It was almost alarming how well she hid it from everyone. The fact that she was human was only vaguely recognized by the men she worked with. She was stronger than steel, colder than ice, and less pliable than marble when it came to her affairs, both personal and official. In fact, no one knew of a personal life outside of her organization. As much as the thought interested the younger men, they all feared her far too much to ever let her know. She had declined enough men politely and more than enough not so politely to assure them that she knew she was of stronger stuff than they, and they accepted it with only very little fuss. But the queen demanded that she try and make amends with the men, perhaps a dance or two at her next gala?

The thought did not please Integra, however, she was bound to the crown and the wishes thereof. So she had Walter search out a dress for her, and had Seras help her prepare. Alucard was her unofficial escort, playing in the shadows as she sat at her table in the corner, seemingly alone. The first half hour passed uneventfully, and just as she hoped that it would remain that way, things changed.

"Sir Hellsing? I am Todd Jameson." A timid man with brown hair the color of his suit said, bowing to her. She nodded an acknowledgment of his presence and reached for her champagne. He frowned, swallowed nervously, and continued, a vague tremor slipping into his voice. "Would you care to dance?" He offered a pale, thin hand that shook lightly. The intimidation rolled off of him in waves. Her ice blue eyes met his mousy brown ones as she opened her mouth to decline.

"Her Majesty said that you were only to refuse three men an hour. He will be your fourth." Alucard's black velvet voice said in her mind. She sighed and stood, taking the man's hand. It froze for a moment before trembling with true force as she led him to the dance floor. Alucard chuckled as she taught the man a rudimentary waltz before becoming absolutely fed up and leaving him on the dance floor.

"My my, Master... That was cold of you..."

"The twit couldn't manage to so much as walk without stumbling. One would be inclined to think that I had a knife at his throat the entire time with the way he stuttered and apologized."

"Perhaps you are being too hard on the poor fool. He would have worshiped the ground you walked on had you been kinder to him."

"I have no need of an acolyte."

Alucard simply chuckled.

Two hours later, she sat sipping her third flute of champagne, and found everyone tolerable at the very least. Alucard grinned from the unseen shadows at her as another suitor walked up.

"Sir Hellsing?" He asked. He had a deep, rich voice that contrasted nicely with his sandy blonde hair. She looked up at him, pleasantly surprised at his posture and demeanor. He seemed to be a man of self-discipline and respect.

"Yes, and who might you be?" she asked. Alucard's grin faded at her mental assessment of the man. She liked him... Possibly in a way that was slightly less than professional...

"I am August de Sade." Here he bowed.

"An interesting name." She said.

"I have long thought so, but then again, how interesting can it be to a woman who has been knighted and runs her own organization like clockwork?" he asked, sitting across from her, his grey eyes sparkling with interest. She hid her smile with a sip of champagne. He was trying to charm her...

"You would be surprised."

"I look forward to it." He said with a grin.

*****So... Here's the first chapter. I fully intend on finishing this, and I have a general idea of where it's going. Please, please, for the sake of my heart, review. Oh, and here's my disclaimer... Hellsing doesn't belong to me, and the more witty lines in here don't either. The general pretense this story's founded on isn't original to me, but I'm hoping I can breathe a little life into it.