Author's note: I do not own Hellsing or its characters. This is AU. This is for the 30 Kisses challenge using list theta. Theme 18: Invisible. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this story. I appreciate your support. A special thank you to Resident Quetzal who did fanart for one of the chapters.
His Lady and His Master
Integra ran. She didn't dare stop. Not with her uncle trying to kill her. Her father had barely been dead a few hours, and now she was running for her life. The girl had the feeling that if it weren't for the adrenaline, she might be close to having hysterics. She had made it to the basement, following her father's advice. Now if only she knew what she was looking for. Coming to the door at the end of the hall, Integra reached for the door handle. She jerked back after touching though. There was something not right about this room. Still, she'd rather face whatever it was than her death. A shot rang out, clipping her in the arm. Integra bit back a cry of pain and slipped into the room.
Her temporary sanctuary was dark, but Integra could tell that the only way out was through the door she had come in. Hopefully, the heavy door would buy her some time. Integra let out a little sigh as she surveyed the room. She was alone save for a corpse. She needed a plan, and her arm hurt. Blood was dripping from it, and she didn't have the time to deal with. Then the door was yanked open. Integra froze. Her uncle smirked at her.
"You've given us quite a chase, Integra. I'm sure you don't really need to hear the full explanation for this." He stepped forward, raising his gun. "But for the future of my country, my church, my queen, and my sacred Hellsing family, you will die."
Integra lifted her chin. "Uncle, what kind of man are you? Can't you understand? My father entrusted Hellsing's future to me because he feared you would be reduced to this."
"You damn brat!" He fired.
The bullet just grazed her cheek. Integra could feel blood sliding down her face, but she ignored it.
"Do you think I won't shoot a little girl? Well, do you, Integra? After all both of us are Hellsings."
Integra backed further into the room. Her uncle seemed to notice the corpse for the first time.
"It seems we have a guest. Well, it's only proper for you to have an escort to take you to see your father."
There was a slight slurping noise. Her uncle frowned.
"What was that?"
"It moved!" One of his minions announced. "Mr. Hellsing, what is that?"
Her uncle seemed shaken. "I…I don't know. There's no record of this. My brother never mentioned it."
As the corpse lapped up the blood and strained at its bonds, Integra realized that it was a vampire and wondered why on earth her father had said that this would protect her. Her uncle ordered his minions to shoot it. That didn't work so well. Integra could only watch as the vampire ripped the men apart and drank their blood. When her uncle himself tried to shoot the vampire, it ripped off his entire arm, tossing it near Integra. The vampire turned to her. She snatched up the gun as it, no, he approached her. The vampire was definitely male.
"You are the one who has disturbed my rest."
"Don't come any closer to me," she ordered. "Monster."
"Your sweet blood was the first I've tasted in over twenty silent years."
He stepped closer to her. Integra fired at him three times. The bullets seemed to simply pass through him. The next thing she knew he was looming over her, one hand braced against the wall by her heard. The gun was just inches away from his nose. He chuckled.
"Those souls who suffer their righteousness will know their eternal inheritance."
His words didn't exactly make sense to Integra. But she refused to let him see her fear.
"Vile demon," she spit out. "I am the lord and master of the Hellsing family, Integra Wingates Fairbrook Hellsing. I would die before allowing a vampire to order me."
She pulled back on the trigger just enough so he could hear the round chambering.
"That gun is useless against me. Give up, little girl, and--"
"Shut up!" She cut him off. "I'll never give up. I would die before giving up. That is my duty and pride as the leader of the Hellsing Organization."
The vampire burst into laughter. "Wonderful. Just wonderful. You make my blood boil. You are your father's daughter."
He leaned in closer to her face, and Integra fought to keep from recoiling. Then he stepped back and went down on one knee, bowing before her.
"Forgive my impertinence, Sir Hellsing." He looked up at her. "Your orders, my master?"
Integra took a deep breath, realizing that she had just passed a test of some sort. Before she had a chance to figure out what was going on, her uncle had recovered.
"Ridiculous. The brat and a beast. Damn it! I am the leader of Hellsing." He raised a gun. "Hellsing is mine!"
The bullet never reached her. Instead, it hit the vampire's arm which he had extended to protect her.
