Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters, and profit in no way from this fic! I have watched Hellsing series and read two volumes of the manga and am enjoying the series immensely. In this fic, I’ll be featuring a kinder, gentler Integra, so if that bothers you, I’d recommend reading something else. Also, she’ll be involved in a affair with Seras, so if that bothers you, definitely don’t read this...
Hellsing: Three Nights...
Without some form of release, stress levels will build up, eventually impairing the person’s ability to function at their absolute best. Sir Integra Hellsing knew that just about as well as anyone, but actually doing something about it was somewhat more difficult.
The white haired young woman had her vices, of course.
The slim cigars she chose to smoke weren’t all that healthy, but she enjoyed having them none the less. And she was known to indulge in the occasional drink as well.
Teasing Alucard would probably be counted by some people as a vice too, but she considered it more of an occupational hazard.
When she first passed by the little nightclub not far from headquarters, she was intrigued. Seemingly having appeared from nowhere, the club had a bustling business. She had the organization check it out, of course, but except for an odd irregularity in location it was clean. According to the records it was based in Japan, not here in London.
So Integra ventured inside Arisugawa’s Locket...
To do so, the bargain she made with herself was a simple one. The cell-phone and pager she carried with her all the time were always left on and ready in case an emergency called her away, but other than that she considered herself to be off-duty on these little excursions. After a few visits to investigate the place she finally let herself drink, smoke, and simply relax for a bit, before returning to the battlefield one again.
And talk, too.
The bar’s owner was an interesting woman of quite a high caliber. If Arisugawa Juri was at all interested, she would have tried to recruit her for the Hellsing organization on the spot. She listened to all of Integra’s carefully edited stories calmly, and her comments were often quite insightful. Juri also didn’t seem to judge, and over time Integra found herself discussing more personal things, the difficulties of command and how they seemed to effect her.
The London fog swirled around Integra as she aperoached the friont door, the tall bouncer opening the door with a wry smile. Integra nodded to the young woman that was servuing as a greeter then made her way through the busy crowd towards a corner table where she could keep an eye on most of the main floor.
Integra settled into her seat, the chair sighing softly as she let her full weight rest upon it. She took her round glasses off a moment to gently rub at her eyes, then slid them back on again. With a relieved sigh Integra loosened her tie, and sat back in her tailored gray suit.
Juri walked over to the table, her long orange hair swinging behind her, carrying a bottle and a single glass. She sat down across from her and asked with a smile, “Whisky, neat?”
The light glinted off her round glasses as Integra tipped her head back and downed it all in one shot. She shuddered, visibly, then relaxed just a bit. “Thanks,” she said quietly.
Juri topped her drink up, “Your welcome.”
Integra reached into her dress coat, drawing a thin cigar out and lighting it up. She drew on it deeply the asked a question that had been bothering her, “How is it that a Japanese bar can be accessed in the middle of Britain?”
“Trade secret,” Juri shrugged.
“In other words, you can’t explain it either,” Integra said, and fought a smile as Juri twitched slightly, confirming that theory.
“So how are your romantic prospects going?” Juri asked with a smile.
Integra had to struggle to avoid showing her wince. When she had been talking to Juri last time, she had let it slip that there was someone she that was interested in. The woman had a odd ability to induce people to talk. Like a good bartender or priest, Juri simply let herself be open to whatever you said, knowing that you always had something that you wanted or needed to say.
“They’re not,” Integra said grimly, taking another drink. The whisky burned as it went down, a soothing warmth swiftly spreading through her. Integra hesitated a moment, then added, “She doesn’t even know I’m attracted, hopefully.”
Juri’s eyebrows shot up at that. “Why hopefully?” she asked.
“Because she’s an officer under my command,” Integra explained patiently, “and therefore I can not risk becoming involved with her.”
“So you remain celibate,” Juri made it a statement, not a question.
Integra nodded, keeping her expression carefully bland. Juri shifted over slightly, the crowd parted, and her eyes widened as her face grew pale. “Seras,” she whispered softly.
The pale blond in the blue army uniform smiled, and the bouncer smiled back at her a bit tentatively. “Good evening,” Bones said, and pulled the door open. ‘It’s good being a regular,’ the blonde thought with a little smile.
