*A/N: I did NOT mean for this chapter to be so long – had intended for more of the story to unfold instead, but the FLM got started and, yeah, here… I suggest grabbing a drink and going potty first. Maybe grab a donut, too. No hankies, though, so that’s good!*
Godric called down to the Holding Pen and requested the 20 newest and best female additions be brought up to the hallway outside their private room. Once they arrived, he would thoroughly examine their scent, then choose the ten freshest and cleanest options among them to present to his Cara. The next time he brought her to TSO to feed, he would examine them down in the Pen himself, but for now, he did not wish to leave his Cara unattended.
Even though they were in a private room away from the main traffic and gathering areas, there was still the potential for Cara’s senses to become overloaded. The “privacy” in these areas was primarily visual; scents and sounds weren’t all that diminished.
Once ensured of the Pen manager’s compliance, the manager being a younger vampire known to have a very sensitive nose for selecting a proper meal for the discerning customer, he handed Cara a menu from near the door so that she could place her order. He could have ordered for her – he had a strong idea of exactly what she would want – salty grease – but as it was her mouth, she could eat what she wanted. Human comestibles were her specialty; vampire comestibles were his.
When she placed her order on the house phone shortly thereafter, he grinned smugly. Two grilled cheese sandwiches, a double order of “4-minute fries” (he was proud that he knew what those were now…he had asked Eric shortly after first noticing his Cara), a side of dill pickle slices, ketchup, a cup of coffee with refills, milk for that coffee, and – since later according to her she no longer had to worry so much about weight gain and developing diseases – two orders of “Double Death-By-Chocolate Crownie with Chocolate Icing topped with a Fudge Flood”. The overload of sugary dessert food surprised him but the preceding order of coffee and “greasy salt” did not.
Ahh, the memories were amazing but he had the real thing now!
From the corner of her eye Cara saw the look he gave her and snickered, then grinned up at him as he stood by her chair. “What, I’m a growing baby vamp.”
Returning her smile with bright blue eyes and surprising tenderness, he replied as he placed his hand on her shoulder, “That you are, cariad, that you are.”
He stared into her eyes for a long moment as he counted his blessings.
“You are, indeed, very young in so many ways, but I am proud of how well you are dealing with this. Just…do not expect such continued perfection from yourself. Don’t, what is the expression…,” he paused to consider for a moment, distractedly stroking his thumb across her shoulder blade.
“Don’t pressure yourself to act in a way that might feel wrong to you. Let me know how you feel. I can tell many things through our bond, but we will still need to hear and say the words, my Cara. I know this is a confusing and sometimes trying time for you and I will help in any way needed.”
The look in his eyes softened even further.
“We were all young once, ma chérie. I would enjoy this with you.”
Godric of course had scented the approach of her future meal while he was speaking, but wondered if she would be able to do the same, and was gratified on her behalf when he saw her nostrils suddenly begin flexing.
“Thank you, Godric. I have every confidence that at some point I will flip the fuck out and cause an obnoxious amount of damage, but I’d honestly rather not. Cuddling with you is so much more fun,” she stated with a slightly leering but honestly sincere grin. “Is that dinner I smell?”
Smirking at the vagaries of a baby vampire’s attention span, he nodded. “Good scenting; it is.”
Just then a knock sounded at the door, and Godric excused himself. He wanted to select the best of the offerings for his Cara’s first live feed and hoped the options were better than the norm, which, in all honesty, was actually better here than the average in such cases. He just wanted the best for his Cara.
He had hoped to present her with ten choices but within seconds had pared the offerings down to five, but at least they were all suitable. Decently attired and recently bathed, reeking of neither chemicals nor sex, no obvious evidence of decay…they would do for his Cara’s first meal.
“One of you will have the honor of being my mate’s first meal,” he informed the ladies as he allowed them to enter the room and line up before their table. “She will not harm you but she has never fed from a human before. If any of you have objections, you may leave now.”
He waited a moment but no one left. Intelligence wasn’t necessary in a meal but it was a desirable trait. He could sense Cara’s trepidation and was glad it was tempered with a slight increase in thirst, albeit a small one. He held his hand out to her, and he was pleased when she rose and took it.
“First, are you drawn to any one of them?” He knew she might not know exactly what he meant, but he had noticed that her gaze seemed to return to the brunette standing second from the end of the line.
“Erm, well, I noticed her first,” Cara admitted, wondering why her own gaze kept returning to the short dark-haired girl. As best she could tell, they all basically smelled the same…more or less.
