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Mason Sampson


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“Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”

He use to tell himself that he could escape. That was his goal; he never attempted to gain anything else. As a child, he was always told that there was nothing else like it. Nothing else that could compare to feeding on a human. In the darkest of times, when the only thing he could feel or see was the pulse of a beating heart, he believed them. There was nothing like the warm blood of a living human. It strengthened him. It provided him with energy he could not find anywhere else. It was in these dark times, that he truly revealed who he was.

Monster.

The single word haunted his thoughts, sucking away any desire to ever feast again. It plagued his dreams, taking over every corner and edge of his mind. Even when he thought he could find a glimmer or the smallest piece of hope, the word returned. Binding him in shackles of disgust, he struggled to break through and show that there was more to him. More to the boy who put on the front that he cared for nothing. More to the one with the charming smirk and the tendency to bed any girl he desired. If only they could see that he had a soul, buried deep beneath the grime and title.

Because eventually,the shadows disappear and he is only left holding a lifeless body and a deeper hatred for who he was, who he had always been. That's why he had made the decision to run from his kingdom. He was not running from responsibility, but he was running from his identity. If he could escape the sight of his parents, perhaps he could find a life hunting animals, instead of people. Even now, quite a bit of time since he had left, Mason has found out that even countless girls and a new life cannot bring the happiness and peace he desperately wanted.

You can't run from yourself.



message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited May 09, 2014 02:47PM) (new)

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Rose walked up the steps of the magnificent and absolutely palatial Royal Supernatural Academy. She was utterly awed in the fact that several castles could undoubtedly fit inside it's massive walls. She swallowed hard as she passed several people on her way into the school. God I hope everything looks all right, please dear God don't let anyone notice me..... She thought panicked. The reason for this panic? Rose was currently wearing a men's suit. Her breasts hidden and her long hair tied and safely tucked away beneath a stylish cap. The suit was black with a crisp white shirt. Also she was carrying an application with a male name inscribed on it. Ethan Noah Silver. Rose's new name and identity since the night she ran away from home five days ago. She had heard news bulletins on the television that her father and mother were searching for her frantically, blaming the Strigoi and offering an outrageous award for her safe return. There would no doubt be swindlers heading towards the castle as she walked and thought right this very moment but Rose was nonplussed. She knew her father was no fool. She sighed as she reached the registration desk. "Time to shine." She muttered under her breath as she walked up and registered as a male commoner ready for bodyguard duty.


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Step, turn, hit. With each punch, the bag swung back, moving against the stuffy air of the small room. The room was relatively simple, with only a few bags hanging and some exercise equipment shoved into the corner. Actually, the room seemed to be unused except for the occasional visit by Mason. With each and every time he found the need to hit something until he bled, the bag waited for him. Hanging there, with each hit a cloud of dust rose from the raggedy old thing, proving just how unused the room was. The peeling wallpaper and lack of air conditioning alone was not an appealing edge to the room. Despite this all, Mason found refuge in this room. Here, he could move until his muscles pleaded for him to stop. He could duck and move until the sun had disappeared for hours until one more hit was the only thing standing between him and pain. The bag hung there like an old friend, always ready, waiting for him to fall. It always beckoned Mason to hit harder and faster. Jutting to the side, he threw his fists with all his might. Small huffs of breath escaped between his parted lips, while he merely tried to overcome the simple bag. Sometimes, it even seemed to taunt him as if whispering in his ear that one more shot would do it. One more bruised knuckle would satisfy. It was never enough. The punching bag would win every single time.

Sweat beaded on his forehead, matching the heavy puffs of air he blew out. He wore only a simple pair of sweatpants and a loose necked, white t-shirt. Both hung loosely to his athletic frame, hiding the definition he held beneath. Mason worked out for one reason and one reason only; he hoped to forge while his lungs reached desperately for air and his muscles screamed in tantalizing pain. The whole healthy, great body thing was only a small benefit. His floppy, midnight black hair hung over his forehead, damp now from the growing perspiration.

He was not forgetting.

Harder and harder he hit, ignoring the growing purple lines on his knuckles and pain radiating through his hands. It wasn’t enough, not until he could not remember the previous night. It seemed as if he was getting weaker. Oh, he was weak. Even Mason would admit that about himself. Each night it only got harder. He was learning, if you waited long enough you would snap. Snap until you did things you regretted. After months of holding back, progress to become a better person, he had lost it; lost it in a single second.

The worst part was that during the single second, he had never felt better.



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A Moroi Prince? Rose thought to herself as she stood by a large pillar. She bit her lip as she stared down at the approved papers in her small pale hands which were soft as feathers. She wondered who it was? The name seemed familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Rose was also feeling less panicked since the registration had gone off with really no hitch at all. She was accepted into the school on the commoner's scholarship and was assigned to bodyguard duty to a Moroi Vampire Prince. Rose nodded to herself as she looked up from the papers in her hand and stopped biting her lip as she headed to the Prince's dorm room which subsequently was now her dorm room as well considering the role of a bodyguard and one of the conditions of the scholarship was to never leave your charge even if they themselves ordered it. It was a test really to determine which students were meant to be bodyguards and were fit enough for the scholarship in the end. Rose made her way through hallway after hallway. Up stair case after stair case. God did this place never end? As large was it was from the outside Rose would swear and not only that but bet excellent money that the building was even larger on the inside. Mmmhh, perhaps a ratio spell? Soon all thoughts evaporated from Rose's mind as she finally found the dorm room. Dorm number 1768. It was located in the Royal Wing of the prestigious school away from the more civilian folk. Rose took a deep breath upon reaching out and laying her hand over the knob. She twisted it and entered as she exhaled loudly and through her mouth. Of course Rose knew by now that her charge was not in residence as the Matron had told her where to find him but still it was rather daunting. God how was she going to pull this off? Rose set her bags down before the obviously unclaimed bed before walking back out and closing the door softly behind her. Fifteen minutes later she entered the small and shabby gym. She knocked before stepping inside, not waiting for an answer. Her eyes widened as she saw a young man with dark raven hair and piercing blue eyes punching the shit out of a punching bag. He was drenched in sweat and his hand..... Rose frowned at it before looking up and saying in a surprisingly male voice, "I'm Ethan, your new bodyguard."


