Godric knew the moment Cara roused from her sleep, and prepared for whatever reaction she might have. She had seemed accepting of her new state when she’d slipped into her rest, but the newly-Turned were notoriously emotionally unstable, and their mental processes were scattered at best. No matter that Cara wasn’t vampire in the traditional sense, he wasn’t taking any chances. Indeed, the fact that she was unique was cause for extra attentiveness; that she was his made such care mandatory anyway.
He loosened his hold about her smaller body cradled in his lap but certainly didn’t release her completely, and watched with an adoring eye as she stretched a little and yawned as she would have when human. That she could still do so warmed and soothed his heart once again.
The remembered terror wrought by his actions was never far from his mind no matter how satisfied his foul beast within may have been.
“Hey, you,” she murmured as she turned in his arms faster than she could have the previous day. She rubbed her nose and cheeks across his bare chest as she intuitively marked him, and he purred in masculine approval.
“Good evening, ma chérie,” he replied softly, basking in this proof of his mate’s affections. Her instinctual marking answered questions he hadn’t yet thought to have. Just because he knew her to be his mate didn’t necessarily ensure that she felt the same, but apparently she felt that soul-link as well.
His beast heartily approved, the smug bastard.
“How do you feel?” His free hand had a will of its own and he didn’t bother stopping its long, smooth strokes along her back.
With a smile full of the humor from her human days, she replied, “Like a puppy with a full belly who needed a nap.” A moment later she said with surprise in her voice, “They’re gone! I had fangs and now I don’t. What made them go away?”
Godric could barely detect the sliding of her tongue around her teeth as she investigated the case of the missing fangs, and grinned even as he willed his overly-responsive cock to relax.
“Your fangs will automatically erupt if you are frightened, angry, aroused, or hungry, and will resheethe themselves once the stimulus is gone or when you are sated. In time you will figure out how to control them at will,” he assured her calmly, “although it will always be easier to bare them than to rescind them.”
A moment later he heard that distinctive snick and his eyes widened in astonishment. “Cara?”
With what she herself would call a “shit-eatin’ grin”, she opened her lips in a wide smile and, sure enough, he spotted her bright white needle-sharp fangs in all their diminutive glory. She threw her head back as she laughed, and he savored the view.
“Ok, now I just have to figure out how to make them go away again,” she sighed when she had calmed down. It was odd how easily they fell, but retraction seemed to be an unattainable goal. “It makes sense, though, that they’d be easier to fall than to put back up,” she posited as she stroked a hand up and down his arm. “I mean, you can’t use them to defend yourself if you don’t have them out. How long was I asleep? I’d apologize for crashing on you,” she continued, “but I’ve always gotten sleepy on a full stomach. I still can’t believe I drank you…” her voice trailed off in memory.
Already long accustomed to the vagaries of the newly-Turned’s thought process, Godric simply shook his head as he patiently replied in sequence. “You’ll figure it out in good time, Cara mia, so do not worry. And you are correct – you cannot use your fangs to defend yourself if they’re not present,” he continued with a growl he couldn’t contain. The mere thought…he forced his thoughts back to the present. “You slept a little over an hour and I am delighted that you retain the ability to do so.” Without conscious thought, he placed a kiss on the top of her head, thankful to whichever deities might be listening that she had been able to keep so much of her humanity.
“No apologies are necessary – it was a natural reaction. Even fully-Turned vampires are prone to falling into downtime when their appetites are fully met. And you will not worry yourself over drinking from me, Cara.”
With his words she scrunched her face and lowered her gaze. While her expression was adorable, he was determined to halt whatever negative thoughts she must be having. With a firmer voice he gently demanded, “What are you thinking?”
“Gimme a sec,” she asked after a moment, apparently needing to organize her thoughts. Given the temperament of the newly-risen, at least, of the ones he’d had experience with, she was doing an excellent job of keeping her emotions on a more even keel, and had also apparently realized the tendency her thoughts had toward… meandering, he decided was a nice way to put it.
That in no way meant the resulting wait wasn’t painful. If she had a question, he wanted to answer it immediately. If she had a fear, he wanted to relieve it immediately. If she had a doubt, he wanted to soothe it immediately.
Immediately…not after any sort of wait.
He calmed himself and focused his attention on their bond, and was quieted to note that while she seemed to feel many things, ultimately she was fine.
Finally, she shrugged. “Ok, here’s the deal. From what I know, vampires drink human blood, not vampire blood, but when I got a good whiff of you,” she emphasized with slight annoyance, “all of a sudden I felt like I was starving, like the world would end if I didn’t…,” she trailed off with a huff. “That…that’s not normal, is it?” She bravely met his eyes.
