“Come,” he demanded again while she was holding up a velour pink tracksuit she really didn’t want to wear. She glared momentarily before he amended, “Please come?”
With an encouraging smile Sookie placed the unwanted clothing back before acquiescing.
“Wear this?” Eric requested, holding up a dress not dissimilar to the one she first wore to Fangtasia. She looked closely at the small section of clothing he had pulled it from. Every item was similar to something she had worn around him before or what she was likely to have bought for herself.
“When?” she whispered, taking in the items of clothing and disregarding his choice momentarily.
“Moment you walked into my bar,” Eric mumbled in an admission he didn’t really feel like sharing, but her eyes had demanded of him. The thought occurred to him that he’d never be able to if he wanted it or not. A strange mixture of comfort and claustrophobia settled in him with that thought.
“I don’t know whether to be creeped out or flattered,” she spoke softly against the clothing.
“Go with flattered,” he grinned from behind her while tracing a finger over her bare shoulders.
“Creepy it is,” she giggled while settling on a comfy pair of jeans and t-shirt. Her amusement only seemed to increase when she saw him standing with a pout while holding the rejected dress to the air when she turned around. Her laughter lasted longer than appropriate before Eric had to characterise it as maniacal and the levity that had sprung between them evaporated.
“Sookie?” he questioned with worry before she seemed to settle back into herself.
“Got any socks?” she asked casually to which he silently pointed to a drawer, scrutinising her momentary odd behaviour carefully. Without much thought Sookie picked a pair and left Eric standing startled with his chosen outfit, contemplating what sort of transformation he had just witnessed.
“Creepy indeed,” he noted to himself while replacing the dress among the other items of clothing.
“Stan would like to speak to you,” Godric informed when he found Eric in a frozen state in what the ancient vampire assumed was Pam’s closet going by the colour scheme.
“He is dead to me,” he spoke coolly in return of the one who would betray him to barter with the Authority, even if by his own claims it was merely a negotiating position. Eric loathed to admit that he would likely have done the same, but since it concerned Sookie he was far from forgiving, his distaste for disloyalty carrying the ultimate punishment. “Leave him and his state to crumble.”
Godric let out a deep sigh, rubbing at his temples as if he were still capable of sustaining headaches. “So much anger my Childe.”
“I am not certain it is wholly mine,” he confessed in a whisper, remembering his various violent outbursts over the past few days that were in character with him when he was but a newborn, however, severely out of character for a vampire of a thousand-years-old.
“There is more to her than meets the eye,” Godric acknowledged.
“Sookie does not appear to be in control of herself,” Eric admitted with worry.
“What if she is the Cyrus I was warned about?”
“NO!” Eric roared, unleashing more of the temper he had gained a thousand years to master. “Do not start this prophecy bullshit again! She is innocence personified! I will rip you to shreds before you dare suggest otherwise!”
“You would defy me?” Godric whispered, despair brimming from every pore of his pale skin. “Kill the one who made you?”
“Yes,” his Childe seethed while marching out of the room before he turned around slowly and using his great height advantage to stare him down, enunciating with slow warning, “Every single time.”
“There you are, love,” he whispered indulgently while petting her cheek. “Thought you left me.”
Tara shook her head in a show of appeasement to which her captor seemed taken. He carefully released her of the makeshift gag and wisely she stayed silent.
“Never wanted a sister,” he mused aloud.
“Me neither,” she agreed tentatively while trying to sit up, and to her surprise found the sheets he had carried her away in came away without restraint and took in the strange environment she had witnessed from the bathroom window. “Where are we?”
“Somewhere else, had to make our trail disappear for a bit,” he replied though it gave her little more information than she had. “We’ll be back home soon enough. Have to wait for the sun to rise.”
“With me, love,” he grinned. “You, me, and the bug gonna be one happy home. Would you like that, Tara?”
Her teeth bit nervously at her bottom lip before she nodded and whispered a tentative ‘yes’.
“What is happening?” Godric mused to himself while he tried to comprehend Eric’s rash behaviour.
“Is it not obvious, Father?” Cecily posed nonchalantly. “The only way to destroy Eric Northman is through his heart. You should know, you almost succeeded.”
“No,” he whispered.
“Yes,” she spoke sternly. “Had Sookie not intervened you would be alone right now. He would walk through flames for you and now he will for her.”
His fingers dug deep into the marble countertop he leaned against, not even noticing the brittle structure of the hard material was coming apart in his hands. “Is that what I raised?”
“Yes,” she smiled back. “You raised him well.”
“How can you be so certain?”
“She will do the same for him, where you only could ask and stand aside. You did not take away his ability to love after all.”
“Is something happening?” he questioned becoming startled by her serious tone. “You are almost fully corporeal.”
“Yes,” she whispered with a bright beam. “Tell Jason I’m very fond of him and that I’ll miss him.”
“Where are you going?”
“Somewhere else,” she shrugged. “Till we meet again, Papa.”
