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.
The next night when I woke up, I was somewhat surprised that I was still undead. It looked like my opting out of more bloodshed the night before hadn’t meant my death sentence, after all. But I would have to tread more carefully if I wanted to convince Nora to leave this place. And that meant that I would have to convince Salome and Russell that I was going along with their bullshit.
Quickly, I checked my bond with Sookie and found her to be sad and tired.
I sighed. Vampires didn’t get physically tired unless they were drained or under silver, but I found myself feeling tired all the same. I was tired of being in the house of horrors that I’d found myself in. I’d not asked to be “chosen” by Lilith, Roman, or Salome. And I didn’t want the “honor.” I was anxious to get back to the life that I had chosen for myself—though I doubted if that would be possible anymore.
Finding clean clothing in my size and style—probably thanks to Nora—I quickly showered in the ensuite bathroom. Like the bedroom, it was basic, but at least the showerhead was high enough so that I didn’t have to crouch. I fucking hated doing that!
When I was done, I left my room. Given that Godric was dead—at least corporeally—I had no way of tracking Nora, except by her scent, which was common throughout the facility. Thus, I used my common sense, which told me that someone with her level of fanaticism would want to worship her god at the altar.
I was glad that I passed by no other vampires as I made my way to the large meeting room, which I’d learned was actually a reconstruction of an ancient temple where an early Guardian had made his base. During their Lilith high, Rosalyn and Kibwe had spent a good deal of time kissing and writhing against the walls of said temple.
I closed my eyes for a moment. Trying to convert her back to sanity was going to take a lot of fucking work!
When Nora finally noticed me, which a vampire should have done as soon as I’d entered, she turned to me and then launched herself into my arms.
“Brother,” she said excitedly, lovingly. It was clear that she thought that the “trip” we’d both been a part of the night before had righted all wrongs between us.
It had not.
“This isn’t you, Nora,” I tried, even as I stroked her hair. “It’s insane.”
“Insane?” she asked as if she had no idea what I was talking about.
I pushed her back a little so that I could look her in the eyes.
“I have loved you for nearly 600 years,” I said sincerely, hoping that our mutual affection could overrule the influence of Lilith’s blood.
I didn’t hold out much hope that the direct approach would work, but I needed to try it—before I tried something more radical and dangerous for us both.
Nora laughed as if I’d just told her the silliest joke in the world. Perhaps, she did think I was joking. “Eric, Lilith blesses this place.”
“Eric, Lilith does exist,” Nora returned, smiling almost madly. “You saw her. You were there.” It was clear that she was desperate to believe what she was saying. And she was also desperate for me to believe. Maybe it was true that Lilith was real, but that didn’t mean that I was going to believe in her—follow her. I wasn’t.
Nora backed away from me a little. “Godric?” she asked.
“The night he turned you, the night he made us a family,” I responded, “I swore to him that I would always protect you. And last night he reminded me of that promise.”
“Eric, we both loved Godric. He gave us the most magnificent gift,” she smiled as she walked away from me and leaned against the shrine upon which Lilith’s blood was kept.
“It doesn’t. It sickens him,” I said decisively.
“It’s not Salome who’s sick,” Nora said, trying to sound reasonable, though her voice was tinged with the madness she’d succumbed to. “Do you remember Godric at the end when he’d lost his way? The Godric you say you saw last night was a perversion.”
There had been a time when I, too, would have said that Godric had lost his way. But had he? I was still pissed at him for ending his life, but if the vampires I had been around for the last several days were any indication, maybe we didn’t fucking belong on the planet. I realized in that moment that most of the anger that I still felt for Godric was because he’d not stayed alive in order to try to right the wrongs he’d found in vampirekind. If someone like him would have spoken out, people would have listened.
“Because it’s true. In his final days, Godric was a blasphemer, a weak, disgusting apologist whom Lilith herself would have been overjoyed to stake,” Nora said evenly—and somewhat blankly—clearly reciting words that Salome had implanted within her.
What the fuck?
“Fuck Godric,” Nora said matter-of-factly.
My cool was lost as I heard those words come out of her mouth. She might as well have staked our maker in that moment.
My anger boiled over, and I attacked her. Before I could even register my own intentions, she was on her back next to her beloved shrine, and my hand was wrapped around her throat. Her hands quickly came over mine.
She grunted beneath my hold. And I thought about killing her—putting her out of her misery and letting Godric take over in whatever afterlife he was in. But I couldn’t squeeze. I heard Godric’s voice in my head, telling me not to give up on my sister—his child.
