Josef ponders the real reason Beth asked for his help – and his own reason for giving it.
Spoilers : Set after 1.14 "Click"
Bound by blood
I've known Beth a while now, and the few months since she came back into Mick's life have been tumultuous for all of us. She's come to me for information before, but never has she come to me for help.
That she did so shows just how much things have changed. Beth's would-be fiancé dying, Mick's brief foray back into mortality, their discovery of my own dreadful secret; these things have changed us and the ties that bind us. Brought us closer together rather than pushed us apart.
I always told Mick not to get involved with humans. Too dangerous, too messy, and – though I wouldn't dare speak of it before – too painful. Yet I've seen Beth determined to protect Mick, and she loves him no matter what. I've seen her change, too, from truth-seeking reporter to justice-seeking investigator.
So when she came to ask me to deal with the problem of the blackmailing paparazzi, I knew what she wanted me to do; and she knew exactly how I would deal with it. It was, we both agreed, the only way. He had to die. We were careful never to say the words of course. There was no talk of murder or assassination. Like politicians planning a war, we didn't need to talk of death or even casualties. Just a simple agreement, that he would be dealt with.
The only problem was that it was a lie.
Mick could have changed his name and fled to another state, another country. With a few photographs and a stalker rep, without an actual person around to prove or disprove the phenomenon suggested by the pictures, the photographer would have been laughed at and disbelieved. Yes, he was dangerous, but I could have taken away his photos and used my contacts to make his life difficult. That might have sufficed to keep the vampire community safe, to keep Mick alive.
It wouldn't have been enough.
The truth was, having him killed was the only way to get what we wanted. Mick here, in LA, with us.
For Beth, it means Mick will stay by her side, as long as she lives; or until he relents and makes her into one of us despite his protestations. It amounts to the same thing, biologically speaking. She's decided not to hold back, to love him with all of her heart, whatever hardships that might entail. She's not about to let her chance be dashed by some bottom feeder and a few Polaroid's.
The other truth is that I had been thinking of carrying out an execution anyway. Arranging one, anyway. No need for me to sully my hands or risk my reputation by being personally involved on this one. I made Beth ask because I was curious how far she would go to protect Mick, because, I suppose, I wanted her to share the blame. For if Mick suspects we intervened he'll be furious and it will be harder for him to be angry at both of us. Yet it had to happen, because as I said, it was what we wanted. Myself, as well as Beth.
For me, it means Mick will stay in LA that much longer. It means he'll be near me, a friend, a lifeline, a moral compass, my sometime conscience. It means I won't be alone.
I've always loved him, though we fought – still do fight, of course – like cat and dog. Or like two cats, all claws and teeth, squabbling over real and imagined slights. Coraline despaired of us ever getting along. Yet beneath the animosity, beneath my cool demeanour towards him, burns a deep affection and abiding love. Everything that's happened recently has only deepened my respect and passion for him, has forced me to open up to him, to rely on him when I would rely on no-one. Before, I could pretend he was merely an acquaintance, a familiar and comforting presence. Now I cannot; now I know I desire him.
The last straw was my Turning him. Did he know what he was asking of me? Didn't he remember my beloved Sarah, and my failure to Turn her? Would he really risk that fate, trapped between the worlds of the human and the vampire, even for Beth?
Furthermore, to ask me to engage in such intimacy with him? To ask it of me, when I know full well of his distaste for vampirism? His love for Coraline is forever tainted by his disgust that she made him one of us. To risk tainting our friendship that way…I admit, I hesitated.
"Forgive me," I said, hoping he could, that he would remember he asked me to do this, that he wouldn't later hold it against me. I was taking away not his life, but those precious months he would have as a human. It was a terrible price he was paying to try to rescue Beth.
I sank my teeth into him and oh! Such sweetness. Human, not vampire blood, rich and full upon my tongue.
I fed him and he was once again Mick St-John, vampire.
Of course I went with him. To risk losing Mick twice in one night was more than I could stomach. Besides, it was Beth we were saving. It was one more argument for Turning him, that it was to save her, the only mortal since Sarah that I had allowed myself to become fond of.
So now Beth and I share a guilty secret. She loses more sleep over it than I do. I've killed and arranged kills many, many times. Beth is new to this way of thinking. She'll have to become used to it, if she wants to live among us, even as a mortal. Our lives tend to the dramatic, the bloody, the violent. It's part of our legacy, along with the passion, the longevity, the intensity.
I rather like having a secret with her. I like the idea that something binds us together other than our shared relationship with Mick. Because I also see a time we could all be together, a ménage-à-trois, as the French would say. Not Mick and his wife and his wife's friend as it was with Coraline. This time it would be Mick and his wife and their mutual lover.
Mick would kill me – or least hurt me badly – for tasting Beth's blood without good cause. Yet I find myself dreaming of the taste of it. I long to drink from her and then from Mick, to have Mick then drink from me. To have Beth, a vampire, able to join in such a decadent sharing of the most vital of bodily fluids.
My wildest fantasy is we save Sarah, and the four of live happily, sometimes together, sometimes apart, a polyamorous relationship without boundaries, heedless of gender or social conventions.
A quartet bound by love, and by blood.