The silence of the cell was broken by heavy footsteps walking toward the bed, then the sound of shattering glass.
“The choice is yours” Alucard said, his grin widening.
Integra returned one of her own, watching the mix of blood and wine drip from his glove. With a distasteful nod, she turned her eyes on the vampire. With an unwavering stare she slowly shook her head, the grin never disappearing from her lips. She would not dishonor her family’s name with such an act.
“As you wish, my master” Alucard replied, pulling back his arm. His faced showed nothing but the ever present amusement, and Integra vaguely wondered if he ever let fall the facade.
Shaking the useless thoughts from her mind, she focused on the matters at hand. With calm now encompassing the room, Integra stood and started pacing the cell. Her business attitude had returned, and with it came many thoughts. The Queen’s representatives had already visited her, telling the Hellsing leader what her future would be. There would be an inquisition made by the crown, upon which would be discovered her innocence. Fortunately, the investigation had already begun, meaning less time in this wretched prison.
But the real challenges lay after her release. Her organization was in shambles, with her men either dead or arrested. She would need to rebuild Hellsing, but that would take time, something she doubted the Freaks would give her. Which meant the only ones she could count on at the moment were the two vampires and her butler.
“When will Walter be released?” she asked the vampire before her, having been told of the retainers healing injuries by the Queen’s puppet.
“He expects to return to his duties in a week’s time, Sir Hellsing” her servant responded, the disgust at playing messenger evident in his tone.
“And what of your pet?” Integra asked with a smirk. Though she was silently grateful for Seras’ help during the incident, the girl was still a vampire. And a constant reminder of Alucard’s disobedience.
Alucard’s smile broadened at the mention of the young vampire. “She is no longer my pet, my master.”
Integra stopped her pacing and turned her head toward the No-Life King, giving him a penetrating stare. “What do you mean? Explain yourself” she ordered, biting down angrily on her cigar. Surprises at this time were most unwelcome.
“The servant-master bond was broken when she drank my blood in the Tower. Seras is now her own master, a true nosferatu.”
The Hellsing leader removed her cigar and dusted the burnt end into a provided ashtray, contemplating this new information. The new vampire would have to be dealt, but in what way she would decide later. Now more important matters were at hand...
Several weeks later found Seras sitting in her room, having nothing to do but ponder the events of the changes which had taken place. No missions had been assigned to her yet, and she did not feel inclined to ask for them. So here she sat, as the memories passed through her mind.
Walter had brought the young vampire back to the institute from her former apartment, where she’d been concealing herself since the incident.
Sir Integra had only just returned from her confinement, having been publicly pardoned by the Queen herself. Fortunately, no one had been able to find the real reason for Hellsing’s existence, and all who had asked were quickly silenced. Some in more brutal ways than others.
And her former master was a most puzzling matter. She’d seen him only a few times since the Tower incident, but each encounter had been somewhat...confusing. For one, he had addressed her by her real name. But then, she was free from his servitude, having willingly drunk of his blood. And now she no idea what to do or how to handle her new found freedom. After all, Alucard had never trained her in regards to her abilities, and with Fargason dead she had no one to turn to for guidance.
The second problem was the very penetrating stares her former master had been giving her during their meetings. She had caught him several times, each no less disturbing than the last. From the obvious fact that she had caught him, Alucard had apparently wanted Seras to know he was watching her. But why? Whenever her eyes would meet his, his grin would widen and he would turn away. Those interactions had brought back memories from the Tower, when she’d awoken to find him standing before her. His grin had widened then, too.
A few relationships, however, were becoming less unsettling. Though still cold, Integra had been more cordial toward her since the incident. But she had rescued the Hellsing leader from the sacrificial altar, and some form of gratitude was expected. Walter had returned from the hospital, fully recovered and eager to serve his mistress. Her daily rations had resumed, signaling an end to her raids on the local blood banks.
As if on cue, the door to her room opened and the elderly retainer entered, carrying his customary bucket. Seras could smell the blood bag in the pail, and had to restrain herself from jumping Walter and tearing into the donated nourishment. As of late, she’d had a more difficult time restraining her hunger, the one packet a night barely satisfying her. The former fledgling had no idea if this was a natural reaction for newly created No-Life Queens, and had no way of finding the truth.
“Thank you, Walter” Seras said, rising from her bed and gratefully taking the offered pail. Walter nodded his head in acknowledgment, then left to deal with the household management.
When his footsteps had died away, Seras swiftly tore the blood packet out of the ice and threw the pail aside, not caring about the mess the frozen water would make later. She hastily bit into the thawing container, sucking every last drop into her mouth. The vampire rather liked the taste more than she used to, but her humanity still kept her from fully enjoying the refreshment.
With the blood now gone, Seras threw the bag into the trash and rested once more on her bed. With a sigh of contentment, she lay herself down, feeling drowsy from the intoxicating liquid. Pressing the control pad, she closed the lid to her coffin, idly wondering how long her unlife would stay this way.
Meanwhile, Integra sat at her desk, running over the daily paperwork Walter had brought her. She put down the paper she held for a moment, staring at the picture of her father hanging upon the wall. Her thoughts wandered to her servant, who had been acting most peculiar of late, a feat for the maniacal vampire. His visits to her office were as common as before, but his attitude around her was more aloft, more formal. He acted as if they were merely business partners, discussing the best ways to eliminate the competition.
And strangely, since the night in the dungeon, Alucard had not offered her his blood. He had been so adamant before the incident, pestering her on a nearly daily basis. Now he seemed disinterested in the matter, never giving mention to his once often asked question. She highly doubted he had been discouraged by her refusal, but what the true explanation was she could not guess.
Sighing, Integra resumed her business, intent on eliminating one of the stacks on her desk before the sun rose. Later, when the organization was once more operating, she would ask Walter about the elder vampire’s strange behavior.