Author's note: Another Hellsing one-shot? Oh well, can't help but follow the plot bunny down the rabbit hole.
Thanks to my beta, who puts up with my plot bunnies—if only for the sake of co-written work.
Beta's Note: -cocks shotgun-
Disclaimer: I don't own Hellsing.
Integra Hellsing surveyed the corpses of her men with no expression; the moonlight struck her glasses, making it impossible to see her clear ice-blue eyes. Integra had never been on the battlefield of men—her battlefield consisted of monsters and demons that crawled from the shadows. Integra Hellsing was God's last general in the war against the shadows, against the nightmares that threatened to engulf all she fought for. And yet, despite this, the sheer amount of corpses left her astounded. The corners of her lips twitched as she brought a Cuban cigar up to her lips, puffing out the smoke like that of a waking dragon.
"How many men?" she asked in her clear, authoritative voice. Not the voice of a young woman, or a virgin, but the voice of an experienced general ready to hear of his losses. She didn't turn to look at her butler that stood beside her; she simply stared at the corpses of her slaughtered men in repressed anger.
"All of them, sir," he replied smoothly, his voice containing all the seduction and danger it had possessed since he was a teenager fighting the Germans in World War Two at the orders of the Hellsing family. He had been little more than a child, but gained more experience in the art of killing then he would ever need.
"I believe he means to destroy us, Walter—this Alucard." She turned from the carnage of her men to walk slowly and surely back to her wrecked mansion where she could internally curse and scream all she liked. One single vampire, only one monster, had managed to kill all her men in a single night.
What kind of a demon could do that? She wondered as she walked through her bloodied hallways, What power could he have to wreak such havoc on trained vampire killers?
Her father had taught her everything she knew about vampires… they were terrible, they were horrible, but they could be destroyed through their weaknesses; they suffered greatly from avarice and lust. Through those means they could be destroyed—silver was lethal in the right form. She had thought it could kill anything, in the right quantity.
He left her corpses as a present, to celebrate her reign over the world of monsters. Fighting off both the Iscariot and the monsters that infested Protestant England to secure her power. She knew he was laughing, that somewhere out behind the trees surrounding her manor he was choking on laughter. This was not the first time he had come harassing her men—they had tangled before. And yet somehow, he always got away unscathed, still laughing, still breathing, as he ripped out the hearts of her best, most loyal men. She had seen his crimson eyes behind yellow glasses, reflecting like the full moon overhead. And darkness and decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. Alucard, dressed in red, danced across the streets of London as swiftly as a knife stroking through a body. She had watched him dance, that first time, watched him laugh as he killed through her streets and smiled at her outrage.
She humored him, and she hated him for it. He was the nightmare she dreamed, and now she was paying for it every night as he came for her people and slaughtered them. First went the civilians, those poor, innocent civilians. He massacred them, he wrote on their walls, provoking her, waiting for the next move. But then, he got bored with children and women leaving his own silver bullets in their heads, preventing ghouls or vampires from following in his steps. The words written in blood mocked her every time she saw them trailing down the wall-paper; she cursed him for those words and swore that they would be his last.
Then came her own soldiers. Apparently, he found the soldiers of God to be much more amusing than the innocent. For their bodies were even more mutilated than those of the children he had slaughtered—he would use their own guns against them he would dance before them and rip their hearts still beating out of their chests. He could be efficient, but he wasn't. He taunted them, lectured them on how they dared to stand against him, on how arrogant they must have been to truly think they could kill him. He dared them to kill him; his smile would stretch across his face as he offered the challenge to claim his own undead heart.
Integra cursed him for it, because the men always fell for the trap. They always died and it was always Red Death, painted in the blood of his enemies, who hollered the cry of victory. But never before had Alucard sought to kill all her men in one final blow, to the point where he hadn't drunk from a single one of them. It was a slaughterhouse that he created just for her. She didn't want to see the faces of the men she had failed by not killing the demon.
