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Integra looked dispassionately at the report in front of her.

There was a shift of shadows in the corner when Alucard materialized into her office, roused by the steady increase of her irritation that had been stewing all afternoon.  After longwinded meetings with men thrice her age, there was always the vampire hovering never further than a breath away, lingering in the walls. Like a hound that smelled blood, the more intense her emotions, the surer she could be that he would appear to bask in them.

She ground her teeth, biting into her cigar.

“Evening, Master,” he drawled. “You seem unusually indignant today.”

“How observant of you.”

Amusement hinted in his features.

“They never forget I’m a woman, do they,” she said, leaning back in her desk chair. Years of service and a knighting, for this. This useless waste of time.

He stepped closer, watching her with interest. “Ah, the Round Table meeting today?”

"Marriage,” she ground out through her teeth. “As if I had the time for that kind of nonsense. The prospect of an heir. It’s all they ever seem to think about these days. No wonder I’m the one running this organization.”

She looked at him. “You were not supposed to care for children when you were in charge of an army, were you?”

He watched her through tinted lenses. “Indeed, I was not.”

A moment ticked by and he remained perfectly still. They rarely ever spoke of anything that wasn’t their immediate situation. His master was on a roll, however, pinning him with her gaze.

“Wives… you had them, didn’t you? If the real stories are true. Or brides?” Her lips curved. "Surely, someone."

His face was blank, deceptively smooth. “Yes.”

“And children?” she demanded.

The atmosphere in the room shifted just slightly. After a few moments, he answered: “Possibly.”

Integra exhaled slowly, closing her eyes for a moment. “What a drag.”

“Why this sudden curiosity, Master? All because of the remarks of a group of old men?”

She shot him a look that would have made a less confident being shrivel.  

Alucard moved until he was standing right in front of her desk and leaning over it, his ruby gaze fixated on her. His chilly aura swept across her body.

“Perhaps it’s true, my Master,” he agreed. “In some respects, they would regard you differently were you a man. But you –“ his grin widened to show teeth - “you’ve got more backbone than all those fools together. They feel threatened, like the cattle they are, when someone stronger shows up on the playing field.”

She looked up at him. “Don’t flatter yourself.”

“I was talking about my most respectable Master, of course.” He grinned at her. “In the core of their cowardly bones, they see you and they know they’ve met their superior. They know you will outlive them all.”

He leaned in to lessen the distance between them, planting his gloved hands on her desk. She took another drag of her cigar to steady herself. His presence always pulled her in like the suction of a black hole if she let it.

“And I follow only you.” His tone was delighted. “They see me and they know I would slaughter them all, by one word from you.”

She pressed the tip of her cigar into the ashtray.

“Next time they bring up that ridiculous proposition I’m going to give them a piece of my mind,” she said. “Like a gentleman, wouldn’t you say?” A wry smile crept onto her face as she regarded her vampire.

It had been humiliating enough to spend her teenage years expected to entertain the children of her peers. Now they expected her to spend her free time socializing with men her own age, but at the age of twenty and with the organization finally running smoothly, nothing had ever seemed less interesting.

Besides, when it came to any cultural or historical topic, her resident vampire was more than happy to share his personal anecdotes of any mentioned event. She found herself missing Alucard’s knowledge and wit whenever she was unlucky enough to end up in conversation with men her own age. None of them could parry in verbal sparring, match her words and skill so precisely and quickly as he did. They all lay down for her. Cattle, Alucard called them.

“Indeed,” he agreed, before leaning forward further. “No need to waste your time with cowards, who aren’t worthy of breathing the same air as you. Mere children who would cower at the first sign of trouble.“

She looked coldly at him. “And just who are you suggesting I should waste my time on? An older man, is that it?” She scoffed.

"Someone who wouldn't cower," he replied, teeth glinting. "But my Master need never worry."

She heard his chuckles as he faded from the room.

 


 

Her dreams were vivid.

They had started slowly, growing in frequency during the last months, striking when she least expected.

That night, like so many others, she felt a chill in the air in her bedroom as she floated in a state between unconsciousness and wakefulness. She could feel it in the corners of the room and the darkness of the ceiling, the mass of it slightly moving.

