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As always, I own nothing.

I was created to be nothing more than a monster.

No traces of humanity were left in my depraved maker by the time he turned me, but I doubted there was much humanity in the human Appius. There was no kindness, no brotherly camaraderie, no lightness and certainly no love shown to me, or offered by me. Most in my situation succumbed to their fate and became the monster they were meant to be. To a large extent, I did, as well.

I learned to feed and fuck as a vampire and, even though I was no stranger to killing, I adapted to the ruthless, often senseless, bloodbaths Appius enjoyed. Several centuries passed by in a blur of constant travel in pursuit of blood, sex and power. My reputation as a hardened warrior vampire initiated in this time and every action I took was to nourish and further that narrative. It was the only thing I had to call my own.

Although I relished the adventure, my unending existence was otherwise cold and empty. From the moment of my first rising, only cruelty and darkness accompanied me. It became what I expected, not just from him, but from everyone I encountered and it was the only thing I offered in return. I was a triumph as a vampire and my maker exploited me in every way possible, bartering my body and skills for profit or power. Publicly, he declared me his greatest accomplishment, but his attitude towards me changed drastically behind closed doors.

There Appius felt free to express his displeasure and dissatisfaction with the child who never lived up to his hopes or expectations. I became the monster I was supposed to be, but not the one he hoped I would be. No matter how he nurtured my dark side, my core values remained free of the depravity he required in a partner. My punishments often spanned the course of weeks or sometimes months and I became accustomed to the despair and helplessness which accompanied these 'training sessions'. Detachment became my only defense as my very soul was violated by my maker's lecherous deviance.

My human self was a man who could easily find happiness and joy and I began to believe those simple roots would be my salvation. If he could not shape me as he desired, my maker would either release me or kill me. Either option had been acceptable at the time, but I preferred to live. When he did release me, I made good on the promise I made myself and explored all this life had to offer.

Life was dangerous, but I managed to eke out an existence, acquiring allies, power and favors along the way. As society and civilization progressed, it became even easier to enjoy life's pleasures. Growing cities offered plenty of diversions for those adventurous enough, and with enough coin in their pocket. I was lonely, but not bored, when I chose to turn Pam. I wanted a partner in crime; I wanted someone to share the world with. It was enough for a very long time.

Until Sookie Stackhouse walked into my bar.

It was not love at first sight. Lust was the reigning emotion of the night, but curiosity was the runner up. The curiosity became intrigue as she confessed her secret and from that moment, I was hooked. It was the beginning of my obsession with the telepath, but even I couldn't have foreseen how deep that obsession would run. It took time to call it love, and even more to say it out loud, but even when she said it in return, the level of contentment I felt didn't even come close to the way I felt right now.

For the first time in my life, I didn't feel like the monster I was bred to be.

Adjusting the blanket around her shoulders, I carefully shifted her warm, pliant form closer to me. She had been sleeping for an hour or more and while there were matters I needed to attend to, all I wanted to do was lie there and bask in her warmth and love. My good fortune was something I did not take for granted. There were moments when I still braced for the blowback, but at this moment, I could only be unapologetically happy.

With no coercement, no danger on the horizon and with the budding relationship between us in good standing, Sookie Stackhouse agreed to live with me. I would not have asked if I were truly wary of her response - I did expect her to say yes - but I long since learned my lesson about taking anything for granted.

Even though it was in another time and place for us, she had refused a similar offer once before. In this time, we were certainly in a different place and this offer was about sharing our lives, not providing security. Pam's hospitality was appreciated, but we needed a space to claim as our own.

The past two weeks provided ample opportunities for surprise. Sookie was no longer the naïve, uneducated girl I had known. Her simple, fun loving side was still there and easily accessible, but the woman I was getting to know and falling deeply into love with was a mesmerizingly multifaceted being. She was well educated and well spoken, but her sweet innocence remained. Her place in the supernatural world was accepted with modesty and grace, but her excitement when demonstrating her many dazzling tricks was contagious. Socrates was quoted with the same ease as she mimicked vintage episodes of 'Family Guy'. Every new layer she revealed was more incredible than the last and I was thoroughly captivated by the woman who now called herself mine.

