- Dark Themes
- Canon Divergent
- Episode Related
- Established Relationship
- First Time
Godric had meant to die. Even twenty years ago he would not have guess suicide by fanatic would be the way he chose to depart this world, but then he had still been attached to living. He could remember what it felt like to be enthralled with endless life, but he did not know when he last felt that emotion. He remembered the thrill of a worthy fight, so treacherous he could almost feel his heart beating once again in his chest. He remembered hot blood dripping down his chin from some prey worthy of the name. He remembered the thrill it gave him to have the brashest of vampires and the foolishest of humans pause at the sight of him, their will to survive perking up that despite his young, angelic face, they were facing death.
He remembered being happy once, but know he didn’t know if that was true. War, and flight, and lust all seemed like such fleeting things that Godric wondered if they had ever been as good as he had thought they were at the time or if he had been lying to himself for 2,000 years.
Seven years ago he’d woken to the same house he’d owned since the ‘70s, still Sheriff over the same Area he’d held since white men had roamed into Texas, surrounded by a nest of vampires that were interchangeable from all those who’d come through before, and as he laid in the soft, pristine coffin that his second had purchased because Godric deserved something nice, he realized he didn’t care if he ever opened his eyes again.
He tried to make like more interesting, he truly did, but when he suggested to the Vampire Authority that he might be ready to leave Austin, they took that as a sign he intended to join their ranks. Then he thought smaller and tried to change the behavior of his own nest, and they spoke to him like Godric heard young humans speak of their grandparents, adorable in how out of touch they were, but not to be listened to.
Godric let himself be captured by the anti-vampire organization, The Fellowship of the Sun, in the hopes that his death might spark a little less fear in the humans, and a little more humility in his own species. After all, if the humans could manage to capture and kill Godric of all people, they had become dangerous enough to be worthy of a little respect. Perhaps that way his death might have more meaning than his life.
It was so simple. Let the humans have courage, let the vampires have fear, and let Godric’s children think he had died fighting.
Of course, as he had done so often in their time together, Eric had ignored all subtlety and sent a human into the Fellowship’s headquarters to find him. The plan had gone sideways, as Eric’s plans usually did. The human had been attacked, Eric had stormed the castle and gotten them both caught and offered up for a dawn sacrifice, and the vampires in Godric’s nest, the ones he’d tried so hard to lead on the way of peace, had arrived with fangs bared and the intent to kill everyone.
Godric had no choice but to intervene.
Now, Godric sat in that same house, surrounded by the same vampires, with the added burden that he must explain himself to Eric, the first of his children, who risked his life to save Godric, and for all he asked obliquely, could not wrap his mind around Godric’s intent. After deciding to die, Godric had avoided both of his children, knowing that their sad eyes and willingness to follow Godric to the hereafter would thwart his resolve.
No, that was a lie.
Godric could admit that he’d thought Eric wouldn’t care that Godric had decided his life was done. When he chose death, Godric had thought it was better to hope that after a thousand years in one another’s near constant company perhaps Eric might not want him to go. That unsubstantiated hope was better for Godric than calling his childe and being met with the certainty that their 70 years apart had been enough to erase all those before and Eric wouldn’t care what kind of death Godric faced.
Eric prowling around the house to engage each member of Godric’s nest in conversation one after another, cut them off, and turn to Godric with disapproval that these were the people he chose to surround himself with was like something from Godric’s dreams. Such scorn was very nearly Eric’s surest form of affection. (Eric was rapidly working his way up to his highest form of affection, which was ignoring Godric’s wishes and packing him back to Louisiana. Eric would order his sister to tell the Authority that Godric shouldn’t be expected to Sheriff over the people who tried to murder him. Dear Nora would happily say anything if she thought it might bring Godric happiness.)
