Chapter 093: Acceptance

Eric was waiting in the dark.  It was 1:30 a.m.

Hunter had gone to bed at 1:00—after having begged to stay up late since it was Christmas.  Eric, of course, had relented, especially since the entire household was watching a Christmas movie in the living room at Hunter’s bedtime.  Eric sighed.  His exhausted, happy son had fallen asleep against his chest as he’d watched the movie.  And Eric had enjoyed the sensation of rocking Hunter in their chair well after his child was seeking his own dreams.

It had been Eric’s first time to celebrate Christmas with Hunter now that the boy had become his son.  It had been a very good night.

And as Eric waited for Sookie to call him into her dream, he hoped that his night was only beginning.

To pass the time, Eric went through the checklist in his head.  Thalia had been notified, and she was livid that the Weretiger had been scouting the area.  Eric had no idea where she’d gone, but his queen had left right after she’d been told, and Eric could not scent her within his considerable range.  All that he knew for sure was that he was glad that his name was not Victor Madden or Felipe de Castro in that moment.

Bubba was stationed outside as always.  Batanya was in the hall watching over Hunter.  Jessica had gone home with Jason, who was off from work the next day and would make sure she was safe during the day time.  Miranda and Jarod were asleep in the guesthouse.  Lafayette and Tara seemed to be getting more and more of what they called “Merry Fuckin’ Christmas Shitfaced” in her trailer.  Jesus and Amelia were pouring over magic books in the attic and getting pretty ‘shitfaced’ as well, though their brew of choice was the hot toddy.

Five of Tray’s Weres were in position along the perimeter of the property.  Pam, having successfully completed her mission in Hotshot, was also on guard duty.  However, Eric had decided to bring in no other Area 5 vampires for the time being.  He figured that Felipe’s spy was among them―most likely the relatively new bartender at Fangtasia, Felicia.

Tray was currently grabbing some sleep on the couch downstairs, as he would be taking a shift the next day―along with Alcide Herveaux, who had turned into a kind of lieutenant for Tray and was currently planning a wedding with another Werewolf named Maria-Star.  Eric thought about how pleased Sookie would be to see her old friend happy and at peace.  He’d have to tell her all about it—after he’d made love to her six or seven times, that is.

For the time being, Eric planned to get his day rest in the cubby, along with Bubba and Pam, so that no one would have to worry about him if there was a day attack.  And if the protection spell was being threatened, Batanya was to bring Hunter immediately to the cubby, and Miranda or Jarod would get Godric there as well.  Then, the space could be quickly locked down.

Miranda and Tray were the point people for the day.   Pam or himself would serve as point people for the night.

Eric looked at the two photos next to his nightstand, his eyes able to take in the details despite the dark.  He smiled as he looked at his family.

He had loved his human family―his father, his mother, his sister, and his brother, who had died so young.  He had loved the human children he’d had with Aude, though he’d never appreciated them as he should have.  Eric also loved Pam, his strong, beautiful vampire child―the child that all of his vampire instincts had called out for him to make.  Her companionship had given him satisfaction that he’d not known before.  She―like Sookie―had drawn him in because of her uniqueness, and, of course, she was fiery too in her own way.

And, of course, he’d loved Godric as well―his vampire father, as Hunter called him.  Godric had taught him so much, but so much of that had been taught when Godric had been more ruthless.

Godric had tried to teach Eric to suppress all of his feelings―that feelings and emotions would only get him killed.  The survivalist in Eric had responded to that lesson as if it had been an order.  So―he’d striven to forget his feelings of affection for his human family; he’d concentrated instead upon the desire to revenge their deaths, a desire that Godric had been on board with and had encouraged in him for many, many centuries.

Vampires knew revenge; they understood it.  It was a ‘safe’ feeling for them in many ways.  Revenge could give a vampire meaning; it spoke to his or her baser impulses.

Eric now recognized that he had suppressed at least part of the love he’d felt for Godric and even for Pam over the years―though he was now trying to do better with his vampire child.

For centuries, he’d seen love as more of an intellectual exercise than a feeling.  He’d moved the feelings associated with it to the side―or at least that’s what he’d tried to do.