“The rest of you may sit,” he ordered as he gestured to the sofa. “Come,” he said more kindly to his mate’s potential first meal.
“Smell her as if she were a fine wine, concentrating on the nuances and the sound of her heart, and notice how your fangs react, and if your mouth waters,” he instructed, his hand now on Cara’s back encouraging her to approach the girl.
As the girl came closer, Cara caught more of her individual scent, and detected flowers and something like paper. There wasn’t anything “food-like” about her scent, but she did smell nice enough, she guessed.
“What…,” Cara started, then cleared her throat. “What’s your name,” she finally asked. She knew that it might be strange asking her meal their name before drinking them, but dammit, this really was her first rodeo! It all felt just too surreal.
“Amy,” came the girl’s shy answer.
“Have you ever done this before?”
“No, ma’am. This is my first time, too.”
“How old are you, Amy?”
“I turned 21 yesterday. You have to be 21 to work here, so tonight’s the first time I, you know…”
Cara turned to Godric. “How do I make it not hurt her?”
Godric’s heart lurched at the fear and worry in her brown eyes.
“While it is unlikely you would ever be able to make the experience completely pain-free, you can somewhat dull the skin where you are going to bite by massaging it with your tongue,” he instructed quietly.
His beast mocked his efforts at educating their mate.
The violent bastard wanted to rend the meal’s throat open immediately and expose to his mate the glorious abundance of blood – warm, sweet fresh blood – flowing so freely just below the fragile surface. The desperation to feed their mate, to see their mate feeding, pulling that lush, savory sustenance into her body…to know it was flowing across her tongue, going down her throat, sating her needs and strengthening her precious body…
Cara’s hand on his chest interrupted his thoughts, and he was relieved. The curiosity she sent him through their bond helped as well, and he smiled wryly. She didn’t necessarily need to know what all his beast wanted to do with her after she’d fed. After subtly shaking his head, he continued.
“Here is the best place on this particular human to bite,” he said as he indicated the place on her neck, “but before you do, listen to her heart beat so that you will know when it begins to slow. This will also increase your hunger which will make it easier for you to feed.”
He watched with a kind eye as his Cara fidgeted for a minute, her thoughts and emotions swirling as she nibbled at her bottom lip. Finally she exhaled.
“Godric, can you numb that spot then, I don’t know, maybe prick with your fangs where I’m supposed to bite? That might help,” she finished in a voice rife with embarrassment and insecurity.
“Everybody out,” he ordered instead, his voice low but strong. “Amy, you may remain outside the door.”
Once the room cleared, Godric gently took Cara into his arms and held her close as he spoke sweetly into her ear.
“Ah, Cara…there is no need for these feelings, and I hate that you have them. Were you a truly-Turned vampire, you would not be feeling this shyness. The urges would come as naturally to you as falling into your death at the sun’s rising which I’m not sure you will feel. Had you been a traditional vampire I would have been hard-pressed to keep you from her vein. Your situation will be different, my love, but we will manage. You cannot expect yourself to act as a traditional vampire when that is not what you are. Also, never be embarrassed when asking my help. Never,” he repeated as he raised her face to his. “It is my joy and my privilege to help you not just in this, but in all things.”
Blinking the sudden tears from her eyes, she nodded, sniffed, then just rested her head on his shoulder for a long minute while she composed herself.
The thought of drinking Amy was…revolting, the thought of her warm blood flowing across her tongue, down her throat…nauseating.
Her fangs felt like they had hidden somewhere up in her sinuses now.
She whispered into his ear, “I’m hoping that if you prick her skin, maybe I’ll smell the blood and it will help cause right now, honey, I’m just not feeling it.”
Her shiver of revulsion made Godric’s heart ache on her behalf, but he quickly subdued the worry. Failing all else, she would feed from his vein for eternity.
Godric kissed the top of her head and patted her back. Her lack of increasing thirst worried him. By now a traditionally Turned vampire would have drained at least three of the women and would have had to have been pulled back from the other two. Cara’s thirst actually seemed to be receding.
But, it was worth a shot to try – he would give her every available chance to be more self-sufficient. He wanted her tied to his side but by love, not need.
His beast’s snort was promptly ignored. It wasn’t like he wouldn’t be feeding her from himself anyway. What was blood when she owned his soul?
“Of course we will try that.”
“Ok,” Cara said with less enthusiasm than he would have liked, “let’s do this.”
He could feel the surge of her courage as she determinedly brought it forward, and sent her his approval.
