“Ness needs a family,” Sookie spoke calmly. “She needs her family.”
“I was thinking more along the lines of Pam,” she jested, causing him to chuckle with the thought of Pam mothering Ness. “I think that’s what Godric was driving us towards. Asshole couldn’t just ask.”
“There’s more at play than us,” Eric pointed out wisely. “But we’re not the answer.”
“Just the medium,” she agreed while tossing him a shirt and some pants with a look that communicated he dress quickly. “He’ll tell us soon enough.”
Sookie raised her voice in the direction of the door instructing the little girl to come in before she dared knock. A wild head of curls peered around the door carefully before bounding in with excitement of being able to roam the halls freely without having to hide all the time. She stopped short in front of Eric’s tall frame where they both looked at each other with curiosity.
“Hi,” she whispered shyly before lifting her arms into the air. “Up?”
He instantly acquiesced and gave a greeting in return as he took in the scent of her. It still baffled him that she smelled so strongly of Godric and the faintly reminiscent smell of her mother, which he had yet to place. It completely overtook his confusion of how a vampire came to father a birthed Fae child. Or two.
“You’re tall,” she observed from her new perspective.
“You’re short,” he countered dryly.
“Like Pappa!” Ness retorted happily.
“Like Pappa,” Eric agreed.
“You’ve come for answers, I suppose,” Godric spoke softly to the blonde couple hovering in the doorway while caressing the curls of the sleeping little girl in his lap. “Let me put her to bed first.”
They nodded and sat themselves on the sofa while Godric got up with a promise to return moments later. In contrast to the night before, they sat side by side without alienation. “Did you manage to reach Pam?” she asked while they waited. A sombre shake of his head made her reach for him and simultaneously lift his phone from his pocket. He watched with curiosity as her fingers typed away at the keypad where she threatened to wear her Merlotte’s uniform with charred red cowboy boots to the upcoming Ball if she continued to refuse to talk to her Maker.
“FUCK OFF!” was the most polite response among many.
Eric tried to remove the phone from her hands, but she successfully managed to threaten she would claim it was Pam’s fashion vision causing the phone to ring instantly.
“Tomorrow,” she informed Sookie with agitation when she answered. “Closing time at Fangtasia and you better be there too.”
“Rude,” Sookie muttered when the dial tone greeted her before she could respond and handed the phone back.
“Thank you,” he whispered sincerely before kissing her softly, holding her gaze with a content smile before a small cough from his Maker interrupted them.
“I see the love is not as unequal as you assumed?” Godric grinned, causing a scowl to instantly appear on her face.
“I don’t think it really concerns you,” she spoke coolly. “I think you’ve meddled enough.”
“It was with good intentions,” he offered apologetically. “I assure you of this.”
“For whom?” Sookie demanded pointedly.
“For us all,” Godric sighed. “At least those were my hopes.”
Eric smoothed his hands over her arms urging her to calm her temper. “Hear him out,” he pleaded to the side of her face and, with the frugal nod, Godric took an unnecessary breath while contemplating where to start.
“Your father’s crown,” he began, finding that parting moment six decades ago between them as the most appropriate place to start. “The female Were had slipped something and you were too emotional to see ration. It was what brought me to Russell’s doorstep on my own. We were equally matched in strength despite our age difference and I assumed it was a cause worth fighting. Instead, he had the crown and showed it to me with much pride, knowing its exact origins along with several more highly sought after things that could interest me. I could only care for your crown, Russell was most pleased to see and explained how he came to own it, excited that at last he had found something to barter with me. For not every ancient is so happy to side with a mortal enemy as a mercenary, but I was high on his wish list. He offered me entrance to the Guild that protects the assets of the ruling house of Faerum on this Earth, the origins of that alliance you shall have to hear from him if you choose to join. To bind my loyalty the identity of the vampire that killed your family would not be revealed until you, Eric, were eligible to join the Guild.”
“Two for the price of one,” Sookie noted dryly causing Godric to chuckle softly with her astuteness.
“Where is he now?” Eric demanded of the vampire who had held his preoccupation for so long.
“She is in Russell’s dungeon and has been for some time,” Godric explained. “Yours to see to as you see fit with when you like. You understand why I kept it from you.”
“I was too emotional,” Eric admitted remembering the blind rage that seemed to drive everyone he cared for away not so long ago, hurting them before they could hurt him. It was only through Sookie’s generous nature that she was still around and he still had a possibility to make things right with Pam, their reciprocal actions of hurting him in the same manner had allowed him to come to understand exactly how he had been operating for years. His necessitating hold on Pam being the exception because as her Maker she had no choice but to be by his side until he said so. It was no wonder she felt so suffocated under his grasp.
