283 years on and he didn’t look a day over 28. It shouldn’t surprise me that we could still die but it did. We didn’t know if it was because we were part fae or something else. Adylinn, Jason and I hadn’t aged a day since we left Bon Temps that fateful night. The only thing we ever did collectively was drink the fae water from the club. We had rationalised the restorative power of it in relation to the labour we had put in that day, but as each year passed our minds continued to wander of its true effect.
Jason didn’t die from old age. I almost forgot that was a possibility. The humans in our daily lives were the only reminders of that. With our stalled ages and magical abilities it became impossible to identify ourselves as such anymore. We were a strange commune of fairies and vampires living peacefully side by side. It didn’t mean we were without our issues as most had grown close like siblings and squabbled accordingly. Jason and Pam always clashed the most, between his embracing qualities of those that surrounded us and her apathy for whatever she did not consider ‘family’ they found little common ground.
For all Jason’s faults his insistent heroism wasn’t one of them. His heart had always remained firmly in the right place as it continued to beat beyond its expiration date. He died saving others, something he continued to do all his life even beyond his obligation as the force of the law.
With realisation Jason began to understand he served to protect others, it was what he excelled at. When we first arrived to Sweden he had considered pursuing his police career but found there was little need for that here. He whimpered for a long time at his loss of guns, much to my chagrin Eric had introduced him to his secret arsenal. He had also placated Jason with a menial job but he could find no fulfilment in it. He ended up as a youth councillor because he had experienced more than I even knew. His first sexual experience was a manipulation of a lonely teacher which only later in life did he recognise as abuse when he had lived through that hell with the abusive were panthers.
In that aftermath Jason had lost his best and oldest friend in the world, Hoyt still continued to live a natural human lifespan but to him it was like he died in that moment. My older brother understood the consequences of his actions like no other. Understood vices and their subsequent downfall. While Jason had gotten himself in a lot of trouble in his younger years through addiction and embroiling himself with the wrong crowds his moral compass never wavered. He had tried to save a vampire named Eddy when his girlfriend had coaxed him into draining the man, because that’s what Jason continued to see. A man not a means to an end. He took care of the residents of Hotshot even though he had no obligation to because he recognised the necessity of his help. Eric always describes that as quiet nobility, which he had not witnessed in many centuries. To give so selflessly without expecting any reward in return.
Sweden was an adjustment for us all. It took a while for Jason to shed his identity as a God fearing American. While I rekindled the flame with the love of my life my brother finally managed to integrate in these newfound lands by sampling some of the Swedish delights that consisted of a parade of blondes.
‘I’m Jason Stackhouse, and I wanna know you.’
It didn’t take long for Jason to be known as the local manwhore again. Luckily for him this was a completely unimpressive quality here. The only benefit I saw from his tomcatting ways was his accelerated ability to pick up the Swedish language. Learning was never his strongest quality but it cultivated an impressive system to circumvent requirements that made him more creative than most.
I resisted learning that same language for the longest time. It was a complete novelty to me that when I spoke to the locals what I heard in their mind resonated as complete gibberish. It wasn’t silence but it was nice regardless. I wasn’t instantly labelled the town freak in this sleepy hamlet. Or a fangbanging whore for that matter, as non-judgemental as they were of Jason’s ways they treated my relationship with Eric in the exact same light. It took me a few months before the constant exposure to another tongue had me speaking it despite my efforts not to. It didn’t help that Eric said the filthiest things in said language and my curiosity got the best of me. Especially when Pam joined in.
It took Jason 20 years to realise Adylinn was hopelessly in love with him, Tara had been the one to point it out in increasingly less subtle hints. While Eric and I treated her like a surrogate daughter we weren’t a bit surprised when they informed us she was pregnant and they wanted to get married. It felt a little old fashioned when Jason asked for her hand in marriage from Eric, but that was Jason to a t. He found his manners when they were required of him. Adylinn and Jason weren’t related by blood but there was an implied familial tie. My telepathy had told me of their relations far before they did, they had been sneaking around for months.