Amy was duly brought back in and while she appeared slightly concerned with the situation, she wisely said nothing. Without speaking again, Godric proceeded to lave the girl’s skin then when he considered her as numbed as she was going to be, he dropped his fangs and lightly bit where he had indicated earlier.
Cara then dutifully took his place…and her fangs did not drop. She licked at the small bloody dots and…nothing.
A knock at the door along with a call of “Food Service” interrupted the attempted feeding, for which Cara’s appreciation was sadly obvious.
Godric sighed and opened the door to allow the two waiters to enter the room. At the scent and sight of the grilled cheese, Cara’s fangs dropped with a loud snick.
After a victorious smile at her mate who blurred to her side immediately, she turned to look at Amy, whose gaze dipped to her now visible fangs. Amy shrugged and returned her grin, then leaned her head to the side.
Keeping her gaze firmly fixated on the food now sitting on the table, Cara struck. Her fangs weren’t spaced as far apart as Godric’s were but she centered her bite very closely over his own, and under Godric’s watchful and prideful eye, she drank.
She quickly realized that concentrating on the scents and sight of the food helped tremendously and she allowed her fangs to nick a little deeper before withdrawing so she could drink more fully. The feeling of his pride washed over her, warm and soothing, encouraging her to drink, to fill her body with the nourishing essence of another. She sent him her gratitude in return, or at least tried to, then turned her thoughts back to the hot greasy fries.
Her fifth swallow, small compared to that of a seasoned drinker, was her last. She was surprised but relieved when her fangs chose to go back home without her having to tell them to and licked her lips even though they were clean. She instinctively laved the bitten spots to seal the tiny wounds and raised her head.
Godric’s voice, when he spoke, was filled with pride and no small amount of relief.
“Well done! Very well done,” he crowed with obvious joy and delight in her accomplishment. He knew exactly how difficult this had been for his Cara and his pride in her courage, determination, and ingenuity refused to be contained.
Even his beast was grudgingly impressed.
“To prevent scaring, nick your fingertip and smear a tiny drop of your blood over the wounds.”
She watched as he suited deeds to words, and gasped at once again seeing evidence of the healing power of vampire blood. She hoped her own semi-vampy blood would be as useful.
Her eyes kept straying to the lovely food on the table – it smelled so good – but she was concerned about the donor. “Are you ok,” she asked Amy, who nodded but looked slightly faint.
Godric blurred to the intercom by the door and requested the Pen’s manager to come at once. Within the minute the young manager appeared, and Godric instructed him to tend to the donor, and to ensure that the donor – who was not to be overused – was paid a very handsome bonus for a job well done. The manager, who had been eyeing Amy speculatively, nodded, scooped the girl up in his arms despite her weak protest, and whisked her away.
Cara meanwhile had sat down at the table and was quickly enjoying the benefits of a rapidly cooling grilled cheese sandwich, salty fries, and a perfect cup of coffee. That odd hunger was gone now, for which she was very glad, and she could now truly enjoy her vastly preferred meal.
Half-way through her grilled cheese, Godric’s phone rang. Not once had he ceased sending her his love and devotion, his pride in her achievement, and he continued bathing her in his joy even as he answered then spoke in quiet tones with the caller.
Once finished with his conversation, he sat down at the table. Cara had just finished her grilled cheese and was happily nibbling on the fries.
Watching her lick the salt from her fingers and lips with obvious appreciation, Godric informed her, “That was Eric. He apparently called his telepath to come read he prisoner because she has arrived, only, he isn’t ready for her to see him yet.”
Cara started to wonder why he wouldn’t be ready for her then decided that she didn’t really want to know.
“She can hang out in here with us if she wants, right?”
Godric nodded, then Cara felt the strangest thing happening with that area in her mind she figured had to do with the bond she shared with Godric.
She realized that she must have made an odd expression because he gave her a curious look. She asked, “Did you just send something to Eric, something to do with the bond the two of you share?”
Interest definitely piqued, Godric tilted his head a bit sideways as he contemplated his beautiful companion. “Yes, I sent him an “all clear” feeling so that he would know it was fine to have her sent here. How did you know?”
“I felt it. I didn’t know what it was, but I definitely felt you send him something, and it’s weird that I was able to tell that you were sending it to him specifically.”
“That is…odd,” he agreed mildly. Internally Godric was sharply curious. It was extremely unusual that she had sensed his communication with Eric, especially since she hadn’t been taught much of anything about bonds yet, but he didn’t want to alarm her.
