Oh man, you guys keep me on my toes! I love your reviews no matter what you say, but when you guys muse out loud about what might happen you definitely get my wheels turning. Seems like we want to hear from Future Eric, which I'm totes down with (as soon as I figure out what he's up to lol). But I had already started this chapter before I got that feedback so I figured I would post it. It's Godric POV, which sort of came out of left field but I think it works. I hope you like it! CH/AB own all this stuff.
"Heels nicely, does she not?" I asked Cabral, keeping my tone conversational. I made a point not to look at him, allowing my eyes to scan the assembled crowd instead. It was imperative that he not suspect Sookie's gift. After all she'd told us about this Edgington and his love of collecting, I certainly did not want him to set his mind on acquiring her.
"Whom?" he asked, affecting nonchalance. Whom indeed. I was perfectly aware that he had seen the entire exchange between Sookie and myself, and not only because she had relayed his thoughts immediately. I'd noticed his interest, seen his body tense slightly as he began to think through what he was seeing. When his thoughts abruptly changed to exports, it was clear that he believed she could hear his thoughts as well.
"Oh, I do apologize. I presumed you'd noticed her responding to my call," I answered, looking over at him. He schooled his features into a politely interested mask and I had to give him credit for his efforts. He, after all, wasn't aware of my age or experience. In this instance, those two factors rendered unnecessary my gift of intuition. Which he, obviously, was ignorant of as well.
"Yes, I called her attention only a moment ago through my blood," I explained. He could not know that Eric was in fact Sookie's Maker and since she had ingested such copious amounts of my own blood of late, the scent she carried resembled mine closely enough to support the ruse. "I am her Maker, after all."
That revelation caused one perfectly arched eyebrow to raise ever so slightly. "I wasn't sure if she was yours or the Vikings," he admitted. I nodded slightly.
"Mine. They are both mine," I confirmed, glancing across the room at them as I spoke. Sookie was clearly agitated, though attempting to hide it. Eric, on the surface, appeared calm and quite collected. I, of course, saw the signs of his distress; tightened eyes, the way his fingers curled into the palm of his free hand as he moved slowly through the crowd, the muscle bunched in his jaw.
"You have exquisite taste," he complimented me. I shifted my eyes back to his face, noting the appraisal he was making. I didn't need to follow his gaze to know he was looking at Eric. I allowed myself a small smile at his words of praise.
"The packages they came in are quite beautiful, I agree. However, it was the contents of those packages that piqued my interest. They both have a zest for life that I find irresistible," I explained, stopping myself before I revealed too much. Before I told him how appealing I found their strength to be. Or the fact that in them, I saw the warriors they truly were. Of course that was obvious in Eric, one need only look at the man to see it. With Sookie, the signs were much more subtle but there nonetheless. He nodded, as though he understood what I was saying. "Have you sired any children yourself?"
He shook his head at my question. "No, I have not. I have not had the desire to do so, though I am close with my Maker," he told me. I nodded, knowing that already from the information Sookie had given us.
"Then you understand the pull of your Maker's call," I started. When he nodded, I continued. "When Anne arrived, I wished for my children to be aware. They know that I desire an early audience with Anne this evening, if at all possible. I require sustenance and would prefer to find off of the castles grounds," I added when he looked at me questioningly. "I indicated that Anne had arrived and she immediately informed Eric so that we can hopefully gain that audience," I finished in an almost bored tone. It was a stroke of immeasurable luck that Sookie had chosen to relay my message to Eric verbally as I was quite certain Cabral had seen. Had she chosen to communicate it to him mentally, this entire fabrication would have failed.
"The Viking does not heed your call?" His tone remained merely interested, and so I did not take offense.
"Indeed, he does. However, I did not wish to interrupt his discourse with the Lady Wentworth," I explained, indicating the aged countess with a slight tilt of my head. He nodded, apparently accepting this explanation of events. I was not naïve enough to believe that he would not mention the exchange to his Maker or even to hope that my version of events erased all doubt in his mind, but it did remove us from immediate danger. With even a slight doubt, he would surely postpone any action until Edgington arrived. I focused on pushing assurance toward Sookie. When I caught her attention this time, she did not turn while I informed her that I had covered the situation. I did not wish for either of them to worry more than necessary about the situation.
"Allow me to tarry no longer," he bowed slightly. "I believe you may make that early audience. I look forward to your company on the morrow," he added as he straightened. I nodded graciously.