‘You got no right being in my head. That’s… trespassing.’
Eric and I were okay with it, we hadn’t raised Adylinn from a young age, we had merely fostered her when she was all alone and somewhat of an adult. Jason had taken very little interest in her then, he only noticed her when she had fully grown into her own. As a woman in her own right. It made sense for them to be together, they shared the uncertainty of future years. Without the resistance to glamour they both made poor partners for vampires, the only other species we knew of that could stand the test of eternal time. At least on their account, any vampire was happy to have them. Jason remembered his time as Violet’s pet all too well and steered clear of all things nocturnal that were not of Eric’s bloodline. Adylinn had lost every single family member to a set of fangs only Eric’s nurturing of her made her forget some of that loss and let go of the fear that had come with that.
Jason lost the initial prejudice against the species that was cultivated by my first vampire love soon enough. Looking back with the wisdom of too many years I finally understood Jason had a power of his own, one that wasn’t as apparent as my telepathy. His instincts were unfailing, unfortunately he was often too ignorant to listen to it but when Jason did it never proved wrong. Jason’s dislike of Bill should have been my warning sign but I ignored it, just as I disregarded my own red flags. I could blame Bill influencing me through the blood he had manoeuvred down my throat, but I won’t deny there was always a part of me that sought relief in his silence. That silence promised me a life I never thought to have, one that only existed in my dreams, and I sacrificed much for that. Too much.
Another version of that seemingly ungraspable dream had been found here in what Pam had christened Bon Shithøle. It wasn’t what I had made-up in my impressionable young mind but in the surroundings of near year round snow and cool air I had found more warmth than I had ever imagined.
Jason didn’t want to go up on that icy mountain top, he knew it wasn’t safe, his instincts told him not to go. He did regardless because people needed help and he came to their rescue. Like he always came to mine. Jason saved every last one of them before he was engulfed in the impending avalanche. He suffocated to death instantly in his much hated snow, because despite accepting its presence in our newfound home we still remained yearning for the heated sun of our native Louisiana.
Jason sacrificed himself in the end so others could live the years he had to spare. He didn’t take the extra years for granted as most of us were inclined to do. Each year counted, every birthday and anniversary was celebrated with equal enthusiasm. Jason had joined the rescue volunteer program because he wanted everyone to be blessed with the longevity he possessed knowing fully well it might cost his own in the end.
‘Sometimes the right thing to do is the wrong thing. I know I did the right thing.’
We had our troubles and tribulations but we were the only family we had left. Jason soon set to making a family of his own with Adylinn. Only Pam and her vault are able to remember the names of each and every one. 240 years of multiples equals a ton of children, the Swedish welfare state was far from happy with them in their multitude. Fortunately Eric paid enough in taxes to make up for that. They had stuck to Andy’s ABC method of naming children. They had redone the rounds from A to Z several times in the process. The first girl was named after our Gran and the first boy after Adylinn’s father. Incidentally both A’s.
We encouraged them all out of the nest as soon as they were able. Our little realm was a carefully fought sheltered one, yet we found it imperative they could enjoy that safety in the rest of the world. That Jason’s children could dream beyond the soil to which they were born, something we both wished we had been afforded with in our youth. Eric’s protection got them far even though it was hardly ever without incident.
Our little enclave was a haven to which many returned but for the young with only family as company it didn’t always offer enough. Some found love and loss locally but most travelled and settled elsewhere with families of their own. Eric always jokes that I’m the first one to actually put a dent in his largely amassed fortune with the financial care that comes with my nieces and nephews. I usually let out a harrumph I know he delights in but on a cruel day I will remind him of a certain woman named Yvetta.
‘I’m starting to believe that the truth is poison.’
