It was a typical rainy morning in Washington. The clouds were dark and heavy; the prelude to an ominous storm. At four in the morning, the town was quiet and the inhabitants still sleeping.
A helicopter landed precariously a few miles out. A crack of thunder was drowned out by the spinning propeller blades. A small figure, followed by a great black dog, climbed from the door. They walked away, heading towards an idling vehicle that was waiting for them.
The wind blew long blonde hair into her eyes as she dragged her suitcase towards the car. The luggage of her pet-no longer a dog but a little girl-was already at the apartment that was their destination.
"If you don't shut up, I'll make you carry this," she snapped, turning her head to see the helicopter return to the skies.
There hadn't been a vacancy in the building when they had applied. But through various methods of persuasion, including a very generous settlement, the apartment she had wanted had been outfitted and emptied for her arrival and needs. She knew how to get things done, once she realized there was no way out of her predicament.
They got into the car and it drove away, racing towards the town below. She had school in three hours. It was best not to be late.
"What do you think she's doing right now?" Bella whispered to Edward as they sat in the front row, enjoying the first day of the last year of high school for a while. It was Bella's second time going through high school, as they'd moved out and gone into hiding for a while after Renesmee's birth. Now that she was six and a half, Jacob was taking her on a world tour for six months. The two had planned the whole trip out in secret before pitching it, and while both Bella and Edward felt a little nervous about letting their daughter out into the world all by her lonesome, Bella had felt it was time.
Personally, Edward was looking forward to going to college with Bella. It would be an experience, and he was considering learning another language this time while Bella got a literature degree. Bella was still young, and enjoyed high school; Edward had found it tedious after the fourth time. The new city was larger; it as easier to blend in here, and there were no Quileute here to cause trouble for them.
"Enjoying Rome, I imagine," Edward hissed back, looking up as the teacher came in. He was an older, balding man, and he stared at the students with a mixture of disdain and loathing. He swaggered over to his desk, sat down, and slammed his hand down on the desk.
Bella looked unnerved as he went into an angry speech on the subject of famous literature, its benefits, and how uneducated they all were. Edward patted her hand. She would do fine; she was fairly good at English. The lecture was interrupted by the door opening again, this time to admit a student that no one recognized. She came over to the desk, her stride noticeably self-assured and long, and showed him some paperwork. The noise level of the classroom went up as the words "new student" swept from desk to desk.
The thoughts of the class were unhelpful, but Edward tried to focus on them while attempting to block out the smell of the new girl. His mind flashed back to the events that had led to Bella sitting next to him, and he tried to focus on that, too. Anything to keep him from doing something rash and violent and evil.
"It sucks, having to change schools so late," Bella said. She could tell that something was wrongjust by looking at him and was trying to distract him. The new student had received instructions from the teacher to go stand before the class. She was carrying a briefcase rather than a backpack, and it had Sir Hellsing written on the corner in silver lettering.
"Alright, introduce yourself." Mr. Banner said. The student opened her mouth to speak.
Bella, being in possession of a vampiric mind, had already memorized the girl's appearance-thin, dark, with white blonde hair and round glasses. Now that she was facing them, she saw that the new girl had blue eyes and had a white shirt on under an immaculate black suit and red scarf. She had on no make-up or jewelry - nothing to make Edward suddenly stiffen with stress. However,remembering the things he'd told her about their first encounter, she realized that either this girl smelled good, or he already knew her.
"My name is Integral Hellsing." Integra knew better than to bother with her full name in front of a class of teenagers. She'd save it for signing documents and the Round Table. Staring down the class, she continued, "I recently transferred here from England." Satisfied with her introduction, she moved to the only empty seat in the front row and sat.
The girl behind her, Linda, struck up a conversation. Linda was famous in the school for her plays, the best of which were performed by the school's drama department in November. She made a point of conversing with everyone she met, saying it was the best way to get ideas.
"Get out some paper and take notes," barked Mr. Banner, and he began a monologueon the themes of Hamlet. Students scrambled for pens and began hurriedly writing down everything he said, while Edward and Bella made perfect transcriptions of the speech. Passive listening for them was much easier than for a human, and it would keep Edward distracted.
The fourth week of school was when things really began speeding up. For one thing, the play auditions were underway, and Linda's more romantic take on Dracula was both popular and full of good parts. Homework was becoming harder as the mounds of beginning-of-the-year paperwork were finally turned in, and interim grades were due at the end of the week.
Integra was getting along quite well, or so she felt. Linda had taking a liking to her and proceeded to invite her to her lunch table, for shopping, and other such things, and since being transferred to America had significantly increased her free time, she accepted the invitations.Her grades were no problem-technically, back in England, Integra already had a degree (a product of almost two years without sleeping, eating properly, or leaving her office) so that she could get on with her work without the Round Table hounding her.
There had, as of yet, been no problem with her receiving and sending reports to and from home.She hoped that the rest of this year would pass as quickly, or better yet, that she could go home within two months.
One maniac vampire tries to kill you and they ship you to another country. She sighed at the thought. It wasn't the first time someone had tried to assassinate her. It certainly wouldn't be the last. The Round Table needed to get over it and move on. Besides, she had Alucard to protect her. It didn't matter where she was.
