It’s the height of summer but it might as well be fall. That is the state of my mind and the weather pelting down. Another day, another grave. I only just arrived back from Jackson to hear the news.
Sam. My friend. Former boss. Recipient of a kiss or two.
I wasn’t the only one that lost someone that night. His future wife and unborn child had been one of the first casualties of the sudden attack. I had attended their funeral before moving on to Alcide’s. Sam had been downcast then, as could be expected.
Their romance was quick, they came from different worlds. She was still so young whilst the grey in his hair was creeping in by the sides. Yet they fit. Unexpected but rightly so.
I wondered if all instant loves like theirs held such a short expiration date. My intense affair with Eric had lasted mere days, barely a week and I had fallen deep. Deeper than ever before. He then brought me to great heights. It was a rollercoaster that never seemed to end till it suddenly did. Sam and Nicole had a few months more than that. It wasn’t enough for Sam.
Holly was the one who found his lifeless body. She came to bring him some healing tea but instead she found him with his brains shot out. That spoke to me of his devotion to her, however tragic it may be. He had lost other girlfriends to death before but the grief had never run this deep.
He had managed to shut me out of his mind during the funeral, I don’t know how but it seemed through sheer determination. I should have known something was up then. He didn’t even offer to come along to Alcide’s funeral. That wasn’t like Sam. He didn’t like werewolves but he had liked Alcide.
I had taken his blocking me out as an act of kindness then, now I understood. He didn’t want to be stopped and I was the only one that could. I had always been the one Sam could be honest with because he had no choice in that. I think that was what his initial attraction to me had been based on. With me he could be himself and he anticipated I would accept him because I was different too.
Except it made mad as hell. I had told him of my telepathy in a matter of hours of meeting him. He was my boss, the town talked so he deserved to know. He didn’t tell me his secret until I found him naked as the day he was born at the bottom of my bed.
It had taken me a while to forgive him the secrecy, yet I accepted his state of otherness instantly. It was a sad realisation that it was something he could hardly afford for himself. He had been used and deceived too often to trust in that inside of himself. He was a cautious man because love had betrayed him more than once. It had forced him to greet those that wronged him with the end of a gun.
Sam had waited to shoot himself until the moment I would be returning to Bon Temps. Sam Merlotte was thoughtful like that, even in his death. I wish he was still here so I could kick his ass for it. Sam didn’t want to settle like I did, perhaps it was the example of the half-life that I had been living these past few months that made him finally pull the trigger.
I often found my mind going to thoughts of Eric’s disappearance but with Sam’s sudden death even more so. His suicide made me remember that moment on a rooftop in Dallas. Eric had been prepared to go with Godric then. I didn’t understand the words spoken in an ancient tongue but I had understood that much. Eric claimed to know nothing about love but to me that proved he knew more than me.
Eric didn’t want to lose his maker but Godric didn’t want to stay. His motivation for making things right by leaving this world never satisfied my understanding. I think he was just tired of feeling the way he did. He needed to feel something else after two thousand years.
“I want to burn.”
Godric needed to punctuate his sentence on his eternal life. His death was the most beautiful I had ever seen. I shed tears for the loss of him but also of the beauty that it evoked. He found peace. He had found solace in my words, joy in my tears.
I wish Sam would have waited. Like with Godric I would have supported him if that was what he really wanted. I could understand the loss that had crippled him. Sam died alone because he felt utterly alone. Even my presence was no longer enough to keep him here, just like Eric wasn’t enough to keep his maker.
Perhaps Sam would have accepted my aid had he known of Godric. I never shared anything about his death with anyone but Eric. Bill didn’t want to hear about it at the time and Sam was constantly wishing Buffy or Blade would come to town to stake any vampire by my side.
Pettiness was never an attractive quality in a man. Though with Sam I knew that despite hateful words he spoke to me they had always come from a heartfelt place. When it mattered, Sam set aside his prejudices and worked together with his natural enemies for the greater good. He cared more for this town than those that were born in it. His dislike of vampires, however, never seemed to diminish.
