To say that Anderson was surprised at the summons would be an understatement. Nevertheless, Sir Integra Hellsing was requesting his presence in England. Crumpling the paper in his hand, he went to find his superiors and determine what he should do.
What he should do, apparently, was go to England. Stewing during the interminable train trip, he pondered events. For more than three decades, he and the Hellsing Institute had grappled for power, pushing at the edges of civility. The damned monsters had, he grudgingly admitted, proven more powerful than expected. He'd done his best to kill Alucard (if killing the undead wasn't already moot), and the vampire had never seemed more than somewhat annoyed and usually simply amused. On the other hand, the vampire had never seemed willing to kill HIM. Blow off his arms, taunt him, drop him in the sewer, and on one memorable occasion, have his fledgling blow up Anderson's car with her Harkonnen. With a humility that only came with age, Anderson had to admit he was only alive because Hellsing didn't want to kill him.
That didn't keep him from pushing the limits, seeing how far this surprising tolerance would extend. Sir Hellsing and his little demon spawn were those limits; any time he thought he might actually be able to destroy one of those two unholy bitches, Alucard would suddenly kick into a high gear and Anderson would be fleeing the scene. They were confusing.
And now, they wanted him to come to England.
The bright light of late morning shot through the window, startling him, as the train rumbled on out of the Chunnel and towards London. In less time than he hoped, he found himself standing in front of the mansion, forcing himself to exchange polite words with the guards, then following a prim young assistant up to Hellsing's office. The woman knocked, paused, and opened the door, motioning him in before leaving to return to her desk near the front doors.
He stepped in.
It was not Hellsing's office. It was Integra's bedroom. Shock and confusion set in for a moment until her voice, clear but weak, cut through him.
"Close the damn door, Paladin, and get your ass over here. We need to talk."
Moving to the chair by the bed, Anderson was shocked at what he saw. Integra had always been slender, never going to muscle or fat, but now she was simply skeletal. Her gray hair had gone thin and sparse, her face deeply lined and pale. Her lips had gone faintly gray, far from a healthy pink. Under her nose ran a thin, clear tube, delivering oxygen to what was clearly a dying woman.
"As you can see, I'm dying." Blunt and to-the-point as always. Having been to more than enough deathbeds in his roles as priest and paladin, Anderson noted her condition, accepted it, and simply waited to hear what Hellsing had called him for.
"This presents a problem. I have not had an heir, despite efforts. I have tried artificial insemination, hormone treatments, attempted to have a surrogate with my eggs, even considered cloning only to be told that my cells are not suitable. They could be suitable, but cancer cells metastasize and make it risky. We tried, and each cell had mutations or other problems and none of the embryos succeeded. I put it off too late, and now a child is impossible.
I am the last of my line, Anderson. The only relatives are distant cousins, meek and entirely unsuited to ruling a vampire, and when I die Alucard is going to be masterless." She paused, resting, breathing in the oxygen and watching Alexander.
"And you called me here...to destroy him?" Anderson hazarded a guess, unsure where this was going. "You can't be healed, I am the only successful regenerator and I have made certain the means to create another is destroyed. A regenerator could heal, but you cannot be one." He gave a humorless grin at that. After the agony of his change, watching every other candidate die in screaming pain or madness, then learning of the unholy roots of his powers...No. There would be no more Paladins, no more Holy Regenerators.
Integra snorted at this. Having taken that brief rest, she was ready to speak again. "Fool. If I wanted to live forever, I would have asked Alucard to change me. No, I am ready to die. I am not ready nor willing to leave Alucard without a master." She watched Anderson's face go from puzzlement to shock as he stared at her, clearly fearing what she would say.
"Alucard is bound to the Hellsing family willingly, but there are requirements. Temperament, intelligence, will, and more. He is...selective...about whom he will take as his master. My father was accepted as Alucard's master when he was younger, but it was a grudging acceptance. As he aged, it became clear that he really couldn't handle Alucard and his brother was a complete loss as well. Alucard chose to be sealed away when my father could not handle his rebellion; he placed his hope in my father's heir, and kept the bond in place. Fortunately for both of us, he found me acceptable."
Another pause while Integra replenished her oxygen, resting. Too old and wise to rush a story and exhaust herself before she finished, and knowing he was equally old and wise and willing to wait.