“I was given a ward,” Godric continued with a smile. “Bright, wayward, and a little wild, she drove me insane, but soon I came to understand that insanity as something else. We were mad about each other, not that either one of us would admit to that fact for a very long time. I made sure she was safe, kept an eye on her from afar, and ridiculed the boy toys she paraded in front of me. Claudette, in turn, scorned any woman that dared look at me. She lived a relatively carefree existence in my area around Dallas and we were great friends. We finally stopped pretending when we were holed up in a safe house for days with nothing but each other for company. The threat that put us there turned out to be false but the spark between us; that was real.
“We carried on in secret for decades till she was informed she was to be married off.” He quieted momentarily, wishing for the simple human gesture of sipping a glass of water to give just excuse for the pause that would inevitably revive the pain while the story settled with its audience. “We both knew it would happen eventually, but when you become as old as we, time has a different meaning and neither one of us could accept it had passed when the end was announced. Promiscuous as the Fae may be, she would not be afforded that in a marriage that was simply arranged to produce heirs, no matter the species.” He regarded Sookie carefully, whose defensive stance had waned slightly in the telling of his tale. “That’s when you first came to my attention, for you have been the best guarded secret of the Supernatural world. Even Claudette had not known of you until she came across you while looking for something else. Fintan had spoken of the love he shared with a mortal and the rare love note he left that woman to Claudette once. Your great-grandmother was given a Cluviel dor, Eric has spoken of this in your lessons?”
“Yes,” Sookie whispered biting at her bottom lip. “It grants a wish for the one you love. That is how Claudette was able to conceive?”
He nodded with a slight smile for her aptitude, “She never told me until it was done, her stomach already round. I could barely believe it but the scent did not lie, they were mine. Two thousand years and I don’t think I was ever more surprised. She hoped producing the heirs would be enough to convince Niall our union was just as valid. Her intended had been chosen solely on his performance as a stud, her royal blood providing the legitimacy.
“His response was lukewarm,” Godric remembered. “It went better than I expected, I feared I would be blasted to dust on the spot. To Niall, however, heirs are heirs and he knew Claudette for longer than I had. I remember him mumbling something that she took longer than expected to surprise him this much. He wasn’t happy, but he was accepting.
“After that we were drunk on love, set up home for a family. We thought we had it made, I would look after them in the early hours of the night while she rested from their time with them in the day. We became ignorant of the world around us while the nerves of parents to be set in,” he spoke wistfully. “I skirted my duties as a member of the Guild in her protection, too concerned with the joy that was to come. I care not to retell how it happened, but suffice it to say I woke from my day death with an extremely upset Ness on my chest, she always slept better there than anywhere else, and it was the only room safe from invading Fae. Claudette was a pile of dust when I found her, and our Eric…” The carefully held tears were no longer contained with the retelling as a lone drop of crimson started its course. “He was breathing his last breaths, too far gone to save. I could have turned him then but he would only have been a cruel token to keep. Claudette would not have wanted that, and I am glad I had the sense not to give in to the urge to keep him.” He glanced up briefly at his other Eric, “We were supposed to leave that day, to visit you.”
“I remember,” Eric acknowledged of the moment his Maker had retreated so suddenly, become deeply sullen without explanation.
“Niall took over, we never bonded before out of fear of the repercussions and then the pregnancy impeded it. If we had, perhaps Niall would grant me more claim to Ness than he does now. She is a Princess of the House of Sky, and I count for nothing. The only chance I ever had with her slipped away because I was careless. She was brought to Russell and Talbot, the safest place to be, even by my own reluctant admittance, after it was deemed the situation was too volatile in Faerum. I wanted to care for her but I was unable, I had failed my family so I didn’t fight him on it. I wanted to meet the sun, but only the thought of Ness alone to the world stopped me,” he sighed. “I wanted better for her, even if it did not include me and I mourned the ones I lost from afar. I visited Ness when I could but it only reminded me of what I lost. I can only visit her so often without raising suspicion, we keep her hidden with intent, but a set of two and three-thousand-year-old unrelated vampires can only be interpreted as scheming or hiding something valuable. The moment she started talking she kept asking for me, I knew to keep her safe distance was needed but my heart continued to cry out for her. It was at that point that I came to you and Adele. I remembered Claudette’s comment of how she envied you, Sookie.”
“Yes,” Godric smiled wistfully remembering Claudette’s indignation. “You lived an existence like no other Faery princess, without the obligations, without the worries or fear for your safety, like a normal girl. I thought if I could observe how you were then I knew Ness would be fine.”
“But I wasn’t normal.”
“No,” he agreed. “You were extraordinary, but Claudette had little time to observe. When I visited you and Adele I came to understand the price you paid for being left unaware, how your telepathy was a curse to you. Russell explained the faery oath Fintan had forged with Niall that allowed his descendants their freedom but left you exposed to danger from all sides. I had no such bargaining position, I ranked even lower than the would-be stud.”
“But Sookie and I together don’t,” Eric surmised.
