bark she had not heard from him before. "And I have no intention of looking for a new boss, ma'am."
It was educational, to say the least. Ghouls were more disgusting in real life than she had imagined, and even her seasoned troops looked a bit grey after dealing with an infestation of them. It really was a bizarre line of work her family had gotten into, she supposed. The vampire had holed himself up in an abandoned building (an old grain mill, from the looks of it), and they were at a stand-off. The most expedient choice was to wait until dawn, so they did. They then dispatched the vampire and went home.
Alucard was waiting up for her. "How was your first hunt?" he asked.
"I didn't do any hunting. It was informative, though."
"If you ever create a ghoul, I think I'll have you sealed in the basement again," she mused, barely cutting off a yawn.
"Only amateurs do that," he informed her. "All my victims are here." He gestured towards his gut, not his heart.
He never apologized for what he was. He seemed rather proud of it actually, despite his loyalty to the mission of the Hellsing Organization. But now was not the time to cipher out that puzzle. "I'm exhausted; I'm going to sleep."
"Same here," he smirked, and melted through the floor.
She shook her head. Why did he insist on doing that?
The second time she went along did not go nearly as smoothly. The police had sent several teams in before they arrived, so the ghouls were armed. Her troops took significant injuries, and it was three nights before they were able to eliminate the vampire. She assisted with communications, but otherwise stayed out of it.
But she came home from the third mission in tears. They lost half their men, because unbeknownst to them, there were two vampires. The entire operation was a disaster.
"Integra, what's wrong?" Walter asked when she came in. "Are you hurt?"
"No, but I feel like I should be."
"You reek of death," Alucard said from behind her, earning a glare from Walter.
"It's my fault those men are dead," she said shortly, and then fled upstairs to her room.
Walter shook his head. "She's only seventeen, Alucard. She doesn't understand yet."
"You and I were younger, and we understood."
The butler looked at him. "You were never young, Alucard. You were born old."
"Perhaps. I do not remember my life any more."
Walter sighed. "She'll get used to it. Just give her time. And you'll get used to staying here, eventually. Goodnight, Alucard. Or should I say good morning?"
Alucard nodded, but went upstairs anyway. He never knocked, but he also did not enter his master's room uninvited. He hesitated by the door.
"What do you want?" Integra called.
He stepped into the room. She was sitting on her bed, with her knees drawn up in front of her and a blanket around her shoulders. "How did you know I was there?" he asked her.
"You reek of death," she mimicked him, barely concealing a sob.
"Those men chose their deaths, Integra. They knew what this work means."
"It doesn't have to mean that! There are ways of killing those monsters without losing men. My father…"
"Your father lost many men."
She glared at him, but said nothing. She knew he knew her father better than she did, in some ways, since she only knew him in his later years. She resented the vampire for that at times.
"Is it important to you, to conserve your soldiers' lives? To keep the same troops instead of hiring new ones all the time?"
"Of course it is! That is part of my duty. Not only am I protecting England at the service of the queen and the church, but I'm also providing guidance for my men…." She took her glasses off and rubbed the back of her hand across her eyes in an attempt to banish her tears.
He got down on his knees. "I am your servant, Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing. You command me as you command those men. I promise you, there is no battle I will shirk, and I will always emerge victorious as long as my foe is another monster…."
She looked at him. His eyes were completely honest; fervent.
"I can spare the lives of the men you command."
She knew what he was trying to get her to do. But his argument was too sincere, too true. He was offering her the chance to save lives, so a fiasco like this past night would not happen again. The temptation was too great.
"With my sword, I can cut down your enemies."
Suddenly, her head jerked up. "No. No sword."
He looked at her in surprise. "Why not?"
"You'll enjoy it too much. I'll have Walter find you a suitable gun. If the captain permits it, he may use you in future raids."
He smiled and bowed his head before her. "Yes, Master. I will not disappoint you!"
He did not seem the least bit put out to be denied a sword. She supposed he could kill without a weapon, since he was in fact a monster. But at least with a gun he'd be somewhat detached from the mayhem he would cause.
As he rose to his full height, she wondered if she had just made another serious mistake. "It is the captain's decision," she reminded him. "I will not watch you work." She saw the flicker of disappointment on his face, and knew she had guessed correctly. "Goodnight, Alucard. I'll give you your orders later."
He bowed low and left. The Hellsing Organization once more had a vampire at its disposal.
Author's Note: I realize Integra is a bit out of character. This story takes place in 1992, and is meant to show some of the transformation of her moving from the young girl who hid from her uncle in the ventilation ducts, to the calm and confident commander of Hellsing in her young 20s. She's not all grown up yet, and is going through an awkward stage, as most of us did in our teens (minus the pet vampire). I have no idea when she and Walter started using Alacard as their ace fighter, but it was likely before Integra's seventeenth birthday. Ah well; poetic license :D.
Thank you so much for reading!