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It had never been Mason's plan to have a bodyguard. He really didn't need one. It was silly almost, that they expected someone to watch after him. Through the last couple days --after they had warned him of the upcoming event of receiving a bodyguard-- he began to prepare himself. And by prepare himself, he actually was already planning ways to avoid his bodyguard. With one last, bone shattering hit, he took a step back, breathing heavily. The workout had lasted much longer than even he would have thought it to go. Turning from the swaying bag, his fingers reached to grab the bandages he had brought with. Part of him didn't even register the door opening or the footsteps leading inside.

His body dropped down onto the old wooden bench, before he turned his attention to wrapping the discolored knuckles. Hoping to be able to ignore the person, he kept his gaze down, focused purely on the mundane act of wrapping the gauze tightly. Unfortunately, this didn't last long until the voice sliced through the silence. Holding back a curse, Mason ever so slowly raised his skeptical gaze to the boy.

"Mason." He spoke curtly, tilting his head slightly to acknowledge the other boys existence, as much as he wished he would not have to.



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Rose merely nodded. She saw the reluctance in his eyes. Well she wasn't all that pleased either but there was no need to be rude about it. Shit. A bratty Prince. Just great. Rose couldn't help but feel the urge to go over there and help him with his bandages. God he really had gone too far. But why? She then started raking her gaze over him and noted his fine physique rather expertly hidden by his clothing. She saw his hand was badly bruised now but there was also some marks that appeared to be older. Perhaps he was even nursing some broken bones? Or had nursed them before. But why she asked herself again. Why would a Moroi Vampire need to do this? Strigoi on the other hand were noted for this type of self mutilation. But he was listed as Moroi and besides, Strigoi were banned from this school despite this Kingdom being an unofficial one. Then Rose noticed his eyes..... They seemed..... Pained. But she let it go a moment later. This was none of her business and besides, she was charged with protecting him from others and not himself. But that look and the mystery of his hands planted themselves deep in the back of her mind. Rose then noticed she had been standing there like a fool, silent and staring. She quickly cleared her throat before turning and taking a protective stance before the door. She said no more to the boy as she did this.


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The silence was getting to him. Maybe, this is what he wished for only moments prior, but now he realized how much of a mistake that was. It was uncomfortable, having the guy just stand there doing nothing. What was he even suppose to say? He almost laughed at the thought of asking Ethan where he came from. That might lead to question's directed back towards him, and he didn't have enough energy at the moment to make a lie convincing. Instead, he merely cleared his throat and he glanced over at the boy. Now that he had moved to the door, Mason allowed his eyes to immediately seize up the boys build, attempting to estimate how long it would take to overpower him. The kid didn't even look to break six feet. That alone, made him skeptical of Ethan. A bodyguard who couldn't even reach his eyes? Continuing to wrap the fabric, he began to finish it off. The rough texture wasn't as comforting as one would hope. Perhaps the eyes on his head were also not quite as comfortable as one would hope. Daring to give it another shot, he raised his head again, cocking an eyebrow up on his forehead.

"Do you always just stand there?" Even as he spoke, his attention left the new boy and he began to raise from the bench. Bending down to collect his things, he shoved them into a small bag before picking up the strap.



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Rose knew the Prince was about to speak before he even said the words. She had heard the moving of his neck muscles and his vocal cords so she did not jump as the Prince broke the silence. She then turned and cocked her own head at him. "I was under the impression you did not wish to speak my Lord." She said simply in her again amazingly male voice. Rose watched as the Prince chucked his things into his small bag and picking it up by the straps. She had assumed that when he started wrapping his hands in bandages that he was done with his training sessions. Rose wondered where on Earth they would go now? Or rather where the Prince went. Since it was mainly her job to follow him around like a puppy and make sure he stayed safe. At all times. She righted her stance to a waiting one as she saw him stand. Rose then turned herself and opened the door for him, holding it open as she felt relief at leaving the room. Now with the door open she could more easily smell the dust and mustiness from inside. Her poor nose had been overwhelmed before since she hadn't even noticed. She was rather excellent with her hearing but smell eluded her still. She would have to address that as soon as possible. She then waiting for him to exist so she could follow him.


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"'My Lord'?" Mason couldn't help the scoff that passed through his lips, coming out before he managed to stop it. He had always been called that back home, but here, he had started to be treated like the rest of the students. To his relief, that mean't people might begin to treat him like he thought he deserved. He always thought it might help his conscience if people treated him like scum. Of course, that was never the case. Stepping towards the door, he walked around the boy and entered the dimly lit hallway. Despite being outside the dusty room, they were still in the lower confines of the massive building. Down here, an occasional leak or bug could be spotted. It made the building seem more real, unlike the dream that rested above the lower quarters. Beginning to head down the hallway, Mason did not bother to look at the guard. Instead, he watched the wall before him, walking steadily towards the door that concealed a curling staircase.

"I'd rather you just call me Mason, actually." He informed Ethan after a moment of thought, giving both of them time to collect whatever thoughts they must. Oh, this arrangement would take getting use to, just like everything else in this world. He still had not given up hope that this guard dog was.. dispensable.



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Rose had merely raised an eyebrow at the Prince's scoff and disgusted sounding repeat-ion of what she had said only moments before. Keeping her mouth shut as befitting a lowly commoner guard she had merely waited for him to exit before closing the door softly behind herself after she too stepped out. She walked behind him dutifully, her feet surprising noiseless despite wearing black boots. She kept her head low, her ears alert as she nodded almost imperceptibly at the Prince... No, at Mason saying she should call him by his first name. The hallway was empty except for the occasional rat making a sound, most likely a screeched from fighting with another rat for food. Rose scrunched her nose, so much for perfection she thought. Their footsteps echoed eerily and soon Rose's ears perked. A third pair of feet. She quickly elongated her step to walk almost right behind the Prince as she kept her senses open for this new addition which was odd since it was late in the day. Students would be attending the dining hall for their early supper, not perusing the halls of the lower section of the school.


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Perhaps, if he didn't feel the need to beat the shit out of his hands, he would spend the night up above with the others while they ate. Their chatter almost reached them in the basement, rattling a few pipes that lined the walls. That was the thing with meals here. Wild and rambunctious, it was as if everyone attempted to speak above each other until all that could be heard was the noise. The silence of the basement fit Mason much more. Well, most of the time. Judging from the footsteps coming from behind him, the guard walked swiftly by his back. It was as if his shadow had turned into a man. A man who didn't seem to enjoy conversation or be able to defend himself. Both of these were considered as he stalked ahead.

