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~ Legacy ~

Alucard had just phased into his master's bedroom and was about to creep up on her while she slept to drink her blood. He froze when the bedroom door creaked open, and a tiny Integra slipped into the room. She looked just like she had the day he'd first met her.

What the hell? Was it possible he'd traveled back in time? If so, that would mean the person in the bed must be Arthur...

As Alucard watched, the child crept slowly toward the bed, then hauled herself up and flopped down next to her parent.

"Vespera, go sleep in your own bed," growled a voice that definitely belonged to Integra Fairbook Wingates Hellsing.

Which meant... the child must be her daughter? Or perhaps even granddaughter?

"But, Mother, I had a nightmare about scary vampires trying to eat me," the child whined.

Integra let out a heavy sigh. "It was just a dream. Go back to your room."

"But what if scary vampires try to eat me?"

"I promise you are exactly as safe from vampires in your own room as you are in mine. Now go sleep in your own bed."

"You're mean. Auntie Seras would protect me from scary vampires."

"Then go crawl into Seras's coffin with her, and let me sleep!" Integra snapped.

In response, the child only whined and snuggled closer to the blanket-wrapped lump that was her mother.

Alucard was hardly an expert in parent-child relations, but he felt he could say with some degree of certainty that he'd walked into the middle of an ongoing battle, the likes of which his master would not win with only her own mediocre efforts in bending the child to her will.

And what better way to announce his return than to save the day?

Alucard slunk silently up beside the bed, and snatched the child up into his arms. The girl stared at him in stunned surprise for a moment. Then she caught sight of his teeth and screamed at the top of her lungs, and kept screaming as Alucard carried her out of the room.

In the hallway, he was met by a worried-looking Seras whose expression flashed briefly to joy upon seeing him, but almost immediately switched back to worry at the sight (and sound) of the shrieking child he was holding.

'Which room is hers?' Alucard asked telepathically.

Not bothering to respond in kind, Seras pointed to the door directly across the hall from Integra's.

He proceeded to carry the child into her own bedroom and set her down gently on the bed. Her screaming abruptly stopped when it became apparent that the scary vampire's intentions were nothing more horrifying than making her sleep in her own room. She didn't seem to know how to react as he placed a medium-sized fluffy stuffed unicorn beside her, then tucked the blankets around them both.

"Goodnight, Viscera," he said, and reached out to ruffle her hair.

The child pouted up at him, but her only response was a sullen, "Goodnight, Dad."

There wasn't much that could shock Alucard, but if there was one thing that could, then Integra's child referring to him as her father - after screaming her head off in terror only minutes before - was definitely it.

After a few long moments in which the two simply stared at one another, Alucard finally found his voice again.

"Why would you call me 'Dad'?"

And what happened to her real father? he wondered. Her father... Integra's husband. For some reason, he didn't like the thought of that.

"You're Alucard, right?" the child said, and continued without waiting for confirmation, "The person that Mother has been waiting for all this time, the reason she never married anyone... so that means you must be my dad."

He didn't know how to refute the childish logic because he didn't understand how she was adding those things together to come up with that conclusion. So, he settled for patting the child on the head one more time before turning to leave the room. He would need to discuss this turn of events with Integra.

"By the way," the child piped up when he was almost out of the room.

Alucard paused and looked back over his shoulder at her.

The girl slid a little farther under the covers, but continued doggedly on, "You got my name wrong earlier."

"Oh? What's the correct name, then?"

"Vespera Victoria Bernadotte Hellsing."

"Well then, goodnight Vespera Victoria Bernadotte Hellsing."

And with that, Alucard swept out of the room before the child could reply.

He returned to his master's bedroom to find Integra awake and waiting for him.

Without preamble, he said, "You have a child."

"Yes, obviously."

She crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at him. He allowed his gaze to rake over her in return, taking in her wizened appearance, the eyepatch, the hair that was now more white than blonde.

"Who's the father?" he asked.

She glanced away, obviously somewhat uncomfortable with the subject, but it seemed they were having this conversation whether she liked it or not, and after a few long moments, she explained, "An anonymous donor. After that... business... with Millennium was settled, even as I was rebuilding the Hellsing Organization from the ground up, I decided that I wasn't going to marry some useless husband just for the sake of having an heir. I'd convinced myself back then that I didn't want to keep passing this responsibility down the family line. When I finally came to terms with the fact that, while I still didn't need a useless husband or an heir, I wanted to be a mother... I had myself artificially inseminated."

The words that she left unspoken hung heavy in the air between them.

What she had also realized back then was that there was only one person in the world who she would ever consider worthy of being her significant other or the father of her child.