Vlad frowned as he eyed everyone around the table. Bertrand had a book set down in front of him-one he'd insisted Vlad read as well after he was done, as Vlad "must know all techniques in the battlefield"- despite the fact the Count had said books weren't allowed at the table, Wolfie was shovelling his toast down greedily, smearing the chocolate spread all over his puffed cheeks, Erin was stabbing at her bacon with tired eyes, and The Count was just sipping blood while looking out the window, Renfield settled behind him waiting for an order. No one had brought up Ingrid's absence. No one.

Finally, the exasperation and curiosity overtook him and he sat up straight. "Has anyone seen Ingrid?"

All eyes were on him, and he got a rush of responses, all just stating plainly that they hadn't.

Wolfie however, still with his mouth full, called out a muffled, "I saw her leaving this morning!"

"Good riddance!" The Count beamed, clasping his hands together and tucking them under his chin. "We should have a celebration ball!"

"I already said no ball Dad," Vlad shot, rolling his eyes and turning back to Wolfie, not noticing how Bertrand was suddenly riveted by the young boy as well. "Did she say where she was going?"

Wolfie shook his head and swallowed. "She didn't have her bags though, I don't think she was leaving for good," He smiled brightly. "She wouldn't leave without saying bye to me so I know she's coming back!"

The Count scowled. "She's heartless, of course she would. She most definitely has Wolfie, she hardly owned anything anyway."

Wolfie's smile dropped and his lip quivered. "What?"

Renfield smirked, but Vlad clenched his fists and shot the Count a harsh glare. Before he could say anything, Erin broke into the conversation, looking at Wolfie comfortingly.

"Don't worry, she'll be back. She hasn't killed Vlad yet so she won't be leaving so soon." She bit her lip and sent a cheeky grin Vlad's way, he smirked to himself and nodded towards Wolfie in agreement.

"She's not going to give up that easily."

Bertrand just picked up his book and continued reading.

She wasn't quite sure an umbrella was the safest thing she could have blocked the sun with, but then again it wasn't sunny here anyway, so it wasn't about to shine through, thank bats. She didn't know how long she'd been here, just that she found it easier to 'talk' to him when she was here, and she felt closer to him every time she came. It'd been five years now since he died, but looking at his grave always felt like a fresh punch in the stomach. She sighed and fiddled with the dirt beneath her bent knees, before looking up at the grave again with a sigh.

William Clarke

Husband, Brother, Son.

She sighed and tried to think of his little sister, two year old Maggie, and then realized it hurt too to think of the child who she'd stolen the brother of. She swallowed and scowled, hating the feeling of water building up in her eyes. She missed him, despite how easy it was to convince herself that she didn't care about anything.

She was able to gather her courage a few minutes later, and she pressed a gloved hand against the cool stone, closed her eyes, and whispered, "I love you."

../

Bertrand watched, despite his claim to hate the girl, as she re-entered the school gates rather sadly. He frowned to himself, crossing his arms over his chest. Honestly, the girl was insufferable enough as it was, if she was in a mood then she was going to be ten times worse. Or at least, that's the 'reason' he used for his determination to find out what was wrong with her, he was not letting feelings interfere with his judgement, he was here solely to train Vlad.

She swept into the school under the cover of the lurching stone gargoyles, and disappeared from sight. Bertrand scowled and pushed her to the back of his mind. It was about time for his second training session with Erin and he'd been dreading it all morning. The girl was, in his opinion, as dim as a doorknob and incapable of actually learning.

Loud bangs and claps were what attracted him to the armory fifteen minutes early, his guard up and ready to face any intruder possible-But what he hadn't expected, was Erin, trying to wield the sword she'd been unable to use merely a week ago. She was struggling, but she was succeeding, and he watched on in stunned silence as she swung it perfectly, the way he had showcased for her. He felt a tiny smirk spread across his face. Maybe this wouldn't be as horrible as he'd initially thought.

Vlad sighed, deep creases on his face from frowning. He didn't know what to do, everything was so messed up.

"Your grace, I must push the option forward. It's the only chance for an alliance, and avoidance of war-"

"I know, Keiher." Vlad addressed the advisor sharply. "But I do not agree with the council's decision."

"Neither do any of us, I assure you sir. But…It seems to be your only hope for this Utopia of which you speak." The elderly vampire pressed back his gelled hair and bent forward in his chair to look Vlad directly in the eye. "A world in which humans and vampires are harmonious is the stuff of daydreams and naivety, but if it's what you really want, this is the only way to ascertain it."

Vlad took a deep breath, and clenched his hands together. "I can't force her-"

"You are her king. You are the Grand High Vampire, and she must obey you."

"No. I am her brother before anything else. I can't make her do such a thing." Vlad abruptly jerked onto his feet and turned away from the old man, walking with purpose straight out the door.

