Integra sighed. God, this had been a long day. And here she was, still doing paperwork at four in the morning. She had been up roughly twenty-two hours when she had only slept three hours out of the past forty-eight. A cigar slowly turned to ash in the heavy glass ashtray at her elbow and her tea grew colder in the porcelain cup. She ignored both as she fought the paperwork before her with a blue ballpoint pen.

Alucard watched her from the shadow cast by the pile of books on her desk. From the looks of the circles beneath her eyes, he would soon be able to hide in their shadow and see what she saw. Something inside of him twinged as her marbled eyelids veiled her icy eyes from his view. She was tired. It had been a long week, and a longer year. There had been nothing more than scattered and weak attacks lately. She was killing herself to find the pattern. He would normally condone this vehement search, but what she failed to see was the fact that no pattern existed. Her head slumped forward a touch more and he could feel her mind slipping from her into the realm of dreams. He melted out of the shadow to form beside her.

"Master?" He said softly. Her head snapped up and her eyes were wild and unfocused.

"What is it?"

"Time for bed. It is late even for me. Now, how are you supposed to control me properly if you cannot even see straight?"

"Don't you dare challenge me, Alucard." She said, relaxing once she realized that the danger was only in her mind.

"Order me not to." He said, scooping her up. She flailed at him in what was meant to be a serious left hook, but her arm ran out of steam before it got halfway to his face. She let her arm fall limp on her stomach.

She sighed, conceding his victory to him. He smiled and carried her to bed, dropping her into the softness unceremoniously and leaving before she could mutter a thank you. He smiled as he heard her pull the blankets around herself. He felt more accomplished in forcing her into the little comfort than he had in killing any number of ghouls and vampires for her. The thought caused him to smile more.

Perhaps he could sneak another blood packet before sunrise, he thought as he heard a soft snore from her bedroom.