"We have both looked, for a very long time, for a suitable replacement. The binding ceremony bound him to Hellsings, any descendant of Abraham. We could renew the binding with a bit of blood and a minimal amount of ceremony. My...replacement...will have to perform the full bonding ritual. And we have found no one that we felt would be able to survive that and successfully bind Alucard."
Alexander sat, staring. He had a sick feeling where this was going.
"Alucard without a master would soon go insane. Less quickly than before, with his fledgling, but he knows what he would do and what would happen to him. He values his sanity. He is also fond of power, and the bonding and sealing rituals have substantially increased his. He does not want to lose either his mind or his powers. We have spent the last few generations combining binding and sealing, to create a single spell capable of transfering all of his abilities and controls without the years of effort spent previously."
"Magic. Black magic" Alexander said gruffly, "the work of the Devil, and ye call yourself a Christian woman." He looked at her scornfully.
Integra smiled coldly, "Alucard is controlled, and no Hellsing has made a deal with the Devil. Magic, yes. But not black nor white nor anything else, simply power, and Alucard is the result. The spell of his making, that we have found to be entirely evil. He is not a kind and loving person. But he is willing to serve, and willing to be controlled. And "magic" provides that leash."
She stared at him a long, chill time. "Even weakened by the loss of the Hellsing Binding, he'd kill you and half of England. As my ancestor Abraham found, he's not easy to kill. You've been trying for decades. And none of us have the cruelty to torture him with confinement; even when my father sealed him away, Alucard had access to his mind and feelings, stimulation and escape as he dreamed, and protection. So we choose to control him, and use him to protect and save others. I am content with my choice and my years as his master."
Again, a wait. Anderson wanted to talk, to argue, but her eyes were closed this time, and it took her longer than he expected to continue.
"When I die, he has no master. You have the options of either attempting to kill him, or to master him. He will be maddened, grieving, angry, and insane. And powerful." A cold grin, suited to her monster, graced her grey face. "Or you can take over as his master." Her smug gaze took in his crestfallen look. "You are the only human that is possible. The English royalty of my youth, the Queen, could have done so had it been necessary. But we have not found anyone else suitable, not at the strength he is now. You could. He would accept you, and you are going to be around a very, very long time." She rested again, watching him.
Of all the things that Anderson had considered for this meeting, this was the most unexpected outcome possible. He wanted to say no, to call her a vile bitch and a whore of Babylon, to throw back insults and stormn out, but he was far past an impetuous youth. Alucard would be free when Hellsing died, and that would be soon.
And he knew, realistically, that the vampire might well be a match for him. He might be able to physically defeat him, weakened from the loss of his Master, but he might also end up truly dead himself. The city had rebuilt itself after Alucard's power had nearly destroyed itself, but London's pain could be spread across the entire country and more if the vampire were unleashed and had no one to bring him to a halt.
A nuclear bomb might stop him, but Alexander wasn't going to count on that.
He thought of sealing the vampire away, and cringed. He had seen the results of people kept by vampires, when a hunted vampire had taken a few humans and kept them alive in its home. Isolated for weeks and months, no contact with each other, just food and water and four walls, they were usually too far gone to save. A sort of "living pantry" for a vampire who feared it might be hunted, they were nothing but near-catatonic shells when he'd found them. No, he couldn't seal away Alucard, much as he hated the beast.
"I'm a Catholic. Hellsing is Protestant." He offered this as a refusal, aware of the political upheaval that would result. He could handle a vampire, but he did not want Hellsing. Not at all.
"You won't be in charge of Hellsing. My assistant that you met at the door has been handling all the paperwork and is my heir. She can record the vampires and ghouls that attack and organize a response, plus handle running the estate and all the political bickering. As as long as you are willing to send Alucard out to hunt, there will be no issue. She has no field experience herself, but Alucard's Police Girl does, and she is perfectly capable of handling the military side. We're also a much...smaller...organization now. With two vampires and modern equipment, we keep a much smaller number of soldiers."
She grinned at him wryly, and after a short pause said, "Only my vampires can kill the other vampires with any sort of reliability. Hellsing Institute cannot function without their assistance, and Alucard will not be able to function without you. You will likely not be knighted nor forced onto the Round Table. That lovely honor will go to my heir downstairs. You will be a part of Hellsing, but it will not consume you as it has me."
She paused for a bit, eyes closed, and he saw her hand move slightly to push a button. Concerned, he began to rise, fearing some sort of bizarre trickery. However, the person that came in the opening door was not a vampire or a soldier, but a doctor. With a brief nod to the stranger beside his employer's bed, the doctor glanced at the little monitor perched beside Integra before speaking to her softly and giving an injection into the tube in her arm.
