Waves tore her body in different directions, at the same time as something pulled her down beneath the surface. She saw everything as clearly as if she hadn't been under water, and the tingle in her eyes from the saltwater was missing, something was clearly wrong. Vampires wouldn't die from drowning immortal as they were, but it could still be experienced as unpleasant if not terrifying. Then suddenly, just as the blondes body had started to seize due to the lack of oxygen the scene changed and a mirror came in to view. The reflection was familiar a long slender body and long blonde curls, the face however was odd Serena's usually kind green eyes were replaced with a predictors her teeth were sharp, long and cover in blood. Voices whispered monster.

 Serena knew it was a dream she'd been having this weird dream every time she closed her eyes the past weeks. The doctor's eyes flew open she awakened from her nightmare. Her breathing and pulse was elevated but after focusing on slow even breaths both went back to normal. When she'd calmed down she glanced over at her nightstand watch. 15 minutes she had only been able to sleep for 15 minutes again. A sigh escaped her lips and she rose from the king sized bed. No point going back to sleep it would only result in going back to drowning. Am I losing it? The  female asked herself as she stared at her reflection, this time her kind but tired eyes were the ones she meet. If she hadn't known better she'd seen these sleepless nights and almost panic attack things during the day as signs that the work at the hospital had made her burned-out. Was it even possible? 

Serena was well read, and had even bothered to research it further for more information. Exercising was suppose to help, it hadn't so far. Losing control at work was a concern, this new side of herself she didn't trust and especially not  when voices in her head cheered for her to fail. What was wrong with her? Could a vampire be burned-out? Insecurity, doubt and self loathing was a part of life, but it had never been this bad before. 

Another reason for the madness could be loneliness according to the websites. The surgeon lived a lonely life but had never had a problem with it and didn't most vampires prefer being by themselves? Her empty life was self chosen she didn't hate other people or even disliked them she just never had time to bond with people, and once she had time she was to shy and afraid to disturb anyone to approach new people. 

One person might have some answers to the questions swirling around in her head but it would feel like she'd lost a battle if she had to ask him for advice, The vampire king Mr Gideon Ashworth. Serena was already an outsider in the vampire faction, a freaky  person without social competence. 

"I am sure he won't mind" Her soft melodic voice said trying to be convincing. Quickly before she could change her mind she turned away from the mirror and out of the room. On her way to her car she braided her hair and got properly dressed in jeans and a white blouse.  

Her ruler was most likely at the coven castle were many of the faction members had their permanent residency, so that was were she was heading. "What will I even say to him? Hello my mighty leader I am sorry for disturbing you in the middle of the night but I have gone mental" she blurted as she drove through the dark. 

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“No no no no no. I talked to Mrs. Kopesh twice last week and both times it was over the same thing. I’ve given her my answer, NO.” Chuckling, though the exacerbation in his tone was clearly present the King of the Vampires shook his head at his young assistant. Tessa was quick and efficient, much like her mother, though a bit more driven in certain areas which was highly entertaining at times. Every since Deliliah’s departure he’d been at a loss as to what to do with the young Vampire only to have her solve the issue herself. Being King and Ambassador brought with it a whole slew of responsibilities and appointments that had been difficult to keep track of alone, so the young woman had taken it upon herself to keep him on schedule and be the first line of contact between himself and everyone else. Save the Bastion of course, all efforts to curb their rude entrances were met with laughs and eye rolling.

Tessa nodded her head, making a note in her book as he came around his desk. Gideon enjoyed watching her work, seeing the varying expressions that crossed her face in a combination of her mother’s fine breeding and her father’s severity. As the pair of them continued to take care of some other side notes of business the Ancient felt a slight stirring in his gut that had the smile dropping from his face, a look of far of concern replacing the expression as he politely held up a hand. The brunette went instantly quiet, watching him with interest though he paid her no mind. Internally he sought out the source the disturbance, coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t the death of one of his people that had set him off.

Curiously he pinpointed the shift, rising from behind the behemoth desk that dominated the space in his office. A slight smile tugged at the corner of his lips as he recognized the Vampire entering his domain and it both surprised and intrigued him. “Tessa cancel my audience’s for the rest of the night and reschedule them as soon as you can. Something has just come up that requires my attention.” Much to her credit the young woman didn’t argue, taking her leave with a slight nod of her head and moving from his path. Striding from the room he wondered what would bring the good Doctor to the mansion, a place she had yet to visit even when they had held events for the whole of the city within its walls.

