"So that's really him, huh?" Brandon Hollway whispered to his fellows, tilting his head in the direction of the manor, or more specifically, a figure perched atop one of the manor chimneys.
"Yeah that's him," one of the veteran Hellsing soldiers replied, leaning on his rifle. "That is about all we see of him, which is fine by me. If I were Integra, I'd keep that monster locked up. How does she even control the thing?"
Hollway shrugged, watching the figure. He had just arrived at Hellsing two days ago, and through the constant stream of rules and procedure he heard one thing repeated more than others: avoid contact with the Hellsing vampire. The veterans told stories of seeing the creature fight. They called him Integra's pet, but no one could answer how she controlled it.
"How powerful is he?" Hollway asked, not taking his eyes off the figure. If he didn't know better he would have thought it was some kind of weird gargoyle.
"Captain said that one was S class. No one knows much about him though, and if you're smart you will stay that way."
Hollway smiled, shrugging. "S class, huh? That's almost like keeping a dragon in the lion's den."
One of the other veterans chuckled. "No, man. It's like keeping a demon in an orphanage."
"You're going to get yourself in trouble if you keep showing so much interest in him. Captain will put you on bathroom duty for a month," the first veteran commented. "The beast can't bother us, or so we are told, and he never does."
"So why are you so afraid of it if the thing can't hurt you?" Hollway asked, turning to watch the figure in the distance leap to another chimney with a grace and movement beyond anything earthly.
The veteran snorted, shaking his head. "Do you have no survival instinct at all? I don't care if that vampire is chained up and muzzled like a rabid dog, I'm not going to mess with it. You don't get on the bad side of a beast like that. Even if he can't hurt you, he has Integra's ear. I get the feeling he doesn't even care that we exist. Best not to make him notice you, yeah?"
Hollway shrugged, crossing his arms. "I'm not afraid of it."
The others laughed, the veteran leaning forward and slapping Hollway on the shoulder. "You got guts then, kid. Tell you what, that beast sleeps somewhere in the lower levels of the manor. Find him while he's sleeping, cut off some hair and bring it back and I'll give you my pistol."
Hollway chuckled. "Be ready to hand it over tomorrow evening. I'll show you cowards there is nothing to fear from the beast."
Getting into the forbidden lowers had been the easy part, finding his way to where the monster slept was a bit more difficult. Flashlight in hand, Hollway followed what looked to be a well-used area, peaking his head in all the doors as he passed them. Most rooms leading to more hallways, were empty, or looked to be used as some sort of storage.
Nearly ready to give up, Hollway stopped at another door, pushing it open. The hinges made no sound at all as the heavy metal door swung, and he was met with a very long staircase leading into pitch darkness. It almost looked like the staircase led into a pit of hell.
"If I was a creepy ass vampire, I would definitely sleep somewhere at the bottom of this," he mumbled to himself, starting down the stairway. Reaching the end of the stairs, he moved his flashlight around slowly. It seemed he had just walked into a huge room that was almost empty. A table and chair sat far across the room. As Hollway approached them he noticed it wasn't an ordinary chair. It looked similar to those wing backed chairs nobles of the medieval days would sit in.
Sweeping the light across the room again he found it. The coffin lay in a corner, the glossy black surface seeming to draw the shadows closer to it. "There you are," Hollway whispered, stepping closer. He could hear his own heart hammering in his ears as he crouched, holding the light between his teeth and working his fingers under the lid.
The vampire looked much different up close. With all the stories he half expected some kind of mutated dog. The beast was almost handsome. He lay on his back, arms folded across his chest, long black hair pooled around him like ink.
Hollway slipped a hand to his pocket, keeping the lid open with the other, and withdrew a pair of scissors. He shifted his shoulder to the lid, holding it open while reaching down into the coffin. Fingering a lock of the vampire's hair, he snipped it off and moved to store it into his vest pocket.
"What are you doing here, soldier?" a stern voice inquired over his shoulder.
Hollway jumped, nearly dropping the coffin lid and his flashlight. Walter stood near the doorway, arms clasped behind his back. Hollway sighed, pocketing his scissors and taking the flashlight from his mouth.
"You scared me half to death," Hollway whispered, lowering the coffin lid carefully and standing. "Sorry, Walter. I know I'm not supposed to be here but another guy and I had a bet. I didn't hurt anything."
