A/N: Please read! Hey guys, so I know the last chapter was from Elliot's perspective, but that will sort of act like a prologue to the rest of the story, which is from Eric's POV. Again, this is a storyline from book 4 of Charlaine Harris' series, but with my own twist (so there are spoilers!) Anyway, enjoy, and thanks for the reviews, everyone!
They said I was over 1,000 years old. Their voices, quiet but full of awe, had hit my ears with a blank sort of echo; this, my age, was just another fact that didn't actually mean anything to me. They had told me last night of my importance, my power, and I believed them because I felt it in my body, my blood as it hummed in my veins. That I could feel the truth flowing from the woman, Elliot, was a bonus, a reassurance I could use to gauge the reality of my situation.
She was still asleep next to me, folded peacefully into the fetal position, far away from my clouded thoughts. The act of remembering was so elusive, so unattainable that my frustration was tangible; I wanted to tear at skin that would heal instantly, tear out hair that would only grow back. I was tense, muscles ready for a fight, but who was I to kill? The enemy here was my mind. Everything from yesterday was encased in crystal, formed perfectly, and more importantly, there, present, on display for me to recall anytime I wanted. But everything before that, 1,000 years worth of nights, was gone, hidden behind murky shapes that I couldn't wade through, couldn't fight off long enough to extract any memory.
I couldn't keep trying to do the impossible; if the witch Pam had killed had actually placed a spell on me, there wasn't anything I could do at this very moment—I wasn't even supposed to leave the house. Instead, I turned my attention back to Elliot, to the rise and fall of her chest in a cyclical pattern that alerted me to the passage of time. The sight of her body, the smell of her blood through her skin took me back to her words, her admission that we were lovers. She'd allowed me to feed from her as if we were; willingly, soft, the delicate touch of her skin on mine, even as sadness drifted through her. Her lips were parted now, pink against the white of the pillow she clutched at unconsciously, fingers curled like they were holding a bat. She smelled like me, but of something else as well, blood; not mine, or Pam's. My child's. I turned that over in my mind, the knowledge of having cared for Pam to an extent that I would have turned her. She wasn't old, I sensed that. The foreign scent mixed into Elliot's blood made me curious; I would have to ask her about that. I wondered when she would wake; humans needed less sleep than we did, could rely on single-digit hours or even go days without it. That was our weakness, the prison of light and its hesitance to finally set, allowing us up. I hated the weakness that flooded my limbs when the sun began to rise, the catatonia that plunged me into nothingness, the sudden and consuming unconsciousness that had left me an hour ago, as abruptly as it had come. Of course, I could fight it, but there were consequences. There always were.
She stirred next to me, rumpling the sheets, making soft, smooth 'woosh' noises as her fingers slid across the fabric of the comforter. Her hands closed into fists and she stretched for a long moment; I heard her muscles tighten, then relax as she brought her hands back up to her face, where she scrubbed at her eyes and pushed the roots of her mussed hair back.
"Hello," I offered, my voice breaking the quiet of the room. I felt ungainly, too big next to her.
"Oh," she said, flinching slightly, startled. "Hey." She turned toward me, a smile in her eyes before she rested a hand on my shoulder and kissed me. It was chaste, lips closed, and I let my eyes fall shut, felt my skin react to hers, take its warmth and spread it through my own body. When I opened my mouth to her, asking, before I moved the embrace forward, she jumped back and a lament, hers, filled me.
"I'm sorry," she said, eyes on the sheets under her. "I completely forgot."
"It's alright," I answered, disappointed. "I have, too." She looked back to me, disbelieving before bursting into laughter.
"I guess amnesia hasn't killed your sense of humor," she spoke, voice muffled, into the fabric of the pillow beneath her. She'd brought her arm up, buried her face in it, splaying her long hair across her back. The was an interesting shade of auburn, a deep brown red that would probably glow in the light of day; it smelled faintly of something familiar, something I recognized, but from where, or what it actually was, I had no idea. I got closer to the strands, picked up a few tendrils lightly and breathed in deeply, using air I didn't need. Elliot had gone stiff under my touch, though her heart pounded a sweet rhythm that would have made me salivate, had I been human.
"You have another's scent on you," I noted, filing away the familiarity of the smell of her hair.
"Remember when I told you I killed the vampire that had helped kidnap me?" She turned onto her side, resting her head on her open hand. Her body distracted me momentarily; we were both nude, still, but I drew my eyes back to her face.
"Yes," I said. "That's one of the few things I do remember, actually." I was mirthless. This wasn't really a joke, though I held the words as if they were something to be mocked. The fog in my head betrayed me, caged me in like an animal. I shifted, laid onto my back, and fell silent, waiting for her to continue.