She pressed her lips against his and for the briefest of moments it felt as if she were real before she dissipated into the air.
“Cecily?” With a panic not dissimilar to the first time he lost his eldest Childe he raced all over the subterranean level in search of her, but even the remnants of her scent had gone with her. He stopped short to find Russell dazed and confused in Hugo’s room where the Fae himself was noticeably absent. “Where have they gone?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” Russell cackled in the foetal position on the floor. “It’s the Faeries, it’s always the fucking Faeries. Little pockets of dust.”
“Did you kill him?”
“So close, so close,” the ancient vampire repeated in an endless loop on the floor till he stilled and with an eerie calm found the troubled eyes of Godric. “Yet so far. So, so far away.”
Godric shook him carefully, but he lacked recognition or response, his eyes seemed devoid of reason and he wondered if this was what it had been like when Tara suddenly disappeared, however Russell seemed to be returning to himself sooner than that. Godric theorised that perhaps it was the mere presence of his blood in Hugo rather than a bond that made the madness dissipate so quickly. Uncharacteristically for a vampire, he held out his hand to help him up and after the initial daze cleared from Russell’s mind he took it.
“So the Faeries have left us,” he stated with a glance around the emptied room.
“Indeed,” Godric agreed. “Nan Flanagan has requested an audience through Texas.”
“Of course she has,” he sighed. “She has till sundown then I’m off to wring off a certain Hispanic’s neck.”
“Will you take her offer?” Godric asked, both vampires knowing exactly what she would be bartering with. There was nothing else the Authority could offer that would interest them otherwise and Nan was smart enough not to waste their time.
“If you won’t, I won’t,” he shrugged with an aloofness that didn’t suit the occasion.
“Why?” Godric wondered aloud, he had been ready and willing to submit to the wishes of the Authority to have Tara safe and sound again, unwilling for her and the unborn child to pay the price of his politics. He had simply assumed Russell would be the same; wanting Talbot back whatever the cost.
“The Authority works for me or it doesn’t, it has been long since I had a Master and I do not wish to revert to those days.”
Godric nodded, finding it difficult not to agree. However, his care for Tara persevered. He thought back to Cecily’s comments before she disappeared, how he had let principles and dogma nearly sacrifice Eric in the process. “I will not let others carry my burden, if they offer to release Tara to me I will agree to their terms.”
“Suit yourself,” Russell shrugged. “We diverge then.”
Godric gave a respectable nod, noting how odd it was how civil they were. Had they both been many centuries younger a differentiating opinion wouldn’t even have been necessary for a physical confrontation. “Old age is rather mundane, is it not?” Russell noted picking up on Godric’s unspoken thoughts.
“We should spar before we part,” Godric offered thoughtfully.
“Let’s,” Russell agreed gleefully before gesturing he enter the control room ahead of him.
“Gentlemen,” Nan greeted. “I have a proposal.”
“Let’s hear it,” Russell spoke with severe disinterest, tapping his foot impatiently. “You have ten minutes. I have places to be.”
“Your Childe and your Human.”
“Tell us something we weren’t aware of already,” the King of Mississippi spoke sardonically putting in one of those delightful eye rolls that young Pamela had taught him.
Nan startled momentarily thinking she was dealing a great feat. “We will return them to you.”
“In exchange for?” Godric commandeered with more authority than Eric had witnessed in a long time.
“You will return to the Authority. You and your retinues and will be ours to command.”
“Show us the goods and we’ll consider it,” Russell shrugged before Godric could agree to the terms.
“We do not have the time,” she spoke with true urgency. “The attacks on the Fellowship have the human population in an uproar, and the climate in your states can’t be described as anything other than tense.”
“My Childe is not part of my retinue,” Godric clarified. “I will-”
“No,” Nan interrupted. “They’re part of the deal.”
“Mine!” Eric growled in warning with the appropriating tone taken in regard to Sookie.
“Not this again,” Sookie grit back angrily before shoving him down and biting down harshly on the back of his neck while he proceeded to scream out in pain and his body doubled over.
“Sookie?” Eric questioned when she finally relented the overpowering hold on him, and she looked as shocked as he.
“What did I do?” she whispered in horror with the amount of blood dripping from her mouth and staining them both.
“Not now,” he growled underneath a mask of hurt with the treatment. Not even Godric had humiliated him so in front of others when he was a newborn.
“We’ll take the deal, Ms. Flanagan. Deliver them by dawn or consider this null and void,” Russell informed before cutting the feed to Texas.
“This is not what we agreed!” Godric warned angrily.
“She’s more desperate than I thought,” he shrugged. “We get our precious cargo back, and then all bets are off.”
“I did not sign up for war!” Godric fumed.
“Thank your asset over there,” he winked at Sookie. “She strengthened our position, the world is ours now. I have a crown to retake, ta ta!”
“What did I do?” Sookie whispered as the two ancient beings sped out, one chasing the other.