Alex paused in thought. He hadn't seen the tube, and that was a fairly large syringe that had just been emptied into it. Clearly, Integra was failing quickly. Reading his face, she spoke. "Vitamins, glucose, and pain medicine. I knew this would be taxing and had a little pick-me-up prepared. I will also say this. Hellsing is not my concern. The soldiers have a nice retirement package prepared, as does staff, should you choose to take the vampires back to Italy with you. I do ask that you keep allowing them to hunt problem vampires, but otherwise, this is no longer my concern. I only wish to provide for Alucard. Should you stay with Hellsing, you will receive a substantial stipend, and the vampires will be provided with Crown funding for their care. Leave England, and that vanishes." Another grin. "They're going to be quite independently wealthy, though, so I don't really expect that matters too terribly much. My heir will find her fortune substantially diminished, although sufficient."
"What does Alucard say to this?" Anderson couldn't begin to picture it.
"He doesn't know. I needed to speak with you first. I wore them out by keeping them awake most of yesterday and then sent them out on a wild-goose-chase mission last night. They're asleep, and Alucard isn't going to know you were here until he comes in the office and smells you. That won't happen until late tonight. He's going to be furious, but this is really his only option. He'll accept it."
Anderson pushed out of the chair, pacing. He hated to do this in front of someone so ill; physical exuberance in others invariably wore them out. But this was so much to be asking. Alucard was a hateful, vile creature, and to be bound to him? For as long as he could foresee? And what about that Seras creature? He spun to face Integra. "Seras." It was a question and a command, and one that he was surprised not to have thought of.
"Seras is not an issue. She has been offered freedom by Alucard but is entirely content with her current position. She has friends here, a family in her Master, and a job in which she finds herself useful and effective. She'll go with him; separating them would be cruel. As long as you are his Master, she'll cooperate easily. It's been very nice having one subordinate that is easy to work with." Integra sighed briefly. "I believe that Alucard gave her her freedom a month ago, when I became bedridden. I haven't asked, as it has not been an issue other than that she would be more powerful. She's still biddable and good-natured."
Alexander would have laughed at the thought of a good-natured vampire, but remembering the easy camaraderie he had observed between her and some of the troops, he could begin to believe it. Her expressions were also human. While Alucard was clearly an inhuman monster, you had to see Seras's red eyes to know differently. He shrugged to himself. If he controlled Alucard, well, Seras was a weaker vampire. He could kill her himself if she became a problem.
"Aye." Gloomy at the thought of all he would be giving up, but also somewhat rejoicing inside at the fact of finally being one-up on that damned monster, he accepted his new role. "Now what do we do from here?"
"There is a book in the top drawer. Take it to the library and read it. When you are doing, come back here and have me woken up. Finish it before evening. Ask my assistant for a meal and anything you need." Integra said this without even opening her eyes, clearly needing a rest.
Anderson closed the book with a sigh. This was going to be one long, bloody ritual, alright. And the vampire was going to bite him? It worried him as a Paladin, and he felt an incredible respect for the original Hellsing and his ability to bind the damn monster in the first place. He also felt a bit of pride, sin though it was, in Integra's firm belief that he, too, would be able to control the monster.
The book had clearly been prepared for such an occasion. It had over a hundred pages detailing what the vampire was like. Alexander had been amazed at the information, for it gave a depth to Alucard that he had never imagined. The first pages were directly from Abraham's Journals, and covered observations of Alucard's behavior and conjectures about possible reasons. The vampire's likes, dislikes, and motives were laid clear. A substantial portion of this section was devoted to how to keep the vampire away from women, and an equally sized section covered the vampire's clear aversion to men. Anderson had to wonder why he was selected for Alucard's master, being male, but he himself could come up with no potential female candidate. Even Heinkel Wolfe was aging and gray, and far too unbalanced to lead a vampire, and she was the strongest woman (other than Hellsing) he'd met.
Other pages listed weaknesses and strengths, many of which Alexander was already familiar with, and he found himself skimming over those. Then, he reached the section he was dreading; magic and the vampire.
The spell that had created the vampire was mentioned, and the means of powering it. The descriptions of the incredibly painful deaths, impalements, dismemberments, and more, all providing fuel for the spell. Seductions and not-so-willing sexual encounters, self-sacrifice by fasting and self-mutilation, complex rituals and sealing it all, a deal with some sort of demon. Alex shuddered. The human Alucard had been as much a monster as any vampire he had hunted, and he had little doubt that this section of the book was to underscore just what he'd be controlling.