So I let go and backed away a step. She stood up sputtering as her crushed vocal cords healed. She looked up at me with a betrayed look in her eyes, though her blue orbs also held pity—for me. My own eyes were hot with unshed tears of diminishing hope for her.
“Lilith will show you the way,” she smiled as if I’d not just almost killed her. And then she left.
I looked at the blood before me. I wasn’t about to deny that it had some kind of power, but I’d seen the effects of powerful V on humans. I’d felt the effects of fairy blood firsthand. To me, Lilith’s blood was a dangerous drug—similar to fanatical religious beliefs themselves.
“No,” I whispered toward Lilith’s blood.
The word was an act of denial and defiance.
No—I will not succumb to worshipping you when the price would be myself.
No—I will not give up on my sister, even if I have to lie, manipulate, and kill to get her away from you.
No—I will not exit this world until I know that my bonded is safe in it.
“No,” I whispered again, before leaving the room and closing the doors to the shrine behind me.
Bill smelled of Salome and sex when he came to my room an hour later. He was also downright pink.
“Bill,” I greeted, “you are looking well.”
Actually, he looked pensive. He motioned for me to follow him. “Have you not fed this evening?” he asked me as he led me down the hallway.
“Not yet. I was visiting with my sister,” I said honestly.
“Nora is a great asset to Salome’s work,” Bill said even as he stopped and entered a code that allowed us access to Salome’s chambers.
“She is,” I said in a somewhat strained tone. “Bill, what are we doing here?” I asked, looking around for Salome.
“She’s meeting with Nora. There’s to be a formal meeting with all of us in fifteen minutes. I was sent to collect you,” Bill said.
“And why are we here?” I asked again.
“Privacy,” he said.
“Salome has given you access to her chambers?”
Bill nodded. “They are my chambers too now.”
“I see,” I said, not allowing him to hear my concern.
“What do you,” he paused, “think of all of this?”
“I think that we have been trapped in a clusterfuck,” I replied.
Bill nodded. “I find that a part of me feels,” he paused, “imprisoned here—suffocated. But another part feels as if it is God’s will that we are here. I feel torn.”
“I can see that.”
“Something happened last night,” he returned. “I saw Lilith. She looked at me directly.”
“I saw her too,” I said honestly, “for a time. But I also saw much more than her.”
“What did you see?” he asked broodingly.
“A room full of drained humans,” I responded. “Blood all around. Dead men, women, and a child. But, perhaps, such things are Lilith’s plan,” I added meaningfully and somewhat sarcastically.
“Salome tested me last night,” he said in barely a whisper. “After we got back here.”
I nodded. “I figured she might.”
“We fed together,” he said tentatively.
“The right of any Sanguinista,” I replied with distaste. “Did you kill together?”
“Yes,” he said quietly—guiltily. “I did not want to—not at first. The human was a mother. Who were we to take her life—to take her from her child? But I . . . .” His voice trailed off.
“You did it anyway to avoid the true death at Salome’s hands,” I finished.
“Yes, but I also began to like it,” he added, his eyes glistening. “And I hate myself for that.”
“Bill, the blood we took last night—it made us do things we would not have done otherwise. It took away our control,” I added.
“I thought you said vampire blood couldn’t harm us,” he challenged.
“That is what I thought, but didn’t it seem like we were on a prolonged V-trip?”
Bill nodded. “Yes. For fun, Lorena used to like to feed humans her blood—though never directly from her body. The effect, of course, was that the blood gained its intoxicating characteristics. She was amused when the humans would hallucinate or when they would participate,” he paused, “heartily in our games—even when we were doing things to them that should have had them writhing in pain.” He cringed.
“Lorena was a bitch,” I commented.
“Yes,” Bill said, “at least, I always thought so. But—after seeing Lilith . . . .” His voice trailed off.
“Listen, Bill, that blood has affected you. Just stay away from it until we can figure a way out of here—okay? You do still want to get out of here—right?” I asked.
“Yes,” he agreed after a moment’s pause. “I think that would be best.”
“I will find us a way,” I promised.
“Why help me?” he asked.
“You know why,” I said.
“Our bromance?” Bill asked with a chuckle, though his heart didn’t seem to be fully committed to it.
“You and I,” I started, “have a complicated history. But recently we have found common ground.”
He didn’t need for me to tell him what that common ground was.
“My daughter, Sarah . . . ,” he started.
“Sarah?” I asked.
