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Donor House AU: Henry VIII: Anne: A Bad Idea

Anne stared at her father. “No.” She shook her head. “Henry is bad enough mortal.” That was something she knew she’d only be safe saying at Hever, because everyone who worked there was loyal to her family, which was why her continuing existence was still a secret. “I don’t believe any King should be immortal, but Henry…” It was impossible not to think of the damage he’d caused when he tried to get over her by using her sister. “This is a mistake.”
“I know.” Her father ran his tongue over his lips, looking uncertain. “He’s determined, though, and if it’s not you it’s going to be someone else.”
“Father…”
“Please don’t. Every argument you can come up with I’ve thought of myself, and yet I’ve still made the decision to ask you to do this, for the family.”
Laughing wasn’t the best reaction, but it was either that or cry. “For the family?” She swallowed as much of the emotion she felt as she could, because she should have known he was going to do that to her. After everything Mary had been through… “My sister…”
“Mary understands.”
“Of course she does. She always has.” Anne’s anger was going to get the better of her if she wasn’t careful. “Mary has always put the family first, but that doesn’t mean she should have. Until she let you convince her to bed the King she had a husband who might well have fallen in love with her.”
“Which is part of the reason I want you to do this. If we’re in the King’s favour…”
“The King’s fickle. His favour will only last for so long, and when it does we’ll be the people who gave him the throne for the rest of time.” Anne sighed. “Father, I can understand why you think this is the only option we have, but this isn’t the right choice to make. Turning the King will change our country for good. It’s something we… no, it’s something I will regret for as long as he lives, and there are some vampires who’ve lived for thousands of years already. Having him on the throne for that long…” It was impossible to imagine what he might do. “Do you truly believe there’s someone else who might be willing to change him?”
“Everyone’s heard rumours he’s already found someone, but I don’t know if they’re anything more. If you were to appear, though…” Her father shrugged. “We both know he was in love with you, Anne, so he would let you change him without having to think about it, and you might be able to stop him from making too many mistakes.”
“Until he gets rid of me I might be able to.” Anne couldn’t help thinking about who the someone might be, as there were plenty of vampires who would jump at the chance of owning the King, and she wasn’t going to let that happen. “I will do as you ask, Father, but you’re going to have to get me to court.”

***

When Anne stepped into the room she felt everyone’s eyes on her, including Henry’s. Until that moment the only people who’d known she was alive was her family, and the servants at Hever. Everyone else believed she’d died of the sweating sickness. Slowly, without paying attention to anyone else, she made her way over to the King and curtsied, making certain she swept down as low as she could to show him what he would believe was true respect. “Your Majesty.”
“Are you a ghost, Anne?”
“Not a ghost, but I hear you’ve been searching for someone like one.” As she stood she managing to smile at him. “I would have come sooner if I’d known you weren’t going to ask for someone to end my life the second you learnt the truth about what happened.”
“You are an Immortal?”
“I am.” Anne pushed aside her fear, hoping whoever he’d been talking to before wasn’t at court, and studied the man who’d believed he was in love with her. Maybe he even had been. There was no way of knowing for certain what he might have felt, or what he might be feeling right then. “I have heard you wish to become immortal yourself.”
Henry nodded. “You are willing to help me?”
“Of course.” Before she would have reached out to touch him, knowing what her part was in the game. Everything had changed. “If what I’ve heard is true I can help you to become immortal, but it’s not a painless change, and you can still die. You just won’t die of old age.”
Standing, he reached out to touch her face. “You will be young forever.”
“Go through the change and you will be young forever too, Your Majesty.” Henry would be on the throne for the rest of time, and he’d no longer need an heir. “Was there someone else who offered you this chance?”
“There was, but I wasn’t willing to pay the price. Maybe he’ll come back, to force me to, but by then I’ll already be a vampire – and I know you’re doing this out of love.”