Striping Mason from his thoughts, the sound of an extra pair of footsteps crept down a nearby hallway. Immediately, he recognized them. The familiar walk echoed off the corridors, reminding him that the basement had more than one pro. Tilting his head up, he slowed his pace until he was barely moving forward. If timed right, the female would soon meet up with them, crossing paths. Moving a hand to slid inside his pocket, a small smirk pulled at his lips.



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message 13: by [deleted user] (last edited May 09, 2014 03:51PM) (new)

Rose noticed two things. One, the Prince-ling's footsteps slowed until they were almost not walking at all. Rose had to slow down as well and fall back since she had a suspicion the young man knew who this third person was. That was were the second instance came in. His hand casually slipped into his pocket and he seemed to be smirking if his profile was right. Rose raised a brow. Of course he's a player, any man with a working dick and that has something going for him so he's all that only thinks of one bloody thing. Disgusting. But Rose didn't say a thing nor did she make an outwardly face. She kept silent and distant as befitting a mere bodyguard. Now had she been an advisor.. Well she wasn't so best keep to herself.

Soon the other female passed them. She nodded her head curtly but smiled wickedly at Mason. She was small but well defined. Though not in a brutish way. Her small muscles and flat well toned abs only strengthened her appeal with her bright blonde hair and baby blue eyes. She didn't slow however and headed towards the room from where Rose and Mason had just come from. Which was only even more likely with the tight black sweat pants and grey tank top she wore along with gloved hands. Oddly she had also given the same nod and smile to Rose who had to bite her lip to stifle a laugh. She then had to remind herself that she was supposedly a man as well and nodded back but with a tighter lipped smile. Rose also did not look back. She had the urge to ask Mason though if this blonde was a friend but refrained. Not her business. She kept up her walk behind him though and merely followed behind thinking that this will not end well at all.

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Whore.

Despite the unflattering title that so many people pinned over the head of the Stephanie, he had always found her enjoyable. Not only because she was wicked at night, which was definitely an addition, but Mason never felt drawn to her. The smell of her blood was slightly revolting actually. It was in those times, near her, that he felt the smallest degree of humanity. Around her, the ability to focus on other things aside from her pulsing veins was a gift. Whore or not, her presence refreshed and tugged him one step closer to sanity.

For that, he would always feel as if he owed her a debt.

A strong cloud of perfume followed behind her, calling Mason to turn and do the same. If the shadow boy's existent happened to be somewhere else, he would do just that. Unfortunately, luck would not allow such an easy get away. "You should go eat. The beverages are fantastic here." Mason spoke up, his eyes watching the door that swung shut behind the female. It seemed as if that room was calling him, along with more than just his mind. Forcing a small, meaningful look at the other boy, he could only hope the message would cross between them. Mason's tongue ran thoughtlessly over the back of his teeth while his eyes flickered between the guard and the door which now stood still.



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Rose felt like gagging. She however did not. Though her reply was slightly unnodyguard like. "Don't be so fucking disgusting. Think with your head not your bloody dick." She said softly but firmly behind Mason in her oddly perfect male voice. She then gave him a look of her own. One that said perfectly she would not be dissuaded from her duties so blooming easily. She would eat later. As a Dhampir Rose had the ability to eat either human food or blood. Blood preferably and also more necessary as it held more nutrient then human food. If a Dhampir were to only exist on a human food diet they would eventually starve themselves to death. Dhampirs were also considering the 'abominations' in the Vampire Community since they had living hearts and were half human. But they were also the envy of all seeing as all Dhampirs even children had the best and strongest control when it came to blood. Even greatly wounded and in utter blood lust they would find the strength and control to stop feeding before killing. Rose had always enjoyed blood. But she felt guilty when drinking it. She would often ignore her hunger and eat a larger human meal. Hence why she was more paler then other Dhampirs. Her father and mother feared she had a eaten disorder and sometimes forced her to feed. But Rose wasn't sick. She just never got over the guilt and shame from feeding from another person and would only feed from a willing donor. Sure she was left weak sometimes but she then would she usually feed. Besides, Dhampirs could go longer without blood then others, another point of envy. But there is one glitch. The blood they consume must come directly from the veins of a person. Otherwise the blood would severely sicken them. Also it wasn't that Rose truly did not want to, nor was she not ever tempted but the thing was, Rose had never tasted a truly intoxicating-lye rich and sweet blood source. Hence she was always rather reluctant since the blood she did consume was always rather... Mundane. Now though she looked at the Prince with her odd piercingly clear blue almost grey eyes in defiance but at the same time fearing she would be reported for speaking out and being punished. Maybe even smacked by Mason himself. Or perhaps that was just the woman in her and also from seeing her father being rather brutish. She could not let her secret get out either way. Besides, with the added benefit of being in disguise as a man she could without hesitation fight back. And despite everything, Rose could punch like a true man.


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It would be a lie to say he was not surprised. For a moment, he did not know how to take this. No one had dared speak up to him due to his title, but to this nonentity, none of that seemed to matter. If he only knew who Mason was, the stupid boy would never have made a comment like that. He would be cowering in fear, pleading for his ridiculous life that meant absolutely nothing in the world. The anger burned deeply inside Mason, boiling as if in a pot ready to cook anything in its path.

He wanted to hit the man - if you could even call the guy that. Mason wanted to make him see that it wasn't all because of his sexual desires. Of course most of it was, but some part of him needed to be reassured that blood was not the only thing for him. If this had been any other night, Mason very well might have raised his fist and punched the kid just as he had hit the boxing bag. Fortunately for the life of poor little Ethan, Mason retained a sliver of control.

Flashes of the prior night plagued the edge of his memory. With each breath that came, he felt the blood of another run through his veins. After months of holding back, he finally had enough. Snapping like a measly twig, he had attacked someone. Regret and remorse still ran just as easily as the young girls blood. Due to this, he contained control now. Filled and satisfied, Mason could hold back.

"I'll do whatever the hell I want with my dick." His feet led him around Ethan, only their shoulders slapping against each others. Pressing his lips into a firm line, he walked the length of the hallway in a silent, yet threatening way. His hand reached for the knob, done with the useless guard.



