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Alternatively Titled: "Three Times Ingrid Danced"

1. Fairytales Told to a Young Girl

It is a common knowledge amongst vampire mothers that their daughters will find themselves dealing with the Rage long before their 16th birthday. This was a fact of the vampiric lifestyle and there was nothing that they could do about it. In order to attempt to prepare their daughters for this fact, they would read them rather gruesome fairytales, featuring lonely little vampire girls, who find their vicious princes after slaughtering the local peasants on coming into the Rage.

Magda Westerna was no different, though she left the reading to the children's nanny. What good was it to her to sit and read soppy tales to her whimpering maggot of a daughter? Much better to spend her time as she always had, amongst the high ups of the vampiric society, flitting from ball to ball and dining on the finest blood available. Let the Count and the nanny watch the children.

The five year old Ingrid didn't really care. She loved the stories the nanny told her, particularly the one with the vampire girl who had been stolen away from her true, noble, vampire family by petty breathers who worked her to the bone. Then on the night before her 16th the local prince threw a ball, inviting all maidens to the kingdom, searching for his bride. The girl had been forbidden to go by her breather family, but she made her way there anyway, falling for the prince and he in turn for her. She was spotted by the family though, and had to run. Early the next day, while she slept, an announcement was made that the prince would visit every home in his kingdom, looking for his love. He wouldn't reach their home until nightfall, so the family plotted, and decided to lock the girl in her room. If they could keep the prince from her, they had the hope of marrying him off to one of the uglier daughter. When she woke that night to find she'd been locked in, her eyes glowed an eerie red.

It transpired that the family didn't know she would receive her full powers on her birthday, they had been told she was powerless when they stole her away. 16 years of resentment fuelled her rage, and she slaughtered the family, drinking on their blood. The prince arrived shortly after she was finished, and grinned widely, seeing her dressed in blood, his own fangs shining brightly in the darkness. The wedding had taken place at the castle, with the Grand High Vampire himself giving the ceremony.

It had quickly become Ingrid's favourite, and her favourite story to act out. She danced around the castle in a daze, entering the grand room where her father would often be found, studying over various papers relating to the land they owned and gained money from. Vlad sitting at his feet. She danced around in front of him, looking like a princess herself. Completely in the mindset of her story, she turned to face her father, wide-eyed and smiling. "Dad I need you," she said. "There's a ball at the castle, and I've been invited, and I need to practice my dancing," she smiled wider. "Please, Daddy, please?"

"Hm? Oh don't bother me now Ingrid! I'm far too busy to play any little games," the Count snapped, waving his hand dismissively at his daughter. He was too concerned over a mistake in the accounting, and was fixated on it when he swept from the room, leaving Ingrid looking as though she was on the blink of tears, and Vlad blinking over at his sister.

"I'll dance wiv you Ingwid," he said, smiling as sincerely as he could, even if his three year old mind didn't understand the full meaning of the word 'sincere'. He held out a small, slightly sticky hand, smiling up at his big sister as nicely as he could. Ingrid's face quickly changed from being sad to scowling. If Vlad had asked the question, their father would have put away any work, and done as he asked. He never did that for her.

"Go away, pillow biter," she shot at him. His face fell slightly, as did his hand. Ingrid continuing scowling, before sighing slightly. "Oh, all right then, but you have to do exactly what I tell you," she instructed him.

"Yes Ingwid," Vlad nodded obediently. He listened carefully to her, grabbing her hands and allowing her to lead in the dancing. Despite it all, Ingrid couldn't help but smile slightly.

She was at the ball after all

2. The Hunt Ball

It was just typical, Ingrid reasoned, for her father to expect her to be able to organise the Hunt Ball of the century on such little notice. Not that she was entirely capable of it, but still, some forewarning would have been appreciated. She wouldn't be able to invite nearly the right amount of 'right' vampires; let alone have any change of getting any of the Council to appear. She wouldn't be able to get a new dress made either. Well that was a lie, she would, but it wouldn't nearly be as grand as any of the other ball gowns she had made for herself in the past.

Thankfully she had managed to get hold of a more than semi decent classical band. They were the hardest to grab on short notice, but when they heard it was a Dracula party, they were more than willing to come along and play for them, It was an honour after all, to play at a part of the Count Dracula, most infamous vampire to ever stalk the Earth. Even catering wasn't that bad; Renfield was capable of making a decent enough feast for their guests, even if they couldn't count on him to smarten himself up for the ball. And guests, though short notice, would be willing to come if there was a promise of fresh, prime, breather blood.

No, the biggest problem for Ingrid came in the form of dancing. It had been a long while since they had been at a ball - they had stopped giving them two years previously, when Magda had finally walked out permanently, and out of respect the number of invitations they received had dwindled, so Ingrid hadn't exactly had the chance to continually practise. But it simply wouldn't do for her to be seen at the party that her father was giving, completely unable to take part in the dances that everyone else were enjoying.