Anne nodded. Even though she wasn’t it was better for him to believe she was. He wanted to believe she’d always loved him, when she hadn’t, and she’d been doing her best to pretend, knowing it was the only sensible thing she could do. “We will need to go somewhere private.” She nibbled her lip as she tried to come up with some way of working things. “You will be asleep, I believe, until sunset tomorrow. I can, if I choose, walk in the sun, but it is painful – and for someone newly changed it’s easier to walk in the night.” Their eyes met. “I’ve not long become one of the Immortals, so you’ll be the first person I’ve changed, which means there is a chance this might not work.”
“For me it makes more sense to try and fail, than to not try at all.” He took her hand. “I’ll take you to my chambers, to ready yourself for doing this, while I talk with those who’ll need to be in charge until I wake.”

***

Stopping herself from pacing was impossible. Anne went from one side of the room to the other as she waited for Henry’s appearance. When the door opened she looked over, in the hope it was the King, only to find the Duke of Suffolk. The two of them had never much liked each other and she could tell from the look he gave her he wasn’t happy with what was happening. For some reason that made her smile. As their eyes met she shook her head.
“Your Grace.” Anne curtsied to him in a way she’d never done before, because the two of them would have to work together in the future. “Would you be amenable to me explaining my decision before we argue about what I’m doing?”
For a long time he studied her. “I would be.”
“Thank you.” She sighed. “Becoming something other than human has changed me, in ways I never thought possible until it happened. I… this wasn’t a choice. The being that changed me did it against me will, and I know he didn’t want me to return to my family. When I did… I don’t know what happened to him. He didn’t even tell me what his name was, but I know I wasn’t the first person he did this to. I won’t be the last, either. My father asked me to be the one to change the King, because he’s heard rumours about there being someone else, and that could be very dangerous.”
“The King told that someone else he wasn’t willing to pay the price.”
“Henry said the same thing, but I worry whoever it was wouldn’t have been willing to take no for an answer. There are, from the little I know of what I am, others out there, others who are like me, that want to take control of the Kingdom. I don’t know how much of what I heard is actually true, and how much is little more than a lie.” She shook her head. “I wish I could tell you more. Unfortunately I was only recently changed, and those I do know of my kind aren’t open to talking with me about things I would like to know.”
“Due to how recently you were changed?”
“As well as the fact I went back to my parents. Had I stayed with my… I don’t know the true word for it, but creator will do for now. Things would have been very different if I could have brought myself not to go back to my family. Choosing not to… it makes them unwilling to accept me as one of them, because they have no idea what I may or may not do in the future, and that is something I can understand. The King being a vampire is going to change everything for them. It’s going to change everything for everyone, but I made this decision as I think it would be better for me to be his creator than someone else. When it comes to this transformation there is a strong connection between the one who’s doing the changing and the one who’s been changed. I felt it myself – and I still made the decision to walk away.”
“He is already planning who to change next.”
“I had a feeling he would be.” Anne tried not to show how little she wanted to know what Charles had just told her. “Henry will be changing those he believes deserves immortality, and the two of us would have differing opinions on that.” She shrugged. “I know there’s nothing I’ll be able to do in order to stop him from doing whatever he believes is right, because he is the King.”
“Yes, he is.” Charles sounded amused and she did her best to work out why. “You are just as honest as you were before, Anne, so you are going to need to be wary who you speak with. The last thing you want to do is cause problems for yourself.”
“Causing problems for myself, sadly, appears to be something I will always be good at.” Being too honest with anyone was always a bad idea, but it had been a long time since she’d been at court and remember to watch who she was saying what to… that was why she’d never wanted to go back. Everything would have been simpler if she was able to hide away at Hever. If the King hadn’t come across someone else willing to change him she would have been happy enough there. “Your Grace, I know the two of us have always found it hard to get along. I believe it’s because we’re very alike. When I was mortal I was willing to climb socially in the same way you were, which is something a woman isn’t supposed to do – although a lot of it was due to the way I was being pushed. My father and uncle didn’t want to lose the King’s favour, so they believed the best thing they could do was manoeuvre me into the right place, no matter what I wanted myself. Henry fell in love with me.” She bit her lip. “Henry said he fell in love with me. I want to think he was being honest with me.”
