Hellsing Fan Fiction ❯ Sine Qua Non ❯ In Limine ( Chapter 5 )
She had spent the night out with Alucard. She had taken her relationship with Death to yet another level. She had not slept well. Glaring into a mirror, Integra scowled at her own bleary eyes and decided on a shower; it was tepid and did little to better her mood. The cross lay on her vanity, before the mirror.
Dressed in a plain black suit, Integra took a vain moment to examine her reflection. She seemed taller, more professional, more mature… After what had transpired the night before, she could believe it.
The subtle shine of her morbid keepsake caught her eye once again. It was a simple charm with no implements for adornment. Integra wondered how Worthington had worn it. Perhaps he had kept it in his breast pocket. She pondered welding a pin backing to one side. Absently, she held it up to the mirror, studying it.
Her focus and expression changed as the glass darkened, and that familiar multitude of soulless red eyes materialized. Integra took her gun and held it up to the mirror.
The eyes continued winking obscenely, and Integra pulled the trigger. The bullet went straight through, and the glass shattered. She threw her free arm up to shield herself. The void in the glass began to fade way, accompanied by a touch of ubiquitous laughter.
"Bastard." Integra exhaled slowly, and put the gun down. She knelt down and began picking up the glass. A loud knock sounded at the door.
"…Come in," she said with some resignation.
Walter opened the door and cautiously stepped inside. His attention was immediately drawn to the shimmer of glass littering Integra's bedroom floor.
"Allow me, Sir Integra." He deftly moved to her side and began cleaning up the mess.
"Of course, Walter." Integra stepped back and sheepishly began to exit.
"It is my duty to serve you, Sir Integra," Walter replied pleasantly.
Throughout the entire ordeal, she had clenched the cross firmly in her hand. As she once again became aware of its weight, she stopped.
"Yes, Sir Integra?"
"Could you have this made into a pin?"
Walter took the talisman from her outstretched hand. "Of course." By the knowing gleam in his eyes, Integra wondered just how many of her nocturnal adventures Walter was aware of. He asked no questions though and diligently returned to his work. "Sir Integra?"
"Commander Ferguson wished to meet with you whenever you were ready. Both your breakfast and Ferguson are waiting in your office."
Integra nodded and left her bedroom in a thoughtful mood. As she strolled leisurely towards her office, a strange thought materialized in her mind. Three weeks or another lifetime ago, she had been rushing down to that very same office, intent on punctually attending one of her father's lectures. Now, Ferguson, the commander of all of Hellsing's armed forces, was awaiting her arrival in that office. He was acknowledging his deference to her whims. It was an epiphany to say the very least.
With an almost delicate sense of satisfaction, Integra realized that she was now systematically and successfully assuming the leadership responsibility of the Hellsing Organization. And possibly, ownership of Alucard. That last assertion could have been heady hubris. In fact, instinct told her that she would never be completely secure in her dominance of the vampire…but for now, she was semi-confident in her abilities. Straightening her collar and rechecking her posture, Integra strode into her office.
Ferguson stood and saluted. Integra returned the gesture before seating herself. Ferguson remained standing.
"The mission last night…"
"…Was a failure," she finished, sipping her coffee.
"Yes, sir." He was visibly startled and Integra could not refrain from revealing more of her mysterious knowledge.
"Two survivors from the moors?"
"Yes, sir." She took the folder he offered and skimmed through it. The name "Nathaniel J. Worthington" momentarily caught her attention among the lists of the dead. She had made a promise last night, and she meant to keep it.
"There were strange discoveries from the posthumous examinations of the remains. Someone came through, with a gun of exceptionally large caliber, and made certain that the dead would not rise again."
Integra smiled humorlessly. "No need to worry about that. The situation was already brought to my attention."
Ferguson was surprised by her knowledge. Awaiting further orders, Ferguson chuckled uneasily as Integra finished her breakfast.
"Today we will launch an assault on those soulless blasphemers; I will oversee the operation."
"It is not necessary for you to-" Ferguson swallowed the rest of his sentence. "Yes sir!"
Integra smugly retrieved a cigar from her drawer.
"That will be all."
When she summoned him, Alucard took his own sweet time in coming. Bristling at his antagonistic behavior, Integra took a practiced puff from her Henry Winterman cigar.
He heralded his entrance with a sharp laugh and appeared before her completely clad in crimson. His hair was still shockingly white, but instead of the straightjacket, he now wore an impractically long Victorian coat with a floppy matching hat and round gold spectacles. The costume was incredibly flamboyant and pretentious, even ridiculous, but he wore it well.
"Alucard," Integra acknowledged.
"Sir Integra," he replied with no reticence.
"Where did you acquire your attire?" She could not resist asking.