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Rose frowned and turned around. Before she knew it she was speaking just as Mason's hand reached for the knob. "What is that in your eyes?" She asked him in her still male voice while she prayed he would leave or the girl would tell him to take a hike. Rose rather did not want to stand guard at a door knowing her charge was having sex inside with another person. She felt rather disgusted by it all. But then again, Rose was a virgin. Pure and untouched. She wasn't stained by the sins of the bedroom. She looked at Mason with curiosity in her own eyes. The clear blue seemingly grey doors to her soul showing nothing more. Suddenly a fight broke out upstairs and a table was over turned in the dining hall. Plates and glasses shattering on the floor. Rose jumped and sucked in her breath as she turned and looked towards the entrance of the corridor. Her heart beating wildly. Her vein in her neck pumping invitingly as the sweet innocent scent of her blood only grew stronger. She turned back to Mason and waited for his answer as the teachers came shouting into the dining hall and a punching bag started being hit.


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message 21: by [deleted user] (last edited May 09, 2014 08:57PM) (new)


The six words froze Mason in his spot, a gush of fear and hatred burning painfully as it rose in his throat. Swallowing softly, he realized a lie would be the only wait out of this. His mind twisted over itself, but soon folded out into one clear path that he knew he could take. As if an angel came to rescue him, the noise chimed in from above. That did not sound like the average ruckus caused during meals. No, this was different. Something was going on upstairs. Tugging his hand away from the knob, he hesitated, something else calling his attention.

That smell. Oh, even now, when Mason was strong and content, the smell was undeniable. With each beat of the shadow boy's heart, it only strengthened, filling the air in a suffocating way. Breathing in deeply, his eyes filled with an intensity that even he could not deny. The fight upstairs disappeared from his thoughts and the only thing he could focus on was the beating of the boys heart.

Breath in, breath out.

"I-I should go see what is going on upstairs." Starting off a bit rough, he soon found his words. His voice spoke firmly and his back stiffened as he forced himself to think of other things. Things that would not fill him with regret. Oh, but it was hard. It was so hard to turn his attention elsewhere. Not when Ethan's beating heart only stood feet away, pumping to no end.

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Rose watched intently. Cocking her head to the side Mason's words, attitude and body language all seemed rather contradictory. His words said he should go and see what was wrong. His body language said he was tense and his eyes were saying...... What was that? Rose suddenly frowned visibly. Before she knew what she was saying she was saying it. "Your eyes have the hunger behind them of a Strigoi." She said firmly and softly in her male voice. She was utterly confused. He was a Moroi. His papers said so. No Strigoi was allowed to enroll or attend this academy. Not even as a faculty member or a lowly gardener. In fact all Strigoi were banned from leaving their country. A moment later though Rose murmured, "You must be super hungry from your workout to produce such a look. I suggest you leave the sex and fight upstairs and we head out for something to eat." Rose offered since he seemed so tense. She wanted him to relax and well, to not have sex right at this very moment. Well, not when she was guarding him at least which was....... Oh I knew this was such a bad idea. Rose thought to herself, shaking her head slightly. She then listened intently as several students were sent to detention and the rest of the class dismissed. She then heard the clean-up start as the fight was over. "Well?" She asked again since he seemed to be rather tongue tied. What a odd bloody Prince-ling.


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The simple term 'Strigoi' sent a shudder up Mason's spine. It was a word that stood for destruction and death. It was a word that stood for him. He was a Strigoi, yet even as the boy spoke the hideous word, it felt foreign and monstrous. How could he connect such a thing? Did he really reveal such a look, that Mason looked to be the monstrous one? As only seconds trickled by, he shoved his fists into his pockets and eyed the servant carefully, taking in every detail he could.

Who was the boy?

Ethan had wider hips, but otherwise, he had the body of a man. It looked to be toned and probably in shape. Moving farther up, to any other, perhaps a female, someone might find his eyes bewitching. Mason, did not. The pulsing vein caught Masons attention, sending him yet again in a struggle to hold back. After years of practice, it did not get any easier. Distracting himself with memories and ideas, he soon spoke in response.

"Are you calling me a Strigoi?" He hissed softly, reacting as anyone would to the terrible name. Now, the whole skip out on sex thing was not very exciting, but the meal looked better and better. His stomach agreed, occasionally throwing in a grumble. "Lead the way." Mason directed, gesturing down the hallway. If they got out in the air, perhaps the hungry lust would nt maintain such a strong hold.



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"No, not the species, the hunger." Rose responded not at all perturbed by the other's hissing. He smirked, it was kinda cute how ruffled he got. The truth was Rose didn't really have a problem with Strigoi. She only had a problem when they were trying to kill her like that evening in the woods. She still bore a faint scar from the man's fangs. She then nodded, utterly relieved that he would not be following the blonde into the small training room. A small but pleasant smile on her face. "This way." Rose replied as she started walking towards the entrance of the corridor, turning her eyes back slightly to make sure he was following. By the sound of his feet on the ground he was. Soon they exited the basement area and was on the first floor of the academy. Weaving through crowds of people Rose made sure her charge wasn't a sneaky rat and scampered off. After walking for a bit seeming through a maze the two left the school building and headed down the road. There was a park just around the corner, green and expansive. There was also a hot dog stand where Rose ordered two meals and two soda's. Paying a moment later and receiving her meal Rose turned and handed Mason his dog and drink before turning again and heading to the park to sit by the lake.


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Well, Mason could definitely feel the hunger. Fortunately for both of them, it seemed as if Ethan's heart had returned to normal speed. The palpable smell still danced around Mason, but it did not have the power that rested in it moments before. Somehow, the blood smelled incredibly.. fresh or untainted. If he focused on it, which he only allowed for a second, it's distinctive smell had something different than most others. Intoxicating.

Shoving a hand through his hair in an attempt to think of others things, his footsteps followed behind the shadow boy. As the made their way through the academy, many people passed. All of them laughed or talked of upcoming events, or even groaned from different complaints they had. Everyone knew Mason, but only a select few would raise their hand in acknowledgement. Mason would nod in return, then move on with his life. Friends were not a luxury he chose to enjoy often.

"Thank you." His low, rough voice trickled out as the food was handed to him. Bringing the drink to his lips, he followed until dropping down on the bench beside Ethan. The food was useless, not able to satisfy anything inside of Mason. Nonetheless, he forced himself to choke down a few bites and drinks of either. At least that was one think he had gotten use to. Eventually he always ended up having to puke, but for now, he could put on the front that he was just like everyone else.