Passing by residents within the maner Gideon nodded his head in greeting, pushing through the large oak doors just as the blonde parked her car in one of the designated slots. When she didn’t immediately exit the vehicle the monarch made his way down the steps and politely opened her door with a congenial smile, “Ms. Hamilton, it is a pleasure as always to see you. Won’t you come in?” He could tell she was flustered, upset by something she had yet to name and whatever it was had sent her here. To his doorstep. It both worried and intrigued him, as it was his duty to see to his people he wanted to help in any way that he could.

Extending his hand he offered her help from the vehicle, hoping to set her at ease and make it easier to get to the bottom of whatever was bothering her.

With the heightened senses that came with being a vampire parking and driving was easy. The blonde couldn’t remember if she’d been a star behind the wheel in her previous life as human or if she’d just been decent. After turning of the car engine she unbuckle her seatbelt, her body would probably survive a collision without it but being a good role model she wore it anyways, but didn’t exit the vehicle. Is this really a good idea?

Maybe I should just go to work and not bother the very busy king with this nonsense. She had almost convinced herself to out of sight when her monarch opened the enormous oak doors and walked toward her car, making that plan a no go. How did he know she was here? She thought but then remembered that the vampire regent knew everything about his people. Curious as she was she’d done some research on it a while back and got to read lots of interesting stories true or not about the king and his bounds to each faction member. Gideon politely opened her car door and extended his hand to support her, and she took it polite as she was even thaw she could’ve done it herself. She knew the gesture wasn’t to diminish her, that during most of the centuries her king had lived through this gentleman behavior was expected.

“Mr Ashworth the pleasure is all mine” Serena responded smiling shyly as she gracefully exited the car. “I’m sorry if I’m bothering you I know you’re a busy man” she excused herself letting her eyes wander. The mansion and the garden that came with it was huge and very beautiful every detail completing the experience.
“I won’t keep you for long I promise” she continued as she slowly walked after him towards the doors he had just exited.

Chuckling Gideon waved away Serena’s concern’s as he tucked her arm into the crook of his elbow, gently closing the door to her vehicle. She seemed as jumpy as a rabbit, ready to bolt at the slightest provocation. Studying her as she looked around, her eyes darting from one thing to another she seemed especially preoccupied with something and whatever it is must be important to have driven her here. As the King, he kept a close watch on all of his subjects while also letting them have the freedom to do as they wish with their lives.

Serena was a special case, a Turned who managed to work in the medical field despite her species difficulty around blood. From what he’d been able to glean she was exceptional at her job and compassionate to a fault. Their last talk had been some months ago, more a meeting of the minds than an interview and the Ancient found he liked her. The young doctor was smart, intuitive, and for all intents and purposes a credit to their species. It was nice to see her though and despite her obvious discomfort.

Following her gaze, to the gardens, he waved a hand in front of them, “Let’s take a stroll through the garden, I think I need some fresh air.” Gently he began guiding her toward the side of the castle, stepping onto the dirt path that led into the gardens. “So tell me what is on your mind Serena, I have to say I was surprised when I felt you coming.” It wasn’t a secret what he was able to do, that his family could sense their kind.

Her king was really a kind soul. Determined to let his people live their lives as they wished, even if he easily could’ve forced them to obey under his empire, as long as certain necessary rules were followed. She admired him for that. Many rulers, from different time eras had ruled without mercy. Several still used cruel methods to undermine their members. Her king balanced their freedom very well, looking over them and ensuring that they knew if they wanted his attention they had it. Almost like a father figure or big brother.

Still she didn’t visit his castle if she could avoid it. It was something about his long life experience that mad her feel like a stupid child in comparison. The blonde didn’t think others who asked for help were weak or annoying. Helping was one of the thing she enjoyed most, as her selfless side demanded turning attention away from herself. When others asked for help she never judged so why was it so hard to do it herself? Maybe because her minor issue was just that minor. There were so many people out in the world who had no water, orphans in war zones, real problems. Considering that how could she complain about hearing voices in her head and visions of herself that weren’t real?

