**A/N: This story is winding down slowly…the natural conclusion being not too, too far from here. I’d *thought* it might be the next chapter but Cara has a lot of things to say and Godric is starting to take a bit of an interest, too, so there’s that. (Teach ME to “think”, right?) But because the story began with Cara, it feels only right to let it end with her, too (and also because she said so) whenever it does end. We’ll just have to see if Godric agrees – he can be quite opinionated when he wants. This chapter is long – go pee and grab a drink!**
Cara woke to the now-familiar feeling of being strongly snuggled into a cool, hard chest. Although escaping from that luxurious trap might be a bit difficult from time to, well, ok, every time honestly, she didn’t mind a bit. His scent was strong in her nose, just the way she liked it, and there was nothing in the world like waking up feeling so cherished and secure in those cage-like arms.
He knew this, of course…which was why he did it.
Even if she’d still been pure human, waking up surrounded by both his arms and his scent would have been very comforting, but the heady combination soothed her heightened sort-of-vampire instincts in a way she couldn’t describe but would fight to the death to keep.
Not that she figured she’d ever have to, though, especially given how much of a bad-ass her literally “old man” was. Not that he flaunted it; he didn’t have to. The mere fact that he was so very, very old, that he had survived for so many eons in such a violent, “survival of the fittest” world, spoke volumes all on its own.
She smiled sleepily; “surviving” wasn’t the only skill he’d perfected over all those centuries…not by a long shot.
The ancient vampire in question was, of course, dead to the world. She could rouse him if she needed to, and if her guesstimation about the time was right, he’d rise in a couple of hours anyway. Like humans, she thought hazily, the older the vampire, the less sleep… death… whatever… they needed. Regardless, albeit accidental or not, if she hadn’t been partially Turned, she knew there would be no way in any given version of Hades that she’d be able to extricate herself from her super snuggly…if really, really strong…vampire cage.
Kudos for partial Turning, then, especially since her existence wasn’t controlled by silly balls of light in the sky.
Still being able to eat like a normal person and being able to think much faster than a human were definite pluses, too.
As was becoming a desired habit – desired mostly by the one responsible for her current situation – her next thought was about her surroundings outside of Godric’s hold. The house was quiet except for what she considered generic house noises. While not to the extent of a true vampire, her senses were noticeably heightened and dang but she’d never had any idea just how freaking noisy a house could be…!
The room smelled of herself and him…and them from the hours before she’d fallen asleep and he’d descended into his day-sleep…cotton, of course, from the bedding and the linens in the bath…soaps, shampoos, and other accoutrements also from the bathroom…
Nope, no threats or intruder scents here.
Eric and Pammy-wammikins, her current nickname meant to teasingly irritate the fun ol’ broad, had sought dinner elsewhere and had died elsewhere for the day – Pam likely with her meal-du-nuit and Eric by his poor ol’ lonesome since he had work crap to deal with not too long after rising that afternoon but mostly because he wasn’t quite to that stage with Sookie yet – so their scents were a bit fainter than they could have been.
Cara snickered. She’d had to come up with something to combat the blonde’s current name for her, right?
So…the hearing and scent tests proved nothing was out of the ordinary, which was always a good thing. The soft light filtering in from the bathroom provided adequate lighting to prove nothing was out of the ordinary from what little she could see without getting up. Sadly she didn’t dare test out the ‘tasting’ and ‘feeling’ portions of her senses since what she could taste and feel wouldn’t rouse for another couple hours and there was no sense “rousing” herself until then….
Her kind’a-Maker hadn’t sort-of-Turned no fool there…
She couldn’t really think of a decent enough reason to actually get up yet, either, so she gave into temptation and relaxed into her comfy prison as she remained somewhat tuned into her surroundings. Bless him but, however nicely and gently he’d gone about it, Godric had insisted upon drilling the situational awareness and observation habits into her psyche as best he could.
Ever since her “change in physical circumstances” – he and Eric both got a kick out of that phrasing; Pammykins had just rolled her eyes – little by little he had started teaching her more and more of the tools of the immortal trade. Her vampy blond brother and his vampy blonde progeny had quickly gotten into the teacher/mentor act, too.
They both acted the part of older siblings rather nicely, actually. Whether or not she’d always wanted more blood family, she surely had them now.