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Rose nodded at her charge's thanks. His voice was manly and unique. Rose would not easily hear such a tone from another's lips. It would also mean she could find him easily in a crowd. Since that day as a young child being nearly drained to death Rose had made it a point to train her ears since she still blamed and hated herself for not hearing the Strigoi come up behind her. She hadn't wanted his death, prison would have pleased her but in the end it was her father's decision. As a result her ears were the best in her Kingdoms'. Rose was also an excellent observer if the young man beside her had not already noticed. As they sat in silence Rose enjoyed her hot dog and soda. The truth was she had never had either. As a Princess she was treated to fine dining every single evening. But she was a young woman who wanted junk food. So she was relishing the chance to be free. She had to bite her lip hard again to prevent a moan of delight escaping her lips. However her eyes did briefly flutter closed after the first bite and swallow. Soon though Rose turned her attention to the expansive park. It was gorgeous. There was everything and anything in it. There was a huge open grass field where people could play with their dogs. Several paths for dog walkers, runners or simply people taking a leisurely stroll. There was the lake. Luscious greenery and also floral delights. Ponds with and without fish. Bridges and stoned pathways. Across the lake there was a stair case with a metal railing to provide stability for the young or elderly. Above was a normal pavement heading into the tree'de hills. Below was different shades of light orange and cream coloured small stones heading out of the park. Soon Rose noticed a skater coming from the pavement side. He was young, no more then thirteen. Rose after watching him a moment made a face. "Ohh, that's gonna leave a mark in the morning." She said softly and mostly to herself. Oddly the boy was merely skating along safely. Nothing odd had happened. Yet. Rose could see though that the young man was looking up from the ground eyeing the railing, hence judging distance. He was going to hop his skate board onto it and ride down onto the stones via the metal railing. But the boy had miss calculated. It had rained the night before. The air still coldish. He would make the jump yes. But he would have too much speed and with no smooth paving below the wheels would get caught and he would fly and fall and roll a bit before stopping. How he landed remained to be seen. Rose wasn't Psychic after all, just observant. Well, unless she activated her power mimicry but for this it was not necessary. Sure she could also intervene but the boy needed to learn something today. It was obvious he had never been in this park before or he would have known about the unwise stony disaster below. Rose closed one of her eyes as the events took place, noting he would land heavily on his right knee. And in a matter of moments it was done. The boy landed and screamed out in pain. Rose's face became sympathetic. Then she scowled. A few of the boys so called friends or hang out mates were not that far behind him and obviously wiser. Now they stood above the stairs laughing down at him and his pain and tears. Rose hissed. She set her soda down and shoved her remaining hot dog into Mason's hand from her precarious perch as she had been sitting on the backrest of the bench with her feet on the seat. "Hold this." She muttered before standing and jumping off the bench and heading over to the scene. The lake was round so she curved away a bit before reaching the other side. Once there she crouched down by the boy and helped him into a sitting position, gently easing his leg out and examining his busted knee. The blood spilling out of his skin only mildly alluring to her. Rose eased the boy's fright by distracting him by talking about his epic move onto the railing while she reached a small pale and surprisingly soft hand into her jacket pocket and retrieving a tube of soothing balm which was both a antiseptic and anti inflammatory which she always carried with her everywhere she went. Better be prepared then sorry she would always say. Or rather her late grandfather would. She stood though and took a few steps to a water dispenser nearby and firstly got some water into a cup. Returning she cleaned the wound with the water, putting slight pressure near the wound to ease the pain that would cause before easing some of the balm onto the boy's raw skin. Then Rose reared back a bit and amazingly tore her crisp white shirt from the hem. Then she bandaged the boy's knee and asked if he lived nearby. With a teary nod she then helped him up. Unable to leave her charge Rose had noticed two girls who appeared to be 'nerds' also dallying about behind the boys. They seemed to like the boy that had fallen but most likely never talked. Rose looked up and called them over which they did surprising quickly. She then instructed them to see the boy home since she was sure they knew very well where he lived. Sure enough they nodded and taking a arm each they headed off with the boy looking much for perkier while Rose turned and looked up at the other unhelpful boys. They were not vampires of any nature. Rose then smirked without visually showing it and altered her eyes to their red form. Hissing up and baring her fangs at the boys she chuckled as they screamed and ran off. With a small happy smile she then turned and headed back to Mason. Once back at their bench she stepped up and took her seat again before retrieving her hot dog. "Thanks." She said before taking a large hungry bite out of it and going back to normal, watching the swans on the lake as if nothing had happened at all.


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Starting with the hot dog shoved into his hands, all the way to the little boy limping off with the other two girls, Mason did not know what to say. He merely watched Ethan move about, while the stomach feeling slowly dissipated. His mouth opened slightly in pure shock, as the guard completely foretold the boys bloody fall. That alone, was past incredible. Unable to decide if it was a lucky guess, or some other, more mythical ability, Mason could not brush the unsettling feeling away.

It was strange that he could quite possibly spend months with this guy and know next to nothing about it origins or background. Deciding now, that he would not allow that to happen, his body leaned back on the bench. Slinging his arm over the back rest, his gaze continued to watch all the events play out. At least at the end of the day, Mason could bee assured to have someone around with the smallest bit of a heart. Something Mason could not say the same about himself. Setting his own hot dog down on his lap, he handed the other back to the strange guard.

"Damn." At first, that was all he could say. The simple word showed exactly how impressed he was by the whole telling the future thing. Running his gaze over the scene again, he tried everything he could to figure out how one could tell. Just beginning to think about it made his head hurt.

"How did you do that? How did you know he would fall?" Tilting his head towards the other boys face, an eyebrow cocked up on his forehead. He was almost demanding, as if forcing him to explain himself.



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Rose cocked her head at hearing Mason's odd reply to her 'thanks' or did he mean something else? Rose was so used to her observational skills and everyone in the palace knowing about it that it seemed foreign that it was so amazing to this Prince. She looked at him when he asked her how she had done it. Her clear blue almost grey eyes were amused but her face was blank. Then a moment later she looked back out at the lake and the swans. She took a bite of her hot dog, chewed and swallowed before sighing. Then she looked back at him and leaned in close as if about to reveal a massive secret. "The secret is..... Well, do you see what one can do when one thinks with his head and not his dick?" She then smiled broadly as she pulled away and looked back at the lake, taking another bite of her food before taking another drink of her soda. She then went back to her observing and enjoyed the sunset.


