What He Found
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from True Blood or Harry Potter.
Summary: He'd given a lot of thought to what he might find after death; somehow, he hadn't been expecting to find her.
Author's Notes: Oops?
Godric had been born into a tribe whose religion centered on the sea. Though his time as a human had been short, especially in comparison to the long years he'd lived as a vampire, those years had left their mark.
Godric had a weakness for water, not that Eric would have known that upon first meeting his Maker. The already millennia old vampire had been a wild thing when he'd killed Eric's remaining men and knelt beside him on his funeral pyre, looking like something from a child's nightmare with his eyes black as coal, blood dripping down his chin, and fangs glinting in the firelight. His hair had been caked with dirt and blood, strange tattoos showing through the layer of grime on his skin, wearing what looked to be a stolen pair of leather pants and boots, and a necklace with Thor's hammer as his only decoration.
Was it any surprise Eric had mistaken him for Death?
It had been something of a surprise to discover that Godric, for all of his ruthlessness, all of his cruelty, all of his cold calculation, had an ulterior motive for always endeavoring to be near a source of water. For many years, decades really, they had almost always stayed near water; not just because the humans gravitated to it, but because Godric had a bit of a soft spot for the element he had grown up worshiping.
(Eric reasoned that it probably didn't help that Godric's sense of humor was just the slightest bit off and, thus, he enjoyed the irony of the element that his people believed to be the beginning of life so often led to the deaths of those who sought it at his and his childe's hands.)
But as the humans began to migrate into their cities, the vampires had been forced to follow, and while Godric would never admit it, Eric had seen that the constant distance from the ocean – which Godric favored over rivers or lakes or other variations thereof – was taking its toll on Godric. In his own way, Godric missed it.
When Eric was a boy, his uncle had died right in front of him. Simply there, alive and laughing, one moment and gone the next. The sudden death had left its mark on him beyond the nightmares that came with seeing his favorite uncle killed before him.
Eric realized it could happen to anyone at any time. And even at such a young age, the knowledge that he had a finite amount of time to walk the Earth had burned at him.
It had lit a fire in him, lit a bonfire in his heart, and he had thrown himself at life with all the confidence and recklessness of one who knew he wouldn't fail because he was a Prince and being given a deadline, even if it was one from the Gods, enraged him and damn if he wouldn't enjoy this life while he could before it was all taken away.
It had been one of his closest kept secrets as a human, the rage he felt at being given a time limit to exist. And as he got older, the anger only got worse because how could he afford to live as he wanted when he had the responsibility to find who had killed his family?
And then it had finally happened. He hit his deadline.
And even on his deathbed, all he could feel was that rage at being denied more time.
"Could you be a companion of Death? Could you walk with me through the world, through the dark? I'll teach you all I know. I'll be your father, your brother, your son."
"What's in it for me?"
"What you love most: Life."
Eric knew that he could be overly dedicated to his Maker, sometimes to the point of seeming fanatical, and he also knew that it couldn't really all be blamed on the bond between Childe and Maker. Not that he would blame it on the bond; Eric knew himself far better than that and would never resort to lying to himself in such a manner.
To him, it was all rather simple.
Godric had saved him, had given him new life, had given him eternity. It was, perhaps, the last that had earned more favor than the others.
Not only had Godric answered that secret plea Eric had kept hidden his entire human life, his Maker had kept to his promise, teaching Eric all he knew about this new form of living in death, gave him the tools he would need to survive and to thrive.
He was dedicated to his Maker in a way many were not: wholeheartedly, giving his all to the man who had given him that most precious of coin, time.
Because of this, he had been unable to just sit back and watch when Godric grew upset with the lack of his favorite element in its purest form; in the city, even water became tame and quickly grew polluted, and it became clear that Godric felt that way as well when forced into a city for too long.
So, Eric set about trying to find a way to alleviate the homesickness his Maker felt at the distance between him and the sea. At first, he'd just insisted on frequent trips back to the coast, back to where Godric could stand and stare out at the vast ocean to his heart's content. But the both of them knew that that wouldn't be a viable option forever.
It was only fair that if he could not bring his Maker to the ocean, then Eric would bring the ocean to his Maker.
As many things did for Eric, it started with death.
And in a brothel.
In the room of one of his favorite prostitutes, he'd found a collection of glass. He'd thought it pitiful that the human was so desperate to have something sparkly that she would find and keep broken bits of glass.
But then one of the pieces had reflected in the candlelight and it was the same shade as the sea under moonlight on a clear night.
He felt no guilt about pocketing that piece, but apparently the prostitute had been a bit annoyed at him for rifling through the bits of glass and not paying attention to her.
In the end, he'd killed her and taken the whole collection with him and had picked out only the pieces that matched the shades he could recall the water being, and then he'd given them to Godric with the same enthusiasm as any child giving their parent a gift.