She’d been told that some vampires lost a lot of their memories of their human life when they were Turned and that varying degrees of memory loss were to be expected anyway, but as far as she could tell, she hadn’t lost a single one, so she remembered how Blondy and Progeny had been a bit reserved toward her in the beginning. That hadn’t lasted long at all, though, for which she was thankful.
Godric had enough going on in his head as it was; he didn’t need to worry about family dynamics or jealousy or whatever on top of it all.
In the end, she, Godric, and the Two Brats ended up spending a lot more time together than she’d have thought they would. Oh, she could absolutely see spending so much time with Godric and would have been more than a bit pissed off if things had been otherwise, but given Eric and Pam’s more worldly airs, the amount of time they chose to spend either at home with them or going out as a group was a bit surprising.
Who would have thought Mr. Debonair Sheriff Dude and Mz Fancy Pantz would be such family types?
During the past couple weeks, Sookie had started joining them more often, which was nice. She was a really smart, savvy lady once you got to know her, and it was cute how Eric thought he was all cool and suave around her.
Here lately she’d even started showing up for the increasingly common “family nights” at the house – and by “increasingly common” she meant “every night that they weren’t at TSO”. Instead of playing card or board games with half-missing pieces, however, the entertainment tended to turn into “here’s an educational story from my past” interspersed with half-joking rounds of “see how much the newby knows.”
“Educational fun” now had an entirely new meaning. Who knew there were so many important people to know and so many rules of behavior and tradition in the vampire world?
Godric, Eric, and Pam, that’s who…
It was an extremely good idea for Sookie to learn these things, too, given how she was in the process of laying out the groundwork for setting up her own big-deal telepathy-for-supes business.
Cara looked forward to the grand kick-off with her partner in crime. Her office and business background and experience were quite extensive so it would be no bother at all to manage everything but the actual telepathy.
That, naturally, would be where Teleblondie came in.
Of course, given everyone’s over-protective attitudes, their future office suite was, oh-so-surprisingly, in TSO. She quietly chuckled at the memory of just how quickly Eric had made Just The Perfect Suite magically appear within a night or two after he’d overheard/eavesdropped on her and Sookie’s conversation.
The suite-in-waiting hadn’t at all been a series of super-cushy, super-spendy conference rooms for hire by visiting vampire royalty.
Not at all.
Real suave, that new brother of hers… Sookie was leading him on a merry little chase but it wouldn’t likely be too much longer until she let herself be caught by him. They both seemed to enjoy the “catch me if you can” game but the signs were all there and then some. They were so cute together but while Eric could be a bit domineering without ever realizing it, Sookie was no pushover. She had enough common sense to listen to the important things, like about safety and how not to get drained, but knew how to set her sometimes high-heeled foot down when she needed to.
Eric was learning…she had to give him that. She strongly suspected that her brother was a lot smarter than he actually wanted people to know; underestimating an enemy could prove mighty dangerous for the overconfident.
That, of course, was just one of the many, many, many bits of wisdom her new family had gladly shared with her.
Godric tended to take a mostly light-hearted approach to her education, or at least he tried to. There was lots of talking, lots of examples that would usually expand to stories from his and Eric’s past and sometimes Pam’s, too, yet at the same time she could tell her Godric was intensely serious about teaching her everything he thought she could ever need to know.
For two cents his subtle persistence could have been a bit alarming, but she reasoned that he was so persistent because he genuinely adored her, knowledge was power, and wanted her to settle into her new life as easily and smoothly as possible.
At least, she hoped that was it.
Granted she also sensed that there was well over two thousand years’ worth of things she would eventually need to know anyway and he was impatient to impart as much as he could as quickly as he could. He was nothing if not thorough regardless of how easy-going he tried to be. Sometimes SnarkyEric would smirk at her in that curiously funny “heh, it’s your turn, now” way. So far she owed him about 14 smacks for that shit.
Thankfully the ancient vampire wasn’t just an excellent teacher; he was also a supremely interesting storyteller, too. Many of the things he discussed with her made a lot of sense. Other things, though… Well, she hoped they would make sense when she was “older”, and she held back a snicker as she compared her current situation with that of small children being told that they would understand this or that fact of life when they were… Yeah, older.