"I thank you and look forward to yours as well," I told him. A moment later, I was making my way through the humans. We simply had to be more careful. The thought of losing Sookie was enough to incite panic in me, though I dare not give in to the temptation. Not only for her sake, but Eric's as well. If I were to falter and allow myself to succumb to an emotion like fear or panic, it would ruin him. For centuries, I had been his mentor. Warrior though he was, I was his strength and well I knew it. It was a responsibility I filled with honor and would not cease to.
Especially not now, when I felt more alive than I had in decades. Sookie's appearance in our lives had radically shaken my view on many things. Hearing the future that awaited me was harrowing, I admit. Though as I had told her, it was not wholly unexpected. I was already growing despondent, though I hid it well. I loved Eric more than words could express, but I was losing the love I'd always had for myself. Despite any appearance to the contrary, I was nothing more than a selfish creature. Even in the depths of my despair as a human, I held on to the will to live, fighting like a Myrmidon against the man who would become my Maker. Of late I could feel that vitality slipping away from me.
Then Sookie came to us, and new life was breathed in. Her mere presence had been enough to have me looking forward to each new night. The conversations we'd had were delightful. The lust of life and knowledge that dominated her being was infectious. The gift of her body was an epiphany for me. That short while that I paced the forest earlier, awaiting her decision, had been misery. The shame and guilt she clearly felt when she had awoken had invoked a hollowness in me that was frightening.
I wasn't concerned with the sex. Had she declared she wished never to lie with me again, I would have accepted her decision without hesitation. It was not about the carnal nature of what we had done the previous night. No, the idea that had terrified me was the possibility of our friendship being compromised. If we could not converse as we had been, or even share a companionable silence with her simple proximity being a comfort in itself, I would be devastated.
Of course, when she had emerged from our lair to tell me she wished to be with me, in all ways, I was overjoyed. I could understand her doubts and misgivings. She was only recently made vampire and therefore retained much of her human way of thinking. While it had seemed like the most natural thing in the world to myself and to Eric, I imagine the idea of two mates would be considered taboo to the human mind. The catch is, we are not human. We resemble them physically. We are adaptable to their changing culture, their social ways and their mating rituals. Our bodies, while far superior, are compatible with theirs. Our minds, our 'values' and our instincts, however, could not be more alien.
Sookie was of exceptional intelligence but succumbing to her new nature would take some time. Although, there were certain aspects that I doubted she would ever accept. Blood lust, for example. While she was clearly a victim of it, she seemed to have no desire to take life. I wouldn't say that I admired that conviction, necessarily, but I did respect it. Lesser vampires would have quickly acquiesced to mine and Eric's wishes on the night I had presented her with Anna. Sookie, however, had barely wavered in her insistence that draining a human was not necessary. Admirable, that.
In short, the list of beings in this world that I would compromise my own safety for had doubled on the night she had arrived. It only took me a few evenings to realize that. Sookie was as important to me as Eric and there was nothing I would not do to ensure her safety. Which was why her physical training need to commence immediately.
It would be difficult but it would be done. Eric would be the better teacher for the offensive displays, though whether he would be willing was another matter entirely. It is never an easy thing to spar with someone you have a personal regard for, much less a woman you love. Especially considering that she would not be quick enough or good enough in the beginning. Which meant that she would sustain injuries. At our hands. Not something to be taken lightly. I was certain that she would not hesitate. Her character would dictate that she do whatever necessary to complete our goal and maintain our safety. It was simply a matter of bringing Eric to terms with what must be done. And myself.
When I finally made my way through the main area of the receiving room, I took my place next to Sookie. Her small hand slid into mine easily, a gesture that was a surprise and a comfort at once. I smiled grimly over her head, locking eyes with Eric. "It is time," I told him under my breath. His eyes hardened at my words, confirming that he knew exactly what I meant. One stiff nod was the only answer I received. The only one I needed. As we were presented to Anne, I began making a rough outline for the next phase of Sookie's training. When she suddenly pitched alarmingly to one side with an awkward head bob and embarrassment flooded my bond, I added a mental note to teach her to curtsey.
If I had to turn a laugh into a cough, well, I wasn't the only one. Meeting Eric's eyes once again, seeing laughter dancing in the blue depths, I knew that he would do anything to keep her safe.
Which made two of us.
A/N Short, I know! But what did you think? I heart Godric and I had fun with this one. Hope you guys did too!