Sylvie opened her eyes and immediately saw Eric. His face was just inches away from hers, leaving soft cool breaths against her lips. Dust and debris matted his hair, making him ashy. He called her name with the weight of his body pressed firmly against her hips.
"Sylvie?" he repeated, straddling her. His long fingers grazed the side of her cheek and patted gently. "Sylvie, wake up."
"Huh," she mumbled. She felt like she'd been hit by a ton of bricks and Eric's body weight wasn't helping. She stared at the ceiling for a moment and noticed it almost collapsed. A jolt zapped her heart. "Oh my God, the bomb," she gasped, collecting her thoughts. "Wh-where are my cousins? Sookie!" she yelped, trying to lift her head. "Jason!?"
"They are fine," Eric replied. "Isabelle tended to them earlier."
"What?" Sylvie tried to sit up. "Did they get hurt?"
When her body rose she felt like she was on a carousel. The entire room was spinning and it made her dizzy. Despite the blur, she could see Godric's nest was in shambles. His beautiful mansion had become a disaster zone. All the artwork had fallen from the walls. The scent of fresh flowers was gone, replaced by burning flesh and charred upholstery. The furniture was ruined. Bodies and blood scattered the floor. Her stomach grew queasy.
"Your cousins are fine, mere scrapes and bruises. Don't sit up," Eric pushed her down with one finger. Sylvie's eyes widened when she saw it was bloody. "You've hit your head."
"H-huh?" she stuttered. "Is it bad?"
"No," he murmured and pushed a few stray hairs away from her forehead. "It was only a scratch; I healed it for you a few minutes ago. "
"Am I bleedin' still? What's on your hand?"
"Left overs," he popped his index finger in his mouth. While Sylvie was unconscious Eric spent his time happily and meticulously cleaning the wound, savoring every last drop. "Do you know how good you taste? Mmm," he cooed. "Like candy."
"Ugh," she let out a tortured groan, tired of his antics. "Get off of me!"
The vampire slid over with an impish grin plastered across his face. Sylvie ignored Eric's and advice and tried to sit up again. She managed to get herself upright but the room was still moving. She didn't care. With dead bodies around her, worry set in. She knew she had to find Jason and Sookie, regardless of her condition.
"I told you not to sit up," Eric rolled his eyes. "You could have a concussion."
"Who cares," she snapped. The fact that'd he'd been sampling the cut on her head like a dessert tray pissed her off. "If you're trying to be useful, help me get up so I can find my cousins. Otherwise, fuck off."
In seconds, the vampire was on his feet.
"Well," he dusted the ash off his shirt and extended his hand. As hard as Sylvie tried, her quips never seemed to bother him. "Since you asked so nicely."
Eric pulled Sylvie up slowly. She wobbled for a moment before gripping his forearm for support. The air was so thick with dust it was hard for her to breathe. To her annoyance, her vampire counterpart was fine. He didn't have to breathe if he didn't want to. The only solace she found was that he had drywall stuck in his hair. Sylvie hesitated in taking her first steps. She wasn't sure how it would end. Avoiding a possible stumble or fall, she tried to keep balance and take in her surroundings. The sight of dead bodies made her stomach flop. Thoughts of Gran flashed in her mind.
The look on her face. Her dress stained red. My knees covered in blood…
"Come on," Eric gently began guiding her. "Let's go."
The two walked in silence through the main room. Sookie had been standing there when the bomb detonated, but she was nowhere in the area. All that was left in the room were corpses and moaning, groaning humans who'd been injured. With none of her cousins in sight, Sylvie and Eric headed down the hall. It was there that they saw Sookie and Bill through a gaping hole in the wall. They were off in the other room, kissing in a full embrace.
"Well, would you look at that," the vampire smirked, stopping in his tracks. "Hail the conquering hero. Now why didn't I get a kiss when I rescued you?"
Sylvie rolled her eyes.
"Northman, do you wanna know why women always kiss you with their eyes closed?" She put a hand on her hip, pausing. Her dizzy spell had finally faded. "Considering your ugly face, it's the only way they can."
