Eric returns to the resting place he shares with Willa after his talk with Isis. His emotions are a pendulum swinging wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other. He is overly cautious regarding Isis’s sudden appearance in both his and Sookie’s lives. Eric has existed for over a thousand years; not once in that span of time did Godric mention his feud with his blood brother. Should that not have been something to make Eric aware of since he could have been subjected to an attack or abduction from this vampire Appius? And in the millennium of his undead existence, why has Appius never made an attempt against Eric before? He certainly had plenty of time to do it before Isis intervened. Even if Isis had intervened, Appius could have found ways around her.
Can Isis be trusted? Can Appius’ position in Nevada be viewed as that of an ally or foe? There are too many variables in this situation; too many leaps of faith required to rely on those Eric has never met before today. Not only does he feel powerless, but also vulnerable.
“You OK?” Willa’s soft voice calls out to Eric from her bedroom. She walks to the doorway dressed in a white nightgown eerily similar to the one she wore the night Eric turned her. He smiles faintly at the memory, though it is bittersweet. How ironic that the progeny he thoughtlessly made and abandoned should be the only creature he feels he can truly trust.
“To be honest, I am unsure of what I am,” Eric intones with a sigh as he drops down to Willa’s couch. His head falls back, a sign of his defeat and weariness.
“You wanna talk about it?” Willa glides into the room. She does not feel comfortable enough to sit next to her maker, so she lowers herself silently into the plush overstuffed chair beside the couch.
Eric rolls his head to look at Willa. “Vampires do now talk about their feelings. It is a sign of weakness,” he states flatly.
“Oh,” Willa bristles. “Sorry. I’ll leave you be,” she offers stiffly while rising from the chair. Once again, she feels rebuffed by her maker. So much for trying to be there for each other, she thinks with hostility. She should have known this truce between them is only temporary. Why does she keep opening herself up, only to be shot down time and time again?
Eric leans forward quickly to grab her hand, stilling the young vampire. His eyes raise to look at her stony expression. “Please don’t go,” he asks quietly. “Forgive me. A thousand years of habit is hard to break.” Willa nods and Eric releases her hand.
Willa returns to her seat, her posture stiff as she stares at Eric. He sighs moving to rest his elbows on top of his knees. “How much do you actually know about me?”
“I know you were turned a thousand years ago by Godric. I know Nora was your vampire sister. I know Pam was your only other progeny. And I know pretty much the entire history of your relationship with Sookie,” Willa rattles off quickly. Her short, staccato sentences sound like gunfire.
“You know facts, but that tells you nothing of who I am,” Eric observes.
“Sorry but abandoning me kinda prevented us getting to know each other,” she replies sarcastically.
Eric gives Willa a genuine smile of amusement. “You do not fear me. You have that in common with Sookie. She always spouted off rather than remain quiet. It’s what first attracted me to her rather than just her blood or scent.”
Willa shakes her head in disagreement. “I think we both fear you on some level. After all, you could kill us both in a nanosecond. I think the difference is that we refuse to be intimidated by you because of your age or position. Also, I think it’s because we don’t respect you. Well, Sookie probably does, but you haven’t done anything to earn my respect.”
Eric raises both eyebrows at Willa’s frank assessment. Other than Sookie, no one would have dared say they did not respect him. “You are right,” Eric agrees sagely. “Perhaps in time, I may remedy that. I have wronged you from the beginning Willa Burrell, yet you still allow me to seek refuge in your home. You are willing to fight beside me to save Sookie. You show compassion and mercy when I deserve none. For that, you have my respect,” Eric ends with a deep nod of his head.
“Uh, thanks,” Willa responds with a confused tone. The conversation has taken an awkward turn. She steers the conversation back to her original question. “You OK?”
“I am…lost,” Eric responds finally. “A thousand years ago, Godric offered a dying warrior the chance to live. I knew not what he meant, but I knew I valued life more than anything. I embraced my new existence. It was easier for me than most because my entire family was slaughtered by Russell Edgington’s wolves. I was not giving up anything of value. Godric became my everything. When he chose to meet the sun, I lost my father, my brother, and my son. I grieved…I still grieve,” Eric admits mournfully as a red tear slips slowly down his check.
Eric wipes away the tear, sniffing loudly to prevent others from falling. “Even without him here, I still felt his presence. A thousand years together…there are no words to describe our relationship. And now…now…,” his voice falters and he stumbles for words.