If Eric actually insisted Godric return with him to Louisiana, Godric would assume he had actually met the sun and this was the afterlife. Death seemed a better explanation for the turn Godric’s life had taken than Eric still loving him after the way they parted. Even Godric’s determination to disbelieve could not stand for long against the way Eric fussed. He loomed over Godric’s nestmates before they could make him uncomfortable, and he kept strolling the few humans in attendance before the door, as though the whiff of them on the breeze would be enough to tempt Godric to eat.
Godric did not want to drink, because drinking meant living, and the next thousand years would not be like tonight. They could not be, nor was Godric entirely sure he wanted them to be. He’d spent the last few decades making the difficult transition to seeing humans as people instead of wandering sheep, and for the first time in more years than he could remember… he was hungry. That hunger was not any more convincing that Godric was still alive since hunger had grown to be such a foreign sensation to him that he no longer was certain what it felt like.
It was not quite hunger, but neither was it how he imagined his self would adjust to whatever afterlife vampires were granted. Instead it was… wanting in a way Godric had not been plagued by in over 1,000 years.
Despite the way Eric kept nudging the Stackhouse siblings, it was not the sort of wanting Eric was trying to imply. Yes, both brother and sister were beautiful, and yes, they smelled of the sort of Faerie blood that Godric only knew because he’d spend over half his life roaming in the wilds of the world. They would no doubt be delicious, but it was not the urge to have them break across his tongue, but simply to watch him.
Mr. Stackhouse was changeable. Just that morning he had been such a devoted soldier of the sun that Godric had heard mention of his name when he got bored and eavesdropped on the people within the church. Then an hour ago Jason attacked his own kind and would’ve happily supported a brutal vampire in the murder of his former leader. Now, he was in Godric’s own house, having apologized to Godric for something not of his own making, and was making nice with vampires, happily letting no more than a few flirt with him when that very morning he had pledged to destroy their whole kind.
More still, Godric had eavesdropped when Jason stepped outside with Mr. Compton to apologize for his bad behavior. When Jason said he would do better by the man, Godric believed him. Even more, when nearly all of Godric’s nest has stepped away from Mr. Compton’s maker attacking Ms. Stackhouse, Jason had stepped towards them. He would’ve been smashed through a wall, but he tried to help. Though Ms. Stackhouse was Jason’s sister, Godric was quite convinced that Jason would’ve gone to the aid of any human, or perhaps the line was the aid of any woman. Godric didn’t know where Jason’s ethical lines were drawn, but he wanted to. In truth, Godric was unnerved by how much he wanted to.
Jason Stackhouse had reset his life in the course of a day, which was more change than Godric had done since Eric cajoled him out of the comfort of the wilds 1,000 years ago. To Godric’s terror, he wanted to see what Jason would do tomorrow. For so long Godric had been counting down the days until he would meet the sun, comforted by the thought that while those in Authority, closer to Godric’s own age, would restrain their people from too much violence because they knew he might have managed freedom if he wanted it, while Eric and Nora would have the comfort of lying to themselves that Godric had been forced into the sunlight instead of choosing it himself. And now, there was a boy out there with Fae-blood making him think about tomorrow.
It was disconcerting, and if there was one thing Godric had forgotten more than hunger, it was being disconcerted.
So he sat alone in the annex off his living room, head propped up on this fist to stare out the long windows at the dark outside and tried to endure. If Godric focused his eyes just right, he could parse through the reflections on the glass and focus on the finely manicured yard out there, full of scrubby trees and so far from the wilds that had been his home that on his worst nights Godric had planned to set the whole thing aflame as punishment for being the wrong part of the world.
As it was, the humans would be gone with morning, and so long as Godric did not collapse in the face of Eric’s displeasure, Eric would be gone with it as well. He would be tucked away in a light tight coffin, back to Louisiana with a promise to visit more often. A few days of stagnant tranquility would grant Godric enough time to try again. It would take him time to come with another opportunity that met his criteria, but no doubt the Fellowship of the Sun would happily offer Godric some other means to meet the true death.
could clearly see Jason leaning against the fireplace that Godric had been tempted to walk into for convenience sake The boy’s hands were shoved in his pockets while one of the younglings leaned into his space. (She was one of the smarter youths, knowing well enough that Godric didn’t like it when people had sex in his house, so she was inquisitive and not leading him upstairs by the hand like they had tried to do in the beginning before Godric threatened to remove a few appendages for such crassness.)
