DISCLAIMER: I own none of the Young Dracula characters or locations etc. The only thing I own is the plot of the story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So this is my first one-shot, and my third FanFiction. I have always wondered what happened directly after Series 3 ended, as the beginning of Series 4 has Vlad and Erin set firmly in a serious relationship, so this is my version of the half an hour after Sethius was ashed. Enjoy!
"No biting?" Jonno asked Vlad tentatively, his mother stood protectively at his shoulder.
"No slaying?" Vlad returned, and the pair of slayers nodded.
"No fun," his father muttered irritably from behind him. Vlad sighed. After all the trouble they'd had with Sethius and that damned book, Vlad had thought that the Count might be slightly more willing to embrace the 21st century and look towards a ceasefire, a safer way of living, where slayers and vampires could live in tolerance. Harmony might be a bit much, at the moment, at least.
"Vlad?" came a nervous voice from Vlad's left. Vlad turned, his stomach back-flipping (as usual) as he came face to face with Erin. She had moved away from the family group, and was standing awkwardly, twisting her hands in front of her. "Erm…" she faltered, her eyes flicking nervously from Vlad's face to the floor. Now the action was over, now the danger had passed, she didn't seem to know what to do with herself.
Vlad smiled, her shyness causing a surge of warmth and protectiveness inside of him. He stepped forward, enveloping her in a tight hug. His smile widened as he felt her relax into his embrace. He longed to kiss her again- their lips hadn't touched since the night of the Carpathian Feast- but he knew better than to display his affection in front of the assembled group of vampires. He didn't, after only five minutes, want to disrupt the calm that had settled on the assembly hall.
The Count cleared his throat pointedly. Vlad rolled his eyes and stepped away, breaking the contact. He didn't miss the way Erin's heart-rate had increased slightly.
"There's work to be done, Vladimir," his father said crisply. "Truces won't sign themselves."
"We haven't even discussed the terms and conditions yet!" Jonno snapped. The Count glared at him; the pair eyeballed each other, Jonno (to his credit) not quailing.
"Let's leave it for a bit," Vlad interjected, his voice slightly raised as he stepped in between his father and the slayer. "We've all been up for almost 24 hours- I know I could do with a rest." There was a murmur of assent. As if on cue, Erin stifled a yawn behind her hand. "How about we rest up for a few hours, get ourselves tidied up and everything back to normal, and then we can discuss the initial terms of a peace treaty this evening?"
"We'll be back at 8pm," Mina conceded. After nodding stiffly at the vampires, she and Jonno began packing up their slaying equipment. Vlad hoped that they wouldn't have to unpack it for a very long time to come.
"What are you going to do with your half-fangs?" he asked Ingrid quietly. There weren't many left now, but the ones that had survived were eyeing up Jonno with an almost indecent enthusiasm. Vlad was glad that the slayer's back was turned.
Ingrid shrugged carelessly. "They've all fully changed now. They can make their own way."
"Don't you think that's a little harsh? You were the one who bit them."
"Well, what do you suggest?" she snapped testily. "They can't very well live here. We'd have no breathers left."
Vlad paused. Ingrid was right- if too many vampires were living at the school then most of the pupils would be turned within a week.
"Fine," he surrendered. "Just make sure they don't rock up here every time they want something. I know they're loyal to you but we need to try and maintain a low profile."
"You'll be lucky," Bertrand muttered, breezing past them in the direction of the double doors.
"And where do you think you're going?" Vlad demanded heatedly. Bertrand swung round, disdain written all over his chiselled features- Vlad had never addressed him so authoritatively before.
"I must see my friends out," he replied frostily, gesturing to what was left of his band of followers.
"You mean the friends who you summoned here to drain Erin?" Ingrid's ears pricked up at that- it was the first she'd heard of the kidnapping.
"I only tried to do what I thought was necessary to open the Book and secure your future," the tutor answered smoothly, ignoring the scowl that he was receiving from Erin.
Vlad wasn't convinced. "Then why did you tell Erin that it was time for a change of leadership? That I'd had my chance but I was weak, falling for a breather like her?"
Bertrand hesitated. It was all the confirmation Vlad needed. "You're a treacherous, double-crossing liar," he said coldly. "I should have thrown you out the first time you betrayed me."
"The only way I'll let you stay here," Vlad continued loudly, ignoring the interruption, "Is if you apologise to Erin."
There was a shocked silence in the hall. The Count, in particular, looked appalled. "Apologise?" Bertrand repeated incredulously, as if the word was alien to him.
"Apologise or you're out."
There was an uncomfortable pause. All eyes were on Bertrand. His gaze flickered from Vlad, to the Count, to Ingrid, before resting briefly on Erin, who coloured.
"Fine," he muttered bitterly. He turned to face Erin fully; her flush deepened. "I apologise," he said expressionlessly, the darkening of his eyes implying otherwise.
Vlad hissed softly. As far as apologies went, that was down there with the worst of them, but he wouldn't be surprised if that had been the first apology that Bertrand had ever made (and most probably the last).
"Just watch your step from now on, because I certainly will be," he warned. He could have sworn that he saw the tutor's hand twitch, as if he was desperate to reach into his pocket, but he put it down to a trick of the light. Paranoia wouldn't get him anywhere. After holding his gaze for a few seconds, to ensure that he knew that he meant business, Vlad turned to survey the assembly hall.
Jonno and Mina had left, the only sign of their visit the two abandoned stakes that they had fired upon their entrance. Ingrid had sauntered over to her half-fangs, presumably to give them the boot, and Renfield was beginning to sweep up Sethius' ashes. Vlad decided to grab the opportunity while it was there. "I'll see you later, Dad," he called over his shoulder, holding his hand out to Erin. His eyes closed slightly as he felt her small, warm fingers graze his palm.
