**A/N: Not gone over with my usual fine-tooth’d comb so ignore anything odd and/or wrong. I could have waited until this migraine went away and proofed it then, or I could have said a less polite version of “Pooh on that, don’t make them wait till the Nth of Never and go ahead and post it now.” Guess which I went with?**
By the time Godric handed Sookie his surprisingly thick reply to Eric, she was almost bouncing with impatience to return to the other realm. She wasn’t exactly sure why – the hotel suite was permanently registered in her name, there were no deadlines for the book she was vaguely reconsidering writing, and Mr. C had everything else under control, so there really was no rush. She did acknowledge that since this particular exchange seemed important somehow to Godric considering how long it was taking him to write back, Eric would probably be impatient for the reply, so that must be it.
Claudy’s smirking farewells as she suddenly decided to to visit another Court did not completely reinforce that nice-sounding reasoning.
Of course, neither had Godric’s own parting words quietly exchanged before the ancient one had popped off to who-knew-where.
When he had appeared before her as she sat in one of the Palace’s “royal” gardens – “royal” only in that they were reserved for members of Niall’s blood family yet appearing exactly as most other gardens in Fairy – her relief when noticing the envelope in his hand must have been more obvious than she’d intended.
“Ah, impatient to return to your own realm, I see. Is there a particular reason for such eagerness? Would that reason be, I wonder, tall, blond, and Viking in origin?” The utter innocence in his sparkling blue-gray eyes was astounding.
Knowing that her cheeks were blushing worse than her cousin’s hair didn’t help the situation.
Instead of answering and while avoiding his all-too-knowing gaze, Sookie reached for the envelope he’d held out and was truly surprised by its thickness. After looking at it for a moment, she asked, her expression when she finally looked up becoming serious, “Is everything ok? I don’t want to know what you and Eric are talking about or anything, that’s between the two of you, but this is awfully thick, and it seemed to take you longer to write back and all.”
For a moment his ancient face turned pensive as his eyes surveyed something seen long ago and far away, and then he smiled a bit sadly. “Yes, it is, and it will be. Eric and I…we are not who we started life being nor are we who we used to be. We are old with experience and knowledge, yet we are new again.”
Impulsively Sookie stood and wrapped her arms around him, and hugged him close. His arms immediately returned the favor, and they held each other quietly for a long moment.
Finally Godric stepped back enough to look down into her face and advised in a voice soft but serious, “Should my Child choose to speak with you, listen with your heart. The past will never leave us, Sookie, as it is part of who we are now, but we cannot go forward if we only see what has been. We learn, and then we let it go.”
Whether Sookie wanted it to happen or not, a memory of Eric chaining her by her neck in that disgusting dungeon beneath Fangtasia immediately crossed her mind and was followed by the extremely painful memory of Russell’s bite.
Godric must have sensed the direction of her thoughts because his quickly sympathetic gaze brought tears to her eyes. He cupped her cheek and slowly caressed her paling skin with his thumb.
“He has much to atone for, I know this. So does he. Without betraying his confidence I can clearly state that not only does he wish to, but that he believes himself unworthy of the opportunity. That does not mean he won’t try, however,” he added with a wry grin at Eric’s chosen approach to life, a wobbly grin that Sookie returned. “It will be up to you to decide if you can forgive him, and me.”
“You? But you had nothing to do with it!”
“Yes, Sookie, to my shame, I had everything to do with it even if I had no intention of it being so.” He sighed, then dropped his arms to grab her hand. “Come, let us sit and talk.”
Instead of sitting on the bench nearby, Godric led her further from the main path until they reached a much more secluded garden table with two comfortable chairs.
Once they were seated and refreshments were popped in – iced tea for her, iced blood for him – he began.
“First and foremost I am at fault for not realizing even once in the past thousand years how very badly Edgington’s actions during Eric’s youth truly affected the young man he had been. I knew of his trespass against Eric’s family, and we did search for him a few times, but we did not know his identity, but I could have tried harder. Had I done so, I would certainly have ended him long ago.”
Sookie, her face concerned, made to interrupt the ancient vampire, but he gently shushed her as he patted the hand she had rested on his. “No, child, let me say my piece. As Eric’s Maker, I did him an enormous disservice by taking myself away from him when I did. Of course I had no idea what was wrong with me, nor did I know how things would go, but that does not excuse my selfishness. Had I been there with him where I should have been, Edgington would not have been a problem.”
Sookie shivered at the deadly look in Godric’s eyes and knew without a doubt that regardless of Russell’s supposed age or power, he’d have been no match for the vampire still holding her hand so tenderly.
“Instead I was…gone. I was not there to accept and fulfill my chosen responsibilities as Eric’s Maker, and Eric had heartrending choices to make. At the end, when given all the demands on his time and attention, I am not certain he could have chosen differently, but even with only my advice things would never have gotten to that point…had I been there.”