The next section changed. "As all things change with time, so the vampire Alucard is and is not the man that committed those atrocities. He is an amoral and evil creature, but other facets of his personality have been developed as the years have passed. He shows care and concern for a limited number of people, especially his master, beyond simply their physical well-being for his own well-being. He can be viciously cruel, and then patient and calm. The most that can be said about him is that he is consistently inconsistent, but he has mellowed. While still capable of the same atrocities, he has no true urge to commit them without provocation and is often perfectly content with a book, a quiet room, and a bottle of blood. The monster that he was originally is a creature to destroy. The monster that he is now is worthy of keeping. He has the potential to be very useful while posing a low risk to humans under a cautious master."
And then the binding ritual began. Alex found himself tensing as he read the words, seeing what he would need to accomplish. The vampire, capable as he was of melting his flesh and changing his shape at a whim, had to be physically restrained, kept in his human form, to be subjected to the binding ritual. The first few pages described the restraints needed; woods, silver, religious implements, and more. Plus, the vampire's willing cooperation.
Afterwards, it became gory, even to a hardened Paladin. He would have to brand the seal onto the heart of the vampire, pulling apart the ribcage to reach it. Abraham had apparently been able to cut a much simpler pattern, using an incision under the ribs. Alexander would not be so fortunate. Then again, there was no cutting into the heart. A silver brand, dipped in his own blood, would burn the symbol into the monster.
The binding involved him being bitten, and he would have to fight for control with his mind, not falling prey to the effect of a vampire's bite. He had a small advantage here over Hellsing, having been bitten before during fights. He knew a little of what to expect, and didn't have to fear being ghouled, not as a regenerator.
Here, the book said, he could rest and recover for a day. The vampire would be left in a weakened condition, still restrained. Alex winced a bit, aware that even Alucard would be in pain after this ritual, despite the fresh blood, and that the restraints themselves would be physically painful. As soon as he was ready, there were a series of other symbols that did require carving, but only into the skin. More silver brands, each already highly charged with power from decades of preparation, cut the time to a minimum. Initially, it had taken hours, days, and more to fully complete each level of the Seal. The only time delay now would be Alexander's ability to create new blood to seal each level of power, and his own physical speed. The book was written assuming the new master would be only human, not regenerator.
This was going to save that vampire a substantial amount of agony and time.
Alexander returned to the room, finding Integra looking as ill and pale as when he had left. He had delayed to eat a meal, leaving her as much rest as he could, but she was clearly still exhausted and he suspected she never got any better.
"I can do this, and will. When?"
Integra looked at him, once sharp eyes now vague with pain medicine and her own weariness. "Any time, the sooner the better. The supplies are all gathered. You found the key in the book?" At his nod, "The directions to find the equipment I wrote in the back of the book. I'll need to tell Alucard, and then I think you'll be needed within the week." Clearly aware of and accepting of her coming demise, her calm bravery unnerved him, for he had always thought of her as a termagant, a bitch, not this calm, quiet, accepting and serene creature. A slight smile twitched a corner of her lips. "You might want to call the Vatican and let them know. Now, please call my assistant, Alice, to my room."
A short time later, Integra was introducing them as "Alucard's likely new master" and Alice was "The Head of Hellsing."
As she put it "Anything else, you two and the vampires will work out the details. "
Alucard was summoned, and enraged was a lesser term than needed to describe his reaction. Betrayal, anguish, shock, and...fear? Seras's fear he could understand, she looked at him with huge eyes and her body trembled, but she refused to leave, standing bravely by her masters. Alucard, to his utter shock, crawled into Integra's bed, carefully avoiding the tubes and wires to sob into her neck. Raising a weak hand, Integra carefully patted his head, quietly ordering both Alexander and Seras to leave.
Alexander waited in the kitchen, Seras with him. While still watching him out of the corner of her eye, she had quickly accepted that he obviously was not here to kill her or Integra, or really to do any harm. At this point, he was seated at the table with a mug of coffee, and she was perched at the opposite end of the room on a stool, sucking at a blood pack.
But he'd better get used to it.
"He hasn't admitted she's that ill." He raised his head, surprised at the sudden interuption into the silence. "Alucard, that is." Seras elaborated. "He keeps thinking that medicine will come up with another miracle and that this will be cured. He's been in denial for years, about the situation with the heirs and about her illness."
