Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano, Young King Ours, etc. This is set in the Mangaverse. Proof read by Gray Glube. Written for Irrel who gave me the following prompt: Regular aged Integra and Alucard reminiscing about something that happened between them when she was younger? :3 It's been a while I wrote fic, but I'm starting over!
It was about to rain.
Massive, puffy gray clouds clustered in the sky, filtering the brightness of high noon sun.
Days like those, when the light was scattered by the dark cumulus and the humid wind made clothes, skin and hair uncomfortably moist, were the preamble for an imminent downpour.
That didn't, however, stop the preparations for the funerals. After the wake, all the open graves were filled with their coffins, neat white tombstones lined next to each other with the same congratulatory message on their markers.
"Fallen in protection of Her Majesty and the Anglican Church. Hooh?" He read aloud, after removing his orange tinted shades.
Alucard had been standing there ever since the preparative had been finished that morning. He loathed to awake so early; the sunshine at least was filtered by the upcoming storm, as if conscious that to bother him further would not be a prudent thing. The upcoming storm made it sound too dramatic. Those men fallen were nothing but dogs and had meant as little to him in life as in death; watchdogs that would look after his home, completely expendable.
He was here for another reason. They were made to ghouls before his Master killed them and he had to be certain she had not missed a shot in one, one that could, and would, stir to attack during the ceremony. For the looks of it, Integra did not fail.
He known that for hours and yet he could not force himself to leave the graveyard. It was perplexing, he was certainly not wanting to join the funeral, although the face of the mourning comrades would be priceless if him, a vampire clothed in vibrant scarlet fedora and coat, tried to blend amongst the grayscale crowd of prevalent black.
As would be his Master's anger... a smirk spread on his mouth.
He could bet that her grieving features would be spiked by the fury that made her so appealing... It's different now.
His smirk waned as his mood turned introspective.
He had seen her after the wake, expecting for orders to do this routine check-up for security measures. Shed not given him her commands and when she faced him, Integra had an expression haunted by guilt and ridden by fragility that he admitted bothered him.
To him, those men's lives were expendable but to their leader, they were not. Had it been the same for him, during the time he was still a man of God and led armies In His Name? He couldn't remember... thinking about his past was a ridiculous waste of time. It was an era he was not fond to recall, because it flashed in fragments of a giant puzzle that was his life before Abraham, Arthur and, specially, before Integra. But there he was reminiscing the real reason why he was still there, not from a life that was long lost and buried, but of the life he continued living, this dream of Hellsing.
This was the second time a funeral of this number had been arranged during Integra's time as leader of the Royal Order of Protestant Knights. His gaze darkened with twisted satisfaction when he glanced towards a row of older tombstones.
The first time was...ten years ago.
Alucard did not like to remember the past, but his time after Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing released him, he could not forget.
He did not want to forget that woman-child who refused to die and accepted to trust a vampire, wrapped in innocence, intelligence and courage. She had brought him with her outside the dungeon her father had locked him up decades ago, still shaken and wounded, but refusing to crumble until she found all the personnel of the mansion; the ones that had miraculously survived Richard Hellsing's betrayal.
"Master, I hear footsteps ahead," he had told the little girl who walked beside of him. She had stopped with something akin to hope began to gleam on those big blue eyes when she recognized the silhouettes of the guards and secretaries approaching onward from the hallways.
Undoubtedly, they had heard the cries coming from the basement. The passages had been unsealed by Richard and his men. They had stopped at unison when they noticed him next to her.
"M-My Lady?" The fear had been so palpable.
Ohhh. He could still taste the uncertainty in their faint voices.
"He's with me! Uncle Richard is-"
The next he remembered was the unforgettable red and the taste of blood lingering on his palate. It had been foul, as the men rotting downstairs had been, nothing like the unmatched quality of Integra's virgin, noble blood that managed to stir him after decades of slumber.
Their blood had been mixed with the stink of greed and divided loyalties. He had heard Integra screaming at him, in horror, as he had lashed out against the survivors, tearing them apart, rending them from their limbs, and leaving a mess of entrails and fractured bones on the carpet.
Walter had been politely displeased by his carnage just over the most expensive tapestry of the headquarters.
"Garbage. They sold their loyalties to your uncle," Alucard had spat as he'd torn the throat of another guard.
He had known this beforehand, by drinking the blood of Richard's men, by smelling the blood of the maids and gardeners on their hands.
Integra had not answered and did nothing but watch until one by one he had silenced them all.
He had left their bodies scattered throughout the corridors. Even famished as he was he had standards and would not claim the existences of shitty traitors like them.
Alucard chuckled to himself, striding in direction to their graves. His senses picked up the reek of rotting and the presence of maggots feasting on their carcasses. They had gotten what they deserved for betraying his Master. They hadn't worth been her tears on that day.
That day the sky had been clear... yes, he conjured that memory in his head, clear and bright.
Who could forget how grating had been that amount of dazzling sunlight hitting his face?
"You could wear sunglasses for the service," his Master had suggested in a very thoughtful voice as he had escorted her to the funeral. Walter had just arrived from his business trip and had graciously taken the load off the girl's shoulders. Alucard had been impressed how much the man had changed in the decades he had been underground.