To Godric’s shame, he was so occupied on keeping his focus off Jason’s reflection in the glass that he didn’t notice his ears had no such decorum and the sound they had latched onto was Jason’s heartbeat. Godric would have sat there all night staring at nothing and lulled by the sound if it has not started to race. Godric pulled himself back at the abrupt change and there in the reflection was a human, his eyes not of Jason as he shoved him away and told him to leave. Godric did not need to seed the stiffness in the human’s ribs or the smell of silver and C4 to know there was a bomb strapped to his chest.
A beat before the human opened his mouth to say whatever vitriol they always spilled to justify a murder, a beat before Godric could decide if he was going to run fast enough to stop the bomber or slow enough to end his life, Jason leapt and tacked the man to the ground, not at all concerned with the monologue or trying to talk his fellow down.
“The fuck you doing, Stackhouse?”
Jason sucker-punched his fellow so hard his skull ricocheted against the ground.
“What the hell do you think I’m doing? I’m stoppin’ you from blowin’ us all to hell!”
“You’re the only one going to hell! You and your fuckin’ vampires!” The human bucked and with a skill that Godric doubted was born of practice brawling. “You’re a traitor, Jason Stackhouse! And traitors go to a worse hell than the fangbangers!”
Jason grabbed the man’s face and shoved it so hard into the floor Godric was concerned one of his vampires was going to have to take the blame for snapping the man’s neck.
“Fuckin’ Newlins betrayed me!”
“You defended the vampires, Stackhouse! You betrayed the cause!”
Jason slammed Luke’s head down again. “They had my sister!”
“Then why’d you leave with the Vamps you shit?”
“The Newlins, you fuckwad!” Jason wrenched Luke’s head around so he could see Ms. Stackhouse wrapped up in Mr. Compton’s arms, being held back from storming over and handling this as only a woman could. “They were gonna burn my sister at the fuckin’ stake!”
“You sister’s a fangbanger?” The man sounded as though that was somehow worse than Jason being one.
“I don’t give a flyin’ shit what she does or who she does it with. She’s my sister, Luke. She’s all I got in the world. She’s all I got and the Newlins were gonna string her up to roast.”
“But—” Luke stumbled, and Jason smacked his head down again.
“But nothin’! She’s all I got and the fuckers were gonna kill her. I couldn’t let ‘em. And I sure as hell ain’t gonna let you.”
It was charming, and Godric might have felt poorly that he had not felt such devotion in quite some time, were it not for the whistle of a crossbow outside Godric’s front windows.
For that, Godric did not hesitate before moving. As the bolt was aimed at Jason’s head, Godric caught the bolt high in his thigh. While all the vampires in Godric’s nest dropped fang, Eric actually went for the men. Godric asked Eric to return them to him alive, while sweet Isabel tore the wooden arrow out Godric’s leg.
“I’m all right, Isabel.” He murmured. Eric emerged from the dark, a proper specter of death and doom with the two members of the Fellowship members dangling from his fists like puppies. The men fell to their knees and begged for their lives, as though there would be any satisfaction from killing creatures such as these. Eric seized them by the scruff of their shirts and shook them into silence.
“I would try to reason with you, point out the folly of your hate, but no such thing matters to you. You did not give in to your hate to try and kill vampires, but to kill a human. To kill one who left your church this very day because of the mistreatment he and his family suffered at your hands. There is no reasoning with such madness.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” one man repeated, while the other broke into whimpers.