Her incomparable beauty and glorious body had always excited me, but her mind and incredible soul won my heart once more. There was no equivalency or reservation in how I loved her. She was everything I could ever have wanted and more. Keeping my hands off her the last couple of weeks was excruciating torture, but I still believe it was necessary.

The closest we ever had to a courtship was the brief period of time when I was not myself. We never dated or spent much time together when we weren't surrounded by imminent danger and political intrigue. Neither of us could have named even one of the others hopes and dreams by the time we were deeply mired in a sexual relationship and our ill-fated pledging. Even without the interference of Appius and Freyda, the path we were on led only to destruction. Eventually, for one reason or another, we would have imploded.

This precious second chance would not be squandered so carelessly. We had time and I took advantage of the precious commodity. Reality would close in soon enough and we needed to be prepared for whatever life threw at us. Being prepared included a strong, unbreakable bond we could both trust and depend on. Because of the fucked up history between us, I needed to be sure she was sure before going any further.

After repositioning my sleeping, satiated princess, I made my way quietly into the study next door to make my call.

"Do you have an answer yet?" I asked as Pam picked up the other end.

"Yes. That's my answer, too," she replied cheerily.

"I take it the meeting went well?" Her important meeting had been with the Ancient Pythoness and to my knowledge the only matter on the docket was the Council's request for Pam to put herself forth as a candidate to rule Louisiana.

"I think so, but you can never really tell when you're dealing with her. Forthrightness is not her strong suit." Pam chuckled at her understatement. The Ancient Pythoness was famous for her proclivity towards riddles and many a vampire had been left clueless by her statements.

"What is their opinion?" While the meeting was between only the two women, the oracle was representing the interests of the Council.

"There are two others who have stepped forward, but there is no faith in their abilities." Rowan Grinling and Cassandra Williamson were both vampires older than Pam and both were based out of New Orleans. Grinling had a reputation as a cutthroat businessman, but his reputation amongst vampires was one of deceit and trickery. Cassandra was well known throughout the vampire world for her spectacular events, but social skills wouldn't be enough to win her the state. "The Council feels it might be an easy win, but they do expect both to put up a fight for the nomination."

The fact there were only two other candidates was surprising. As states went, Louisiana was still a catch. Even with Felipe raiding the coffers for the last few decades, it was still a relatively wealthy state with lucrative tourism dollars flowing in. With some basic restructuring of assets, the new ruler of the state would have adequate cash flow to begin the more extensive work.

"As arrogant as I can be, I do confess I'm surprised by their faith in me," she relayed slowly. "I mean, I know how awesome I am, but I didn't think they knew it, too."

At no point in our history would a vampire like Pam would be considered as a ruler. She would be considered too young and I, as her maker, too powerful. There was a shifting dynamic at play since the Council's grand announcement and suddenly hardworking vampires such as my progeny were being recognized for their commitment and dedication, regardless of their age and standing.

"Your talents have not gone unnoticed," I told her. "You've been in charge of the Northern reaches of the state for some time. They're right to have faith in your abilities."

"Area Five does not encompass all of the North," she reminded me.

"No, it doesn't, but haven't you been the acting Sheriff of Area Six for some time?"

"An honorary title," she demurred.

"The title may be honorary, but the work was real enough, wasn't it?" The previous sheriff of the Area was summoned to Nevada some time ago and had not been seen since. Taking over the Area had not been her idea, but she'd performed admirably all the same and her calm productivity was noted.

"It was a bitch, if you want the truth. Solomon was well liked by his vampires and discontent was brewing by the time I stepped in." In comparison to Area Five, which was still mostly populated by vampires loyal to both of us, Pam had few allies to rely on in her new territory, although she'd made a few since. "It's still a big jump to run an entire state."