With Pam, it had been easy.  She didn’t like feelings―thought they weakened her―so she suppressed them right along with him.  With Godric, things had been progressively more difficult.  His maker had hidden many of his feelings from Eric, even from the beginning.  And once Eric had felt―with Pam―what a maker/child bond could feel like―how it could be a kind of sharing―he’d been hurt by Godric’s hiding from him.  Arguably, Godric had stifled their bond to maintain his own privacy or perhaps in order to protect Eric.  Likely, it was because Godric had many feelings that he himself was ashamed to have and that he didn’t want Eric to know about.

Now Eric realized that―in the end―he’d not known Godric much at all.  However, ironically, he was more like Godric now than ever.  He’d been changing in probably more profound ways than even Godric had changed before he met the sun.

However, it would never be a disconnection from humanity and a feeling of not belonging in the world that would lead Eric to the sun.  No―if Eric ever met the sun, it would be because of a disconnect from two humans―or human-fairy hybrids, as it were.  It would be because of not being able to belong to them.  Eric sighed.  For all his wisdom, Godric had never found what he’d found―Godric had never found someone to belong to.

Eric had been alive for a thousand years, and he wasn’t even sure he understood the density of the situation that he was now in―the beautiful paradoxical density.

A vampire was all about possessing.  A vampire was all about owning.  A vampire was all about taking.  He or she took blood and sex by instinct.  He or she took a child by instinct.  He or she took power by instinct.  He or she eked out a survival by instinct.  A vampire gave true allegiance to only one being―his or her maker.

But a maker did not return the same form of allegiance.  Godric―Eric realized―had tried, and that was what had made him an exceptional maker.  There had been centuries of faith and love between them―almost a millennium of them.  But because one of Godric’s first lessons to him had been to become master over his own emotions, Eric had never allowed himself to feel the love that he had for his maker completely until Godric had shut himself off from Eric completely.

The irony of that fact was not lost on Eric.  Godric had taught Eric to stifle all of his feelings, so Eric had suppressed his feelings of love for his maker.  Affection was fine, but Eric knew that Godric would not have approved of love―not like Eric really felt it in the corners of his mind that eventually became cluttered with his bottled-up emotions.

Eric had allowed all of his feelings to spill―had shown them to Godric―for the very first time on that Dallas rooftop as he’d begged his maker to stay.  And he’d felt―nothing―in return.  The bond between them had been closed by Godric―maybe to protect Eric from his maker’s pain.

Eric now knew that he was angry because of that closure.  He’d felt rejected by Godric because his maker hadn’t shared himself with him.  The bond had been closed completely on the roof, which meant Godric hadn’t even felt the outpouring of love that Eric had been sending him.  Eric had been too late.

Maybe Godric hadn’t wanted that love.  Or maybe he’d simply not wanted to feel it.  Perhaps Godric had been so bent on destroying himself that he feared that feeling Eric’s love would sway him to change his mind.  And after Godric was gone, Eric’s love for his maker had turned first to anger at him for leaving and then to anger at himself for failing to stop him from going.

Now—Eric felt sorry for Godric even more than he was angry with him.  Eric had been up there on that roof on his knees with blood dripping from his eyes.  And he’d been in that exact position figuratively for a thousand years―begging for Godric to share himself with him.

His maker had given the concept lip service; he’d called Eric, “fader, broder, and son.”  But he’d never let himself slip to that moment of really giving himself―of truly becoming the “son” in the equation.  Maybe Godric’s vampire nature had prevented him.

Godric had asked Eric to “let” him go that early morning as the dawn crept toward the roof.  But there was nothing for Eric to let go of because he could feel nothing from Godric.  Just as Godric had not allowed Eric to feel him in the Fellowship of the Sun church, he’d not allowed him to feel him on that roof.  There was only an empty bond―and then when Godric died, there was nothing at all.

Then again, there was ‘something’ that Eric was forced to let go of that morning on the roof—possibility.  After that morning, it was no longer possible for him to attempt to please his maker—to earn Godric’s love.