The truth is Adylinn will suffer more than I ever will. I had my brother close by for 200 years, longer than I ever imagined. She has lost the man she thought she would have forever with and now has to face an unknown expanse of time alone. I knew that feeling as my own from the moment that Eric regained his memories. There was an unknown expiration date to our tryst just as it had existed between Adylinn and Jason but my optimism ignored it then, just like theirs had. However Eric had returned to me, or I to him. Perhaps we both enjoyed torturing ourselves with the taste of spoilt milk too much instead of owning up to what was real. Now we just spoilt each other to make up for our foolishness then. Bill Compton had been holding my white dress hostage all that time. I hated that it was his death that made me realise that, but it did regardless.
‘Maybe we wouldn’t keep getting hurt if we just expected the worst.’
Adylinn, Jason and I had never fallen to the same dark moods again that had us leaving our beloved Bon Temps despite the long and dark winter nights. The horrors we witnessed in our former home town had been etched into our minds permanently. We didn’t blame the vampires that did it, nor the humans that developed the crippling disease. We blamed it on Bill Compton. Not Billith, he was still in his ‘right’ mind when he ordered the destruction of the True Blood factories. His actions had initiated all subsequent events. They were tough things to hear of a man I once loved. I knew Eric to be no saint but there was a method there, a code of honour which I could respect. In return he respected my morals and beliefs.
One of the first things Bill Compton ever said to me was that vampires often turn on those they love most. It seemed that only spoke to himself. Eric never turned on me in our many centuries together. Pam had helped me out with Tara in my need and she had despised me then. Bill said they did not have the same values as humans. Their morals were indeed different but not flawed, I have to admit some of my own closely guarded moralities have changed some with the progression of time.
I always assumed Pam had done me the favour of turning Tara to get back in Eric’s good graces. She only told me later it was to settle the debt she incurred with me. I had saved her maker from the sun in the aftermath of Russell’s first demise, harboured him without memories. Knowing the passing of many ages myself now, I fully understand that it is far easier to keep track of transactions than it is of something fleeting and fluid like emotions. Eric had told me he owed me once for Godric and it is only now that I truly understood the significance of that debit he acquired with me.
‘It’s like if a tree falls in the woods it’s still a tree, ain’t it?’
Bill never lost his humanity, he chose to ignore it. He was who he was. Amnesia Eric was no different from the real Eric he was just veneered with a toughened shell that carried a thousand years’ worth of experience. He truly was more and it was more for the better. Godric was the only vampire I had met that was more humane than most humans I knew. I should have judged Eric by his maker and not his appearance. Even when I witnessed the crack in that shell on that Dallas rooftop I should have seen the truth he was offering me.
Eric was an opportunistic bastard in his human days, it wasn’t a vampire thing. Perhaps Eric reminded me too much of the only other male constant in my life. I didn’t recognise the love and care that was there because I already knew that with Jason. Instead I fell for the man that had meticulously followed the mannerisms and actions of the protagonists in my romance novels. I was young and that was the only thing I knew of romantic love. I relied on ration rather than instinct, I had taken for granted that Bill Compton was good people because he was born in Bon Temps. He soon abandoned me, whether it be for his maker, the claw of a maenad or a fanatical church.
The only two people who were truly there for me in that Dallas church were Eric and Jason. Godric saved us all with his human appeal, not through blood or death. It was like that ever since, through chance or circumstance my brother and my dear husband were there for me. It was all the family I ever needed, the rest were a welcome bonus. Jason had warned the vampires at the Moon Goddess Emporium while Eric’s actions kept us alive. Jason took on the authority while Eric and I tried to reach a lost Bill. Eric had weakened Warlow enough to reveal his true self while Jason finished him off with a stake. They had an unknown synergy like that. It had saved my life and countless others, it is the complete antithesis of Bill’s kill list. After nearly three centuries that particular archive is still not complete but reparations have been made.
