If you are going to read no matter what, skip the rest of this author’s note if you don’t want to be spoiled.
Okay—when I described this work as “dark,” this was the chapter I was specifically thinking of. Again, I have an alternative version). But I want to tell you a bit about what is happening. Here is the brutal fact: Russell rapes Eric in this chapter. It is NOT conveyed in a graphic way at all; in fact, the lead up is the worst part, but Eric is violated, and you deserve to know that before you begin. Also, Eric is going to recall other times during his thousand years when he was violated, but again, it is not graphically described. The subject matter is the disturbing part—not the description. Thus, the PG-13 version is not much different than this one, but I did take care to take out any of the potentially disturbing descriptions of the actions. I also want you to know that this act will not be happening to Eric again in this story.
“Remember that the darkest hour of all—is the hour before day.” ―Irish Proverb
Chapter 165: Not Yours to Control
Eric’s blood hit the flaw in Yvetta’s heart relentlessly. And suddenly, the slightly weak artery―that would have probably killed the Estonian when she was in her old age―burst into shreds, and Yvetta dropped to the ground dead, never to dance again.
Eric released his hold on his blood inside of the dead Estonian and assessed himself. He’d been told by the A.P. that there was generally some backlash when a vampire killed the way he just had―some pain from the blood still within the slain human. But Eric felt no pain; he simply felt the magic of his blood fading quickly inside of Yvetta’s corpse.
He remembered well the night when the A.P. had told him that it was possible for a vampire to use his or her blood to kill. She’d called him to her, and he’d been surprised to find that Godric had not been called too. She’d seemed “older” that night—like something was weighing upon her. She’d asked him to tell her about his current pursuits and to “make it entertaining.” He had, and soon his maker’s maker was chuckling―her spirits obviously lifted.
A few hours before sunrise, she’d told him about the kind of control older vampires could have over their blood. She described the process of taking that control. And she’d told him of the dangers—that the human’s death could literally rebound inside of the vampire since the concentration needed to contol the magic in the blood to that extent was so profound that it could actually link vampire to human in the moment of death. That is why the young ones—who had not developed discipline and control to a great enough extent—were not told of it.
She’d warned that even older vampires would often feel pain in the process since the death of the human would lead to the “death” of the vampire’s blood in him or her. Given the connection the vampire would have with that blood, pain was more common than not. She’d told him—with a twinkle in her glossy eyes—that only those who had what she called “special gifts” could avoid feeling pain.
When she’d insisted that he not tell Godric about their “little talk,” Eric had questioned her motives, and as always, she’d kept them mostly to herself. She’d simply told him that he would need the ability one day but that Godric wouldn’t like his knowing before he was “considered old enough” according to vampire conventions, especially since the A.P. had felt her own child was ready to hear about the ability only two hundred or so years before.
Now Eric knew why the A.P. had let him in on the “secret” before he’d reached the typical age for vampires to be told of the power. And now—he also knew what she’d meant by “special gifts.”
He didn’t know exactly how, but he speculated that his bonds with his wife had made it easier for him to use the power of his blood to eliminate Yvetta, whom the bonds would have perceived as a threat. And he also figured that the bonds had somehow protected him from the pain that should have come to him even after his success.
Eric closed his eyes and steeled himself as he heard footsteps approaching. The sun had been down for about thirty minutes now, and he’d smelled Russell on the floor above him for the last twenty-five.
He knew that his enemy had been watching and likely taping what had happened. He knew that Russell had used Yvetta to try to tempt him to be unfaithful to his wife. He knew that Russell was disappointed that his plan to psychologically toy with Eric through that infidelity had been thwarted. And—most of all—he knew that Russell was angry that he could not use Eric’s disloyalty as a means of torturing Sookie.
Eric opened his eyes as he heard the footsteps enter the room.
“Well done, my boy!” came Russell’s sick, Southern accent. “You saved me the trouble of killing her! Females can be so demanding—and that one was particularly annoying at times!”
Eric looked up at Russell and then at the video camera over the ancient vampire’s shoulder. “You saw what she was doing—how she was behaving after she took my blood. Why did you not stop me from killing her?”
Russell gave him a sickening grin. “In truth, I was enjoying the show too much. Plus,” he shrugged, “she outlived her usefulness today.”
Eric raised an eyebrow in question.
Russell chuckled, “Indeed. She had been taught some useful skills by her former lover. I believe you met her?”
“Hallow,” Eric said.
