No excuses as to why I disappeared, just be happy that I have returned. I give no promises as to when another update will arrive, but I do know that there will be one. Please keep in mind the following stats when you decide whether or not to review: 11K hits, 87 alerts, 44 favs, and 64 reviews. Really, reviews are great and I love to hear your feedback, ideas, and suggestions. Please utilize reviews to do any of those or anything else, so long as you are polite and at least have good intentions. Also: from here on out the story will be fairly AU and won't follow the show/books entirely. Mostly because I'm too lazy to go back through and watch every episode as I write, and also because it better serves the purpose of the story. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy and that I still have a fair number of readers out there. Until next time, RJL.

Chapter X

I kept quiet so you'd think my heart was tough
I never showed you if I loved you enough
The dreams I had yeah I kept but I wouldn't dare
Share with you for fear of things still living in me

Last Tide - Sun Kil Moon

Some moments will live on forever, and you will never forget a single second during one particular day. They are the moments that enlightened, terrify, and revive you. A day where you live in pure bliss or find yourself standing on the edge of a cliff. Days where there is no certainly you will make it through alive, but no matter the outcome, it will be a day that will never be forgotten. Everyone has a day like that. And no one ever forgets the feelings that go along with it.

For Bren, there had been a number of those days that she experienced during her human life. The day her youngest sister was born, the day her father died, the day that Godric came to release her and granted her an everlasting life. These were moments caught in time that no matter her age, she would always remember. There was no question that she would remember. And while the memories were not always ones that brought happy feelings to her heart, they always brought a sense of comfort. Even while the rest of the world came and went, and she stayed the same, she would always have the memories of the past she had once lived.

She would always have the memories to get her through the moments where she doubted everything and the fear she felt was unconquerable. In the silence of her own mind, where she could ignore the world around her, she would have the memories to turn to for solace. Memories were something that no one could take away or tamper with, not with her status of vampire to protect her. Glamoring would do nothing to her brain, there were no impulses to manipulate, not brain waves to intercept. Her memories were her own, and only hers to treasure.

Still, some moments are best left to be forgotten. As Bren knelt, a silver chain wrapped around her neck, and stake pressed to the soft place at the base of her skull, she dearly wished to forget everything that had transpired – if only to save her from embarrassment. A child could have sensed a trap more quickly than she had, how could she have been so irresponsible? She knew about the traitor, knew that Hugo had betrayed them, knew that something would go wrong and that more people would be harmed in the process. Yet, she did nothing and allowed for things to progress out of her control and down a dangerous path.

Over a thousand years old, and still no sense. She truly was a child. Godric would be disappointed in her, she knew that for certain. She only hoped he had been able to escape before the Fellowship had gotten a grasp on the situation. If nothing else, that would be worth her current humiliation. At least he would then be safe from the danger they were being face with.

Sookie was yelling threats to Steve Newlin and the dozen or so other men that filled the church. The small southern belle held nothing back as she cursed the men to a damned death and made feeble attempts to escape her captors. Bren had to admire the woman's bravery, though wished Sookie would learn to hold her tongue rather than continue to irritate her captors to the point where they would take further action against any of them. There had already been enough blood spilled on both sides without the telepath's help.

"I would shut your pretty little mouth if I were you, vampire whore," warned one of the men holding Sookie as he gave her a threatening shake. She stumbled but kept on her feet, holding nothing back with her scalding glare. "You aren't exactly on the winning side, bitch."

Sookie sneered at the man and stomped on his foot sharply with her heel, smirking when he grimaced. "And I would watch your filthy mouth if I were you, asshole. That's no way to talk to a lady," she said seriously. The man holding her only glared and chose to ignore her. "Surely your mother raised you to be polite and courteous to all women? What would your mother say if she saw you acting like a brute and abusing two women in the house of God? Do you really think she'd approve of that? I don't think she would."

Her voice was so innocent that even Bren felt herself smirking. She could see Eric doing the same from his place on the altar. His arms were being held down with chains of silver, and she knew that his skin was burning the same as hers. With the chains restraining them both, she few ideas on how to save them from their current predicament. Sookie, while efficient at distracting their captors, was good for little more. Eric was of no help, and neither was Bren. Silver was a bitch.

"Well, I for one am getting quite tired of all this waiting!" Steve Newlin clapped his hands as he grinned from his place on the altar beside Eric. His grin was toxic, and he feinted pity for Eric has he pointed to the silver laying across the Viking's body. "Isn't it funny that just a teeny tiny bit of silver and you end up where you are? Who would have thought that all it took to restrain the undead spawn of Satan was a little bit of purity, hm?" Steve leaned over and smirked at Eric, rearranging the silver on his wrists and causing the huge man to hiss in pain. "It shows you the work of God, right here! Working right here in this very church." He sighed and looked almost lovingly at the cross hanging above the altar before turning his smile to the followers standing amongst the pews. "God works in truly mysterious ways, my friends. He truly does."