Still in a haze, she blinked, and the darkness turned solid again.

Her mind was untrustworthy at times like this; her subconscious slipped through right before falling asleep, the darkness growing in intensity around her, as if it was watching her.

She stared up at the darkness, daring it to show itself and face her wrath, but she felt no presence but her own.

When she woke up, she was sitting at the edge of her bed, her arms folded in front of her chest. When her eyes adjusted to the low light, she saw that she was holding a bundle in her arms, a soft weight against her chest.

Integra blinked once, twice, looking down at the bundle.

She drew a sudden breath – the warmth faded to coldness and she found herself lying flat on her back in her bed, heaving another breath. Her body felt strange. She stared up at the ceiling, as she waited for reality to slip back into place and her eyes to adjust. The darkness waited too, as if it was holding its breath.

“Alucard,” she said, pronouncing every syllable through her teeth, slowly and clearly, making sure he would feel the tear of it.

You called, Master? she heard him in her mind, unable to detect his presence in the room. He sounded as if he had no idea what had just transpired, but she knew better than to trust a vampire.

She made a sound – if she had been like him, it would have been a snarl, but it came out like a hiss.

Get out.”

She wasn’t sure if she really was communicating with him, or if it was another figment of her imagination. Her impulses drifted momentarily to the loaded gun in her drawer – blessed silver. Make it hurt, and make it hurt good.

He would enjoy that, which made the prospect much less tempting. She was not about to go all the way down to his lair for that.

As she waited for sleep to swallow her again, another image drifted to the forefront of her mind. A girl’s face, barely a young woman. It wasn’t a woman, only an imitation, she reminded herself, but it was a feminine face surrounded by long strands of dark hair. She had seen that form of his once, and it shouldn’t linger now – but when she closed her eyes, the girl’s face filled her mind, wide red eyes watching her with interest. 

If I were a man, is this how you would show yourself to me, I wonder?

Truth be told, Integra felt more like a man than a woman most days, always surrounded by them. Walter, Alucard, and her father had taught her everything of value. Everything except the matters related to the most bothersome part of her femininity. It had been up to herself to learn. 

Not even then had he offered her his female form. He had settled into that very specific male form with her, always highlighting their differences.

The girl in her mind smiled. 

The air in the room seemed static, like white noise. Integra imagined a brush across the back of her hand – deceptively soft, like a gust of air.

A brush of cold lips.

 


 

The first time she saw Alucard touch a woman, she was sixteen years old.

She had insisted on accompanying her soldiers out in the field, like a responsible leader. She had dismissed her studies for the mission, despite Walter’s protests. She had decided early on that she would never hide behind a desk if she could avoid it.

The target had been a female vampire, not of the lowest kind – she had put up a good fight. Alucard had caught her, naturally. The woman had been cornered, the other vampires and ghouls she had created had been destroyed.

Integra’s personal executioner did what he did best, this time in her presence. He always loved to play with his food.

She saw him grasp the terrified woman, clasp her in his arms and lock her there, as he greedily sought out her neck. The sound of him tearing into her was wet, almost obscene – yet Integra did not turn her eyes away. She watched him brutally drain the vampire of every drop. Her struggling quickly diminished as her body went limp and her being surrendered to his, her pained whimpers fading.

Their bodies were so intimately intertwined it bordered on obscene.

Alucard drank, his expression a twisted display of pleasure, his mouth never leaving her skin. Integra watched with almost clinical interest, her eyes nailed to the way his hands were holding the woman’s throat and skull in place as he licked his way across the wound he had torn in her throat, savoring the taste of her terror.

Underneath a shimmering sense of disgust, Integra had felt something else too.

She would not give him the pleasure of seeing her turn away from this. If he thought that he’d managed to shock or unsettle her, she’d give away a piece of control she could not afford to lose.  

Once the woman had disintegrated into dust, Alucard had straightened up and turned to look at her. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth and his eyes were vividly colored, predatory yet sated.

She managed to keep her expression indifferent, all business.

“Did you enjoy the show, Master?” he asked, grinning.

She turned away, then. She could feel his glee hover around her mind and pushed him away from it – hiding wordless emotions was harder. She had ignored him for the rest of the mission, ordering her soldiers to turn back.

