The Jackal
By Sara
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    She could not remember later just how the argument had started, or when it had become something more than their typical bickering. She could only vaguely recall the deepening shadows of twilight as they slowly slunk across her large office, throwing Alucard's silhouette ominously across the white wall. The shadows had moved in and brought with them that heightened emotion, the reckless passion that was responsible for what followed. Integral Hellsing's clear recollection began with what was easily one of the most shocking moments of her twenty-three years.
    In a dizzying swirl of movement, Alucard had drawn his gun and pressed it to her forehead. Integral's breath caught painfully in her chest as an exhilarating rush of emotions besieged her. Rage, fear, and a strange, heady excitement hissed and pounded through her veins as if the gun had become a physical bond between them, a pathway for their crackling nerves to meet and ignite. Outwardly, however, Integral appeared as relaxed and perfectly composed as usual. Not even a flicker passed across her set face. She lifted her head to gaze at Alucard coldly, as if he were a misbehaving schoolboy. "How dare you." The low words sliced the air like sharpened shards of ice, betraying the cold fury that she was trying to master. A maddening smirk spread across Alucard's face as he replied lazily, his deep voice laced with menace.
    "Do you ever think about what it would be like to be hunted? What if I decided to hunt you, Integral?"
    "I would hunt you first." Alucard's face remained unchanged, his eyes concealed behind his scarlet-tinted lenses. Suddenly, they infuriated her. They shielded Alucard from her; perhaps it was their fault she could never read him, never tell what he was thinking. With a sharp movement, Integral snatched the glasses from his face and hurled them across the room with all the convulsive strength of her wrath. They shattered on the far wall and Alucard bared his teeth in what could have been a snarl or a grin. "Did you hear me?" Integral leaned forward, pressing harder against the barrel of the gun that was still at her head, "I would hunt you first." Alucard's eyes were now boring deeply into her own, and Integral drew back. She felt suddenly vulnerable and exposed under his searching gaze, as if he was casually browsing her innermost thoughts. She looked down in confusion, veiling her eyes with her thick, dark lashes. It was too late for subterfuges; Alucard had already seen. A triumphant laugh jarred her ears and she winced.
    "Afraid, master?"
    "I'm not afraid of you!" Integral shrieked the words in a sudden frenzy, shrieked them partly because she knew they were not true. She snatched the barrel of the gun with her hand and twisted it away, wrenching Alucard's arm down, dimly aware that she had encountered no resistance. She had leapt to her feet and was now standing at her full height, seething with barely restrained rage, her face inches from his. With her free hand she seized the silk tie at his neck and jerked him roughly closer. "I am Integral Hellsing, I'm not afraid of a -" Integral's speech was arrested suddenly by Alucard's lips descending onto hers. She gasped instinctively under the sudden assault and Alucard took advantage of the opportunity to deepen his kiss. Integral felt the ire drain from her body as she yielded to him, leaving her trembling slightly. She slowly relaxed her steel grip on his wrist and moved her gloved hand tentatively up Alucard's arm. As she sunk deeper into the warmth of his embrace, all the hard, cold reason that had guided her life thus far fled her mind. She pushed back the threshold of her awareness, unwilling to think outside her flesh and break this spell that had descended upon them with the whispering, enchanted night. There was only Alucard's strong arm to steady her and his hungry mouth drawing kisses from her still-stunned lips. The jackal slipped carelessly from his hand, and he wrapped the free arm around her slender waist. A murmuring sigh escaped her lips as she released her rough hold on his tie to wind that arm around his neck, and the warm breath flowed over Alucard's mouth like a soundless prayer. He drew it in achingly, with the half-formed hope that she had exhaled a part of her spirit that would reside in him, giving him a way to call Integral his own. A boisterous knock at the door shocked Integral into another soft gasp as Alucard released her abruptly. "I'm not receiving anyone more today," she called out briskly as she hastily smoothed her ruffled golden hair. Footsteps retreated and faded.
    She turned to Alucard and saw with sinking disappointment that he had somehow retrieved his glasses and they once again glittered mockingly at her, catching the light of the rising moon and hurling it back scarlet. She was suddenly angry, unspeakably angry, and tears of fury stung her eyes. Whirling away from him, she set her back squarely. "I'm not afraid of a monster. Get out of here." An electric silence surged almost audibly through the air and Integral tensed as she felt Alucard draw up close behind her. An arm draped around her shoulder and moved the cold barrel of the jackal caressingly across her neck as she stood like a frozen sculpture. She could see Alucard's teeth bare suddenly in a predatory smile as he leaned into her, his lips brushing her delicate ear.
    "That may be so, Miss Hellsing, but I said you were afraid of me." With painful swiftness, he was gone. Integral sank into her chair, limp from exhaustion and regret. She dropped her head wearily onto her arms. Listening to the dead, rushing sound of silence had always calmed her. It may be lonely, she admitted to herself when she was too close to sleep to lie, but at least it's peaceful. As Integral drifted into slumber, the mirror across the room darkened about her reflection. A dozen crimson eyes blossomed in the glass, watching their burden, their charge, and their desire with patience tempered by many long years.