For the briefest part of a second, Godric warred with himself over whether honesty in this instance would be better or worse, but when faced with the choice, honesty won, as it always would with the love of his unlife.
“No, Cara, as far as full vampires are concerned, no, we do not crave the blood of our own. I do not know if you will respond to human blood, and I do not know if you will desire the blood of other vampires,” he elaborated, his voice gruff with restrained revulsion at the thought of her feeding from another of his kind…one who wasn’t him. “However, we can test this theory soon as your hunger will likely return somewhat before the sun rises.”
At her inquiring look, he added, “There is bagged blood in the kitchen.”
“Ohhhh,” she breathed out, not looking at all enthusiastic at the proposition. She knew it had to be done, but that did not mean she had to like it. “Ok.” She shrugged. With the complete change in thought that he was prepared for, she grumped, “I don’t want to move, but I’m getting thirsty.”
At his suggestive look, she laughed. “For coffee and then juice, O Ancient One, not you…” She peeped up at him from beneath her lashes and added, “At least, not yet.”
“Ha! Well then, up, minx,” he quipped as he very gently removed her from his lap. With a resigned sigh he donned a pair of silk pajama bottoms from a drawer, and took her hand in his before approaching the bedroom door. During the meantime he had sent an approach notice to Eric, and felt sure the blond would properly caution his own progeny. If anyone upset his Cara – his Cara who was being so emotionally calm so soon after her rising…
Just before he opened the door, she turned to face him. “Godric, I think you should know that I have no idea what happened last night, just bits and pieces of memory and a few theories about what happened. I mean, I know we were, you know, busy in here, at least I think that’s what we were doing considering the torn clothing everywhere, but it’s all kind of…blurry. Somehow I know you bit me, but why can’t I remember?”
As he gazed into her dark eyes, Godric realized that the moment he had truly been dreading was finally upon them. His beast urged him to tell the woman that he had fully claimed her as his mate, to brag to her that he had performed his masculine duty to her and brought her, however partially, to his side, but his beast could also be damned.
He was little more than a monster and it was time to bare his soul.
Godric’s expression must have betrayed some of his inner turmoil for her gaze softened and she raised a hand to cup his cheek with her palm.
“It’s ok, honey. Whatever it is, it’s ok. Something obviously happened because I’m not just a plain old human anymore, but obviously it wasn’t that bad because I am still alive, you know?”
Not that bad???
The sad, bitter gray gaze that met her own stung Cara’s heart. Somehow she could feel waves of his guilt crashing over her, but she couldn’t fathom what he had done to feel so guilty about.
“Tell me,” she requested. “Tell me so that not only will I know what the hell happened, but so that I can tell you exactly why it’s all ok now, dammit.”
Godric placed hands that slightly trembled about her waist and stroked restless thumbs over the soft curve of her stomach. He wasn’t sure if he was comforting her or himself. Somehow his emotional turmoil must have reached his Son because he suddenly received a vast swell of encouragement and strength through their bond.
After a deep, cleansing exhale, he confessed to her. He held nothing back, the exaltation then frantic desperation clear in his voice and in his eyes as he admitted word after condemning word, until finally he ceased speaking, the sordid tale having been wholly revealed.
Cara considered her own words for a long minute, knowing in her heart that her reaction would set the tone for their infinite future. Finally she remembered that actions spoke louder than words, and she took him in her arms.
As she cradled his head into the curve of her neck and stroked her hands in soothing circles over his tense back, she said nothing, and simply let the strange connection she felt with him tell him of her love and acceptance, and of her gratitude.
When she felt that he had himself under control even if he was nowhere near being relaxed, she leaned back enough to look into his reddened eyes, then kissed his cheek.
“Thank you for taking such quick action, and for giving me at least the chance to stay human. It sounds like I might have died if you hadn’t done exactly what you did, and this is by far the better alternative.” Then she grinned. “Personally I think I lucked out – now I have the best of both worlds.”
Disbelief warred with shock on the ancient vampire’s face until finally puzzlement won.
“You are not angry with me?”
Surely she held him responsible for almost draining the life from her frail human body? Surely she knew that his efforts to preserve her humanity were barely acceptable at best? Surely she…
“Oh, please. What do you expect to happen when a human bites a vampire?”
Godric was lost once again in the face of her dimples, and suddenly found himself laughing freely as he twirled her around the large bedroom in his arms.
He could not remember a time when he had felt so free, so whole and complete and truly, honestly happy. He had bared his monster to her both in word and in deed, and she had loved him anyway.
**A/N: Next up, In The Kitchen With Eric and Pam… So, what did you think?**