"Illness. What is it, then, that's killing her?"
"She got cancer, which I think you knew. The drugs to treat the cancer had a rare side-effect, and they've affected her ability to reproduce. The treatments to counteract this effect didn't work, and caused other problems on top of the initial ones by the cancer. There is a lot of old damage, injuries and scarring from fights and the great battle of London, plus more damage from the delayed medical treatment afterwards. She had a known medical allergy to a type of anesthesia, but with medical records destroyed and hospitals operating with major damage, no one knew that. That caused more damage to her liver and other organs, which meant that when she received cancer treatments and more later on, she couldn't process the chemicals correctly. She also can't tolerate the drugs, now, that would allow a transplant." Seras looked at him, very serious, very sad.
"She wore out, Anderson. Too much damage, and it just kept coming. And she could never stop, never rest and really recuperate. She smoked and drank, dealing with the stress, she never ate well or slept well, she worked constantly trying to rebuild London and hunt those bloody freaks down, and her body just...wore out."
A crooked smile, reminscent of the one Integra had given him. "Alucard does not deal well with human mortality. He tries to avoid becoming too attached, but really, there has been only Integra and I for a very long time. Walter passed on, and Alucard became even more attached to her when dealing with his death. Before, there have always been other Hellsings around. Wives, a child, a cousin. But Richard ended that, took away the Hellsing family, and there was just Integra and Walter, and then me.
And now there's just going to be me." Seras's eyes glistened, and Alexander sat in mute shock as a red tear trickled down her cheek. A monster, a vampire, crying? He had seen them weep in fear, and in pain, but he had never seen one capable of crying from true human emotions.
"Lass..." sad red eyes looked up, "That is why Integra called me to come here. If Alucard agrees, he'll have me as a master, and I'm a bit more durable than most humans. You two won't be alone for a very very long time." The vampire stared back, her face unreadable. Alexander got up, intending to walk towards her slowly and reassure her, worried at her frozen silence.
That was what he intended, but he made it halfway across the room and she fell off the stool.
He couldn't help it, he laughed, and her shock gave way to embarrassment, chased away by humor. The assistant, whose name he still did not know, entered to find them both sitting on the floor, whooping with laughter.
Wiping away the tears of humor, he composed himself, giving the little Draculina an entirely unnecessary hand in lifting herself off the floor. Nonplussed, the assistant waited, trim and disapproving in a charcoal suit and hair in a bun, and looking so like the old stereotype of a librarian that he waited for her to shush them. The humor hit him again, and he had to fight a grin off his face. It was entirely unsuitable, but humans, and apparently vampires, could react strangely to stress.
The bedroom was now dimly lit, the sun long since set. Out of deference to the vampire's the lights were low and dimmer than normal, out of deference to the humans, the lights were on, period. The soft yellow lighting helped hide the gray of Integra's skin but rather than a soft glow it left her a sickly yellow. Alucard remained, curled into a tight ball beside her, her hand resting on his head. This, the deadly killer and maniacal monster he had hunted for decades, was Alucard? The sad, lost, vacant expression did not change, and the vampire remained effectively out of the conversation that followed. The vibrant killer with his gleeful taunts was gone, leaving only a sad ghost behind.
"We have an agreement for you to sign. I suggest you do so quickly, a room is set aside for you. You may leave to bring anything you wish from Italy, but I suggest you stay." Integra's voice failed slightly at this as she looked down at her monster. "Thank you, Anderson." Her eyes lifted again as she smiled weakly at him, then closed them, sleeping beside the unseeing, lost monster curled beside her.
The agreement was very simple, what she had outlined, with more details such as amounts, a yearly stipend, the requirements for him to receive it, and more. There was no fine print, it was as clear and to-the-point as could be expected from a person who had shed such frivolities at the end of her life. She had already signed it, with her witnesses beside it. The doctor and assistant witnessed his signing, and the lawyer, present even though it was past midnight, took the signed paper and left with it. Alexander tried to sleep but found himself staring at the white sheet of paper, his own copy, lying on the nightstand.
He never spoke with Integra again.
He'd called Rome early in the morning their time, still dark in England, and ordered them to send his belongings with a clerk, immediately. A chauffer would meet the clerk at the station and bring him his belongings. Alex was certain that this could be arranged by Hellsing and if not he'd take a cab and go himself. At least this way, his things were on the way.
