Hunger and Sadness
The air was still muggy and Matt felt like he was stuck to a fly strip. After being overseas he found the weather patterns of the United States a bit extreme for him. He had adapted to the monotone accent that his father had insisted he use and his English was impeccable. He was a quick learner and he was sure that was his father's influence. He looked up to see the bright sign flash Merlotte's. It looked like a restaurant and he realized he was hungry. His father seemed to have a hard time remembering that he like a human needed to eat food. His goal earlier that day had been to get over to a fast food joint or grocery store and get some food but when the car began to head his way he made his mad dash back to Fangtasia. He had later found an apple but his stomach began to growl as he got a whiff of the fine smells wafting from the building.
"Can't you quiet that thing," Eric said after hearing the low grumbling of his son's stomach.
"No, I have to eat."
"Sorry I keep forgetting that, you are looking a bit thin. I'm sure we can get you something here and find a twenty-four hour store on the way home."
Matt grateful for his father's intentions followed him up the stairs and into the building. His mouth began to water almost immediately as Jessica stepped forward to greet them. She nodded to Eric and gave a gentle and sweet smile to Matt. Eric waved her away and walked to the bar asking if Bill had been around. Tara turned to see Eric and involuntarily jumped. But that tender smile flashed and she regained her bearings and began to clean up the glass that had shattered when she dropped it. Matt began to follow his nose not wanting to wait for his father to order for him. He walked over towards the window to the kitchen and saw Lafayette flipping a large burger.
"Hey you got one of those for me," he called out.
"Damn boy you about gave me a heart attack. What you doing around here and where is your daddy?"
Matt looked back and over to see his dad placing his hand on top of Tara's as she handed him his drink. "He's at the bar with a girl who is as dark as you are," Matt explained.
"He brought you here?" Lafayette asked forgetting his conversation with Eric earlier; meeting the son of a vampire kind of shut his brain down.
"Yeah, he said we should talk. Do you have a break coming up or I could help you in there."
"You can't come back here, you might get hurt. Let me see if Terry can take over for a few minutes, I'm due a break anyways."
Lafayette slid a burger onto the waiting bun and flipped another one while adding yet one more onto the grill. Matt turned and went to wait outside. He sat down on the porch outside Merlotte's his legs dangling over the edge. He stuck his face out trying to catch the small breeze that began to cough its way down from the trees.
"Hey there," Jessica said as she sat down next to him. "Are you with Eric?"
"Yes, he's my, are you a vampire?" he asked changing his answer.
"Yes I am, but I won't hurt you."
"I know it's okay I didn't think you would. Pam said there was a Jessica that lived with her and my, I mean Eric a while ago, was that you?"
Jessica shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah, not my finest moments."
Matt just smiled. "I'm Matt; it's nice to meet you."
"You too," Jessica said as she stood up making room for Lafayette who came bearing food.
"God I love you," Matt said snatching the burger and fries from the man.
"So why did your daddy bring you here?"
Matt chewed and swallowed as if he was starved wolf. "He said we bonded and that I can help you, and oh," he paused ripping off another chunk of burger and talking with his mouth full, "I need a friend."
"Well now I don't know if I am quite friend material," he responded. "I mean we don't have much in common."
"Sure we do, we have both been touched by magic. Look I can help you; sometimes when magic comes calling the only way to deal with it is to dig in deeper. Explore it, take control. I think your friend Jesus can help you."
"Wait a damn minute how do you know about Jesus?"
"I know lots of things," Matt stated licking ketchup off his fingers.
"Yeah well stop it," Lafayette said shaking his head unappreciative of his problems being so easily known.
"Do you have a phone?"
"Well yeah," he said pulling it from his pocket.
Matt wiped his hands on his shirt and grabbed it; his thumbs working rapidly. "Here now you can call me if you need anything." Suddenly there was a song dancing from a phone in Matt's pocket. He pulled it out and hit a few buttons. "Now I have your number too," he smiled.
"Great," Lafayette said getting up from his perch next to Matt, "just great." He had nothing against the boy, but he wanted less ties with Eric Northman not more. That vampire was unpredictable and scared the holy bejesus out of him. "I got to get back to work, glad you liked the burger."
"It was great, thanks," Matt said finishing up his fries.
He went back to work his head shaking at just how much more complicated his life had become simply by running an errand. What had he ever done to merit this thorny existence? Then he realized he was at fault for much of the issues before him and mumbled never mind causing Sookie to cock her head. "Nothing darlin' it's all good." He said pulling the corners of his mouth into a smile.
Sookie stepped out onto the porch and found what she was looking for immediately. She had seen Eric come in with the boy and her curiosity went into overdrive. "Hey there," she said handing him the drink she had put in a to-go cup complete with lid and straw. "Did you have a good dinner?"
"Yes ma'am, it was very tasty," he said grateful for the beverage.
"So you're with Eric Northman?" Matt nodded slurping away. "And you're not a vampire I see."
"Okay quit calling me ma'am I'm beginning to feel old. How is it you came to be with Eric then?" She asked fearing something untoward was going on.
"It's complicated," he said clearly wanting to say more.
"Matthew, let's go," Eric shouted as he came out the door.