“Henry is still in love with you. He was bereft when he thought you’d died, and I think he took Mary back as some way of trying to have you, even though the two of you are very different people. It took him a very short period of time to realise. When he did he made choices he shouldn’t have done, choices he made out of pain, and I am sorry for the pain he cause both her and the rest of your family.”
“You have nothing to apologise for. Mary told me you did what you could for her and I appreciate that. I would also appreciate having you work with me.”
“Do you still love him?”
Honesty or lies? Anne decided on honesty, knowing it might be a mistake. “I don’t know if I loved him then. I did what I was supposed to do. Maybe, in time, I will come to fall in love with him.”
“Thank you, Anne.”

***

Charles was still with her when Henry walked into the room. Talking to someone about what she’d become made it easier for Anne, because it meant Charles would understand why she might have to get Henry away from everyone quickly. It all depended on how well he learnt to deal with the blood lust and she had a feeling it wasn’t going to be anywhere near as simple for him as it had been for her. How could it be? He wasn’t the sort of person who’d ever needed to control himself when it came to anything – and it was far too possible to see things falling apart far more quickly than she wanted them to. When Henry looked between her and Charles she could see the jealousy in his eyes.
Smiling, she stood. Putting on her charming court smile was easier, and Anne knew how well it worked on Henry. Curtsying low once more, she took his hand and kissed it, before standing. “Your Majesty, we were talking about what the next few weeks might hold for us. As I know His Grace is one of your closest friends I thought it would be best if he understood what it was going to be like for you. I believe it’s possible you might, in the future, think about changing His Grace yourself, because of how much he means to you.”
“You believe we’re going to need his help?” Henry glanced at Charles. “Is it hard to become immortal?”
“Becoming immortal is the simple part, dear one. It’s what happens after the changes that isn’t, and that is something we’re going to need to talk about. The last thing I want is for you to go into this not knowing what is going to happen to you.” Anne knew too well what it was like to panic when it became obvious the scent of the servant’s blood was what she was finding so tasty… because it happened to be all over her. “You will need to drink the blood of mortals in order to survive.” There had been a time when she stopped drinking for a short time, and the pain she felt was one she never wanted to feel again. She’d only been able to stop it from hurting when she drank blood again. “It’s far too easy to let yourself get out of control, and that’s what I believe I’m going to need his Grace’s help with. If, at any point, I believe you might do something silly the two of us will be able to get you away from court as quickly as possible. During the day he’s going to gather together some of the servants he thinks will be able to cope with you in that state, although I hope to stop it from happening in the first place.”
“I don’t mind what I need to do in order to become immortal, Anne.” Of course Henry was going to say that. “By doing this I won’t need to worry about needing an heir again.” He smiled. “I am so glad it’s you, my darling, because I did think I’d lost you.”
“Everything that happened I already know about.”
“Are you angry with me?”
“Not angry. Disappointed, because you treated Mary unfairly, but I can understand why you made the decisions you did. If I thought the man I loved was dead…” Their eyes met, and she could see the remembered pain within them. “I have no idea how I would react to finding that out. I can forgive you for doing it, as long as you are willing to help my sister in the future, because she’s going to need it.”
“Yes, she is.” He sighed. “I will apologise to her when she comes back to court. I assume she will be.”
“To be honest I’m not certain what her plans are, Your Majesty. Mary and I talked a lot about what happened, but she wasn’t thinking about the future as much as probably should have been, because there is an unexpected child growing within her.”
“My child?”
“Unfortunately, yes.”
“Why unfortunately?”
“Mary is having trouble coming to terms with how callous you were. Although my sister is known for having one of the toughest skins in court our family are the ones who see past the act. It hurt her more than I thought possible, and I am worried she might take her negative emotions out on the child. If you were to write to her, begging for forgiveness, things might be different.”
“I will do that as soon as I can.” Henry ran his tongue over his lips. “I may well have a male heir.”
“Yes, you may, which means you don’t need to become immortal. Someone will be there to take on the task of ruling the country, which has always been your greatest worry.”
“Now I know it’s possible for me to keep my throne for the rest of time I couldn’t possibly let someone else, even someone of my blood, take it.” He took her hand and drew her close. “Anne, you and I will rule this country for eternity.”