"Walter, I have failed. How many more men must die to appease him?" She turned to see her butler standing behind her, his aged English face showing nothing but a spark of the lethal power he used to harness—the angel of death ready to protect her against the shapeless guise of true death, whose red eyes could see into her very soul.
Alucard fascinated her and repulsed her, he was a monster and therefore he would die but he was fascinating in the way he chose to confront her. He took the offensive, the first strike; she was being hunted by the greatest vampire in the world, and there was nothing she could do to stop him. Nothing to do but curse and wait for him to strike again. They couldn't ambush him, so there would be no searching. They could not destroy him, so how would she utter her eternal command—how would her men come to respect her. Hellsing was faltering under the cool gaze of one single vampire.
At the end of the chase, when she would claim victory for England in her war against the shadows. She would whisper to this one demon, well done, for none could ever dream to surpass him. Integra respected this monster even as she cursed him—no other demon had deserved to be so hated before. No demon had come after her kingdom with such resolve as Alucard showed. And it fascinated her even as she cursed him, she prayed he would burn in Hell but she smiled at the thought of finally meeting him face to face. The day she would have him under the barrel of her gun, ready to send him to oblivion. Integra would never admit it, but she enjoyed the chase far more than she should have.
The mercenaries she hired were well trained but arrogant—far too arrogant to survive Alucard's wrath. He didn't like the arrogant. He killed them last, finding ways to torture them as he ripped them apart. She looked down at the poor men and counted how many of them she would find dead on her doorstep in the morning. Alucard skipped days now—some days they found him, some they didn't. Integra would grit her teeth at the sight of the men laughing at her paranoia. Alucard was getting bored, and a bored Alucard was even worse than an obsessive one.
She had never talked to him in person, never left a message for him, and yet she knew him almost as well as she knew herself. He was the clouded night, where only the moon was visible to light the barren fields that represented his version of Hell. She had seen him only at a distance, his red duster glowing beneath the blood and moonlight, and in those moments she swore she was staring at death himself. But Alucard was not death, could not be death.
On the days he refrained from his bloodlust he would leave her messages, painted on her door in scarlet dripping letters. He had odd handwriting—there was a child-like quality to the letters, but each appeared knife-like, whether it was written on a wall or on her doorstep accompanied by a wreath of white roses. Sometimes, he said nothing more than a brief hello and a query after her wellbeing. But recently, his aggravation at her men was beginning to show. It frustrated Integra to no end that they were thinking the same thing. He would ask pointed questions, such as whether anyone new had come through the ranks. The last message had been painted on her door along with a silver crucifix and a rosary (that was more of an insult than anything else—Alucard had too much pride to threaten her). He had stated simply in the thin, dripping letters, "Who are you going to feed me next?"
That was why she counted the corpses before they were made; a bored Alucard quickly turned into something she hardly dared to imagine, the shapeless monster that kept her from sleep. Whenever she closed her eyes, she saw his crimson gaze staring down at her through the black mass; she saw the jackal running across her line of vision, a severed hand hanging from his mouth. She could not escape the stench of spilt blood even as she stared down at her poor, doomed men, the men she knew she was sacrificing to Alucard—for demon as he was, she found he was not a liar. He was correct in the assumption that she was feeding the poor soldiers to him. What else was she expected to do?
"My soldiers, I ask only one of thing of you: Come back alive. If you come back alive, then you have one against him. I do not need his head on a platter. I want his dignity, I want his pride, I want him destroyed the moment you escape him! I want to see him in shambles before I sever his head and light his body on fire. You do not need to kill him, only survive him. That is all I ask." She surveyed her hired men in distaste as they looked up at her and laughed away her message—of course they were going to kill him. It was what they were hired to do. And Integra was feeding them to the very monster she swore to destroy.
She walked the halls alone that night, waiting for the screaming, waiting for the ripping of bodies as he tore through them, waiting for his goddamn laughter—the laughter that haunted her every step. That laughter was worse than any ghoul, any demon, or anything she could have dreamed of. He was her personal nightmare; he was the being that was going to destroy the Hellsing line. He was slowly but surely killing her, just as he no doubt intended. One day, he would come for her, after torturing her through the death of her kingdom, and he would drink her own virgin's blood. And there was nothing she could do to stop him.