Walter took several steps forward, pausing at the center of the room and smiling. "I doubt you could hurt Alucard," the butler pointed out. "You should be more careful."
Hollway chuckled, rubbing the back of his neck. "Yeah, he won't know anything though. I just cut a little bit of hair. It's almost sad how much the other guys are afraid of him."
"You're not afraid of him?" Walter tilted his head to the side. "That's a bit unhealthy."
"He can't hurt anyone right?" Hollway looked over his shoulder at the coffin. "Seems a bit silly to be afraid of something that can't hurt you."
He turned back to Walter, a smile on his face. Walter grinned back. His lips spread unnaturally, displaying two rows of jagged teeth. The man's grey eyes swam into deep, hellfire red.
"Do you have no survival instinct at all?" the veteran soldier's voice from earlier left Walter's lips.
Hollway yelled in shock, staggering back. That wasn't Walter. "What the hell?" Hollway gasped, bumping into the room's table.
The demon Walter didn't move, his face following the soldier's frightened movements. A deep laugh echoed through the room as Walter melted into the floor. Hollway's eyes flicked to the coffin, where the lid opened and the vampire stirred.
"You should learn to be more afraid of the dark, human," a dark voice issued. Alucard rose from the coffin, moving elegantly, a smirk stamped over his features.
"You can't hurt me," Hollway whispered as the creature's red eyes settled on him.
Alucard laughed, standing as he watched the soldier. Hollway's eyes flicked to the doorway, frightened mind calculating an escape.
"Not normally, no," Alucard answered. "But you broke the rules."
Hollway bolted for the doorway. He managed only two steps before a vice grip caught his throat and lifted him into the air. "Now there are no rules," the vampire hissed, grin widening impossibly. "Congratulations, soldier, you have my attention. You're mine."
Hollway gasped for breath, the long fingers around his throat only tightening. All he could see where the two points of glowing red and the rows of dagger teeth as his vision faded. "It's been some time since Integra has fed me anything fresh, and even longer straight from the vein. I'm going to relish this."
"Put him down, Alucard."
The vampire's grin fell, shifting to a scowl as he looked over his shoulder. "He's mine, Integra," he growled as she stepped through the doorway.
"I said put him down, servant," she ordered.
Alucard felt a burning sensation rip through his body, and his hand snapped open and snatched back. The soldier collapsed at his feet, coughing and only half aware of what was going on around him. Integra approached them, cold blue eyes looking down at Hollway. Once the man had regained a bit of his senses, he stood, staggering back from the looming vampire, then letting his wide eyes fall onto the vampire's master.
"I want you in my office at 0800 tomorrow to discuss your transfer," she commanded. "Report to your captain, now."
Hollway wasted no time moving around the pair and rushing for the doorway. Alucard growled, moving to follow until Integra grabbed his wrist. "You are not going anywhere," she snapped.
"He's mine, Integra," Alucard snapped back, snatching his arm away.
Integra's eyes narrowed sharply. "Remember your place," she stated coolly. "That boy did not attack you. He stupidly fell into peer pressure and wanted to prove himself to his fellows. He had no intent to do you any kind of harm."
"He disobeyed orders, broke the rules." The vampire looked toward the doorway, ruby eyes narrowing. His prey was escaping.
"And he will be transferred out of Hellsing. That is the end of it." Integra sighed. "You will not persist after him, Alucard."
The vampire growled, lowering his head. "Is that understood?" she questioned, voice stern. She would not allow Alucard to be seen snacking on her men, even the stupid ones. If she didn't make it very clear that this one was beyond him he would hunt.
When he made no answer she pressed the seals, only slightly enough to get his attention. "Yes, Master," he replied, glaring at her then turning to move back to his coffin. It infuriated him to be denied his rightful meal, but he could not fight Integra, not like this.
"Good, see that you remember that," she stated, turning in a heel and striding from the room.
Hollway sat on his bunk, one hand rubbing his throat. The vampire said he broke the rules. No wonder the other men were afraid. One wrong move around that beast and it could very well eat you. He dreaded the visit to Integra's office. His whole unit already knew he was leaving. They shunned him, even the guy he had made the bet with. The vampire's hair he knew he had stowed away in his pocket was no longer there. The whole ordeal had turned into a colossal embarrassment.