The pair left the hall in silence, neither of them glancing backwards. Erin checked her watch- Vlad's heightened eyesight allowed him to see that it had just gone twenty past six in the morning. "What do you want to do about school?" he asked her. She yawned again.
"Well, Miss McCauley's seen us, now," she reminded him. "We can't exactly skive."
"Dad can write us both a note, easy."
"No, it's alright, thanks. I'll just pack up my things and be out of your hair."
Vlad stopped, forcing Erin to stop too. "You're leaving?" He felt a cold weight sink from his chest to settle in the pit of his stomach.
She stared at him, nonplussed. "Well, yeah. I thought that's what you wanted."
"But I thought everything was good now?"
"You tell me," she answered simply. Vlad hesitated. On the one hand, Erin had lied to him for months, first about being a breather, and secondly about being a slayer. She had tried to slay the family more than once, and had actually slain a vampire in her time with them. On the other hand, however, she had saved both Ingrid's and the Count's unlives; she had allowed Vlad to use her as the bait they had needed to kill Sethius; and she had always been there for Vlad when he had needed some support or a sounding board. Erin hadn't rejected him for what he was- so why should he, Vlad, do it to her? He didn't really know her properly yet, but the pair had been through enough together since she had first arrived at Garside Grange all those weeks ago that it felt to Vlad as if she'd been his girlfriend for months. He couldn't wait to begin learning everything there was to learn about her, to have her by his side as he fought the inevitable backlash that a Truce with the slayers would bring from vampire-kind. He wanted to kiss her again, properly this time, without metal bars separating them. He wanted to hold her and laugh with her and help her to accept the strange world that she had been hurled into.
"I want you to stay," he told her. He breathed a mental sigh of relief as he watched her face break from a tense mask into a wide smile, a smile that lit up her eyes so brightly that for a moment he began to lose himself in their depths. He gave himself a shake. "Let me see your wrists," he said, wincing at how autocratic he sounded. Erin hesitated, before holding them out to him, shaking back the sleeves of her plaid shirt. Vlad felt a hot swoop of rage as he examined the angry red welts, testament to the strength she had had to use to free herself from Bertrand's unyielding knots. At least she hadn't made herself bleed.
"I'm going to kill Bertrand," he muttered, his voice ominously low.
"Don't be stupid, Vlad," Erin said sharply. "He's apologised now so let's just forget the whole thing. You need to focus your energy on this treaty, never mind about Bertrand."
"But I do mind," Vlad whispered, tugging on Erin's sleeves until she was close enough for him to feel her warm breath on his face. "He would've drained you without a second's thought."
"You don't think I know that?" she snapped. Her voice softened as she looked into Vlad's eyes. "There's no harm done, Vlad, honestly. The sooner we can move on from all of this, the better."
"Weren't you scared?" he asked her quietly. He searched her face, the deep purple circles under her eyes standing out starkly against her white skin, which was almost as pale as Vlad's own at this moment.
"S'pose," she shrugged, not quite meeting Vlad's gaze. "I was more angry, I think. He was trying to take over. Trying to usurp you."
"I'm sorry," he mumbled, running his thumbs lightly over the marks on her wrists. He stopped abruptly as he felt her wince. "I shouldn't have sent you away. I should've known that someone would try something like that."
"How could you have?"
"I promised to protect you- and I like to keep my promises."
Erin rolled her eyes. "I'm still here, aren't I? Goodness, if I can't handle a few rope burns, I'll be no good as the girlfriend of the Chosen One." She stopped, her eyes widening as she realised what she'd just said. "Oh- Vlad, I'm sorry- I didn't mean… I'm not trying to push you-"
"Don't be stupid." He ruffled her hair, grinning as she smoothed it down, her face a picture of mock outrage. "I should feel lucky that you want to stick around after all of this."
"What's life without a couple of mass-murder attempts?" she teased, the lights dancing in her eyes once more.
Vlad hesitated for a moment, torn between what he desired and what was gentlemanly. He didn't want rush things. He almost pulled away- before, in a surge of boldness, he moved his hands from Erin's wrists to her back. He slid them up, creasing the cotton of her shirt slightly, until he reached her neck. He tilted her head back gently, and slowly lowered his lips to hers. Hers were deliciously warm; dry and chapped, but still soft and tantalisingly sweet. He nipped her bottom lip softly, and she gasped, opening her mouth. Vlad prolonged the kiss for a few seconds more, reluctantly keeping his tongue firmly inside his own head, before pulling away.
Erin looked up at him through her fringe, her eyelids fluttering. She was breathing rather more heavily than usual, a delicate shade of pink creeping along her cheek-bones. She cleared her throat awkwardly, her eyes averted from Vlad's, but she looked pleased.
"Come on," Vlad said to her, feeling slightly hot under the collar himself. "Let's skip school for today and hang out."
"What about Miss McCauley?"
"What about her? I'd face her wrath any day if it means I can spend some time with you." Vlad cringed inwardly- it hadn't sounded so cheesy in his head.
Erin, however, merely giggled. "You've got to be the sweetest vampire in the world," she said lovingly, and Vlad was reminded with a jolt of the first time she had said those words. It was amazing, really, how far they had come since then.
They made their way through the school's winding corridors, still hand in hand, in the direction of the Draculas' living quarters. A strange sensation was overwhelming Vlad's insides- a warm, contented sensation. It was as though it was running through his veins like honey. He felt as though a great weight, a great pressure, had lessened- it hadn't been lifted off his shoulders completely, but it was considerably lighter. He smiled as he glanced at Erin out of the corner of his eye. The Truce could wait. Right now, it was time for he and Erin to sit down, chill out, and make some plans.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: So I hope you enjoyed my first one-shot! Please let me know what you think, and check out my other fics. Thank you!