The image had haunted her for weeks. 

Integra had been younger still when she first saw him in all his monstrous flair. It wasn’t like the very first time they met, when her system was flooded with adrenaline and she was too light-headed to really understand what she was seeing, what the monster in the basement really was doing to her uncle and his men, but it sunk in later.

Those first months after she found him in the basement, he had been circling around her like the moon in its orbit, eager to please, kneeling by her side, reassuring her of his devotion and plight, to the point that her twelve-year-old mind could almost, almost forget what she had seen that day.  

He was the one standing behind her when she faced older men and women and cold bureaucracy. His silent, often invisible presence reminded her to keep her head held high and her voice steady. She had learned how to wield her assertiveness like a weapon, to his delight. He enjoyed it when she put an elder in place with a few well-chosen words and a gaze of steel. His presence had backed her up at every step and every turn.

Then the day came where he would carry out his next real order.

Yet it didn’t scare her to see him like that, his mouth opened like a black hole surrounded by rows and rows of vicious teeth, tearing into beings who were just as inhuman as himself, drenching himself in their blood and intestines, sucking the life out of anything he encountered. Because at the end of all the carnage, he would kneel in front of her with a bowed head and wait for her approval.

Integra did not pity any inhuman creatures, least of all vampires, but the woman in Alucard’s grip remained in her memory for years.

She had confronted him a week after the incident with the vampire woman. Alucard had been following her around, like the silent, submissive being he became when there were no orders to carry out, but there was a look in his eyes that she couldn’t quite place.

They had been in her office, and she passed him on the way out, finally wording the question that had been burning her tongue.

“Does it affect you?” she asked. “To be near me?”

She saw him tense up in the corner of her eyes. His reaction made her tone firmer.  

“Do you ever feel tempted to drain me?”

After a beat, he regained his composure. “I would never dream of offending my master in such a way – I am but your humble servant,” he said, his tone too light.  

“Does my blood taste better?” she asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

“I always prefer my Master’s sweet blood to those loathsome bags.”

The question of his diet had been something he pouted about from time to time, with the occasional revolt resulting in bloodier missions and him taking every chance he could get to drain human targets, but she had been unrelentingly firm. A few drops of her own blood were a luxury she rarely granted.

He stepped closer until he stood right behind her, leaving only a few inches between their bodies. A shiver ran from the crown of her head down to the soles of her feet, but she ignored it. His chilly presence was always strong, the height of him towering over her from behind.

She felt the tip of his nose brushing her hair, his cold breath at the top of her head. It would be easy to step away, to turn around and rebuke him firmly for his boldness. Walter had warned her, of course. He had told her that Alucard would lead her astray if she gave him the slightest chance. In what way, he had not specified.

Yet, Integra did not pull away.

“Are you offering, Master?” he asked, his velvet tone deepening.

The image of him and that woman returned.

“Do you ever picture me dead?” she asked, forcing cold interest into her tone. “What I would look like drained? Do you ever think about what you are going to do once I die, and you are freed?”

The silence in the room grew, his aura enveloping her in a sudden coldness. She turned to look at him at last. He had gone rigid, his face obscured by his restless hair.

“Do you, Alucard?” she pressed relentlessly. She wanted to slide the words in like a silver knife to the hilt and twist, like his teeth when he was being particularly brutal with his game.

All his usual leering mirth had faded, leaving him cold and still as a statue.

“No, Master,” he said, at last. His voice was strangely flat.

Something in his face made her lose all interest in pressing him further.

Integra turned and left.

 


 

In the darkness of her bedroom, when she let her control slip ever so slightly, the memory of that, years ago, reached the surface.

Alucard was a monster, but he was a man too.

As if he’d ever let her forget that.

He was a man who once had been around other women. Someone who once had touched women, maybe even sired children. His hands, those deceptively smooth and slender hands hidden beneath his gloves, had touched with confidence. They had belonged to a man who looked different, yet the same.

She wondered for a moment, with almost clinical curiosity, if he would still be capable, in his current form.

She imagined his leering response: Capable? My master, do you doubt the capabilities of your humble servant? When you have seen me wield my body as your perfect weapon for so long? I am capable of anything you wish me to.

Not that.