There were so many things Anne could have said to that, and she knew they were all the wrong thing. If she was going to be with Henry for the rest of eternity, although she doubted he’d want her by his side for that long, she was going to have to think before she spoke far more then she ever had before. “I can understand that.” She reached out to touch his face, doing her best to seem like the woman she had been before. She wasn’t. She knew that, but he couldn’t. Henry had to think she was still his Anne. “I think we need to be alone now, in order to get this done as soon as possible.”
Henry looked at Charles. “Come back when it’s done, Charles. I don’t want Anne to be by herself.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Anne listened to his footsteps. With every step he took she was one step closer to changing Henry into an immortal, and there was no way for her to get out of it. No matter how many times she told herself she was doing the right thing, because it was better it was her, she didn’t think she was ever going to be able to accept what she’d done. Finally the door closed, leaving her alone with the man she had once loved. Of course he was going to want immortality. He was someone who wanted to be on his throne for as long as possible – and eternity was perfect. Their eyes met, so she could see his excitement. For a moment she remembered what it had been like for her. The fear when she was grabbed from behind. The pain when whoever it was sank their teeth into her next. The certainty she was going to die, until they pressed an arm to her throat, and she drank their blood because she seemed to know it was going to save her from death.
“What are you thinking about?”
Smiling, she shook her head. “Things I’ll tell you about after we’ve done this.” She studied him. “Have a glass of wine. I want you to be as relaxed as possible, because it might hurt when I bite you.”
“Bite me?”
“It’s how I feed.” Her creator had very different teeth to hers, but he’d said they’d change with time. “The best way for me to do this might be to use your wrist, rather than your neck, but I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like this before. I didn’t plan on doing it at all.”
“You never thought about changing me?”
“Oh, Henry, I thought about it.” Lying to him was the best option. “I just… I didn’t know how you’d react when I came here to tell you what had happened. When I disappeared no one knew what happened to me, and they truly believed I was dead. Telling everyone I’d died of the sweating sickness made sense. Convincing Father is was me wasn’t easy, but he was willing to take me in as long as I kept myself as hidden as possible. Then Mary returned from court…” Anne stared at Henry. “Why, love? Why did you pick Mary, of all people, when anyone in court would have been happy to spend the night with you?”
“Mary’s a Boleyn.” Henry sighed. “I forgot how different the two of you are.”
They weren’t all that different, but to Henry it would be enough of one to have an effect. Mary had never fought him. She’d accepted her place as his mistress, in part due to her love for him, while Anne had fought for something more. When she thought about it maybe that wasn’t the best decision she could have made, because then he wouldn’t have taken her back so quickly, but it was too late to think about that – what was done was over with. Doing something she didn’t want to do in order to protect him from vampires who’d use him was the only option.
“Unlike me she was already married when you chose her. I had to do what I did to make certain I made a good marriage.”
“I understand, darling.” He sipped his wine. “When I am awake we shall start planning our own wedding.” Anne tried to work out how to tell him they really shouldn’t, but he continued before her mind had time to come up with anything. “Obviously it will have to happen at night, and once I’m strong enough I’ll begin changing those who’ll be our eternal court.” He smiled, looking happier than he’d ever done before. “The whole world is going to know what I am, and that I’m going to be the King of England for the rest of time.”
“Your Majesty…” Anne sighed. “There are others like me…”
“Like the one who tried to tell me he’d been willing to change me in return for becoming the power behind the throne.” Henry laughed. “That was never going to happen. Now it won’t have to, because I have you, and the two of us will rule England the way we were always meant to.”
“Hearing what he wanted isn’t a surprise.” She glanced down at the floor, and then looked back at Henry. “They aren’t going to be happy with the choice I’ve made. I don’t doubt they might try to do something to one or both of us. Unfortunately it’s even possible they might already have people in place to take you out if this did happen, and I need to prepare for that.”
“Talk with Charles. He’ll help you with anything you need help with, because he knows he’s going to be the first of my close friends to become immortal.”