"Your blood rots," the vampire's voice was contemptuous. "You are not the leader of this house."
His response had clearly shaken her uncle. He could only stutter as Integra raised her gun, resting her hands on the vampire's still outstretched arm.
"What is your name?" she inquired softly.
"Alucard. That is the name my last master used."
"Alucard," she pulled the trigger, "thank you."
Her uncle fell down dead, a bullet in his brain. Integra took a deep breath, and then the world went black.
Alucard examined the unconscious, wounded child at his feet. Such strength and power in such a small package. She was a true Hellsing for certain. And she was his new master. Alucard frowned. He could still sense Arthur Hellsing though. Weakly, not like he had been able to when the man was his master. Still, if this child was now his master, Arthur should be dead. The vampire shook his head as he gathered the girl up in his arms. It was a puzzle he would need to figure out, but first she needed tending to.
The wound in her shoulder was still bleeding sluggishly. Alucard licked away the blood, his saliva closing the wound. She didn't not wake. He doubted she would for several hours. She had lost quite a bit of blood. The question was what did he want to do now? If Arthur was still alive, it would be a constant power struggle. Integra was technically a child, and if Arthur was alive, there would be no way that she would be put in charge. However, Alucard wasn't about to take orders from anyone save her.
Absently, he brushed a stray strand of hair from her face. Integra was his master, but it was clear that she didn't really know what that meant. She had given him no orders as of yet, and he could easily break the ones given by his previous master. Integra was unlikely to be going anywhere either. He could always disappear for a few years until Integra was of an age to be taking over. Besides, it would be interesting to see just what she would grow up to be. It would easy enough to watch her from the shadows.
But first things first. He wasn't going to leave her until he was sure she would be safe. It was several hours later, though Integra was still unconscious, when he felt a familiar presence in the mansion. Alucard smiled. Walter would make sure his new master was taken care of.
He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "I will be back, my master, my Integra."
And with that, he left her at the foot of the basement stairs and disappeared into the night.
Integra sighed. She hated these events. Her time would be better spent actually working in Hellsing instead of being displayed as its heir. However, her father did not agree. He had refused to let her participate in the actual running of Hellsing for years. It frustrated Integra to know end. She had spent years being schooled in her duties and vampire lore. She was an expert when it came to book knowledge, but she felt that she needed practical knowledge as well. If she was going to eventually run Hellsing, Integra couldn't afford to be ignorant when it came to fieldwork.
Her father had been unreasonable when it came to her personal safety since his brother, Richard, had tried to take over Hellsing. It had been a new surgical procedure that had saved Arthur Hellsing's life, and his death had been reported prematurely. He had genuinely thought that he was dying and had left the Hellsing Organization to Integra, who at the time had been thirteen. Richard Hellsing had tried to take advantage of the situation by attempting to kill. Integra couldn't completely remember what had happened. She remembered escaping to the basement and her uncle finding and shooting her in the arm. Everything after that was blurry. Due her extensive blood loss no doubt. But Integra had survived.
When she had awakened, she had found her injury tended and that her father was still alive. And then his overprotectiveness had started. Integra supposed some of it might have been reasonable at the time. However, she was now twenty and an adult. Her father's health had not been good since his brush with death, and Integra worried that she would not be able to get the experience she needed to lead Hellsing before his death. Walter had managed to help her with some of that as had some of Hellsing's commanders. For the past four or five years, Walter had been making sure she received all of the same reports that her father did. She had also been sitting in on some of the mission briefings the commanders gave, and a few of them had taken it upon themselves to explain the strategies and tactics they used to her in detail.
It wasn't the same as being out in the field, but it was more information than her father gave her. Integra considered herself lucky that the commanders were supporting her in this. She knew why too. Things had not been going well lately, and some of it had to do with her father's leadership. Integra might be young and female, but she had proven herself willing to listen, learn, and do dirty work, and the commanders respected that. Now if only she could get her father to see that she was ready for at least some responsibility in Hellsing.