"You have agreed. You know you're up to the challenge, just like I do." Loyal to her core, my child would never have given an affirmative unless she was fully committed.

"Why don't you want the job?"

"It was not offered to me," I told her honestly enough, while not acknowledging the whole truth.

"I was referring to the position that was offered to you."

Fuck. I didn't think the old woman was going to let it go that easily, but I hadn't guessed she would tell Pam of their offer.

"I'm not interested." My tone was flat and uninterested. "I want a life outside of politics."

"Because of Sookie? Have you told her about it?"

"Because of Sookie," I confirmed. "But there are other reasons as well. I haven't told her about it because I've already made my decision."

"Don't you think she deserves to know what you've given up for her? Full disclosure, no secrets, blah blah blah. She should know, if for no other reason than to make sure this doesn't bite you in the ass later."

"It won't," I replied with confidence. "She is not that girl anymore. You should know better - you've seen the most how much she's changed."

"Yeah, she's changed and wonderfully so. I'm not suggesting she would run away or leave you, Eric. I'm saying that you can't make such big decisions without at least telling her about it."

In the many centuries since my release, I was very much an island, separate and distinct from everything surrounding me, even Pam. Counsel was occasionally sought, but the such decisions were always mine alone. I was not accustomed to defending my judgement, or even divulging my plans, for that matter.

Sharing my life was not just new, but uncharted waters. Opening up to Sookie was growing easier with each has passing night, but old habits die hard. It was an impossible ideal to think there would be no secrets between us - I've lived too long ago life to honestly account for the actions I've taken - but Sookie and I had made a solemn promise to not hold back from each other.

Would she consider this a betrayal of that ideal? Of course she would. The decision was made before we'd come to an understanding, but Pam's point was valid. At this point, even I might be a bit testy if she revealed a similar secret. There hadn't been a conscious decision not to tell her, but rather a conscious decision to leave politics out of our lives for as long as possible.

"You're right. She should probably know. It's likely to come up again, anyway." Even though I truly yearned to walk away from the political life I've led for centuries, with Pam throwing her hat into the ring there would be functions and events we would be obliged to attend. "I'll tell her tomorrow."

"Tell me what?"

Her stealthy grace had brought her to my door unannounced, but I greeted her with a smile and repositioned myself so she could crawl into my arms. Clad only in my discarded shirt, she molded against me perfectly; fine strands of golden hair brushed under my chin while her rounded bottom warmed my bare thighs.

"Sookie is awake," I informed Pam. "You're going to have to tell her your news before I can tell her mine." Wide blue eyes looked up at me curiously and I dropped a gentle kiss to her soft lips before handing her the phone. "Talk to Pam for a moment, lover."

"Hey, Pam. What's up?" Her greeting was marred with a yawn she tried to smother behind a small hand. Her expressive face was interesting to watch as she absorbed the remarkable news and her questioning gaze drifted to mine several times. I listened to both sides of the conversation while my hands were busy stroking the smooth skin of her exposed thighs.

"I can't believe it!" Her exclamation was full of surprise, matching the expression on her face. "I'm really happy for her, and relieved, too."

"What brings on the relief?"

"I sort of thought you might want the job," she revealed. "Pam never crossed my mind."

"Pam will make an excellent ruler, whereas I would not," I replied.

"Come off it, Eric! You would be a great ruler and you know it. Everyone knows it, which is why I thought you might get dragged into this election." Her blue eyes searched my face appraisingly. "Why do you think you wouldn't be good at something that would seem a natural fit for you?"

"Because I have no interest or passion for the position," I told her honestly. "The political world is one I am happy to leave behind me."

"Okay." Her expression was too contemplative for her to leave it there, and she did not. "You're going to have to give me more the that. You've never been power hungry, I get that, but it's also about security and autonomy. You never even considered it?"