However, out of respect and deference for both his very best intentions and his extreme experience, she paid attention to everything and had, in fact, started compiling the plethora of tips and tricks and rules and names and locations and all the other scattered and bestowed bits of knowledge into a notebook.
That lasted for about two nights.
Yeah, it hadn’t taken long for her to switch over to a laptop. She had a feeling her files would grow files that grew their own little baby files by the time she was finished.
If she ever was. Godric was hella old, after all, and Eric had packed a lot of experience under his belt. Pam was no educational slouch, either. She and Eric had their own files just to help keep everything straight.
Lazily she rubbed her cheek over his cool, firm chest as love for the man – for beneath the fangs and the day-sleep and the growling and so on lurked a fundamental man – welled up at the thought of how serious he was about sharing his knowledge and experience with her for her own comfort with her new life and, honestly, probably for her potential survival, too. The gift of knowledge, of the time and care he so gladly took with her, meant more than she could say even if things weren’t so complicated.
But man a-live were things complicated! It was as though vampires sat around trying to dream up myriad ways of over-complicating every aspect of every-freaking-thing they possibly could.
She’d known that vampires had their own way of doing things from the time she’d discovered that they were real, of course they would, but she’d had no idea just how extensive their own little world really was. Thankfully as such a young sort-of-vampire there were many things she didn’t actually have to worry about yet since her “Maker” would deal with them for her as long as he could. While those things were his official Maker responsibilities to her, it was her responsibility to him to make his job easier.
Good Makers were supposed to ensure that their progeny were well-equipped to deal with everything-vampire, but good progeny had a duty to their Maker to make her or his job as easy as possible. Of the three of them, Pam had been the one to pull her aside to discuss that part of vampire life. As snarky and irreverent and spoiled absolutely rotten as she was, she was much more respectful, caring, and dutiful toward her Maker than she liked to let on to just anyone.
One thing Cara had noticed, well, once she knew to look for it, was how her vampires didn’t act much like the traditional Maker/child set-up said it should be. Eric was respectful and all that toward Godric, but there was never any grovelling or obsequious behavior; in short, they tended to act more as equals than anything. The same applied to how Pam acted toward Eric – the respect and all that was there, but, again…equals. Pam tended to be a bit quieter around Godric, especially at first, but here lately even she was joking around with him more.
Godric didn’t act the way she’d seen Masters act toward their “children” at TSO, either. Maybe some slimy, asshole vampires Turned people just so they could lord it over them? Well, good people seemed to make good vampires and asshole people seemed to make asshole vampires, so that would make sense.
Either way, Godric was a good – fucking fantastic – Maker and sort-of-Maker and they couldn’t have him. So there…
As she continued snuggling with her vampire, she thought about how part of her introduction – and further proof that Godric was an amazing sort-of-Maker – to the new way of unlife was to become aware of exactly what abilities she did have, exactly what her new body could do, and exactly what advantages her new senses would provide.
She blushed and curled her toes as she remembered just how flexible and responsive that new body could be. Ah, the benefits of a half-Turning…
In her opinion, which she thought counted since she was the one living in her new body, her instincts were surprisingly strong for someone who wasn’t even a full vampire. Twice now she had accidentally attacked both Eric and Pam when they’d startled her – she couldn’t help it if her attention was so focused when she was reading…while standing vaguely near the bookcase…somewhat in the middle of the den…
At least she hadn’t bitten Godric again.
Well, without meaning to at any rate.
He was still her preferred…meal? Snack?
Whatever. Wasn’t her fault he was so tasty.
Now his blood tasted better than anything else ever had, even better than hot steamed crab legs dipped in salty butter. Feeding from donors was nothing more than a necessary evil but she’d finally gotten the unappreciative hang of it.
Holding her breath. People honestly just smelled too people-y to really consider them food.
It wasn’t quite as disgusting as it had been the first couple times; now it just wasn’t at all, in any way, appealing.
Eric still gave her strange looks over it all.
Pammy-wammikins, as usual, just rolled her eyes and suggested adding salt to her meal.
It hadn’t helped.
Seeing the blonde rolling around on the floor cackling – and somehow managing to warp two chairs and a table – when she’d done the “lick, salt, bite” experiment had made the experiment worthwhile (if not tasty).