So started Godric's collection.
The collection grew over time, as all things do, until Godric kept only his favorite pieces – many of them gifts from Eric – in a simple box that the carried with him. If Godric ever planned to settle somewhere for longer than a few weeks, he made sure to transfer his favorites into a vase or bowl and would keep it in his bedchamber, where he could pick up and look at the colorful bits of glass to his heart's content.
Even when they parted ways, Eric continued to send Godric these bits of the ocean in solid form.
Not unlike the death of a human, after Godric had met the sun, Eric had been given all of Godric's worldly possessions to do with as he saw fit.
Most of it he put in storage, unable to deal with going through everything when his Maker's death was still so fresh, when the pain of the void where Godric was supposed to be was too strong.
He kept only one thing, retrieving it from Godric's underground bedchamber himself, where the bowl of ruby-red, emerald-green, and sapphire-blue stood out for the sheer fact it was the only color in the room at all. Everything else was cool neutrals, varying shades of white and gray and the random hint of black.
He kept Godric's most prized possession, with its strange little stones and a single printed off copy of an email tucked in the bottom of the bowl, in his own room.
When Godric was returned to life, he returned the bowl to its rightful owner gladly.
When Eric had felt the bond between him and Godric snap back into place one night as he lounged in his throne at Fangtasia, he had been stunned.
For about three seconds.
That was all it took for him to recognize that the void left in the wake of his Maker's death was filled once more with the familiar feeling of Godric and telling him that his Maker was relatively nearby.
Eric had vanished from his throne, from the bar, and taken off in the direction of Godric without a second thought.
And when he'd found the younger-looking vampire standing in a clearing, as if waiting for him, Eric had been so overwhelmed with conflicting emotion that he'd done little more than fall to his knees before his Maker and stare up at him in disbelief.
Then Godric had given him that familiar slight smile, the same one that he'd worn the first time Eric had given him a bit of sparkly glass because it looked like the sea, and it had meant more to Eric than even hearing the words 'I am sorry; I have missed you, my childe,' from his Maker.
There had been no shortage of genuine joy and affection in their reunion, but not even Eric was able to ignore the emotions lurking beneath that happiness for long. Because Godric was happy to be reunited with Eric, to have the chance to meet and get to know Pam.
But there was something that continued to distract him, continued to draw his attention in quiet moments when he thought no one would notice, continued to make him restless and longing and keep his eye on the door of Fangtasia as if looking for a way out.
Godric could not hide that from him; not when Eric had insisted that the bond between them be left open so that he might revel in the return of his Maker's presence.
It was only the sight of that bowl, sitting proudly on the dresser in the room Godric had taken upon his return to life that eased the knot of tension (of fear) in Eric's chest.
Godric was not leaving him behind again.
A week later, Eric learned that Godric kept an eye on the door to Fangtasia not because he was looking for a way out, but because he was hoping for someone to walk in.
There was nothing of note about her, nothing impressive or eye-catching to explain why she had captured Godric's attention so thoroughly in a room full of people. Really, if not for Godric's interest, he would have written her off completely, she looked so normal, so average.
Which, considering it was Godric and he couldn't abide boring people, couldn't be true.
She was shorter than Godric, who had barely reached five foot six before his turning, with black hair cut short, green eyes, and an odd scar on her forehead. Her skin was pale, her face average, and she was wearing perhaps the most normal outfit his bar had ever seen.
More importantly, there was something off about her, something not quite right.
(He ignored the voice that insisted he was just jealous that the mere sight of this human had erased the restlessness and wistful longing that had plagued Godric since his return while Eric had tried and failed for weeks.)
The next two weeks passed slowly, agonizingly so, which was saying something considering Eric was a millennia old vampire and time had started to lose its meaning to him around the one hundred year mark.
If he were being honest, the two weeks he'd managed to feel something like gratitude and benevolence towards the miniature human was a bit of a record; his tolerance for breathers, especially of the female variety, tended to run out quickly, even when he was using them for blood or sex.
Still, this was the woman who'd returned his Maker to him, leading him from the dead back to the world of the living; the least he could do was play nice, especially since Godric wanted him to do so.
Much to Eric's unending horror, Pam got along surprisingly well with the girl.
He'd walked out of his office one night to find his childe discussing china patterns and proper tea-time etiquette with the ebon-haired annoyance.
And then within seconds, the conversation had turned into some kind of strange competition of who could come up with the best (or worst, depending on how you looked at it) insult and even Godric, who had been thoroughly bored by the previous topic, joined in with an almost childish glee, sending the two females into hysterical laughter when he pulled out one involving goats and bad-singing.
Two nights later, Eric finally discovered the reason why his Maker was so enthralled with the pint-sized irritant.
She had magic.