Godric dropped into a crouch and the two men ducked their heads to keep from having to look at him. “Return to your church.” More than a few of Godric’s nest hissed in anger. “Tell your Reverend that his attack failed because he betrayed his own people, people who I have welcomed into my nest and taken as my own. And I, I do not tolerate such betrayal. If he attacks my people again, I will not be so merciful next time.”
Godric rose to his feet, and every eye in the room followed him. The Fellowship men stayed there, staring up at Godric as though they had found a new god. Godric quirked up his eyebrow and murmured, “Now would be the time to run.”
The turned tail and scampered away, neither stopping to say thank you for being spared, or taking their battered companion with them. Godric rose to his feet and reached out a hand to Mr. Stackhouse, who stared at it in confusion before he took Godric’s hand halfway between a handshake and giving him a low five. It was charming, as was the look on Jason’s face when Godric tugged him to his feet and nudged him over to Eric’s waiting arms.
The bomber nearly stood, as though Godric had given him permission to be on his way. Faster than the human could blink, Godric dropped to a crouch above him a hand braced next to the man’s head and the pulse in his carotid artery perked up nicely in reply.
“I have learned many things in my time, one of the oldest is that if the action is one you would hesitate to take, it is wrong. Do you desire to return to your Fellowship, or would you like to wait to make your statement to the police?”
“Police?” The man croaked.
“You came into my home with a bomb strapped to your chest. That is an act of terrorism and attempted murder.”
“And the human standing next to you? Or his sister?” Jason nodded at Ms Stackhouse and she reached out to liberate her brother from Eric’s grip, reeling him away by the back of his shirt.
The man swallowed, his eyes never leaving his fellow humans. “I’ll wait for the police.”
“Thank you. I will wait with you.”
“Sheriff—” Isabel tried to object.
“The rest of you will retreat to the Hotel Carmilla. Given that there has been one attack already tonight, we cannot sleep here. We will all relocate to the hotel so it easier for the officers to question everyone.” The all stood there staring and Godric did not sigh at their uselessness. “Now.”
The scattered. “Isabel, please go with Stan to make sure they all reach the hotel in safety.”
“And the human police?” Stan growled, as though he had the right to speak after his bloodlust had brought all this on their heads.
“Eric will wait with me.” Before Stan could speak again, Isabel offered a short bow to Godric and glowered at her fellow to start moving. The moment they passed out of hearing, Godric turned to Mr. Compton. “I trust you will safely see Mr. and Mrs. Stackhouse to the hotel as well?” He nodded, and Godric finally turned his eyes to the humans, still bundled together like two parts of a whole. “I apologize that I am unable to ensure your passage home this night, but as the only vampire and humans here with no preexisting ties to me, I am certain that your accounts of these events will be particularly valuable to the officers.”
Mr. Compton ushered them out the door to a waiting vehicle while Eric dragged the bomber over the back of the couch. Jason took a stutter step toward his former friend, but his sister reached out and took him by the arm to lead him toward the door, but the poor boy’s eyes were on his friend all the while.
“If I do not have the opportunity before I sleep, Mr. Stackhouse, I thank you for your intervention.”
“It weren’t nothing.” Jason shrugged and finally looked away.
“It’s more lives you saved today, Mr. Stackhouse. That is to be applauded.”
The dear boy blushed. “Just, I couldn’t let him hurt anybody, you know?”
He did not mean to do it, but his feet carried him to Jason and ever so slowly, Godric raised his hand and pressed his palm to Jason’s jaw, running his thumb along the blood-infused line of the human’s cheek. “Believe me, Mr. Stackhouse. I understand. For what little my opinion is worth, I am proud of you for it.”
Jason’s half smile was charming and he tugged on the bottom of his shirt like a child. He said “It weren’t nothing” again, but the blush said Godric’s compliment had landed. Godric asked Mr. Compton to report when they arrived at the hotel and the trio went on their way, but all eyes were on Godric now instead of the bomber still laying under Eric’s hand.
