Chapter 23: Equal Footing

Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters in True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. So neither copyright infringement nor offense is meant. I simply want to make the characters do what I wanted them to do for a while. I am especially “unownerly” when it comes to this story. You will recognize a lot of the dialogue throughout as being quoted from Season 5 of True Blood, though I’ve tried to use Eric’s thoughts to make this story “different” from its source. That said, I claim no ownership to the quoted material and have placed it in bold so that it is set apart from my own words.


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Bill and I had agreed to a stratagem before we’d gone to our rest—me in my coffin in my secured room at Fangtasia and him in the ground somewhere.

To each his own.

The new angle we were pursuing? Bugs.

Bill had posited the question: What if someone had planted listening devices and knew about Russell’s entombment because of those?

I suppose I could have been offended by the insinuation that I’d been “bugged.”

But I wasn’t. Many had “bugged” me over the years—with Sophie-Anne being the last of them. Of course, I had known about that infestation, even before she’d “caught me off guard” with the information. But—sometimes—being “bugged” was a stratagem in and of itself.

Yes—others could listen.

But I could say whatever I wished for them to hear, and there was power in that.

Yet—I took pride in knowing when I was being listened to, so when Bill suggested that I was being surveilled without my knowledge, I’d been offended. However, I was also practical. In the twenty minutes since I’d risen, I’d checked every nook and cranny of Fangtasia. Twice.

No bugs—except for a cricket. I let it be. Hopefully, it meant my luck would turn.

When Bill rose from wherever he was resting, he would be going to his own home—to check for listening devices. He swore that not much had been said there, but—apparently—it “might have been” enough to lead others to Russell. Thus, the possibility that someone had been monitoring him needed to be checked out.

I remembered only one conversation between Bill and me that could have “hinted” at Russell’s location—one where I gave him my dry cleaning bill for the clothing he’d caused to be damaged. Cement was a bitch to get out! The bill had cost more than the clothes. However, Russell’s name had not been spoken. A part of me wondered if Bill wanted to go to Bon Temps for another reason, but we’d agreed not to bring Sookie into the situation. And I hoped that he would abide by that.

After he was done with his own bug-check, Bill was to return to Fangtasia. Then we would decide on our next step—which would, inevitably, center on Herveaux and his pathetic-looking employee, Doug, who’d been the one to discover that the concrete had been disturbed.

I sipped a TruBlood and “listened in” on the drunken oblivion of my bonded. Sookie wasn’t there—at least, not in any significant way. Her feelings were flippant and vacillating—like waves on a stormy sea. No—she didn’t “feel” like Sookie at all. She felt like a shell—a shell filled with cheap booze.

I finished my truly hideous synthetic blood in a long gulp—wanting to get the meal over with.

I craved real blood, but I wondered if I could drink it without feeling guilty if it didn’t come from my bonded. Indeed, the very thought of feeding from a live donor made my stomach churn.

“Goddamn you, Sookie,” I whispered as I tossed my empty bottle into the recycling. I walked toward the basement entrance and then stopped. “That’s not to say that I don’t still fucking love you,” I sighed, speaking to a woman who wasn’t there.

I shook my head as I steeled myself for my next task.

I had felt Pam rise a few minutes before. I knew it was time to let her go—though a part of me screamed to stay where I was. I felt my shoulders slumping as I moved my feet, opened the basement door, and descended the stairs.

I’d faced horrors. I’d faced sorrows. But I’d never even contemplated willingly breaking a bond.

When Godric had burned in the sun, I’d been in my room—waiting to feel him during his last moments.

The pain of our bond dying had doubled me over. Worse than any silver, it had pierced me—stabbed into my very soul.

23.1My feet felt heavy as Pam met me before I could get all the way down the stairs.

I almost smiled. It was so like her to greet the pain that confronted her. She’d always been brave—defiantly so.

23.2Where’s Bill?” she asked.

He had an errand,” I responded. “Sit,” I instructed softly, even as I sat down on the steps. Pam followed suit, looking at me as if I could tell her all the answers—looking to me as if I could offer salvation.

23.3I could offer neither answers nor sanctuary.

I could sense that Pam’s child was in the vicinity, too; however, Tara had apparently injured herself the night before, so she’d likely “sleep in” so that she could finish healing.

So Pam and I would have privacy in the moments to come—as sacred as they would be. As heart-wrenching as they would be.

We shouldn’t fool ourselves,” I began, my voice sounding rough to my ears, though I’d intended for it to sound comforting.

23.4I supposed there wasn’t much comfort to be had in that moment.

In that moment, I envied Sookie her numbness.

Searching for Russell Edgington is a suicide mission,” I continued honestly. “Even if Bill and I do get him, we’d still be facing a treason charge.”

Honesty could be fucking brutal! Indeed, I figured that Roman—or someone else in the Authority—had another purpose in mind for Bill and me. But I could be wrong. And—if I was—I wasn’t going to drag my child down with me.

Pam looked at me with confusion. “I thought you had friends in the Authority.”