“She got cancer. I saw her before she died. I convinced Lorena that I would be happier if I did. Since Sarah was near death, Lorena didn’t see her as a threat for my affections.”
“Cancer was not unknown in my human days,” I said, “though my people did not have a name by which to call it. But some of them would feel the tumors in their bodies. We did not cut into them, however. We would pray to the gods.”
“Did your gods ever perform miracles?” he asked.
I sighed. “It depends on your definition of a miracle. Men who found tumors were the first to desire battle. And most died in it. Women? Well—they would die by the hearth with their families nearby. In truth, not many succumbed to such illnesses. We did not—after all—live that long.”
“Last night, I told Salome that I didn’t want to feed on the human—the mother—she had secured for us. I told her that I’d been a father once and that I didn’t want to separate a child from her parent. Salome told me that if had I truly loved my children, I would have turned them.” Bill paused for a moment. “Before she died, Sarah asked me to turn her. Begged me.”
“But you didn’t,” I said.
“Had I loved her . . . ,” he started and then stopped momentarily. “Had I loved her, I would have turned her—as Salome said.”
“I did not turn my human children,” I responded evenly. “And I loved them.”
“Sarah asked me to do it,” Bill said more forcefully. “As her father, I wanted to. I wanted to keep her, but—at the time—I thought that we were,” he paused, “abominations.”
“With Lorena, you might well have been an abomination,” I said, not pulling any punches. “But—even when I first met you—I thought you had promise.”
“Why ever would you have thought that?” he asked incredulously.
“The loyalty you had—even for someone so unworthy as Lorena—I thought that one day it might be put to better use,” I said.
He considered my words quietly for a moment. “Perhaps for Lilith.”
“No!” I said sharply. “That loyalty should be given to something better—a cause like mainstreaming.”
“You hate mainstreaming,” he reminded.
“Yes,” I chuckled. “But I see its practicality,” I responded. “Because of it, I have,” I paused, “changed—for the better.”
“But you’ve never even practiced mainstreaming,” he remarked.
“It’s not the mainstreaming,” I sighed. “I would never drink only TruBlood—just as you have not. And I don’t want to pretend to be human. But the coexistence part. The cooperation part. It is for the best. I believe that now.”
“Because of Sookie?” he asked.
“Because of many things,” I responded. “Including Sookie. But also Godric.”
“Your maker seemed to be,” he paused, “good.”
“He came to regret much about his life,” I sighed, “especially, I think, the time when he fell into the grips of excess religion.”
“Excess?” Bill asked.
“Yes—I would call last night ‘excess.’ Would you not?”
We looked at each other for a long moment.
“Godric always told me that there should be a ‘pull’ when one made a child. Did you feel one with your daughter? With Sarah?” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
“Then I think you did the right thing in not turning her,” I said.
“Maybe,” he said shaking his head a little as if to clear it.
“Just stay away from that blood, Bill. We’ll get out of this place, and then you can decide what you want to do with a clear mind—your own mind,” I said.
Bill nodded in affirmation. “You’re right. We should get to the meeting,” he said, turning to leave.
“Salome trusts you in her chambers,” I said, stopping him. “Do you have Level One clearance? Can you get us out of here?”
He shook his head. “No. I’m not trusted to that extent—not yet.”
“She obviously wants you to be her new companion—maybe even her consort,” I said.
“Yes,” Bill agreed.
“Keep on her good side,” I instructed. “Make her believe that you are helping her. Soon, she’ll come to trust you enough to give you clearance. And—when she does—we can get the fuck out of here. Meanwhile, I’ll look for other ways.”
Bill nodded in understanding—and, I hoped, agreement.
A/N: Think of the last part of this chapter as a “deleted scene” that I added. After Bill suggests that the TruBlood factories be blown up (coming up in the next chapter), I always wondered why Eric would still include him in the escape plan. That was the reason for the added scene–to “try” to fill in that HUGE HOLE. As for the scene between Eric and Nora-I always thought it was odd that Nora didn’t “turn Eric in” for his disbelief in Lilith. I thought that it showed that there was a little part of “her” left.
On a personal note, I have to say that this was really the time that I started to dislike Nora on the show. Ironically (despite the sex scenes), I never thought of her as a foil for Eric and Sookie. At this point, Sookie’d basically had her own “rebound” (the foiled attempt with Alcide). Anyway, I could understand Eric’s mixed feelings for Nora. He wanted to save her for Godric and because of the “family” element, but he truly dislikes her in this scene.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the chapter!