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It was that day, one year ago that Integral Fairbrooks Wingates Hellsing had fled from her depraved and murderous uncle, to the furthest door in the Hellsing stronghold’s dungeon - the one with the star etched upon it - and awakened the Hellsing family’s strongest weapon. From that day forward, she had not been without Alucard by her side. Even when he was supposedly resting for the day in the coffin her father had saved for him, she would hear his voice. On more than one occasion she had awakened from nightmares of her father’s death, or her uncle’s cruelty, or any other number of dark truths she knew of the world to find him there, watching over her slumber.

She was thirteen years old now, and the head of the most dangerous organization in all of the United Kingdom, some might argue the world. She was composed, resolute, devout and far more mature of mind than most of the Council of Twelve, Order of Protestant Knights in service to the Queen. Her white blonde hair ever long and strait, framing intelligent and sometimes cold blue eyes behind silver rimmed glasses stood as the only reminder of her femininity. Even at this tender age, Integra had already withstood the berratement of misogyny so rife within the political structure of the social circles in which she was forced to run, and had begun wearing more androgynous clothing to play down gender and be taken more seriously.

And what a serious little girl she was so often. Ever in control of her emotions in public, ever regally commanding respect in words and action. It was truly remarkable to behold. As if the smallest angel from St. Michael’s own choir of Justice had come to earth to reap bloody vengeance on those monsters who threatened humanity. Her weapon? The Devil Himself.

Of course such dramatic musings were what Alucard liked to best entertain himself with when watching over the tiny seraphim’s sleep. Just now, her face was twitching as she dreamt, and he longed to peek, to see what troubled her angelic slumber… but she had ordered him not to in her small, yet absurdly authoritative voice. And despite the fact that he could if he tried, she was his beloved master - he would obey.
From that first day when she appeared and he’d tasted her heavenly blood, seeing the glorious and young angel of his salvation before him, he’d known he would fly to hell and back for her. It was an odd feeling, one that did not sit right with many of the voices in his mind, but that just made the Count grin more widely.

Fuck those voices. He revelled in the young girl’s light, even if it might one day burn him.

A hand, no longer a child’s but not yet a woman’s, grasped the front of his white shirt. Pulled from his musings, the vampire looked down to find Integra on her side, clinging to him in her sleep. He chuckled to himself knowing she would likely be mortified if she knew what she had done. She never ceased to remind him that he was a monster, as if he did not already know that very well, nor that he was her servant… her dog.
And he loved it.

He adored irritating her, pushing her buttons just to watch her explode into a tiny fury, all the while knowing that the purifying fire within her would be her greatest strength. It was what drew him to her like a kamikaze moth. He also revelled in experiencing new things with her. Her first true firing lesson. Her first helicopter ride. Her first formal event as Director of the Hellsing Organization. Integra’s nervousness, anger, excitement, thrill, joy… it did not sustain him more than her sweet blood, but it was a lovely indulgence.

Sighing slowly, the No Life King lifted his arm, and tucked it behind her back, holding her just a touch closer than she’d clung to him on her own. He would be gone by morning, she would never know. Unless he told her.

He toyed with the idea, just to see what she would say - to watch her tiny wrath as she called him a monster and ordered him up and down, left to right… Or would she thank him? That seemed unlikely. The Angel of Death that was her butler and The Devil as your only two companions was no real company for a young woman. But there were sometimes, when she didn’t think they were looking, that Alucard knew a part of her would not have it any other way.

His other lanky arm tucked lazily behind his head, Alucard smirked at the top of her canopied bed. Perhaps one day, the littlest angel would come to think of him as more than a weapon. A Companion, rather than a pet.

Not that he held out much hope for such things, but the idle wander of his thoughts into what that might look like were pleasing. So wrapped up in that was he, that he did not noticed when the girl beside him woke.
“I should have you locked up in that dungeon again for this,” her cool, unflustered young voice sneered. But beneath it, Alucard sensed her anxiety coupled with the comfort of being held, even loosely, by someone she trusted. Mostly. At least to protect her.

Trusted? Oh really? That was new. Perhaps his ideas of being her Companion were not so alien after all.

Smirking and cutting one red eye down to her, the No Life King chuckled. “I am at your will, my master. But you were the one who clung to me in the grip of your nightmares. I merely made it more comfortable for us both.”

Her blue eyes cut to her hand gripping his shirt, and released it as if suddenly it burned. Rolling away to her back from where she’d been on her side tucked against him, the Count noticed she did not shrug off his arm. “What better way to keep monsters at bay than have your own?”

That made him chuckled again, the rich, deep baritone of his voice echoing in his chest with amusement. “And what a lucky girl you are to have The King of Monsters, most frightening of them all as your pet and guardian.”

Thought he knew he could see her much better than she could him, Alucard watched as the young Integra turned to look at him in the dark. “I suppose that is true,” she articulated thoughtfully in her proper and regal accent he so loved. “I’d not considered it like that before. I’m not even sure why I would be having nightmares, in that case.”

A thrill went through him at her words, and he suddenly wondered if she was aware she was not dreaming. He grinned, red eyes glowing with an inner light. “What would you have of me, my master? To stay? To lock myself in the dungeon?”

She was silent, still as a stone for a long moment as she watched his glowing eyes, but her fear was utterly gone. Despite her admittance that he was The King of Monsters, knowing full well she stared into glowing red eyes in the darkness, and that she was fully aware of what and who he was here a year later, she was completely without fear.

Rolling back to her side, she tucked her small cheek on his shoulder and curled up into a tiny ball against him. “Stay then,” she said and yawned, “I find your company… alleviates my anxiety.”

But the thunderstruck vampire heard her meaning more than her words - he made her feel safe. Something snapped into place inside Alucard, something that had been forming, and structuring, and fleshing out within him for a year now. It was almost like the crack of a whip, or the snap of small, tanned, delicate fingers, and it shook him to his core. With her even conditional trust, and the security she gained from being near him - even if she didn’t like him, or more what he was - the little steely ray of sunshine in his arms desired his company because it made her feel safe.

Deep, genuine affection alongside renewed and burning, sharp, mad loyalty stabbed through his veins. He repressed the maniacal laughter building in his chest as he realized she was already asleep again, but could not help chuckling. Leaning down, he rest lips and nose to the top of her head smelling the sweet remnants of sunlight and her shampoo as it tattooed his soul. He would not drink her, unless she offered. He would not leave her lest she bade him, and for the first time since he could remember existing in this or any other form, Alucard felt as if he had found a place where he belonged - darkness, voices, madness and all.

Not that he would volunteer as much to her any time soon, if ever. But it calmed the chaos in him to think that the only place he could recall ever having truly wanted to be was by the side of the smallest angel ever to grace the earth. Given the option, that was where he would either live forever or die happily. Amen.