Eric thought back to the hour before the bomb went off in Godric’s home.  He’d done everything he could think of to gain his maker’s approval—to try to show Godric with his actions just how much he loved him since his maker wouldn’t open their bond.  At Godric’s request, he’d safely escorted the human who’d betrayed his maker from the nest—even though a big part of him had wanted to tear Hugo apart because he’d been the reason why Sookie had been captured and almost raped.  He’d also found Godric a donor of a rare blood type—Godric’s favorite blood type.  But Godric had refused that gift with a shake of the head.

Eric looked at the photograph of himself and Hunter.  The frame was of a cheap material, but that didn’t matter at all to Eric.  It was the engraved words, the picture itself, and the thought behind the gift that he would forever treasure.  Eric shook his head, imagining what Hunter would have felt if he hadn’t accepted his son’s gift.  Of course, he knew Hunter would never have to feel that.  Eric would always accept anything his son wished to give him.

Eric closed his eyes tightly and felt his shoulders slump.  When Godric had rejected his simple gift of the donor, Eric had felt like the one rejected.  He remembered forcing a smile and making a poor attempt at a joke about how he doubted that the Fellowship had had much suitable blood to offer.  In turn, Godric had spoken about the lack of evolution in vampires—about how they’d grown more brutal and predatory.  He’d been looking right at Eric as he’d spoken those words.  No—he’d been looking into Eric as he’d said them, so Eric had absorbed them as if they’d been meant as judgment only for him.

Why couldn’t Godric see that Eric had evolved throughout time?  Certainly Eric could be cruel and brutal to his enemies, but he was also fair.  He was a predator when it came to dealing with enemies, but that was as much a part of human nature as vampire nature.  He was a good sheriff to those who were loyal to him.  He had many associates who respected his fair-dealing.  He’d fed only from the willing ever since vampires had come out of the coffin.  Before that, he would gain sexual consent from people before glamouring and feeding from them.  In fact, he’d not killed his food in many, many centuries—long before Godric had adopted the same practice.  Why hadn’t Godric seen him for the vampire he tried to be?  Why hadn’t Godric seen him as a good son?

Godric had talked about how vampires should treat humans as equals, even as Eric had been kneeling down beside him—wishing for the millionth time that Godric would see him as worthy to be treated as an equal—worthy to share himself with.  Yes—what he had given up that morning on the roof was a very important something:  the hope of ever feeling his maker’s love given to him fully.

Of course, Eric couldn’t really blame Godric.  It had taken amnesia for Eric to give himself to someone else completely―to Sookie.  And that had been the key to everything.  The key was the giving of himself―the thing that went against his vampire nature.  As vampire, he’d been taught to take the things he wanted.  Truly giving himself to Sookie had gone against Godric’s teaching from when Eric was a young vampire as well as from his maker’s unspoken lesson his whole life as he’d withheld parts of himself from Eric.

Would have Godric died for Eric?  Absolutely.

Did Godric ever give himself to Eric?  Absolutely not.

He simply hadn’t known how.  And neither had Eric―until, that is, he had forgotten how to stop himself from doing so.  Not for the first time, Eric wanted to go back in time and take Marnie to dinner or buy Antonia flowers or get down on his knees and thank them both.

During Sookie’s more-than-year absence the first time she’d gone to the fairy realm, he’d worked to repair her home and he’d prepared himself, like a woodworker sanding or slowly bending his materials.  He’d done all that he could do, but would he have been able to take that final step―to give himself to her―if he’d not been cursed by the witch?

If his pitiful actions in her home the night before he’d been cursed were any indication, the answer was a resounding, “No.”  It was vampire nature to acquire, and he’d offered Sookie nothing that night except protection, which she’d read as him bargaining with her so that he could possess her.  Hell―he’d looked at her naked body for the first time that night and had been able to say only that she was his.  He’d insinuated―no he had said directly―that since he owned the house, he now owned her.

That year of sanding his roughness and trying to bend himself to become a better mate for Sookie had been lost in a moment of listening to his vampire instinct to own her.  He sighed and whispered into the dark, “Marnie and Antonia, if you were still around―not that I want you around―but if you were, I’d buy you a fucking small country in gratitude.”