“Yes,” Russell answered. “I never had the pleasure of meeting that particular witch myself—me still being in concrete at the time,” he added casually, “but I hear she was quite powerful. And though Yvetta was irritating—mooning over you all the time—she fulfilled her use today.”
“What use?” Eric asked.
Russell shook his head. “Not yet, my young friend. I don’t want to ruin all my surprises.” He cackled as he rubbed his hands together in glee. “All in good time.”
Eric tried another line of questioning. “If she was so useful, then why aren’t you more angry that she’s dead?”
“Useful or not, I just hate fuckin’ witches,” Russell answered with a shrug. “Plus,” he winked down at Eric, “I didn’t know she was in imminent danger down here with you all tied up. C’est la vie!”
The older vampire clapped his hands together and walked over to Yvetta’s body; he toed it a little.
“Wonderful! You know, I had no idea you could even do this! I don’t think I succeeded in this particular art until I was almost 2,000 years old.” He continued conversationally, “When I was 1,400 years or so, there was this incident with an Egyptian, who I hate to admit almost got the better of me. As punishment, my own maker forced me to try what you just did―without giving me the proper guidance! Hurt like a mother fucker too!” he continued almost nostalgically.
Russell casually dragged his fingers over Eric’s naked body, stopping to fondle his genitals for a few minutes. The wound that Yvetta had made on Eric’s penis was now all but healed.
The older vampire chuckled with glee. “Please forgive me,” he said as he took his hand away from Eric’s body. “I just wanted to make sure that you couldn’t be aroused by men either.” He clapped his hands together again. “You must tell me what has happened to the once vigorous Viking! Stories of your prowess used to reach all the way to Mississippi from this godforsaken backwoods area of yours.”
Eric said nothing.
“Was it a witch? A warlock?”
Still Eric remained silent.
“I’m guessing it has to do with a fairy,” he laughed maniacally.
Russell bent down and picked up the silver dagger from Yvetta’s lifeless hand; the knife’s handle was made out of pearl.
He held it over Eric’s flaccid penis. “Perhaps I should finish off the whore’s little project. After all, it was with this cock that you seduced my Talbot—while it was still functioning, that is,” he said with a wink. “Perhaps, I should force you to grow a new one. Maybe that would cure your little impotence problem.” He laughed to himself.
Eric closed his eyes and prepared himself for the pain to come, but there was none.
Russell chuckled, “You wouldn’t even beg to keep your dick, would you? Ah—your little fairy would be proud of your fidelity and your bravery. It is a shame that she may be dead before she has a chance to hear of it.”
A low growl arose from Eric’s chest.
Russell gave him a twisted grin. “Ah—it’s with threats against your fairy that I get a rise out of you.” He laughed at his own joke as he dragged the silver blade of the knife over Eric’s thigh. “It is a true shame I cannot get a rise of another kind from you. I’ve not had good sex since Talbot. Humans are such inferior lovers,” he mused, “and even other vampires tend to lack passion these days.” He sighed dramatically, even as he pressed the blade deeper into Eric’s flesh.
Eric didn’t move as the silver blade pierced into him. “So stoic,” Russell commented as he made a zigzagging slice from Eric’s thigh to the base of his penis.
“Perhaps,” Russell said as he brought the blade toward Eric’s balls, “I could slice these off instead.” The older vampire chortled. “Or, perhaps, I could sodomize you with this blade. Or I could just fuck you myself,” he mused. “I wouldn’t need you willing in order to get my own pleasure, after all. Maybe I could even make it a personal challenge to see if I could get this thing,” he touched the tip of Eric’s penis with the silver blade, “to finally turn on.”
Showing no emotion as his sensitive flesh sizzled, Eric held Russell’s gaze.
Russell sneered, “I ought not to soil myself in such a way!” He stabbed angrily into one of Eric’s scrota, making a large gash. “But then again,” Russell said, loosening his belt, “it would be a shame not to sample such a delight as your pretty ass. It is only fair since you were fucking my Talbot when you killed him.”
Eric heard Russell removing his pants shoes and pants. He smelled his foe’s arousal.
Eric remained absolutely still―silent. He held his eyes on his captor’s heated orbs, a lesson he’d learned long ago from Godric.
However, Eric wasn’t really looking at Russell. He was looking right through him. Eric was seeing Sookie smiling at him, her hair a rich gold in the light of the sun and her eyes shining with the green flecks that he loved so much. He moved his mind to the fairy bond that she had created inside of him, the bond that had been made possible because of their love.
