The news wasn’t good. There had been similar, well-orchestrated, attacks in New England and Rome. Unlike us they had not been able to detain the perpetrators with the same ease. I doubted they ever would. The ones we held would most likely offer anything informative, they were pawns ready for sacrifice. They wouldn’t have been allowed to be caught with such ease otherwise. Vampires, impure or not, never left behind messes that needed to be cleaned up.
Our impromptu unfuneral had most likely given opportunity that was not in accordance with the rest of the attacks. It was messy and ill prepared, the vampires in question had a bravado ill afforded to those who would seek to destroy a queen. I found that out this evening, though it really shouldn’t have surprised me that Pam was more than just simply a royal pain.
I blamed myself. Not for dragging everyone out to Bon Temps where my newly repossessed home now stood as a framework of charcoal ready to collapse. Unknowingly I was the Queen’s Telepath and I had skirted my duties. With the no contact order from the AVL Pam and I had kept our distance. I assumed Pam had refrained from outing my skill in protection of me but it had come at the cost of her own.
We resumed our friendship the instant it was permissible but the perfunctory task of scanning her household lay unattended. It was something I did on a monthly basis and whenever a new member of staff applied for a position. Eric’s return had laid siege to that for months now.
It had been even longer ago that I had been able to enjoy such a large group of people celebrating life in my old family home. The evening was set to return me to my home. I know my Gran would have swelled with pride as the aromas of her food scented the air while the empty space was filled with life and laughter again. It was what she had always instilled into me of what a home should be, the company that was inside it rather than the bones that held it up.
I never understood that analogy so accurately till Eric was holding me up in his embrace while my bones gave way. That’s where I found my solace with the thought that my house no longer stood erect. We held on to each other longer than what would be considered appropriate. He basked in my warmth while I held onto him for strength. I don’t know why I abandoned this for Pam in the car, I couldn’t find the comfort I sought then as I felt it now.
My thoughts of my brother was the only thing that motivated me to remove myself from his arms now. I reminded him of his promise to Louvelle and his sister to check in once he was safe and secure. With reluctance we disengaged and I couldn’t help but notice his delight in our equal averseness to the movement.
I didn’t know what to think of his friendship with the young werewolf. I feared the girl was infatuated with Eric and he was unknowingly indulging her. I most certainly would have been taken by Eric at her age. As I spoke to her through the image of the webcam earlier that evening I understood why Eric considered her a friend.
Louvelle was completely different to the children I knew of her age. Her maturity had yet to catch up with her inherent wisdom. She offered a perspective to the world that could only be granted from someone so young who knew more than most. Nothing had narrowed her mind yet and I hoped it would remain so.
As a telepath there were few people whose mind I actually wanted to enter. Godric’s was one, the fact that I couldn’t made him all the more enticing to interact with. Louvelle’s mind intrigued me and I had yet to develop a skill that reached across the bandwidth of the internet connection. She was most interested in what I thought of Eric and if we had exchanged words of love yet.
We had barely interacted enough to be considered a first date even with the most inclusive definition of the word. We were a walking and talking romantic comedy to her, if we allowed for it she would follow our interactions with a webcam all day.
I was hardly able to answer the penetrative questions she posed of my relationship to Eric. It was only through Eric’s interception and with her approval that I was relieved from the inquisition. Though I was convinced her blood ran closer to Spanish than French. Everything had escalated from that point onwards, from fires and explosions to here. Interned to the basement of my home in full lockdown mode.
I had spent one night like this before under false assumptions of a legitimate threat. It was Pam’s fault. She had decided to throw me a surprise birthday party knowing I never wanted it to be a large thing. It had somehow escaped her I was a telepath and overheard everyone preparing for the great reveal while I was bored out of my skull downstairs.
It was a horrible experience and I was sick as a dog for days after for the first time in my life. My weak excuse that I had missed out on the sun was a feeble one but it was what I had chosen to believe. It was most likely the alcohol I consumed to forget my solitary confinement of the day.
With the assurance that Jason was safe and secured by a secondary team provided by Alcide I finally acknowledged my fatigue. The wolves had returned to their usual posts and I sensed a few extra ones which I was sure belonged to Pam. I checked their minds for any ill intent but found them all loyal to her.
There was little point in trying to fight my sleep, if we came under attack now there was little that could save us. The bunker would only hold anyone off for so long, I rested my head in assurance that if that were to happen I would be flown out by Eric. He’d already saved me once tonight and I was sure he wouldn’t hesitate to do so once more.
I recognised the signature of his void as it stood guard at my door. I vaguely heard some scratching noises but I knew no rodent could penetrate these walls. It must have been something else and as I tried to establish what it was slumber erased my thoughts.
