Dealing with a newborn baby is difficult enough. Dealing with a newborn dhampir is another story...
Damien had been screaming non-stop for over an hour. It was going on two in the morning. Integral paced the sitting room of her quarters, bouncing her son in her arms, trying desperately to settle him. She had been running on three hours of sleep a night for two weeks because of this. Damien had begun this nightly tirade at roughly seven weeks old. He was almost three months and she still couldn't figure out how to calm him. Nothing seemed to work. She had a sneaking feeling of what the boy /needed/, but she was in denial of the fact. The suspicion was made worse on the occasions when she attempted to breast feed. Damien had been born with teeth--specifically four ever-so tiny canines, and every time she gave him her nipple he would inevitably start biting her shortly after be began suckling.
She cooed to him as best she could, trying to calm him. She was so tired--she could actually feel the bags under her eyes. She had had sleepless, stressful nights over the years while running her organization, but this was just ridiculous.
She pulled the straight backed chair out form the table she kept in the sitting room and wearily fell into it, still cradling the screamming infant. How she wished that Walter was still alive. He would have been able to help immensely. He would have understood the situation. He could have been trusted with her son's fragile secret. As it was, only three people could know the truth about Damien: herself, Seras, and Alucard, and the two vampires were generally incapacitated during the day and were needed on missions during the night, which left her alone to care for her son.
"But we are not always on nighttime missions, my Master."
Integral jumped, hearing Alucard's disembodied voice come into the room--proof that her nerves were shot. He phased through her wall and came to a stop before her.
"Like now," he stated bluntly.
She stared up at him, lids heavy with exhaustion.
"Force of habit," she murmured, still bouncing her son. "And I don't really see you being a very good baby-sitter."
"I'm hurt," he said nonchalantly before continuing, "Let me take him. You need some rest." He bent down and took the crying bundle from her arms.
Integral stared at the sight in front of her. She would never get used to the sight of her vampire holding a baby--at lest without looking like he'd just found dinner. Alucard murmured to the boy in what Integral assumed was Romanian. The rumble of his voice seemed to sooth Damien a little, seeing as how the boy's screams dulled to frustrated whimpers.
Alucard gave a toothy grin, "Guess he just needs a father's touch."
Integral snorted, "Maybe so, but you still look like you're thinking about eating him."
He looked at her through the fringe of his hair, "Again, I am hurt, my Master."
He stood up straighter and became serious. "Go to bed, Integra. I'll see to him until dawn. And from now on, I'll inform the Police Girl that she is to care fro Damien during the night so that you can sleep."
"You do not give orders, Alucard. And Seras will be doing no such thing. We need her in the field, and I don't need the attention of having the new heir of Hellsing cared for by a vampire."
He smirked at her and took a more authoritative stance before her--although the effect was significantly dulled by him holding a squirming three-month-old. "/I/ do not need the Police Girl on missions. She is occasionally useful, but altogether unnecessary. As for public opinion, no one needs to know. Seras can come here and stay here through the night. You don't have to take the boy to the dungeons."
Integral waved her hand, the other pinching the bridge of her nose. "Fine. Seras is officially the live-in-babysitter."
"Now go to bed," he said again.
She glared at him, ready to protest his giving her orders, but she was officially too exhausted to care. "Very well." She pushed herself up from the chair and made her way toward her bedchamber. As she passed him, his hand snaked out and grabbed her upper arm. She turned quickly and began to shout irritably, but was silenced by his lips on hers. He only lingered for a second before releasing her.
"Pleasant dreams, my master," he purred. She stared at him, mouth gaping slightly. Damien cried out and Alucard murmured to him again.
/I am never going to get used to this/, she moaned to herself, wavering on her feet as the thought passed. She desperately needed sleep. She turned back toward the hall heading to her bedchamber and trudged toward it. Leaning out the door briefly, she called irritably to the red-clad vampire, "Don't corrupt my son while I'm asleep!"
She closed the door behind her and heard his voice in her head as she fell into bed. Ah, but remember, Master--he's /my son too./
She summoned enough strength to pull her covers up over her, and passed out cold before her head came to rest on her pillow.
Alucard watched his mate trudge to her bedroom. Motherhood really did not suit her. Oh, she loved their son, he knew that without a doubt--but Integral Hellsing was not a woman that would fawn over anything, especially not a baby. It was a wide belief (shared by Integral herself) that if she were and animal in the wild, she would probably eat her own young.