However, none of this was going to make much of a difference tonight. Integra had not been at this party long enough that it was polite to leave yet. It was a celebration for one of the Knights of the Round Table's children who had just graduated from university. Integra typically got sent to these things on behalf of her father, and lately she was beginning to get the feeling that it was also a way to introduce her to every single eligible bachelor in the country. If that was the plan, it wasn't going to work. Integra had no intention of getting married, especially not before Hellsing was handed over to her. So here she stood in an isolated corner of the room, dressed a sleek black gown and utterly bored.
Her fingers rest lightly on her hip, and Integra frowned slightly, considering the tattoo that the dark fabric concealed. It was one of the strange things that had been affecting her for the past few years. Well, the tattoo itself wasn't strange as much as it was an act of rebellion against her father. But the design was rather odd. It was something that Integra had dreamed over and over again for the past few years along with the image of red eyes. The tattoo was done all in crimson: a five pointed star inscribed within a pair of circles. There were words as well in English and German as well as a script that Integra couldn't read. She had the feeling she had seen the symbol somewhere, but she couldn't remember where. But it was important somehow.
Movement at the edges of the party caught Integra's attention and drew her from her thoughts. Her eyes narrowed as two figures slipped outside. It wasn't normally something she would concern herself with, but one of the girls who had just left had brushed by Integra earlier, and her instincts had told her that something was off about the woman. And Integra had learned to trust her instincts. They had gotten her out of a number of situations before. It was easy enough for Integra to slip out of the room and follow after the pair of girls. They appeared to be heading for the hotel's little arboretum.
Integra stuck to the shadows as she followed behind them and slid her gun out of its holster. She didn't go anywhere without a weapon, but there hadn't been enough room in her purse to carry an extra clip tonight. That just meant she would have to make sure that she hit whatever she shot at where it counted. On the bright side, the two girls really weren't that hard to follow. They weren't taking any pains to hide where they were going. Integra slipped into the arboretum behind them, checking the room for any other exits. She stayed concealed long enough to confirm that the one woman was a vampire before interrupting the planned meal.
"Excuse me," Integra smiled, keeping her gun concealed and her tone innocent. "Do you know where I might find the ladies room? I'm afraid I got rather turned around."
As the vampire had been about to sink her teeth in the girl's neck, she was not too pleased about being interrupted. She snarled at Integra and met her eyes.
"You just stay right there. I'll deal with you in a minute," her voice had a rather hypnotic quality.
Unfortunately for the vampire, Integra wasn't going to be enthralled. It took an extremely strong vampire to enthrall her, and this one wasn't up to par. Integra took a step forward.
"How about you let the girl go and we'll talk." If Integra could get the girl out of the line of fire it would be better. She had no doubt that she could hit the vampire without harming the civilian, but Integra would rather be safe than sorry.
The vampire took a step backwards, towards the emergency exit. "I think not."
Integra calmly raised her gun and fired, hitting the vampire in the shoulder. The vampire hissed in pain. Integra simply smiled a predator's smile. Silver bullets stung.
"Fine. If you want her so badly…" the vampire flung the girl at Integra.
She was too busy catching the girl to prevent the vampire's exit. The girl herself was fine if very confused and in shock, and it took Integra more time than she liked to get the girl to return to the party. Integra went out the emergency exit, following the vampire. It was not perhaps the most prudent course of action, but she wasn't going to call in a team from Hellsing unless there was something they could chase. That meant making sure that she knew the general area where the vampire was. Still, she was cautious as she made her way through the back alley to the street. This wouldn't be the first time she had hunted a vampire on her own.
It wasn't hard to track the vampire simply because there were limited options of where she could go. The alley the exit had led to only had one exit leading to a back street. The vampire also wasn't trying too hard to keep out of sight. Integra froze when another figure appeared out of the fog.
"Master, I think we've been found out."
The man frowned, and Integra bit back a curse. There were two of them, and the one she was following was only a fledgling. She was probably out of her league. It was time to make a strategic retreat and call for back up. However, before she could slip back down the alley, the male vampire raised his head, stared right at her, and smiled.
"Is this what you were so worried about? A mere slip of a girl. She's easily dealt with."
Integra felt her spine stiffen. She might not be an experienced vampire hunter, but she wasn't an easy meal either. She raised her gun.
"Don't come any closer."