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The whole situation was far beyond him. Sure, Mason could occasionally notice and observe things, but he had never really excelled. When it came down to it, he followed the things he thought felt right, over the logical things; he didn't really use his head at all, actually. Snickering softly at the boys response, he could only lightly push the boys shoulder while crinkling his nose. "Only a virgin would say that."

Mason maneuvered his body towards the lake, still slouching slightly against the old wooden bench. It was getting rather late, yet still the sun barely glistened above the water. Wading up the hotdog wrapper, with the majority of the hot dog inside, he stood up and tossed it into a garbage. One more bite of that stuff would clearly sicken him farther. Hoping to play it off as not being hungry, he also threw away the drink.



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"Your learning already." Rose nodded and admitted. One tiny true thing about herself however obscured it may be couldn't surely hurt that much. She noticed him throwing away a good amount of his meal and frowned. "Did you want something else?" She asked him in her male voice. Unsure if he hadn't been hungry and was merely being politely to tell her off or did he want something else? Rose found it all odd though since she couldn't fathom a single person not liking a hot dog or even the flavour of soda she had purchased. She was also a bit saddened by the waste. After all it was so good and she was still hungry she would have taken it for herself. But then again there was another reason for her hunger. She looked towards the lake, knowing she would have to feed soon.


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"You're kidding, right?" Mason turned slowly towards the guard, shocked that the kid was actually a virgin. It had been a joke, but well, that got slightly awkward. It made sense to him, why before the shadow had been so opposed to the girl. Running a hand through the wild mess on top his head, he returned to looking elsewhere, away from the kid. The thought of eating more good, only sickened him farther. Shaking his head abruptly, the tips of his fingers slid into his pockets.

"I had quite a big lunch." The lie dropped easily from his lips, running smoothly with all the other things he had said. Mason had perfected the art of lying at a young age. It was helpful. Extremely helpful when you had secrets to hide.



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Rose smirked. Glad to have gotten a shock out of him. She then sat back and sighed before standing and sliding down, sitting cross legged on the bench beside her charge. She noticed he seemed... Tense. Maybe he just wasn't a food type of guy. After all, some Moroi were known to actually not prefer human food. Rose had merely assumed... Shit. She would have to do better. She then redeemed herself a moment later by seeing something interesting. "Your lying. You might think you have it down but your eyes give you away." She said softly and in that moment sounding rather feminine. She sighed before looking back out at the horizon before them, catching the last rays of the sun setting. She gracefully un-crouched then, seemingly just gliding into a standing position before jumping off of the bench and turning around, pocketing her hands as she stared at Mason. "We best get going young grasshopper." She said in her now full male voice and smiled kindly at him. She knew he had lied to her but Rose wouldn't pry by asking why. Everyone was entitled to their own secrets after all.


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The smirk seemed out of place. Should one so proudly flaunt their purity? It didn't make sense to Mason, who had always found a way to keep sanity through the various sexual activities. Then again, nothing about the guard made any sense. Absolutely nothing. For some reason, the guy made Mason feel on edge; probably only a side effect of the scent of his blood.

Perhaps being caught in a lie should be concerning, but the way the guy said it was almost more. Actually, things were beginning to click. The guy had to be gay. Raising an eyebrow, he did not choose to respond about the lie. There was no explanation that would be supplied.

Ethan was definitely gay.

A smirk pulled at the edge of his lips while he soon stood beside tthe guy. "How often do you have to be with me?" It was a question that had been floating around for quite some time. If this was going to be a twenty four hour deal, Mason was sure to go crazy. Or lose control. Which ever came first, reallly.



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"All the time. That is the duty of a personal body guard and also the terms of my scholarship." Rose replied as she started heading lazily back towards the academy building. She sighed as they started walking back. Something was bugging her about this guy. The file said Moroi. The laws state Strigoi were not to leave their own kingdom but this guy..... The pain in his eyes, his secretive nature..... His hunger. It all made Rose wonder. And she despised wondering. There was nothing that Rose loved more then a mystery. And most importantly, solving that mystery. She glanced at her charge and wondered what he was thinking. If she activated her power mimicry she could be telepathic for the next hour and know but she wouldn't do that. Rose almost never used this power as she hated invading people's private thoughts. As they turned the corner Rose took the last bite from her hot dog, scrunching the paper up and throwing it into a recycle bin she chewed and swallowed and sipped her soda as someone came running from behind them, bumping into Mason as they did but not slowing or apologizing. The male, most likely a second year student seemed to be rather frantic. He was waving his hands in the air towards another boy standing on the academy steps talking to a fellow female student. "That's rude, wonder what's the rush?" Rose murmured as she finished her soda and threw the empty bottle into a bin. There sure seemed to be a lot of bins around campus. Then Rose stopped dead in her tracks as the running boy shouted, "The Princess of the Dhampirs has been killed by the Strigoi!!!"


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Even if Mason had tried, which he didn't, he would not have even able to hold back a flinch. It just came, along with a small shudder. Though he was not focused on the other boys blood, the scent still drifted through the air, just barely tickling Mason's nostrils. Twenty four hours would definitely snap him. Of course all of this would have to be worried about later; for now, he focused on just making it into the school. Multiple plans on how to get rid of the guy in a nonviolent way, wedged their way into his mind. He welcomed these and even started mulling over them as to see which one would be the most effective.

The kid who hit his shoulder shook him from his thoughts. About to say something to the rude kid, he just barely cushy the boys words in time. "What a bunch of idiots." He muttered under his breath, referring to the Strigoi. He knew the whole group was stupid. But they weren't stupid enough to do such a thing as kill the Princess. On the other hand, he also wouldn't push away the idea that some might do such a thing, for various reasons. Maybe they wanted a war. Stepping up the stairs, leading to the front, he once again got sucked into his houghts of his homeland.



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Rose barely heard Mason as she strode forward towards the now gossiping like mad boys and girl. She went up to them and asked what nonsense they were yelling about in public. Then the boy who had bumped Mason produced a newspaper which Rose grabbed up and immediately started reading as she headed back to Mason, not wanting him to slip away and also not looking where she was going but not needing to as she missed all the obstacles in her way. She then read the newspaper article about the Dhampir Crowned Princess being reported missing and how her parents feared the worse, blamed the Strigoi and also offered an obscene award for her safe return. Rose sighed as she joined Mason's side again. "I suppose. They did try to kill her once before....." Rose simply said. She really didn't think the Strigoi were weak or idiots. They just got too hung up in their thirst. She then angrily scrunched the newspaper up and threw it away as they returned to the stairs and re-entered the academy. For once Rose was uncommonly silent and grim looking.