He shook his head as he once again looked at the pictures on his bedside table.  Sookie and Hunter owned him; there was no other way to say it or to think it.  And love was no longer merely an intellectual exercise to him.  Certainly, there was an intellectual component, however.  He could catalogue the ways that he loved them―the things that he had done or that they had done to show him love in return.  He could list the elements of them that he loved and the moments that he had enjoyed spending with them.  Yes, he could be very intellectual about the ways that he loved his mate and his son.

After all, he was a man that had always counted on his brain to lead him from danger and to help him find success.  But there was also the inexplicable nature of emotion and feeling that fueled his love for them.  Where these feelings originated from was a mystery to him, and that mystery made them powerful.  However, it was a mystery he had no need to solve.  He loved them.  That was all―no explanations or analyzing was required.  He had no choice but to love them.  That love just was.

Eric picked up the photo of Sookie and Gran; he once again traced the curve of Sookie’s face, following his previous fingerprint trails.

He sighed deeply.  He’d felt none of his maker’s feelings on that roof in Dallas.  He’d heard Godric’s words and had known intellectually that Godric loved him―well, loved him as much as he could love any vampire―despite the fact that he had come to think of them as “not right.”  Perhaps those feelings were what Godric had been keeping from Eric by closing their bond.  Godric, perhaps, didn’t want Eric to feel that he saw him as a kind of abomination.  Eric sighed again.  Godric needn’t have worried so much.  Eric had felt rejected in more ways than that by his maker—and not just for that night.

The only emotion he’d felt on that roof―other than his own love, which he now recognized that he’d been trying to stifle as soon as Godric had not returned it or opened the bond between them―was Sookie’s.  It was emotion he had no right to expect from her, given his trick to make her take his blood—just the previous night.

But there it had been.  His blood hadn’t lied; she’d reached for and taken his hand for a moment.  She’d been concerned for him; he felt care from her when he’d felt nothing from his maker.  Not even understanding what she was doing, she’d tried to heal him; maybe she’d even kept him alive that morning.  Her compassion for him had confounded him, and he’d stayed confounded until that damned, miraculous, and beautiful witch’s curse had allowed him to give himself to her―completely.  And once taught by Sookie that giving himself away could be the best thing of a thousand year life―the only thing that really mattered in the end―Eric had been able to give himself to Hunter as well.

Eric closed his eyes in the dark and continued to trace his wife’s picture.  He no longer needed his eyes to know every curve of her face—every wrinkle of her smile.

Sookie had once asked him to recite the poem, “The Seafarer,” to her.  The poem had been written about a man who had spent his life in solitude on the sea—a man who had longed for the richness of fellowship with other people on the warm, rich land.  But in his old age as he had been awaiting his death, the man had learned finally to love and appreciate the sea as well as to recognize its beauty.  The old seafarer had then spoken of God―of adversity forming a pathway to heaven.

The speaker in the poem had lived a lifestyle that had been familiar to Eric.  He’d also been from a time that was much closer to Eric’s birth than it had been to Sookie’s.  And Eric had first read the poem hundreds of years before his wife had been born.  Yet it had been Sookie’s breaking their bond the first time and asking him to recite it that had helped him to understand the poem—to finally “get it,” as she would say.

He contemplated the lines that he loved so much from the poem―the lines that had always drawn him in though he’d never known why.  He spoke them softly into the dark room and allowed himself to feel every single one of them.

And now my spirit twists

out of my breast,

my spirit

out in the waterways,

over the whale’s path

it soars widely

through all the corners of the world―

it comes back to me

eager and unsated;

the lone-flier screams,

urges onto the whale-road

the unresisting heart

across the waves of the sea.

Perhaps it also took his own “old age” for him to understand finally his connection to the words.  His own spirit had twisted this way and that―searching and longing for an unnamed something all of his life.  He had stayed “eager and unsated” through that search―the consummate explorer of knowledge, he’d always thought.  But his heart had always resisted giving itself away.  Eric shook his head.  He’d feared rejection for a thousand years; he’d feared not being thought worthy enough.

