Kleenex warning: I needed one.
Chapter 06: The Law of Life
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”—John F. Kennedy
“What have we here?” Nora asked as Nan led in her group, which was composed of a willing “guest,” an unwilling prisoner, and a human corpse. The unwilling one was the king of Louisiana. The guest?
“Orchestrate a little usurpation of Louisiana—did we, Nan?” Nora asked facetiously. Nan wasn’t Nora’s favorite vampire, but the elder vampiress’s bitchiness could be amusing at times. And, certainly, Nora had never had any inclination to end Nan.
Until Eric had asked her to.
Nan scoffed at Nora. “No. Tonight I had the honor of witnessing a birth. Please see to it that Sheriff Northman and his new child are taken to comfortable quarters, and make sure he has all that he requires—within reason.”
“And King Compton?” Nora asked.
“Oh—I’ll personally make sure he’s settled in a nice silver cage,” Nan grinned evilly, causing Compton to squirm.
“Nigel is down there. I’m sure he’d appreciate a neighbor—or a roommate,” Nora said with a smirk. She’d never thought Compton worthy of being a king, though Nan had vaunted his obedience. It seemed that Nan’s favoritism for the young monarch had come to an end, however.
To Nora, that was certainly a mark in her fellow Chancellor’s favor.
“How delightful for you, Bill. Someone almost as obsessive-compulsive as you,” Nan said sarcastically, “however, Nigel’s proclivities are toward the blood of infants.”
“Indeed,” Nora said disgustedly, “and it seems that Nigel’s fifty years in lye couldn’t even break him of that desire—though it did change his looks—eventually.”
Nan smirked. “Perhaps, Bill, you could regale Nigel with the story of your life. Maybe he’d end himself—finally—and save us the bother. In fact, time spent with you could be a common feature of our torture strategy from now on.”
Nora chuckled. “Of course, that would be torture for us as well.”
“Indeed,” Nan agreed, as she turned to lead Compton away.
“Wait,” Eric said. “Make sure he’s in silver tomorrow evening. If Sookie is—in part—his child too, I don’t want him in any condition to try to command her until she is calm and ready to deal with that possibility.”
“You fucking bastard!” Bill yelled out. “Sookie is mine—my child! You have no right to keep her from me!”
“Put a cork in him,” Nan intoned.
One of the storm troopers produced a ball gag from his pocket and quickly fit it over Bill’s mouth.
“Thank you,” Nora chuckled.
Nan nodded toward Eric. “He’ll stay silvered until you and your progeny are ready. And I will make sure that it is a thick enough chain so that he couldn’t command her—even if he wanted to.”
Eric nodded his thanks.
As Nora motioned for Eric to follow her, she was careful not to give away her relationship with him. The Authority had “ears” and “eyes” everywhere. Nora planned to take Eric to one of the “less” surveilled rooms in the converted warehouse that was serving as the base for the Authority; however, it—like all of the private quarters (even Roman’s)—had audio surveillance. Of course, there were ways around anything.
Eric, too, was not acknowledging any relationship between them—much to Nora’s relief. Roman, of course, knew all about Nora’s background, just as he knew about the backgrounds of all of the Chancellors. But he was discreet with that information.
Nora pulled out her cell phone as they walked down a long corridor, which led to the guest living quarters.
As her vampire mate, Tavio, answered, she felt the bond they’d made enliven as it always did when they interacted.
“Nora,” her mate said.
“Tav,” she responded.
There was a pause as they both enjoyed the sensation of their blood bond. It was relatively “new” to them—as they’d formed it only a decade before. Of course, they’d needed Roman’s permission since they were both Chancellors of the Authority. But he’d given it without reservations. In fact, Roman was Tavio’s maker—though no one knew that fact except for Nora. Roman had been very happy for them when they’d decided to bond their lives to each other.
Nora spoke. “Would you mind meeting me in the guest quarters in the southern corridor in thirty minutes? I could use your help.”
“I will be there,” her mate said, before hanging up.
Nora motioned toward a door at the end of the hall and then led Eric and the woman inside.
“I imagine you will want to bathe her and freshen up yourself,” she said evenly. “I will return in thirty minutes with fresh clothing and refreshments for you.”
Eric only nodded as Nora left.
If someone would have asked Eric to explain what he was feeling, he would have had a difficult time.
Perhaps, ironically, his current mixture of emotions was similar to what he’d felt when he’d first risen as a vampire. He’d been so frightened. He’d agreed to be the companion to Death, but—in doing so—he’d basically turned his back on his gods, denying the Valkyries the prize of him dying from battle.
He would never forget the night he’d awoken to his new life. He’d been hungry—so hungry. And he’d been led by his maker to blood. He’d fed on the living and dying bodies of his own men, as well as his enemies. That feeding had caused him much guilt and had brought him much elation.
His emotions had been the very definition of contradictory.
Strangely enough, he’d felt hope too—hope that his new life would suit him better than his old.
It had—as soon as he’d learned control.
But he found it difficult to imagine that Sookie would come to a similar conclusion. Still—he had hope.
His beloved looked completely dead. She was completely dead, except for the small spark in her that signaled her connection to him—and, unless Bill was lying, to him too. But Eric didn’t want to think about Compton at the moment. Once Sookie rose, he would deal with anything that came, including the “king.” Frankly—he’d grown accustomed to Compton being a nuisance.
