Alucard lives in the moments between Integra's breaths, between each inhalation of those cigars he hates, between each beat of her heart that he follows; even while he sleeps, while he dreams, while he kills.
20 years in that basement – nothing more than a nap. And Alucard remembers it fondly. Starve a vampire and he dries up. His body turns into a lifeless husk, frozen in time, in space. The black bonds of his restraints are a sideshow and he wears them because he likes them.
Sometimes he feels the madness creeping in and he clings to the feel of his bondage, their tight straps across his chest, his arms, cutting off the circulation he doesn't have.
Time passes by without indication. No human heartbeat to count the seconds. No sun to mark the days. Only his hunger that gnaws at his mind steadily until it becomes nothing more than a dull background ache that blots out the memories.
When he is desiccated he is dry. When he is dry, there can be no tears. And Alucard had learned long ago that if he could not weep then he could not dream, and in that limbo, there was peace.
She came to him like the sea. His oasis in the desert.
He remembers the sound of the gun, the cry of the girl. The sudden flood of pain and fear in his cell, and the flare of his hunger.
He licked the blood up, tonguing the floor, relishing the taste of a virgin beneath his lips. He remembers the feel of long legs wrapped around his body as he drove his fangs deep into the soft flesh of a woman's belly, her thigh, her cunt. With his fingers pressed deep inside of them, he remembers the feeling of convulsions around his knuckles, their screams as they arched in sweet agony into his mouth, the flavors of endorphins and ecstasy in the blood.
One tasted of cinnamon. Another of citrus. But there had been so many, they blurred together in his memories until all that was clear was the ache in his teeth, in his loins, and the warmth that slowly stretched through his body, from cell to cell, from tongue to toe.
Except once or twice, when he'd tasted caramel and chocolate on the edges of a woman's pleasure, and he'd felt the longing lance through him. For home. For his kingdom. His lost court. The distant memory of dobos on his tongue, his silent heart had clenched in regret and when the woman had come down from her release, her eyes unfogging to look down at him with a dreamy, satisfied smile. When he tasted the change in her blood that continued to flow beneath his lips, he changed just as swiftly, from yearning to rage and it was easier, so much easier, as he imagined his dead heart pumping a deafening staccato, as his teeth lengthened to monstrous points too large for his head, as he tore his plaything to pieces and drained every last drop, consuming her soul, her essence, her drop of power in his ocean of hate, all the while knowing that home was gone, erased, obliterated by his sins and it would never be found to last between a woman's legs.
Integra tasted of defiance. Proud Hellsing heir, he'd recognized her lineage the instant her blood touched his tongue.
The men were in the way, the cause of the girl's terror, and had to be eliminated. Alucard was possessive of all his things, and he would not share her fear.
When they were all dead, he lunged at the little girl, wrapping his tall frame around her, trapping her against the stone wall. Submit to me, his body demanded. As he sang his siren song, promising protection and safety, he listened to the beat of her heart and clung to its strong, rising tempo. He watched as she held firm, defied him against all reason. The clenching of her jaw, the beads of sweat at her hairline. But she did not falter for a moment. Her small hands clutching the pistol aimed at his face.
Oh, she was Arthur's heir all right, and he would serve her willingly, with enthusiasm, with gusto.
This wisp of a human girl. So young. Alucard knew then that she would be great. Could be nothing else.
He would load the magazine. He would pull the slide. He would remove the safety.
But each and every time, she would be the one to pull the trigger. His master. Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing.
And he would live in the space of her decisions. In the strength of her conviction. In the agony of her dilemmas as she trades off lives and orders men to their deaths.
He loves the way she stops breathing in the instant before she issues him an order to kill. In each moment of silence he waits and wonders if today is the day she will break.
Sure, her job is stressful and she's determined to play the man of the household. Certainly, she can't afford to look weak in any way so long as she still lives in a man's world.
But it is a game they play, and Alucard knows that Integra knows that he knows.
Sometimes, in the moonlight, when the night is particularly still and not a footstep can be heard throughout the great Hellsing mansion, Integra sits in her office chair, turned sideways from her desk. The shadows darken her face, but Alucard can see the way that the moon silvers her hair and to him she looks like she's lit from within. From his place on bended knee before her, he looks up at her with a maniacal grin upon his lips and holds perfectly still. A low, animal growl comes from his throat, but her human ears can't hear it. All she can feel is the tremor that runs up her spine and the chill that caresses her arms.
She is bristling as she sits there and her breaths are quietly ragged. She fights the urge fold her arms over her chest and rub at her shoulders and biceps. And she knows that Alucard knows.
Her lips part slightly and he is transfixed on them. He knows that they will feel hot on his cold, dead flesh. He knows that she knows that he would taste of black ice and that she sometimes dreams about his skin beneath her tongue anyway.
He lives in the space between her lips, anticipating each moment what will come next.
Slowly, she peels the pristine white glove from her right hand. The fabric stretches slowly over her joints, and each articulation is a moment of suspended breath, as millimeter by millimeter the cloth comes away to reveal the dusky skin beneath. Her hands are rough and calloused from years of training. From swords and guns and the blood of humans and monsters alike.
She crumples the glove in her left hand and leaves it to rest on her lap. She reaches her bare hand out towards him and his grin grows wider. His hat and glasses are gone, and only his mess of hair obscures the inferno in his eyes. Her forefinger lingers on his lower lip as he opens his mouth slightly to allow her passage. He can detect the barest shiver course through her body, he can see the tension in her right shoulder, even through the padding of her masculine suit jacket, and he hardens in response.
Her fingertip reaches his left fang and she deliberately drags her flesh across the sharp point. He sees her lips tighten oh so slightly at the pain before the first drop of her virgin blood drips onto his tongue.
She tastes like she did ten years ago, of pride and determination, an iron will that refuses to bend, least of all to him. But now her blood is flavored with tar and tobacco. Innocence and filth. Master and servant. He hates the taste of her almost as much as he loves it, and he knows that deep within herself, Integra prays that the cigars will be enough to keep them apart.
She knows that he knows why she smokes and for now it is enough, as it must be.
Walter pretends not to see these moments, faithful servant that he is, but everyone knows that he knows and no one breaks the code of silence.
And for now, Alucard lives in the drops that his master feeds him, from moment to moment, alleviating the boredom and the torment that is his life.