"Are you trying out for the play?" Mary was Linda's biggest fan. She was also an aspiring actress. "I am. For Mina."
"Mina Harker? I haven't read the script, but I can assume that she is, in fact, still a main character?" Integra asked. "I'm only familiar with the original Dracula."
"Oh, you'll like the new one. Jonathan and all of Lucy's suitors form this gang of abusive men, and Dr. Van Helsing is this crazy old man, and Renfield is actually a good guy, and Dracula falls in love with Mina and she escapes with him off to his castle while her husband and her friend close in. It's just amazing." Integra tried to imagine Alucard's reaction to this new version of his history and nearly burst out laughing. She'd have to procure a copy of the script for him. Mary must have seen her amusement, because she continued, "You don't like it?"
"I thought vampires were supposed to be evil." Integra explained.
"I got the idea from Mina saying that she pitied Dracula," Linda explained. She had heard the end of their conversation. "Anyways, Mrs. Frou, the drama teacher, wants me to help pick the cast for the auditions. Based on looks alone, either of the Cullens would be good. Based on skill alone, Mary, Ida, Derek, Jon, Ed...Integra, in our Communications class your reading from Macbeth was good. You really connected with her, didn't you?"
"I suppose I did." Integra had connected to Lady Macbeth in that neither of them were particularly happy with their sex-Integra was sick of people telling her she couldn't run her organization just because she was a woman, while Lady Macbeth was afraid that being a woman would prevent her from murdering Duncan for her husband."The Cullens are Edward and Bella."
"The perfect couple." Linda agreed. "They're so in love that it actually makes me ill if I listen to them talk to each other. But they are beautiful, so half the school hates them."
"Are either of them auditioning?" Mary asked.
"No, but someone should ask Edward." Linda complained. "I can't. It'll look weird. Auditions for the leads start today. Who has a class with him?"
"I have science with him next period. So does Integra." Jack, another friend of Linda's, joined in. "It's a sub today."
"Good. One of you, ask him to audition. He already looks like a vampire; we won't even need to put make-up on him." Linda said. The conversation turned elsewhere until the bell rang, and they all scrambled to get to class.
In science, they were immediately forced to stand against the wall while the teacher assigned them groups to do a project in. For the next month, they'd have to design and build five different interactive models on any topic, provided it related to science. The idea was to create a kind of 'student museum', and it was an unpopular project, partly because it was difficult and partly because the groups were assigned.
Linda would have been delighted. She and Jack were assigned to the same group as Edward Cullen. The three of them were put at a table in the back of the room and given a rubric before being let loose.
Integra didn't dislike Edward Cullen, because he had never spoken to her or she to him. She had once tried to ask him about an assignment and he had fled as soon as he could, as if she carried a contagious disease. The incident had quickly been forgotten, and only resurfaced now as she saw that he was rigid in his seat and looking at the desk as though he hated it.
"You trying out for the play?" Jack asked, not bothering to be subtle. Integra approved.
"No. They're doing Dracula this year, aren't they?" Edward asked. Integra nodded, reading the rubric. This project was actually worth more than the final exam. She passed it to Jack to look at and was about to propose zoology as a topic when her mind was abruptly breached.
Your motorcycle's here.
What? Already? I thought I was getting a new one after you destroyed the last one?
I could bring it to you, Master.
Or you could stay in the apartment like a good pet until I get home. It's not far to walk, and I do not want you ever operate a motor vehicle again. I can't afford it.
She cut off the mental contact, feeling rather pleased that her vehicle was here already. She liked her motorcycle-it was less cumbersome than a car. The first one had been a present from Walter when she was fifteen, and she'd been through three of them up till now. Alucard had a knack of destroying everything she owned and making it look like an accident.
Edward was looking at her oddly now. She frowned-the whole conversation had taken only a second- and began talking.
"We could do basic animal models .Different adaptations, digestive systems, something to that effect." She offered.
"That sounds hard." Jack whined. "I guess we can do that. What animals?"
"Anything is fine with me." Edward said flatly, still looking slightly off-balance. He was frowning at Integra, staring at her forehead as if it were on fire. She glared back and turned her attention to Jack. As the two decided on the specifics of the project, Edward remained silent. As soon as the bell rang, he left as fast as possible.
"It was a black hole of depravity and bloodlust," Edward said. He and Bella were on the roof of the house they'd bought on the outskirts of the city, watching the stars as they talked. "Her mind is always dark. Trying to read it is like staring at a moonless night out in the woods. But for a brief moment, the darkness was intensified."
"She doesn't look like a bad person at all." Bella mused. "Cold, but not evil. But Alice can't see her."
"That's right." Edward remembered asking Alice if she had seen the arrival of this girl, this singer. But Alice not only hadn't seen it coming, she also couldn't see Integra, even when she got a look at her in the mall later on.It was frustrating. "What is she?"
"What does it matter?" Rosalie asked. She had just come home, from her latest honeymoon, and she was still in a gown. Despite that, she had jumped onto the roof without problems. "She's not doing anything. There's no reason for us to try and get involved. You just don't like not knowing. Besides, what if you end up eating her?"
