Integra looked up at her from their regular table, smiling slightly. Seras instantly noticed that she looked a lot paler than usual, the strain of her hospital stay clearly evident on her face. “It’s about time you got here,” Integra smiled.
There was a chair across from Integra, or one just beside her. Hesitating only slightly, Seras took the seat beside her. “You should still be taking it easy,” Seras chided her gently.
Integra made a face, “Don’t you start.”
Seras had to smile slightly. A young woman dressed as a maid came up to the table to drop off their drinks, and Seras nodded to her, “Thanks, May.”
“You’re welcome,” May smiled and left.
Seras took a drink of her tall glass of O-positive before asking, “I wonder, sometimes, where Juri gets this from.”
“I decided a while back not to ask,” Integra admitted. “But it might explain why Hyatt falls over all the time,” she chuckled.
They drank quietly a few moments, until Seras finally couldn’t take the silence any longer. “I’m sorry,” she blurted out.
“For what?” Integra asked mildly.
“For letting you be hurt like that,” Seras said quietly, looking miserably down into her drink. The female vampire had walked right by her, and Seras hadn’t seen her. And then she had hurt Integra, while Walter barred Seras’s way.
A hand rested gently on hers and she looked up to see Integra’s gentle smile, “It wasn’t your fault, you know. She tricked us all.”
“I should have stopped her,” Seras sighed. More softly, “I couldn’t protect someone so important to me.”
Integra shook her head, “You did everything you could, Seras. Walter nearly killed you. He would have, too, if you had tried to get by him.”
Seras closed her eyes a moment, remembering the vigil they had all kept, waiting to hear if Integra was going to make it. And Seras wondering if they were ever going to talk again, if she would have the chance to say the things that needed to be said.
It took a great deal of effort for Integra not to show her surprise. She knew they were friends, of course, but she wondered, sometimes, what Seras really thought of her. ‘Someone important to me,’ Integra savored those words, even as she enjoyed having Seras sitting so close to her.
Integra honestly hadn’t realized that Seras felt so much guilt over her injury. She thought that if there was anyone to blame, it was herself. Seras squeezed her hand gently, and she looked up to meet those striking scarlet eyes.
“Don’t you start blaming yourself, either,” Seras said with a smile.
Integra looked over at her in surprise, then she began to laugh. “We’re quite the pair, aren’t we?” she chuckled softly. She sipped at her drink thoughtfully, rolling the fine brandy around her tongue.
“I guess so,” Seras smiled back.
“You look so much better when you smile,” Integra found herself saying.
Seras looked quite startled, and Integra began to wish that she’d held those words back. Seras smiled again, softly, “Thank you. You could use a few smiles yourself.”
“I heard a soldier talking to his mates call me ‘stone-face’ once,” Integra admitted. Seras got a quite murderous expression on her face, so Integra held up her hand, “He implied I might break if I cracked a smile.”
Seras’s lips quirked upwards, obviously entertained by that little mental image. ‘I think she was actually ready to go out and fight to defend my honor,’ Integra thought. She found that it was kind of touching, really.
“I still don’t like someone saying something like that about you,” Seras grumbled. Softly, “It doesn’t do you justice.”
‘Did she just say what I thought she said?’ Integra wondered, looking at the now fiercely blushing Seras. Before she could bring herself to ask, a young woman took the karaoke stage, getting ready to sing.
Deciding to stick with safer topics, Integra asked Seras, “Have you ever done karaoke?”
The vampire gave her a look of blank surprise, “Well, no.”
“Not ever?” Integra asked, surprised. Even she had tried it once or twice, usually after a bit too much to drink. An idea began to occur to her...
Seras didn’t like the look on Integra’s face right then. She hadn’t seen that sort of impish look on her boss’ face before, but she just knew that it was going to be trouble. “What?” she asked her nervously.
“You’ve really never tried it before?” Integra asked. She didn’t wait for an answer, smiling slightly as she said, “Maybe it’s time you did.”
“Oh, no,” Seras held up her hands, “no way.”
A few minutes later, and Seras was up on the stage adjusting the microphone nervously while muttering, “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Integra was looking on with an impish smile on her face, so she began looking through the selections, until she slowly smiled. She hit a few switches, and the music started.
“I died, too many years ago,
But you can make me feel,
Like it isn’t so,
Why you come to be with me,
I think I finally know,”
With a flick of a switch, she jumped ahead to the song’s chorus, all the while smiling a just a bit devilishly at Integra,
“Let me rest in peace,
Let me get some sleep,
Let me take my love and bury it
in a hole six foot deep,
I can lay my body down,
But I can’t find my sweet release,
So let me rest in peace!”
Seras stepped down from the stage, and walked over to where Integra was sitting, looking up at her thoughtfully. “Did you pick out that song intentionally?” Integra asked her softly.
“Sort of,” Seras looked down shyly. “Before, you said Alucard’s not your type,” she started, her voice barely a whisper, “so what is your type?”