"Ouch," he sarcastically clutched his chest in pain. "Tell me how you really feel."
Before she could mutter a witty reply, Eric pinned her to the wall faster than her mind could register. He pushed his palms into her shoulders and leveled his eyes, smoldering.
"I said," his husky voice whispered into her ear. The vampire traced his fangs along her neck, sending tingles throughout her body. "Tell me how you really feel."
"Eric," she protested with all of her might. Suddenly, she was woozy again, but perhaps it had nothing to do with the bomb. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. A swirl of excitement and fear filled her insides by the touch of his hands. It was the same mixed emotion she'd been fighting ever since she'd had his blood. And, if she was being honest, perhaps even before his blood. With his body against hers, his rustic, woodsy scent was sending her hormones into overdrive.
"Hmm?" he tauntingly hummed and curled a hand around her waist. The vampire let his fingers slide up her t-shirt, rubbing her back gently with his thumb. Sylvie shuddered. He pressed his jeans against her hips, somehow creating friction without even moving. "What is it? Cat got your tongue?"
Sylvie froze. Blood started rushing all over body. Her mind screamed in protest. Eric was a jerk who couldn't be trusted. She wasn't supposed to like him. But he smelt so good and his body was beautiful. When he buried his nose in her neck, the sensation was just too great. She placed her hand on his forearm, pushing him away despite her body's begging for more. "Kn…knock it off."
"Why?" He smirked and began planting soft kisses on her neck.
"Eric," she whispered helplessly. Butterflies circled her stomach. "Please."
"No," the vampire's soft kisses became soft bites. His nibbles were light enough to send shivers down her spine and not draw blood. Finally, Sylvie was pushed over the edge. Her body gave in, melting. She went limp in his hands. "No one has ever touched you this way, have they?" he murmured between kisses. He could feel her pulse thrumming against his lips. "You like it."
Sylvie pushed Eric as hard as she could but it was pointless. Pushing him was like pushing a brick wall. He took it a step further, suckling and teasing at her skin with his tongue. Her heart was pounding so hard she could feel it in her ears. She wondered if the rhythm could be heard from miles away. She buried her face in his chest and dug her nails into his forearm, letting out a faint, pleasured sigh.
"Eric," Godric's firm voice called from behind them. The edge in it was obvious.
Sylvie gasped and practically jumped out of her own skin. She immediately felt like a teenager who got caught making out with her boy friend by her parents, even though she and Eric's lips never touched. She wasn't sure how long Godric had been watching but she assumed he'd seen enough to leave her feeling completely mortified.
After exchanging what appeared to be some kind of conversation through glances, Eric let Sylvie go. When she slipped out from beneath him, she knew her cheeks had to be burning.
"Everyone is going to the Carmilla," the eldest vampire announced. Always a gentleman, the vampire didn't confront her expression. "Take Sylvie to her family."
"Yes," Eric bowed. "Certainly, Godric."
She crossed her arms and followed the two vampires down the hall, unsure if she'd ever be able to look either one in the eye again. When they reached the next room, Sylvie found Sookie and Jason.
"Sylvie! I was wonderin' where you were; had me worried sick!" Sookie lunged for her cousin with open arms. "…Is somethin' wrong?"
"No, no!" Sylvie lied. She could feel her heart still pounding. There was no way she could tell Sookie what had happened; she could barely wrap her own head around it.
"No, nothing's wrong."
Sookie looked her over in doubt. "Are you sure?"
"Everything's…uh," she shot a reluctant glance at Godric and Eric. A smile was creeping on the blonde vampire's lips, pleased with himself. If Sookie found out, she'd be furious. "Everything is okay."
"Your cousin fell pretty hard and may have had a concussion," Eric anounced. Sylvie wasn't sure if she should smack him in the face or thank him for helping her lie. "She is fine now."
"Okay," Sookie raised a brow. "If you say so."