Eric, with the foresight he only showed when dealing with Godric, waited until Mr. Compton was out of hearing range, though he didn’t strike Godric as the sort of vampire to take such precautions. It gave Godric a long moment to cross his living room and stare at the giant fireplace that took up one of his walls, large enough that Godric had once thought about ending his life more efficiently by just walking inside of it.
Godric didn’t need to look to know that Eric was looming over the bomber as he hissed at him with bared fangs to stay right the fuck where he was or he’d greet the officers with a few broken bones that Eric was sure Jason would happily agree to take the blame for. Godric was equally sure of that. Perhaps if Godric had taught Eric less hate, they would have been friends.
Eric stepped between Godric and his empty fireplace, reacting to Godric’s intentions whether he knew it or not. There were sirens in the distance on a fast approach. Eric leaned in close like he always did before a hunt. “Fader, I hate I here.”
Godric drew in and released a long breath he did not need, still burned in him from the hunting lessons in his first life. 2,000 years later and Godric could almost feel the weight of the spear in his hand and his father’s soft voice in his ear.
“So do I.”
Eric looked so pleased at the prospect that Godric didn’t have the heart to tell him they meant two different things.
Jason never thought he’d be sleeping in a vamp hotel. Hell, Jason never thought he’d be sleeping in any hotel so fuckin’ fancy as this. Bon Temps had a motel that folk stayed in and in his whole life Jason had never had cause to stay there. Even when the football team went places he’d never stayed someplace where they handed out robes to everybody. The first thing did was take a shower and the robe was so damn soft he roamed around in nothing but it and wore it to bed like that was the kind of shit normal people did.
The thing was softer than anything Jason had ever owned and he should’ve been asleep the moment his head hit the pillow, but here he was laying, staring up at the ceiling of this fucking fancy place.
Jason weren’t no good at thinking. Thoughts didn’t usually trouble him overmuch, even in the middle of the night when other folk said they didn’t know how he could sleep at night. Jason’s usual bedtime routine involved sex, whether some girl or with his hand, but tonight he didn’t much feel like it. Not that he wouldn’t be able to get himself there with a few good tugs, but he didn’t he much want to put a hand to himself after the last person who’d touched him was another man’s wife, a woman who’d damn well tried to kill his sister.
Vampire hotels didn’t hold much with those little alarm clocks with the blinking red lights, maybe because the vamps were the kind of folk who’d break shit when they got irritated, and maybe because time didn’t really mean shit when you were gonna live forever. That meant Jason didn’t know hoe long he’d been staring at the ceiling when he said fuck it and flicked on the massive TV on the wall across from his bed and embraced whatever shit passed for ESPN in the middle of the day. He was watchin’ some shit about rodeos and bull riding that even Jason thought was just about the stupidest thing he’d ever seen anybody do when he heard a quiet knock at the door. Jason didn’t think vampers weren’t the sort of folk to knock, but he still eked open the door like that would do him any damn bit of good.
Thank fuck, it was Sook. “I can’t sleep.”
Jason felt like he was eight again, Sook slipping into his room in the middle of the night because Mom and Pop’s thoughts downstairs were too loud. She could hear Jason just the same, and even as a kid the shit he thought probably wasn’t stuff is sister should have running around her head, but she always said no matter what Jason’s thoughts were of, they were better than anybody else’s. He waved her in and shut the TV off, knowin’ that Sook wasn’t here for TV or daytime company.
Without talkin’ about it, Sook tugged straight the sheets on Jason’s bed and they sat cross-legged in front of one another, like they had 1,000 times before and Jason counted himself damn lucky that his sister still wanted to do after what he’d done. That luck was why he didn’t make her ask, he just turned the remote over in his hands and answered what he knew she was askin’. “They made me think I was worth somethin’.”
Sook was always kinder to Jason than she ought to be, so she didn’t call him a dumb fucker like other people might. “You were a star in Bon Temps. I was the throwaway. Everyone always thought you hung the moon.” She said, and she meant every damn word.