He was a monster. Yet, male nevertheless.

No, certainly she would never.

Another, more cynical voice in the back of her mind spoke. His appetite is unquenchable – he tears into flesh, always eager – why would his other desires be any less intense?

You’ve seen it. You’ve felt it.

Something inside her clenched at the thought. She pushed the thought away. He was her servant.

Nothing more and nothing less.

 


 

The last months of disturbed sleep were getting to her. Sometimes, she saw strange things in the corner of her eyes.

Things had been calm on the mission front lately, leaving Alucard with very little to entertain himself with during the nights and there was no larger threat on the horizon to distract the knights of the Round Table. That would of course bring up her position as the sole Hellsing heir again.

Ever since her mid-teens, Integra had been presented to sons from noble families, some of the sons of her fellow knights, and they expected her to get deeper acquainted with one of them. Integra had turned them all down after brief encounters, out of boredom and irritation more than anything else. Not only because it made her resident vampire harder to deal with; she could expect more carnage and collateral damage after those meetings.

After particularly difficult nights, Integra entertained the thought of rekindling her acquaintance with one of those young men. Not only because it would put Alucard in his place. Not only because it would maybe make the dreams stop if she could direct her attention elsewhere.

When she finally drifted off to sleep the following night she dreamed again. Not of blood and carnage – those dreams had faded many years ago, but another kind of liquid, dark and dripping from her fingers. Sticky and almost warm, dripping onto her palm.

Inky tendrils, eagerly seeking out what her body offered and suddenly –

The images awakened her. Her body was stiff and hot with perspiration.

Integra rose from the bed with a pounding head, throwing the covers aside. She was too warm, unsteady on her feet from rising so suddenly, as she made her way across the room in the dark.

She pressed her teeth together, looking for something that would put her back to sleep – she had a meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. At last, she found the bottle of whiskey from a cupboard, a glass left from last night.

She had stopped to make sure that she was alone, but it did not help to know that she really was.

She sank down on the chair by the vanity and poured a glass, then downed it all in one go. The burning sensation in her parched throat was refreshing. She poured another, staring out into the room, the moonlight filtering through her curtains and casting a slight light into the room.

When she felt strengthened enough after a couple of drinks, she rose to her feet again. She made her way out of her bedroom, into the hallway and her bathroom next door, slightly unsteady, turning on the faucet to splash ice-cold water onto her face. It did not help; the sensation of being overheated remained.

The face that met her in the mirror was weary, but the blue eyes glared back with the same fervor as always.

I am Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing. I am incorruptible.

She turned to leave, reaching for the switch to turn the lights off.

That was when the room turned sideways.

When she came to, her face was pressed against something cold and hard. It felt strangely soothing. Her stomach twisted slightly, making a wave of nausea rise through her body. She bit it back, moving her arm to push herself up from the floor. The grid of tiles swam in her vision, cornering her from all sides, walls, and floors with the same pattern.

She took a deep breath, bracing both her hands against the floor, and pushed herself up. Her head felt heavy and there was a strange ringing in her ears.

Once she managed to get to her feet, by holding onto the sink as if it was her sole safety buoy in the sea of tiles, she no longer saw her own face in the mirror. It had gone completely black, like darkness itself.

She reached out her hand at that mass of darkness, her fingertips grazing something cold and firm. It moved across her skin, making goosebumps rise in its wake, as it slowly slid across her bared forearm, where her sleeve had ridden up.

The darkness wrapped around her arm and caressed her. For a moment, it enveloped her completely, sliding around her body. Her legs almost gave in at that sensation, but she forced herself to focus.

It withdrew when she headed for the door. With painstaking determination, she made her way out of the bathroom, into the hallway, focused on her bedroom door.

The room tilted sideways again. An arm wound itself around her waist and caught her. She turned her head but saw only eyes, glowing in the dark. Alucard was leaning over her. The chill that his being emitted surrounded her, cooling her down. Their bodies were pressed together and it almost snapped her back into sobriety.

She tilted her head up, her voice stern. “What are you doing?”

“You seemed a bit unsteady, Master.” His hair tickled her forehead.

That bright red in his eyes fixated on her. Despite not being able to see his irises clearly without her glasses, they had taught her to never look him too long in the eyes.