As Russell Edgington violently began to take his body, Eric took Sookie’s hand in his hand—in his mind—in the bond. They sat under the peach trees in their yard, trees that she had yet to see in person. Intellectually, Eric knew what was happening. Russell Edgington was fucking him—raping his body.
And Eric was powerless to stop him.
But that did not mean that Russell had any true power over him.
During his thousand years as a vampire, Eric had been violated in such a way two other times: once by an enemy after he’d been captured and once by a seeming friend.
The first time it had happened, Eric had been distraught, but Godric had taught him how to regain control of himself—how to take back the power from his rapist. Eric had been 212 years old; his attacker had been over 700 years old. The hardest lesson that the always-strong Viking had needed to absorb was that he would not always be able to stop someone stronger from doing as he or she wished with him. Paradoxically, Godric has told him that this fact need not make him weak.
It had taken him much time to accept that truth. After all, his attacker had left him feeling so very weak.
Godric had helped Eric to understand that by surviving—truly surviving and not just living on—he would actually become the victor. Godric had told him that the fact that the physical trauma healed so quickly in a vampire was actually a curse of sorts. The vampire was left with no wounds to watch slowly heal, so there was no healing process for his mind to emulate.
There was nothing left behind from the violation then, except the emotional trauma—the feeling of being helpless—and that was the most difficult part to contend with. But with Godric’s help, Eric had come to understand that being taken did not mean that Eric had to give any essential part of himself to his attacker.
About twenty-five years after he’d been raped, Eric had finally mastered his emotional state enough to gain permission from his maker to plan his attacker’s demise. The other vampire was known for doing what he’d done to Eric to many of his enemies. Of course, Godric had wanted to kill him—and could have; Eric knew that well. But his maker had waited for him to be ready. And with Godric’s help, Eric had ended the life of his once-time tormenter.
Godric had been right to wait. Killing his rapist before he came to terms with what had happened would have done nothing to help Eric. The vengeance had been satisfying, but not healing in any way.
The second time that Eric had been violated, he’d been traveling in Asia about 400 years before. The vampire king of what was now the countries of India and Bangladesh was acting as host to Duncan and Eric. Certainly, the vampire king had made playful advances toward both his vampire brother and him, and the king’s preference for fucking male vampires was well-known, but there was no indication that he’d ever forced himself on anyone.
In fact, Eric and Duncan had been having a good time in the king’s territory. He was a generous host, offering his guests free hunting rights. He also had a “harem” of women and men that had been glamoured and were readily available. Though Eric and Duncan had not partaken of that option, they were happy with the easy life of the court—especially after some difficult times they’d faced after having fought for the vampire king of China.
However, about three months after they had arrived, Eric and Duncan awoke from their day rest to find themselves in silver chains. Not long after nightfall, the king arrived.
He took his time forcing himself on both Duncan and Eric again and again. Eric had vowed not to forget the look in his brother’s eyes. He had never failed to protect Duncan before that night—and would never fail to protect him again.
After the king was “satisfied,” he arranged for them to be put into their travel coffins, which he wrapped in silver. About two weeks later, Eric and Duncan were finally freed; they had been transported to Istanbul.
The Were who released them, an agent of the king, gave them a message: If they told of what had happened or tried to take revenge, they would be killed after facing the king’s “wrath,” which would include centuries of his “usage” of them. Given the fact that the king was as old as Godric and much better connected, the threat was a real one.
In addition, they were to talk of their time with the king as being “pleasant”—and even “refer” other male vampires to take advantage of the king’s “hospitality.”
Neither Eric nor Duncan had obeyed that particular request. No—as soon as they had recovered enough, Eric had taken an emotionally scarred Duncan to Portugal—where Godric was staying at the time. As with Eric before, Godric had helped Duncan to learn how to emotionally heal enough so that he was not debilitated by the rape. Eric too had needed time to heal―but this time, Godric left Eric to himself.
Eric had been grateful for that and after being a second shadow to his brother for about a decade, he had traveled to the high Himalayas of Nepal. From there, he had gazed in the direction India—in the direction of his enemy. After about twelve years there, he moved to Lumbini, in the flatlands of Nepal and closer to the king’s borders. Though most humans in Nepal were Hindus, Lumbini was a pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and Eric glamoured a group of Buddhist monks and stayed with them in silence for years until Duncan was ready.
Thirty-seven years to the day after the king had raped Duncan and Eric, Godric arrived in Lumbini with Duncan, and all three vampires traveled covertly to the king’s court. After planning for months, they were able to isolate the king. And after that, he paid for what he had done to countless vampires who had been tricked into believing that the king was “hospitable.” They’d made the king’s suffering last as long as they could. And then—largely in part to Godric’s stealth—they slipped out of the now-dead king’s territory unseen.