"These old things?" He laughed deeply. "I am flattered that you noticed. I had put them away prior to my internment. If the need should arise…" He let that thought trail off and resumed his normal irritating leer.
Integra concluded that this was the most concrete answer she could get out of him, so she dropped the subject. It did occur to her that it was strange, how she could already read him. Not well, but more intimately than she had ever imagined. She understood the nature of his jibes and could almost see, in some skeletal form, how his mind worked.
As if reading her thoughts, he smiled and insolently tipped his hat.
"…I sent for you because I would like more information."
"Oh?" The interjection rolled off his tongue smoothly. The corners of his mouth went up a bit further, and he lowered his glasses enough so that she could plainly see the smug amusement therein.
Integra scowled. "What kind of vampires are we dealing with, Alucard?" She bit down on her cigar, grinding the tip between her teeth.
"Low level scum," he purred. "The leftovers were a dead giveaway." He placed both hands on her desk and leaned forward. "Are you worried?"
"Of course not," Integra spat. She continued crushing the cigar.
"You seem…distressed. Is there anything else you would like to discuss?"
"I'd prefer it if from now on, you refrain from spying on me in my bedroom," she growled, reminded of his earlier escapade.
"Is that what you called me here to talk about?" He was utterly cavalier.
"No, but it is a courtesy that you could easily abide by."
"Do you not want me to watch you, Sir Integra? After all, I should do my very best to guard the last remaining Hellsing."
He came closer, stretching himself out, till his chest was parallel with the surface of her desk. He was right in her face, enjoying her growing anger.
"And here I thought you might inquire about something more interesting… I was so excited…" Alucard murmured huskily. Licking his lips, he displayed his prominent canines with great pleasure.
"Get out of my office," Integra snapped.
The vampire never batted an eye. "As you wish, Sir Integra." And with no more theatrics, he vanished through the floor.
Having found his coffin, Alucard reflected on the affairs of the infamous Hellsing Organization. A great deal had changed during those twenty years of confinement. A mere slip of a girl, the last living descendant of his hated nemesis, was now in control.
On the surface, it really seemed like an easy decision. Break her, change her, and free himself. After over a hundred years, he would truly be rid of the blood of Abram Van Helsing. All that was standing in his way was Integra.
She held so much potential. He had not seen one like her in centuries. She was a rough uncut gem. Brilliant and full of prospects, but nowhere near as glorious as she could be. He could make her shine.
Over six hundred years of unlife had given him excellent insight into the human mind. He knew that he had a jeweler's eye. Slowly, but deftly, he could chip away at all the impurities, carve away at her defects. He could sculpt a breathtaking masterpiece. It was an extraordinarily tempting thought.
He was not going soft. He was not filled with warmth, affection, or pity regarding this half-grown whelp. The chance was simply too rare, too wonderful to pass up. Possessing Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing would not just complete his revenge… he could appreciate beautiful things, and she was superb, exquisite, magnificent. She was something far too fine to give up to Thanatos.
The units would encompass the ground in a systematic method designed to prevent as many casualties as possible. Studying the maps and charts, Integra focused her attention on the moors. They were exceptionally treacherous landforms and she would have to deal with them very carefully.
The area they were deploying the troops was a national park. Already, Ferguson had begun evacuating civilians. Perhaps the pre-emptive casualty prevention was a tactical error, but Integra felt a compelled to avert innocent bloodshed.
There were the moors and the city of York to consider. Those bloodsucking bastards had been roaming unpredictably. Still, with last night's activities fresh in her mind, Integra believed that the vampires could still very well be in the area.
Perfection was expected and failure was not an option. This was her first mission and would set a standard for future enterprises. This would define her position as leader, not only in name, but also in the eyes of her soldiers. There was a good deal of pressure to say the least.
Looking at the clock, Integra swallowed her anxiety. It was 21:00; time for commencement.
She was confident, though not feeling quite as cocky as she was a few hours ago. It had been rather immature to play games with Ferguson. The guilt tangent was silly, and she blamed it on pre-mission nerves.
Integra lit another cigar as Walter entered. He raised a brow, but said nothing.
"Your helicopter is ready, Sir Integra."
She stood and said a silent prayer.
Walter handed Integra her coat. As she slid into it, he produced the cross from his breast pocket.
"It has been modified according to your wishes, Sir Integra." He presented her with the pin and she silently fastened it to her tie. Unable to hide his pleasure, Walter adjusted his monocle and spoke with great fondness. "You cut a fine figure, Sir Integra. You will be a splendid knight. Your father would be proud."
Integra swallowed hard, for Walter did not bestow empty praise. Touching the silver, Integra declared the traditional Hellsing battle maxim.
"In the name of God, impure souls of the living dead shall be banished into eternal damnation… Amen!"