He turned to more fully face Sookie and tipped her chin so that she would meet his eyes.
“Sookie, I apologize with every part of my being to you for allowing my absence to cause those things to happen to you. You did not deserve to be so used by my Child, by Compton, by Sophie-Anne…you deserved none of it. It would have been in my power to easily prevent these things, and I feel as though I have failed you, too, in my selfish despair.”
Tears streaming down her face, Sookie hastily shook her head, but he was determined to continue.
“I know I wasn’t thinking clearly, and now I know better why, but that does not negate the fact that my highly preventable absence caused such destruction in so many lives. I…”
At this point Sookie had had enough.
“No, Godric,” she interrupted strongly. “We’ve talked about this, and no, you were in no state to suffer the world, and you were in that state precisely because you wanted to protect Eric from feeling just how awful you were feeling because you didn’t want him to worry, and you didn’t want those bad feelings creeping through the bond and infecting him, too. You weren’t there because you were here and here is where you should have been all along, Godric. You were supposed to be here, not there.” She stopped and summoned a tissue then gave Godric a glare daring him to speak while she mopped her face and blew her nose less than delicately. After she popped the abused tissue out of existence, she returned her glare to the ancient vampire holding appropriately silent.
“I’m sure that between you and Eric most of that stuff wouldn’t have happened. It did, though, and now we, both of us, all three of us really, have to figure out a way to move on from it. And we will, somehow. I guess. I do know that you’re not responsible for any of it, Godric. None of it. If you had known that any of it was going to happen, would you have gone to that damn roof in Dallas?”
The challenging gleam in her eyes did not escape his notice.
“No,” he said with a resigned laugh, “of course not.”
“Alrighty then, case closed,” she ordered firmly.
Eyes slowly regaining their twinkle, Godric tipped his head. “As you say. Now, if Eric chooses to speak with you, will you hear him?”
Sookie scrunched her nose at Godric’s determination to not let the subject go. Trust was…really hard. When broken, it was nearly irreparable.
Hiding his slight discouragement with her continued reluctance however understandable it might be, Godric asked, “Do you consider that you have changed or grown since that event?”
At Sookie’s nod, he continued, “Then you must consider that Eric, too, has learned and grown from that time, that he has since come to new realizations. If you can, why can’t he?”
“It’s not… It’s just that… I don’t…know. I’m trying, I really am. I like to think that if he’d seen another way out, any other way out, he’d have chosen that one instead. But it happened and I’m not sure how to make myself really trust him again. I mean, even before then he’d lie to me one minute then ask me to trust him the next, then he would do something generous and selfless then he’d follow that up with something nasty or downright cruel. In fact, I remember saying something like that to him a while back when we were standing on my front porch. But then in a way I don’t feel like I ever really knew him at all to begin with, so…so I don’t know. I guess my best option is just to get to know him, period.” She shrugged and studied her hands.
“And that, my Sookie, is the best news I have heard today. I want you to find and know the Eric that I know and hold so dearly. Listen with your heart and truly hear his words. You may find yourself quite surprised by what you will learn.”
Godric laughed at the disbelieving look she gave him, but knew she was taking his words to heart.
After a strong hug and a few pleasantries, Sookie left for her own realm.
His words haunted her drive back to Shreveport. He was right, she knew; Eric had seemed different to her when she saw him again after their first meeting at the hotel door she was now entering. As she toed off her shoes and plugged her dead phone in to charge, she accepted with poor grace the fact that she had known all along that she’d be giving Eric another chance to show her who he really was.
It was only fair since she was going to show him who she was now. He’d never really known her, either, and that was both their faults just like it was both their faults that she didn’t honestly know him.
She put on a pot of coffee since it was only mid-afternoon yet the day was feeling a week long already, then called her voicemail on the hotel phone. As she listened to Mr. C’s message, she hovered over the coffeemaker, but her mouth dropped open when she found out that her new home was in fact in the same area as a certain vampire’s house…
As Mr. C had been solely responsible for choosing the location of her new home, she knew the proximity to Eric’s house truly was a coincidence (unless Mr. C had matchmaking tendencies, but then, he’d also said that the area was a prime location for the most affluent supes in the area), but it still made her laugh.
As she sipped her coffee, she decided that the coincidence was more a nudge from Fate than anything…and maybe Fate’s real name was Godric?
Sure seemed like it in a way.
Abruptly she decided to go and wash the Fae away. There was no sense in taking chances and she did have a Viking to go see, after all, since that vampire in question must surely be waiting impatiently on his Maker’s reply.
As good an excuse as any…
Maybe Eric could tell her what day it was.
**”One minute you lie to me the next you ask me to trust you. You do something generous and selfless and then you follow that up with something nasty or downright cruel,” comes from True Blood Season 3, Ep. 2, “Beautifully Broken”. Ok, y’all know the drill: reviews…muse…so: what did you think?**