**A/N: No A/N. This is just a figment of your imagination.**
With as much grace as he could muster under the slightly painful and highly frustrating circumstances, Eric followed his silently smirking Maker out of the house to the burgundy SUV somehow ready and waiting at the top of the circle. As he folded himself into the vehicle with a grimace, he had to be glad of the additional leg-room provided by the SUV’s design and wanted to think he had successfully hidden his…discomfort.
Sookie’s impromptu hair petting session had left his pants tighter than comfort would allow but unfortunately that wasn’t a new thing where she was concerned.
For fuck’s sake… Why, after a literal millennia, am I suddenly so susceptible to one woman’s touch? Why? Granted during my toddler years…so easily excitable…but that was then…! I’d gotten over that, surely? Untried 15-year-old boy now… Ugh! Down through the ages…the most beautiful women…the loveliest maidens…could choose at will… Never had a problem performing, could go for nights on end, but could easily turn from such distractions when I wanted or needed to… Now…now all one little shit – a fucking virginal shit at that although she had to have known exactly what she was doing…all she has to do is run a dainty little fingertip down my ear and I’m fucking toast… Could it be the fairy allure? Doubt it…that would lead to draining more than fucking, although that could be part of it… No, this is all…her…no desire to drain her, only to fuck her senseless…
Godric remained silent as he drove them toward Dallas proper. Normally he enjoyed a bit of speed to liven up any drive – vamping, as the young ones called it, was much more preferable, but what can you do? – but he proceeded more sedately to give his child a chance to reclaim the necessary facade.
Sookie…what a cheeky brat! And so perfect for his complicated progeny! Buy his child a treat indeed… small bouncy balls sounded more appropriate by the minute.
He’d most certainly heard what had taken place between Eric and Sookie both during his telephone – annoying things, those – conversation and thereafter. Sookie would likely have been mortified if she’d known…the child had yet to understand just how powerful vampire senses could be. She would learn in time, though.
Vampires never had the luxury of not knowing. Whether for better or worse, from the time of their first rising there would always be precious few secrets of a physical nature between vampires in close proximity one to the other even when they didn’t share a familial bond; that bond simply ensured that were far fewer secrets.
That bond was necessary for survival and he had routinely thanked whatever gods there might be for its existence especially during Eric’s baby and toddler years, but the night a vampire was Made was the night any hope of privacy died.
Unless the progeny suddenly became Makerless; it happened. Regardless, with age thankfully came knowledge of how to limit most perceptible physical responses, and with age also came knowledge of how to limit what passed from one familial vampire to the other.
Just now the spikes of confusion, frustration, and curiosity bombarding him from his progeny were, however, incredibly entertaining.
He sensed when Eric finally reclaimed a few of his more important mental processes, although he couldn’t hold a bit of night-dreaming against the boy.
The streetlights eased by while Godric continued at his leisurely pace. Thankfully he had little planned so time on this night wasn’t exactly at a premium. Still, he did want to check in at his Area’s HQ to assure himself that Isabel was performing her duties adequately and that she wasn’t facing undue opposition. His other subordinates were naturally of better quality than the norm, and Stan was gone for the next three weeks, so he expected no problems.
Isabel would be a good vampire for the Sookie to know and, if both were willing, to learn from and possibly befriend. Although she kept it wisely hidden, she tended to be kind and genteel when possible but was otherwise as focused and ruthless as one could want. The charming hybrid had a way about her, perhaps stemming from her genetics, that seemed to encourage quick, easy friendships – Eric’s words about Sophie-Anne’s twin progeny proved that.
Oh, those poor boys…Sigebert and Wybert hadn’t deserved that one for a Maker. Neither, honestly, had Andre, but then their Master had been somewhat different in eras past. His obsessive loyalty – highly desirable except when misplaced – would have made sense back then.
Had she gotten hold of putrid blood along the way? Perhaps parasites had floated into what passed for her brain? Maybe she was cursed in some way? Both the strongest and the weakest personalities remain truest to their base characteristics. Sadly, intellectual strength and ethical fortitude were never burdens she’d had to carry.
Godric shrugged as he passed a truck over-laden with large freshly cut trees; the scent teased his nose in the most delightful way. If she came after his Eric, she would no longer be a problem anyway, and then her boys would be free.