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Bull shit. The more Mason thought about it, the more e doubted there was any truth in it. There had been so much conflict after they attempted to take the Princess prior to this, he knew they would never try something like that again. The amount of trouble it cause would not be worth the measly life of the Princess. It would make more sense that someone smaller, less important had kidnapped her. Or she eloped. Whatever happened, none of it really concerned him here. Following closely behind Ethan, he wondered as to why the other boy had fallen silent. It was a strange reaction, when everyone else just seemed excited for the possible conflict. It seemed almost to be a personal effect of the newspaper. "You shouldn't worry too much. I doubt the Strigoi would do something so stupid. The Princess doesn't even concern us." Placing a hand against the railing inside they headed up another step of stairs, slowly making their way to Mason's room. "I've heard the Princess was a bit stuck up anyway, perhaps it's better she won't be in charge." Shrugging, he quite insensitively addressed the situation from behind the guard.



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Rose again stopped abruptly. "What?" She asked as she turned around and eyed Mason. She then realised she was showing too much emotion for all this and dropped the hard almost offended look as she merely blanked her face and shrugged. "I heard something else." Was all she said merely as they made their way to the dorm room numbered 1768. Once there Rose opened the door and stepped aside, allowing Mason to enter first as was befitting the ranking situation. Then Rose entered and softly closed the door behind them as she made her way over to her bed and picked up her suitcase from the front of the bed where she had left it earlier in the day. Rose then opened her suitcase and started unpacking.


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From the way Ethan was acting, one would almost think he had known the Princess. That would be ridiculous. It was slim that a guy of such a low rank had any part in a royals life. Stepping after the guard, he almost prodded more on the subject. He would have, actually, except Ethan had respected his privacy earlier, and it was only fair to return the favor now. Moving into the doorway of the familiar room, he took a deep breath as his feet slowed to a stop in the middle. "I'm going to take a shower." He announced, noticing how disgusting he felt. The workout from before still had it's unpleasant effect on his skin. Walking into the bathroom attached to the room, he shut the door behind him. Finally alone, he leaned over the sink, taking more deep breaths. It was so much easier to breath with a wall to block off the scent of the other boy. His gaze turned up to the mirror, where his blue eyes flashed back at him. Groaning softly to himself, he realized that the many months of control he had warned and worked hard for now slipped between his fjnngers like a handful of sand. What was it, that did this to him?

In one swift moment, he pulled his shirt off over his head and began to strip the rest of his clothes off. Cranking the water on to quite a cold degree, he only waited a second before stepping beneath the freezing stream. That's how he liked it. Cold and distracting. For only ten or so minutes, he stood there, letting the numbing cold take away any thought or dirt that crossed his body. Once done, he stepped out and wrapped a towel loosely around his waist. Mason wasn't too keen on the idea of heading back into the room. The boy would surely be there. But, he also hadn't brought any clothes with him. Exhaling, he opened the door and walked out, uncaring that the towel which hung quite loosely, only covered a small portion of his muscular body.


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Rose tensed at Mason's announcement. She nodded silently, most thankful that attending one into the bathroom was forbidden unless the other was sickly which Mason was currently most assuredly not. Rose unpacked rather quickly since despite leaving her home so rushed she had packed neatly as was her tendency. She had actually brought two suitcases but there was only one with her now. The other she had hidden in the forest containing her female clothes and things. Soon she was done she then sat on the edge of her bed, thinking of ways to make this whole boy persona actually work. She realised she would eventually fail. She was no fool and accepted defeat when clear in front of her but she would be damned to return home to marry some stranger for politics. Besides her parents would most likely ground her for eternity for this. She sighed and stared at her hands. Listening to the shower running. Soon though Rose got so caught up in her thoughts she hadn't noticed the water turn off. Distractedly she looked up when she heard the bathroom door opening that she actually looked up. Instantly her eyes widened and her mouth gaped slightly as she blushed brightly and squeaked. She shot up from the sight before her quickly turned around, busying herself with uselessly reassembling the items on her bedside table. Oh shit.... She thought horrified as her heart started racing. He was so good looking! She had been right, his clothes hid his God like body beneath. Soon though her scent started drifting away from her.


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It was comical, watching the guard react. Also, slightly unsettling.

The only thing that could explain such a quick and flushed reaction did not make sense. Maybe he frightened him, but from all he could collect about the guy, that made next to no sense. Ethan didn't seem to be someone who was easily caught off guard. The only other explanation was that he was gay. It would be strange to have a gay man as a guard. Mason didn't have anything against homosexuals, but it was a bit uncomfortable if he thought about it. Playing it off as cool, he turned his attention elsewhere and headed over to the closet. Standing there for longer than necessary, he found himself getting distracted, yet again by a particular smell. The smell was all to familiar at this point, yet nonetheless, just as intoxicating. His fists clenched by his sides, while the muscles in his back tensed. In a moment, his eyes flashed red, but soon turned back to normal. Luckily, Ethan could only see his backside. Breathing heavier, he struggled to force the lust out of his mind. Instead, he forced a few words. "You can use the shower, if you'd like." Perhaps he wanted Ethan to leave more than he was feeling hospitable.



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"I intend to.." Rose murmured softly as she knew Mason had seen her reaction. Of course he had, she was looking right into his blue eyes as she did. She took a breath and then frowned as she glanced at him slightly. His back muscles were tense... Why? Then Rose felt like smacking her hand to her face. She was disguised as a man for crying out loud! After such a reaction Mason must be thinking... Well only he knew what he was thinking but Rose could guess. She was off mark here because she only was glancing at his back and not seeing his eyes. Rose then frowned. Did he think she was gay? Ohhh boy. She sighed as she realised things just got more complicated before grabbing some clothes and heading into the bathroom. She closed the door behind her and locked it. She then stripped and threw her clothes in the hamper. Then Rose eased the bandages binding her breasts from her torso and laid them on the sink as she stepped into the shower, turning the water on and closing her eyes as the warm gently touch eased her nerves and her racing heart.