"No, I did not." My gaze was unwavering as it met her inquisitive eyes. "I have power and security, and with my maker dead and Oklahoma a thing of the past, I have all the autonomy I need. You're the only one with any power over me and I'd like it to stay that way."

A dreamy look passed over her features with my words, but her focus remained sharp.

"I'm not knocking Pam for the position, but did the Council not even look at you first?"

"I was not approached about Louisiana."

"Don't you find that a bit strange? You just seem to be the automatic choice, you know?" Her brow furrowed as she considered the perceived implications.

"There's nothing sinister afoot," I reassured her. "I wasn't approached about Louisiana because they had other plans for me."

"Oh?" Her body twisted in my arms until she was situated more to her liking. "What do they want from you?"

"Under the new system, each state will have a leader that might be considered similar to your governors. They will be responsible for the day to day operations of the state, as well as law and order. In addition to these changes, a further level of government will be enacted, similar to the country's federal system."

A shiver ran through her scantily clad form and I stood as the goosebumps ran down her legs. Her arms wrapped around my neck as I carried her back to the bedroom and my story didn't continue until she was comfortably ensconced under the warm covers.

"The federal level would consist of a leader and his advisors - a cabinet, if you will -, and a representative from each state, similar to your senators. For the first election cycle only, the federal level will be appointed, but democratically elected in subsequent cycles."

"That's what they want from you?" I nodded my head in confirmation. "So you would be the senator for Louisiana for a few years until they elect someone to replace you?"

"Not quite." Part of me winced as I recognized how I always tried to soften the blow; old habits die hard with her and I had to be more conscious of how I communicated with her. Consciously, I was aware of what she could handle, but my subconscious still wanted to protect her like the frail human she no longer was. "I was asked to become the first vampire President."

"Holy hell!" The look on her face was priceless and I couldn't help but smile. "Are you serious? That's a huge honor, Eric! Why didn't you tell me about this before?"

"It's not something I was trying to hide," I told her, grateful it was the truth. "I said no and never gave it much more thought. I'm out of politics, lover."

"Why?" Her question was as blunt as her expression.

"Because I want to stop looking over my shoulder all the time." Even with a democratic system in place, being a ruler was a thankless, dangerous position. The unchecked takeovers might stop, but the new system would not prevent assassination in an attempt to control the power. "I've given too much of my life to the system, and for what? My position could not and did not stop what happened to me."

Her blonde head nodded slowly as she thought over my statements. Her old habit of jumping to conclusions and speaking without consideration was a thing of the past and I appreciated the maturity she'd acquired.

"You would tell me if this was something you were doing for my sake, right?"

"This is for you, and for us, but even without there being an us, I would still have turned it down," I assured her clearly. "Would you prefer it if I did obtain a position of power?"

"No. I agree with you - we have plenty of power. Things are changing for the better, but politics, especially the vampire variety, have left a sour taste for me. If this is what you want, I'm delighted you're not going back to that life." Her delicate fingers squeezed my hand. "Are you going to be bored without all the drama and intrigue?"

"Not a bit. How can I be bored with you in my life?"

"What are we going to do with ourselves?" She swatted at me as I leered at her. "Alright! What are we going to do when we're not having sex?"

"Anything and everything you want to do, my lover. We can explore the world. There's nothing holding us here, or anywhere." I closed my eyes and addressed the only issue I still dreaded. "For as long as you live, we will enjoy every moment we have. With your spark and fairy blood, your lifespan will likely be much longer now."

"Oh, crap! Crap, crap, crap!" My eyes flew open to see her horrified expression. "I can't believe we haven't talked about this yet!"

"What is it?" My words weren't meant to cause this kind of distress.

"I never told you what Niall said," she said, the words spilling out quickly. "First of all, my natural lifespan probably is longer, especially because of the time I spent in Faery. But that's not the good part. Because of the way I worded my wish, he thinks my lifespan is probably tied to yours. As long as you live, so will I."

And here I thought life couldn't possibly get any better.

Hope you enjoyed!