It had been over 1600 years since she had conquered her thirst for blood and the uncontrollable need to kill, and yet Bren knew that there was nothing that would please her more than to feel the life drain from Steve Newlin as she drank from him until his body was a soul's vessel no longer. There was no question that Eric agreed with her or that Sookie didn't wish there was something she could do to erase the vile man from the face of the planet.

"What do you want us to do with these two, sir?" The man holding Sookie gestured the two women captives, a disgusted look on his face. "Are we going to burn ourselves some witches?"

The cheers and calls of agreement from the other men chilled Bren, and it was clear that Sookie's calm exterior was quickly giving way to fear. Rolling her wrists, she clenched her jaw at the burning pain from the silver and winced as the stake on her neck was pressed dangerously close. She stopped squirming but tried to slowly lean forward to relieve the stake's pressure from her neck. This was getting too real, too dangerous. Something needed to happen before anyone was burned, staked, or ripped to pieces.

Even as the thoughts ran through her mind, the doors leading into the church behind them were thrown open and Stan walked in, followed closely by his men. In the moments that it took the Fellowship to comprehend what was happening, every man in the room with the exception of Newlin found themselves caught in the grasp of a vampire. The stake was gone from Bren's neck as one of the vampire's pulled her captor away by his shirt collar, ignoring the yells that came from the full grown man as he started to beg for his life.

Letting the silver chains fall to the group, Bren pushed herself off her knees and looked at the scene unfolding around her. Newlin stood in shock from his vantage point on the altar, each of his men now held captive as the vampires waited for Stan to give them further instructions. Sookie was in the arms of Bill, who had arrived moments after Stan, and Isabel was standing to the right of the sheriff, watching just as Bren was. Another vampire went and helped free Eric from his bonds, and he stood silently on the other side of Sookie. His stance reeked of dominance and he stood slightly in front of her protectively, ignoring the presence of Bill Compton entirely.

Averting her eyes from the scene, Bren focused on Steve Newlin, who stood in shock as he tried to understand everything that was happening. There was a gun in his hand, but it was pointed at no one in particular, aimed uselessly at the back wall.

"Newlin, you have become a rat infestation that, tonight, we have decided to exterminate," Stan said as he walked up the center aisle, his boots clicking on the tile floor. Steve looked at him in terror as Stan continued towards him, a sinister look on his face. The gun in Newlin's hand shook. "We are going to exterminate you the same way we did you good ol' ma and pa. We're going to rid the world of the Newlin family, and by Hell, we'll make it a right better place by doing so." Stan came to a stop in front of the now enraged pastor as Steve understood the implications of what was being said. "You better make peace with your god, boy. You'll be meeting him real soon, I can promise you that."

Silence rang throughout the church as everyone waited. And then, as if someone had pushed the play button in an action movie, everyone moved at once. Newlin swung his gun and aimed at Sookie, letting shots ring out just as Stan leaped at the pastor's throat. A few other men fired shots at their captive vampires, but did little damage. Some turned to flee, others simply gave themselves and surrendered. Stan had Newlin in a choke hold, but no one paid them much attention.

Bren didn't move from her spot, but felt her body jolt as a stray bullet landed in her shoulder. In a few seconds it worked it's way out of her skin and dropped to the floor with a clank. It almost disappointed her how unprepared the Fellowship appeared. They didn't even use silver bullets. How did they expect to win a war when they didn't even have any means to kill their enemy? If they wanted any change to happen in the world, if they truly wished to rid the world of vampires and return the world back to its former purity, the least they could do was learn how to properly kill one.

As she moved to join Sookie and the others, she felt two arms grab her as a second man thrust a stake to her neck. A pulse of fear ran through her as she waited to burst into a pile of blood mixed with bones and stretched muscles. A flash of white ran across her vision as the fear passed, and she was forced to the front of the church. She did not struggle or resist the men that held her. In fact, she was impressed, though only just, by the two men and their courage. She could feel every vampires' eyes locked on her and the men that held her, calculating the risk of rescuing her to the probability of one of them staking her in the process. No one moved.

"Everyone back away, or I swear to God I'll kill this bitch right now," one of the men yelled, his voice cracking in fear but remaining relatively strong. The stake at her neck pressed closer when no one moved, and the fear almost returned. She smashed it quickly, and leaned back to avoid the stake's tip. Stan released a bloody Newlin, who then sported a broken nose and gash over his left eye.