She walked down the hallway, giving a nod to where Hitomi was waiting, and then made her way through the thinning crowds of the late evening towards the bar, where one of the two bartenders gave her a smile.
“Hi, Seras,” Minagi said.
Seras Victoria carefully climbed up on a bar stool, giving her a smile. ‘Damn short skirt,’ Seras thought. Without having to ask for anything a small glass of something deeply red was quickly sat down before her.
“Thanks,” Seras smiled, and tossed it back smoothly. She set it down on the bar, and from a old fashioned wine bottle Minagi refilled it.
Seras wondered, sometimes, why Arucard had told her about this place. “You need to go there,” was the only explanation that he had chosen to give her, but she was grateful, anyway. She still didn’t understand how he had known about her, but in this place she had met people like her, both human and vampire.
“A few of the others were in earlier tonight,” Minagi said conversationally. “Miyu and Seya for certain, and a few of the others, too,” she added.
“Remind me to stay out of Seya’s way,” Seras said to her quietly, “she’s just a little too intense for my tastes.”
“Speaking of intense,” Minagi’s twin Ryouko ambled over, “do either of you know that intense white haired girl sitting over there?”
Seras turned in her seat, and her eyes got very wide, “Integra...”
“You know her?” Ryouko asked. “I’ve seen her in a few times talking to the boss, but other than that she doesn’t mix much,” she reported.
“She’s my boss,” Seras said softly, voice touched by a bit of fear. ‘Did she follow me here, to trap me?’ she thought to herself wildly.
Minagi saw the girl's cheeks go pale, well, at least a bit paler looking anyway and hastened to reassure her, “Juri’s been keeping an eye on her, and if she wasn’t sure of her intentions, she wouldn’t still be coming here.”
“Why don’t you go over and say hi?” Ryouko suggested.
Seras’s scarlet eyes got wide, “That’s easy for you to say.” She shook her head, “She’s as tough as they come, nothing scares her and she never runs from anything.”
“I’ve got to get out of here, right now,” Integra blurted out, rising from her seat and quickly grabbing at her coat.
Juri grabbed her arm, restraining her carefully as she said, “If you bolt, you’ll draw even more attention to yourself.”
A fierce look passed Integra’s face, but at Juri’s gentle urging she reluctantly sat back down. She reflexedly tidied up her crisp suit, making sure it sat on her neatly. “I need,” she said to Juri coldly, “to leave immediately.”
“If you really need to, I’ll help,” Juri said, obviously confused by what had shaken the normally controlled young woman so badly. Then her eyes widened, and a little smile teased Juri’s lips. “She’s the one, isn’t she?” Juri asked.
Integra opened up her mouth to try and protest, then shut it, realizing there was no point. “Yes,” she admitted quietly, “though I’d prefer if you keep your voice down, please. Let’s not let the whole bar know about it.”
A slight smile was the only apology Integra got from Juri. She indulged herself in looking over at Seras for a few moments before she left. The little blond was strikingly beautiful, her short hair falling into her red eyes. A subtle innocence still remained in her, even with all the changes the girl had been put through.
Then the decision about what to do was taken right out of her hands. Integra saw Seras get up from her seat at the bar, taking a moment tidying her clothing. She nodded to the twins behind the bar, and then she began to walk to her table. Integra sat there frozen, those red eyes growing closer and closer until she was standing there by the table.
“Good evening, Sir,” Seras said to her respectfully.
“Seras,” Integra started to say, when Juri smoothly stood up. Integra’s eyes silently pleaded with her, ‘Don’t go!’
But Juri just smiled back, “Excuse me, but duty calls.” With that, the tall, orange haired woman strode off into the crowd.
Seras stood there for a few seconds, then she quietly asked her, “Would you mind if I sat down, sir?”
Integra met Seras’s eyes, and was surprised at the gentle pleading she saw in them. “Please, sit,” she smiled at the young woman, “and you don’t need to call me sir, here.” Seras drew back the chair and sat down, being careful to keep her short skirt from riding up too much. ‘I wonder if I should change the uniform to slacks?’ Integra found herself wondering.
“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Seras said, looking away from her shyly. The vampire girl was clearly nervous, and Integra was just a bit touched by that.