That time Godric had been the one rolling his eyes.
Well, she’d had to try, right?
He knew she still didn’t have a vampire’s natural craving for human blood, knew that she likely never would at this point, but he no longer seemed as worried as he had been. He was a full vampire so of course people smelled like delicious food – they were his only food. anyway. so it’s not like he had much choice in the grand scheme of things. But because he was full vampire he couldn’t quite understand how her hybrid instincts differed from his and how to her people were friends…not food.
He was just relieved that she could, and would, feed if she ever needed to.
Bags were still – and would always be – out, but at least blood came in bottles which he truly didn’t mind her using so long as she “fed true” – meaning from a human donor – at least once a week. She figured it was his way of ensuring that she kept in practice or something along those lines.
At least she didn’t go rabid wanting to eat ALL THE HUMANS like she’d heard was such a common problem for newly-Turned full vamps.
That was a definite plus. People were kind of gross.
She sighed then, the mist of her breath warm on her sleeping companion’s skin. Now she wanted crab legs and a bottle of that not-too-bad but super-spendy brand of blood-in-a-bottle or whatever that Eric kept in stock for her on the down-low. Godric totally knew, of course – he knew everything – but he probably just appreciated Eric’s vaguely subtle attempts at spoiling his “‘little sister”.
He really was a good brother. No wonder Pammy-wammikins was so dang spoiled.
Yes, she decided, she’d raid the blood fridge in a bit but the crab legs would have to wait until after dark when she talked Godric into taking her to TSO. Sometimes that place felt like a second home, but that was ok – she had an in with the owner.
There was no doubt that he’d do it, of course. The house was fully stocked with any and every kind of food she’d ever even thought about wanting (Pam wasn’t choosy – she just bought everything in the high-brow grocery store…), but that didn’t matter. If she wanted “restaurant food” then she would have it. He loved spoiling her – probably where Eric got the habit from in the first place.
All in all, Godric treated her like she was the most precious thing he’d ever beheld.
If things were even the tiniest bit different, she could almost see where such cosseting could quickly become stifling and cumbersome, possibly outright annoying – especially with his continued emphasis on safety and security. (Like, what, invisible aliens were coming after her?) But he seemed to enjoy spoiling, petting, and providing for her so much that she didn’t have the heart to complain…even when sometimes it all felt a little stuffy in that caring cocoon.
Plus…it honestly made her heart happy to be the person who gave him so much joy. There was just something about him…
And ok, a little, well, a lot, of spoiling, never did hurt, right? As long as she was able to spoil him right back, who cared?
Eventually proof that she wasn’t full vampire interrupted her musings and, yes, even with her increased strength she still had to work and wriggle quite a bit to get out of Godric’s accidental arm cage.
He was super-snuggly like that.
Once her human needs were met and the shower sped through, Cara placed two bottles of Eric’s handy dandy blood in the warming unit as the third bottle heated in the microwave.
BigBro was right – there actually was a difference in taste between the two heating methods.
The fridge had finally lost that foul plastic taint of bagged blood just last week, but at least they’d learned their lesson about trying to get her to drink that crap…not even a lemon and olive garnish had been able to improve it.
She shivered in revulsion and was relieved when the microwave dinged.
Her needle-sharp fangs dropped in anticipation of the somewhat natural product she actually could drink without holding her nose. A case of the stuff probably cost more than a week’s salary used to be – she had yet to be surprised by how little she missed either her old job or the vast majority of her old coworkers – but her vampire side did require what she considered “regular supplementation of human-origin nutrition”. Or, as in this case, mostly human. The spendy bottled stuff wasn’t 100% pure blood as it was partially diluted with the tastiest possible version of the fake blood used to help people in hospitals.
Whatever it was, it worked. Her human side thought it the least nasty option if she couldn’t have a sip of Godric; her vampire side told her to shut up and drink’a da pretty red glass-bottled blood.
Being able to oh-so-casually drink it was one party trick she’d been really glad to cultivate. Nothing said “newbie not-really-a-blood-drinker” like having to hold her nose to drink from the source, right? Being human-hungry did help, and having delicious smelling actual foods handy helped, too, but that smell…
Oh, well, at least with this stuff she’d even learned how to keep from clinking her fangs against the glass when drinking straight from the bottle – go her!
