There were some days that she loathed being a woman. She took the cigar out of her mouth long enough to down the small white pills and a swig of water before replacing the smoking cylinder. Her abdomen tightened and clenched again in a convulsion, reminding her that she could hide her femininity behind the suits, but beneath them, she was still a woman. She sighed, hoping that the pills would take hold soon.

Alucard dripped down from the ceiling and pooled into a chair across from her desk.

"If you say one more thing about my blood, Alucard, I will shoot you again."

"Now, now, Master... That is the third threat today... Why don't you go ahead and do something with those spare hormones? I can sense-" He was interrupted from his lecherous rant by the full clip of bullets emptied into his form. Head, heart, and groin were obliterated. He reformed with a dark chuckle.

"What a rather pointed innuendo, Master..."

She snarled and reached for another clip.

Later that night, she lay in bed, curled in a ball from the pain. She knew it was not unusual to experience such acute pain from menstrual cramps, but God... This was wretched... She concentrated on breathing slowly and deeply, trying to meditate the pain away. Then she sensed his presence in the room. She forced her muscles to unclench and allow her to stretch out on the bed nonchalantly. She had to exude power despite the pain she was in.

"Unless you have a damned good reason for disturbing my sleep, vampire-"

"What sleep? You forget that I can read your mind, Master." He said, eyes dark with something akin to worry.

"Leave me be, Alucard." she snarled.

He sat on the edge of her bed instead.

"Before my wife had our child, it was entirely common for her to have pains as severe as yours." He said softly.

"Why are you telling me this?" she snapped. Before she could really grasp what was happening, he had gently rolled her onto her stomach and was massaging her lower back with gentle and talented hands. She started to fight him off, the order half out of her mouth before he interrupted her.

"She would often have her maid rub her back this way when I was unavailable. I had less orthodox methods of relieving her pain, but she said that this was nearly as effective. I am being nothing more than an attentive servant now, Master. Please, allow me to help you."

He smiled when he realized that she was not going to argue with him. She sighed as she felt the muscles in her back relax, the tension melting away. She had been afraid that there was going to be something at least vaguely erotic in the way he touched her, but he was nothing but gentle and soothing. She allowed him to turn her back over and lightly knead the muscles on her lower stomach the same way. Her eyes closed and she sighed as the pain fled under the gentle assault of his hands and fingertips. He smiled at her relieved expression and fought the urge to kiss her stomach the way he had kissed his wife's on nights like this. His mind went to his long lost wife for a brief moment. He had thought her a strong woman before he had met Integra. The thought saddened him a bit, but also made him that much more proud of his master. He gently prodded her thoughts and found that she was sleeping soundly. He took his hands from her form and covered her with a blanket. He even slipped into the closet and brought out a heating pad, plugging it into the outlet beneath the one that powered the reading lamp. He tucked the heating pad just beneath the edge of the blankets so that she could find it if she woke up and needed it. He smiled and returned to his chilled and dark chambers, glad to have been able to help his Master, his Integra.

The next morning, she was at her desk, feeling refreshed and relaxed for the first time in ages. She smiled a little to herself when she thought of how thoughtful Alucard had been and then it vanished when she wondered if it was because he was anticipating a treat in return. The warm smile slowly faded and was replaced by another tired expression as she went back to the paperwork. He came in later, sipping on a blood packet that had a yellow straw sticking out, looking for all the world like an oversized kindergartener.

"Did you sleep well, Master?" He asked with a smile.

"Yes, I did. Thank you, Alucard." She said, a bit colder than necessary. He cocked his head a little and took another sip of the medical blood. She was still cross this morning, and he had no idea why. He had taken remarkably good care of her the night before, and her body wasn't complaining as much as it had before. He was genuinely puzzled and as he probed gently at her mind, it closed forcefully. He shrugged, chalking it up to the hormones as he melted through the floor and ended up back in the basement. He figured it to be the safest place from her and her femininity...