"Dad," she said, stalking into the throne room with a determined air about her. "The Hunt Ball is only a few days away, and I need to practise my dancing," she asked him. Not pleaded, never pleased, Ingrid Dracula does not plead, and she never would. "Please Dad?" she asked once more. The Count looked up from his paper, annoyed.

"Oh Ingrid, I have a thousand other things that I would rather do than have my feet stomped by yours," he sneered. Ingrid's face remained calm, but inside she bristled. "No, I have my beauty sleep to get after all, I may be classically good looking, but it doesn't hurt to give natural beauty a helping hand." He stood from his throne, looking around the room with a slight hint of distaste. "Make yourself useful. Tidy up," he said to Ingrid, before leaving the room in less time than it takes to blink.

Ingrid took deep breaths in order to calm herself. It wouldn't do to lose her temper so easily, not when she was in the middle of planning the greatest Hunt Ball that the vampire world would ever see. No, she would simply need to find the time to practise later; maybe she could con one of those idiotic twins into being her partner. Though they had none of the grace that she grudgingly admitted her father had in abundance. Make do, make do.

She turned, ready to leave the room, when she noticed - just out of the corner of her eye - Vlad walking in, obviously just returning from having spent the majority of the afternoon at the Branaghs. He tended to do that when their father got an idea into his head that Vlad couldn't easily remove. Pathetic wimp she couldn't help but sneer in her head towards him. On the other hand …

"Vlad! There you are, you snivelling maggot," she called. Vlad paused, turning round to frown at her.

"What have I done now?" he asked, looking confused. He was only through the door, surely he hadn't don't anything to warrant Ingrid's insults so quickly. Then again, it was Ingrid, and she did delight in causing him as much misery as she could possibly inflict.

"Nothing, yet," she added, glaring at him with the authority of an older sister. "You are not going to embarrass us at this Ball Vladdy dear," she sneered, "so dance practise. Now," she added, moving over to the old gramophone to place on a suitable record. Vlad frowned, his mouth hanging open as though he wasn't quite sure what it was he wanted to say to her. Ingrid tutted on seeing it, pushing his jaw up to close his mouth. "We can't allow you to embarrass the family Vlad," she said, "especially since you're the son and heir," there was bitterness in her tone as she said this, but Vlad was used to it. He sighed, and placed his hands where Ingrid instructed him to, silently rationalising that it was easier and less pain inducing to just go along with whatever Ingrid instructed him to do.

So, silently, with Vlad leading - as the girl never leads, as Ingrid often yelled at him - the siblings practised their dancing for the Hunt Ball.

They couldn't let the family down after all.

3. Engaged to be married

"So how long is it to go?"

"Six months, and he took it rather well surprisingly, thank you for asking," a 23 year old Ingrid Dracula spoke to her younger brother. Vlad was - for want of a better term - hiding out at her home, trying to escape the horrors of whatever it was he had been through in the seven years away from Stokley. She didn't know what it was, he wouldn't tell her, and she was fairly certain that she didn't want to know because whatever he had been through, it had turned him into someone she couldn't recognise as her little brother anymore.

It unnerved her slightly.

"Are you going to invite him to it then?" Vlad asked. Ingrid considered it.

"He is my father, and as many as I have with him," she paused, sighing slightly. "Every father deserves to get to see their children be married," she finished. She really had calmed down in the last seven years. She supposed it had a lot to do with wanting to be a better mother to her children than Magda had been to her. She was slightly surprised she had children this early into her life; originally she had thought she might consider the matter when she was at least 300 at the earliest, but with Will … She owed Vlad a lot, for bringing him back, but that didn't mean she was willing to let him retreat into a shell. He was the Grand High Vampire, for darkness' sake! "You should go back to Stokley Vlad, even to see if there's the slightest truth in the rumours."

"I expect I will pretty soon," Vlad responded. "Just … not sure if I can," he muttered. Ingrid rolled her eyes.

"Don't be such a scaredy vamp," she said, in her best 'mother' tone of voice. She really had taken to parenthood in a way no one would have expected. "You're a big vampire now Vlad, you're the Grand High Vampire, as a matter of fact, you need to check out any threats to your reign." The last part of her sentence sounded more like a statement, something which - considering who she was talking to - could have seen her dust if the Council overheard. Thankfully, Vlad had more sense than his Council, and knew no matter what his position, Ingrid was still his big sister, so still had the right to boss him around when she felt like it.

"Are you going to have a father-daughter dance?" he asked quickly, completely changing the subject. Ingrid let out a small annoyed noise, rolling her eyes once more.

"Vlad, there may have been a point in my life were I would be happy to dance with Dad," she began, "but I'm long over it by now," she sniffed, looking steadily ahead at the wall just behind Vlad's head. He nodded softly, not believing her in the slightest. He knew his sister a little too well for it to work on him.

"… I'll do it, if you want," he offered softly. Ingrid looked at him, studying, as though waiting for a punch line. Vlad didn't have one, so instead he held out his hand, inviting her to join him in a dance. "You'll need to help me practise though, I'm a little rusty."