Another reason for going to the Area office…he had some calls he needed to make away from Were hearing, not that he didn’t trust the two…he hoped they were even now working to keep the Sookie awake. If she was determined to work with vampires then she should become at least somewhat accustomed to vampire hours.
Not that she had much choice at this point…
Memories of an overheard conversation between a baby vampire and the undead equivalent of his aunt materialized in his mind. The newly-Turned and his Maker’s vampire-sibling had been chatting about, of all things, how the baby vampire’s father had chosen to wake him up in his human teenager days.
Somehow Godric was fairly certain this Sookie would not enjoy having a glass of cold water tossed into her face but he was certain the glass would cause a rather painful bruising. Maybe the glass wasn’t included in the toss? He hoped not.
A brief attunement to the bond with his own child informed him of Eric’s continued thoughtfulness, so he allowed himself the luxury of continuing his own ruminations about his guest and her situation.
Thinking while driving was the major benefit over running, although protection from the elements could be construed as a benefit. Memories filled his mind of the wind filtering through his hair, of little raindrops landing on his cheeks, the feel of wet grasses beneath his bare feet as he ran and ran and ran…of the warmth afterward of a small, hot fire fed with dried kindling saved for just such a use and the comfort of a thick blanket as he curled up in the interior of caves he’d found and prepared up and down his ancient paths…
A bitter smile tilted his lips. Most of the old sites were gone, now. Although a few might remain in Romania and parts of Bulgaria and perhaps modern Hungary…the deep forests in Germany, maybe…maybe deep in the heart of…, time had too likely rendered them null. Too many people, the disgusting sprawl of so-called civilization…
A tiny night creature ventured a bit too close to the road and he ably swerved to avoid it. He hoped the little bit of fur rethought the plan to cross the road and resolutely turned his thoughts back to the present.
He doubted the transition would be too difficult for the little charmer. That one had a hearty load of innate Southern gentility, but he had enough experience with that phenomenon to easily discern the true personality lying beneath, and he had to admire the little faeling’s determination, spirit, and of course her stubbornness, for better or for worse as that case may prove.
She had dealt quite effectively with his own child, he had to admit that….with a smirk.
Now that he’d met her, or rather, now that he’d had “the Sookie experience” as his sometimes odd child would say, it galled him that she had been put in such a precarious position.
Unfortunately, her situation didn’t surprise him – Sookie had been sold out by a grasping, immoral blood relative for a mere pittance of a reward. That, his jaw firmed briefly, was the true tale as old as time.
That was bad enough but then came along the even more grasping vampire and her greedy, amoral servant.
Alas and thankfully, the flea known as Hadley was someone else’s problem. She would likely disappear into the proverbial woodwork once the sad excuse for a queen fell from grace.
His lips, no longer firmed in annoyance, almost twitched at the thought of Sophie-Anne landing on the floor and bouncing on her oddly shaped ass. It shouldn’t be too long, either. Well, if that was the direction he chose for things to go depending on the monarch’s own actions.
No one would be sad to see Her Royal Screechiness go. Ears may ache for a while, though, possibly even bleed. To the dismay of both vampires and canines, she could reach the higher registers all too easily and those in her vicinity had already suffered enough.
Louisiana had never been a particularly profitable monarchy. Even with the inevitable revenue coming from New Orleans and all assorted river and gaming traffic, in the end natural disasters combined with the oddly slow growth in wealth of the human population resulted in a permanently subpar financial experience for the entire state.
And then there were the queen’s proclivities. That one tended to fill her own coffers from tithes earmarked for vastly different destinations while wasting state funds on herself and her inane schemes…not to mention her obsession with redecorating her royal residences.
From what he’d heard, her latest obsession truly made no sense. Why every residence suddenly needed new cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless steel kitchen appliances was beyond him as he was fairly sure she had no idea where kitchen rooms even were in any of her residences.
Godric had heard the Weres discussing the price of new appliances and other remodeling details – apparently countertops needed to be made of stone? Whatever…it made no sense to him – as they were going over his kitchen in preparation for Sookie and Tina’s arrival. It was no wonder Louisiana was bleeding gold far faster than the losses could be recouped.
Needless to say, he was thrilled, albeit subtly, that Eric was now officially out of that one’s clutches. He hadn’t been formally presented to King Texas yet, but that was just a formality as a Maker’s privilege overrode all else. While more information regarding Leclerq and her progeny would be beneficial, the main task at the moment was to ensure the child, the guest, and the cat’s safety while teaching the Sookie how to survive in her new circumstances.