"I can control myself, Rosalie." Edward said testily. Bella nodded. "Bella's alive, isn't she?"
"Be careful." Rosalie said, and let it go. She turned and stepped off the roof, going back into the house where Emmett was no doubt waiting.
Bella and Edward stayed out on the roof, looking up at the sky and looking for something else to say. Finally, Bella spoke.
"The school play is about vampires." She mused. "You know that I haven't even read Dracula yet? Isn't that, like, a rule?"
"It's interesting, although it had little bearing on our lives. Linda Markson wants me to audition for the role of Dracula."
"Sounds like fun." Bella said. "Why don't you?"
"It's too dangerous." Edward replied.
"Why? No one would ever suspect you were a vampire. Vampires are supposed to sleep in coffins and turn into bats. As long as you're careful, you should be fine. And it would be fun."
"I'm not much of an actor."
"Yes, you are. We did that Shakespeare last Christmas, remember? You were so good. I promise, I won't get jealous of your leading lady..." Bella wheedled. "Come on."
"I'll go tomorrow," Edward said, amused. "And you? Why don't you try out?"
"I'm a terrible actress, you know that." She pointed at her face. "Open book."
It all happened in the space of a few minutes. One minute, she was eating her lunch, secretly dying for a cigar, and being coerced into reading out a passage from Linda's play. The next minute, Linda was insisting she take the role of Mina.
"I cannot act." Integra protested. She stabbed a cucumber with a fork and ate it. Linda continued on, undeterred.
"Your reading was fabulous! You connect with Mina, and her desire to escape oppression, and her escapist tendencies as she flees to Dracula's castle. It's like you were Mina, running away from her husband, and when you read the part where she kills Jonathan! Please, at least consider it."
Integra didn't say that she connected with Mina because the last few scenes of the play were a disturbing parallel to her own life; she had fled Richard as Mina fled Jonathan, and had ended up killing him, just as Mina killed Jonathan. Yes, she related, not the least because the vampire in both plays was the same, even if Linda had rather underestimated just how evil Alucard actually was. Besides, she reflected, Alucard would never go soft-hearted over a girl who cried all the time. Certainly he'd never tolerated it from her.
"I don't have the time." Integra protested.
"Yeah, because all that lurking in your room perfecting your homework is so time-consuming. Please, please, please, Integra! No one else has auditioned that understands my creation!"
Integra was about to refuse again, then reconsidered. Granted, she'd never acted in her life. And she didn't think of herself as a good actress. However, it would be something to do while she was holed up in America, it would keep her away from Alucard so she couldn't murder him, and it might teach her something about pretending that could come in handy the next time she lied to the Round Table.
"If you don't find anyone at the auditions, then I'll do it. There are two days left, remember?"
"Oh, thank you!" Linda hugged her, nearly knocking them both off of their seats. She could get very emotional when it came to her plays. Rolling her eyes, Integra pried Linda off of her and returned her attention to her neglected salad.
The cast list was posted the next Monday, while students were gathering at their lockers and on the stairwells, comparing their interim reports. As a crowd formed around the paper pinned outside the drama department, the sounds of disappointment and elation rang though the air. Integra heard the name, 'Edward Cullen' more than once and realized he must have gotten a role. Mary and Jack came up to her and congratulated her.
"I didn't know you'd tried out." Mary said. "I miss one lunch period and no one tells me the important stuff. And guess who's playing Dracula? Edward Cullen!"
There was silence as Integra envisioned Edward Cullen trying to be Dracula. The idea was laughable. He lacked the ability to be both frighteningly immoral and ridiculously childish at once. Plus he probably could not turn into a hellhound and jump on her. As strange as the Cullens were, with their bizarrely white skin and their aversion to sunlight, Integra had concluded they were not, in fact, vampires. They might be incredibly odd, but they were not her problem unless they developed a taste for blood. Integra prayed fervently that the reason the Cullens never ate had something to do with their figures and nothing to do with alternate diets or vampires wannabe cults.
"He's rather attractive, you know." Mary said with a sigh. "Are you dating someone? Most girls would be excited."
"He's not my type." Integra replied .What her type was, she didn't know, but Edward Cullen and his tendency to glare at her like she was the Antichristwasn't it. Her mind drifted to a report she'd gotten of a recent vampire attack back home. While she mentally worked out different strategies, the crowds dispersed and she moved to her locker and then to class on autopilot.
The play didn't reenter her thoughts until after school was over, when she packed up her briefcase and went down into the auditorium to attend the first meeting, where she would presumably receive all the necessary information about the production. Linda was already there, bursting with excitement, and thrust a script into her hands. Integra flipped through it, and noticed a disturbing pattern.
"How many times do I have to swoon and faint?"
Right, FFN did something bizarre to my spacing when I DocXed this thing, so I can only pray it is readable. I also hope FFN will spare my formatting. One can only hope.
Edit: Why does FFN randomly bold things that I unbolded befoe uploading?
Next chapter...Edward discovers who his leading lady is and Alucard discovers his Master can't swoon into anyone's arms. Or can she...? *cue dramatic music here*