Yes—Eric had been violated before. But neither of those times did he have his beautiful wife’s hand holding him in steadiness. He had not had their bond to encase him in safety. He had not had her love, protecting his heart.
Above him, he heard Russell’s grunts and felt his thrusts, but Eric paid little attention to what was happening to his body. He simply held onto his wife and remembered what Godric had long-ago taught him about the weakness embedded in the act of rape.
Through Eric’s thousand years, he had seen rape used to gain power by only the most debase—and ultimately the weakest—of individuals. It was an attempt to control a body―and thereby to control a person—pure and simple. And it was done by simple people, who lacked the ability to gain any real control for themselves.
It was an act meant to create a victim, for it was a victim that the rapist wanted—needed.
Eric understood well that Russell’s act was an act of cowardice, perpetrated against his prone and helpless body, and Eric refused to fucking participate in it—even in the physical pain of it.
The act being performed on Eric’s body was Russell’s maleficence, and Russell would not get anything from it other than an illusion of control.
Eric looked into all the browns and the one green in Sookie’s eyes and not into Russell’s violent and driving orbs.
Eric had never raped another individual in all of his thousand years—not even in his earliest years as vampire when he had killed accidentally as he fed at times. His human father had taught him that it was an act of the feeble-minded. Godric had told him that it was an act of a degenerate.
Eric had fucked many, and he’d certainly used glamour to cover up his existence as a vampire, but he’d always had his own code of honor. He would seduce first, then fuck, then glamour, and then bite. He never glamoured first―unless it was only feeding he was doing.
Of course, he’d taken his own wife’s blood without her permission once, but Eric saw a difference between sex and blood. Perhaps the distinction between what Eric would do and what Russell was doing was a subtle one, but Eric had looked into the hollow eyes of the victims of rape before. He’d seen many in his many years—most recently Hadley and Jason and Tara.
Despite the healing that Hadley had been doing in Faerie, he still recognized the pain in her eyes. And when Jason had spoken of what had happened to him multiple times in Hotshot because of Crystal’s insanity, he had seen the haunted look in his eyes as well.
Several months ago, when Eric had suggested that Tara might enjoy spending time with Rasul when he was visiting Area 5, Tara had told him a little of her experience with Franklin Mott. In the end, it wasn’t that Tara hated vampires anymore; ironically enough, she trusted Eric as a friend now. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be with a man—or a woman for that matter; she had her needs. No—in the end—she had told Eric that she didn’t feel ready to be with anyone. She was still coming to terms with herself. Eric had respected Tara for that choice, but even as she’d made it, he’d seen that she was continuing to struggle in order to come to terms with Mott’s violation of her.
Duncan’s eyes right after he was raped still haunted Eric. In addition, the Viking had looked into his own eyes many times after he had been violated.
His Sookie’s eyes also held a similar look from time to time, a look that he hated—more than her tears even. Her uncle’s molestation of her; Bill’s attack of her in the van, which had been only moments away from escalating into rape; and Ivan’s mental attack in Faerie had all found their way into haunted looks he’d seen from his Sookie’s eyes.
All of those eyes had told him of abuses that had initially made the victims feel a sense of shame. That was the purpose―after all―of the act.
He knew it was Russell’s current objective to crush a part of his spirit, but Eric wasn’t going to fucking allow it, and more importantly, the Sookie that was holding his hand under the peach trees inside of the bond wasn’t going to have it! Russell was a fucking coward—a coward like his father told him every rapist was a coward.
Eric held Sookie’s eyes with his even as he seemed to be looking into Russell’s.
A/N: This chapter was the most difficult for me to write of this piece. Given my mother’s experience, it was close to home, and it was painful to imagine this scenario. I purposely left out the details of Russell’s act because those kinds of actions deserve no vividness.
People who suffer the atrocity of rape are both victims and survivors at the same time. But as my mom has proven to me time and time again, they are not weak—even when they feel that they are.
If you know me (or have come to know me through my writing), then you know that I was nervous—am nervous—about this chapter. I hope that I have walked the line between what the story dictated and restraint. I want to make one thing very clear, however. Even though Eric is being victimized in this chapter, HE is the strong one. He is the one maintaining control of the act because he knows the truth. He has learned it over much time, but he knows that Russell’s act, though meant to destroy him, cannot succeed because—in the end—a rapist will face a multiplicity of judgments.