After enduring his younger brother-by-Turning’s enthusiastic welcoming (under Godric’s amused gaze, of course), Eric leaned back enough to grasp the younger vampire by the shoulders thereby forestalling any further hugs.
“What did you do with those fuck-ugly glasses? Never mind,” he said with a huge grin, “I’m just glad the damn things are gone.”
Stan affected a hurt expression. “What? You never liked the latest in geek accoutrement?” He sniffed dramatically, then added, “You are eons behind the times, brother dearest.”
Eric rolled his eyes then suddenly grabbed Stan’s head and scrubbed his knuckles across his ash-blond hair until it was as tangled as it would ever get. Naturally the King retaliated, and soon the two were a laughing mass of fake snarls and half-hearted jabs rolling around on the floor. Godric simply moved his feet as they tumbled by him. Each was about the same size and breadth as the other, so they were well-matched in their game of “skirmish in Godric’s office”.
Knowing from past experience that this could continue on for hours, a little while later their mutual Maker quietly said with an eye roll of his own, “Boys.”
Neither admitting to losing, both rose and, with a few distinguished shakes of their head, their hair fell back into order as if nothing had happened. Their wrinkled clothing was another matter entirely.
“Where’s the Royal Niece,” Stan asked after flopping down in one of the chairs near the sofa where Godric still sat. He’d always gotten along with well with Pam.
“Hurricane Pam has hit Barbados. Thus far the casualties have been minimal. Well, let’s just say that I haven’t heard any complaints from King Ulrich yet, and he would definitely notify me if too many locals seemed to go missing.” Reluctantly he added, “Or if there were any sudden outbreaks of Twerking or ukulele obsession.”
Stan laughed while Godric nodded with a twinkle in his calm blue eyes. He also knew Pam. “Twerking? So she has a new obsession?”
“Oh, yes,” The Viking intoned wryly. “She says she ‘adores‘ how those morons’ ass cheeks clap, says it reminds her of seals clapping in a circus.”
The three handsome vampires chatted for a bit, and while Eric wondered what was going on with the Fairy situation, he sensed that Godric was happy to leave it be for the evening, especially with it being so close to sunrise.
Soon after waking familiar yet different quarters the next afternoon, Eric heated himself a bag in the small kitchenette just off his main living area, and allowed himself the luxury of a slow, easy ‘rising’.
It felt good to be ‘home’, as it were, even if this was Texas. As safe as he had been, there was an altogether different sort of peace found in rising in one’s Brother’s Kingdom
He knew quite well that Stan would love for himself, Godric …anyone… to take the “Kingdom” off his hands, and prepared himself for what he knew was coming sooner or later.
Silly pup almost single-handedly brought down the former regime…let him deal with his so-called winnings. Maybe it’ll teach him to keep his mitts off future kingdoms he doesn’t actually want.
As he dressed, he had to wonder if Stan still spent as much unnecessary time with human ladies as he used to. If the tow-headed brat weren’t as smart as he actually was (despite all evidence to the contrary), Eric would be much more concerned about Stan blowing his vampire cover along with his wad. He did love the ladies…
Yes, Eric had missed being home.
He made a point to check the mirror for any blood smears (damn drinking glasses) before going in search of his Maker whose slight thirst he could already sense. En route, he wondered why Godric hadn’t yet drank the bagged blood surely well-stocked in his small kitchen.
Not at all surprising to anyone who knew him, Stan point-blank refused to participate in the blood-slave trade ‘vastly enjoyed’ by the former monarch, and in fact had personally supervised the healing, glamouring, and releasing of the previous king’s ‘herd’. Everyone in Stan’s relatively small retinue was, therefore, responsible for acquiring their own live meals unless they chose to partake of the questionably-gained bagged blood always available in personal quarters and in the Palace’s kitchen area. Texas’s benevolent new king already had a kind reputation for never turning away a hungry vampire, and while he would never allow untried vampires into his trusted circle of advisors, he was also known for giving “stray” vampires a safe place to rest and a small wage in exchange for a good night’s work. ‘Palaces don’t always run themselves’ he was known to quip.
Eric shook his head as he walked leisurely toward his Maker’s area. The little freak also found homes for stray cats and dogs.
As old as his Maker was, Eric knew it took very little to satisfy the need that decreased with age, but he also knew his Maker thoroughly enjoyed a rather intense hunt once in a while. He readily acknowledged that he missed seeing Death come out to play, watching the lean, muscled lines of his Maker’s beautiful body flex and ripple as he hunted, struck, and drank his fill.
It was definitely time to take Godric out on a hunt…he didn’t get out nearly as often as he should.
Moving more quickly now through the light-safe Palace corridors, he tracked his beloved Maker to the ancient vampire’s quarters. Whereas his puppy of a younger brother would have barely knocked as he entered the suite, Eric gave two knocks and waited for an invitation to enter. While last night he had been expected, he prided himself on having manners that he was certain Stan had yet to learn…not that the brat would bother.
