Waking up was a challenge of its own.
It was not the usual song of sleepiness and reluctance, but an entirely different ballad. There was no sleep weighing her down, no slow realization of the change in scenario. No, she woke up suddenly and devastatingly. The clear realization that there was nothing she could do on her mind. No help she could offer her friend, no hand to extend in comfort.
A quick glance to her clock revealed that she had woken up twenty minutes before her alarm, and somehow that made the situation even worse. Not only was she right, there was nothing she could do, but she also had to deal with the fact that she had to wait until hours to check on her friend.
If she even could do so. And wasn’t that a devastating thought? The dreams that she once feared had become her respite, and instead a new fear had taken their place. What would happen if the dreams stopped? What would she do? Would she return to the monotony of her old life as if nothing had ever taken place?
Those were questions she did not have the strength to answer. At least not yet. Not after the nightmare she had just experienced. Instead, she would have to hope and wait.
Hope that Marcus had followed her advice, and burned Plouteus body.
Wait until the day was over and she could dream .
Hope that Marcus had maintained a hold of his mind and not gone into a newborn rampage.
Wait for her school day to end and for the sun to disappear beneath the horizon.
As she laid there in bed, looking blankly at the ceiling while her alarm clock lit the room in a ghostly green, she realized that all she could do was wait and hope she dreamed of Marcus that night. Hope that she was fast enough to help him, even if she had been late to help him this time around. Even if she had been too late to help him where it truly mattered.
Grimacing at her ceiling, she shook her head, trying to rid herself from the overwhelming guilt she felt. Yes, she should have told Marcus about vampires and their dangers. Yes, she should have warned him of the dangers found at night, especially during the night’s where the moon was full. Yes, yes , yes .
She should have done better.
She had made a stupid mistake, grown comfortable . What is more, some part of her, as small and inconsequential as it was, had still believed that it was just a dream . Perhaps some part of her still believed that, but no longer could she afford treating her dreams as such. Not when what she felt was so real , so raw .
Death had taught her that life was too short for regrets, too short for ‘ what ifs ’. She only had one life, or well in her case two lives , so she had to live her second life at its fullest, even if it meant that she had to con herself into believing that yes , her dreams were not a figment of her imagination.
Turning around, she squinted in the dark towards her bedside table and sighed when she managed to discern that her alarm clock read ‘7:04 AM’ in bright green numbers.
Great , now she didn’t even have time to laze about in bed before going to school. Groaning softly, she stood up and stretched, turning her alarm off when it began to go off.
Moving towards her closet, she began to undress, preparing herself for the day she already wished was over.
Closing her eyes, she rested her forehead on the desk in front of her and wished she could just skip the entirety of elementary, middle and high school. Just push the fast forward button on the movie of her second life until she had graduated from high school for a second time. Wow, but was the public education system annoying . While logically, she knew she was making the right choice, that she would have been fucked if any shady organizations caught wind of her advanced mindset. Gods , now that she had begun to believe vampires existed she realized she would have been even more screwed if anyone had gotten wind of her circumstances. Meeting the Volturi was not on her to do list… At least not for now. So, yeah, she had made the right decision when she had decided to underplay her abilities. Still, if she had to do a vocab quiz one more damn time she would go batshit crazy . She liked writing, yes, but wow was she done with vocabulary tests. So fucking done.
All the screaming wasn’t helping either. She hated Fourth Grade from the bottom of her heart. Yes, her friends were adorable. So hopeful and bright-eyed. Yes, she had fun playing with them. Yes, she was happy her kindergarten stage was over… But, but , being stuck in a classroom full of ten years old as a ten year old? It was a nightmare .
It was exactly this kind of moments that made her debate whether her idea of pretending to be just a rather smart child was such a good idea, or if she should have just made herself a genius . Even Volturi should be better than that. Right?
“Class! The bathroom break is over!”
Groaning softly into the wood, she sighed and mentally prepared herself for the rest of the day.