Sylvie started to feel a tug at the back of her brain. She sighed. Sookie was trying to read her thoughts. With what little energy she had left, Sylvie tried to stay strong. As long as her wall was up, her cousin couldn't penetrate it. But with an explosion and lack of sleep, she wasn't sure how long her guard would last. To Sylvie's surprise, she found a savior in Bill. The vampire stepped in, unknowingly stopping the girls' mind battle. "Shall we head to the hotel?"
Not long after leaving Godric's home, Sylvie followed Bill and Sookie to the hotel conference room. She'd been longing for sleep but she wouldn't get the chance to relax. Not yet. Just when the group had a chance to shower and recuperate, they were required to attend a meeting. The room was almost empty when they arrived, aside from a woman seated in front. She wore a perfectly tailored pantsuit and a pair of pointy heels. Bill made the attempt to greet her but he was met with pursed lips and a glare.
While Sookie cozied up to her boy friend, Sylvie settled down on a loveseat near the door. It was there she noticed the small team of vampires standing behind the woman in front. The look on their faces was so cold, Sylvie was glad she dried her hair and put on a baggy sweater. The air around them had to be freezing. They were all sporting AVL name tags. Her eyes widened. She didn't know much about the AVL, other than that it stood for American Vampire League. She'd watched them on the television in Merlotte's and wondered if that's where the woman was from. If they'd come because of the bombing, the group was in serious trouble. Specifically, Godric. From what she'd seen at the party, he was a sheriff just like Eric. That meant he was responsible for anything that went on under his supervision.
The timeworn vampire filed in the room next, back in his white linen pants and shirt. Isabelle trailed loyally by his side. The two chose a spot in front. Sylvie was grateful he didn't make eye contact with her. She wasn't sure she'd ever be able to face him again. Eric, of course, was the last to arrive. He entered looking cool and casual in a black v-neck shirt and trousers. Sylvie could barely look at him. However, avoiding eye contact didn't stop her from feeling conflicted and embarrassed. She couldn't believe what he'd done to her after the bombing. Even more so, she couldn't believe that she liked it. With many empty seats left, Sylvie hoped Eric would sit near his maker. He didn't. Instead, he plopped down next to her as the woman in front started the meeting.
"Well, as you are all aware, I'm Nan Flanagan. I'm here on behalf of the authority and AVL," she began. As Sylvie tried to listen to her speak, she felt the sofa cushion get heavy. Eric had scooted closer. She could see him out of the corner of her eye looking incredibly smug. He draped his long arms over the sofa, resting his left one behind Sylvie's shoulders. She tensed when she felt a jolt ring in her body. Smirking, he purposely stretched his long legs until one was touching her thigh.
"What is the matter with you?" Sylvie hissed in a whisper. "Quit it!"
The vampire leaned in to her ear, slyly brushing his other hand close to her thigh. "That's not what you said earlier."
"Actually," she flicked his hand away with her fingers. She began to think he was right about the concussion as a massive headache was building inside her skull. "It was. You were just being an ass, like usual."
The sound of Godric's throat clearing put the conversation to a halt. Sylvie froze, cringing internally that she'd been caught once again.
"I'm sorry, sheriff Northman," Nan scowled. "Am I boring you?"
"Yes, actually," he looked at her with half-lidded eyes. "You are."
If this were high school flick, Eric was the rebel in class. But the scene before him was no movie. The vampires standing in front of him were serious. Damage was done, lives were lost, and no one was taking it lightly.
"Do you have any fucking idea of the PR mess you've made?" Nan snapped with her thin, red lips. "And who has to fucking clean that shit up? Me. I should drain every one of you bastards."
"Stan went into that church on his own," Eric replied coolly. "None of us knew anything about it."
"Oh really, because everyone who met Stan in the last 300 fucking years knew he liked slaughtering humans. But all of you, his nest mates," she shot daggers at Godric, "his sheriff? You all had no fucking clue? Pfft. Spare me."
"How were we supposed to know he was serious?" Isabelle defended her sheriff. "Stan used to say things like that all the time. He'd never taken action before."
"Not my problem," she looked to Godric again. Nan had it out for him, but the vampire didn't seem to notice or care. He was sitting quietly and staring into his hands. "Yours."