It was odd to admit that fact even to himself.  He was proud and strong and smart.  He’d survived battles that had seen supposedly better men and then vampires fall.

But he was also a hurt boy no older than Hunter, who’d been not quite able to reach his father’s expectations.  He’d resisted the possible rejection by his father with arrogance and rebellion because he’d not wanted to risk his own heart.

He was also an unsure-of-himself fledgling vampire, whose maker had withheld his emotions.  Instead of allowing that to break his undead heart, he’d resisted by revering and obeying Godric in all things―in other words, by doing the exact opposite of what he’d done with his human father.  But that was still not risking his heart; that was still a form of resistance.

Ironically, it was only after his bond with Sookie had been broken that he’s stopped resisting—he’d finally stopped hiding his own heart.  She’d bonded with him in the cubby, and then she’d broken that bond.  His first impulse had been to see her act as rejection―as her signal that he wasn’t quite good enough.  After all, why would someone with all that light inside of her want a creature of the dark?  Yes―his first impulse had been to once again resist the feelings he had for Sookie and fight to try to preserve himself, as he’d done with his father and Godric.

But—for perhaps the first time in his long life—he’d been truly brave.  He’d gone with his second impulse―the one that had been coming from deeper within—and the one that had frightened him.  He’d given himself completely to her for a second time; he’d laid his heart into her hands.

In the poem, the old seafarer had stopped resisting and had given himself over completely―to God in his case.  Eric had stopped resisting as soon as he gave up the bond that night at Jesus and Lafayette’s home.  As his bond with Sookie was broken, he’d let his dead heart shatter along all the fissure lines that had been put into it for over a thousand years.  Every time he’d felt lacking or lesser or not good enough had been broken.  Every year he’d faced failure at being unable to take revenge against his family’s murderer―to fulfill his father’s last edict to him―had broken.  Every time he’d twisted himself to make himself a better vampire to make Godric proud―and every time that he’d lamented that he couldn’t feel anything from his maker through their bond―had been broken.

But Eric had been surprised even as he stood next to Sookie’s bed the night the bond had been broken―the night that he felt only the empty space where the vampire bond had been before―that he had not been broken.

He’d been fixed, and he’d left himself in Sookie’s hands that night, just as the seafarer had left himself in God’s hands.  And that was the key―the key to every good thing that had come to him since that moment.  He’d simply stopped resisting.

He sighed loudly again.  The poem, “The Seafarer,” had been a prayer of sorts, and its last word, “Amen,” had always struck Eric as odd until he’d recited it to Sookie the night following the breaking of their first bond.  It had made sense to him that night as he’d put all of his faith and trust into her―as if into a prayer.

He chuckled as he set Sookie’s picture back down.  She would scold him for comparing her to the seafarer’s god in the poem, but she’d been the one that had made him feel faith for the first time.  She’d been the one not to fix him, but to accept him broken; she’d been the one not to withhold herself, but to give herself freely; and she’d been the one not to expect his perfection, but to want only his love.  And for the first time, just like the old seafarer, he’d experienced a moment of grace.  His second had come the moment Sookie had told him that she loved him.  His third had come the moment Hunter had called him father.

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“Will you forgive me then, my son?” came Godric’s voice through the dark.  Eric looked toward the sound and saw his maker, outlined in dim white light.  He was standing near the old closet.

Eric looked up at him.  “You told me that I needed to forgive Russell.”

Godric chuckled, “I did, but perhaps it was another forgiveness that I truly longed for that morning.”

“You also told me that ‘forgiveness is love,’” Eric said in a low voice, recalling the vision he’d seen of Godric in Fangtasia’s parking lot as he’d burned in the sun.

“And you have learned that ‘love is all’ since then,” Godric said quietly.  “It is a lesson that I am still learning―even now.”

Eric shook his head, “Are you real?  Where are you?”

Godric smiled.  “I am real enough.  And―as for where I am―I do not think that should much matter,” he paused and chuckled, “to you―at least.  I am where I went after I met my supposed final death on the roof.  And I am here because I wish to tell you that you have finally taught me the greatest of lessons―how to love.  I have been watching you, my son.  And as I have seen you with Hunter, I now see what I robbed myself of.  I needed only to have opened my eyes and to have seen what you were ready to give me for a thousand years.  But I could not see, so I find myself in need of your forgiveness.”