"What cruel master of fate did I offend?" she asked Walter as he came towards her, cigar and lighter in hand. He watched her hands shake beneath her gloves as she held the cigar forward so that she could see it light. She breathed deeply. The smoke burned her eyes, obscuring her visions of Red Death dancing through the night and tearing her men apart.
"I've been thinking about our demonic friend." Walter was as unflappable as he ever was, his smooth voice flowing through the words at the pace of a languid river on a river's day. It was the calm he learned from war, from all the monsters he had helped destroy as a young man. Integra wondered what was beneath the river's surface, what secrets it hid beneath its reflective face.
Integra wanted to say something sarcastic, but she held her tongue and watched the cinders fall onto her gloved fingers, dark as her foe's night-black hair. The fire was receding from her lit cigar as she surveyed the way it died in smoke and embers, slowly burning itself out in a flourish of nicotine and tobacco.
"Has it ever occurred to you, Sir Integra, that this vampire we are fighting is in love with you?"
The cigar fell from her fingers, extinguishing itself on the way down; she did not turn or move at all. Integra Hellsing became a statue. She felt her mind leave her body, once more to return to her nightmare, painted crimson with the blood he left on her doorstep daily without fail. His piercing crimson eyes stared out at her behind his golden glasses, which glowed like the moon from behind his dark hair. She felt a rush of anger course through her—but it did not consume her as she expected. She examined the tangle of emotions that flooded about inside her: Hatred, obsession, anger, frustration, and exhilaration.
"No, Walter, this is not love. I've read about love, I've seen love. This is not it; love would not condone the killing of hundreds of men. Love would not tolerate the way he tortures me, the way he mocks me wherever he is hiding. If this is love then love is hell. For the sake of what everyone else believes in, I will not call this love." She stood from her seated position, knocking over the glass of scotch that rested half-drunk on her table. The fire was lit once more behind her eyes and her voice was raised in battle cry.
"Search and destroy! We will find this monster as we find all monsters, and we will send him back to the depths where he crawled from!" She didn't fail to notice Walter's sadistic smile as she said those words. Were they really so different her, Walter, and the vampire? They all burned bright with the fire fed by death and sacrifice. She would not smile as her servant did when her men were sent to find Alucard; she would remain as she always had, frowning behind her wall of logic and willpower.
No vampire would defeat her… no monster could ever defeat her. She would not fall to Alucard, no matter how many walls he tore down, no matter how long it took him to find her and attempt to take her. She would send a bullet through her head before she let him take her. If death was love then she would love him more than any other woman would dare. She would give him her corpse, and that was the greatest gift she dared to offer.
"Who is she?" asked Integra, staring down at the shaking blonde girl shackled to a wall. Her wide blue eyes turned to Integra and Walter in blatant fear and hatred. She was soaked in blood; it dripped down her face and covered her dark clothes. She trembled in her silver bonds, the metal causing rings of red to form around her wrists and ankles where she was chained to the wall.
"Can't you recognize the power emanating from her blood? She's Alucard's fledgling." Walter smiled down at the young fledgling, obviously anticipating the moment when he would cause her physical pain. The wars had scarred Walter more than her father had imagined possible, and though Integra trusted him with her life, there were times when she wondered what kind of monster she had employed in her service.
Integra paused as she stared down at the girl. Her contempt rose as she surveyed the innocent features. She truly looked human, this abomination against God. The girl's blonde hair and blue eyes would have fooled anyone but the best. It was a miracle that Walter had managed to find her—she would have blended in with any human crowd. Integra couldn't help but wonder if Alucard had intended her to be found, as a warning for Integra of what was to come.
She saw herself in the fledgling's place, sitting shackled to a wall, her silver chains glittering in the pale moonlight that flooded through the single open window… her ice-blue eyes painted red with the desire of mortal blood, of memories and the lives they contained, waiting for the call of her dark and powerful master. Alucard, shadow of shadows, the no-life king come to steal her soul. Integra grit her teeth as the vision passed before her. She would not grovel to such a being and she would not show mercy to his latest message.