“You feel betrayed,” Willa whispers. “You’re questioning everything that was between you.”
“Yes,” Eric whispers brokenly, his head bowing in shame. The control he had exerted over his emotions snaps and his body is racked with sobs.
Willa moves swiftly in front of her maker, gripping his hands in hers as she kneels before Eric. Her eyes rim with tears to see the strong Viking destroyed like this. In her mind, Eric Northman is always a fierce, beautiful, yet stoic man. The night she first saw him, she thought him an angel sent to save her from her father. She thought he was her chance at freedom. While all her fantasies may not have come to fruition, he did give her freedom. It breaks something inside Willa to see her maker
“I know we do not know each other well enough to sit here and reminisce about our pasts and to get better acquainted, but I want you to know I am here for you. I am your child and you are my vampire father and there is something there between us even though we parted ways many years ago. I don’t give a hill of beans if you accept me into your life or not after this is over, we are both here for Sookie and little Eric. If in the meantime we can build a relationship of sorts between us, I do hope we can one day have respect, trust and maybe even family love between us. If all you want from me is my company so that you do not feel so lonely then I am here in that capacity as well. I will follow your lead on how we proceed.”
With the approaching dawn, Willa retreats to her room leaving Eric to settle on the couch. He has pushed himself to stay awake beyond the rising of the sun each day, but with all the revelations of this evening, he cannot. A weariness takes hold of his body that sends him to his daytime death before the first streaks of light break the horizon. Eric welcomes the rest; it is a respite from the turmoil within.
Very rarely has anything woken him during the day. The last time was more than a decade earlier with Sookie’s sudden reappearance back from the fairy realm. Nor is he plagued by dreams. How can one dream when one is literally dead for the day? The few dreams Eric has experienced have been while in downtime, in a near trance-like state, or when he was high off his ass thanks to either fairy blood or Lilith’s blood. In fact, the last dream Eric had was in The Authority’s command center after being force-fed the blood of Lilith. It was a nightmare, watching his beloved maker being slaughtered by Lilith. No dreams or nightmares have plagued Eric in the ten years since that night.
Perhaps it is because there is no hope left inside him.
The sun makes its progression through the sky, moving from morning to afternoon with the same steady pace. To a vampire, daylight is the enemy. Not only will the rays end a vampire’s existence, but it traps the vampire in a state of suspended animation. Daylight is a vampire’s greatest vulnerability. The superhuman strength and speed a vampire possesses mean nothing when the sun is shining. A vampire can choose to fight against the effects of the sun, but it severely weakens the vampire. Most do not have the strength to accomplish such a feat. Even if threatened during the day, most vampires cannot muster the strength to fight the effects sunlight has on their bodies.
Eric Northman is not such a vampire.
It is the middle of the afternoon yet Eric’s eyes snap open and his fangs descend. Something does not feel right! There is an intruder in Willa’s resting place. A strong magical smell tickles Eric’s nose. A discreet sniff lets him discern that the scent is coming from Willa’s bedroom. It reminds Eric of patchouli, hemp, and incense.
Using vamp speed, Eric moves to the door of Willa’s room which is partially closed. He uses his foot to push the door inward, giving him better access to see inside the room. Willa lies immobile on her bed, buried underneath a homemade quilt Eric recognizes from Sookie’s home. If Eric wasn’t on high alert, he would have smiled to see his progeny sprawled underneath the covers of her bed. But he takes no enjoyment in this moment at seeing Willa still engaging in such a human trait.
At the foot of the bed, a bright white light shines. It seems ethereal, but Eric cannot see more than the edge of the light thanks to the door. The intruder is not making any noise and Eric cannot detect any movement in the room. There is no way for him to sneak into the room undetected. Hoping to catch the intruder by surprise, Eric flings the door open with force, embedding the door knob in the drywall. He rushes into the room, prepared to attack, but stops short at the sight that greets him.
It has been ten years since Eric watched Lilith eviscerate his maker. Ten years since Eric said a final goodbye to the father of his vampire existence. For ten years, Eric has been haunted by the ache that resides deep in his chest where the bond with his maker resided.
But it all fades away as Eric gazes with wonder at the illuminated vision before him. Dressed only in white linen pants, the blue and black ink of the tattoos on his chest and arms seem that much starker. His pale skin glows with an otherworldly light. The full pink lips smirk as the hazel eyes shine with love.