Yet, she would not be the first one to avert her gaze. With utmost effort, ignoring her mind’s heaviness, she stared back. His grin widened.

She made a move to detach from him and he let her go, watching her as she searched for her bedroom door, half-blind without her glasses and disoriented in the darkness. She ignored him, focusing on her task. The mass of darkness from before was hovering behind her, following her every movement.

When she found it, his presence was right behind her, following her into her room. She made it over to her bed and lay down, regaining her steadiness. Her head was pounding.

“Your hand, Alucard,” she said, leaning against the pillows.

His brows furrowed.

“Your hand,” she repeated. He reached out and offered it, his expression shifting when she grabbed it and held it against her forehead, feeling the coldness seep through his glove, soothing the ache in her temples.

He knelt by her bed and molded his hand after her head then. He hummed a pleased sound deep in his throat.

She had compromised herself tonight. She had slipped.

Just slightly, just so.

Integra sank down among the pillows, closing her eyes. For the first time in months, sleep came easily.

 

.

Alucard watched his Master sink back into sleep.

It reminded him, strangely, of a night years ago when she had ordered him to her bedside like this. He had not been in her room since.  

He remembered Integra leaning against his side, her face reddened with fever, a shimmer of sweat on her forehead. She had pressed her delicate head against his bare hand and closed her eyes just like she did now, after telling him to be quiet.

As always, she was too trusting in his presence.

Walter had knocked on the door and showed a tall man into the room. “Master Integra, Dr. Trelawney has arrived –“

“I said I was fine, Walter,” Integra almost slurred, her voice wry with annoyance.

“Your fever is still high – “

“It’s fine,” Integra repeated, all strength drained from her voice. “Please leave.”

Walter glanced at the doctor, then at the vampire, his voice stern. “Alucard, move aside – “

The doctor approached Integra.

Alucard bared all his teeth and the other man flinched, immediately retreating a few steps. His shadows crept up around the bed, sliding possessively around the bed posters. His eyes remained trained on the doctor, his teeth glinting in the light.

Walter frowned. “Master Integra, please consider – “

She turned her face to glance at him, showing that she had no intention of ordering her dog to stand back. Alucard leered at the butler.

 “Don’t… make me repeat myself.” She closed her eyes again, her head supported by his hand. He focused on the form of it in his palm, once again completely captured by the exhilarating burn of touching her.

Now, several years later, Alucard knelt next to her bed with his hand on her forehead, watching her face.

Like before, her skin had almost burned him upon contact, even as he felt her body temperature decrease. The contact made the sigils on his gloves flare. He relished in the familiar pain. It was the most vivid reminder of their bond – as long as it seared through him, he knew they were bound together.

He had no access to her mind during her waking hours and barely during the night, due to the mental barricade she had set up between them years ago. But when she was the most unguarded, he could slip into the cracks of the walls around her mind and glimpse into her inner world.

What he saw was oddly fascinating.

It tore through him like a slow fire, making his throat go dry and his teeth ache. Her dark skin illuminated by cold moonlight. Even sullied by alcohol, her blood called for him. The taste of it was burned into his mind, a constant mark on his tongue.

Come closer, the wolf said to the girl, the hunter, once. 

I am a monster, Integra. I will always take what I can get and make it mine.

He withdrew his hand and dissolved into shadows, back to his dark domains deep underground.

 


 

Integra woke up with a blistering headache. Her body felt stiff as if she had slept for too long – but a single glance at the clock told her she had minutes left to her scheduled meeting.

The entire day she pushed the haze back and focused on her work – meetings and paperwork, an ingrained routine. She was good at pretending, even when her focus slipped, in the smallest of moments. When the sun finally set and the evening drifted in, it was a strange kind of relief, yet she was roused. How ironic, she almost ached to be back on the battlefield. To put her weapons to good use again.

She lit a cigar as she pondered that, putting the last paperwork aside on her desk.

Alucard never kept her waiting. The light in the room shifted, coldness swept through the air, and there he was, his face obscured by the shadows. Perhaps he was just drawn to her in his restlessness, but she couldn’t be quite sure. The last nights had thrown her slightly off balance. The memory of his hand returned.

“What do you want?”