“Gods, I wish the day was over already,” she whispered as she raised her head.
“How was school, sweetheart?”
As soon as she opened the door, she heard her mother’s and restrained a grimace. Painting a bright smile on her face, she skipped cheerily into the room.
“It was great, Mami! We started learning about the history of Florida and it’s so cool!”
“It’s good that you are enjoying your classes,” her mother said with a smile. “Now go put your things in your room.”
“Okay!” chirping happily, she made her way towards her room, smile slowly falling from her face, replaced by a frown. Gods, she was so tired of acting like a child. She couldn’t wait until she was an adult. Again .
That night she dreamt.
By itself, dreaming was not a surprising occurrence. Her dreams had become expected . Normal, casual, part of her routine. From the very first dream on, visiting Marcus had become just another part of her day. No, dreaming didn’t surprise her. What did surprise her was that this time, when she opened her eyes, there was no Marcus . Instead, she was in a vastly different forest than the one she had dreamt the night before. The forest was different, and to be honest, quite macabre . The full moon peaked in between tree branches, illuminating the forest floor, leaving behind shadowy imagines. Worst of all, everything was silent. There were no birds singing, no animals moving about, no insects chirping … It was unnatural.
She was lost, worried, confused . She always, always , dreamed of Marcus, so whatever her current situation was it was new and surprising . She didn’t like surprises very much. And especially not when they took the shape of a creepy ass forest under a full moon .
She had a) read enough horror books to know that waking up on a strange forest was not a good sign, and b) knowledgeable enough on the subject of the supernatural to know exactly what manner of beasts were awakened during the full moon.
For those fans who had read the Twilight books, watched the movies, or even those who had the barest minimum information on the topic, the knowledge of the existence of werewolves was a fact, an undeniable truth. She had read the books, she had watched the movies, hell, she even had read online headcanons and meta . She knew that in the Twilight universe, her current universe , werewolves were a thing . An evolutionary imperfected thing , but a thing nonetheless.
So, of course, she didn’t exactly feel comfortable at the moment. Not with the full moon on the sky, not when the forest was as silent as death itself. Not when she knew that her luck meant she would probably get to see a Children of the Moon some time soon.
“I hate this creepy dream, this creepy forest and this creepy… Well, everything ,” grumbling under her breath, she raised her hand to run it through her hair and froze when she heard the howl . “Of fucking course. My fucking luck.”
Growling under her breath, she did exactly what no one should do, she ran towards the howl. She was curious , alright? And she was dreaming. So far, nothing on her dreams had wounded her, so it was the perfect opportunity to see the damn beasts and learn what all the fuss was about.
Slipping soundlessly through the forest, she made a straight line towards the howl, not caring whether she ran through a tree or two. She was intangible, a ghost, a ghost, incapable of being hurt on her current shape.
Soon, the trees began to clear, growing farther and farther apart, skeletal limbs reaching unto the sky. It was the perfect battlefield against someone with low maneuverability, and it seemed as if someone was determined to test it. Claw marks marred the trees, creating a trail leading to one of the most breathtakingly terrifying scenes she had witnessed.
Logically, she had known that werewolves were not to be trifled with, but she had not realized how much of a biological weapon they were until she saw one. Unlike the most typical portrayals, and even Meyer’s own vague comments, the beast in front of her did not look like a wolf . They were humanoid in shape, if your definition of humanoid was a creature that stood on two legs, hunched over and had arms so long that the tip of its claws brushed the floor. Just looking at it was wrong . Nothing should look like that . A deformed skull gave the vague appearance of misshapen ears, while sickly yellow eyes shined with madness. Tufts of matted hair randomly sprouted throughout the creature’s body without rhyme or reason, and the claws . By the gods , the claws and the teeth were a thing of nightmares . Long and curved, they shined eerily under the full moon. And the tips . The tips were jagged and dripped with a liquid that glowed . The entirety of the beast screamed supernatural, and it was fitting yes, but she wanted it gone .