True, the telepath did need to know how to conduct herself around vampires, but…on that note, something tickled…nay, more of an acrid burble than a tickle… at the back of the ancient vampire’s mind. He would figure it out when it was time.
Godric cleared his mind in hopes of enticing that elusive fragment.
Meanwhile, after a bout of unprofitable gazing out the window, the Viking finally took hold of himself as a list of the night’s tasks flashed through his mind. As he added and subtracted items from that list, he absentmindedly ran a hand through his long hair. The annoying bit in front could easily go but he felt a brief flash of regret for the length in the back. Even that length had to go.
Pam would no doubt cackle in maniacal glee; the highlights she obsessed over wouldn’t take nearly as much time to apply to shorter hair. Why she wasn’t satisfied with chemically treating her own was beyond him. Maybe he should sic her on Sookie…
Except for a few very brief stints throughout his history, his hair had been this length for as long as he could remember. It had been an on-going nod to his Viking heritage and a blatant warning to all comers of his skill in battle. Times were different now, and so was he, and his part in whatever play his life would become now demanded he look the part of his current character.
Subtlety is the name of the current game… I’m not Samson…can still hack all comers into itty, bitty pieces if and when I need to – hair length means nothing! Now…must assume the mantle of suave but powerful business manager-slash-bodyguard…have to look the part and long hair won’t work…damn it. Her fingers…moving through my…oh, the power in those fingers…won’t be cut too short…hell no! Will leave some length for her… Gaagh…looking civilized is overrated. Shorter hair won’t hide my skills but won’t advertise them so strongly either… Surprise, surprise, is that your head beside your feet? Careful there, wouldn’t want to step on your own ear, now, would you? Suckers…
Besides, the front at least kept falling into his eyes and getting in his way. Funny how that had never bothered him before.
It was time.
Besides, if this mysterious scissor-wielding human fucks it up, I can regrow it in no time. Might consider regrowing it anyway so she can play with it…damn, should just rename myself Fluffy and start batting around toy mice. Least I won’t have to use a damn litter box. Do cat treats come in O-neg? Would she toss me tiny little blood-scented toys to attack? I can attack…and purr…can definitely…
No. I do not purr.
But I would attack her toes.
Streetlights passed slower than he’d have expected if he’d been thinking about it but for some reason he kept vigil anyway.
Sure, he knew he needed a decent haircut, but he also knew the old man well enough to realize that the point behind the night’s trip had little to do with that actual mission and was more of a ruse – Godric wanted a chunk of time away from the house likely so that, among other things, he and his child could speak freely.
But he did need his damn hair cut, so there was that.
Plus I bet the old boy has missed me more than he’s letting on…wants some time for just the two of us… Maybe this is what tv panelists consider father/son bonding? Will he take me out for vampire ice cream, available on every disreputable street corner after dark and in as many colors as can come from a bottle? Oh hey, he does owe me a toy for getting my hair cut…Sookie said so… Hey pops, can we break into a toy store when we’re done? I want a toy car and a ball bat and a super-soaker! Sookie…Sookie…super-soaker…white t-shirt…
With a bit of shifting around – the vehicle’s interior was spacious enough but not quite enough for his large frame – he withdrew and checked his burner to see if Pam had replied to his text – like he wouldn’t have felt the vibration but one never knew – yet wasn’t worried that she hadn’t.
She currently had her highly capable and sometimes deadly hands full dealing with the ‘guests’ in the basement while reopening the bar after the two-night penalty while also closing the bar without appearing to…close the bar.
And then there were The Broders to deal with.
Pam knew to get her ass out of there if she had even the slightest doubt about her safety; long ago Eric had made sure she understood that her safety came before anything else. Granted they had already removed everything of value from that location and their personal links to any profits ceased to exist after Godric’s name magically appeared on the deed…
Mentally he snorted. Godric’s accumulated wealth made him look like a pauper so he knew his Maker couldn’t care less if the entire structure magically disappeared.
Ah, Pam…he still worried, though. That was part of being a Maker, and that haughty little snot was his haughty little snot and she was loyal to a fault.
