**A/N: Beware the existence of artistic license…**
Godric and Eric returned to TSO but wisely entered through a rarely used set of private doors. Their long evening had been far more successful, and therefore far bloodier, than they could have anticipated and it showed in their appearance. Both would definitely need to shower and don clean clothing before joining their ladies upstairs and thankfully the lower basement was well-stocked for both necessities.
As they walked with a mutually satisfied air down the empty corridor, Eric discreetly eyed his Maker. Although the ancient being was covered in dried blood he’d barely swiped at, a tiny smile of satisfaction teased at his lips.
Less than an hour ago he had been a snarling, biting beast whose fangs and claws had ended those who would dare threaten his mate but, to Eric’s shock and relief, Godric was once again as calm as a soft summer night.
For years his Maker’s instability had caused untold amounts of damage and destruction of both property and life. Often the smallest thing could set him off – Godric was a ticking time bomb and the only question had been when, not if.
Considering the threat to Cara and given his Maker’s recent tendencies, the painful endings of those gathered at 377 Wilmont Drive and the bloody evisceration of those gathered at Cob’s, and the subsequent torching of the seedy dive, had been almost anticlimactic.
From the time he had effortlessly swept into the vampires’ house and during the ensuing interrogations followed by their deaths, the elder had been cold to the point of giving the impression that he wasn’t emotionally involved.
Eric had been surprised but not unduly so; during a large portion of his thousand years in the vampire’s company, a cold and calculating persona hadn’t been unusual.
Festivities on Wilmont Drive had both began and ended in a somewhat leisurely fashion.
Once inside the residence, Godric had secured the two undead present while Eric had swiftly gathered and glamoured the three pets in various states of use.
To his dismay and his Maker’s pride, he could already detect the foul miasma of his new Sibling’s kind influence infiltrating his brain. Normally he would have been done with them quickly by instructing them to dress and go straight home. This time around, however, he found himself ordering them to dress, return home quickly, clean up, take their vitamins, and, given their youth, to go back to school.
The burst of pride he’d received from his Maker had been nice, though, and soothed him somewhat. He would simply have to guard himself better against his newest family member’s influence.
Against what had become the new normal when it came to Godric’s behavior, the ensuing inquisition had proceeded logically and carefully. Eric had rightly expected his Maker to lose his proverbial cool at any moment, but the ancient had kept surprising control of himself.
Under his frighteningly remote demeanor, within minutes the blustering Jarvis and pseudo-suave roommate, whose name neither he nor his Maker had cared to learn but who was, indeed, a silent partner with a minor interest in Cob’s, had turned cowardly and pathetic. Information about that establishment’s secret side business had thereafter spewed forth with amazing speed aided, no doubt, by the slow breaking of many bones. Through skillful questioning it became clear that, as far as anyone knew, no one was after Cara specifically. That alone granted the now pleading roommate a relatively clean death.
Godric had ended Jarvis just on principle.
They turned off the lights, ripped the heavy light-blocking curtains from the two windows in the living room, and then placed the bodies so that the sun could deal with the remains come morning. Without a word spoken between them, the ancient and the progeny had headed directly for Cob’s.
According to the roommate, a “big meeting” thought to be between the major “stockholders” and management was taking place in one of the back rooms of the bar. When asked if “everyone” would be in attendance, the roommate had rapidly nodded in the affirmative but had reeked of deception.
Eric could only hope to one night mimic Godric’s version of a negligent snarl in response.
Even though no one seemed to be specifically after Cara, Eric had truly expected Godric to, as Cara would say, “go nuclear” given the details gained in that house
He had not, at least, not much more so than he would have back when he’d still been known as Death. If he hadn’t known better, he would have suspected there had never been any sort of disparity in the elder vampire’s personality. But…he knew better.
Still and all, the old boy still had skills…as Cara was again known to proclaim.
They had paused at the edge of the woods to the back and side of the building and parking lot. Judging by the number of cars in the lot and the headache inducing noises and sour smells from within, the sleazy, mid-sized bar on the outskirts of town had been packed. A partial circle of the building revealed far more expensive vehicles parked toward the rear where a pair of vampires stood guard at the fortified back entrance.
While Eric had been surprised and pleased with how well Godric had been handling that strange feral tendency up until that point, he couldn’t logically expect his Maker to continue acting so rationally. Everything had hit too close to heart.
When Godric had removed his shoes at the edge of the woods, Eric had resolved not to interfere but had known that the time for lucid thought had passed for the ancient being.
His fear had been partially justified.
Within a moving blur the guards’ heads landed on the ground; their bodies following a beat thereafter.
A blink later, one well-placed kick sent the reinforced door flying down a short hallway. Five seconds after that, the blur that was Godric had decimated half the occupants of the second room on the right.
Seven seconds after that, the walls had borne the blood of the remaining vampires and Weres in the room.
His eyes almost glowing in savage delight and with blood dripping from his skin and soaked clothing, Godric had remained crouched in the middle of the room for a very long minute before rising to his full height to survey his mostly silent handiwork.