"You know it will all come back to this, Vladimir! You have no choice, and neither does she!"

Vlad knew he was right, but he kept walking. He would try as hard as he could tonight to think of a way out, and then tomorrow, he would deliver his decision to the Council. But for now, he needed to sit down and have a drink.

Wolfie pouted from where he sat in the living room. It had been a long day, but for everyone it seemed to be long for a different reason. Not a reason any of them would divulge to him of course, no one seemed to trust the young wolf. His eyes lit up as he had an idea. Oh, it was a brilliant idea, one that would finally get everyone to realize how clever he actually was.

Quickly, he ran off to find his two victims, oh this was going to be very fun indeed.

He found both of them, conveniently enough, in the library. Ingrid was on one side, reading some book on the French revolution, and Vlad on the other side, creepily enough, watching Ingrid. Wolfie frowned at this, but he didn't really question it as he needed to get his plan under way, before it was too late. He searched his pockets for the cold metal and beamed when he felt it against the pads of his fingers-Yes, he was about to solve all of the family's problems, all the while annoying his siblings greatly. It was nice to be the youngest child in the clan, it meant he could get away with anything.

He locked the library door loudly, and listened.

"What the hell?" The door rattled, and banged, but the library had also been designed as a bomb shelter and the door was made of heavy metal, and neither could break free of it.

"Wolfie, I swear to Bats I'll skin you, Mutt!" Ingrid screeched.

"No you won't!" Wolfie teased, and ran off, giggling. He felt like an evil mastermind, and wanted to do something else that was just as crazy! And what was more self destructive than sneaking into Vlad's room and looking through his things?

He hadn't expected the door to Vlad's room to be open already, but it pleased him as it suited his plan well. He started with the cupboard, and then wished he hadn't. There was a box in there, a box that held something that Wolfie had not wanted to think about his brother using. Especially with Erin. Eugh. He moved on to the desk, flipping through newspaper clippings and folders until he came across a certain folder that caught his attention. A tiny photo of Ingrid was clipped to the front, and it was labelled, 'Dracula Liason Operation'. He'd only read a little bit before he gasped and dropped the file in horror. No, no Vlad wouldn't do that to Ingrid. He wouldn't put her in that position, especially not with how much he supported her Vampiress Liberation plans. No. He wouldn't.

Would he?

Ingrid scowled and kicked the door one last time. "Oh for bats sake, when I get out of here I'm going to beat him until his face turns blue." She hissed, crossing her arms.

Vlad however, saw this whole thing as an opportunity. "Where were you this morning?"

"I went for a walk." She said quickly, before groaning again. "I bet I know exactly what that little runt is doing right now. I bet he's going through our stuff."

"Ingrid…" Vlad hesitated, he wanted to bring up her aversion to talking to him, but he was afraid she'd start another fight and he was really too exhausted for that. Especially with this brand new burden on his shoulders that had also, ultimately, been caused by her.

"Oh no. We are not going to have some dramatic heart to heart here." She said sharply, moving back to the dropped book she'd been reading before. "You stay on your side, I stay on mine. Deal?"

"Ingrid, we have to talk sometime and I'm sick of dancing around it. I'm your brother, doesn't that mean anything to you?"

"As much as me being his daughter matters to Dad." She shot back, not even bothering to look back at him, trying to concentrate on her book.

"Well it means something to me. I've tried my hardest to protect you and to stop you from doing stupid things but that's not going to last forever Ingrid, I need to be able to trust you again!" He continued, exasperated at her behaviour.

"I don't trust you and that seems to be working out well enough for me."

"Then why are you here? Why haven't you left?"

She froze. Why hadn't she left? He honestly had no answer to that really, she couldn't think of any good reason why she hadn't left. Except for the horrible nagging feeling that she wanted to be there, wanted to stay with Vlad and Wolfie and even Bertrand, as much as she really hated to admit that.

"Because I don't want to lose my position as your number two. I need it to promote Vampiress Liberation." She drawled calmly, flipping to the next page of her book.

"Bats, why are you so difficult?" he groaned. "I swear, there's nothing I will ever be able to do to please you. I give up." He huffed and retreated to his side of the library, angrily opening up a random book and beginning to read, not noticing Ingrid's startled expression.

Sorry guys, filler chapter. I've just finished exams and it's been a really stressful time, but I've already started the next chapter which should be up soon enough, it's a very big one Bertrand and Ingrid wise ;)

Also, we'll find out what's going on with Vlad and the Council and the folder that Wolfie found! Poor Ingrid's obliviously in the middle of it all!

Review, or how else will I know you guys like the fic enough to want more chapters? I'm actually not sure if I even like this enough to continue it, it all depends on you guys!

X0X0