Still, it galled him that he didn’t know exactly what was up with…
Sigebert and Wybert… conundrum…never thought I’d live to see the night that the grunting duo would represent an honest conundrum. Thanks, Sookie…really, thanks… Not. What the hell did she do to The Walking Mountains, anyway? Odd…
Although he didn’t spend much…well, any time worrying about other Makers’ children, he felt badly for the twin giants. They were under-appreciated, ill-used, ignored…their vast talents were going to shameful waste in their current incarnation…but he couldn’t see a way to help them, either.
Not without ridding the world of one highly incompetent, overly perverted, shrill little queenling.
Not that he would mind.
And it would certainly free them…
Oh my Odin… What, now I’m catching feels for the rest of the fucking world? What the fuck is going on? And I totally blame Pam for even knowing the phrase “catching feels”, too. Pam, your blessed tootie-Loubouties are officially on notice…really need a super-soaker…
The Brothers are surely old enough to do whatever the hell they…but that Maker/child bond… Fuck… Andre…shitty little, well, not-so-little fuck…but I wonder if… Nooo!!! No no no no no. I will not wonder if that shitty little fuck is as stuck as his vampire siblings!! No. I. Will. Not.
Fuck you and your “feels”, Pam. I wonder…are there any vaccinations against this shit? If they’re catchable then they’re vaccinate’able, right? They gotta be…this shit ain’t right… Wonder if I can throw these damn “feel” things right back at her…maybe they’ll land in her hair…lay eggs…and crawl around like spiders…
The thought of Pam running around slapping at her head pleased him immensely and he would bet a brunette that Sookie would get a kick out of it, too.
Eric looked down and was surprised to find his keys in his hand. His phone was back in his pocket but how did…?
Never mind. Probably a symptom of those feels Pam infected me with. This trip down WTF-lane had better come with some toys…maybe some sharp, throwable things…
After practicing staring out the window at the unimpressive scenery again just for old time’s sake, a question he had lightly pondered while still at the house burst forth with magnificent diction.
“Why wouldn’t you have Sookie read the human who cuts hair?”
The immediate if fleeting grimace on his face at having asked the question in the first place didn’t go unnoticed.
Instead of commenting, Godric’s expression flowed from the placid relaxation of driving into that of a patient teacher. He’d wondered how long it would take Eric to ask and was looking forward to this discussion.
Go pee. And eat something. Maybe grab a drink, a smoke if ya got’em, maybe some art supplies ’cause you never know when Jason might drop by… Ok, so, he won’t be in this chapter and, yeah, likely not in the next one or three or whatever, but hey, dude’s like a cat…never know what he’s gonna get into next cause, hell, neither does he. How Hoyt managed to put up with him for so long is anybody’s guess, maybe he subconsciously liked his butt or something, but then again he kept having to deal with Maxine… Yeah, Jason’s brand of insanity is lookin’ better by the second.
So’s his butt.
During his unnaturally long life on this planet, the old vampire had accumulated, digested, kept or revised much knowledge…some of which he’d even wanted to gain at one point or other. He had shared much of what he’d considered worthwhile with his beloved progeny, and some of it had even sunk into the boy’s generally well-meaning but sometimes humorously thick skull.
As time both crept and flew by, as new bits of information came to light, perhaps things that proved older knowledge false or maybe simply reformed an old thought into a new idea, he would occasionally share these findings with those few he felt worthy of hearing them.
Such a time had once again come upon them. A thing had been weighing heavily for…a while, off and on, and now that he was entirely back in his child’s life, it was a thing he needed to speak about, only, how to begin the talk? How to phrase ideas fluttering on gossamer wings in such a way as to show the whys and not just the…
A smirk almost possessed his nimble lips. It would make sense that Eric could be of two, perhaps more, minds about this… If nothing else, it should be fun to watch.
Yes, now had come the time for…for an updated lesson of sorts about parts of several ideas that had somehow majestically coalesced into one, an opportunity to revise that which had been found to be less true now than in eras past… Current practices and current truths demanded it.
He figured, perhaps even hoped, it would, as Stan would say, flip his shit but good…or something to that effect. Stan seemed awfully concerned with fecal matter for a vampire who had no need for such worries but then…Stan was, *sigh*, Stan, and Stans did have their occasional uses.
“You tell me why I would not have done so,” he replied conversationally. “Tell me what I would have gained, or perhaps lost, by choosing this course of action, or inaction as it were.”
Eric scrunched up his face.
Great…no simple answer when a grand thought exercise would do better, eh?