Serena nodded at her Ambassadors request and silently followed him as he guided her to path leading them around the beautiful garden. “I should visit more often, it’s beautiful here” she told him amazed by the view the flourishing garden provided. A deep breath later she opened up about her reason for coming there. Even thaw it was hard for her to do so she didn’t want to waste his valuable time, even when he had an limitless amount. “I know you’ve important things to attend my king so I shall keep it short and get out of your way ” she started bowing her head and letting her blue eyes stare at the ground as she spoke. “I hear voices that doesn’t belong to someone, and every time I close my eyes I see horrible pictures”

He could tell Serena had something on her mind, something that was bothering her enough that she was coming to him for help. It was rare that one such as herself came to anyone, let alone the King of their species. The blonde doctor had been a force unto herself since the moment he’d met her, living her own eternity by her own rules. To date, this was the first time he’d ever seen her step foot on coven grounds which meant that whatever was bothering her was serious. He sensed her concern mixed with unease and that worried him.

Stepping into the garden they were instantly surrounded by greenery, shut off and insulated from the rest of the world. When she finally broke the silence her voice was quiet, barely discernible above the quiet crunch of wilted foliage beneath their feet. “There grounds are always open to you, you know that.” Gideon wasn’t going to force his people to live on the castle grounds, he rather enjoyed the fact that they felt at ease enough to go off on their own. Still, he would keep the Castle open to all of his people, a safe place they could go when they needed it. The King also prided himself on being an open source to the vampires, whether by advice or just keeping the doors open.

He let her finish speaking before he stopped, turning to face her in the middle of the garden path. “Nothing is more important to me than the well being of my people Serena, that includes you.”  He spoke earnestly, every word a truth that he believed and lived by. He didn’t care what issues were in front of him none were more important or pertinent than those of his people. When she finally did speak on what was bothering her it took the Ancient a moment to process it all. His mind churning over the fact that she was hearing voices and seeing things that she shouldn’t.

“Have you fed recently?” Perhaps it was a mundane question but sometimes the most obvious solution was the hardest to see. 

”Your doing a great job Sir, I haven’t heard anyone speak one bad word about you” She assured him. Interactions and social weren’t her strong suit but she was attentive and no one had anything but praising words to say about the Vampires leader. A deed itself as vampires weren’t the most beloved creatures of the world. Feared by most and for a reason. Months of training had helped her to drop the scary aura that kept human instincts at their toes even thaw they didn’t know the reason behind the reaction. 

”Yes and it does not seem to help much” Although Serena had come to terms with what she was, the blonde had never hated what she had become at times it actually helped her make a diagnosis, however she hated the fact that she had to feed of others to survive. While human her diet had been strictly vegan, animal friend as she was, from that it was a big step to sink your fangs into a living being even thaw it didn’t hurt. It felt barbaric and horrible so a few friends gave her blood bags with their blood for her to feed on. Still she only drank the minimum quantity possible for her to stay in control and healthy. 

”Maybe I just need to be around her more” The thought wasn’t thrilling, she got along with almost everyone but her introvert personality didn’t exactly help in making conversation. Besides she knew that children all over the world needed medical attention and the more she worked the more she contributed to lowering that count. Her theory had come from other species behaviour she knew that many lost it if they were isolated from their kind for two long. From what she knew Vampires had no such problems.

Gideon smiled fondly at the compliment the young blonde gave him, her tone telling him how serious and sincere she was. He knew there were rumors circulating around the city about him, though he didn’t care much for what they were. Even before he’d become King of his race, the talk of others was never something he cared to indulge in. Things often got thrown out of whack and over exaggerated much to the detriment of the person being spoken about. He’d never been able to understand why people chose to invent little white lies the built off the truth, honest was always so stark and simple.

“I appreciate you saying so, little one. It’s always nice to hear from my own people how they view things.” The male often enjoyed hearing from his people, their perspective made it easier for him to tailor his rule, though he was rather lax as long as individuals followed the laws. Bringing his mind back to the problem at hand he looked down at Serena as she answered his question. The tone of her voice gave him pause, his mind filtering through all the things he knew about the young fledgling.

“Are you feeding fully, completely satisfying yourself?” He suspected not and his next question was going to how exactly she fed. He’d known many vampires who subsisted on blood bags but occasionally they had to tap the vein. Something about fresh blood straight from a living body kept them at their strongest and most level.

"Will you ever be completely satisfied?" She asked answering his question with a question of her own, or maybe more of a speculation. Could anyone be completely satisfied not wanting anything more? She doubted more developed species could feel that way, utterly satisfied,  as their intelligence and curiosity, a key to their continued development. "I am sorry that was ludicrous, I understood what you meant" He had told her to stop apologizing but it was a hard habit to break, she struggled keeping to the subject. 