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To Mason's desperate relief, the door finally closed behind Ethan. Immediately, his entire body relaxed. It was as if the moment the scent had disappeared, he could breath again. His hands opened, releasing all the tension that had been built up from the boys presense. Oh, this would not last long. Surely he would break. The longer around the kid, the more and more weak Mason would become until something terrible happened. Something that even Mason could not hide or probably ever forgive himself for. Until that day, he could do nothing but try to get rid of the shadow guard. Dropping the towel, he began to pull on a pair of boxers along with some basketball shorts and a t-shirt. His hair still lay in a mess against his head, but that was the least of his concerns right now. If only he had frebreeze or some kind of scent to throw off Ethan's. An idea struck him moments later. Walking over to a draw, he pulled out a candle and lit it. The burning scent filled the room, along with a slight vanilla edge. Breathing even more out of relief, Mason fell back onto his bed, starring up at the ceiling. He didn't have high hopes for the future.



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Rose finished washing her long brown hair and her body. She stood only five more minutes under the shower before turning the water off and getting out. She then combed her hair and brushed her teeth. She also dried off before re-bandaging her breasts. It hurt and cut off some of her air supply but what else could she do? Sure she didn't have large breasts but if a loose shirt tightened around her for some reason she would be done for. Rose then got dressed in some long blue, green, black, white and grey chequered pants and shirt as she secured the cap to her head again. She threw her towel into the hamper as well before unlocking the door and stepping out. She smelled of fruit and cream since she hadn't thought about changing her bathing products. Rose then grabbed a murder mystery book from her bedside table before flopping down onto her bed and opening the book to the last page she was at. She noticed then the smell in the room and looked from the book to her surroundings and soon spotted the candle. She raised a brow but said nothing as she returned her blue gaze to her book. She rather liked it actually. Her heart was also back to normal.


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Even through the incense of the candlestick, as soon as the door opened the strange fruity smell reached Mason's nose. What a peculiar boy.. Crinkling his nose, he rolled over on his side and closed his eyes. This was a nightmare. His new roommate was a flaming homosexual and his control was wavering. In days, he felt as if he might break. Not just break from the wall he had worked so hard to build up, but he might also break from the weight of what he was trying to do. How could he ever change his identity?

Sprawling out on the bed, he wished that the new visitor would disappear. Perhaps then, all of his problems would be fixed. He also wished that Ethan hadn't pulled him away from the door. Nothing would be better than seeing her now, allowing her to take him to a place of pleasure, but much more importantly, distraction. Sleep did not come easily. After multiple times of rolling over and adjusting, his eyes finally close, blocking out the scent that always tempted the edge of his sanity.



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Rose didn't notice her charge's internal struggle at all. Her mind was utterly focused on the tale unfolding before her eyes. In her mind she cheered for the hero and booed the villain as the story got only more and more intriguing. The murderer was a cunning bastard and the detective following his trail similar to that of the mighty Sherlock Holmes. Rose lost track of time completely and barely noticed as her own eyes started blinking. Soon though she was asleep and the book rested on her stomach.

But there was a problem. No one had blown the candle out. Soon it reached the end of the stick. But instead of going out it started running with the pooling ooze that accompanied a burning candle. Soon some of it dripped onto the floor... And in a matter of moments the whole room was ablaze. Rose only awoke when she started coughing. The action irritating her so she blinked her eyes open and shot up as she saw orange flames. She got out of bed and shouted, "Mason!"


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It all striked Mason as a dream. The heat singed his back, and it felt like he had stepped into hell itself. His body tossed and turned, not realizing that it was not a dream at all, but reality. As his name was shouted from across the room, his eyes opened immediately, in response. It took a moment to process the flames now licking the side of the wall, spreading quickly as it consumed the room. The air was hard to breath making each breath feel as if Mason walk attempting to find oxygen through a minuscule hole. Sliding off of his bed, his eyes widened as the fire moved even quicker, covering the majority of the room.

"Come on!" He called desperately to Ethan, turning and grabbing the handle. Fortunately, the fire ravaged on the opposite side of the room. He opened it up, falling into the hallway in a cloud of the spoke. Even now, as he rushed out of the room, he found himself distracted once again by a blinding hunger.

Ethan was his own personal hell.

Shoving these useless thoughts aside, he ran through the hallway, soon passed by a squad carrying water and other things to help put it out. Some sort of alarm system must have warned the people helping. A few various students stumbled from their rooms, dressed in lazily clothing as they rubbed their eyes. They'd mutter little questions about what had happened. Mason ignored them all, moving farther away from the room.



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Rose couldn't see. The smoke and fire was too hot and too thick and too bright and much much too loud for her. So she zeroed in on her sight, seemingly shutting off everything else as she finally was able to see now. She watched in relief as Mason finally woke up and got up from his bed and fled outside. She wanted to follow him, to get away from this searing heat. However she could not follow. The fire had encircled her side of the room. She was trapped. She wasn't afraid however. She would survive this as she always survived. Soon the squad arrived and started throwing water on the fire which only seemed to make it grow and roar more. Soon they got the most logical thing, a fire extinguisher and started spraying the fire with that but again the fire only grew. The candle had been magical, made from the skilled hands of a Witch and enchanted to keep burning. What no one knew though was that the Witch was inexperienced and had cast the wrong spell, allowing the candle to be used up and then carry on burning. Soon the fire spread.....


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Looking over his shoulder, Mason soon realized that Ethan had not followed out. A shiver ran down his spine. Maybe this would solve all of his problems. If he let the stupid guard die in there, they would have no problems. Mason would not have to worry about anything.

Until they brought in another guard. Until someone else's blood tempted him. Until he could not live with himself for allowing such a terrible death to happen. Before his mind had completely comprehended what his body was doing, his feet were already carrying him back into the fire. Back into the door where people yelled for him to stop. He didn't stop. No, he walked into the growing spoke and burning heat. Blindly, he searched the room as best he could for any figure. Then he saw it. A flicker of hope among the flickering flames. Running forward, for once the flames didn't seem to bother him. Sure, they burned his skin, tearing apart the top layers. It hurt. It hurt like hell, but it would heal fast. Faster than any of the others due to his Strigoi heritage. Plowing through the flames, he reached for the hazy figure. Wrapping his arms around the person, he scooped them easily and turned back. Each step brought more pain, one step closer to death. The fire was ruthless, ready to take them both. At the last second, Mason pulled out of the room. Buckets of water dosed them both, putting out the flames that had signed their clothes. Mason couldn't breath. He collapsed outside the reach of the fire, dropping Ethan to the ground beside him. Coughing uncontrollably, his lungs reached for air that didn't seem to come.



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