She’d gained surprisingly good control over her mouth toys in a short amount of time – a source of pride for Godric for some reason – but in the comfort and privacy of her own home, she really enjoyed letting the reflex-o-fang response fly.
Why have fangs if you’re not going to use them?
Pammy-wammikins agreed most vociferously with that line of thought.
Of course she did.
She may also have also bought her “dearest darrrrling Grammykins” a new bag immediately thereafter to show that approval. Solidarity apparently came with shoulder bags. Who knew?
Solidarity with a vampire… She huffed. There’d been a time, not too long ago, in fact, when the mere thought would have sent warning tingles down her spine. And, well, honestly, there were some aspect of some types of vampires that did set her fangs on edge – human were not pets and they certainly weren’t cattle! – but when she considered Godric, and Eric and Pam, some of her favorite staff at TSO…
Good people made good vampires and bad people…didn’t.
While she sipped from the now-warm second bottle after quaffing down the first, she considered that her life wasn’t so bad, really, human feedings notwithstanding. Some people would have freaked the hell out either over being Turned at all or even being partially-Turned or maybe they would have turned their nose up at being partially-Turned, but she figured she had the best of both worlds.
Roddy certainly considered it so, she thought with a snicker.
He’d been pretty dang jealous – “jelly”, as he’d called it – when she’d finally contacted him and told him everything.
Well, he’d reamed her a new one at first for leaving him “dangling” (she really didn’t want to know…) for so long without contact and leaving him out of the loop and whatever other euphemisms he could think of to toss into the word flood (designed for maximum guilt) he’d sent her way.
Eventually he had calmed down – it had taken a while since no one could pull a vocal “I missed you” pout-fit like Roddy – and let her get on with the tale. The fact that he had given absolutely no damns whatsoever about her physical change, other than being riddled with jealousy, had relieved her more than she’d thought.
She’d hated having to tell him that her partial Turn had been an incredibly rare and extremely lucky accident. By all rights she knew she should be buried those dramatic six feet under and it was only by the grace of God, Godric, Eric, and Pam that she wasn’t.
The thought of what Godric would be like if he hadn’t been able to save her…some thoughts just didn’t bear thinking.
Unfortunately during her absence from Roddy’s life, dear, sweet, odd li’l Barty had “pulled a massive flip-out and then a runner”, in Roddy’s words, and this time when her friend said he’d never take Barty back, Cara actually believed him.
While she freely admitted to liking Roddy better of the pair, she felt marginally badly for Barty, too. Breakups were hard. They’d been a great couple, too, absolutely adorable although she hadn’t harped on that part like some of their mutual friends had, and she’d honestly thought they might have been able to make a go of it despite their infrequent little spats.
But…if they were going to split, then sooner always worked better than later, she guessed.
Three weeks ago, after she’d called him and they’d talked for hours, the night afterward she had officially introduced him to her vampires at an oh-so-casually arranged meeting at – where else – TSO, and things had gone extremely well. If Eric had cast a measuring gaze on the man, no one had noticed.
They’d met up several times since then, always at TSO since the location of the house was considered private and “need to know” only, and she’d noticed that several of the local vamps seemed a bit curious about her buddy.
Roddy wasn’t necessarily ready for another serious relationship, not yet, but he could definitely play around some if he wanted to, right? And TSO was a safe place for him to play with the vamps so long as he kept a cool head on his shoulders and followed the “basic rules of conduct” which she strongly pounded into his head.
As with pretty much everything else, she’d discussed the Roddy situation with her Trio. She wasn’t that much of a gossip, at least she didn’t think so, but she did care about what precious few friends she’d chosen to keep from what she considered her former life, and she wanted to ensure that Roddy wouldn’t just have fun but that he’d have safe, easy fun while he was at it.
Plus, if he did decide to become seriously involved with anyone of the fanged persuasion, all she’ have to do would be to tell Godric who would have Eric and/or Pam vet the guy for her friend.
Godric was nice like that.
And she was only a little interfering…and Godric though it was cute.
He had told her then that he was very glad she had at least one true friend from her former life. He then warned her quite seriously that, unless the fellow not only chose to be Turned but found someone willing to do so, she should prepare herself for living long, long after he passed into the night.