During the conversations she was used to having she was the one with the answers, the one people came to for advice. The doctor was generously payed for her knowledge and mostly knew what to expect. In this situation it was the opposite, and she didn´t know what her king wished. It played trix with her mind making her blurt things like a nervous child on their first interview. If someone came to her in this state she wouldn´t be annoyed or stressed to get rid of them, so she knew her ruler wouldn´t either but still she couldn´t help but feel like she was disturbing his very busy schedule.

"I feed enough to keep me from losing control" she admitted looking down. Less than recommended but a shameful amount to her. The blood she feed on could´ve been used saving lives, research and so much more and she craved it to keep from going on a killing spree, her worst nightmare. The blonde had always been a control freak, all doctors were, so it worried her that someday she might be tempted enough to lose control and maybe even take a life.

"I like being outside, I miss the sun thaw" The young vampire blurted her mind changing the subject again to distract herself from the path her thought had taken her. 

Gideon had never sired another vampire. Had never felt the need nor the justification to turn a human being into one of his kind. Yet over his very long life, the King had mentored a great number of fledglings, teaching them how to feed and survive without taking that step into madness. He made sure to impart to each what being a rogue would mean and sadly he’d had to dispatch a few who hadn't heeded his words. Serena was another case he was willing to guide though he had to admit he had never encountered a young vampire as adverse to feeding as she was. Having no idea just where her aversion was stemming from it was a challenge that the male took seriously.

Raising an eyebrow at her question the Ancient took a few moments to form his answer. “It depends. If you are asking from a professional or personal standpoint the answer would be maybe.” Professionally his people could find peace among themselves and with all those who would bear them ill will. Wouldn't it ever happen? Probably not but it was always possible. Personally, he might find the one he had been searching centuries for and bear children, but his hope for their future would be a never-ending endeavor. Again, possibly but not entirely probable.

He leveled his dark gaze on her pixie-like face, “Physically, however,  it is within our power to become completely satisfied. If one keeps up with one's needs and feeds completely then the hunger and side effects become negligible.” Gideon wasn't sure what was behind the young woman’s reluctance to feeding, no not just feeding but satisfying herself completely. He understood the facets of her character that drove her to being a doctor, the fulfillment she felt when practicing as a doctor. He understood her aversion to taking what she considered most valuable and yet what could be lost from her lack of understanding in herself could ultimately lose her everything.

“Tell me, Serena, what scares you more: you will take too much or that you will enjoy the act of taking too much?” He’d posed the question to many individuals and always the answer revealed to him what the root of the true problem was. The King suspected the answer but he wanted to hear it from her lips. Acknowledging her aside comment with a nod he remained quiet, letting her work out the answer in her own time. He didn't mind the wait or the walk, it was better than being cooped up inside with a stack of paperwork he’d been neglecting.

Serena´s turning hadn’t been out of free will, frankly she couldn’t quite imagine why anyone would seek out a vampire with the agenda to become one. She’d heard that immortality and the added strength that came with the change was tempting to many but those things had never driven her. The price that came with it to survive off other living creatures was to high for her compassion to stand. That a vampire turned someone was understandable tho. Eternity alone was not a thrilling thought.

The blonde didn’t know why herself had been turned, it was a mystery, or who’d done it. Her previous encounters with the supernatural world helped her understand what she had become and adjust to the new world she was forced in. To seek revenge, on the person who’d condemned you to the night world, as your emotions ran high wouldn’t be an unexpected reaction for a fledgling. Fledglings were known for their unpredictability and lack of self-control. However it was never on the map for the young doctor who somehow managed to stay focused on being a good person, forgiving the unknown person right away and just trying to make the best out of her new situation. It was hard doing it alone, but asking for help was harder. Either way due to her lack of outgoingness it was better to prepare for an eternity alone.

”My lord” She begun and then paused a second, her answer might come out as a bit arrogant especially whilst talking to a more experienced and elder person and humidity was the lane she had chosen to follow always tuning herself down to fit in and please those around her. ”I believe I know myself to well enough to know that non of those things are the cause of my distaste for our natural fed source” she continued crinkling  her nose at the mentioning of blood. ”Its sucking the life out of someone, the extra blood that isn’t necessary for me to have could, save lives and do so much good out there” her usually calm voice started to get frustrated as she spoke. ”Thats what’s whats bothering me not to fed, that others need it more which is unarguable”.

Gideon kept his face and body relaxed as they walked, despite being able to feel Serena’s agitation. Her voice relayed frustration while her movements displayed a clear and apparent amount of agitation. It truly bothers the fledgling that she was a member of a species that had to feed off of another to survive. He’d encountered such an aversion before but not to such a violent degree. It caused him great concern, not only for those around her but for the young blonde herself.  