And from what she could see, she wasn’t the only one. While she took her time processing the sheer presence of the Child of the Moon, it’s opponents had collected themselves and gone back into the offensive. A tall, athletic woman had her lips curled with a fury so intense it sent shivers down her spine. Next to her stood a tall man with white hair, of all things, eyes calculating.
“Is that a fucking anime boy ? Fighting a Child of the Moon? What is this, Fairy Tail ?” muttering under breath, she stepped closer to the fight, watching with morbid fascination as a single werewolf gave two vampires a run for their money. Still, while the mindless beast was strong soon it became obvious that it was no match against the two vampires that moved in perfect harmony.
It was like watching a dance. As the woman went right, the man struck left. They moved around each other in perfect synchronization. Mesmerized by their cooperation, she stepped closer, wishing to see them more clearly, but she stopped when she caught the sight of something that made her blood run cold.
There was another pair of yellow eyes amongst the wood.
Blue eyes catched the way the hidden werewolf tensed it’s legs and she took a snap decision that had far reaching consequences, not that she had known so at the time. Wishing herself visible, she opened her mouth and screamed as the other werewolf jumped.
The white haired stranger turned around just in time, avoiding the swipe from his attacker and tackling into the ground with renewed determination brought out by anger.
The edge of her lips twitched up at the ‘cracks’ that followed, one after the other, the bones of the werewolf under the man’s grip breaking . With the satisfaction, came worry. When had she become so vindictive? When had the sound of breaking bones stopped worrying her? Had death truly changed her and twisted her into someone that the enjoyed violence?
As she watched the two beautiful strangers work in perfect sync, she felt the pit of her stomach drop, because the answer was yes . Death had changed her, and she was barely beginning to realize how much . The worst part of the ordeal, though, was that while she worried about not noticing such changes, she felt nothing regarding the changes themselves.
She should be disgusted by her apparent vindictiveness, disgusted by her degrading morality… But she wasn’t. Instead, as she watched the vampires tear into the werewolves, all she could do was smile as the edges of her vision faded, signaling the end of the dream.
Opening her eyes, she had to take a moment to collect herself when she realized she had not, in fact, woken up as she had expected. Instead, the dream had simply shifted in location dropping her smack dab in the middle of the damned clearing where Marcus had turned.
Turning around in a circle, she sighed in relief when she saw Marcus standing in front of her. Rushing to his side, she let her hands, hover over his arms. Looking up at him, she let her eyes wander around his face, examining him for any damage caused after the transformation.
“Thank the gods,” she said as she let her hands fall and took a step back, relaxing when she saw Marcus’ eyes. Red as freshly spilled blood, yes, but also satisfyingly clear.
“What brings this concern forth?” he asked, amusement shining through. Relaxing at his coherence, she shrugged.
“Partly guilt, partly worry. I did leave you alone after you awoke, and even if I have no control over when I wake or not, it does not mean I have to like it,” she pointed out as she sighed. And wasn’t that strange? While she could not interact with the world around her, she could still do such things as sigh and run her hand through her hair. Her dreams were such a strange place. “I also feel extremely guilty about not warning you about the vampires. I just thought that, well, you know. You wouldn’t meet one, ever . Much less turn into one.”
“But from what you told me while, while the fire was devouring me, you knew of these creatures. Am I correct?” The curiosity in his voice was apparent, but so was the pain at the mention of his transformation.
“Wait. You heard me?”
“Indeed. It was one of the reasons I did as you told me and burned Plouteus,” he said while grimacing, eyes shadowed by grief. “He was not the man I used to call a friend, and after I regained my mind after… After the feeding , I could clearly see that our friendship had deteriorated into an obsession.”
Stopping short at the pain in his voice, she noticed the way his shoulders hunched and how he seemed to be turning inward, grief and shame consuming him.
“Marcus, I am so sorry you had to see what your friend turned into.”
