“We seem to be missing a bit of company,” Salome noted with a bristle once she came to observe the empty field, and found only a calm and collected Russell sitting atop her incapacitated Childe.
“They got what they came for,” he shrugged while gesturing at the body beneath him. “Your security is rather lacking. Shall we trade?”
“You think I care for that psychotic freak Childe?” she scoffed.
“He wouldn’t still be walking and talking if you didn’t,” Russell noted dryly before coming to stand. “So a Childe for a Childe?”
Her arms crossed firmly while staring him down, “I think not.”
“What is it you want from me, then?” he posed with little regard.
“You fight our cause.”
“What exactly is your cause?” Russell questioned. “You work for the Authority, but that is clearly an office of convenience for you.”
“The world of humans is but our playing field,” she quipped, gesturing to the active portal behind her.
“That is where you have kept my Talbot for so long,” he ascertained while she beamed brightly. “Have you fallen on your Sanguinista principles again?”
She snorted momentarily, remembering their last conversation where she had failed to convince him of her cause then. “That was so last century.”
“So what’s this century’s cause?” Russell grinned expectantly.
“Do you care?” Niccoló questioned while he emerged through the bright light of the portal, carrying a shadow of a body behind him. Russell was on him in an instant, looking him over for any damage.
“Talbot, my dear boy,” he whimpered. “Did they hurt you?”
“Who are you?”
“DOWN!” Eric roared seconds before the sounds of guns started to fire from the woods, closing the door Sookie was just about to open wide and covering her body in protection. The deafening noise, however, was soon dampened, as if they existed in a vacuum.
“Are they gone?” Sookie spoke, her voice muffled from under Eric’s protective ensconcing of her body on the car’s floor. Eric cautiously eyed their surroundings from his lowered position, only then noticing the erected barrier that surrounded them like a dome of light.
“I think you saved me again,” he admitted with a chuckle, while carefully and slowly extracting himself from her. “Wolf, you smell anything?”
“Nothing but you two,” Alcide replied tensely. “What’s wrong with her?” he gestured to Sookie, whose eyes seemed to be radiating the same bright violet light surrounding them.
“Nothing,” Eric growled, as he noticed insecurity overtake Sookie when she caught her reflection in the car’s mirror, and he felt her spirits plummet through the bond. “You’re magnificent, älskling,” he whispered to her as he caressed her cheek. “A vision to behold.”
She smiled shyly while seeking out his hand in assurance, “Can we go out?”
With a nod, she moved over the console between them to carefully exit the vehicle only to find a lone and startled Stan standing in the desolate landscape, staring in wonder at the protective barrier.
“Where is everyone?” Eric shouted to Stan who failed to hear his question. An assembly of hand gestures with which both ancient creatures seemed thoroughly inexperienced, never having found need for it, managed to get the message across causing Stan to crudely act out ‘dead’ with a faux noose hanging round his limp head, “Sookie, it is safe. Can you take it down?”
“I don’t know how,” she answered with sudden worry. “I don’t know how I did it. It’s just there.”
“Think of it as the shields for your telepathy,” Eric encouraged while rubbing her back. She gave a determined nod as she reached for both of his hands and closed her eyes while inhaling and exhaling until the barrier slowly dissipated.
“What the fuck was that?” Stan roared with excitement before he found himself smashed firmly into hard gravel with a pissed-off Viking looming above him.
“My Bonded,” he growled, punching him for good measure with the thought he was willing to barter with Sookie’s freedom for a little power gain. “Asshole!” he spat. “What happened?”
“Never could kill a man while he still had worth,” Stan grinned smugly when Eric finally backed off of him. “I… forgot?”
“Stealthy motherfuckers coming out of nowhere, instantly started shooting at us. I wanted to go out and fight, but Nan wouldn’t let me.”
“How,” Eric growled with impatience, “are you left alive?”
“Magic?” he teased before being shoved deeper into the ground by an impatient Viking above him. “I figured if I was going out with a bang, I’d stake the blonde minge. Happened to be right around the time your little Bonded erected that dome and they all retreated into nothing.”
“What were they?”
“Something I’ve never came across,” he shrugged with little pretence.
“The bombers of our plane? Are they the same?”
“Smelt different,” Stan discerned with an extended whiff. “Lethal buggers, knew exactly what they were doing though. Same in that.”
“Get in the car,” Eric commanded after assessing it wouldn’t be safe to linger for long, especially with the approaching sunrise.
“I live another day,” he grinned.
“Only for killing Nan,” Eric replied succinctly while shoving him a little harder than necessary in the direction of the car. “Asshole.”
“What have you done to my Childe?” Russell demanded, scrutinising his most beloved who appeared to no longer recognise him. Recoiling from his tender touch, once familiar, yet now suddenly unwelcome.