Perhaps this was a gift of hers? He hadn’t thought much about it, had considered that since she wasn’t a traditional vampire she might not even have a gift, but his line was extremely powerful and those in his line tended to have suitably strong gifts. He would have to remain vigilant with her to encourage development of any potential talents. It wasn’t at all unusual for the vampires in his line to have several.
Cara started to speak again but Godric, having sensed the approach of Eric’s telepath, sent her a gentle negation.
“Later,” he whispered just as a soft knock sounded at the door.
He blurred over and admitted a short, curvy blonde lady in her early- to mid-twenties who smelled to Cara like a breath of fresh air. She was carrying one of the establishments “to-go” cups in one hand and a small shoulder bag in the other, and was dressed casually in nice jeans and a new red t-shirt with her hair up in a ponytail.
Cara sensed a slight caution coming from Godric but it took her a second to realize that he was afraid she might be tempted to taste the nice-smelling lady, but she wasn’t. And even if Blondie had smelled edible, she had fries left…and then there was all that cake…
Smiling broadly in welcome, and so that he could see that her fangs weren’t dropped, Cara gestured to a chair.
“Have a seat. I’m Cara; you must be Sookie?”
The lady nodded and returned her smile, but seemed a bit shy.
Godric stated calmly, “You may speak freely with my mate. She is aware of your ability, and knows that you are here to work with Eric on her cousin below.”
Sookie looked at Cara with obvious surprise. “That’s your cousin down there?”
Cara grimaced as she nodded. “Yup. Asshole motherfucker was going to kidnap me and…,” her voice broke off as her fangs snicked down. She placed a hand over her mouth and continued with a small laugh, “Sorry. I still haven’t figured out how to drive the fangs yet but Nat really pissed me off.”
At Sookie’s unexpected laugh, which apparently surprised Blondie herself, Cara lowered her hand and reached for another fry. They were almost too cool to eat by then, but were still good.
“I don’t blame you. I’d be pissed off too if relatives wanted to sell me off to vampires. Oh, wait, that’s already happened to me. You can eat food?”
Cara gestured to the fries and the other grilled cheese.
“Help yourself, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. There’s a mountain of chocolate over there with your name on it if you want. Who tried to sell you…what? And yeah, I’m a weird case.”
Godric has hard-pressed to keep his snickering contained as he listened to the telepath having the same type of conversation as his newly-Turned mate. Pamela would get a kick out of their vagaries!
The food apparently looked better by the second to the telepath judging by how she kept glancing at it.
“You don’t mind?”
“Not at all,” Cara replied as she shoved the plates with the grilled cheese and the fries closer.
Sookie grabbed a couple of fries and chewed as she apparently gathered her thoughts, then started talking.
“My cousin Hadley ran away from home when she was younger and somehow fell in with a bunch of vamps just before they came out. I’ve always been weird, able to read other people’s minds whether I wanted to or not, and she thought she’d make herself look good by bragging about me to this female vamp she met. Come to find out the woman was, and still is, the vampire queen of Louisiana!” The blonde rolled her eyes and reached for another fry.
“She sent some dumbass pervert with bad sideburns and an even worse accent to “procure” me – not my services, mind, but me,” she said to Cara, “but Eric found out what was going on and we were able to catch him in the act of trying to kill my grandmother.”
“Your grandmother?” Cara grabbed a couple of fries as she listened, and thought Sookie’s visual fascination with her ability to eat was funny.
Sookie nodded as she watched the vampire eat actual food. “My grandmother. I live with her just down the road here, have for most of my life. But yeah, that ugly joker, I think his name was Bill?” She looked over at Godric who had taken the seat to Cara’s other side.
He nodded, and smiled benignly. He loved watching his mate interact with others.
“Bill, then. Yeah, Eric and Pam were able to take him down when he tried to kill her in our own house when he thought no one else was around. I don’t know what he hoped that would have achieved, but he’s goo now.”
“Good,” Cara agreed. “What an asshole!” She then turned to Godric.
“Louisiana has a vampire queen?”
“She is irrelevant,” he said with a negligent shrug. “All states have a vampire monarch. It is nothing to concern yourself about.”
Cara noticed the blonde eyeing one of the plates of the chocolate concoction and just slid it over to her.
“Are you sure?” Clearly in Sookie’s world people didn’t just give away chocolate…
“My hips won’t thank me, but that does look good.”
“The day your hips grow taste buds is the day they can tell you want to eat.”
With a snicker Sookie grabbed a spoon and dug in.
Cara decided it was time to sample her own chocolate concoction and was making great inroads when Godric’s phone rang again.
With a roll of his eyes he answered, and listened for a second before stating to the room at large, “Eric is ready.”