I woke remembering nothing of my dreams as the previous evenings events flooded my mind. A surprise lay on the pillow beside me. I turned on the dim light on the bedside table and noticed Eric’s distinguished form lying motionless in the double bed across the room.
I picked up the bundle of papers wrapped in string from the pillow that lay unused in my bed. As I released the stack from its confines I took in drawing after drawing of my former home on Hummingbird Lane. Every little detail I had shown him was expertly captured on the bright white sheets of paper.
Tears escaped from my eyes. Not for the loss of my home but for the beauty of what he had captured. No photograph could compete with it nor could reality. He had caught the images as they existed in my mind. This gift was richer than any I had ever received.
With reverence I carefully placed the sketches back in the order he had arranged them and tied the string back in place. The sleeves of my nightgown were used to dry my eyes as I took in the time. I should have attended to my complaining bladder and stomach but I didn’t.
I left my bed for his.
I rested my head to the moderate heat emanating from his chest, the heavy duvet cocooning us into a world of our own. I drank in the scent of him, the cooking of my grandmother was intermingled with the iron rich smell of graphite and a hint of ash. Beyond that lay the smell that he had carried even when his heart had beat in tune with mine. It called of winter; that uniquely cleansed smell of snow washing away at the earth.
Our hibernation was interrupted by a gentle nudging from Pam who couldn’t resist carrying a knowing look of events that didn’t take place. Reluctantly I left the warm spot I had inhabited for a few hours leaving Eric alone to his day rest. I pulled on a warm sweater to make myself somewhat presentable before following Pam out. The situation must be really serious as she refrained from commenting on the train wreck that was my improvised ensemble. There wasn’t even a hint of a discriminating brow.
They needed my voice to access a secure line. I had always intended for Pam to be added to the security protocol, she was the one who had pushed for this specific outfit after all. If by some miracle all was back to normal I would definitely be putting in that call with the installers.
Godric, Pam and Shahbaz set to teleconferencing to unknown vampires around the world. I think I overheard some French and Latin but I couldn’t be sure as I spoke neither. My bladder’s hostile threats were finally met and I returned from the bathroom in what would be a Pam approved outfit under normal circumstances.
Shahbaz joined me in the kitchen as I set to improvise a meal. Unfortunately the Royalty Blended never kept long and the stock of True Blood I kept down here had expired. Nothing like an actual emergency to remind you to keep track of these things. Shahbaz turned out to be a keen cook and he was far more than Pam’s driver.
He was a member of the Guard of Anûšiya, a regiment of elite warriors. Even among the ranks of the Sanguine they were held in high regard. There were 10,000 of them not one more and not one less. They stood at the command of one Lord Commander and not their maker. They could not procreate lest one of them died. Whoever they turned when their numbers stood below that magic number would turn Sanguine, their line was never plagued by the mutations. The child was a Sanguine or truly dead. Hailing from Mesopotamia they were known as the Persian Immortal as their great number never died down.
As one was defeated the next would step in, the process of turning being instant with the transfusion of the blood. Three days in the ground were obsolete. The distending of the fangs was the most painful part of the instant transformation as new life coursed through their veins. That extra pain fuelled those warriors to greater heights in their first moments as a Guard of the Anûšiya. As fascinating as it all sounded I hoped I would never have to witness it. I had experienced enough upheaval for one night.
While ten thousand men of superior skills was once an army that brought even the bravest to tears, these days the number was less impressive with the growing populace. They were spread out over the world in the service of the royal houses. I had seen Shahbaz spar with a group of human men at Pam’s estate once. I now understood these were the mortals he surrounded himself with, who stood at the ready to step in should he or one of his fellow guards die.
The most promising of their legion, like Shahbaz, were put into hibernation pools of blood for centuries. Only roused to be fed the blood of their commandant on sacred days. They captained the smaller units under direction of the Lord Commander. I listened with captivation as we cooked a meal from frozen ingredients while he simultaneously shared the stories of the battles he had fought.
Shahbaz was surprisingly chipper given our situation. I wished he would share the cause of his optimism with me. Maybe his legion of immortals were coming to secure us by sunset but like much in Pam’s world it was obvious some things would be shared with me and a whole host of other things never would. As far as I could tell even Eric wasn’t fully informed on everything either.
When the stew we had been slaving away at neared completion, nightfall had started to set in and I went to check on the only slumbering vampire. As I peered into the room, with the door set slightly ajar, it still seemed blissfully silent. I yelped a little when what I had presumed was an unmoving boulder suddenly animated to life.