A gentle finger tilted her face back up, and Integra smiled at her. “I’ve always liked cute little blondes dressed in military uniforms, with red eyes, pale, soft skin,” and then more quietly, “and who make me smile.”
Seras sat there looking stunned, and Integra suddenly wondered if she had misjudged the situation. Then the blonde’s face lit up with a smile and she felt a bit better.
“You’re not playing, are you?” Seras asked her anxiously.
Integra shook her head, “No, I wouldn’t.” She paused, and more quietly, “But I shouldn’t be doing this. There’s nothing I can offer you...”
“I don’t understand,” Seras said, keeping Integra’s hand in her own.
“I can’t promise you anything, Seras. My life is not my own, pledged instead to Queen and country,” Integra said softly. She was a bit surprised to see the smile on Seras’s face.
“Is that so different than me, Integra?” Seras gently asked her. “I really should be dead right now, and someday I’ll meet my final end, but until then I intend to seize every moment that’s been given to me,” she smiled. “And after what happened to you,” Seras added quietly, “I’d never forgive myself for not taking this chance.”
“You deserve so much more than I can afford to give,” Integra murmured, looking away. “The best I can offer is a secretive affair, not a life or... more,” she sighed.
“And am I asking for that?” Seras said quietly, “I was in the army long enough to learn that all we really have is now. One night, tonight, and then we’ll see about tomorrow.” Integra felt herself pierced by those red eyes, “Do you want me?”
“Yes,” Integra admitted, her blood pounding in her veins, “very much.”
Seras surprised her again, smoothly rising even as she pulled Integra to her feet. “And I want you,” Seras smiled.
A slow number had started, and Seras gently led her to the dance floor. They flowed together, and for once in her life Integra had the pleasure of following, not leading the dance. Seras was nearly a head shorter, but somehow they fit together quite well, each enjoying the sensation of being gently pressed together.
“You dance quite well,” Integra smiled.
“Thank you,” Seras answered. She signaled with gentle pressure a turn, and Integral executed it without thinking. “You’re pretty good yourself,” she smiled back.
“All those formal events as a child,” Integra confessed. They swayed a few moments, “So what do we do now?”
“I’m trying to muster the courage to ask you to join me in one of the rooms upstairs,” was Seras’s shockingly honest reply.
“I think you just asked,” Integra paused, and found herself saying, “and I accept.”
Seras actually stopped moving a moment, “Did you just say what I think you did?”
“Yes,” Integra smiled.
Seras pushed the door shut behind them, and turned to see a remarkable pale looking Integra gazing nervously at the comfortable bed. “I’ll be back in a moment,” she said to her softly, and retreated into the suite’s small bathroom. Her uniform, piece by piece, hit the floor until Seras was completely nude.
The tie went first, gently laid out, the cross gleaming. Integra pulled off her shoes and socks clumsily, then stood up again. The dress jacket, then she folded up the pants. Her white shirt, and finally with shaking hands she removed her underwear.
Seras stepped out of the bathroom, and Integra found herself noting that, indeed, Seras really was a natural blond. Her pale skin glowed in the shadows, and she moved with a feline grace. “You’re beautiful,” Integra murmured softly.
“So are you,” Seras sighed as she looked her over. Integra was tall and lithe, but she was curved in all the right places, and with the compliment her normally severe expression was lit by a welcoming smile.
They moved together to the queen sized bed, laying down on top of the covers. Integra reached over to gently stroke at Seras’s hair, “I haven’t done this in a while.”
“Neither have I,” Seras admitted softly. She smiled, and gently pressed her lips to Integra’s. The kiss deepened, hands sliding to pull them closer until Seras let Integra pull back for some air. “That was nice,” she smiled.
“Very nice,” Integra said in a husky tone the Seras had never heard from her before. “I think it’s all coming back to me,” and she smiled impishly.
“Just like riding a bicycle,” Seras sighed softly as Integra gently slid her hands over Seras’s breasts, “it all comes back to you.”
A low sexy laugh was all the reply she got, and pretty soon both of them were a bit to occupied to talk. The hours passed by quickly, and it was not that long before dawn when Seras gently slid free from Integra’s embrace.
“I have to go,” Seras said softly, an involuntary yawn stretching her mouth.
“Make sure you’re home by dawn,” Integra cautioned her, getting up out of the bed to stand by Seras’s side. She gently cupped Seras’s face in her hands, “I love you.”
Seras went on tiptoe to lightly kiss her. “I love you, too,” she smiled. With a soft chuckle, “When you’re going home, just think of both of us being in that big mansion together, and how sneaky I can be.”
Integra laughed softly, “You know, I’m going to be as hard on you as anybody else, when we’re on duty. Off duty, though, things will be different.”
“I can hardly wait,” Seras smiled, and slipped out silently.
“I think I’m going to enjoy those sleepless nights at the mansion from now on,” Integra said to herself with a little smile. She slowly stretched, and was surprised to notice that the tension she normally felt was gone.