A friend,” I corrected, “and she can’t help me anymore.” Pam had always thought that my ‘friend’ was a woman I’d seduced at some point. She had no idea that she was my sister—or a Chancellor. Ex-chancellor. “Either Russell will have our heads—or the Authority will. There is no other option,” I continued, though I knew I was lying. The other option was becoming Roman’s lapdog. And—though I wasn’t keen on that—I would be able to retain my life.

23.5And maybe protect my progeny.

And my bonded.

I’ll go with you. We’ve defeated Russell before. We can put up a fight against the Authority!” Pam argued fervently, though ultimately uselessly. There was no fight we could mount against the Authority as it was currently structured. Moreover, we’d defeated Russell only because of Sookie. And I was bound and determined to keep Sookie and Pam out of the fray this time.

23.6Listen,” I responded. “The end may come soon, and I can’t have you there.”

Indeed, I would not risk Pam—for many reasons—not this time. If I was to be no more, then Nora would likely suffer that fate too. And then Pamela would be the eldest vampire in Godric’s line. I was counting on her to carry on—especially now that she had a child.

23.5Eric, I want to,” Pam implored.

She’d always been one for trying to tell fate to fuck off. That’s why I’d turned her. “Pull” or no pull—the world was a much more “badass” place because my progeny was in it as vampire. Despite Godric’s reservations, I’d never regretted making her.

Nor would I ever.

23.7No,” I replied. “What you said in anger—you were right. I have to release you. And it’s not because I don’t trust you or because I don’t care. It’s because you are my only progeny. My one legacy. I need you to live when I’m gone.”

23.9I smelled the metallic scent of bloody tears as they filled Pam’s eyes. To hide them, she looked down, and I could see—and sense—that understanding was filling her. I sighed. Once our bond was gone, I would no longer be able to feel Pam’s emotions. Only a tiny strand of our bond would survive—enough to let me know that she was alive. Her emotions would leave me. The ability to track her would leave me. And—in turn—she would no longer feel me at all.

Not at all.

If that is your wish,” she said with a mixture of strength and sorrow, “I understand. I accept.”

23.10My wish? What was my wish? Moreover, when had I last allowed myself to have a wish—other than the time which I’d spent without my memories? During that time, I’d done nothing but wish. But before—and after—the need to be something for someone else had stifled my own wishes for myself.

A child to my maker.

A maker to my child.

An avenger for my parents.

Hell—I’d even been the director of my own Extreme Home Makeover—though I’d done it without ever allowing myself to “wish” about an outcome.

And now? What did I wish?

23.8Simple. To live in that remade home with my beloved. To have my child nearby and safe. To feel—whole.

I didn’t think my wishes were out of the ordinary. In fact, I imagined them to be quite mundane. A home. A family. Love. Peace.

I’d taken these things for granted before—with my human family.

I looked at my lone vampire child. Maybe my epic failure as a son to my human father had been what had made me so hesitant to change a human into my child.

Pam—which was the name she’d preferred for me to call her since the 1920s—was working hard to blink away her tears. But I could see that she was also marshaling strength. No—I’d not been pulled to her, but I was fucking ecstatic that I’d turned her.

I was grateful for her.

23.11My Pamela put her hand on my arm, as if trying to both give and take strength. And then—with the grace and resilience of the Madame I’d met long ago—she stood with a sigh and faced me.

Faced her fears.

Do it,” she said.

She’d once asked me to “make” her. And—now—once I did what I had to do, I would be “un-making” a little of us both.

I stood as well, but for a moment I looked anywhere but her.

23.12For more than a century, I had fostered her.

I had trained her.

I had admired her.

I had spoiled her.

I had loved her.

I gathered myself and looked into her big blue eyes. I could see that she was ready—even if I wasn’t. Still—I knew what needed to be done.

So I did it.

Pamela, I renounce the ties of our blood and my dominion over you as my progeny,” I said solemnly, bracing myself for the pain I knew was coming. The empty ache of our lost bond would be worse than the immediate pain in a lot of ways. But the emptiness would come later. First, we would feel the scald that came with broken magic.

23.13As your maker,” I paused, “I release you”

When Godric had met the sun, a part of me had burned with him—that part which had been his for a thousand years. Pam had been mine for only one-tenth of that amount of time. Still—the magic that had turned her and had given me power over her burned us both as the words I’d uttered took effect.

In the midst of that pain, Pam could no longer hold in her tears as she reached for me. I held her close, comforted by her presence. One of my hands was on the back of her head, and Pam placed her hand over mine as I caressed her hair tenderly.

23.16The physical pain was fleeting—now little more than an irritation. A cut with a hint of salt in it.

However, the ache was already forming.

Gone was my ability to sense my child—or Tara through her.

Gone was my ability to feel where she was—unless I was literally holding her.

23.15All that was left was a faint echo of her inside of me; indeed, it was just enough to let me know that she was still “un-dead.” Nothing more than that.

Still, a part of me wished that she could have a similar, though tiny, assurance of my continued existence. However, that wasn’t the way the magic worked.

I sighed. Bond or no—I still felt the same amount of affection for my child.