Everything was packed and he was ready to move out, there was just the meeting with Integra to do. Checking the clock, Hollway stood. Time to face the music. As he entered the manor, he nodded to the guards posted at the doorway. This time of day, he was surprised to see how empty of life the manor was. Not even a maid moved and it was completely quiet.
Mounting the stairs, Hollway brushed a hand over the rail as he climbed to the second floor. He didn't notice the shadows moving strangely, as if they were fingers reaching out for him across the walls and floor. As he reached the second level, turning to move for the next staircase, he felt a pair of hands grab his shoulders and pull him back.
A third hand covered his mouth as a yell rose in his throat, stifling any sound he could make.
"You're mine," the vampire's voice growled in his ear. "You broke the rules and by her order you are mine. She is a fool commander to make exceptions."
Hollway's heart nearly exploded in fear as the grip over his mouth shifted his head to the side, baring his throat. Ice cold nails slammed down into his neck, piercing deep and delivering a toxin that would both keep his blood from clotting and seal his fate as a ghoul. A sort of euphoria filled his mind then. His body relaxed, a feeling of calm pleasure and submission washing over his body.
The fog lifted as a resonating explosion filled his ears followed by the angry roar of an animal. He collapsed to the ground, head swimming, one hand pressed against the sticky mess at the side of his throat.
Baring his teeth, Alucard looked down to the gunshot wound in his side, then up to Integra as she descended the stairway. Her pistol was trained on his chest and he knew very well if he twitched or considered moving she would shoot him again. Silver was a pain to heal while his powers were restricted, and her bullets burned, smoke curling from the wound.
"How dare you disobey me," she growled, face set in grim anger. "Walter."
Alucard felt the man behind him, half turning before a second bullet buried itself into his heart from Integra's gun and Walter's wires circled his throat and legs. Power and grace was nothing without balance. The vampire snarled as his legs were pulled from under him.
Integra kept her gun trained on Alucard, striding over to Hollway and calling for help. "Get this man to the infirmary now," she commanded the two guards who were normally stationed at the front door. "He needs immediate care of a vampire bite."
Watching the men move into action, she turned back to the vampire, eyes narrowed with a very dangerous aura about her. She stood over Alucard, training her gun to his forehead and releasing three shots.
"Get him to the cell, Walter," she ordered, holstering her weapon once she was sure the vampire was out, though he wouldn't be for very long. "Chain him to the floor. Once you're done, I want my afternoon tea. I have a feeling this will be a long day."
Alucard's eyes snapped open just as the cell door closed. Flexing his hands he listened to the lock slide into place then there was nothing. He knew where he was even before he took a measure of his surroundings. It was Abraham's favorite room. His awareness could not extend past the spells around him. It was like being in a sound proof box. No scent, sound, or feeling passed to him through the walls, and his abilities and dark magic were void here. Alucard rolled to his knees, moving to sit up until the chains caught.
With a grunt, the vampire twisted against them to no avail. Cold iron encircled his throat, wrists chained behind his back. A short chain extended from each, connecting him to the floor in a kneeling bowed position. Either that or he could lie down. Abraham used such a tactic to force him into submission, like forcing a dog into the alpha roll.
He sat thus, waiting, enjoying the taste of blood on his lips. No doubt Integra would be upset, but she could not deny the soldier had been his. It was some time later the door opened to pull him from his musings.
"Integra," he smiled, lifting his head as far as the chain would allow.
Closing the door behind her, she approached him, gun in hand. Drawing her arm back she cracked the pistol's hilt to his temple, laying him flat. Resting a foot on his throat, she pressed the barrel to his temple and crouched over him.
"I should empty this into your brain," she growled. "You defied me and in such a way the entire estate will know of it in a matter of hours if they don't already."
"I never defied you," he replied, one red eye swiveling in its socket to lock on her. "By your orders that man was mine. He broke the rules, you very well know it. Those who come into my domain and challenge me are food."
Integra withdrew her weapon, standing and moving away from him to holster it. "I gave you an override order," she snapped. "You were not to touch him. Yet you continue with the belief that you had some right to his life." Her eyes followed his movements as he rolled to sit on his knees once more, upper body bowed as his restraints would not allow him to rise up any further.