"Well, the vampire was going to rape me, was going to feed on me again, so I staked him. The problem was that he managed to tear my artery in two before I could get away from him."
"How did…" I began, but she held up a hand.
"I splashed his blood into my neck and then drank what I could until I was healed."
I stared at her, disbelief drawing across my face; hers collapsed into anger, brows drawn, lips tight, and I felt her conviction, the truth of her words. I wondered how she'd managed to kill one of my kind; physically, she wasn't imposing. Her limbs were long, but lithe, that of a dancer, not a fighter.
"You've had my blood, and that of another's." I stated the question, so she wouldn't get angrier.
It seemed she was intent to stay mad. I reached out, hesitant, and touched her shoulder. She didn't push me away.
"Then, you're a very powerful human." She nodded, the anger abating, replaced with uneasiness. She didn't like—or was afraid of vampire blood's effect on her. I wanted to say more, but in one continuous motion, she shucked the blankets back, away from her and swung her feet over the side of the bed, stepping off toward the bathroom. I took in her form, which spread coils of warmth through my lower abdomen; she turned back, smiled at me appreciatively, but kept going, leaving me alone for a few minutes. I sat up, looked at my own body and hungered for hers. She reemerged, dressed in the clothes she'd been wearing last night.
"God," she said, smacking her own forehead. "I have clothes here."
"Are those not yours?"
"No, Pam leant them to me. We stayed over her place last night."
If I had this house, why would I stay with my child? I wanted to ask, but Elliot had moved across the room to a closet that faced the bed. She motioned me to her, and I made my way over, surprising her again by going too fast for her to see.
"Can you not do that?" She asked, her voice strained.
"I'm sorry," I said, ashamed for having scared her with what came naturally to me.
"I know." Her features softened, and she stretched her mouth into a teasing smile. "I just can't keep up with you when you go so fast."
"Ok." She nodded and opened the closet door and I stared in at an assortment of suits in mostly black before opening a drawer next to the closet, finding work out pants and an assortment of t-shirts and tank tops.
"Those look good," Elliot murmured, more to herself than me, but I nodded anyway. I picked a top and pants, sliding them on quickly, noticing that her eyes strayed down a few times before I pulled the pants on. She experienced an echo of pleasure, of release, and I could tell I had been the one to give it to her. I wanted to remember, wanted to see the images her mind contained, to find recognition in this body, these features I inhibited. I knew what I looked like, had seen my image in the mirrors last night, but they were just a reflection, and I was just a mind, disconnected physically from my own form, the very genetic basis of which was the polar opposite of Elliot's, though I didn't think I wanted to go with Pam. For no real reason, other than the knowledge that Elliot and I had shared a bed, and she was willing to give me her blood, I was comforted by her presence.
I guess the briefest of attentions to my vampirism allowed that physical aspect to take over; with a reflexive muscle shift that felt like an inherent and natural part of my being, I felt my teeth change, lengthen into two points that felt right, that felt natural in my mouth. Elliot's eyes widened when she saw me with my lengthened teeth, so I retracted them quickly. I thought I had proven last night I wouldn't hurt her, but I did understand her worry. No matter how strong I had made her, she was still human, and I could kill her without a thought.
"No, no," she said, pressing a hand to my cheek. Her face flickered with shame, and I knew she understood how I felt. "I know you won't hurt me."
I smiled at her, but it was tight, a forced facial expression that held only exasperation. I hated this uncertainty, having to rely on others, but I knew I would remain this way, trapped, without memory, for the rest of my eternity. Elliot seemed genuinely sorry, though, as if it hurt her to see me upset, so when she offered her hand, I took it, allowed a human to lead me back to the bathroom, where we were surrounded by clones encased in glass. She inched close to the mirror nearest to use, taking me with her, and pressed her hand onto its smooth surface, her reversed reflection mimicking her. She reached up for me, leaving the heat from her hand to melt away from the glass' surface as she balanced on her tip-toes, grasping at my shoulders so she didn't sway. She looked at me for a moment, black lashes illuminating blue eyes so unlike my own, before letting them fall like curtains to her cheeks. I bent down to meet her and she parted my lips, hot, insistent and reached in to taste me; I responded, cradling her neck as she pulled her fingers through my hair, raking her nails into my scalp. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up in response, and my teeth lengthened, fast, and I felt Elliot release me, turn me to the mirror. I stared at myself, saw the elegance of the weapons in my mouth. They knew exactly where to bite on every part of her body, knew how deeply to bury themselves, how to make the act pleasurable. I lifted a finger to my mouth and touched the teeth gingerly, traced the upside-down 'u' they formed and saw that Elliot was entranced by my examination.
