“From the end spring new beginnings.”—Pliny the Elder
I didn’t want to see another vampire meet the sun; Godric had been enough.
But the part of me that would always love Bill because he’d been my first love put one foot in front of the other and walked with him until we were outside of Fangtasia.
“You saw Godric meet the sun,” he commented.
“I did,” I responded.
“What was it like?” he asked.
“Godric let go—let the sun take him. He disappeared into a blue light, leaving hardly any ash behind at all. It was beautiful in a way,” I said honestly, wondering if Eric would ever ask me about that morning and knowing him well enough to figure that he likely wouldn’t.
Eric wouldn’t be comforted to know that Godric didn’t fight against the sun. No matter what—I knew that Eric would fight. Hell—he’d apparently fought enough to cause an avalanche when Warlow’s blood had left his system. No—Eric wasn’t one to go “gentle into that good night”—or, in his case, day.
“Godric was more than ten times my age,” Bill remarked, bringing my thoughts back to him. “But I was never meant to be vampire. I was never good at it,” he added, looking toward the east.
“No,” I said in agreement, but not judgment.
He looked from the horizon to me. “What did you and Godric talk about—before he died?”
“He wanted to know if I thought God would punish him for his sins.”
“And what did you tell him?”
“I told him that God is big on forgiveness.”
“And you? Will you forgive me?” Bill asked.
“I already have,” I said.
He nodded. “Thank you.”
We were silent for a few moments.
“I used to have hope that I would find Caroline and our children in the afterlife,” Bill said.
“I hope you do, Bill.”
“It’s hard to let go,” he said softly.
“It is,” I responded, knowing I’d feel Bill’s loss as acutely as I still felt Alcide’s. I knew that many of the people around me found me “cold” because they thought that I’d “moved on” from Alcide so quickly, and just as many would judge me for jumping from Bill to Eric. I wasn’t about to blame them for their opinions. After all, they were right in a way. For a while, I’d felt like I was on a carousal of men.
Bill, Sam, Bill, Alcide, Bill, Eric, Alcide, Warlow, Alcide, Bill, Eric.
Between them all, I’d been spinning for a long time.
But I was ready to get off that carousal with the only man left standing—the only one I’d never felt dizzy with.
And it was high time I quit taking that fact—and Eric himself—for granted.
“The sun will be up in only a few minutes,” Bill commented.
“You still have time to change your mind—to decide to take the cure,” I reminded softly.
“And would you change your mind if I did? Would you leave Eric to be with me?”
“No,” I responded. “I won’t be leaving Eric again.”
Bill looked at me through tortured eyes. “I’m afraid for you, Sookie.”
“I’m not afraid,” I said in answer, “not anymore. And that’s what matters.”
He sighed and looked toward the East. “My ashes—will you bury them in Caroline’s grave?”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t love you as you deserved to be loved,” Bill said.
As the sun began to rise, Bill Compton looked at me for the last time.
“You look beautiful in the sunlight,” he said with a smile.
And then his body succumbed to that light.
Once he was gone, I looked around and found an empty bottle—Kentucky bourbon. I opened the lid and brushed the ashes that had been Bill into the bottle before tightening the lid.
“It’s not fancy,” I sighed, “but it’ll get you to Caroline.” I looked up at the ever-lightening sky and closed my eyes, saying a prayer that Bill was with his wife and children even then. I knew that Bill had done a lot of wrong during his life. But I also knew that he’d agonized over much of that wrong. And maybe—just maybe—that had been enough to buy him forgiveness with God. I hoped so.
I turned and looked at Fangtasia, wondering if Eric would open his club again.
I hoped so.
Niall had watched the monitor showing the parking lot until Compton was truly dead.
I didn’t need to watch a vampire burn—not even one who’d been a thorn in my side.
“I like this drink,” Niall said, downing the beverage and then waving me off when I went to start another. “Next time—add pineapple.”
“Pineapple?” I asked.
“I despise citrus—and lemon is like silver to me—but pineapple is absolutely divine.”
I smirked. “I will make sure I have plenty on hand—as well as other foodstuffs—for your next visit. But no lemon.”
Niall’s eyes twinkled. “I would ask you to treat my great-granddaughter well, but I already know that you will. So I will ask only that you be patient with her. She is a Brigant through and through—stubborn to the core. However, I assure you that the effort will be worth it.” He winked. “The core is the best part.”
“I know,” I said.
Niall stood up and bowed. “Tell Pamela that I enjoyed making her acquaintance.”
I chuckled. “I will.”
“I enjoyed making yours as well.”
I bowed in return. “Likewise.”
I heard Sookie opening the door and quickly ducked behind the bar until she’d closed and locked the door. While I was crouched down, I used a bar towel to wipe away the evidence of the bleeds from my nose and ears. Circumstances had been keeping me from my day-rest for several days, and I was certainly feeling the strain on my body.
I stood up in time to see Niall approach Sookie and kiss her forehead.
“The vampire is a good man,” he whispered. “And he loves you.”
“I know,” Sookie returned, looking over his shoulder at me. “I’m lucky.”
“See you soon,” Niall said before popping away.
“It’s over,” Sookie sighed as she walked over to me and placed herself into my arms. I could see—and feel—her sadness, but there were no tears in her eyes.
“No, lover,” I said. “This is only the beginning.”
The sadness left her eyes as she looked up into mine. “You’re right,” she agreed.
I smirked. “I like the sound of that. Say it again?”
“Don’t let being right one time go to your head, Viking,” she warned playfully.
I chuckled. “Shall we go to bed?”
“I like the sound of that,” she sighed.
I led Sookie to my office and then opened a secret chamber, which led to a bedroom.
“No nuke-proof coffin today?” she asked playfully.
“No—not today, not when I get to hold you for the first time in months,” I responded.
Neither one of us spoke as we took off our shoes. At my house, Sookie had changed into a T-shirt and a pair of boxer shorts, though the T-shirt had pretty much covered the boxers; she slipped off her bra in that way women could do at seeming vampire speed.
I refrained from growling with desire as I removed my jeans and T-shirt and climbed into bed. I’d worn boxer-briefs—for Sookie’s benefit.
She and I both sighed as she climbed in with me and rested her head on my chest.
And then we both slept—me the sleep of death and her the sleep of life.
But—somehow—we shared the same kind of rest.
Restorative. Peaceful. Complete.
It was—indeed—a new beginning.
A new life.
Life from Death .pdf Above, you will find the complete .pdf for the story. Feel free to download if you like. However, I hope you will gift me with a comment first. 😉
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this story! I am floored by how many of you commented on it, and I hope to hear your final thoughts!