A/N: It's a visit from the Ghost of Fanfic Past! This is a story I wrote a couple years ago that I just found on a flash drive (when I was looking for something else that I haven't been able to locate yet). It combines some elements of SVM with S2 of True Blood, as well as my own ideas (including that Eric and Bill have a long and complicated past). Told from Godric's point of view, it focuses on the events leading up to his handing himself over, the night of the nest bombing, and his meeting the dawn.
Prelude to the Storm
The soft buzz of the door rouses me from my musings, and I glance at the monitors that show various angles of the different entrances to my safe room. Isabel stands motionlessly outside my bedroom door at the nest, and I sigh, knowing there is no escaping her forever.
I listen to the gentle hiss as the door shuts behind me, leading me to a small chamber and the second security door, and then the third. Each door requires its own identification – a thirty digit pin, a retinal scan, and finally, a drop of my blood. I slowly walk through the underground tunnel towards the nest. I have other secret entrances concealed throughout the city that lead to my tunnel, all protected against intruders and accidental adventurers. Once I'm sealed inside my tomb, it's impenetrable.
I come up through a hidden trap door in the closet and lock it before opening the door for Isabel.
"Sheriff," she says, bowing low before me. "My apologies for disturbing you."
"Isabel," I gently chide. "You never disturb me. Please, welcome." I open the door wider and gesture to a chair before the large hearth. I flip a switch on the wall, and the fire roars to life. Another switch, and the light-tight shutters silently glide from the windows that cover two of the walls, a panoramic view of our lushly landscaped suburban yard visible in the moonlight. "How can I be of service?" I ask.
"Godric," she says, and her voice is quiet with concern. "You haven't come out of your room for nights. You haven't fed."
There are but a handful of creatures I've known in over 2,000 years whose company I enjoy, and Isabel is one of them. Like most hunters in the animal kingdom, the females of our species are far more deadly than the males. Very few vampiresses are able to live with other females for any length of time, and even fewer survive for centuries the way Isabel has. There's a soulful quietness to Isabel that I've always found pleasant, although in the hundreds of years since I met her, Isabel and I have never been physically intimate, which is why I'm comfortable wearing nothing but simple Egyptian cotton pants in her presence. It's a mutual respect that has kept us companions, not passion.
"I apologize for worrying you," I say as I sit in the chair next to her.
"May I bring someone for you? There are several available donors in the nest."
"No, thank you."
"Someone in particular you'd like me to send for?" she presses.
"I'm not hungry." She sighs, and I sense her unease, but I know she will not force the issue, a quality I appreciate. "What requires my attention this evening?" I ask.
"Britney is missing," she begins. "I suspect Stan is responsible. He denies it, of course, but…" she shrugs her shoulders. "This is his third incident this year. If he keeps it up, or we can't hide it…"
I nod. "I had hoped that, once I promoted him, his more secure position would temper his aggression." I sigh. "I was woefully mistaken."
"It's not your fault," she quickly adds.
"I am his Sheriff, and he is my responsibility. His kills are my kills."
"Godric," she begins.
"I'll speak to him," I interrupt. "See if you can discover where he hid the body, or what's left of it. Knowing Stan, he covered his tracks well, but I would like to offer her family the opportunity for a proper burial."
Isabel nods. "He's plotting something."
"What?" I ask.
"I don't know, but I sense something." Isabel's an empath, and I rely on her ability to accurately read the intentions and feelings of others. I've often suspected that her gift is what has kept her so compassionate despite her age. Like all talents, it's a double-edged sword, and she's worked hard over the centuries to block out signals. She once told me she doesn't hear humans at all unless she wants to, and as she said, why would she ever want to.
I sigh. "I'll speak to him," I repeat.
"Emanuel called," Isabel continues. "The Feds hired mercenaries, and the tunnel under the Rio Grande has been discovered."
"Vampires?" I ask.