"And what do you plan to do after that, human?" Eric asked, mocking tone apparent. He had left his position beside Sookie to stand in front of the altar, staring into the eyes of Bren's captors. The fury was apparent in his features. Bren could feel the man holding her trembling in fear. "Even if you do kill her, the rest of us will be on you before you even have a chance to blink. Her death would be for nothing and would only speed up the coming of your own. Do you really want to do that? I promise that if you kill her, your death will not be nearly so quick and painless."

Eric took a step closer, and the man holding Bren took a step back, stake pressing even closer. He stepped up the first step leading up to the altar, with the look of a predator stalking his prey. Behind him, Stan and Isabel watched on, none of the other Fellowship members doing anything to help their comrades. Newlin was laying on the ground, moaning and clutching his broken nose. Eric continued stalking closer until he stood only a few feet in front of Bren and the men who held her. He outstretched his hand and almost instantly Bren was released and pushed forward hazardously. In a blur, Eric was behind her and had snapped the poor man's neck, turning back to face her before the body had even dropped to the ground.

No words were exchanged as Eric gently took hold of her upper arm and led her to Sookie and Bill, who only watched – Sookie in awe, and Bill with a frown. Continuing towards the door, Eric called to the others. "It is time to leave," he said, still pulling Bren along as they walked through the church, ignoring the frightened looks of those who had survived the night, and the vampires that had come to their rescue. "Leave them," he instructed, when a few of the vampires looked questionably at the remaining humans, mainly at the cowering Steve Newlin, who had yet to get off the ground and still clutched his bloody nose. "Leave him," Eric said again, his tone leaving no room for disobedience.

"You want us to leave this little piece of shit alive so he can just turn around to kill more of our kind?" Stan's voice called out, as he had yet to move. His Texan drawl was disbelieving and rebellious, and caused Bren to stop. Eric continued to walk, but stopped to stare at her, waiting. "The mouth breather doesn't deserve the right to live. He kills our kind! He needs to put down, like a rabid dog. Why not just stop the infection at the source?"

In two seconds, Stan found himself flat on his back staring at the church's ceiling, his neck exposed, and Bren straddling his waist. Her hand held his head to the side and her fangs were exposed as she growled at him. "It would be best if you learned to hold your tongue, Stan," she said quietly. The larger vampire tried to struggle out of her grip, but she easily had seven hundred years on him, and his strength was nothing compared to hers. "Newlin lives, do you understand? We will not sink ourselves to his level of filth. We will rise above their expectations and prove ourselves to be worthy of this world just as much as the humans. We will not kill the spokesperson of those who hold doubt and fear for us, we will chose to better ourselves and learn from what has happened here tonight. Steve Newlin lives, do you understand?"

Stan stared up at her for a few seconds before he nodded and Bren flew off him, rejoining Eric in moments. He only nodded to Isabel but said nothing more. Bren did not look back as they exited the church. She was tired. She wanted nothing more than to return to the nest, wash away the grime from the day, and fall into her bed to sleep away the next few days. She had the feeling that Eric felt the same.

They walked in silence out of the church and into the night. It was only two or three in the morning, which gave them more than enough time to fly back to the nest. No words were exchanged, and none were needed. Eric held open the front door of her home, a gesture that she thanked him for quietly. He nodded in response, face tired and eyes dull. She could only imagine how she looked, not that any of it made a difference. A shower would solve everything. But first, there was something she had to do.

Dropping her coat in the front closet, she walked slowly, almost frightened that she would be wrong and he wouldn't really be waiting for them like she hoped. But, as she rounded the corner and stepped into the living room, all her doubt disappeared along with all her fear. In that moment, everything disappeared.

And waiting for them in the living room, as she had felt he would be, was Godric. He stood, face drained but eyes holding a pride that words would never be able to convey. He looked as she remembered, and it was hard for her to imagine him ever being gone. He belonged in the room, with her, and with Eric. This was where they were supposed to be. They were foolish to ever think differently.

Upon seeing his Children, Godric spread his arms open wide and Bren felt tears coming to her eyes. She did not stop herself from allowing her Maker to wrap is arms around her, holding her in an embrace and reminded her of childhood when her father would gather her in his arms just before he put both her and her youngest sister to sleep every night. In the absence of her father, there had been Godric. And in the absence of Godric, she had had nothing. There had been an emptiness to her heart that nothing could have ever filled if Godric had never been returned to her.

In his arms, she felt whole. She was more at peace than she could ever hope or imagine to be again.

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Hope you enjoyed.
Until next time, RJL