His lips curved into a smile. “I believe my Master was the one who summoned me.”

“I did not.” She regarded him for a moment, crossing one leg over the other in her chair. “What is all this for?” Her finger slid across her cigar as she regarded him. “You’re hovering, Alucard.”

His face, surrounded by restless hair, came into view. “I wasn’t aware, Master.”

“Don’t play coy.” She stared him down from across the room.

“Coy?” his lips stretched, revealing sharp teeth. He moved closer with a few long steps, once again standing in front of her desk.

“Aren’t you the one who’s always summoning me?” He leaned over her in his full height. “Integra.” Dark shadows crept up along the edges of her desk. 

He looked more unhinged than she felt.

“You’ve been thrown off your balance, I can tell.” His gaze slid across her body, almost sinfully so, and she stared back.

He licked his fangs. “Why is that, I wonder? Is it because of me?”

“Quit this nonsense."

For a moment they regarded each other across the desk. Master and servant, vampire hunter and vampire. She had leaned forward to assert herself and he had done the same, meeting her halfway, leaving only a few inches between their faces.

His gaze slid to her lips.

Alluring. Coveting, like a starved creature.

For the briefest, unwelcome moment, she wondered if he’d looked at someone else like this once. Imagining him as a chaste man in the past was naïve, and Integra had no such pretensions.

The urge to wipe that expression off his face returned. He had no right to look at her like that, not when he thought he could leave crumbs of himself all over her mind, haunt her, and then withdraw from the responsibility of it.

Withdraw.

Really, she should retaliate. She considered her gun in her holster, imagined the burn of silver against his mouth, and then his deranged grin at the pain.

No. He had not earned that.

Integra watched him, the way he watched her, and something candescence grew in her, burning her low in her belly.

She leaned forward and brushed her lips against his. In the seconds it took for him to come to his senses, she grabbed his head with both hands and buried her nails into his hair, hard. She pressed her lips against his for a brief moment.

His reaction was visceral. An inhuman sound, barely a moan, tore from his throat and his eyes were wide open, staring at hers, his lips pulled back over his teeth as he made a movement to push his mouth back to hers.

Integra’s lips curved into a smile. She let go of his hair and withdrew completely. Leaning back in her desk chair, she regarded him calmly as his gloved fingers dug into the surface of her desk, splintering the wood.

“Do refrain from breaking my desk.”

He heaved a breath – really, an undead being! She wanted to laugh at that, but the heat mellowed it out. Alucard’s mouth was still twisted, eyes burning. The same heat deep in her body returned.

“Integra,” he said at last, as if he was choking on her name.

She could make him choke on more than that.

“Is that all you can do? Look at me like a dying man and pretend I am the one who’s been haunting you?”

“You always haunt me,” he said, his voice devoid of his usual confidence. His hair surrounded his face in messy strands, his red depths still fixated on her.

“You can use me however you want,” he snarled. “I do it all for you, Integra. I will bring you to victory and glory – and like a dog, I will do it gladly. But even a dog detects real intentions.”

“How so?”

He leaned forward to compensate for the increased distance between them. His shadows surrounded him completely.

“You asked me once if I wanted to drain you,” he said throatily. “I do.” His face was twisted in a grimace as if she was pressing silver into his skin again.

His claws left deep imprints on her desk. “I want to tear you open. I want to –“ he heaved another breath deep in his throat, fixating her with strange desperation – “hear your voice when I do it. I want you to tear into me. I want you to rip my chest open. Rip out my heart, whatever’s left of it.”

He chuckled, without mirth, dark and dry. “Do it again and again, until it cannot be recovered. I want you to do whatever you desire with me - don’t hold back!” He lowered his head, looking up at her through dark tresses of hair, red eyes glinting, his face contorted in a strange display of pain.

“Order me to never speak of this again. Order me to never look at you with that intent – order me to rip my eyes out!” His voice rose, harsh and rough. “But if you do, then what of those dreams of yours? Your blood sings to me,” he groaned, raising his head. “If you order me to silence, do it thoroughly! Avert your own eyes from my deranged form, from your monster. And then, will your dreams cease?”

He looked her in the eyes.

A moment ticked by.

My dreams.