"Don't talk to him that way," Eric narrowed his eyes.
"Don't talk to me that way."
"Stan Davis is dead," Eric scoffed. Sylvie noticed his chest start to puff out like an alpha male and knew he was getting sick of Nan's power plays. "Problem fucking solved, don't you think?"
"Zip it, Northman," Nan rolled her eyes. "So, Godric. How'd the Fellowship manage to abduct you?"
"I let them," he solemnly replied. His pale eyes had fixated on a spot on the floor at the beginning of the meeting and hadn't moved since.
"What?" She barked. "They wanted you to meet the sun, and you were willing?"
"I offered myself."
Sylvie could hear everyone in the room gasp. She turned to Eric, finding him frozen. Under his several layers of façade, the blonde vampire almost looked terrified. She knew Godric was probably the only constant person in Eric's thousand year existence. They'd probably spent centuries together. What would Eric do without his maker? She knew what it was like to lose parents and grandmother. The idea of losing Godric had to feel far, far worse. Sylvie's eyes darted around the rest of the group, finding everyone was holding their breath. Silence swarmed the room. It was so quiet she could hear a pin drop. They were all stunned. The air was beyond palpable. She didn't have to be a mind reader to know what everyone was thinking - why would a 2,000 year old vampire suddenly want to die?
Mrs. Flanagan was the first to speak, furrowing her brows incredulously. "Why?"
For the first time, Godric met her widened eyes. "Why do you think?"
"I think you're out of your fucking mind," she sent yet another accusatory glare in his direction. Nan's overt rudeness had Sylvie wondering how she managed to inveigle her way into the AVL. "And it's all the more reason to fire your ass. This is a fucking PR disaster and nobody at the top as sympathy for any of you. Godric, I'm revoking your title."
"Yes, I agree," Godric nodded thoughtfully. "I take full responsibility for my actions. Isabelle should take over as sheriff; she had no part in this."
"Godric!" Isabelle gasped. Even though she'd spent her years working under him, the thought of taking his position seemed ludicrous. She studied the contours of his face and clasped her hands together, pleading. "No. Fight back!"
The elder vampire wouldn't budge. "I will resign from my position as sheriff."
"Godric, what are you saying?" Eric rose from his seat, dumbfounded. The two had to be the oldest vampires in the room - possibly the entire building - but Godric wouldn't exercise his strength. "Nan's a fucking bureaucrat; you don't have to take shit from her."
"Would you like to lose your area, Viking?" The face of the AVL quirked a brow.
"You don't have that kind of power."
"Hey," she grinned. "I'm on TV; I can do anything."
"Nan, please!" Isabelle cried. "I am to blame, I should have contained Stan the minute Godric went missing. If there is punishment to be dealt, deal it to me."
"Isabelle," Godric held his hand forward. "That's enough. I want to make things right. I remove myself from all positions of authority."
"Sounds good to me," Nan sighed, satisfied. The female vampire stood from her seat and headed for the door. "Meet me in my suite to sign the papers."
After she and her team made their exit, Eric rushed to his maker's side. Sylvie watched as the two locked eyes, searching for something in silent conversation. Eric spoke first.
"Godric," he shook his head. "You can't possibly -"
"Yes," he interrupted him. The ancient vampire cupped his child's cheek, nodding. "I can. Look in my heart."
"No, Godric," he gripped his maker's shoulders in desperation. Sylvie had never seen Eric so upset before. The once stoic sheriff was begging, practically gravelling to his maker. But what was he begging for? She stole at glance at Sookie and Bill, finding both of them shocked and confused. "You have to listen to me."
"There's nothing to say."
When the elder vampire tried to push forward, Eric planted a firm hand on his chest. "There is."
"Then say it on the roof. I am finished."
Before he could argue with him any longer, Godric walked away. Eric was left stranded and looking utterly lost. Sylvie searched his eyes but found nothing. What was troubling him? What was Godric going to do? She watched as Eric froze for a moment and stared helplessly into the hallway before leaving. Seeing him leave made her even more worried. She looked to Sookie and Bill for an answer, but the two shrugged their shoulders. No one seemed to know what was wrong with Eric. Sighing, she decided to follow him.