Bill had refused to help Sam, Luna and her child to safety in the confines of the Authority. Their own attempt to escape ended Luna’s life, leaving Emma orphaned behind. It surprised me that Sam had started working alongside Bill these past few months in his new role as mayor. I thought it pragmatism in these scary times but perhaps there had been more to it.
I started to make sense of that when I returned home from the short walk from the cemetery. A thick envelope sat in my mailbox. I recognised the handwriting instantly. The note inside brought me to tears.
Don’t love someone that can’t be loved. Seek out something real.
I had to move the card from my hands in fear that the droplets of moisture would stain the perfect penmanship. Only when my cries had ceased did I look at the stack of papers. It was pages upon pages of names and dates. I didn’t recognise any of them till I came near the end of the list.
The implication was clear. This was Bill’s kill list and it only seemed to contain the names of the people he had physically killed himself not the ones who had died because of his actions. That list would probably take decades to compile now. This had been the case Sam was building, I was holding Buffy/Blade in my hands.
My relations with vampires had always been a point of contention between Sam and I. There was little in the supernatural world that he liked. It was no surprise considering how he was raised and abandoned by the world at large. His first source of comfort was a maenad. It was a miracle that Sam had turned out to be such a good guy despite his turbulent past. He was no saint but I was an equal sinner, I knew we were both good where it mattered.
He welcomed long lost family that abused his kindness. Took in his brother despite their difficult beginnings. I had been the only one to attend that funeral for Sam. We were there for each other in times of need and I was sad I hadn’t been there for him now. And he would no longer be there for me.
I grabbed a pen and to the neatly typed list I added two more names.
Bill may as well have pulled the trigger. The blood was on his hands as far as I was concerned. Lafayette had once called me the angel of death. People seemed to be dying around me all the time. Sadly the same could be said for Sam. Every woman he had been with had died. Tara, Daphne, Luna and now Nicole. The family he only found later in life died in rapid succession of each other. It seemed as if everything Sam allowed himself to love was greeted with death.
The only one who had returned from that death seemed to be knocking on my door. Tara had fervidly held on to her grudge against me for months. Her cool distance hurt and had driven me further into Alcide’s arms. Her presence at my door let me know that we would continue to be there for each other in times like these. She had two tubs of slightly defrosted ice cream in her hands. One for me and one blood flavoured for her. Melty. Just the way we like it.
She wordlessly followed me in as I set up the TV for the evening’s entertainment. She grabbed the spoons and the blankets though she no longer needed one for warmth.
“Fucking Sam,” Tara said speaking for the first time that night. “Selfish asshole.”
“We’re not all as strong as you,” I reminded her. Tara had lived through hell and back before the age of ten. I knew no one with her resilience, not even ancient vampires, even if she did threaten to throw in the towel in moments of weakness.
“I wanted to die again when I realised what I had become,” she returned to me, the disapproval of my actions still clear in her hostile tone.
“I’m sorry.” It was all I could offer her. I would never be able to make that right with her. My kill list wasn’t as impressive as Bill’s but Tara’s name was right up there. My guilt over it would never abate.
“Thank Pam,” she shrugged. “She commanded me not to. It’s the only reason why I’m still alive. Sort of.” In more ways than one it seemed. Tara didn’t allow the name of her maker to drop regularly in the same way I was equally silent with Eric’s name.
“You still miss her?” I asked carefully when she still had a spoonful of blood flavoured gelato in her mouth.
“Yeah,” she acknowledged with a roll of her eyes. “Lucky me. Two terrible moms.”
“I miss Eric,” I admitted for the first time aloud.
“I’m gonna miss Sam,” Tara said as a red tear slipped from her eye.
“Me too.” We sat silently looking at the TV screen but neither one of us seemed to be taking in what was said. Our minds were concerned with the loss of life and the quick succession of people disappearing from our lives.
“He must have really loved that Curlicue,” Tara spoke breaking our silence. Nicole wasn’t that different from Tara. She held a passion for righteousness above all else. Tara possessed more realism than her, perhaps, that was why she was still alive and Nicole wasn’t. She saw more good in people than I ever did.