"I always," she began, a smile curving the points of her lips up, showing her own flat, square teeth, "I always thought this looked more natural on you."
"What do you mean?" I asked, speaking easily around the teeth, forgetting they were there. But they stayed out; Elliot's desire mixed with mine, and it kept me on edge, ready.
"That this is the real you, and your…your human face—that's the real façade."
"A predator?" I asked. "I'm best suited as a predator?" Instinctively, I understand the necessity of such a mindset—vampires are, in a way, animals, though we hunt the top of the food chain, which makes us just a step ahead, though it's a precarious balance, I'd figure.
"It fits." She's tilted my chin down, forced me to look at her, and touched her lips to mine again, lightly. I felt more grounded, attached to someone, to something. I wanted to take her blood again, wanted to push her up against the mirrors and watch as our bodies mingles, forgetting their boundaries for just a little while.
But I was still a stranger to her, and I couldn't push for something that would make her anxious to be around me. So while I did push her gently back into her own reflection, then lift her so her legs wrapped around my waist and kissed her like it was the only thing keeping me alive, or undead, eventually I stopped, set her down and pretended I couldn't smell the faint hint of arousal in the air, or the wistful way she settled her hair back around her shoulders and straightened her sweater.
She bent to the floor to retrieve her fallen hair elastic, and when she came up she swayed slightly, her eyes having taken on a glazed, sightless look. She shook her head, looked at me and raised a shoulder.
"I haven't eaten in awhile," she said, frowning. "And you fed on me last night." She did look pale.
"There's got to be food in here somewhere," she muttered, leaving the room to go downstairs.
An hour or so later, she had made and eaten pasta, and Pam had arrived in the dining room where we sat.
"Master," she bowed to me, hopeful, but all I could do is shrug in reply.
"I don't remember you. I know who you are, can smell my blood in you, but I don't know who you are, when I made you; none of the details."
She looked nonplussed, and I looked back to Elliot, who was looking down at the table, shaking her head slightly.
"You need to keep him hidden," Pam said, addressing Elliot. "No one can know he's still in the state."
"Alright," Elliot said, slowly. There was something else, though, going on behind her eyes, and she frowned as I tried to read her, her emotions through the bond.
"I assume then, since I'm the only one who can go out in the day that I'll be doing a little investigating?"
"I knew I liked you for a reason," Pam smirked, but something flashed in her face, quickly, but it had been there. She was grateful.
"You need to point me in the right direction," Elliot said, her face drawn. "I can't do this by myself."
"I will." Pam sat at the table, fixed her stare on Elliot, whose heart beat louder. I was, for the most part, ignored—and not sure how I felt about that.
"You have to be careful," Pam went on. "No one can know we're trying to find a cure for Eric."
Pam nodded, nodded at me before turning to leave, calling over her shoulder that she'd come around again tomorrow, to give Elliot any news.
When my child had gone, Elliot stood up stiffly, took her plate into the kitchen and washed it, silently. I followed.
"You're risking your life for me?"
"Maybe," she answered, without looking back at me. The water poured over her hands and the smell of lemon soap wafted over to me. I felt nothing from her, no sadness, no anger—a lack, an absence.
"Look at me, please." I asked, trying to engage her, to make her feel something, to quell the nerves that were building inside of me. She just shook her head, gripped the sides of the sink and hung her head down, caved in, away from me. Floodgates opened in her and I was buried under a sea of guilt, confusion and a murky feeling that fled before I could chase after it, something unfamiliar, something new.
I went to the sink, caught her before her knees buckled. She stared up at me as we sat together, with dry eyes, but distressed in a way that kept me from speaking.
"I was leaving you," she said, voice low. "I was leaving so no one would come after you through me and vice versa. I wanted to protect what you had."
"It doesn't matter," I said, because it was the first thing that came to me. And it didn't Elliot was here now, was going to protect me as best she could, was going to try to find answers where Pam and I could not.
"I just feel like this is my fault, like somehow your memory is gone because of me." She was limp in my arms, and I could almost fold them around her body and my own; the beat of her heart, the closeness of her body to mine set me off. I pressed my lips to her throat, kissed the skin there lightly and moved up to her ear, where a single word came from me.
"Please." It held my longing, my need for her right now. I wanted to drown in her, lose the self I really didn't have.
"I don't know," she said, arching her neck back, turning her face up so I captured her mouth in a kiss, didn't give her time to think, just time to see how I felt.
"I'll need my strength," she gasped, sucking in air when we parted. She pressed into me, though, had reached back to touch my hair, my neck, to bite her nails into the skin there.
"I'll give you mine," I said, then bit softly, drawing in deeply.