Cara, thoroughly enjoying her dessert and noticing that Sookie wasn’t finished with hers, either, calmly stated, “Tell my brother to hold all his horses. Chocolate comes first. He can still be ready when we get there.”
She winked at Sookie and smirked at her shocked expression, then took another bite. Double Death-By-Chocolate Crownie with Chocolate Icing topped with a Fudge Flood was a very tasty way to go…
Sookie was obviously flabbergasted by the brunette’s blithe dismissal of Eric’s edict of readiness, but was smirking herself as she then calmly followed Cara’s example.
Godric simply informed his Child that they would be there shortly and hung up before Eric could say anything else. He never let on that he could feel Pam’s hysterical amusement flowing quite plainly through the familial bond.
He considered that his Cara was very good for his family and in more ways than one. His beloved Child tended to take himself far too seriously sometimes, and needed to not be so damn stodgy. Cara would be good for that; obviously she was getting a head start even now. He allowed himself a small smile over Eric’s failing attempt at a pique over his Cara’s effrontery. He suspected his Child and his mate would bicker quite often, but knew, somehow, that neither would push the other too far. Already he could sense the familial ties growing between them.
His beast sang with primal joy that he wouldn’t have to end his first-Turned.
Godric then minimally shook his head as he continued his thoughts as the ladies obviously enjoyed their sweets. To his shock, even Pamela had very quickly claimed her as family, too, and no matter how selfish and lazy she tended to be, his grandChild was loyal to a fault where family was concerned. He hid a smile when he felt Eric’s impatience grow. The Child was impatient, alright, but he perceived it had little to do with himself, his Sister, or his prisoner.
Ah, his mate…his sweet, saucy Cara…
Already his Cara had saved his own life in innumerable ways. As he watched his mate, and his Child’s future mate – if he would but listen to his heart – finish their meal, he gave gratitude once again that he had not killed the keeper of his heart. Had he done so, he would not be alive this night.
Had she not lived, had he killed her with his own two fangs, he would have greeted the sun’s death with…
Sensing the downward tenor of Godric’s mood through the bond, Cara slid her hand beneath the table to clasp his knee. His hand readily covered hers and squeezed, and he sent her a small burst of love.
“I’m glad Eric caught that guy before he could hurt your grandmother,” she said out of the blue to Sookie as she twined her fingers with Godric’s. “Is that how you ended up working with him?”
Sookie nodded and sipped what Cara thought must be tea, judging by the smell of it. She hid a grimace; tea with chocolate just did not appeal to her.
“Yeah. The Queen wanted me to basically belong to her but there was no way in hell I was going to go for that. Eric officially claimed me as his asset so I didn’t have to.”
“Asset?” Cara couldn’t decide if that was good or bad, but at least it kept the telepath out of the Queen’s clutches.
“Just what it sounds like,” Sookie replied with vague disgust. “Technically he owns my services whenever he needs them, but he does pay me pretty good for it.”
“But doing that made it so that you didn’t have to go anywhere, right?” Eric might come off like an ass sometimes but he seemed to be a good ass, at least. Well, as far as she knew. She made a face; the bottom of the plate was now visible and it made her sad.
“True. I have to say that he did good by me when he did that. At first I didn’t understand it, I mean, I’d never had anything to do with vampires so I didn’t know anything about how they did things, but since then he’s talked to me every now and then about some of the things I need to know. Anyway, I don’t get a lot of choice in who I have to listen to,” she made a face, and Cara could just imagine some of the nasty people she’d had to encounter, “but it could be a lot worse.”
“Sounds like Eric just needs better friends and co-workers,” Cara quipped, and Sookie nodded heartily. She was proud when even Godric smiled. “Eric’s a good guy, you know? I mean, he’s a little on the tall side, but we can’t all be perfect, can we?”
Cara smiled and flooded the bond with smug satisfaction when Sookie blushed and stared at her plate.
A few minutes later when both ladies were obviously finished with their desserts, Godric, to Sookie’s ignorance and Cara’s fascination, pinged Eric via their bond, and they all proceeded to the cell level.
**A/N: So, what did you think of the FLM’s contributions? Hope you liked it – let me know…..if the Comment box shows up at the bottom of the screen, that is…sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t since WP’s lasted fuckupdate. If it’s MIA, you’re more than welcome to leave your thoughts on one of my other accounts which are, alphabetically: AO3, fanfiction.asshole, and TWCS. I have an abandoned account over on FictionPad…somewhere…but it is by NO means kept current (hence the “abandoned” bit).**