Eric shook his head.  “I thought you said that only peace follows death, Godric.  Do you really need my forgiveness?”

Godric chuckled again, “No.”  There was a moment of silence between them.  “I have always thought you were one of the cleverest beings I ever knew.  Did you know that?”

Eric shook his head, “No.”

“Well, then I failed in that way too,” Godric sighed.  “You are right.  I have no need of your forgiveness.”

“Then it is I who have the need?” Eric half-asked and half-stated.  “It is for me that you are here.”

“Yes,” Godric said.  “You have been grieving―first for your human parents and then for me and then for Sookie.  You have grieved the loss of bonds that have been given and taken from you for a thousand years―some even by the people who gave them.  You first put aside your grief to be the son your human father would have wanted―the son who would revenge his family’s death and the son who would carry on his father’s line.”

Godric continued, “I gave you immortality, but I didn’t really give you much of myself.  I allowed you to feel only a part of myself―and eventually, I took away even that.  And finally, I simply left when I gave myself to the sun.  And through all of that taking from you, you were a loyal and obedient child, always so anxious to give—to please me.  Again, you put aside your grief to be the son you thought that I wanted―the son who would follow his maker’s lessons and die by his side even in his madness.  And you would have.  If I had not commanded you to leave that roof, you would have.”  Godric shook his head.  “You may have anyway had it not been for Sookie.”

Godric sighed, “And then, you gave yourself to Sookie.  And that bond too has been given and taken away―and given again and taken away again.  But with Sookie, you were no longer able to put your grief to the side as you always did before, and simply fulfilling your duty to her was not nearly enough.”

“No,” Eric said quietly.  “It wasn’t.”

Godric smiled.  “Love is all.”

“Are you trying to say that I need to forgive Sookie?”

Godric chuckled again, “On the battlefield the first time I noticed you, you were a thing of beauty.  You fought with skill and precision.  You killed two men for every one that even the best of the others could manage.  It was not because you were more physically capable either.  I’d spied you the night before the battle.  You’d landed with a force four times smaller than the one you faced.  You’d quickly and secretly surveyed the land yourself, and you’d managed to outflank your opponent, leaving their army in tatters―along with your own, unfortunately.  During the battle itself, you placed yourself so intelligently in every moment.  You didn’t expose yourself to the swords of your opponents.  You naturally sought higher ground and advantages.  You used your sword with your brain and not your arms.  Your intelligence is what drew me to you.  It took you being surrounded by six men for one of them to strike you, and then you killed all six before you fell.”

Godric paused for a long moment.  “Can you forgive Sookie for leaving you―even if it was to save you?  Can you forgive her for breaking the bond the first time?  Can you forgive her for the fact that she may leave you one day because of her death?  And what of Hunter?  Can you forgive his mortality?”

“I love them,” Eric said by way of both answer and explanation.

Godric smiled, “Then you have forgiven me too?”

Eric nodded.  “Yes.  I love you, Godric.”

“And it is that simple for you?” his maker asked.

“Yes,” Eric answered again.  “You said it yourself.  Forgiveness is love.  So it is that simple.”

“And yourself?”

Eric bristled a bit.  “What?”

“Do you forgive yourself?”

Eric looked up at his maker with wide blue eyes.  “No,” he whispered.

“Why would you?”  Godric’s expression had turned to stone and the judgment in his tone made Eric drop to his knees next to the bed.

Godric’s voice was harsh.  “You were off cavorting with a servant girl when your human family was attacked and decimated by Russell and his Weres.  You did nothing to help them!  Do you not remember the disappointment in your father’s eyes for you?”

Eric could do nothing but nod.  The last time he had seen his father before the attack, there had been disappointment in his gaze, and since then, there had been the memory of that for a thousand years.