Cara had cried; he, with his own blood tears of guilt and grief slowly coursing down his face, had held her as she cried her eyes out as the truth of that statement hit hard. The next day, just as he’d thought she would, she had called Roddy again. He was her friend, currently her best non-vampire friend at that, and damn if she was going to waste time grieving before the fact and she certainly wasn’t going to do without him in a futile effort to avoid the pain of eventually losing him.
Godric had quietly kissed her forehead and told her how very proud he was of her.
But poor Roddy…he really had been so disappointed when he’d found out that her “condition” was practically a one-off, and in her opinion he had every right to be.
Increased physical strength and stamina, improved physical senses and mental acuity, speed, grace like she’d never had before, and an emotionally supportive and blood-bonded family all with a side order of coffee, fries, and crab legs aplenty? Yes, please!
Granted not everything was unicorns and rainbows; that just wasn’t how life went.
She wasn’t a pure vampire and although no one had said all that much to her about it, she could read between those invisible vampire lines and her instincts told her that something was up about that. One thing she had realized from her study of all-things-vampire was that vampires didn’t always like the strange or the unusual…well, unless they could buy or own it somehow…
Plus it was one thing to be the cherished baby of the family, and she most certainly was that, but the way they kept her from most one-on-one interactions with the vast majority of even the local vamps – and how the presence of any strange vampire led to a virtual lock-down where she was concerned – wasn’t the least bit suspicious.
Not at all.
After rinsing the first two bottles and placing them in the recycling bin, Cara grabbed the third bottle from the warmer to sip on as she moved about the house.
It had taken forever for Godric to be even remotely comfortable with her movements in naturally lit rooms, but he seemed mostly ok with it now.
The fact she had filmed herself moving about outside at high noon on a sunny day had done more to gain her “freedom” around the house than he cared to admit, but she was just glad it had worked. That strange concern he seemed to have about her safety still reigned supreme, though, so she had kindly agreed to severely limit the amount of time she spent outside in direct sunlight.
Besides, it seemed he was having a house built at some unknown location…and by “it seemed” she meant that she’d discovered the set of printed plans that had been hastily shoved into a drawer in the upstairs kitchen for some strange reason. Why her vampires would be discussing house plans in the upstairs “human” kitchen she’d never understand but there ya go.
Or…it could also have been the “totally casual” (for being ridiculously out of the blue) questions from both Godric and Eric about what she envisioned as being “her most perfect house”.
And what kind of climate she most preferred.
And did she speak any foreign languages?
And which was better, blue or green?
Subtle her vampires were not.
At least they’d been pleased to discover that she’d studied French in the past and even remembered a grand total of about five and a half words.
Apparently they could “work with that”.
She shrugged. She’d quickly scanned the plans when she’d found them and while she couldn’t remember everything she’d seen, they’d included a decent sized pool, what appeared to be sunrooms off the main-floor maybe-kitchen and one of the other rooms she thought might be a salon-to-be, and several decks and large balconies. Deciphering architectural plans was not her forte but from what she could tell, it looked nice.
The presence of a 12-foot-tall possibly-electric fence around the apparently-large property had struck her as odd, but it really shouldn’t have, she’d chastised herself – vampires were known for their security measures.
Not having wanted to risk ruining the surprise, if indeed it truly was meant as a surprise whether for her or not, she’d (only slightly reluctantly…really…) closed the drawer containing the plans and had gone about her business. She had been, and still was, rather proud of herself for not having actually touched any of the papers with her fingers. A convenient pair of salad tongs had sufficed to ever-so-gently lift the top couple of pages up enough for her to peer at them…not all of them, unfortunately, but enough to see that whatever was being built was going to be huge.
And fenced in.
By a 12-foot tall fence.
That might be electric.
She wasn’t sure how that new house or mansion or enclave or palace or whatever was going to fit in with her burgeoning business with Sookie – she had no idea where the thing was even supposed to be, but she figured Godric would work it all out just fine.
That was his specialty, after all.
**A/N: Yeah, wordy Cara is, um, wordy. This chapter turned out quite a bit longer than I’d thought it would. Hope you didn’t mind? (Blame Cara.) There is more to come, of course (remember how last chapter ended?), and it’s not like Godric will stay quiet for long, but that seemed a good stopping place.**