Matt just looked at Sookie, his eyes pleading. She cocked her head and tried to read his thoughts but came up blank. She looked confused as Eric continued to bark. "Matthew car now!"
"You're part fairy," he suddenly said. "You're like me."
"Wait, you're fairy too?"
"No, not exactly…it's complicated."
Suddenly Eric was standing next to his son. "I tell you something I expect you to obey it. Now if you want these little field trips then I expect you to follow the rules and the sound of my voice. Tell Miss Stackhouse goodnight and get your ass in the car." He hissed.
Matt swallowed and told her goodnight and hustled over to the waiting car.
"A bit harsh don't you think," Sookie snapped.
"Got to show them who's boss or they'll run right over you," Eric winked. "Hey where's the best twenty-four hour grocery store?"
"Who is he Eric? And what do you need with a grocery store?"
"I'm sure you'll know soon enough who he is and when you do come across the knowledge I expect it to stay with you."
"You aren't hurting him are you?"
"Of course not, unless he needs it," Eric smiled, "grocery store?"
"There's one about two miles from Fangtasia, due west. Hey and Eric" she called out as he turned, "he looks just like you."
"Don't I know it."
Then he hopped in the car and roared off.
Eric sniffed the air. "What is that smell?"
"Oh, I wiped my hands on my shirt, so I guess its burger and ketchup."
"Well it stinks," Eric said crinkling his nose.
"Sorry," Matt whispered hanging his head.
Eric feeling sudden regret, "I'm just not used to it I guess."
"I'll be neater next time."
Matt's head was bobbing by the time they pulled into the grocery store Sookie had directed him to. The parking lot was nearly empty but the lights were blazing inside. "Wake up; I thought I told you to take a nap."
"I tried, I slept a little but not enough for me not to be tired," he said stretching.
"Well let's get this over with," Eric said looking at the store in total distaste as they entered.
The fluorescent lights were really beginning to annoy him. They were harsh and they hummed quite loudly. The music raining down was some sort of sick mixture of pseudo classical. He watched his son choose carefully picking up items and looking them over them and gently placing them in the cart.
"What is a granola bar?" he asked.
"It's a snack, granola is healthy," Matt said placing two cans of tuna in the basket.
"Fish wear glasses?"
"Just on the can."
Eric shook his head and cleared his throat. "How much longer?"
"I'll go fast; I'll get enough so we don't have to come back for a couple of weeks."
"We'll have to come back?"
"Well yeah you have to eat regularly, so do I."
"Right I suppose so, well off you go then," Eric said wandering over to the magazine rack. He watched Matt push the cart around to the next aisle and began to think of Godric. His maker had loved Matthew even when he was but a slobbering infant. He would play asinine games with him like peek-a-boo and others. He could always get the boy to laugh and Eric had admired that quality. He had constantly encouraged Eric to take care of the boy and now that he was Godric was gone. He could certainly use his assistance and advice as he tread in this new territory. He was unsure of his feelings towards this boy, but there was certainly something bubbling up as he looked at this extension of himself.
The groceries bagged and dragged home Eric was bored with the entire food buying ordeal. He despised the thought of having to do this on a regular basis. He wondered if he could convince Pam to take over the errand. She wasn't too thrilled about Matthew's arrival and hated the thought of Eric having to share his time. She eyed the humanoid with contempt and Eric was torn as to where his loyalties were. He did feel for the boy and his circumstances it had to be horrible to be a perpetual teenager the only thing he could think of that was worse was being the parent of a perpetual teenager.
Matt put his peanut butter on the shelf and wadded up the last bag. "Hey Dad, how come Godric hasn't come by to see me. I thought he would have come by now."
If Eric had had a heart he was certain it would have gone into overdrive. He feared this subject would come up and his skills as a parent were in no way ready for a topic of this magnitude. He cleared his throat and looked at his expectant son who had no idea of the news that was about to befall him. "Well Godric was very old and he was wearing down in this world."
"What does that mean?"
"He was tired of being here."
"So where is he?" Matt asked his skin beginning to get flushed.
"He died the true death, it was his choice and he wasn't alone. It happened last year."
Matt looked like he had been punched in the stomach. "Why, how could he do that? Why didn't he come say goodbye," he cried.
Eric licked his lips and measured his words carefully. "Because if he went to you he would have changed his mind."
"He should have changed his mind, he was too good to die," the boy said going to Eric and wrapping his arms around him.
Eric stood still unsure what to do or say. He awkwardly placed his right arm on Matt's back. "He was too good to stay, he wasn't happy anymore. It was a very hard decision and it was hard for me to accept but the choice was his and he made it."
"I just wish he would have said goodbye."
"He thought about you a lot. He couldn't bear to tell you goodbye."
"I'm going to bed," Matt said pulling away from his father and heading towards his bedroom.
Eric sat down to unwind from the moment.
"Where's your alter-ego?" Pam asked entering.
"Bed." Eric sighed surprised he handled everything as well as he did. He wasn't sure of much but one thing he was pretty confident in was the fact that he just wasn't the best parental material.
"Awww what a shame, I didn't get to see him at all tonight," she said picking up a box of cereal and putting it back down as she scrunched up her face.
"Now now, jealously doesn't become you. You need to try and be nicer to him."
"And why is that?"
"Because I said so," Eric stated his voice firm his eyes intense and unyielding.