Godric continued severely, almost tauntingly, “And how long did it take you to find your family’s killer―Eric?  And how pitiful was your revenge!”  Godric scoffed and shook his head disapprovingly.  “You were away from my side for years, and you couldn’t stop me from meeting the sun, Eric.  You couldn’t stop Sookie from being hurt by Bill.  You couldn’t stop the fairies from taking her―either time.”  Godric’s voice was judging him, picking at all the scars of Eric’s failures.  “Do you really think Sookie can redeem you?  Do you think you deserve forgiveness?”

Eric’s shoulders slumped as he looked down at his hands.  “No,” he whispered.  “I should have saved my family; I should have kept you from dying.  I should have kept better watch on Sophie-Anne; she should never have gotten that close to Sookie.  Bill Compton’s deceit should have never happened.  I should never have left Sookie alone to be taken by the fairies the first time.  I should have protected her the second time.  I was not strong enough to protect her.  What if―no matter what I try to do to protect them now―I fail?  If Hunter or Sookie is killed because of my failures,” his voice trailed off.

“It would be unforgiveable―unredeemable,” Godric finished cruelly.

Yes.”  Eric was quiet for a moment and then spoke quietly.  His chin was on his chest and his shoulders were shaking.  “Unforgiveable.”

Godric’s voice softened again, “You never were able to do it―you know.”

“Do what?” Eric asked softly, putting his face into his large hands.

“Forgive yourself―accept your own imperfections.”  Godric shook his head sadly.  “If you had been in your father’s hall when Russell’s attack came, you would have been killed next to your family.  You were not responsible for their deaths any more than you should have been responsible for avenging those deaths.  And you could never have stopped my meeting the sun, Eric.  My actions were my own; they were not your responsibility.  They were not fair to you, but they were not your fault.”

Eric lifted his head slightly to look at Godric, whose face was now kind.

His maker continued, “If you had known of Sophie-Anne’s plans, what could you have done that would have made Sookie’s life any better?  And how could you have known that she would be taken to the fairy realm―either time?”  His voice grew even softer—soothing, “You have always been one to seek perfection from yourself, but you will never find it, Eric.  Perfection like you expect from yourself does not exist, for you cannot control everything and everyone around you.”

Godric smiled benevolently, “It is this that you must forgive yourself for, my child.  If you cannot, you will never see the possibilities that can come out of failure, and you will need to see them for what is to come.”

“You never forgave yourself either,” Eric looked into Godric’s eyes with revelation in his own.  “That is why you met the sun.”

“Yes,” Godric admitted.  “I was foolish and did not see that the future would not have to be determined by the past.  I could not forgive my own past failures, so I never learned from them.”  He sighed.  “For all the changing that I had done, I am afraid that I didn’t really change.”  He smiled at Eric.  “However, I know that you are a better man than I was, Eric.  And now you must prove it by learning what I could not.”

Eric once again sunk his head into his hands.  This time the emotion flowing through him was very different than it had been minutes before.  He said sadly.  “I wish that I could feel you through our bond—one last time.”

There was a heavy sigh from Godric.  “Yet another of the failures I never learned to correct.  I wish that too, min son.  But you have taught Hunter to trust in love that he cannot confirm with his gifts, so you must trust in my love now.”

After a few moments, Eric nodded into his hands and looked up at his maker, “I will try to learn from my mistakes.”

“And forgive yourself of them?” Godric asked with a little smirk.

“Yes,” Eric nodded again.  “That too.”

Godric smiled, “If you try, then you will do.  I have always known that much about you, Eric.  Whenever you have tried something that was within your power to accomplish, you have always accomplished it.  You will learn to forgive yourself.”

Eric looked at his maker and gave him a half-smile, half-smirk.  “It would be easier if you could just command me to do this.”

Godric smiled, “One lesson that I did teach correctly―as it turns out―is that ‘easier’ is not necessarily ‘better.’”

Eric looked sadly at Godric.  “You are leaving forever this time, aren’t you?”

Godric nodded.  “I have accomplished what I have set out to do, and you will be able to finish from here.”

A single red tear slipped from Eric’s eye.

Godric smiled at him.  “You will never be perfect, Eric.  But you could not have been a better child.”

Eric smiled into the darkness long after his maker disappeared from his life.

Cast of CBTM




3 thoughts on “Chapter 093: Acceptance

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