While it was ever to his own benefit, he sometimes hated it when the old guy pulled the sensei card. After a moment of silence, he shrugged. He couldn’t think of a single reason not to have her read the guy.
“I can see where having her read him would have been beneficial,” he slowly began only to be interrupted.
“And what do you mean by having her read him?”
He looked at his Maker in confusion. Godric rarely interrupted anyone without reason. As a very powerful and ancient vampire his words always carried weight…rude interruptions weren’t necessary.
Ok, so Sookie is a telepath, she reads people…? Godric’s getting at something but whatever it is, it’s still clear as herbal mud. There must be a reason, though…
“What do you mean?”
“Think for a moment about the exact words you used.” The patience in his Maker’s tone soothed some of his frustration.
Godric obviously felt there was something he needed to understand, so Eric dutifully thought about the words he had used.
“I can see where having her read him would have been beneficial”…of course it would have been. He could be a spy, he could be a spy and not even know it if he’s under glamour…could even have his own agenda. What is there to question about this? Security is paramount! If she read him, she could pick up on any number of reasons to end him, so it would be incredibly useful to verify his loyalty or lack thereof… What am I not getting?
As city traffic continued to increase, nothing came to mind. He finally shook his head and exhaled with vigor.
“I give up Oh Wise One. Obviously there is a point or you wouldn’t be spending time on this, so…,” he let his voice taper off with a shrug.
“Why do you automatically assume that her actions are yours or mine to control?”
Eric stilled and stared at Godric as his jaw figuratively dropped.
“When you state that you would have her to do aught, that means you automatically believe yourself to have the right to command her in some way.”
The Viking turned his gaze to stare unseeingly at the SUV’s dash.
But…but wait… We are vampire… Long ago he said…mere mortals! But…but now he’s…what? Sookie is… I don’t… WTF?
Taking pity on his stunned progeny, Godric continued in a tone light and even. “There was no emergency tonight. To the best of our knowledge none of our lives was or will be at stake tonight because of this particular human, so there was no need to assume that she must read this human solely because she is a telepath we happen to know. What must be kept in mind is that she has free will and that her free will must remain her own in as much as it can. Already her options are limited in the largest ways; why take her choices in small ways especially when it isn’t necessary?”
Eric figuratively closed his mouth as he considered his Maker’s words. They caused a strange resonance somewhere in the pit of his stomach that he didn’t wish to consider too closely.
“You automatically assumed that because she isn’t vampire and that because she is a telepath you just happen to know, that you automatically have the right to make use of her ability,” he elaborated gently. His Eric was extremely fair at heart; it would only be necessary to expand that definition of fairness in a way that made sense to the boy. “She is not. She is her own person. How would you feel if, because you are vampire, someone else automatically assumed that your blood should be used to heal all and sundry simply because they know you and have knowledge of your blood’s abilities? What if they assumed that your fangs were automatically at their disposal…just because they know you? Simply because she is a mortal telepath in no way means she is anyone’s property or tool to use or command.”
Subtly breaking to avoid a potential problem ahead, Godric paused to give Eric time to consider his words. He realized his child wasn’t accustomed to seeing anyone other than a vampire as anything near an equal and while most of that was his fault as Maker, much blame fell on the vampire world as a whole. Even vampires rarely considered other vampires their equal – everyone was either of lesser or greater status and therefore perceived importance.
The futility of regretting having Turned Eric – thus exposing him to an unlife constantly filled with such convoluted, revolting, and sometimes downright evil realities – weighed as heavily as always. But what was done was done and for the least negative of reasons as the mortal Viking would have truly and permanently perished if he hadn’t stepped in as Death.
He wasn’t sure he would be so willing to condemn the boy if offered the chance to do all things over again. Being vampire was a blessing; living as one was not.
Given his progeny’s lack of current verbosity, Godric accessed the bond and the feelings he detected led him to believe Eric remained in deep thought.
The jumbled collection of thoughts he’d had once upon a time had never truly coalesced, and certainly not into an actual planning stage. There had been no impetus, no focal point…but if any fragment of those fleeting contemplations were to have a chance at success, he would need his child by his side, and that child would need to have no qualms. Allowing his child to come to his own conclusions not only showed respect for Eric’s own brilliant mind, it also allowed Eric to have faith in his own conclusions.
Time to narrow the focus once more.