“Hello, Eric,” Godric utters warmly though softly.
Eric stares dumbfounded. “Godric?”
Godric smiles warmly at his child. The beauty of Godric’s presence causes Eric to drop to his knees, sagging under an avalanche of sorrow and joy; despair and hope. Eric’s head bows as a sign of respect, but also as a defense mechanism to hide his emotions. Two red rivers flow freely from Eric’s eyes, staining the paleness of his flesh. Eric does not wish for Godric to see his tears to think him weak.
“Do not hide from me, my Child,” Godric scolds gently as he raises Eric’s head using a single finger under the chin. “There is nothing to hide between us.”
“Fader…I miss you so much,” Eric sobs as he wraps his arms around Godric’s slight frame. “I feel so alone,” he whispers brokenly, clutching at his beloved maker.
Godric pets Eric’s head lovingly. “And I miss you. But you need not be alone. You have a child of your own that needs you,” Godric gestures to Willa’s prone body. There is no judgement in Godric’s tone, no accusations lobbied at Eric for the callous way he made and has subsequently treated Willa.
“You also have Miss Stackhouse,” Godric continues with a smile in his voice. “She loves you a great deal, more I dare say than any love that Nora or I felt for you,” Godric confesses which shocks Eric into pulling back from his maker.
Godric continues to smile at Eric as he runs his fingers through his child’s blond hair. “That surprises you, yet it should not. Miss Stackhouse loves you unselfishly; she loves you enough to let you go to pursue a life without her. Nora loved you, but you were never first with her. As for me…I love you, my Child, but I ultimately chose what was best for me and left this existence behind. If I loved you more than myself, I would have stayed for you,” Godric explains gently.
Eric bows his head again at the weight of Godric’s words. “I have failed those I love. You…Nora…Sookie…Willa…even Pam,” he admits mournfully.
“You have made mistakes,” Godric acknowledges, “but you have the opportunity to correct them. There is still hope with Willa and Miss Stackhouse. As for the rest of us…you cannot carry the burden of everyone on your shoulders, Eric. We were responsible for our actions, not you,” he ends firmly.
Before Eric can argue, Godric speaks again. “Stop focusing on the past, Eric. You have formidable foes to face. They may be a greater force than any you have faced before, but they are not without their weaknesses.”
“Your blood brother,” Eric murmurs. “Why did you never tell me?”
Godric lowers so that he is kneeling in front of Eric. He cups the cheeks of his beloved child, forcing him to look directly in his eyes. “Because it did not matter,” Godric states resolutely. Eric opens his mouth to protest but Godric silences him with a look.
“Appius may believe he felt the pull to make you, but I know he did not. I felt it. It became stronger each night. Had you not been mortally wounded, I would have still turned you that night. The need to have you as my child was that great. If Appius felt the same, he would have turned you before I had a chance since he saw you first. Instead, he chose to play with the soldiers, ravaging those still able to fight while defiling the bodies of the dead,” Godric admits with disgust.
Continuing his tale, Godric’s eyes lose focus, not seeing his progeny in front of him but instead seeing two thousand years into the past. “Appius is my maker’s other child, and he reflects all that was corrupt and dishonorable about Ramsus. For a time, I too was molded in that image. It was when I found you that I truly began to change. Fader…Broder…Son,” he admits with a sense of shame.
“Godric, why did you never tell me he was a threat to me?” Relief seeps into Eric’s being hearing that Godric did want him as his child. It restores his sense of self, but Eric still doesn’t understand why Godric would not have warned him of a potential foe.
“Because I did not perceive him as a threat, especially with Isis stepping in,” Godric retorts. “Thalia has also kept tabs on Appius to make certain he did not make a move towards you.”
“He is assisting de Castro,” Eric speaks softly.
Godric nods. “Then he has signed his death warrant. Isis will end him. And if she does not, then there will be others who will do it to protect Miss Stackhouse,” Godric replies confidently.
“I do not know if I can go on if she dies,” Eric whispers. His biggest fear is that he will fail to save Sookie. How will he be able to go on knowing that the light inside her has been snuffed out? How will he be able to look into the eyes of young Eric and explain that he failed to save his mother?