He finally understood, could see what the true problem was and it would take some careful reasoning to get the doctor to see sense. The female fledgling was a caregiver through and through, self-sacrificing to the extreme and not one to complain. Her lack of sleep and aversion to feeding spoke of a woman who would put everyone before herself, even if it meant her own expiration. She poured all of herself into her work, into her patients, and left nothing for herself. Her personality wouldn't allow her to complain and to rarely ask for help which as a vampire were traits that had been heightened.

The King had never been human, had never had to experience the pain of the transformation nor ever had to experience adjusting to the thirst. He’d been born into this life of eternal night, and as such only found a mild curiosity for some of the finer points mortality seemed to offer. In all his long centuries, however, he’d been able to listen and watch as fledglings learned how to be immortal. It had given him some unique insights into what he was missing and though he found it all fascinating mortality was something he would rather do without.

They had been walking in silence for sometime when he stopped just inside the grove of young oaks, gesturing to a bench that had been placed just off the path. Once she was seated the Ancient took the spot next to her, leaning back to look up at the sky. Against the backdrop of the starry night sky, dozens of dark little bodies darted through the open air. It looked like a carefully orchestrated dance, an aerial show of acrobatic prowess to music that only they could hear. Pointing upward he spoke quietly, “When we were exploring this land one of our scouts found this small cave on the far end of the property. We were going to excavate and level it, set up some smaller more private housing; however, when we explored deeper we found it was the home of not one but two covens of bats.”

The longer they sat the more comfortable with their presence the animals became, their little squeaks of communication filling the silence. Smiling Gideon looked at Serena, “There are fruit bats and vampire bats that call that cave home. The fruit bats help to pollinate the grove and other places around Evermore while the vampire bats help to keep the insect population down.” Looking back up he sighed, “The vampire bars also subsist off of blood. The seals you hear are the fruit bats calling to one another while you won't hear the vampire bats. They quietly sneak up on large animals to feed. They take only what they need and then leave.”

As he spoke one of the bats flew down and landed on the back of the bench between them. It crawled across the wood, using its tongue and ears to inspect them before flying off again. “Would you condemn their entire species simply because they live off of the blood of other animals? For that matter would you destroy every predator that needs to eat meat in order to survive?” The male let that sink in for a few moments, allowing her mind to process where he was going with his little speech.

“As vampires, we do live off of others, need the blood of humans in order to survive. Killing is not necessary in the act of feeding, taking only what you need and moving on. Placing others lives above your own is a noble cause, but when it threatens your health and state of mind it is folly. Blood is a part of our nature, we need it in order to live and denying yourself is dangerous.” Once more he paused, shifting a bit so that he was facing her. “You do that with everything I suspect. With sleep. With food. With rest. You do great work but ignoring your own needs and state of being is foolish.

Seconds passed and Serena could feel that her frustration almost colored  the air, even thaw her king didn’t comment on it. A split second later she had pulled herself together again being the calm kind female again that people expected to see when they met her. It wasn’t a mask or a role that she put on but it wasn’t her true self either, no one could be that ”perfect” all the time. However patients and parents wanted to meet someone collected who got all the answers, never with a bad day, solving their problems helped her forget her own.

It was hard to imagine getting used to this new life, but as the years of being a vampire exceeded how many years she’d lived a normal human life, her struggles would seem silly. Would she lose herself alone the way? It was terrifying the uncertainty she experienced while trying to see her future self. It could be a cold blooded murderer  that was reflected in the mirror 80 years from now for all she knew. If she´d been born supernatural maybe she´d be less disgusted by the vampires diet.

Gideon was a great storyteller and  his deep voice painted a picture of past experiences, true or not. The blonde listened enchanted by his metaphor. She stayed quiet a while choosing her next  words carefully. “I'd never condemn a species” she informed him softly her gaze wandering over the star covered sky. “I don’t condemn ours or the members in it” the fledgling paused a few seconds before saying “I just expect better from myself” Other parents had had high expectations on what their children should achieve, while her own only saw her as a pretty accessory gaining them advantages so she had to push herself towards the sky high limits no one set up for her. Leading to her never doing anything half-heartedly.

“Thank you for giving me perspective on things” She was genuinely intrigued by his opinions and had given her much to think about. Probably helping her feel less shame about feeding the next time she was forced to even thaw it would never be a happy moment for her. “Is there anything I can do to return the favour My King?” She asked hoping he'd say yes so she could repay him for the time he had given her.

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