“That’s the thing, isn’t it?” Salome grinned triumphantly. “He is no longer yours.”
“Should I know him?” Talbot asked tentatively, moving in closer to Salome for protection as if seeking apron strings to which he could clutch.
“Don’t you worry your pretty little head, darling,” she cooed while glancing with a calculated look at his former Maker and Bonded. “Russell’s a little old, doesn’t remember much most days.” Talbot was quick to nod, scared to leave even the smallest distance between them as she leisurely moved in front of Russell, goading him.
Russell eyed her coolly, not giving an inch of the emotional turmoil that lay within. Where she expected him to fly out in rage, accusing her of violating every law held sacred among vampires, surprisingly, he laughed. “Well played,” he complimented. “What is it you want from me?”
Salome’s eyes and mouth grew wide with victory. She didn’t even stop to think how easily the object of her conquest submitted so willingly. She was about to answer before he interrupted her, “Never mind, I couldn’t much care. Release him to me, and I’ll fight whatever ridiculous cause you’re fighting, and then I’ll deliver whatever it is you’re wanting.”
“Pray, do tell. What is it I’m wanting?” she purred contentedly.
“Prey do tell, what is it I’m wanting?” she purred contentedly.
He was getting rather tired of her games, especially with dawn so imminent. He smiled cheerfully regardless; she was almost too easy to read. It was an accomplishment that she had managed to survive this long at all. With little interest, he delivered the desired words, “A little blonde bottle of sunshine.”
“No!” Talbot cried out at the thought of being separated from the only person he knew. A flicker travelled across Russell’s eyes and, without warning, Franklin Mott’s head was ripped from his body in one fell swoop, causing Salome to cry out in pain with the sudden severance.
“Let that be a warning,” Russell threatened as soon as he held a struggling Talbot securely in his arms who continued to scream out in protest, only to be silenced by a warning growl from Russell, fearing his body would be parting from his head next. He made to depart into the sky, pausing briefly, “I don’t play fair,” he winked with a flourish to Salome, “either.”
“We’re leaving?” Logan questioned incredulously, wondering why he had just staged a successful coup of the King of Mexico’s forces only to abandon it.
“Well, I am,” Pam informed stoically, not bothering with much of a backwards glance as she continued packing her few acquired possessions with precision.
“Will you look at me while we’re talking?” he growled, the irises of his eyes flaring up amber with her apparent disinterest.
She turned slowly, an arched brow held high with a look that dared him to push for more. “It’s been fun,” she spoke with a fake sincerity that gave personality to her colourful ensemble.
His stance remained hostile while she refused to give an inch of what he was longing for. “After everything I’ve done for you?” he managed to grit out evenly, masking the hurt as best he could.
Pam regarded him from the distance of the room. She picked up the packed pieces of luggage, and then set them down by his feet. Nonchalantly she shrugged, “You could fly me there with your chopper if you like.”
“Is this your way of asking me to come along?”
She didn’t especially like the small smile that accompanied his question, and with a slight frown she casually tossed out, “I sort of assumed.”
“Woman, you realise I have an ex and kids.”
“So?” the vampiress retorted with little inflection. “Bring ‘em along, I could go for a snack or two.”
“You’re insufferable,” he mocked while pulling her close around the waist.
“You’re welcome,” she grinned before his lips sought out hers. “Wolf.”
“Northman, the property is warded, yes?” Russell demanded seconds before the hard break the vehicle made with his sudden landing in front of them on the, thankfully, empty country road.
“What are you hiding?” Eric questioned, observing the slight figure in his shadow.
“A maker-childe bond. Will the wards hold detection?” Russell continued to question without answering.
He nodded briefly, “Only for twenty-four hours if one is determined to find him.”
“It’s enough time,” Russell ascertained, pulling Talbot from behind him into the headlights. “We seek asylum, will you grant it to us?”
“Yes,” Sookie answered before Eric could. He eyed her with worry, his distrust of the stronger vampire having him hesitant where she was determined without cause.
“We’ll meet you at the house,” Russell announced before speeding off into the air in a haphazard pattern of flight.
“It’ll be ok,” Sookie assured with a squeeze of her hand when he showed a moment of vulnerability, forgetting briefly of the two passengers in the backseat. He gave a quick nod of tacit agreement before starting the engine again. Stan didn’t fail to let the opportunity of witnessed domesticity pass by sounding out a noise of a cracked whip before the cold, menacing stare of the Viking shut him down instantly.
“Quiet you,” Sookie giggled into the back seat.
“If you say so, dear,” Stan grinned.
“You want us to be a family?” Tara asked incredulously. “How the hell would that work?
“However you want,” he shrugged before pulling the bloodied onesie from his pocket.
Tara stared with disbelief at the small garment as it unravelled in front of her. The heart proclaiming to love ‘dad’ bloodied with Godric’s tears. “What is this?”