“Afternoon, Eric,” Godric said before raising a brow. “What is it you are trying not to say?”
The ancient vampire was amused. He had felt a small then growing burst of determination and anticipation coming through the bond and wondered what his Child was up to now.
Eric wanted to huff – of course Godric would know something was up. Instead he donned his best “please can we” expression.
“Let’s go for a hunt.”
Damn, didn’t mean to just blurt it out like that.
“But you have fed already.” Hard-pressed to keep his grin at bay in the face of Eric’s barely-hidden consternation, Godric regarded his progeny curiously, the humor in his sparkling blue eyes giving him away.
Of course he could tell the other vampire had already fed.
As a Maker, along with ensuring his progeny’s safety came the task of ensuring that said progeny was also well-fed. It was a Maker’s duty, joy, and instinct to care for any issues that might arise with their progeny. And, while Eric’s beautiful face did reveal his recently-fed status, his skin tone simply wasn’t quite pink enough, and he in no way appeared satiated.
What was he up to? Why hadn’t he drank his fill – surely there were enough blood bags in his quarters. Ahh, he thought upon delving deeper. That makes sense. He wants a true hunt.
“Yes, I have, but nothing compares to a live feeding. Come, let us hunt as in the nights of old. Don’t you want to get out of here for a while and be a creature of the dark?” While he tried to assume the puppy-dog eyes that usually worked, his face actually revealed more of a primal anticipation of such deeds.
Shaking his head, Godric attempted to quash the darker needs brought to life by his Child’s words. “I’m sorry, but right now I really shouldn’t. I have too much to do.” He was not in the least successful in subduing the needs or in hiding his wistfulness.
It has been so long…
“How long has it been?” Eric could feel his Maker’s longing, and knew he needed to get out. To his knowledge the last time Godric had actually gone anywhere for more than a night or two was when he worked on that joke of a show.
When his Maker didn’t immediately respond, Eric pressed his case. “I know we’ve got the Fairy business coming up, and since there’s no way of knowing how long that will take, we should seize our opportunities as we can, right?”
Godric glanced over at Eric and, while he easily saw beyond the attempted puppy eyes (which usually worked anyway), he did glimpse the slight worry in the tall blond’s eyes.
The worry would get him every time.
With a sigh far less heartfelt than it sounded, he acquiesced. “Call your brother if you remember how, and we’ll go, but for no longer than three hours.”
Eric didn’t even try to keep the triumphant grin off his face as he concentrated on contacting Stan, and nodded when he felt Stan’s acknowledgement.
A few minutes later Stan knocked twice on Godric’s door as he entered…just as Eric expected.
“You rang Brother-dear?” Appearing outwardly composed, Stan only took three steps into the room, just far enough to be able to close the door behind him. Eric and Godric both could sense that something was off.
“What is it, Stan,” Godric asked, his eyes immediately changing from the blue-green of anticipation to the darker blue of worry for his youngest Child.
“Nothing I can’t handle, Master,” he answered in all seriousness. “I’ve just been informed that there’s another group of grabby gits thinking they can demand my kingdom with a couple of threats and get away with it.”
Both older vampires reacted instantly. While they knew exactly what an outstanding fighter Stan was, both would always rise to his defense just he would to theirs.
Godric’s fangs descended and his more compact, muscular body tightened as if to fight that very second. His face hardened and his gaze chilled as he seemed to instantly appear at his youngest Child’s side. No one was going to touch his Child.
Eric’s fangs also descended and his eyes also darkened as he straightened to his full height. He might consider his younger Brother a tow-headed brat, but Stan was his tow-headed brat of a Brother.
No one who knew Godric would disobey an order issued in that tone.
Stan had intended on handling this latest uprising on his own. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t handle the problem – his “army” wasn’t huge, but it was mighty. Of course he wouldn’t mind if his Maker and his Brother joined him in a small battle, but dammit, he hadn’t wanted to intrude on their first full evening together in far too long.
Plus, he’d wanted to handle this situation by himself.
“The other night when I rose, I had a message from one of my Weres telling me about this small band of free-roaming vampires his brother had sniffed out in Arizona. The brother said that this group seemed “unsettled”, that something about them didn’t “sit right” with him. Roscourt, the Were, said that he’d told his brother to track this band since they were heading in this direction.” Stan paused to head over to Godric’s mini-kitchen to heat up some blood, and continued over the slight hum of the microwave.
“When I rose tonight, Roscourt’s message said that his brother had followed this unaffiliated group through New Mexico the last two nights and that he had taken over today. He followed a convoy of unmarked moving vans as they delivered eight suspiciously large storage containers to a house just outside this fair city.”
“How many?” Few would dare question Eric when he used that tone, either.
“Roscourt’s brother said there were at least seven of them, but when the van left, he shifted and circled the property, and said he detected at least nine different vamps.”
“When do we leave?”
Stan lifted the corner of his mouth in the barest of grins. His Maker and his Brother sounded so alike when speaking in stereo.
**A/N: 😀 You know the drill: So, what did you think?**