Magic unlike any that either of them had previously known of or experienced before. It was not of the variety that allowed for the creation of vampires, not of the kind that the Fae held, or even what the witches he had run into before possessed. It was similar, holding familiarity to all of them, but it was still something completely other. Tinged with death and overwhelmingly powerful.
It was not a gentle introduction.
Unable to ignore the awe and contentment emanating from Godric any longer, Eric had stalked off to where the pair had disappeared into the backrooms earlier. He had opened the door to his office –
- And stepped onto a beach at high noon, the waves crashing upon the shore like thunder, the air smelling of sea-salt, his boots sinking into white sand.
And there Godric stood, face lifted to the sky, eyes closed, ocean breeze whipping his white linen clothing around his frame, basking in sunlight upon his skin.
For one long horrifying moment, Eric had a flashback of the morning in Dallas not so long ago when Godric had met the sun, and he'd choked on a distressed sound that was part whimper, part sob, and all grief because what if Godric was doing it again?
And she stood there gazing out over the turquoise water, uncaring even though she stood close enough to touch Godric's hand, stood close enough to be burned when the vampire inevitably went up in flames.
As his maker turned to face him, the illusion – for that's what it was; a very strong, very real illusion – faded and the three of them were left in his office.
As Godric explained, Eric couldn't shake the feeling that something within felt fragile, felt on the verge of shattering, and when he was to look back on this moment weeks later, he would realize that this was the moment when he, for the first time in ages, doubted himself. This was the moment a part of him realized that things would never be the same, no matter how he wished it.
Because she had brought Godric the ocean when he could only ever bring him glass.
The third week was when his tolerance started to run out.
Where before his gaze had been merely curious as he studied – no, he wasn't staring! – the interaction between Godric and the woman, now it was sharp with mistrust. Before, he had at least looked away at times, but now his eyes stayed focused on every move the woman made, looking for any hint as to what it was about her that left him feeling so on guard because she had to be doing something to cause it, this was not all in his head.
And no, no matter what Pam said he was NOT acting like a girlfriend suspicious that her boyfriend might be cheating.
When Pam joked that next Eric would start stealing Godric's phone to check his text messages, Eric suppressed the embarrassment that tried to creep up on him because he'd already done that and damn it, he couldn't figure out the passcode to get in the fucking phone.
Everything was fine.
It was perfectly fine that his Maker seemed to always want to spend time with her.
He was perfectly okay with that.
Godric and the girl shared some kind of bond that he couldn't fathom or even hope to touch, one formed in the afterlife through their shared experience there.
Eric had made his peace with that because he also shared a bond with Godric that the girl couldn't reach.
So he'd dealt with how Godric would disappear to spend time with her, how she would almost always show up at Fangtasia on the nights Godric came, the disappointed sulking his maker did when she didn't, and the secrets the pair shared with one another but not with him.
(At least he thought he had)
No. Hell no.
He was not letting Godric move in with the human and leave him.
Oh, he knew that Godric wanted to; he had felt the emotions – the flare of surprise and hope, the welling of affection, the longing to accept – when she had made the offer the first night she'd blackened their lives. He'd felt that same longing from his Maker each time Godric returned to their shared home.
"Why?" he managed to demand around the fury that was starting to choke him.
"Eric," Godric sighed wearily – and wasn't that annoying? Ever since she'd appeared, his Maker had seemed exhausted by him!
"It is my fault," Godric continued. "I underestimated, or perhaps forgot, the notice that my interest in Holly would draw. She has received... Undue attention."
Eric felt his rage calm slightly. This, at least, was a reason he could understand; Godric felt responsible that the human was being noticed, that his attachment for her was putting her in danger, so he wanted to protect her by moving in with her. But Eric couldn't allow that, wouldn't allow that, so the Viking swallowed his resentment.
"She can stay with us."
Unwilling to have the human in the house he'd owned for decades, Eric bought a new one roughly twenty minutes from Shreveport. He didn't bother doing much to it beyond installing the usual protections for his, Pam's, and Godric's rooms. He hired a housekeeper, had some furniture moved over, and dusted his hands of the affair.
It wasn't like it was a permanent residence; it was just neutral ground. No need to go all out when they likely wouldn't be staying there long.
What could go wrong in such a short time?
October 31st. Halloween.
It was simultaneously Eric's least and most favorite day of the year.
On the one hand, there was no shortage of women dressed in skimpy attire willing to donate some blood to satiate a vampire lover's thirst in return for a good fuck and the chance to boast to their friends that they'd taken a walk on the wild side.
On the other: there was no shortage of women dressed in skimpy attire willing to donate some blood to satiate a vampire lover's thirst. Somehow, their reckless, thrill-seeking nature always seemed to send their already low sense of self-preservation into the negatives and he had to somehow keep these idiots alive as best he could while maintain a good business with both vampire and human.