If anything, that affection—and my appreciation for her—had grown during the last few minutes. And I needed her to understand that.

We had lost something, but we had gained something too.

I closed my eyes and swayed her slightly as if I were rocking a child.

You are my child,” I said, still stroking her hair. “As I was a child of Godric. You were born into greatness.”

At my words, Pamela pulled away so that she could look at me.

And you’re a maker now,” I said, my hands over her cheeks, and her hands moving to settle over mine again. “Our blood will thrive. You understand?”

23.18She nodded.

I kissed her forehead before pulling her back into my embrace. Her sobs became stronger, so I held her tighter.

23.19We stood on the steps to what Pam liked to call the dungeon for a while—hovering in a kind of limbo both physically and emotionally.

23.21

23.20When her cries finally stopped, I pulled away and smiled softly down at her, wiping away as many of her tears as I could and smudging others. I ignored the ones that had fallen from my own eyes.

“You will always be my child, Pamela. Always!” I added fervently, hoping that my words would absorb into her as my magic had once.

“I know,” she said as one last tear slipped from her eye.

I thumbed it away as well.

“I always taught you that there was nothing more important than the blood,” I said.

“I know. I’ll remember. I promise.”

“Don’t. I may have been wrong,” I said with a little smirk.

Her perfectly-shaped eyebrow lifted impossibly high. “Well—now I know the world’s comin’ to an end if you’re admitting fallibility, Mr. Northman,” she said with a leftover sob that she tried to pretend was a laugh.

Pretending with her, I chuckled. But when I spoke, my tone was sincere. “Maybe there are things more important than the blood—after all. Maybe having more equal footing is better than having blood dominance,” I stated, looking at her pointedly.

“Really?” she asked, her voice a little hopeful.

“You are a magnificent vampire, Pamela Swynford de Beaufort. You were born for this existence, and you no longer need me holding you back,” I said, smirking again by the time I got to the end of my sentence.

“I’m glad you finally recognized that,” she said, sounding almost as snarky as usual, though her voice still quivered with emotion.

I chuckled. “Now—go be a maker to your brat. She is going to—perhaps—be even more trouble for you than you were for me.”

“What do you mean?” Pam asked, sassily. “I was perfect from the start.”

I winked. “Then I wish you a child just as,” I paused, “perfect as you were.”

“Fuck you!” Pam grinned.

I was heartened. With her ‘fuck you,’ I knew my progeny still loved me—in her way. And I knew that we could rebuild the trust that had been between us, perhaps even strengthening it along the way.


A/N: First of all, I have to say that the original scene in TB regarding the breaking of the child-maker bond was one of my favorites of the season. I really loved how the actors played these minutes. So poignant. Since it was good to start with, I retained much of the dialogue (credited in bold, of course). My main additions were at the beginning and the end. I wanted to leave Eric and Pam “okay.” And it was also emotional to write Eric’s inner thoughts during the scene. I hope you enjoyed it!

Kat


 

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15 thoughts on “Chapter 23: Equal Footing

  1. Oh that part was so sad… but now he can’t command her to not fight Russell or even hurt sookie. Hope not it wold be nice for them to become friends. Great chapter !

  2. That scene between Eric and Pam was one of my favorite of the entire TB series. Reading it from Eric’s POV and knowing his feelings made it even that much better.

  3. Beautifully done. Thankyou. I agree, they both did a brilliant job of that scene, can’t remember how many tissues I used by the end lol.
    Thankyou for a great chapter, I loved the last bits. Isn’t that every parents wish? Their child has a child Just. Like. Them!

  4. Damn! I’m sniffling as much as I did during the actual scene. Alex and Kristen owned that scene. Very emotional and it showed. Loved your Eric POV. Also loved that all Eric wants is “A home. A family. Peace. Love.” Such simple things he wants. I hope (in your version) he gets them.

  5. I had read that Kristin said the scene between her and Alex was very emotional and the emotions they shared were real –so it came across to the fans as authentic because it was. Bravo to the both of them!
    And to you, dearheart, for your continued insight into our wonderful Viking.
    Pat

  6. You added a dimension to this scene and their love for each other that makes him releasing her even more poignant. I think the genuine friendship these actors have for each other shone through as well.
    And Eric’s simple desire to have a home, to be happy makes your heart ache.

  7. The scene between the tow of them was one of my favorite among the series. Though I may not have liked what happened, Eric’s reasoning for just why he did it was just so…Eric. He cared for Pam enough to set her free to try and protect her.

    I really like how you added to it as well, especially with Eric’s thoughts when he told Pam no one should be trusted. With what had happened to him recently, it made complete sense that is how he is feeling.

    Now I am off to continue getting all caught up.

  8. I actually have tears running down my face. That was probably the most emotional scene in True Blood, closely followed by the Sookie/Eric hug in series 7, and you hiked it up even more. You are a master at ringing the last emotion from your readers!

    They really poured everything into that scene. I wasn’t surprised to find they’d begged the writers to change it so he didn’t release her! No matter how I felt about Pam in the last few series, I loved the relationship between Pam and Eric.

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