"Destroy her," she said simply. Alucard wanted a message? She'd give him the corpse of his fledgling, show him the spilled, wasted blood of his kin. She'd watch his expression, watch for the laughter that followed her every move, and she would shoot him before he had the chance to open his mouth.
"Yes, sir," responded Walter on command, stretching silver cords between his finger tips, ready to decapitate the weeping vampire locked behind silver bars. The girl in the cage cried as she wrenched herself against the chains in an attempt to escape, her flesh burning as it pressed against her silver shackles.
"You think I'm a monster?" she cried as Walter made to open the bars of her prison, beginning to laugh as she stared the angel of death in the face.
It was all too familiar. Integra hated that laughter—this blonde vampire had inherited more from Alucard than Integra had expected. "Look in a mirror, Sir Integra Hellsing, because I see someone just as horrifying as my own master. If you kill me ,you're no better than he is, and what would you do if you became just what you are fighting? Would you kill yourself, would you kill me for even whispering it? You're becoming something much worse than a vampire, so go ahead, tell your Alfred here to cut off my limbs and shove a stake through my heart. I hope it makes you happy, because one day you'll look in the mirror and see exactly what I see. I hope you burn in Hell Integra Hellsing, and when you do… I'll be waiting."
Integra said nothing but walked away before she could see her reflection in the vampire's blue eyes. She heard the screaming not of her own men this time, but of Alucard's. After the months of harassment, she was finally getting her revenge—and yet she felt nothing. Instead, she heard Alucard's laughter through the screams and sobs of his fledgling. She pitied the child he had turned into a vampire, because surely he had known what Integra would have to do to her. He must have known that she would have to kill his fledgling. Did he know?
She avoided every mirror she found. She heard the fledgling's words rattling in her brain and she didn't want to have to see what she knew was true. She had inherited more from Alucard then Integra liked to admit—she inherited his laugh and his brutal honesty. She didn't want to see Walter leave the room with blood lacing his black gloves, a testament to the Fledgling's last coherent words.
Those blue eyes haunted her just as surely as her master's did—those two vampires that slid in and out of her nights. The circles were showing under her eyes; she could no longer hide the stress. He left her no choice, so why did she retch at the thought of the blood that now painted her walls? His blood, his immortal blood. Those blue eyes that said more than any human could have—why did she feel as if she betrayed someone when she blinded those naïve blue eyes? When Fate hands you a gift, you take it. She wouldn't refuse her God for one minor twitch in her conscience.
Integra downed a glass of scotch and made to pour herself another. She could still hear his laugher. Why could she still hear his laughter? Integra's world began to blur in her drunken state; the wall and door began to run together in a mishmash of color. The reds blurred with the greens and golds. She felt her head drop in exhaustion to look into her fifth glass of alcohol; she lifted her head with an effort of will so that she would not have to see her pale reflection.
The fledgling's warning would not leave the recesses of her mind. In order to defeat the monster, you must become the monster. Integra didn't have the will to become Alucard; she could not stoop to such tactics. She was losing. She lifted a cigar and attempted to light it, missing several times until the stick was ablaze. She stared at the fire in desperation, as if it might save her from the fledgling's accusing blue eyes and the betrayal she had seen there.
"Damn you, Alucard. Goddamn you."
He was taller in person. Integra judged him to be taller than six feet, but that might have been her imagination. She eyed his red duster and yellow glasses with a raised eyebrow and a short quirk of the lips before they fell back into their usual indifferent frown. He stood before her desk, smirking down at her. His gloved hands were covered with the human blood of her own soldiers.
"And so death has come for you, Integra Hellsing."
His voice was like the shadows. Dark and seductive, it made itself through the room to hang like a smoky haze. It was from a world without sunlight or life—only darkness and nightmares. Was that darkened place Hell, the very Hell she had fought to keep out of her own world? And could those childish blue eyes see her suffering through the darkness?