“Unfortunately the child has been thrust into a world as foreign to her as the Realms would be to us. Also unfortunately, the vampire world at large will see her as an easily controllable tool to be wielded at their whim. Think of how easy and natural it was for you to automatically assume her telepathy was somehow yours to use at will, and you obviously have her best care and interests in mind. Consider how very much worse the rest of our society would be given their arrogant assumption of superiority over mortals of all kinds. This is not fair to her, but until public opinion is changed, in our own home and in our own private lives we will not treat her as such. Exigent circumstances notwithstanding, she is our friend, not our servant.”
But I didn’t mean… I’ve never treated her…never thought of her… She’s…she’s Sookie! I never meant… But… Fuck.
Sometimes he hated it when Godric was right. It was such a subtle but innate mindset…
“Our Sookie, and when the time is right, your Sookie…she is but a child. She is a bright, beautiful, genuine addition to our lives, but when it comes to our world, she is weak in many ways. It is our job, our duty, to protect her, and as you well know, ensuing she has the information she so desperately needs to help us keep her safe is a must. It is our duty to keep others of our kind from using her, especially using her badly, or tricking her into owing them somehow. To do this effectively, among other things we must teach her as best we can, and to do this she must trust us, and that involves knowing that she is safe from such use by us.”
Godric turned at a green light but continued speaking without pause.
“And yes,” he continued with a certain smugness tinged with a vague caution, “I realize that you have feelings for her and that you should proceed with sweet, clever caution, but in the midst of all things, remember that she is her own being and so has her own freedoms and her own choices to make. You have done very well thus far in breaking her free from probable slavery and worse under Compton and that silly queen….”
An inadvertent growl escaped from Eric and while Godric agreed with the sentiment, he ignored the interruption.
“…and in removing yourself and Pam, and eventually Thalia, too, I hope, from the queen’s area of influence. I am quite proud of you for taking such quick action. Indeed, I wish you had broken those bonds decades ago, but it is what it is.”
Eric struggled to keep from basking in his Maker’s pride but it was a lost cause. That type of feeling coming from one’s Maker was indescribably…joy, it was pure, addictive, almost healing joy, and as such it was its own reward.
To keep from beaming like a toddler, he concentrated on thinking even while returning to his Maker a sense of thankfulness and adoration. He figured the old guy deserved a heaping helping of both.
A negligent shrug from Godric would out-negligent-shrug a negligent shrug from anyone else on the planet…Pam should take lessons… Should have washed Louisiana from my fine, permanently toned body decades ago, really… An interesting land…very moist, though, and all those insects…including the ones with all the legs? Climate certainly encourages spiders…not to mention that oddly pervasive mold problem like in the basement of the bar…no longer my fucking problem. Sophie-Anne can have them all…and those creepy flying cockroaches…may they ever nest in her hair…
“Now,” Godric returned to the original point of the discussion, “had this been a crisis of some sort, had our lives depended information she could gain from reading this person, then yes, I would have asked her to read him. However, doing so at this time would have served little purpose other than to make Sookie feel as though she is present for our convenience and not her own safety and education.”
Eyes glanced down at the keychain he was now slowly tossing from hand to hand and nodded; Godric’s facts were indisputable. As he fiddled with the keychain he realized that he hated knowing he had automatically assumed that her gifts were his to command. Given his automatic assumptions about humans he could see why he’d thought that way; it was only natural, but in the end it didn’t matter.
She’s her own person…has made sure I knew that from time to time, too. Even the Dae had figured it out, it or something like it…need to check in with him… She hasn’t beaten me over the head with it, but in her own way… Mindset…need to adjust it I guess… Hard to do, been vampire so long…humans are here for our use… Is Godric trying to hint that they’re not? No, I don’t…maybe… Who the fuck knows. Regardless, she’s not full human, is she… Even if she were, though, she’d still be…Sookie.
“I,” he began as though speaking to the dash but cleared his throat before proceeding, “I hadn’t realized…such an easy mindset to…”
Godric hid a smile as Eric’s voice trailed off. Good, he thinks and so will come ’round all the quicker. Not a bad child, not at all even if he is my own creation…but times change and so must the way we perceive our world. If I can change, so can he.
Eric suddenly shoved the keychain back into his pocket when he realized that they were entering the parking lot of the Dallas Area offices.