“My pathetic attempt to tell you I could be that for your child.”
A tear escaped her eye before her softened face growled, “Fucking hormones!” She wiped them away with impatience before softening with the sight of his worried face. A sigh escaped her, reaching out for his hand that had strangely become comfortable to her. “It’s not pathetic, Godric. A little presumptuous-”
“I wanted to give you something substantial to understand my intent,” He attempted to recover the onesie, but she refused to let go of it with a warning glare. “I was seeking something of metal, to stand the test of time, but-“
“You wanted to guilt me into keeping it with gifts?”
“No, Tara, my offer stands. I support whatever you decide.”
“Why?” she mused aloud, still clutching the proffered item tightly in her hands. “I thought it might go against your newfound morals.”
“The new doesn’t necessarily usurp the old in everything. Choice is very important to a vampire, it takes very long for us to be released of another’s command. Even then, as long as your maker is not truly dead you are never really free.”
“That’s what true death was promised to you as, wasn’t it?” she discerned while he nodded in accordance to the trappings that had brought him to the Fellowship of the Sun. “In death you would find freedom, because it would be your choice. Absolve all that has passed?”
“Yes,” he whispered. “I thought without my Maker roaming this Earth it would come, but it didn’t, the politics and secrecy of our species keep you bound. I thought by making a Childe, reversing the roles, one could find something there. They never tell you becoming a parent means forgetting about yourself. You think they are a part of you, instead they are everything. They are all. I wanted him to taste that liberty first, I thought I was setting Eric free through death. I thought I was bestowing him a great gift.”
“Like life, there are no guarantees in death, Godric,” she returned thoughtfully. “Except that it happens.”
“You have tempered in your time away,” he noted.
“Don’t go getting any ideas,” she bit back defensively, causing him to chuckle at the sudden resurfacing of her more abrasive personality.
“It is beautiful to see you like this,” he murmured, squeezing her hand gently. “Soft.”
“I’m not in love with you, Godric,” she returned, looking him in the eyes earnestly. “Or even in ‘like’ with you.”
“Neither am I,” he shrugged. “You aggravate me more often than not. Yet I find I would like to feel connected to someone other than through pain. This isn’t just pain.”
“There’s different kinds of love, you know,” Tara acknowledged. “It isn’t all deep passion and romance. It’s a part of you, you know?”
“The bug,” she said before moving his hand to rest over her belly where he could sense the slightest movement. “It responds to you.”
He observed the life beneath him with curiosity, the accelerated heartbeat so foreign in contrast to the absence of his. “Might be the blood.”
“Maybe.” She paused. “Probably.” They shared a smile while collectively feeling a flutter of movement. “Still, it’s nice to know it’ll have more than just me. I’m going to try and love this, Godric.”
His eyes lit up with wonder with her words, “What made you decide?”
“Because you decided to do the same, I’m done with pain,” With that, Tara tentatively pressed her lips against his. In a slight daze and extended period where neither dared utter a word, they stared at each other briefly before falling to laughs.
“Yeah, we’re definitely not in love,” she exclaimed all too cheerfully, her newfound freedom fueling her mirth.
Godric’s face fell instantly, all previous levity gone, unable to hide the sudden stab of pain.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, taken aback by the effect of her words. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“No, no,” he assured, only then did Tara come to realise the pain hadn’t been inflicted by her, but was altogether physical as if he was burning from the inside out. “I-” Godric struggled to sound out before his teeth started to clatter against each other and becoming unable to hide the shaking of his body, becoming all the more obvious and causing Tara to cry out in concern.
“Breathe,” she begged, as if he was human, and it was this small gesture that pulled a tiny smile from him, despite the assault that racked his body. His eyes connected with hers as it took its course, the sensation almost becoming familiar in its echo. After losing Cecily he had hoped never to experience it again. “Please, don’t go,” Tara whispered with wet eyes, her hold on him tightening, the pent up frustration of days of imprisonment catching up with her as pleas fell to sobs, and soon she was the one shaking while Godric’s body found its natural state again.
“Shhh,” he urged. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”
Her sobs didn’t dissipate, and her hold shifted, now he was the one comforting her, knowing it was a rare allowance from the otherwise defensive woman. Some time had passed before she managed to ask coherently, “What happened?”
“Eric,” he answered simply, her eyes raised expectantly when he failed to elaborate. “Gone.”
A/N: Right… so… ehm… yeah… I’ll be hiding out somewhere… Thoughts and stuff welcomed… or you know lots of guesses and conspiracy theories… Though most likely where you think Eric is, is most likely not the place where he’ll be… I mean if you want to get all philosophical about it you could be questioning where Godric really is… who am I kidding, I’m downright evil… till the next chapter!
Much thanks to msbuffy and her editing ways as always!