By late morning, he was standing in grim silence as the will was read. Alucard and Seras were absent. The vampire had broken down completely at Integra's death. When the machines had signaled that she had passed, the doctor had entered the room to find the vampire motionless and unresponsive. Seras had carried him down to his coffin and remained with him.
By early evening, he was standing beside Alucard's coffin, worried for his new charge, asking if the vampire would be willing to be bound. The vampire hissed at him, seeming to have returned to the nonverbal state described in the book. The hiss was half-hearted though, more resigned than anything, and the vampire simply rolled over and went back to staring at the side of his coffin.
Alex slept well, making certain he would be well-rested for the binding, waking late the next morning and eating hugely. Integra's funeral was scheduled the next day, and much as he hated making Alucard and himself miss it, it was not avoidable. The vampire was at risk of going insane from the loss and had to be bound, immediately.
By late afternoon, he was in the room, brushing holy water on the steel diagram embedded in the floor, finding the restraints and arranging the great manacles and silver blades about the room. To his surprise, Alucard joined him, working silently to arrange the basin that Alexander filled with holy water, opening the crates to remove candles, and laying out everthing from scalpels to tiny vials to an intricate set of finely carved jewels. He moved silently, responding to any request with a sort of automatic acquiesence, handing over tools and moving boxes, but never blinking, never making eye contact, just moving, always moving. As Alexander set out the silver brands, which the vampire had refused to touch, he noticed Alucard had vanished.
He found the vampire, curled up around his fledgling, face buried, as she held him, quietly reassuring him in her low, soft voice. Sitting beside them on her bed, he patiently waited. Eventually, the vampire uncurled, still silent, and they returned to the ritual chamber. Seras was barred from entering; only the two of them could be involved in this ritual. He sent her out, worrying about who could comfort her, and amazed himself at his worry. Less than 2 days earlier, he'd have gleefully killed her had he encountered her alone. And now, he was concerned for her?
By nightfall, he was covered in blood, the vampire screaming underneath him.
By midnight, he was drained and weak, the vampire curled against his legs as he sat, back to the wall, and tried to eat the food he had brought with him. The juice choked him as it went down, and the spasms as he coughed brought whimpers of pain from the vampire.
By the wee hours of the morning, he was through most of the Seals and fighting to Seal the Hellhound.
By dawn, he was damp with sweat, exhausted, and smearing his blood across the last brand on the vampire.
As the sun rose, it found him lying on the floor with the vampire, one sleeping the sleep of the undead, the other so exhausted there was little difference. Seras entered when the room was again silent, carefully pouring blood into Alucard's mouth and watching as, unconcious, he swallowed it down and healed further. Alex was given a few mouthfuls of more juice, with the same result. She then carried her new masters out. Seras had been unsure what to do with them, but Alucard needed his coffin. Placing him in the coffin, she had turned, planning to take Anderson to his bed. Alucard began to cry out for his Master, clearly not awake, thrashing about and rising half-out of his coffin. She raced to get Anderson, only to find him, half-aware himself, leaving the ritual room and moving to the vampire.
Day began with the vampire, the master, and several blankets together in the coffin. Seras worried that the human would be too cold down in the basement, but morning and fatigue pushed her into her own coffin.
At noon, she awoke, bringing them blood and soup, pleased to find Anderson awake and holding a peacefully sleeping Alucard.
By afternoon, they were both awake, cleaned, and recovered, although Alucard was still mute.
At dusk, he stood beside the grave of his lost Master, throwing the first handful of dirt on her coffin. Seras and Anderson stood back, allowing him his grief and dignity as he mourned the loss of the woman and leader he had so treasured.
At nightfall, Anderson turned out the light, still exhausted from the tumultous events of the last few days, and no longer in a guest room but in a room prepared especially for him, including great thick dark curtains on the single window and a terminal with phone and intercom waiting by the bed.
By midnight, he was aware of a cold, still weight pressing down on his feet, and carefully covered his vampire with a thick warm blanket.
Vampires. Seras, too, was curled up at his feet, both she and Alucard looking miserable, neither actually asleep. Alexander was unable to sleep after this, hurting for them both. They had a family of three, and the person they both depended on was gone, leaving them broken. He spent time stroking them, murmuring words of reassurance, familiar and comfortable with this task, at least, after his many years in the orphanage.
By dawn, all three were sleeping peacefully, both vampires curled against the regenerator, heads on his chest and their hands intertwined.