“Indeed,” Godric affirmed. “Apart you made no sense, but when I met you, Sookie, I thought it for the best. You have to believe that. Your grandmother worried you would forever be alone, she knew you to put on a brave face, but she feared how you would fare without her. I considered binding you to me. I had promised your grandmother to look after you. Unlike the others of the Guild, she implored me to look after your emotional welfare too. That is why I never set my sights on you so overtly, though I gave it considerable thought. In the end I decided Adele would want you happy, not obligated. That’s where my Eric came in. I knew he would be intrigued by you if he met you and I hoped the same would apply to you.”
“You exposed my true identity, forcing me to seek protection,” she spoke evenly before taking a deep breath understanding fully well the consequences of that. How truly irreversible that was after Russell’s barbecue. “On a possibility?”
“You chose to from the moment you took Eric up on his offer,” Godric replied calmly. “You took the leap. I simply allowed for the chance to occur.”
“I chose to pose as something I wasn’t,” Sookie said defensively. “I never signed up to be a Faery Princess. I liked my life as it was.”
“Did you truly? The dreams are a part of your telepathy, they pick up the unspoken desires of your own and those you surrounded yourself with.”
Sookie’s thoughts momentarily fell back to Ness, the girl that had seemed so bright and enthusiastic all through the day for the chance to be around her Pappa as soon as he woke. The softening of her features made Godric take the leap, “Ness enjoys Russell and Talbot’s company, but it’s not where she wants to be. She is forced in the magically warded room often so no others know of her. She would be secure with the both of you in the open, bonded as you are. I did this to keep everyone safe.”
It was Eric who turned hard in his expression first, Sookie soon followed, sitting by his side as if they were posing for a portrait. The stares were harsh, but Godric persevered nonetheless. “You knew you were being kept in the dark, that there was more to you than you knew. Have you not gained something through this?”
Her nostrils flared while angered tears started to prick at the sides. “That wasn’t my choice!”
“Adele and I concurred that a vampire would be an ideal match but you gave none a glance.”
Her anger refused to dampen while her knuckled fists turned whiter with all that was revealed. “What! Gran’s B&B activities were some matchmaking service?”
“It was to keep you protected, though she had her hopes…”
“I can’t listen to this any longer!” she sobbed turning to Eric’s chest for comfort. Godric wisely quieted while he watched his eldest Son tenderly care for her like he had seen him do for no other. Despite their anger and feelings of betrayal towards him, the ancient vampire sat with satisfaction for the result as he had envisioned it. All they had to do was agree to his plans to let him be near Ness again.
With his support Sookie finally dared look Godric in the eyes again, no longer vulnerable, but with the stone-like façade she had carried for long that only Eric seemed capable at chipping away. “So you made it happen, set us up in a fake moment of happenstance,” Sookie whispered while looking down at the large hand that lay between her own before her eyes grew harsh and stared down the ancient vampire across from them. “You played us, told me to keep away. You knew that would only drive us closer. You used us, your own Childe!”
“As a parent you make different choices than as a Maker,” he confessed. “I’m not proud, but I can’t apologise for it either. It’s not for me, it’s for Ness.”
“You could have asked,” she spoke with accusation, her body vibrating with the anger that threatened to unleash in irreparable damages. “You could have FUCKING asked!”
Eric’s arms instantly surrounded her in an effort to calm her down, hands soothing her upper arms. She sank into the support he offered trying desperately to hold back more angry tears where he kissed her softly in the crook of her neck, quieting her while she tried to maintain in control of her emotions.
“And you would have said yes,” Eric whispered in her ears as he came to understand the actions of his Maker, his thought process not as foreign to him. “It would have appeared a choice but it wasn’t. You would never have said no to the plea of a little girl. Our arrangement would truly be an arrangement, we would always be a sham. A bond born out of obligation for I would not have refused my Maker either.” His thoughts momentarily fell to his own Childe giving her even more credit for daring to stand up to him, releasing her of such a hold that left him incapable of refusing his own Maker centuries on.
“Love could have grown from that,” she spoke softly finding the warmth in his adoring eyes.
“You would always have questioned it,” he returned before kissing her forehead softly while cupping her cheeks. “I would always have questioned it.”
“We would have felt it, wouldn’t we?”
“Feelings are not exactly our forte,” he grinned, and she couldn’t help but snicker a little with that particular truth when she came to rest her forehead against his.
“We would have figured it out eventually,” she mumbled sheepishly to which he could only raise a sceptic eyebrow. “Ok, maybe not. It still doesn’t make it right.”
“No, it doesn’t,” Eric agreed louder than necessary to make his feelings on the matter known to his Maker. “However, does it matter now?”
A/N: So will it all matter to Sookie or not? She’s not the most rational so… you’ll have to wait and see till the next update. Speaking of, I haven’t decided one way or the other but it will either be one or two chapters and then we’re at the end unfortunately (well fortunate for me, I was rather happy to get this done and dusted 🙂 )
Thanks as ever to msbuffy my diligent worker bee who gets all the little messes cleaned up.
So let me hear it, after hearing Godric’s motivations are you just as mad at him as Sookie or have you come to understand his actions?