He carried Sookie into the opulent bathroom—attached to the opulent bedroom they’d been brought to, and he turned on the water to fill the large, centrally located tub. He also turned on the shower. There was no toilet in the room, for no humans would have been welcome to stay in the suite.
As he looked down at Sookie, he couldn’t help speaking to her.
“If you could see yourself now, you would likely want to stake me. And—if you knew I was about to undress you without your permission—you would, of course, spout out a million protests.”
He chuckled as he quickly removed her ripped and stained clothing before doing the same with his. He lifted her again and took her to the shower.
“A rinse off first—that is the key to enjoying a bath after a battle,” he said to her, wishing he could hear her response. He was sure that she would say something to challenge him—something that would, undoubtedly, make him love her even more.
“Tomorrow night—I’m sure that you will give me challenge enough then,” he assured himself, even as he turned off the shower water and then walked them to the tub. The vessel was near full, and he shut off the water there too. He climbed in and settled Sookie in front of him.
He let the hot water fully warm her skin before he started to wash her.
“I already miss your warmth,” he whispered, even as he let the tears freely fall from his eyes. “I mourn your humanity, my love. I know you wanted to die and go to your Heaven, and I mourn—also—the taking of your choice.”
He dipped her body in order to wet her hair and then began to wash it.
“You will be a beautiful vampire—I have no doubt of that. But—until the dawn—you must indulge me in my grief for your humanity. Of course, you cannot even hear me, so this will be easy—for you.” He chuckled, even as more tears made paths over his cheekbones.
“For the rest of this night, I will allow myself to miss all that you were, Sookie Stackhouse. But, once you rise tomorrow night, I will not think of you that way again. I will think only of what you become once the magic of vampirism fully engulfs you. And I am certain that I will love the vampiress even more than I loved the human, for each night I rise, I find that my love for you has grown without my help—or my permission. It is simply a fact of my existence now, my love.
“You are a fact of my existence.
“I know that you will hate your new self at first, so it is up to me to love that self even more. And that means I cannot cling to the warmth and the light that first attracted me to you. After this night, I will never lament the loss of it again—unless you meet your true death. If you do, I will lament all.”
From the ridge of his chin, a red drop fell into the water.
“I will lament everything.”
He rinsed her hair. “You are mine, Sookie, my child. Thus, the first thing that I must be to you is your maker. It will be difficult—for the both of us. But—know this—though I was ready to let you go tonight, I will never regret being your maker. You are even more a part of me now than you were before, min kära,” he whispered into her hair. “And, before, you were a very big part of me—though I know that was difficult for you to believe.”
“We’d formed a love bond in the cubby, but I didn’t know that until I’d gotten my memories back. However, before I could tell you of it, you told me that you loved Compton too, so I did not speak of it. I could not. But now I will.” He chuckled ruefully. “Now that you are dead and will not interrupt me.”
He rubbed conditioner into her hair.
“A love bond is a rare thing for a vampire to form; in simplest terms, the magic within us became linked that night in the cubby. Entwined. The bond was initially formed by the comingling of our blood, but blood cells come and go, Sookie. It is the magic that makes a Supernatural different—special. And it is by magic that we can connect forever. You chose me—just as I chose you—that night. And I would not have it any other way.” He sighed. “We are bound—soul to soul. Together, we will feel fulfilled. Apart, we will always feel that something is missing.”
He rinsed the conditioner from her hair, leaving her tresses soft and gleaming.
“I would have us together and fulfilled,” he whispered. “However, I will love you and care for you no matter what comes our way—even if you decide to leave me once more.”
After finishing cleaning her, Eric drained the water and toweled her off, not worrying about his own nudity as he walked her into the bedroom and wrapped her body with a robe that had been in the bathroom. Quickly, he combed and braided her hair.
He chuckled. “I once had hair as long as yours—that is how I know how to do this. You should know that our hair and fingernails do grow. They are the only things that change on our bodies. You can even dye your hair. Pam continuously tries to convince me to try red or dark brown, but I just don’t think it would seem right. Do you?”
Of course, Eric’s question remained unanswered. He zipped into the bathroom and covered himself with a towel. Then he returned to the bed and sat next to his child.
He reached out and took her lifeless hand.
“You will still likely be the death of me, little one,” he said honestly. “But—let us make a deal. I will willingly give up my undead life for you—if you will try to live your own undead life—for yourself.”
Of course, she didn’t hear him.
So she didn’t answer.
But, still, he hoped.
A/N: I hope you liked this chapter. Next up: We’ll get some interaction between Nora and Eric, and we will get to meet Nora’s mate, Tavio.
NOTE: In this fiction, Eric and Nora do have a past romantic relationship (not unlike Eric and Pam), but Nora is bonded to Tavio, and there will be no romance (or sex) between Nora and Eric. The character of Tav, as we will see, helped to solidify Nora’s loyalty to Roman over Salome. And that changes a lot of things for her. Feel free to let yourself “like” Nora. She was Godric’s child, after all.
Until next time,
P.S. If might be a while-a week or so-before the next chapter. I have a crazy few days at work coming up, and my next “fun” project is another chapter of Uncharted.