Where I saw the Hep-V infected vampires for what they were she believed they could be restored. She had been petitioning with activist friends for months to push the government to research a cure. The standard protocol had remained ‘kill on sight’ despite her many efforts.
I thought that was the reason Sam had entered into politics himself. He saw how ineffectual Nicole was and Sam was the type of guy who would do anything to make her happy. Even if it was curing the detested species.
Nicole once shared with me that Sam was her knight in shining armour. He had rescued her and driven her away on horseback except in their fairy tale version he was the horse and she sat astride him. It was a beautiful image in her mind.
I had assumed they were together because of the unplanned pregnancy but to them it was a welcoming gift that forced the depths of their feelings out into the open. Sam would have been a good dad, he always had been to Emma and it never mattered that she wasn’t his blood. His heart was wide open for those he let in, perhaps to a fault.
“Did you two ever come close to that?” I wondered aloud of the affection that had existed between Tara and Sam considering what he had carried for Nicole. They had snuck around behind my back forgetting that no one ever held secrets from a telepath.
“I didn’t deal with the dog business very well,” she answered whilst scratching her neck. It was as if the thought of Sam’s other form made her check herself for fleas. “Ironic since I’m a vampire now.”
“I was ok with that,” I responded as I turned my gaze back to hers. “Just not the keeping it from me.”
“Ditto,” Tara agreed as she tossed her spoon in the empty carton and settled herself further into the comfort of the blanket. We were sitting face to face now, the movie completely forgotten to our attentions.
“Think things would have worked out between the two of you?” I asked wondering if there was anything left unsettled between them. “If things were different? If we were all human?”
“We were never meant to be a matching set,” Tara replied. “You and Sam? In another world?”
“No,” I said shaking my head. Sam had always been my plan b or rather plan z. The last resort. When Warlow manipulated me into becoming his eternal faepire bride I had reached out to Sam in desperation. I could have rid myself of my magic and been normal with him but it was never meant to be. He was head over heels in love with Nicole by then. His initial interest in me was completely lost.
“If we ever stood a chance, it was before Bill came to town. If it didn’t happen then why would it ever come about at another time?”
“A lot of people have started dying ever since that asshat moved to town,” Tara said derisively. If only she knew, the volume of entries Sam had charted was damning. Most likely it was just a scratch at the surface of a completed list. I refrained from commenting, there was nothing left in me to defend my first love.
Before I could conjure up a reply Tara had sped out of my home without a hint of a goodbye. I sensed trouble but not in the swarm of Hep-V vampires kind. I grabbed a stake and a can of colloidal silver from the table by the door and ran across the cemetery after Tara.
I was running to trouble once more and I couldn’t help but stop by Sam’s grave right beside the one of his love and unborn child. Sam would have told me to stay put and out of harm’s way. It’s why Sam and I would never have worked, I was too stubborn to listen and he was always too impatient to explain.
Tonight for once I headed to Sam’s eternal warnings, if only for a bit. I stayed behind for Tara to duke out with whatever danger had come. I sat waiting by the set of fresh graves fondling the soft textures of the flower petals. He was loved, he would be missed.
My friend, my boss, a man I once kissed.
I pecked the temporary marker of his grave as my final gesture of goodbye. “Sorry Sam,” I whispered to the chilling winds. I continued on my way to the opposite direction of my home, following the path of trouble Tara had set towards. I had tried to listen to Sam when he was alive but he couldn’t even compel me to adhere from beyond the grave.
We worked as friends, nothing more. And he was a damn good friend. Loyal to the core.
A/N: I may have read a little bit too much into the Sam/Nicole romance last season but I felt the man deserved something real considering his extreme bad luck with women. Next week’s banner is up here and I think it will be a welcome sight to you all for a change.
For those of you who have found my stories through my winning entry for Sephrenia’s writing challenge, In Memorium and Memento Mori, I am happy to announce it has found a continuing story. I will start posting it from Tuesdays onwards under the title From Time Immemorial.