Without Walter escorting her would leave the young woman alone facing a crowd of her elder comrades and the deceased punks' grieving windows and wailing brats. Part of him had been curious about the emotional state she would be in to deal with them on her lonesome, but the rest of him had grown attached of his Master to let her on her own amidst the suspicion and desire of revenge. He did not know how well the old Angel of Death had aged. He did not take chances either.
What had seen incredible was that the girl had been worried about him.
"Hmmm... There's a lot sunlight..." she had concluded, almost fretting. "I thought the forecast had said it would rain this afternoon! You don't have to attend with me."
Alucard had grinned as answer. His long, still whitened hair had been suddenly covered by a black fedora. "It's all right like this, My Master," he had said in a hushed, lower tone, giving her a convincing rebuke that she would not pursue arguing.
"I put them there myself. This shall be the last farewell. To be standing here is my responsibility as servant of Hellsing." She had assented and held his hand tightly for the entire duration of the funeral.
Alucard shook his head and trailed off in a mix of amusement and nostalgia: "It's been about ten years since that day... Hoh... how time flies while amongst humans."
"What wonders are these? Is my servant Alucard reminiscing?"
Integra's offhand remark had taken him by surprise. With his senses, he had been too immersed in memories that his focus had been drifting from the present to days long past. He turned around with a smirk spread between his lips, shrugging his arms and relaxing his pose into an inoffensive gesture of surrender.
Integra was dressed in a black suit as usual, but with a matching hat and dark veil that obscured her features. She had a white flower attached to the left of the hat and carried a bouquet of mourning lilies. The cigar was missing from the picture, she had not touched one since her men had died.
Despite her earlier taunt, Integra did not seem keen to tolerate playful teasing. Knowing this, he tested her limits.
"Using my words against me now, Master?"
She sent him a very brief glare that dissolved into acquiescence. He was walking on thin ice today.
"What the bloody hell do you want here, Alucard? Don't go on with pretending to be a sentimental old fool. This wasn't set as a joke for your personal amusement!" she hissed, already driven on the edge by the small provocation, "What happened could have killed us all!"
He knew why she was like this, it was a small accusation underlined by her tensed body language, her unsaid words. You weren't there to protect me. Would you have let me die? Was it like that, Master?
"After facing that piece of shit, I calculated that his brother would not have survived the combined forces of Walter, the Police Girl and you, my Master," he offered an explanation in a subsided tone of humility. "I was right. Nothing worthwhile has been lo-"
"How dare you!" Integra's face contracted at his speech, for a moment, she seemed that was holding her tears amidst her delectable rage, but it might have been the breeze shifting her veil. He let silence linger between them. "Do you think their lives meant nothing to me?" asked his Master with a slight accusation.
"All lives are expendable if they are given to protect their leader, Integra," Alucard answered, toying with his shades before putting them back over his nose.
She seemed surprised when he gave her the retort. "Like those men who died for your uncle. Like those soldiers you're burying today. Maybe one day so will be mine. We're at the edge of a war, Master. Don't kid yourself about anything else if you want to pursue your noble goals."
"You are not expendable to me, Alucard," she said firmly, holding his gaze through her veil and his sunglasses. There was a resolution in the ring of her voice that made it unquestionably.
"If you believe otherwise, it is you who is kidding himself." Rain began to pour down while she talked. Droplets fell furiously from the dark cumulous above and hit the edges of her hat, ran down her blonde hair, she did not care to notice.
"You are dismissed from your duties. Go back to your coffin or chair and sleep for the rest of the day," she ordered as she turned to walk away, heading to the direction of the fresh made tombs where Walter was waiting for her.
"It was rather thoughtful of you to come all this way to corroborate that I've performed my job well," she added not without turning.
"Hoh~" Alucard's gaze turned wistful as he watched her go.
She had known.
Obviously, this woman was his true Master. She had not given the command yesterday night because she already knew the results.
"Don't you want me to hold your hand during the service?"
Integra paused for a minute, turned, and seized him with an inquiring eyebrow. "Dressed like that? This is a funeral, not a parade," she stated with enough bravado to make her masked anguish convincing to most that weren't him.
"Furthermore, Alucard, I am the one who needs to be here, not you." She turned from him, scanning each of the tombstones with her gaze. She was counting them, a total of eighty, before turning to face him again and quoting him to avoid further discussions: "I put them there myself, you see, this is the last farewell. To be standing here today is my responsibility as the Master of Hellsing." It was her, the woman, and no longer a woman-child stabilizing their position.
Alucard's throaty laughter echoed in the silent graveyard, unnerving the few surviving agents who were congregating to start the ceremony.
"As you wish, my Master," he said obediently as he disappeared from sight, but not completely of the site.
The rain and the mass of clouds blotted the sunlight; however Integral Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing cast a shadow that seemed far thicker and darker than those of the other gathered people.
As Walter finished the speech and bid farewell to the fallen, she mourned peacefully on her own. But when she looked down, on her way back at home, the knight did not feel lonely and through the sadness and loss, the vampire could glimpse a very small grateful smile from his spot tangled in her shadow.
He knew he did not need to hold her hand to touch her. That he was better company with his mouth shut in this moment of grief was no surprise to either of the pair. She may be angry later, when her sorrow ended and recovered her senses, and he was counting on it, he would be very pleased with himself when she loaded the air with her frantic shouting for his doing this, but just right now he would disobey her. Orders were expendable when it was his duty as her servant to stand with his Master until the funeral concluded.
In the quiet moments under the downpour, she said one last farewell to the men she'd killed without his help.