Integra rose from her chair and rounded her desk, to stand next to him. He straightened, following her every movement, his face still contorted. She reached out her hand to brush some strands of hair away from that face.

“What happens then?” she asked quietly. “If I let you come closer?”

He was still as a statue as she untied her cravat with steady hands. Another breath and he seemed to come to his senses, his hand cupping the back of her head with something akin to reverence.

She undid the top button of her dress shirt, revealing her collarbones. She let him brush her hair out of her face, baring her neck, his mouth nosing along the side of her jaw. Then, his lips touched her throat.

It felt like a shock at first, jolting through her system and joining the heat, her breath hitching slightly. His other arm wound itself around her waist, pulling her to his body and holding her there.

His head moved down to her chest, listening to the beat of her heart with closed eyes.

She could still reach for her gun – the question was if she’d have time. If he would lose himself –

But that was a lie. The one she couldn’t trust was herself.

He waited for her rejection and she uttered none.

Alucard moved his head up again and then she felt his tongue sweep across her throat. It was softer than she had expected - he who was only sharpness and hardness, it was warmer than his skin. The kiss before death.

He licked his way from her collarbone to the underside of her jaw, making his way with slow precision. The soft slide of it sent an unfamiliar rush throughout her body.  She closed her eyes as she buried her hands in his hair, seizing his head. He groaned low in his throat, his arm tightening around her and pushing against her more insistently.

With languid movements and a pleased hum, he lapped at her. She opened her eyes just to watch him in this state, a part of her in surprise that he was capable of something like this. Her monster, settled into a foreign, absurd imitation of tenderness. When his teeth grazed her skin, her hands tightened it his hair.

Never allow control to slip from your grasp. Never let your guard down, Integra.

She had pushed that thought away long ago; what her father would think if he saw her now; Alucard watching her with nothing less than feral desire, his shadows cradling her.

The restrained monster, broken in at last. That was what she could tell herself if she wanted to lull herself into a false sense of security – how could he truly be broken in? Her ancestors had tried with their chains, and it only took a few drops of blood to set him loose.

He was restrained now, but his body trembled slightly.

Then, his tongue stopped.

Integra felt it too, like a shockwave throughout her body, a short intake of breath, and suddenly his wide red eyes were fixated on hers.

The tip of his tongue was pressed intently against her pulse point. For a moment she felt him. Her pulse resounding through his body, a kind of intimacy that was almost jarring; to have him pressed up so close to that point that she felt bared.

There was nothing but the slick pressure of it, his arms tightening around her.

He could feel the rhythm of her life, lingering on his tongue. The urge to open his jaw wide and sink into her warmth was there, prickling at his fangs, but it was subdued by another sensation.

His eyes were too wide, a choked moan leaving him. He bowed his head.

He had conquered her, she thought, for this moment. His head of dark hair filled her vision. Not a single muscle in her body tried to push him away. She’d reign him in afterward and put the leash on again.

He pressed his mouth to her jugular vein to feel the rhythm of her blood, weaving melodies that would haunt him later.

His large hand slid across her unbuttoned shirt, underneath her suit jacket. It rested across her heart for a moment. It beat unsteadily against him. Then, it followed the outline of her brassiere, slipping underneath her open shirt. He traced the shape of her ribcage with cold, slender fingers. Every rib counted.

Her body arched into his.

Integra pressed their mouths together again. Insistent and eager, he reciprocated, slipping his tongue into her mouth and pushing against hers. He didn’t pull back until she was gasping for air. She took a moment to regain her composure, too aware of his hands, moving along her waist.

Will your dreams cease?

“On your knees,” she ordered.

He knelt, looking up at her with wide eyes. She brought her fingertip to that mouth, that opened in anticipation.

Integra pressed the tip of her index finger to his incisor, the pain sharp when her skin gave way. He moaned as she slipped her finger deeper into his mouth, wary of the rest of his teeth. He sucked at her finger greedily, his eyelids fluttering shut.

Her free hand settled in his hair again. The eager strands stroked the back of her hand, tickling her.

At last, she withdrew her finger, his tongue eagerly sweeping along the healing cut, making it tingle.

Her hands seized his head again. “Will you haunt me tonight?”

“If you will have me,” he answered.