He greeted me with a ‘hey’ and I returned with a ‘hi’. The uncombed softness of his hair made him look boyish. It was an endearing sight and it reminded me he really was young like me despite his immortal status. Godric and Pam would always appear to be younger than the both of us but in this moment in time we were the spring to their winter.
“Were you with me in the bed?” Eric asked me with a hint of confusion. As if he wasn’t quite sure of what his body was telling him held any truth.
I wouldn’t be able to lie about that if I tried. Eric’s heightened senses would always be vastly superior to my attempt at subterfuge. Despite leaving the bed hours ago my scent would linger there. Pam’s nose seemed to be especially sensitive to it, she would still smell the presence of a were in my home days later.
“I hope that was ok?” I posed still leaning against the wooden door. The sharp ray of light entering the room from behind me only illuminated the right side of his face. On most, the shading would turn the gentle features on a face sinister. With Eric it suited, darkness and light rolled into one.
My appreciation of it was interrupted as he flicked on the bed side light. His eyes were bright with the injection of lumens. It reminded me of our days in the diner when the sharp light of the sun would make the sky jealous with the clarity and colour of his blue eyes.
“It’s more than ok,” he replied, to which I let out a small sigh of relief I didn’t know I was holding onto. I honestly don’t know how well I would have taken it had our situations had been reversed. “I would never chase you from my bed,” Eric continued before patting a spot beside him on the bed. His tone implied a leer but his eyes didn’t. “Please,” he repeated the movement when I didn’t immediately make to move.
I obliged and sat on the edge just far enough away to be out of each other’s immediate reach. “The drawings are beautiful,” I said with gratitude. “They’re as if you drew them from my memories. Sometimes I think it’s like you know me better than myself.”
“I just like to view the world through your eyes,” he offered with a kindness I was still unaccustomed to.
I took a moment to consider what he meant to say with that. My telepathy burdened me with the thoughts and musings of so many others. It was rare that I enjoyed the alternate perspective of another’s mind. I just couldn’t imagine someone actually desired to do so.
I turned my gaze back to him, the hands that sat underneath my thighs were becoming numb with the weight of my own body. He looked at me with anticipation before I answered, “Do you like what you see?”
His answer was given without a moment of pause. “How could I not,” he offered sincerely. “You’re different from everyone else.” My eyes fell to the floor when he used the word to describe the out of the ordinary. It wasn’t the first time that I felt like a curiosity to another’s scrutiny and it wouldn’t be the last. Never had it made me feel good.
Only through the pressure released by his weight from the bed did I know he didn’t just teleport in front of me. The spot where my eyes had rested was now inhabited with his kneeling form and his penetrative stare. This proved he knew me better than myself once more.
“Unique, distinct, extraordinary,” he spoke with reverence. With that I understood the word as he had spoken it, not as I had chosen to hear it. His next confession caught me unaware. “I lost all my memories when I was turned. Until the Great Reveal Godric saw no use to recover them. The image of you was the first thing that made me remember. For you were so out of the ordinary. You were memorable where everyone else had faded to the background of my mind.”
The immeasurable depths of his eyes urged me to believe him. There was no need for it, he had never lied to me. His mind had never betrayed the words spoken from his mouth. It was me who had a hard time accepting, once more, the kindest words now spoken to me. I allowed myself to be warmed by them rather than disregard it as placation.
“You lost all your memories?” I asked suddenly comprehending everything he said. Eric nodded in confirmation, a hint of pain residing alongside the memory of it. “I was asked to help an amnesiac once but their mind had been a scary place to me. It wasn’t like a vampires’ mind, your voids indicate a presence inaccessible to me. It was just emptiness, a black hole full of helpless thoughts.”
It was now his eyes that darted to the floor to a spot where I immediately sank to my knees. I pulled him into my embrace, for his comfort instead of mine. He didn’t say anything but I felt the relief wash over him, thawing the frost. I decided then I was seriously going to kick Godric’s ass for thinking Eric had no use for his old memories. When I told Eric of my intentions he didn’t try to dissuade me, no he simply laughed. Then I joined.
We understood each other, sometimes better than ourselves. Our world may be falling to pieces around us or be exactly the same when we come out. However complicated it was, however dire the news, this confinement had brought us here in each other’s arms. I may no longer have a home of my own but it was close enough. These were the foundations my Gran always spoke of.
A/N: A character banner has been made for little Louvelle, find it here, although I doubt the actress who portrays her will be a surprise to you. This is what I imagined when she was teaching Eric to draw in Memento Mori.
Saturday we will see Eric’s POV again as he and Sookie share a bit of their pasts apart.
Special thanks to VAlady and treewitch703 for taking the time to pre-read and their invaluable feedback.