“Neither did I,” Integra said quietly. Seras had chosen one of her older uniforms, one without the Hellsing unit patch on it. A wise move, though Integra did find herself wondering if there was some kind of symbolism to the act.
“Alucard told me about this place,” Seras said to her quietly.
“Alucard?” Integra sounded honestly surprised. Seras shrugged eloquently, and Integra actually smiled a bit, shaking her head.
Seras smiled, “You really frightened me, when we first met.” Integra looked surprised at hearing that, so she elaborated, “Here I was being carried by this big, tough vampire, who was meekly being berated by this cool woman in a business suit!”
Integra chuckled softly. “I hadn’t thought of that,” she admitted. “What I remembered most was your turning you head to look at me, and those striking red eyes. I just knew, then, that you’d be trouble,” she said with a teasing smile.
“And then in the manor, you really surprised me,” Seras smiled.
Integra looked just a bit sheepish, “I was startled a bit, seeing this cute little face peeking up from the stairway.”
“Don’t go around drinking anyone’s blood,” a smiling Seras said in a very passable imitation of Integra herself.
“It was the first thing I could think of to say,” Integra smiled, lifting her drink to her lips. She drew another cigar out from her dress jacket, “Do you mind?”
“Doesn’t hurt me,” Seras smiled. She looked up, “And I notice you choose to smoke near the outflow vent.”
“No reason to inflict it on anyone else,” Integra shrugged, drawing on the cigar deeply. It gave her a moment to gather her thoughts. She wished she knew what Seras was thinking right now, what was going on behind those red eyes.
‘She said I was cute,’ was the odd thought that ran through Seras’s head. She covered her confusion as she drank something thick and red from her glass, savoring it a moment before gently putting the glass down.
Seras almost couldn’t believe that she was sitting here, talking so very easily with Integra Hellsing herself. She snuck a covert glance at the lady, at her aristocratic face and white hair falling gently into her eyes.
She found herself wondering why she really hadn’t noticed how attractive Integra was before. Seras saw her almost everyday, but she had never noticed how nice her smile was, or how blue her eyes were behind those big, round glasses.
“Are you dating Alucard?” Seras found herself asking her, and saw Integra begin to choke on her smoke.
She quickly got up and went behind Integra, gently patting her on the back. “No,” Integra managed to get out, her eyes watering.
Seras picked up Integra’s drink, gently holding it to her lips. “Are you all right?” Seras asked after Integra downed some of the whisky.
“Yes,” Integra said, looking a bit cross, “I was just a bit surprised.” She paused before finally asking, “Where did you get that idea?”
If Seras physically was still able to blush, she would have then. “It’s just that he’s so into you,” she confessed.
“Trust me,” Integra looked at Seras over the edge of her cup, “Alucard is certainly not my type. Not at all.”
‘I wonder who her type is,’ Seras found herself thinking. She opened up her mouth to ask another question, then closed it.
“What?” Integra quietly asked. A slight smile crossed her face as she continued gently, “You may as well ask me.”
‘God, is she a mind reader, too?’ Seras thought. She reconsidered her question and another thing struck her, “When Alucard killed that reporter, you seemed so... calm.”
Blue eyes searched her own across the small table, then Integra said, “The reason I left there so quickly was because I thought I was going to be sick.”
“You certainly didn’t show it,” Seras smiled ruefully. She took a deep breath, “It took all my self control not to lunge at her, myself.” A gentle hand rested on her own, and Seras blushed under Integra’s gaze.
“I know you had some trouble adapting,” Integra said softly, and Seras ached at the kindness she heard in that voice. “I wish there had been more I could do to help,” and there was a bit of regret in that smooth voice.
“You’re not like this back at base,” Seras smiled at her shyly.
Integra sighed softly, “I know what they all expect of me, Seras. I’m on duty there all the time, and the soldiers want to see the me as some kind of iron lady.” She slumped just a little in her chair, and Seras began to see what being the leader of Hellsing cost Integra.
Seras gently lay her hand over Integra’s, gently catching it between her palms. A soft squeeze, “If there’s anything I can do, just ask.”
A moment of silence, and Integra smiled slightly. She squeezed Seras’s hands as she admitted, “I could use a friend.”