“What I wonder is,” he began to pace as he spoke, an erratic movement that she knew was impossible for the human eye could follow, but somehow she could. “Will I fall as he has? Will I let the thirst consume me?”
“Honestly? I don’t think so,” she declared, sitting cross legged in the ground. “The fact you are worried about becoming a mindless killer shows that you have more control than you believe. I am pretty sure most newborns would not be debating the morality of vampirism a… Sorry, how long was I gone?”
“The sun has not set since you left.”
“Yeah, my point exactly. I am pretty sure most newborns would be searching for blood around now, and yet here we are,” she said.
“That does not mean I do not want to drink more, that does not mean that I won’t kill the next person that passes by me,” Marcus rubbed his forehead. “I do not want to harm those I care about.”
“Then don’t? There is plenty of other people out there, and honestly? As long as you get your fill,” she shrugged. “Well, I don’t care what happens to your victims.”
“What? Come on! I have seen you kill others to defend those you care about, this is not much different. You care about yourself and you don’t want to feel thirst? Drink from someone you don’t know. Voila! Problem solved.”
She watched as Marcus came to a halt and turned towards her in surprise.
“That is fairly callous and I am surprised you would say that. Did you not frown at the slavers when they visited town?”
The incredulity in his tone made her pause and reflect on what she had said. It was callous indeed, but she could not come to regret saying it. After all, what did she care about known strangers when her friend was right there and had a real problem? To her, the people Marcus would feed on were long death anyway, so why should she care what happened to them? Death was inevitable, slavery on the hand could be stopped.
“I-I think that my train of thought is kinda like this: I don’t care about the people you kill, because I am more worried about what would happen to you if you don’t feed. Also all people have to die at one point. On the other hand,” there she paused to gather her thoughts. “On the other hand, I find slavery appalling because it implies some humans are inherently inferior to others and that is false. Also, it does not work as a system and it’s just really stupid? Like, it halts progress and just spreads societal hate, which then harms society. And like? People don’t have to be slaves, or have to have slaves. It is not necessary nor a must, simply a so-called ‘luxury’ used to oppress those without power.”
Hearing the leaves crunching next to her, she turned to see Marcus sit next to her with a contemplative face.
“That is… Actually, not a terrible point.”
“Geez, thanks for your vote of confidence. It’s not like I know about political theory or shit like that, right?” Sarcasm dripping from her words, she rolled her eyes. “But really, you have to make the best out of the situation at hand. Like, for example, now you are immortal and are incredibly fast . You are going to be able to see entire civilizations rise and fall . The world is your oyster, Marcus, and you should enjoy that.”
“When you put it like that, there is much I have yet to explore.”
“Right?! The opportunities are limitless...”
Soon they returned to their usual speaking patterns, bantering and chatting idly until the background blurred and the dream slipped from between her fingers.
This time, when she opened her eyes to see her bedroom ceiling she did not worry. Why would she? She had spoken with Marcus, and while he had not been fine , he was alive, he was coping . All that she could do now was to wait and attempt to stay with him as he grew into his new lifestyle and fully embraced his new nature.
That she could do easily.
Stretching languidly, she rolled out of bed. Yawning, she walked up to her closet and opened the door wide. Fingers running through the hangers, her hand stopped on a white dress with red dots as an image flashed through her head.
White hair flew as the vampire turned towards her, red eyes meeting blue as they took her in and settled at her hand pointing behind him. Suddenly, she was facing the stranger’s back as he threw himself to the werewolf that had previously escaped his and his partner’s attention.
Blinking the image back, she hummed thoughtfully. Right, that had happened. That was… New, to say the less. She had never dreamed of anyone but Marcus before. And now that she thought about it, that fact was also weird by itself. Why was she dreaming of Marcus on the first place? Had Marcus been just the beginning? Maybe-
“Oriana, hurry up and get ready or you will be late!” Her mother’s voice called out, snapping her from her musings.
“Sorry mami! I will hurry!”