An eerie grin had suffused his boyish features.
Within twelve seconds, twenty-two vampires and several irrelevant Weres had met their well-earned end.
Although they were blood-splattered and in understandable shock, the temporary incarnation of Death had not touched a hair on any of the twelve shivering, crying, or pitifully silent females chained along the back wall.
Eric had slowly straightened from the doorjamb.
There had been nothing for him to do during the mass execution, but now that it was over, he had decided to check the remaining rooms down the hallway. Once assured that they were empty, he had returned to find his Maker freeing the women who had obviously been gathered for no good purpose.
Since approaching the building, the Maker/child bond had been eerily silent. Suddenly that silence had broken as rage tinged with horror and revulsion flooded the distance between them. Eric had known that Godric was imagining his Cara being chained, beaten, raped, and probably drained as would likely have been the fate of the women now freed from such a fate.
His own gut had twisted with that same knowledge.
He’d quickly pulled out his phone to call Pam. The women would be taken to a suitable underground area at TSO where they could shower, dress in clean clothing, and eat. If needed, qualified and discreet medical help would also be called in.
Before they would leave, each would be glamoured by a master of the art. It would be the kindest thing he and his Maker could think to do for them.
By the time Pam and one of their most trusted managers had arrived driving separate minivans, the remains of the chains had been reduced to small links and bent cuffs, and all twelve victims had been calmed with a soft glamour.
As the manager had worked on gently encouraging the women into the safety of the vans and Eric had spoken with Pam, Godric had wandered through the other empty rooms in the back of the bar.
Several seconds later he’d returned carrying what had moments before been a loudly extracted wall safe.
At the quirk of Eric’s brow, Godric had shrugged.
“I smelled the oil.”
After a well-aimed punch of Godric’s hand, its door had slowly opened to reveal a bounty of cash in numerous stacks.
He had looked to Pam before nodding at the opened safe.
“Take this and split it between them. Hurry for this place will burn soon.”
A calculating expression had suffused Godric’s face at Eric’s brow raised in query.
“The ashes of this fine establishment will send to the missing a message that they cannot misunderstand.”
With a gracious nod of her head and no snarky comment, Pam had quickly removed the locking mechanism from the safe then loaded closed metal box into her van. In no time the two vans had left the premises.
With a gleam in his eye, Godric had then walked slowly toward the back door to nonchalantly trigger the fire alarm.
As the evacuation had begun in all its chaotic frenzy, Godric had calmly located the building’s main internal gas line and diverted it to its new and final purpose.
Once finally assured that no humans remained, Eric had started to search for a lighter or pack of matches, but Godric, born eons before such modern conveniences, had rolled his eyes and suggested his child vacate the premises immediately.
By the time the gas line had enthusiastically discharged enough of its fetid contents to saturate the air in the back portion of the building, the ancient vampire had collected appropriately sized dried sticks, a small mound of dried leaves, and a large, old, sun-dried bar rag from near the Dumpsters…and a fist-sized rock.
Before Godric had started working on the fire behind the partial shield of the Dumpsters, he had tasked Eric with saturating the large rag with gasoline from one of the now abandoned vehicles.
In a blur Godric had used the sticks to create a small fire in the nest of dried leaves, ignited the gasoline soaked rag he had wrapped around the rock, then tossed the weighted rag into the hallway.
As the screeching of distant fire engines eventually neared, the building had somehow suffered a glorious explosion witnessed by the two vampires who had blurred to the edge of the woods.
One vampire calmly pulled on his shoes while the other kept tabs on the approaching fire brigade.
And through it all, Godric had kept his wits about him, had remained in complete control of his every action, and had willingly blurred toward TSO with his child.
The astonishing change was perplexing to Eric in more ways than one.
“What bothers you so, my child? Our evening has been an unusual success, yes, but it was only logical to attack while so many were gathered in one location.”
Ah, so much for studying my Maker with any sort of subtlety.
By mutual agreement both entered a bland looking office which led to a large and well-appointed locker room.
Godric turned to face him and internally Eric cringed.
His Maker’s worrisome tendencies seemed to spring from nowhere and while he certainly didn’t wish to trigger one of his rages, he also didn’t want to cause any sort of potential pain or embarrassment, either.
But they did need to discuss the issue even if it seemed to be lessening. Such a conversation could not have taken place before – by the time Godric’s instability had become apparent, he was already too prone to those episodes to dare bring up the situation. Now he seemed to be over the worst of…whatever it was, so in theory at least it should be safer to ask the elder for specific information, symptoms, anything to provide a clue as to what had been, or was, going on.
During his human life Eric had never had to have discussions with either of his parents about any sort of health problems or potential weakness – uncomfortable topics as they would relate to his parents had simply never come up. How would he broach what would naturally be a very uncomfortable topic – a subject which might cause not just insult but a full-blown rage relapse – with his own Maker?
**A/N: Poor Eric, the time has come for ‘a conversation’. Talk about uncomfortable! So, what do you think?**