He laughed. "Do you think you can hurt me, little girl? Did your parents ever tell you not to go out on your own after dark?"
In response to that, Integra fired three rounds into him. Unfortunately for her, the silver bullets seemed to have less of an effect on him than they did on his fledgling. And she was down to two bullets left in the cartridge. Integra took a slow step backward. The vampire gestured for his fledgling to cut her off.
"If you're a good girl, I might let you have some fun before the night ends."
Integra glared at him. "I am not about to give in to you."
"Brave words for a lost little girl all on her own."
"Who said she was alone?"
Integra did not know the voice that rang out, but it struck a chord in her. There was something about it. At least it looked like she had an ally. A man appeared from the shadows. He was dressed in crimson trench coat over a grey suit. A hat to match the coat topped his head, and Integra couldn't see his eyes due to a pair of sunglasses. He smirked at the vampire.
"Another fool then."
The man laughed. "Hardly. Her bullets might not have destroyed you, but I will."
If he was going to take care of the vampire, that left the fledgling for Integra to deal with. That was fine by her. It wasn't a much of the challenge. It was clear to Integra why the fledging had run to her master. She really wasn't much of a vampire. Integra finished her off easily. She turned her attention back to the other fight going on. Except it wasn't going on anymore. The vampire looked like he had been ripped limb from limb. Integra turned to the man who had come to her aid.
He smirked at her, and Integra realized with a jolt that she had been helped by another vampire. She didn't have time to react before the vampire scooped her up, spinning her around laughing. Integra struggled against him, but she couldn't get free. The vampire kissed her nose.
"You've grown up beautifully, Master."
"Do I know you?" It was the only response Integra could come up with; she rather thought her brain had short circuited.
The vampire set her on her feet but kept a hold of her.
"I'm Alucard, my master." He nuzzled at her neck.
Integra jabbed him in the ribs, and he released her with a smile.
"Still stubborn and fiery." The vampire knelt before her. "You're still a Hellsing through and through."
His gloves caught her eye as Integra tried to make some sense of this. They bore the same sigil as her tattoo. Biting her lip, Integra glanced down at the vampire kneeling before her.
"What are your orders, Master?"
"I would like to know just who you are and why you are calling me master to start with."
Alucard rose to his feet and offered her his arm. With trepidation, Integra accepted. It probably would be a good idea to change their location.
"I was bound to serve the Hellsing family by Abraham Van Helsing, and I have done so since. You became my master when your blood woke me in that cell." He glanced down at her. "You don't remember that."
"Not really," Integra admitted. "I take it you mean when Richard tried to kill me. Were you the one who killed him then?"
Alucard shook his head. "You killed him, Master. I simply aided you."
That was both a little concerning and rather encouraging. It proved she was capable for one thing. Of course, the fact that she couldn't remember did bother her. It did answer a number of questions she had always had about what had happened. It also implied that someone must have known that Alucard was in the basement and that she had let him out. Integra couldn't figure out why no one had ever brought that issue up. If Alucard had been free all these years, shouldn't have Hellsing been looking for him? And why hadn't anyone mentioned the fact that she was somehow bound to a vampire? Unless they didn't know that detail.
They reached the hotel where the party was being held, and Alucard held the door open for her. Integra led the way inside, not sure how she was going to explain the presence of her new escort. However, Alucard left his coat and his hat at the coat check which made him look like a normal partygoer if a little old fashioned. They slipped back into the party, taking up residence in an isolated corner. Integra still had a number of questions that she wanted to get answered, and she rather doubted that Alucard would continue to be so accommodating. In fact, that he was being so helpful right now was a little suspicious in her mind.
However, before Integra had a chance to get more information about her vampire, the party's host had come over to her, wringing his hands.
"Are you all right, Miss Hellsing? Miss Campbell told us about the attack, but she said you had gone after the vampire. We've contact Hellsing, so they'll be able to pick up the vampire's trail."
Integra kept from rolling her eyes by sheer force of will. Of course the man would assume she was incapable of dealing with the problem herself. She did not want to have to deal with the problems this was going to cause with her father.
"It's Sir Hellsing. I was knighted after my eighteenth birthday," Integra corrected. "The vampire and its fledgling have been dealt with. There's no need for back up at this point, though I should make a report of the incident."
