A/N: Yes, another chapter, and we're back in present times, yay!
Gabrielle had been chosen to bring in the necessary things to Robin and the boys. Whatever necessary actually consisted of, it was clearly a lot as she was constantly in and out of the room. Robin would have complained, but the boys seem to react the better for seeing her, and considering their brother wasn't there, well, any small happiness they could get was a happiness at least. "I really am sorry about this," she said, bringing Robin in a large mug of strong, black coffee with a couple of biscuits on the side. Robin nodded gratefully, taking a sip and enjoying the taste. "I don't know what's gotten into Selene..."
"Don't you?" Robin looked up, his tone very even considering that he was effectively in a hostage type situation. "Seems pretty obvious to me," he said with a simple shrug. Being confined to the room, well, he had been given an opportunity for plenty of time to sit and think. He glanced over, seeing the boys happily busying themselves with the pile of comics Gabrielle had brought in for them earlier; Jack had claimed all the Batman, and Barry all the X-Men. Seeing them happily occupied, he looked back at the mug, taking another sip before continuing to talk. He gestured for Gabrielle to sit down, which she did. "Seems to me that Selene's just found out that Vlad's the Grand High Vampire." Gabrielle gave a shocked gasp of horror that Robin opted to ignore. "Took her long enough in my opinion, but Vlad was actually trying to keep the news from becoming public round here." Robin wasn't sure as to the why of that bit. Best not to think on it too hard, that's what he'd learnt. "Anyway, your boss, Selene, well, she's not happy, and now we've – that's me and the boys – we've got to deal with the fact Vlad's left so he can keep flapping around for another night." A shrug finished his sentence.
"He's the Grand High Vampire?!" Gabrielle seemed oddly fixated on the subject, horror still visibly clear on her face. "Vlad?!" she shook her head. "No, he can't be," she said. "He's too … rebel without a cause, bad boy biker type to be the Vampire King!" Robin just looked at her steadily, sipping his coffee. It could do with a couple of sugars, now he thought on it. "Oh god!" Gabrielle sank further down into the seat, covering her face with her hands. "Oh god," she repeated, this time her voice sounding more frantic and yet furious and disappointed in herself. She lowered her hands slowly, and her face was pale. She was shaking, and covered her face once more. Breathing deeply, she uncovered again, and looked at Robin with an expression of sheer despair. "I slept with the Grand High Vampire!" she groaned, flinging herself backwards into the seat rather theatrically.
Robin raised an eyebrow, it was very easy for him to take everything in his stride today. Perhaps it was the coffee doing it. "Oh," he said, taking a calm sip. "You too?"
"And it was in the East Blood Wars that the Clan Barrack betrayed their enemies in return for-" Bertrand's voice droned through Vlad's head, and the facts seemed to get muddled up in his head as soon as he'd heard them. He groaned loudly, flinging his head backwards on the couch. Bertrand paused in his lecture – because it was a lecture and Vlad was fairly confident he'd left all that stuff behind when he'd ditched school as soon as he'd turned 16 so he was not pleased to find himself returning to the dreaded things – and looked over. "Is there a problem, your Grandness?" he asked.
"No," Vlad's reply was automatic. He paused. "Actually yes," he pushed himself so he was sitting upright, looking at Bertrand with a hard expression. "Are you honestly just going to lecture me?" He gave a wide eyed look. "Because, I'm not going to lie, it's making my fingers itch for the lighter fluid to see how well you burn." Bertrand's expression didn't flicker, and Vlad found himself momentarily impressed to have someone who didn't react to threats. "I didn't like it at school, and I sure as hell don't like it now. Change teaching tactics, Tutor Man," Vlad ordered. "Or I get far more creative than just simple lighter fluid. And if you've done your research, well," a humourless smile crossed Vlad's face, "you'll know exactly how creative that can be."
Bertrand stood still, not reacting to any of Vlad's threats. Well, no, not entirely true. He did react, but not entirely in the way that Vlad would have expected anyone to react, given the basic knowledge of them having read the detailed file the Council kept on his history – he was still looking into a way to destroy it, he didn't like the idea of any information relating to himself being so easily accessible. Bertrand looked over at Vlad, very calm. "I have done my research," he said carefully, "and that is why I am lecturing you, as you put it." Vlad gave a questioning look. "By all rights, Sire, you are an accomplished warrior already." Bertrand pointed out. Vlad tilted his head, shrugging before nodding. He'd learnt a lot of practical stuff on the battlefield, he'd freely admit that much. "But sadly this has meant your working knowledge of the Clans and their histories is lacking," Bertrand paused once more, a rather diplomatic pause in the scheme of things. "That is not to say that your current scaremongering tactics have not proven useful, but working knowledge is always," he paused once again, "beneficial."
Vlad opened his mouth to respond but instead stopped, ears twitching. "Did you hear that?" he asked. Bertrand looked around, shaking his head. Vlad fell silent, listening intently. There it was again, that shifting noise. He was up like a shot. The door of the apartment was kicked in. Troops stormed in, weapons raised. Vlad hissed, reaching for the nearest one and snapping their neck. Bertrand took this as a cue to fight back, bringing out a kendo stick to use in defence.
From the back of the crowd, Melech and Strigoi grinned two similar, stringy, worm ridden grins.