Godric leans forward to brush his lips against Eric’s forehead. “Where is the fierce warrior that charged fearlessly into battle when his army was outnumbered three to one? Where is the vampire that conquered Russell Edgington not once but twice? Where is the vampire that destroyed an entire vampire concentration camp? You underestimate yourself and your beloved. You are strong; you are both warriors. You will survive this together and forge a life as one. Do not forget those that are willing to fight for the two of you. Trust in them, they will die so that you shall live together.”
“Thank you, Fader,” Eric replies gratefully. He has missed Godric’s wise counsel and calming presence more than he can say. “Will I see you again?” Eric’s eyes beg his maker to say yet.
“I’m never far, my Child. I am always with you.” Godric places another soft kiss on Eric’s brow.
Eric’s eyes snap open and he finds himself settled back on the couch in Willa’s quarters. His senses tell him that it is an hour before sunset.
It was just a dream, Eric thinks to himself with a mournful shake of his head. Still, he feels lighter than he has in years. Even if it was only a dream, Eric’s confidence in himself and those fighting by his side has been restored. He no longer feels out of control; he is once again the Viking warrior that can think calmly and rationally about his problem from all angles.
With a final shake of his head, Eric rises from the couch to check on Willa. Her door is ajar. He pushes the door open to see Willa burrowed underneath the heavy quilt, sprawled in the bed like a restless human. Eric smiles faintly, feeling a sense of déjà vu. Satisfied there is nothing amiss, he moves to the bathroom to ready for the evening. He flips on the light switch but halts as the light illuminates his presence in the mirror. There are twin dried blood trails from his eyes down to his chin. Eric gasps in shock. Never has he bled while dead for the day.
“It was real,” he whispers in awe as his fingers trace the streaks on his face. Eric’s chin trembles slightly as fresh tears well in his eyes. “Thank you, Godric,” he breathes reverently. The reassurances from his maker have given Eric new purpose, easing his burdens and fears. A truly remarkable gift to have received from his maker.
Eric hurries through his shower, eager to meet with everyone to finalize the plan to bring Sookie home. He gathers his meager belongings, needing to do laundry, or else he will need to bring over more clothes. Once that chore is complete, Eric takes time to heat two bags of blood for himself. He needs to be at full strength to fight the upcoming battle. He cannot afford to be weak. Sookie’s survival depends on him.
As Eric finishes the second bag of blood, Eric hears the unmistakable sounds of his namesake making his way down to Willa’s quarters. The vampire moves to open the door so the child can enter the room rather than wait in the hallway.
“Good, you’re up. We need to talk,” the younger Eric says by way of greeting. As like the last time the child visited, there is a backpack resting on his back. The child rises from his hands and knees, brushing his hands together to get the dust off them.
The child holds his hand out to the vampire, waiting for him to grab it. Eric arches a brow at the child, curious as to what he wants to show him. There’s only one way to find out, he ponders before lowering two of his long pale fingers for the child to grasp. The vampire gasps in shock as he watches Godric appearing to the child. Eric’s maker is dressed only in the white linen pants and no shirt. The younger Eric is sitting on the floor of the room he has been staying in, his toys scattered on the floor around him. Godric lowers himself to sit on the floor cross-legged about a foot away from the child.
The vampire continues to watch in amazement as his maker and the young child have a conversation about Sookie and him. Godric and young Eric talk about the future, what things will be like if Sookie and Eric (the vampire) are finally together as a couple. Godric reassures the boy that he will be loved by all, that he is already loved by all. Godric comforts the child by explaining that Eric (the vampire) will be a father to the young boy in all the ways that matter, it does not matter that they do not share the same genetics. The conversation ends with young Eric telling Godric it was nice to meet him and hopes they will talk again. Before Godric leaves, the child asks what he should call Godric.
Godric rises to his feet, walking towards the entryway. “You will be the son of my son. That will make me your grandsire. You may call me Papa or FarFar.”
Young Eric releases his hold on the elder Eric’s hand. The child is biting his lip nervously. “So, does that mean I can call you Far?”
Without hesitating, the vampire sweeps the boy up in his arms, holding him as tightly as he can without causing injury. So many emotions course through him, ricocheting around like a ping pong ball. The child rests his head on the broad shoulders of the vampire holding him.
Eric’s voice is thick with emotion, “I will be honored if you call me Fader, and I shall call you Min Son.”