Taking the white dress down from it’s hanger, she decided to leave that matter alone until later . Later referring to Science class, of course.
Science class came and went, and she wasn’t any closer to figuring out why suddenly Marcus was not the sole focus of her dreams. And she had tried . The entire class, she had created theory after theory, each one more ridiculous than the last, in hopes of finding out the why behind the sudden change, but none seemed to be plausible. By the time the school day had ended, there were only three things she could say for sure:
- Marcus was a vampire.
- Her dreams had expanded to include more vampires, and perhaps they would not stop with those two.
- Her life was irrevocably weird.
Admittedly, it was not much of a list, but it was something and the thought that she was one step closer to figuring out what the hell was happening with her dreams brought her comfort that night, as she got ready for bed.
“Alright, what the flying fuck ?” Opening her arms, she repeated her words, not bothering to speak in Ancient Greek because fuck it . “ What the fuck?! Why am I even here? ”
‘Here’ being a creepy cave with two vampires that looked hauntingly familiar. Almost as if she had seen them somewhere before… Oh wait, she had. Because they were the same vampires that had killed the werewolves the day before .
Groaning in annoyance, she tightened her fists and shook them towards the ceiling.
“Fuck whoever decides where I travel in my dreams,” hissing in Ancient Greek, she let her hands drop and sighed. “Seriously, how hard is it to give a warning?”
Her words seemingly broke through whatever surprise her arrival had cause, because suddenly the male vampire was up on her face snarling.
“ Identify yourself and your intention ,” he growled, and wow was that pee-in-your-pants terrifying… Or well, would have been if she had been physically present in the cave.
As it was, she knew nothing the vampires did could harm her, so she rolled her eyes at him.
“Relax, you don’t have to worry about me. I am intangible, see?” To prove her point, she shoved her hand through the nearest wall and sent the man a look . “But since you asked so nicely. I am Oriana Blanco and have no intention regarding you two, since, you know. I have no clue who you are .”
Apparently that was the right thing to say, because the athletic woman stepped forward and nudged the man out of the way, her eyes shining with interest.
“Are you perhaps a ghost? Did you die young? Are you haunting these woods?”
Surprised by the sudden interest, she floundered for a moment before shaking her head.
“No to all three. I am not a ghost, the first time I died I died at twenty, so not really young per say. And like, to be honest, I have no clue where I am,” she shrugged. “My soul kinda travels to the past when I sleep? Not really? I don’t actually know how that works, just that it has happened a lot recently.”
“Why should we believe you?” The man asked. “You were on the clearing on the new moon.”
“Because it’s the truth? I don’t know what else to say, to be honest. But I am curious. What ended up happening to the werewolves? Did you two kill them?” Tilting her head, she narrowed her eyes when a thought flitted through her head. “Did you burn the bodies? Please tell me you burned the bodies.”
“We did burn the bodies, but why do you ask?” The woman asked curiously.
“The fluids coming out from the Children of the Moon looked toxic , and honestly, it is not entirely unbelievable for it to be used to contaminate other animals or something like that,” grimacing, she shook her head. “That does not sound good.”
“You are not wrong,” the man agreed grudgingly. “And I suppose I must thank you for warning us of the second werewolf.”
“Thank me by telling me your names, please. It’s kinda weird to think of you two as ‘the male vampire’ or ‘the athletic woman’.”
“Come on, Caius! We owe it to her,” the woman said and turned towards her with a smile. It was a really pretty smile, a part of her absently noted while a bigger part freaked out . “I am Athenodora.”
Gaping, she opened her mouth to say something, anything really, but all that came out was a short.
She was about to say something else when the entire room spinned and suddenly the cave was gone, replaced by wooden walls.
“Well, well, what do we have here?” A voice called from behind her, and she turned to find a young man, maybe around nineteen, looking at her with a, frankly creepy, grin from the threshold of the room. “Hello, apparition. You may call me Aro, how may I call you ?”