"You're late," she said as she made to light her cigar, blowing smoke into the face of the immortal all-powerful vampire that she had been fighting for too long. It seemed to Integra that Alucard had always been her enemy, lurking behind every inferior vampire that had stood in her path. There had always been his laughter, shaking the foundations of her castle. Her words caused his grin to spread, revealing his sharp white teeth, ready to engulf her and crunch on her bones.
"Your butler delayed me."
Integra did not drop her cigar, but her hand did begin to shake beneath here gloves. She had expected this day. She knew it was coming. She closed her eyes, trying not to envision how Walter must look, how he had been torn apart by the monster that stood before her now. No creature was immortal, but recently she had begun to wonder. Alucard had pushed the limits and she wasn't sure what he was anymore. He was far too terrible to be a vampire; no vampire could have killed Walter.
"So then, Walter is dead. And you are here. What happens now?"
The vampire began to laugh madly, his Cheshire grin widening to lengths unimaginable. It was the nightmare grin, breaking the bounds of its human form. Though his flesh looked just as tangible as her own, she could still see the mass of writhing power coursing through his veins, the dark shadows that infested him, the scarlet wolf's eyes that stared down at her in malevolent glee. Integra couldn't stand the laughter—no being dared to laugh at her, no being except this one.
"You killed the police girl, simply because she was too blunt. That is an insult I'm not willing to forgive." He sat down in a seat before her desk, reaching out for one of her cigars and lighting it swiftly before lounging back—acting like an old friend rather than her immortal enemy. She wasn't sure which one was the illusion anymore.
"You sent her here to die; you knew what would happen when I found her." Integra would not take the guilt Alucard laid on her; he knew Integra did not take survivors. So in a sense, Integra had not been the fledgling's executioner. It was Alucard behind it all, and she would be damned if her blamed her for the girl's death.
"The police girl was fond of making her own choices." His voice was just as wry as she had imagined it through his blood-soaked messages, just as humored by her helplessness as ever. She had once dreamed that she would hold her gun above his head and whisper the words, "Well done," but that had been a dream.
"I see, Alucard, you have not destroyed me. I will not shatter under your or anyone else's will; I want you to know that you have not defeated, and cannot defeat me, no matter what you do. I am Integra Fairbrooks Wingate Hellsing and I will not bend to any being, living or dead—and that includes you Alucard. Night-walker, no-life king, shadows of the shadows, you cannot defeat me as you have my men." She stood from her seat, her eyes burning through the sleepless nights, through the terror and corpses he had left for her. She did not smile… but she never had smiled. She felt her soul burn in triumph once again. She grabbed the gun under her desk and watched as Alucard continued to smile and chuckle under his breath.
"Do you mean to shoot me, Sir Integra Hellsing?" he asked, eyeing the barrel of her loaded gun in anticipation of a battle with the fallible human Integra Hellsing, falling to pieces even as he watched. He could take her kingdom, he could take her country, but he could not take her as he had so many. She gritted her teeth and placed the gun barrel at her own head, watching as Alucard raised his eyebrows in confusion.
"Farewell, Alucard. You can plague me no longer. I will not be your replacement fledgling."
The gunshot rang throughout the empty mansion; the last Hellsing's blood painted the walls of her office as the vampire stared down at her corpse. He cocked his head and kicked her lifeless body, then he sighed in disappointment.
"What a pity. There will never be another human like you, Integra Hellsing. For in your kingdom of dying soldiers, you are a masterpiece, which turns to stone when it sees its own reflection. I wonder, who showed you the mirror?"
But the corpse did not answer his questions, and melting through the wall, he waltzed back into the blood-filled night, ignoring the body of Integra Hellsing which indeed had turned to stone.
Author's note: AND SO EVERYONE DIED! And that is why you should be very glad Alucard worked for Hellsing, because what kind of a cruel author would kill all their main characters? Me, personally, I blame this on that terrible fic I read where Alucard adopted a kitten and was able to cook….
So, as usual, if you have a problem with this, review. If you loved it, review. If you thought there should have been sex, I suppose you should review,s too. Why don't you just review?