“You dominated me,” Eric spoke tensely. “Treated me as your cub, a possession to toss around. Proclaimed ownership of me.”
“Why did I do that, Eric?” she whimpered with wet tears. “What is happening to me?”
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly, the anger and suffered humiliation dissipating with the pain as he stood witness to it in front of him. The inordinate strength she had displayed moments ago lost now. He thought back to Cecily’s words not so long ago, having taken the words to heart, but not noticing the veiled value. ‘She is not made for loneliness. The Eternal Fae in her cannot stand it, tragic since it is their ultimate fate. She will always seek attachment, and when it is channelled singularly it is everything.’
“You need to get to Pam,” she whispered when it remained quiet between them for too long.
Eric regarded her carefully, wondering whether her earlier actions had suddenly made her reluctant to speak of a ‘we’ anymore. Hours ago she had stood ready and waiting to drive him to Jackson, now her automatic response was to stay behind. It was deeply unlike her. “I’m no longer sure if it’s safe to leave you,” he spoke carefully.
“I’m so sorry, Eric,” she sobbed in his arms. “I don’t want to slow you down, Pam is everything to you.”
“And you’re not?” he questioned her and himself in the process.
“Am I, Eric?” she whispered not daring to find his eyes. “After what I did to you?”
He placed a soft kiss to her forehead. “That wasn’t you.” She tensed instantly in his hold while he tried to calm her with his fingers as they ran through her hair, contemplating himself what being an ‘Eternal’ would mean. “And if it was, we’ll figure that out.”
“Ok, so we go to Pam together now?” she asked tentatively. “It’s ok if you leave me Eric, for her.”
“No, Pam is capable of taking care of herself. I should trust in that.” He looked down at her reflectively. “I should have trusted in that.”
“You raised her well,” Sookie smiled before getting up determined to get a move on, genuinely excited to see Pam again suddenly sharing her confidence that all would be well with Pam. “Why didn’t you?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied thoughtfully before they were interrupted by the announcing vibration of his confiscated phone. “Speak of the Devil,” he grinned.
“Eric,” Pam greeted with a commanding tone that was somewhat foreign in their long relationship. She usually let his acknowledgement of her as a near equal slide in favour of feigned subservience. “Turn to channel eighty-four.”
Begrudgingly he did and stared with marvel at the sight before him. Phone to her ear she sat rather un-regally in a splayed out manner, much like his at Fangtasia, on Russell’s throne silently directing a clean-up crew as they polished away the last specks of blood. “Russell was right,” she informed with disappointment. “Pink is a terrible colour to get blood stains out of.”
“How?” Eric asked in wonder.
“Russell taught me a few tricks,” she preened to which Eric could only emit a warning growl. She cackled loudly which only reverberated through the space of the hall before she lowered her voice to a more affectionate tone. “As did you, Maker mine.”
He glanced at his watch calculating just how quickly she got it all done. “Three minutes, a new record I assume?”
She pouted a little to the camera, “I had a little help.”
“Really?” he grinned, not failing to notice the Werewolf in the background co-ordinate his men like a true Alfa. All still bloodied from the not so pleasant wake up calls they had doled out during the day under his instructions and Eric couldn’t help but admire the ingenuity, vampires were always at their most careless with their safety in the aftermath of bloodlust. “Man’s best friend?”
“They really should amend that saying,” she tittered. “Loyal to the core that one. Wouldn’t have done that for Russell, he still doesn’t quite understand why he has.”
“For you, Pam,” Sookie offered taking the phone from Eric knowing he would easily overhear the conversation just as she had. “He lov-”
“Don’t you DARE say it!” Pam warned with a low hiss. “We’re just friends.”
“If you say so,” the telepath teased back.
“You!” she growled back before a hand came to rest on her shoulder and caused her to calm. A wayward eye glanced up with a clipped tone she informed, “We’ll talk later.”
“You know that really is rude,” Eric chuckled when suddenly confronted with the dial tone.
“She’s your Childe,” Sookie teased causing Eric to notice that wild glimmer in her eyes again, waking that restless energy that swung between them like a pendulum. “You should have taught her better.”
He briefly reminisced back to Pam when she had just been turned. His and Sookie’s unusual behaviour had not been unlike that feral time where something small could set them off. These were trying times, but Eric also understood the danger of ignoring that weakness that existed in them both now.
“So what do we do now?” she asked thoughtfully picking up on his silent musings.
“We restore the balance.” The statement carried the weight of what was to come even if it was only meant to allude to resolving the state between them.
“What else is there to do after a magnificant fight?” he chuckled lowly before holding a smug grin when she remained unknowing to his meaning. “We fuck.”
A/N: Thanks as ever to msbuffy.
So yeah… ehm more next time on time on Tara, Cecily and whatever the hell is up with Sookie. Did I forgot someone in there? Probably… so thoughts? (And feel to ignore below if you’re now seeing it for the third time…)
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