Jason started shaking his head before she got all the words out. “That ain’t true. Well, they liked my athletics. My good looks. My sex abilities. But they don’t like me for me. And Steve and Sarah, well, they acted like they did. Before they tried to kill me.” Jason weren’t much for words, and he couldn’t rightly explain why he’d throw in with two such clearly crazy fuckers when he didn’t understand it his own self. “They stopped my mind from goin’ round and round, thinkin’ ‘bout… other stuff.”
“What other stuff?”
That was the question, weren’t it? And Jason didn’t much know. He didn’t even know how unhappy he’d been in Bon Temps until he was someplace else. And he couldn’t tell you much why. Jason just shook his head and didn’t look at Sook, as though that would do a damn thing about keeping her from poking in his head if she wanted.
“But Soldiers of the Sun?” Jason flinched back from the shame of getting scolded by his little sister. “My Lord, Jason, didn’t you for one second think what Gran would say?”
Nothing else that came out of Sook’s mouth mattered after that. “Don’t talk about Gran.” He shook his head no and twisted off the bed. “I won’t talk about her. I can’t.”
“Because I…” This was one truth Jason knew and there was no point in lying to Sook. Either he could tell what he knew out loud or Sook would say it for him. “Because I don’t want to feel anything.”
“But we have to talk about her. We can’t stop remembering her or loving her because it hurts too much. She’d never stop loving us, would she?”
Jason scrubbed away his tears like a little kid. “No.” He twisted back around. “But our whole family’s gone, Sook. Everybody who counts. We’re all alone. We’re all that’s left.”
“So, you know what we gotta do?” Sook reached out and cradled his hands between her. “We gotta grow up. We gotta stick together. And we gotta be good to each other or we’re lettin’ ‘em down.”
“Yeah.” Jason breathed and twisted his hands to take hers, palm to palm. “Sook, I’m sorry about everything I ever done to you. I’m a dumbass fucker.”
“Yeah, but you wouldn’t be if you used your brain instead of just lettin’ it take up space in your skull. It’s not dumb, it’s lazy.”
“You think so?” Jason’s voice cracked at the notion Sook, who knew him better than anyone in the whole damn world thought he weren’t dumb. She nodded. “I could try. I guess.” He didn’t think he’d do too well at bein’ smart, but he could damn sure try.
“And I’m sorry too. I always love you, Jason. Even when I wanna stick your head in a bucket and kick it ‘round the yard.”
“And I love you. Even though I wish you’d cook for me more. And you were normal, and had a normal boyfriend.”
“I didn’t have any say about bein’ normal. We’re born the way we are.” Jason couldn’t recall the last time he’d kissed Sook on the forehead, but he did it just then. Whatever the hell else he might be, things were good between him and Sook for the moment. That was enough heart to heart for the two of them for now, and together they collapsed back against the bed, his arm around her and propped up by the mountain of fluffy pillows.
Sook took the remote from him and switched off ESPN and straight onto the fuckin’ Newlins on the news defending their Fellowship and tryin’ pretend like Godric had walked into their Chris to get himself lit on fire. Jason didn’t have to look to the side to know Sook was staring at him like she couldn’t believe Jason had ever gotten anything like peace from those folk. Seein’ them snipe at each other on the news didn’t make it any less true, but it sure as hell made Jason even more ashamed of his self, which he didn’t think was possible.
Jason turned off the TV with a “Fuck you” to them both and tossed the remote to the end of the bed. “You know what, Sook? Let’s go out.”
“It’s 10 o’clock in the morning.” Sookie half laughed, half scolded.
“I didn’t say drinkin’. There’s got to be a breakfast place around here someplace, let’s go get some waffles.”
Sook reached out and took his hand again. “They won’t be as good as Gran’s.”
“No, but you’re right: I should eat some anyway. And then when we get home, maybe you’ll make me some.” She shoved his arm. “All right, maybe you’ll teach me how to make some.”
“That, I’ll do.”