“I thought we were going to the nest?” He couldn’t remember exactly what Godric had said about it all – hard to remember anything but Sookie’s fingers in his hair, honestly – but to him it would make more sense to have his dead proteins cut at a house rather than a group of offices no matter how many there were. Judging by the size of the building there would be many rooms to choose from for such an itchy activity.
Two toys…deserve at least two toys for all this hassle…and maybe a vacation in Turkey…lots of subterranean land to cover…
Godric shrugged. “I have no desire to visit the Area nest, and the boy who cuts hair will come to either location.”
Eric nodded. He couldn’t blame the old man. The vampire grapevine was an active beast and he’d heard more than he’d wanted to about some of Godric’s retinue. His expression subtly fell when he realized that said retinue was likely in the building above them as Godric drove into the underground parking area.
As Godric pulled into his reserved spot, Eric sat up and straightened his shoulders as an idea seemed to spring from nowhere.
“I wonder,” he began, his eyes focused off in the distance somewhere, “if there is any way we can present her not just to the king but to all vampires as a person of importance, someone to be respected in her own right? Instead of changing her to fit into our world, why can’t we slowly change our world to make room for her? If a vampire wants to purchase use of her talents, why not require that vampire to at least show her the respect she deserves rather than trying to teach her to bow to them?”
Godric let a beatific smile slowly brighten his face.
“Now you’re thinking, my child. Now, you get it.”
Waves of pride once again coursed through the bond from Maker to child as Godric shut off the engine.
Eric felt the necessary facade descend as he quickly surveyed the area around them before reaching for the door handle. Although the ride hadn’t really taken all that long and the SUV was considered spacious, he still enjoyed stretching his legs as he exited the vehicle. Without considerable adjustment, few things in his unlife could actually accommodate his large frame.
He subtly flexed his back muscles as he glanced around the parking area beneath the multi-storied building and almost rolled his eyes at the array of expensive vehicles. The most obviously extravagant ones, he bet, were likely owned by the youngest. For a moment he thought fondly of his sexy red Corvettes but then considered his other vehicles that were more appropriate for his current position in the complicated world of vampire society.
Vampires and cars…cars and vampires… The older ones know to go for quality and the smartest ones at least have far more subtle options – ‘vettes not withstanding – but the babies always go for more show than they can afford…wasting money on expensive cars, clothes, and hobbies when they should be investing in property and decent stocks…amateurs. Bathed in Godric’s pride… It has been a long, long time since my Maker has been so very and obviously proud of me…maybe it’s been that long because…it’s been so long. Ahem…cars…investments…property… Yeah, um…they’ll learn…as time goes by, they’ll learn… Yeah… You can have expensive tastes all you like but not until you can afford them.
He shook his head and was glad that back in his younger years Godric had taken the time to teach him about the ways of, well, unlife.
A desire for the nicer things was fine, of course, but vampires honestly needed nothing that money could buy so long as unwary humans and dirt to hide themselves from the sun were available. Money, however, brought, or more honestly bought, convenience and luxury.
But not pride, true pride, from one’s Maker.
Vampires liked convenience and luxury…a lot. The undead loved flaunting their power and wealth, too…and that wealth could buy safety and information, both of which a contract with Sookie could purchase. The smarter vampires would realize this. The more flamboyant vampires would see the hiring of her services as a way to flaunt their wealth and self-importance.
While automatically scenting the air to familiarize himself with the heaviest scents in the area, he thought about Godric’s point and came to a further realization of his own.
He himself was considered a powerful vampire, and if he continued seeing and especially treating Sookie as someone he could negligently if even unintentionally disrespect as he would a human, others would do the same.
If, however, he chose to show her more obvious respect, then others, subconsciously or not, would follow his lead.
As her manager, bodyguard, or, to the oldest and most hidebound vampires, “owner”, others would naturally take their cue from him. If he treated her well, they would assume there must be a good reason since their kind never wasted respect on the ‘undeserving’.
While the idea of slaying some asshole for disrespecting her warmed his blood in the most satisfying of ways, it wouldn’t be all that productive to go around ending her…their… future business opportunities.
Well, not that often at any rate. Best to show them with my own actions how to respect her upfront before they present me with the chance to end them…or at least wait until we receive payment…money first, ending later… Maybe buy her a maid or servant to follow her around, maybe a Were…a FEMALE Were, damn it…
Eric sighed and closed the vehicle’s door…and totally missed Godric’s smirk.
**A/N: So…how’d ja like them apples? Really, what did you think?**