"Wait," Sylvie chased after him and tugged the sleeve of his shirt. She found him at the elevator, half-heartedly pushing the 'up' button. "What the hell is goin' on?"
The tall vampire slipped through the elevator doors. He swallowed hard and met her concerned eyes. "Godric is going to meet the sun."
"What?" She squeaked and entered before the doors could close. "You can't let him do it. We have to stop him!"
"We?" Eric bitterly replied. "What makes you think you're going to change his mind?" The vampire shook his head before sending her a crushing blow. "You're just a human."
"I don't know," Sylvie mumbled in defeat.
Maybe he was right. She had nothing to offer; Godric barely knew her. He and Eric had stood the test of time together. If Eric couldn't convince him, then no one could. What could a girl like her do to save a vampire? After all, she was just a human. She blinked. Just a human? She was the human who helped find Fangtasia's thief. She was the human who pulled Eric's chains away. She was the human Eric couldn't get his hands off of. Humans like her, Sookie, and Jason helped get Godric out of that church and that made them anything but worthless. Godric saved Sylvie and Sookie from danger. She wasn't going to let him die without trying to return the favor.
With new determination, Sylvie looked to her vampire counterpart. "Maybe I am useless; maybe he won't listen to me. But he saved my life. I owe it to him to at least try and save his."
"Fine," Eric sighed. With the ding of the elevator, they'd arrived to the top floor. "Let's go."
After jogging up a flight of stairs, the two arrived on the roof. Godric was already on top, standing on a nearby ledge. With the city of Dallas beneath him, the night couldn't be more still. His linen shirt swayed as a quiet breeze passed. The vampire closed his eyes, smiling beneath faded stars.
"Godric," Eric inched forward. "Step down."
The elder vampire opened his eyes and retreated from his peaceful position. In a matter of seconds, he stood in front of his child with a heavy heart. "Two-thousand years is enough."
"I can't accept that," Eric fervently replied. "It's insanity!"
"Our existence is insanity."
"Please, Godric," Sylvie's heart ached with every step she took towards the two vampires. A lump began to build in her throat as she whispered, "don't do it. Eric needs you. Your nest needs you. We all need you!"
"I am sorry, little one," he smiled sadly. "But vampires do not belong here."
"But we are here!" Eric shouted. A red liquid began rimming his eyes. It didn't take long until droplets trickled down his face. Sylvie swallowed when she realized what they were. Tears. Eric Northman - one of the toughest vampires she'd ever met - was crying.
"It is not right," Godric shook his head apologetically. "We are not right."
"You told me there is no wrong," he sputtered, grasping at straws. "Only survival, or death!"
"I told a lie as it turns out."
At vampire speed, Eric towered over his maker and puffed his chest. Tears freely streamed down his face in agony. In a determined last effort, his voice wavered, "I will keep you alive by force."
"Even if you could," Godric sighed. "Why would you be so cruel?"
The tall vampire immediately dropped to his knees, sobbing. He cried out to his maker in a language Sylvie couldn't understand, but she somehow knew he was begging for Godric's life. Any person who knew him would. Sylvie had only just met him and she couldn't stand to see him go. She couldn't picture how Eric felt. The vampire was completely beside himself. For the first time, he was helpless. His eyes wandered to the sky in fear. The sun was preparing to rise. Sniffling, Sylvie watched as Godric put his pale hand on Eric's shoulder. "Let me go."
"I will not let you die alone!"
"Yes you will," he replied. And then, he recited the worst words a vampire could hear. "As your maker, I command you."
Powerless, Eric stoop up. He looked into his makers eyes one last time, defeated. The realization had finally hit. There was truly nothing he could do but say his silent goodbyes. With his jaw set, he headed for the stairs. It was there he found Sookie. She was standing in one of her favorite checkered sundresses, crying. She too couldn't handle seeing Godric go. Sylvie sighed. She wasn't sure how long her cousin had been waiting on the roof but she was comforted to see her.