I wearily rub my eyes. "That's rather surprising – the weres joining with the humans against us. I know we aren't their favorite species, but still…"
Isabel shakes her head. "I told Emanuel to make peace, but they've been warring in his Area for decades. Our intelligence claims only the El Paso pack is involved. I don't think we need to worry about all weres. At least not yet."
"They'll be forced to announce soon," I sigh. "At some point, we'll have to form more official and lasting alliances. But for the moment, we need to think of another way to get people across the border. Maybe we can buy off the pack, at least until another safe passage can be arranged…"
"Maybe we could appeal to the President again."
I shake my head. "He ended the last meeting decidedly. The United States will offer sanctuary to all who go through official channels. Unfortunately, that does not help our persecuted South American brothers. If they make an official request, their governments will hunt them down. Mexico is the leading trader in V worldwide, and Venezuela isn't far behind. We have to find a way to safely get our brothers and sisters out of hiding."
"Emanuel wants you to call him immediately."
"Of course he does," I say. "He always does…" She doesn't speak, but the silence between us is comfortable. I stare into the fire for several minutes before continuing. "Please tell Emanuel that I will call before dawn, and call Nan Flanagan and make sure the AVL understands the situation before she flies over here in a twist. I don't want to see that woman again anytime soon. Is that all?"
Isabel nods. "Just the usual bookkeeping: new donors to interview, some new properties to consider purchasing, some guests passing through the Area." She waves dismissively with her delicate hand. "Our lawyer called. Apparently, the Neighborhood is filing another lawsuit to force us to move, but there's nothing I can't handle."
"Thank you, Isabel," I smile at her. "I'll speak with Stan tomorrow."
"Please make those calls, Isabel," I interrupt, dismissing her. She stands and bows again before silently leaving, and I hear the door automatically lock when she closes it.
I stare into the flames and instead of solving problems, I allow my mind to wander to the same selfish place it's been circling for the past year: Eric. My father, my brother, my son. My Child. I need him. I smile at my own absurdity. I can see him tonight, if I want. I don't need to Call him to me; I can pick up my cell phone. I can drive to his Area in a matter of hours. I know if I were to ask, he wouldn't deny me anything that was his to give. I smile, thinking that he'd find a way to give me what wasn't his too. But I don't move to fulfill my heart's desire. I sit, and I stare, and I feel the weight of 2,000 years pressing down on my shoulders.
I want to resign. I want to leave this place and go home. Home. I'd been captured as a slave and taken to Rome when I was a child, before my turning. Eric's arms are my only home. I think back to the last time we stayed on his island off the coast of Iceland, accessible only to those who can fly, the rocks off shore too treacherous for a boat, the gusts too unpredictable for a helicopter. I want Eric in my arms in the hot-spring, the hot water bubbling up from the earth to collect in a natural rock pool not far from the house. I want to watch the snow flakes catch on his eyelashes while he frolics and plays like a child in the drifts. My Child. He's the only thing in this long life I've ever done right, the only action I don't now regret.
I've lived too long.
Weary of the tedium of my own thoughts, I click on the television. A news story is being covered with live shots from a helicopter hovering over a highway, one of those large green signs bent and lying on the side of the road. "The Reverend Newlin, along with his wife and their 18-month old daughter, Bethany, were all pronounced dead on arrival at Baylor Medical…" The screen flashed to a photograph, and the older man with his child-bride and baby smiled at the camera.
"Damnit!" I mutter as I turn off the television. I throw on a shirt and open the sound-proofed door. "Stan," I quietly say, knowing he'll be able to hear me. "I need to speak with you."
"Sheriff," Stan says in his condescending way. He doesn't remove his ridiculous black cowboy hat when he bows, and I briefly consider taking it off his head myself. Maybe some of his hair along with it… But it's not worth it. It's never worth it.
"Stan," I say, blocking the doorway as he towers over me. "It seems you have another problem I must deal with."