Damien squirmed in his arms, the volume of his little voice starting to build again. Alucard murmured to him, lifting his gloved hand to tickle the boy under his chin. He wasn't exactly the perfect candidate for a father either--he was a vampire after all. However, he was also a prideful creature, and the fact that the tiny being was basically part of him made up for the fact that it happened to be a /child/. He sat down in Integral's chair, pulling the glove off of his free hand. /I know what you need, little one/, Alucard whispered to the boy. He made a shallow slice into the pad of his index finger with his thumbnail. His dark blood beaded on his fingertip and he lowered it to his sons's mouth.
The boy latched onto the digit instantly, his tiny teeth pinching Alucard's skin, but not breaking it. He suckled as if it was a bottle in his mouth. He had calmed instantly.
It made sense. Damien was a dhampir. He was half vampire, so it only made sense that he needed blood as part of his diet. Alucard knew that Integral did not want to think about this particulr aspect of their son's makeup--at least not yet. However, it was the primary reason he was so fussy and kept her awake all night. But that was okay. Integral didn't need to worry about this part of raising the boy. Alucard was more suited to handling it.
Besides, if Damien needed to drink blood, Alucard preferred that it was his own, at least for now. Although he had no idea how his blood would affect his son, something told him there would be no adverse effects. It would be as if another vampire took his blood--it would make Damien stronger. And, with this understanding it would be like giving his child generic multivitamins by not giving Damien his blood. He would simply be a bad father...
A prideful creature, /indeed/.
After several minutes Damien's jaw went slack and his breathing had become steady. Alucard pulled his fingertip from the infant's lips, smiling ever so slightly at the boy's gaping mouth.
Alucard glanced back to Integral's bedroom before phasing into the shadows, Damien in tow. He rematerialized in front of Seras in her room in the dungeons--nearly giving the midian a heart attack--or would have if her heart still beat.
"Ma-ma-master!" Seras half-shouted, standing quickly from the chair she sat at, knocking it over backwards with her sudden movement.
"Shhh, Police Girl," Alucard scolded with his trademark smirk, "You'll wake the baby."
Seras's eyes widened, in what some would call horror and pointed at the sleeping infant. "Does Sir Integral know you have him?" she asked, her voice coming out with a squeak, thinking about the knight's reaction to having her infant son whisked away during the night by a blood-sucking fiend... even if that same fiend happened to be the father...
"Do not fear, my little Draculina," Alucard said in an almost sing-song fashion, "My Master is aware that the boy is in my care."
"But... um... Why is he in your care?"
Alucard grinned at his fledgling, "Why do I get the feeling that no one trusts me?"
"Well... um... that is..." Seras stammered, trying to find the right words and coming up with nothing.
"No matter," Alucard continued to grin. "Police Girl, you are hereby relieved of active duty for organization missions. From now on, unless otherwise informed by my Master, you will be caring for Damien through the night in her quarters, understood?"
Seras blinked rapidly as she stared at him in open-mouthed confusion. "Wait... What?"
His trademark sardonic grin widened, showing all of his teeth. "Congratulations," he said, abruptly handing the sleeping boy off to her, "You've been premoted from 'soldier' to 'body guard.' Or downgraded to 'night nurse.' Your decision."
As Damien came solidly into her arms, Seras started to panic, "Wait! Wait a minute! I don't know anything about babies! Master--Did Sir Integral order this!?!" Seras felt as though her eyes were going to fall out of her head as Alucard phased into shadows.
"MASTER!" Seras gave a panicked yelp.
"I will return for him shortly before dawn. Report to my Master's quarters at sunset."
Seras looked around her room in sheer panic. "Master! I don't even have a baby bottle down here!"
With a sudden plop a bag that looked suspiciously like a diaper bag fell through her ceiling and bounced on the stone floor.
"Oh, this is just bloody lovely/," she complained to herself as she moved and sat down on her bed. All the commotion had woken Damien, and he now looked up at her with round blue eyes. She gave a heavy sigh. "Oh well, guess it's just you and me kid--and with parents like /yours I think we'll be seeing a lot of each other. I'll make you a deal," she said, bouncing him a little. "I'll be the best baby-sitter ever, if you promise to call me 'Seras' and not 'Police Girl' when you learn how to talk, okay?" She tickled him under the chin and he grabbed at her fingers with his tiny white hands. She grinned. "It's a deal then."
/Disclaimer/: Vampire Hunter D/, (c) Hideyuki Kikuchi, /Hellsing (c) Kouto Hirano. I own nothing and am making no money from this...
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