Whenever Eric managed to get drunk on a hostile fae, unfortunately we incidentally continued to deal with those, Jason would join him in a suitably inebriated state and they would often relive their glory days in Vamp Camp waving around plastic replicas of guns belonging to Jason’s little ones. Much to Adylinn and my hilarity they had even made out on one occasion as Jason confessed to the steamy dreams he had as a result of his blood infusion back then. They were never able to look each other in the eye quite the same and Pam held the video evidence to torture them both with on countless occasions.
‘I might be parrot-phrasing a little.’
While I will miss my brother dearly for the comic relief that he unintentionally brought, it’s his insight I will miss most. He never fell into the honed paths set by generic minds and that always brought a surprise in his poignancy. Jason spoke from the gut, sometimes purely out of hunger, but more often than not deep seated wisdom emerged. His thoughts lived outside of the box. Mostly because no one ever bothered to show him said box nor did he ever go looking for it. Regardless his insight had saved me on several occasions and I knew it to be one of Eric’s most valued qualities in his brother in law. Pam mostly used him as a test audience for her human related business endeavours. She always called him the right amount of stupid. Strangely enough he always took that as a compliment, I suspected it had to do with his appreciation of Pam’s looks.
While his eyes always continued to roam in appreciation of beauty we all knew none held his gaze quite like Adylinn. Lust turned to love instantly. Jason loved many easily, perhaps to a fault, but with Adilynn and his many children he finally had found the volume to release it on.
Guilt was his only kryptonite. It didn’t matter that he had defended Tara’s or Andy’s lives, the victims of those deaths carried a burden on his conscience. It was Eric who had helped him settle some of that guilt. The necessity of survival was as human a notion as to any other species. It was Godric’s first lesson to him as a newly turned vampire and it was the first that reached Jason and soothed his mind.
‘Sometimes you need to destroy something to save it. That’s in the Bible… or the Constitution’
It was a healing that aided some to my own. Like with Jason, death had clung to what I considered my guilty hands. I refused to see the justice without the judgement of my peers, but then that had never been afforded to me when I was wronged. I recognised the guilt now but I no longer carried it as a burden. It kept all our minds clear.
However the guilt Jason continued to carry was of his behaviour after the sudden death of our grandmother. Strung out on V he had struck me and stolen my Gran’s prized silver. The physical pain was the least stinging because his guilt triggered my own. My association with Bill Compton had gotten my grandmother killed. Our guilty consciences lived in momentum to each other like that. After Dallas and the destruction of our town by the Maenad we had reached the same conclusion: we were all we had left. We were better together than apart. Our acceptance of each other’s roles in our respective lives healed more than most. Thankfully through all the turmoil since, that had never changed.
I would not be able to stand without him now because of that joint acknowledgement. I shall have to try my hardest to fill that void for Adylinn. I won’t be able to replace that jovial kindness that resonated with him but I’ll try. For him and all his children deserve to remember him as an honest man, not a tragic accident. I used to credit Gran for his innate righteousness but I realised it was mainly him, he was good. Greater than himself.
A true hero in the end.
Like I said in previous weeks the character’s that are next on the chopping block get harder to digest, next week’s was particularly difficult to write for me but time is kinder on them. Jason was the loveable idiot that I couldn’t help but adore, from his ridiculous dancing in white undies to pizza forensics… Ryan Kwanten does an excellent job in portraying him. I always think it’s a lot harder for someone of intelligence to play an idiot than the other way round. Aside from Pam and Lafayette he gets away with saying the best lines on the show that completely excuse and reaffirm his idiocy at the same time. So I was really sad to write him off… I made the decision to write this story as I did about the characters that shaped the show and as enticing as it sounds I can’t kill Ginger every week till the end so I stuck with my intent. Besides I doubt I would have gotten past 500 words with the screeching eternal slave.
Saying that… considering the way the show has been developing since last week I’m quite happy to kill Sookie on her own for ten continual weeks…