A/N – I have been writing True Blood fanfiction like it's my job, so expect to see more in the next little while. And when I say True Blood fanfiction, I mean Godric fanfiction. Someone could write a Godric fic co-starring a potted plant, and I'd read it; the guy's that awesome. Anyway, enjoy and remember that I'm not making a profit and I don't own anything.
Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
Where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade - as if the last of days
Were fading, and all wars were done.
~ The Dark Hills,
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Godric sat down at one end of the long conference table. Nan stood beside him, impatient, as her assistant went through a stack of papers and explained briefly what each one was for. Godric nodded politely, but he wasn't really listening. Without looking, he could tell that Eric waited by the doorway, a powerful figure tense with contained rage. Godric had spent centuries trying to teach Eric this kind of self-control, with little success. He had apparently learned it in the sixty-odd years since they had seen each other last.
"You'll have to initial in each of the places I've indicated with an 'x'," the assistant said, breaking into his thoughts as she pushed the mountain of paper toward him, "and sign on the designated lines."
Godric accepted a pen imperiously offered to him by Nan and dutifully began to fill out the paperwork. There was more of it than he had anticipated, but as the minutes ticked by he never spoke or wavered from his task. When at last he finished, Nan gathered up the papers and handed them to her assistant, who swiftly slid them into a briefcase and strolled out of the room. Nan went to follow, but found her way blocked by Eric.
"Eighty-four signatures?" He inquired, his voice dangerously soft. The sub-text was implicit: Was the intention to humiliate him?
"Mistakes were made," Nan said, deliberately misinterpreting his question. "Costly ones. Let's just say that firing him is the least we should be doing."
The least? Eric's eyes betrayed his fury. As if they think they could do worse without starting a civil war. "I should rip your head from your body and leave you in the sun to burn."
Had Nan been human, she would have flushed. "There are laws that apply to our kind, Sheriff." She glanced back sneeringly at Godric. "Even in Texas."
"The Magister might give me a century in a coffin bound with silver," Eric said coolly. "But you would still be dead."
They gazed at one another for a long moment.
"Eric." That was Godric, who was still sitting at the table with his back to them. He only uttered one word, but his tone spoke volumes.
Eric immediately stepped aside, allowing Nan to pass.
"Control your dog," she snapped at Godric, her words weighted with disgust as she swept out of the room.
There was a brief silence as the door closed behind her, leaving child and maker alone together.
"There was a time when you would not have tolerated that with so little bloodshed," Godric remarked, sounding vaguely approving.
Eric brushed off the faint praise, striding forward so that he could see his maker's face. "There was a time when you wouldn't have, either," he returned. "She treated you like a misbehaving child and you let her."
Godric's mouth twisted upward on one side into a shadow of a smile. "You have always had a lot more respect for me than I deserve."
"Self-deprecation doesn't suit you," Eric responded flatly.
Godric's gaze dropped to the glass table. Through it, he could see his own white-clad knees. Beyond that, the pattern in the carpet was red and gold flowers, curling in on one another.
Eric couldn't sit through another one of Godric's interminable silences, which had been occurring with growing frequency as of late. "Did you think I wouldn't come looking?" he demanded harshly, changing the subject without warning.
Godric wanted to say that he didn't know what he'd thought, but that was too easy. Eric deserved better. "I hoped that the news wouldn't reach you until it was too late," he replied honestly.
Eric felt a tightness in his chest. "I don't understand."
"I know," said Godric, and at last he looked up, searching Eric's face. "Most vampires are so because they wanted to die. Their makers could sense that, and acted on it. I made you for precisely the opposite reason. You wanted so badly to live."
Eric sat down abruptly in the chair recently vacated by Nan's assistant. "Life is all there is. Survival is all there is."
Godric smiled. "You believed in Valhalla, once. In going home to rest at the end of a long journey."
Eric felt like something basic and fundamental was slipping away from under him. He struggled for purchase. "This isn't the end of your journey. It isn't."
In a flash, Godric was kneeling in front of him, cradling his face in his hands. Eric gripped Godric's wrists and shut his eyes. He let the cool hands against his cheeks be his anchor to a world that was spinning rapidly out of control.
"Eric," Godric said gently, "I have travelled a long time."
Eric's grip tightened on his maker's wrists. He would have long since snapped the bones of a human being.
"You know that," Godric continued, laughing a little, like a father trying to coax a smile from an upset child. "You have travelled with me the longest of anyone. I don't think I have ever mentioned how immensely grateful I am for the honour." He paused. "I can't think of adequate words in any language we have spoken to express how much."
Eric did not speak.
"You know what you are to me," Godric said softly, but with more conviction than he had been capable of kindling for years. He pulled Eric's face down gently until their foreheads rested against one another's. "More than fellow traveller. More than father, brother, son; more than lover, more than co-conspirator, more than closest friend, though we have been all of these things and others."
"You can't go," Eric whispered. "I still need you."
Godric closed his eyes tiredly. "Not anymore."
"Always," Eric insisted. He pulled away, and when Godric opened his eyes, they immediately locked with Eric's blood-rimmed ones.
"No," Godric said, a little more firmly. He rocked back on his heels, feeling restless. "You haven't needed me for centuries. I should have released you a long time ago, but I was selfish."
"I have never felt the least desire to be released," Eric replied, his voice oddly flat. "I would never ask for that."
"I know," said Godric. His smile was bittersweet. "I am grateful for that, too. You have been too good to me."
He rose easily to his feet and Eric followed suit. They stood not six inches apart, a distance that would have been awkward had they not been so utterly comfortable in one another's company. Godric tilted his head back and met Eric's unsmiling gaze.
"Think of all we have seen together," he said quietly. "I will get to visit the only place I've never been."
Eric wanted to lash out, to shake him and strike him and hurt him until he was firmly grounded in this world again. The only thing that stopped him was the utter certainty that at that moment, Godric would let him.
"Do not expect me to be happy for you," he said coldly. Godric knew him well enough to read the rage in his voice and in every line of his body.
Eric broke eye contact and stepped around his maker, leaving too much space between them. Godric let him go, not turning around to watch him leave the room. When the door shut behind him, the sound of it was loud in the silence.
Godric felt too heavy to move. Forgive me, he thought helplessly.
Eric wouldn't, not until long after Godric was gone.