“Please don’t change too many people too quickly. It’s going to be hard enough dealing with you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t be angry. You’re going to be a young Immortal, which means you’re going to need to feed regularly, and the being who changed me into what I am did tell me some of what I needed to know. It is far too easy to make a human crave the bite of an immortal, so we’ll need to be careful not to do that. Apparently it’s also possible for an immortal to come to crave the blood of one specific human. Due to this I think it would be best if you change one person a month, at most, to give them the time to learn how to feed safely, because we don’t want to be making too many mistakes too soon. If we are to be a court of immortals we want people to respect us – not fear us.”
For a long time Henry was silent, and Anne couldn’t help thinking she’d said the wrong thing. “You’re right, my love. I will do as you think is right, because you have been immortal longer than I have, and understand what it’s like to go through this.” She breathed a sigh of relief. “If we’re going to be together for eternity you’re going to have to be ready to tell me when you think I’m being a fool. That’s why I loved you in the first place. You never seemed to have a problem being honest with me.”
Being honest with him then had been simple enough. Anne nodded. “I’ll do my best, Henry.”
“Good.” He put his empty glass down. “I suggest we get this over and done with as soon as possible, so you can start planning how best to work things with Charles.”
Obviously she wasn’t going to be able to put it off any longer. “You’re certain this is what you want.”
“As certain as I’m ever going to be.” He reached out to take her hand and pulled her closer to him. “Do it, Anne. You’re going to rule by my side, for the rest of time, if you do this.”
“I’m not doing this for that reason.”
“You’re doing this because you love me.”
“I’m doing this because I love you, and because I fear for you. The vampire who came to you before could easily have changed you without you knowing anything about it until it was too late.”
“I take it you came as soon as you heard.”
“I came as soon as Father told me.” Anne knelt down in front of Henry, and drew his arm closer to her. “I will do my best to make this as easy as possible for both of us.”
“Thank you, darling.”
When she smelt his blood it was almost too easy for her to bury her teeth into his wrist. Even though they weren’t the same as her creator’s breaking the skin wasn’t difficult. It was something Anne didn’t pretend to understand. All she knew was what she needed to do in order to survive, and she reminded herself she wasn’t feeding from Henry for survival. She was feeding from him to protect him from Immortals who’d be more than willing to use him for their own purposes. There was no doubt in her mind her family would try to get her to do the same thing, but there was no chance of her doing what they believed she should, because they wouldn’t be alive in another twenty or thirty years. She was immortal. She’d be by Henry’s side until he tired of her, and when he tired of her the last thing she wanted was for him to hate her.
It was far simpler than she expected it to be to tell when Henry was ready to feed from her. Maybe she should… she shook her head. Anne had made her decision, and she wasn’t going to do something like that to him, especially as there was no one to take the throne. She used a knife on the side to cut her wrist before pressing it to his mouth. The grip on her arm made it obvious his body was doing what it had to do, the same way hers had, and eventually she had to free herself from him. He made a sound before falling asleep in the chair, the way she knew he would. She wrapped a piece of fabric around her arm, so the blood didn’t drip everywhere, before making her way over to the door, hoping Charles wouldn’t have gone too far. Seeing him sitting outside was a relief, and it was almost impossible to believe she would be relieved to see him.
“Can you help me, Your Grace?”
Nodding, he stood. “I take it you’re done.”
“There’s no guarantees. Not all those who are chosen wake the next day, but I hope His Majesty will. For now I want to get him into the bed, and then I need to think about how I’m going to make sure he feeds without anyone being in danger of dying.”
Charles stepped into Henry’s bed chamber. “Have you killed anyone, Anne?”
“Unfortunately, yes, and I hate myself for it. Being a young immortal… it’s not easy, Your Grace, and I know Henry’s going to find it hard to control himself.”
“You can call me Charles.”
“After all we went through in the past?”
“I am surprised to find you truly are a very different person to the Anne Boleyn I once knew, and I’m willing to give you a chance to prove yourself.”
Anne surprised herself by smiling. “Thank you, Charles.” She could understand for the first time why he’d been Henry’s friend for so long. “If you take his legs I’ll take his arms.”

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