"Don't worry," Sookie assured him. She placed a gentle hand on his shirt sleeve. "We'll stay with him. As long as it takes."
Eric left with a painful nod. After his exit Sookie joined her cousin and placed an arm around her shoulder. The city was still quiet. With businesses and apartment buildings stacked and cramped together, the sky looked more vast than usual. It's emptiness seemed oddly comforting. Sylvie noticed it had changed drastically in hue, turning from black to a lavender-blue. Soon, residents of Dallas would wake and begin their morning routine. As their lives began, Godric's would end.
"It won't take long," he blinked. "Not at my age."
"You don't have to do it, y'know," Sylvie looked into his ocean eyes. They were lost, abandoned at sea. "You're a good person, Godric. I know you are. If it weren't for you, Sookie and I might not be alive."
"You are very kind," he smiled modestly and turned to the thin clouds that were beginning to form. "But my decision is made. I've wanted this for quite some time."
She knew at that moment there was no swaying his decision. Forcing him with her words wasn't right. To do so would be just as the vampire had said - cruel. He'd walked the earth for over a millennia and it would be foolish for Sylvie to think she could relate. She didn't know how she'd feel if she were his age, walking in his shoes. She imagined there were few that could. Even Eric, as old as he was, couldn't fathom it. With no one to understand him, she realized how lonesome Godric must've felt. If he wanted to die, it was his choice. But she was going to make sure that this time, he wasn't alone.
"Are you worried for Eric?" She asked curiously. The sight of him crying would be burned in her memory forever. She'd seen a depth to him she'd never even knew existed and she wouldn't forget it.
"He is strong. He will survive this," he replied with an archaic expression. With the sun drawing near, the ancient vampire removed his shirt and returned to his post on the ledge. In a place for crows and gargoyles to perch, Godric was a stark contrast. He stood on the edge and was beautiful. His pale skin glowed against the impending sunlight. He was breath-taking. Sylvie saw the tribal tattoos scattered across his body as he turned to face her once more. Regardless of their meaning, the permanent markings would soon disappear. "You will look after Eric, yes? I see the way he looks at you."
Sylvie remembered how she'd been caught with Eric earlier and laughed through her tears. "Yes," she nodded, smiling. "I will try. But I can't promise anything."
Godric turned to the horizon line. He could feel the weight spreading to his shoulders. The sun was coming within seconds. He exhaled, waiting patiently. "Do you believe in God?" He asked, eyes still fixated in the distance.
"I don't know," Sylvie admitted. It was hard for her to believe in God when he'd so often let her life go haywire. And lately, he'd truly been testing her faith. Every once and awhile, she wasn't sure she was strong enough. "Sometimes I question him."
"I believe in God," Sookie offered.
"How will he punish me?"
"God doesn't punish," she shook her head sincerely. "God forgives."
"Well, I know I don't deserve it," the vampire blinked. He'd lived half of his life as a savage, slaughtering humans for sport. The acts he committed were unspeakable. Even after years of bettering himself, he wasn't positive such acts could be undone. "But I hope for it."
"We all do."
Suddenly, a soft crackling sound erupted from Godric's body. He was smoking. The sun had risen. Light crept through the city skyline, dancing on his flesh and freeing him from darkness. Sylvie trembled, imagining the pain. She met Sookie's eyes and knew they were sharing the same thought.
"Are you very afraid?" Sookie asked.
"No," he shook his head, grinning. While other vampires were at rest, Godric was awake. He was more awake than ever before. For the first time in 2,000 years, he would get to see the sun again. His once empty eyes were rounded and vibrant. "I am full of joy. I want to burn."
"Well," Sookie started to sob. With her voice quivering she replied, "I'm afraid for you."
"Humans with me at the end," he smiled peacefully. He looked to the girls one last time in awe. Both were crying. "And human tears! Two-thousand years and I can still be surprised. In this, I see God."
Pointing his chin to the sky, Godric watched the sun beam down on him and bravely awaited his fate.