Before the man could respond to that, Walter and a team of Hellsing soldiers entered the room. Integra waved them over, and Alucard wrapped a possessive arm around her waist. Walter approached them, his eyes going to Alucard. He spoke to Integra first.
"Sir Hellsing, we received a report of an incident."
"It's been taken care of, Walter." Integra tilted her head towards Alucard. "Though I do seem to have picked up a stray."
Walter's eyes widened a fraction. Alucard smirked.
"You're looking well, Angel."
"I've been wondering when you would show up again."
"I could hardly leave my master to deal with the scum alone. Not," And here Alucard cast a fond smirk her way, "that she needed much help."
Walter sighed. "Your father is most likely on the way, Sir Integra."
Integra sighed. This was going to force a confrontation between them. Integra had known it was coming for awhile now, but she had managed to avoid it so far. Still, with Alucard at her side, it felt like the last piece had fallen into place. She needed to get her father to acknowledge that she was capable of leading Hellsing. Her skills and ability could no longer be invisible to him; he needed to see that she could do this. The organization was not going to be able to survive unless he started letting her take over. There had been too many screw ups and mistakes lately. Sooner or later it was going to do them in unless something changed.
"Is there someplace private where we could meet?" She did not need this to be a public scene.
"I'll arrange something."
Within ten minutes Walter had arrange for a private meeting room. Integra paced the length of the room and back. She wasn't sure how to handle this, but she knew this had to be dealt with. About the third time she crossed the room, Alucard planted himself in front of her, resting his hands on her shoulders.
"Stop fretting, Master. You will do fine."
"And you know this how?"
"Because as a child you faced down a vampire with a weapon that you knew was useless and still refused to give up. But if you like," a wide smirk spread across his face, "I can distract you."
"What do you mean by--"
Before she could finish the sentence, Alucard had covered her lips with his own. Integra forgot herself for a few moments and kissed him back before reality intervened and she pushed him away.
"What the hell was that for?"
Alucard laughed. "You're not nervous anymore, are you, Countess?"
His gloved fingers tilted her chin up, so she met his eyes.
"No matter what happens, my Integra, I will be here. You are as much mine as I am yours."
And before she could decipher that statement, Walter appeared at the door. Integra turned to face it and straightened her shoulders. It was time to face the music.
"Integra!" Her father rushed into the room. "Are you all right? Sweetheart, haven't I told you…"
His voice trailed off when he spotted Alucard standing behind her. Integra took a deep breath.
"I'm fine. I dealt with one of the vampires, and Alucard took care of the other."
"Integra," her father's voice was cautious. "Do you realize what he is?"
"Apparently, he's my pet vampire. I wasn't exactly aware that I had acquired him, but it looks like I'll be keeping him." Integra kept her voice light.
Her father seemed to process this, and then her earlier words caught up with him. "You dealt with one of the vampires? How?"
"She put a bullet in its brain just like she did with Richard, Arthur," Alucard's voice was almost condescending. "My master is hardly helpless."
Integra decided she had better take control of the conversation. "I'm not a little girl anymore, Father, nor am I a fragile flower needing to be protected. I have been a knight for two years now and capable of defending myself for longer. I am Hellsing's heir after all."
Her father stared at her for several minutes almost as if he was seeing her for the first time. Then he sighed.
"You're right, Integra. Walter and the others have been telling me the same thing for months now. I just wanted to keep you safe."
"I'm a Hellsing. Safe isn't exactly what our family is known for."
Her father nodded again, and Integra felt a sense of victory sweep through her. It was a start. Hopefully, she could keep building on it. The adrenaline started to fade as they made their way out to the waiting car, and Integra allowed herself to give into exhaustion as they headed home. Alucard remained with her, a silent shadow, until she had reached the door to her bedroom. She turned to him, unsure of what to say. Integra barely knew this vampire, but it felt right to have him at her side like it was where he belonged.
Alucard pulled her close, sealing his lips against hers once more. "Until tomorrow, Countess."
He melted into the floor, and Integra was left alone. It had been one hell of a night. Integra smiled. What would tomorrow bring?