"I think we need to go over a few basic lessons of obedience. Your attitude is taxing my patience." She circled him slowly, steps echoing off the walls around them. "Abraham's journals advise against any kind of leniency with you, Alucard. Yet I have always found you much easier to control when you were comfortable."
She paused before him, looking down as he tilted his head to the side, one eye watching her. His hands flexed, twisting in the restraints slowly. He hated listening to her lectures and wished she would just go ahead and shoot him or whatever she planned on doing.
"Lately you've been giving me cause for concern, and today's incident proved my suspicions." Crouching, she reached out and cupped his cheek, smirking as the vampire tilted his head into her hand, a purr rumbling in his chest. "You have ownership issues, vampire. So let me remind you of our hierarchy."
She pulled her hand away, standing once more and walking around him. " You are a slave here. You are not alive and have no rights."
She paused behind him, pressing the seals enough to make them burn just slightly. The reaction from Alucard was a soft growl and a twitch to his frame. "As such, servant, you own nothing. I give you privileges but in reality, you own nothing." Crouching behind him she took a fistful of his hair and pulled his head back. "Not even the box you sleep in. I've read how Abraham deprived you of it before. It was very effective from his accounting."
She felt Alucard's form shake in rage. That fiery temper well noted in history and one she had to put up with on occasion. "I could have it made into kindling wood and there is not a thing you could do about it. Your very state of existence here is at my discretion."
"You wouldn't," he growled.
Integra chuckled, releasing his hair as he twisted to glare at her. "You are so sure?"
She saw several emotions pass across his lamp lit eyes, rage being the most prominent. "What would you have done, Dracula?" she asked, standing and moving to stand before him, arms crossed. "Any insubordinate of yours who defied you was dead the next hour. However, you are too valuable to kill. In my position I've no doubt you would have deprived an insubordinate like yourself of everything he held dear."
"No!" the vampire hissed, muscles bunching as he tried to lunge at her, fighting the chains.
Integra remained silent, a soft smirk on her features as she watched him writhe. She had no intention of destroying his coffin, not yet. But while in this room he could not enter her mind and worry would pervade his. Once he calmed enough, focusing red eyes upon her, she approached him again, this time not touching him as she crouched. Integra had no doubt he'd try to bite her. It would end in his agony as the seal punished him for the attempt. Though it would be amusing, she wanted him to be alert as she continued.
"When I give you an order, you obey it. No matter your thoughts or beliefs, is that understood?"
Alucard lowered his head, growling low in his throat. She pressed against the seals, noting the red glow from the marks on his hands as he fought against it. "Yes, Master," he finally answered
"When I tell you to leave something, no matter how hungry you are for it, you do not even look at it with desire. Understood?"
He replied his understanding, a monotone version of his previous answer. "Good," she replied, sliding a hand to her ankle and withdrawing a silver blade. "While in this room, until further order, you do not feed."
Alucard ground his teeth when she took another fistful of his hair, pulling his head back and sliding the blade over his throat, below the iron collar. His blood spilled across the floor, covering her hand. The knife had burned, confirming it was silver and would take a bit longer to heal than a normal cut.
Standing, she cleaned the blade on the back of his coat. Standing behind him she swiped the blade over her wrist. The effect was almost immediate. The vampire froze, eyes widening as the scent of his master's blood washed over him. A moan escaped his lips, mouth filling with saliva. His blood pooled around him, saturating his body in need and hunger. The vampire's stomach rolled, jaw tightening in burning hunger.
Integra held her wrist out, walking around him, fat droplets of her blood splattering over the stone. She avoided the pool of his blood, not wanting to mix the two. Crouching before him, she grabbed his chin with her cut hand, filling his senses with the smell.
"Don't drink," she repeated her order.
He quivered, eyes wide, pupils dilated. "How cruel," he hissed quietly.
"Only as cruel as I need to be to keep you in line," Integra replied.
She watched him for several more seconds, then stood and withdrew a handkerchief from her pocket, wrapping it around her wrist.
"The soldier has survived. You're lucky. The punishment I had in store if he had died was much more poetic."
With that, she turned her back on him, leaving him to wallow in hunger surrounded by the scent of blood he would slay countries for. She would return for him later, and she was quite sure there would be no more issues with him for some time yet.