Either way, Eric was already in one hell of a temper when he felt an overwhelming sense of shock, bafflement, and disbelief from his Maker and he'd vamped closer to where Godric was in the house just in time to hear him speak.
"Ms. H. Potter," Godric said slowly, as if unsure of the words as he lifted his eyes from the envelope in his hands to look at the woman standing before him, her expression resigned. "Somehow, I never figured General Manager Potter to be a woman."
"That was rather the point," she admitted quietly, reaching out to take the envelope from Godric, who released it easily in favor of scrutinizing her.
"That first night, you said 'these months I've been back.' You never said how many months."
"Holly, how long have you been in this world? How long have you been waiting on me to return?"
A drawn out silence as the pair stared at one another, the woman tapping the stack of letters against her hand in thought. After another moment, she nodded and dropped the letters on a nearby table.
"Eleven years. I've been waiting for your return for eleven years."
No doubt, there was more that needed to be said between Godric and the girl, but Eric could only hear those two words – "eleven years" – over and over.
She had been in this world for eleven years.
After having met Godric for the first time in the afterlife, she had been placed in the world long before Godric's death had ever occurred.
She had spoken with him and the whole time, she had known.
She had known of what he would one day do and she had done nothing to prevent it, instead setting back and letting it happen.
Eric doesn't even make it halfway across the room before he is intercepted by Godric and tossed through the air to slam into the couch. He and the couch both are sent tumbling into the nearby wall and even though his recovery is made within seconds, it is not big on dignity, which only makes him angrier.
"You –, "he snarled before he is cut off.
"Are not involved in this conversation," Holly cut him off, emerald eyes hard as she stepped from behind Godric, who had stood himself in front of her. Even then, one of his Maker's hands twitch as if he is about to push her behind him once more.
(Eric can't decide which made him angrier: the idea that she might linger behind Godric, using him as a shield, or the fact that she didn't and instead stepped out to face Eric on her own. How dare she be so brave? How dare she act the same as him?)
"This conversation is between myself and Godric; I have no doubt that I can't stop you from listening, but the least you can do is sit silently and not interject," she added as if he were an unruly child interrupting a conversation between his parents; it is only the reprimanding glance from Godric that has him withholding the insults that burned at the tip of his tongue.
Again, he thought to himself, again he takes her side and the knowledge is a bitter pill to swallow, the rage and disappointment and the jealousy making it harder still.
Eric turned on his heel and left the room.
"All of those times we interacted; why didn't you tell me?" Godric asked, sounding only mildly curious.
"I'm selfish, Godric. It's true I could've saved you, could've done something to prevent you from killing yourself. I could've become your friend, could've done more than leave you those silly little stones as gifts. But I didn't," she answered, something weary and forlorn in her voice.
"Because it wouldn't have been the same and I couldn't stand to see you looking at me without knowing me. And you wouldn't, not really. Not like we know each other now. Think about it: would you have told me everything about your life if I'd met you before King's Cross? Every triumph, every sin, and all the things you suffered at the hands of your master? Would you have bared your soul to me in life as you did in death?"
The slightest movement of air as Godric shook his head in answer to her questions.
"And neither would I have told you about me. If I'd approached you then, I would never have told you of my world, of my life there because you would never have believed me. Do you see why, now, I let you die? You would have never known my truth and I would've never known yours." A long pause and when she next spoke, her voice is low, but confident, as if revealing a secret.
"I let you die so that you could live again."
Later that night in Fangtasia, Eric couldn't keep his eyes from darting to constantly check on Godric.
The bond between them was open completely, but it was clear that Godric's mind might as well be an ocean away as he turned the information he'd learned over and over in his head.
Godric was just to the right of him in his own throne.
He was only a foot away; but suddenly, twelve inches felt more like miles.
Two weeks passed in which Eric waged a Cold War against the Black Haired Menace.
Two weeks of leaving rooms when she entered, of avoiding any section of the house she was in, of limiting his time with his Maker because she would always show up; two weeks of tense, uneasy silence filled with glares and mental threats broken with three words.
"Isobel called me."
Godric left for Dallas the next night, catching a flight on Anubis airlines. He would be gone for four nights, helping his previous second-in-command with a few questions she had after taking over as Sheriff, including some lingering concerns over the Fellowship of the Sun, as well as retrieving a couple of his things from storage.
He only requested the house still be standing when he returned.
Eric had glanced at the green-eyed pest. She looked at him.
"No promises," the pair of them chorused.
The first night was peaceful.
He took his sweet time leaving for Fangtasia that night, relishing in the fact that she remained in her room so long as he was there. He played with the idea of taking the night off just to keep her in the room, but remembered quickly that he had other things to concern himself with.
He had just hired a rather pretty new waitress who just so happened to be his favorite blood type…
The second night did not go nearly so well.
The bane of his life was in the kitchen when he awoke, in the midst of cooking a rather large meal that he had serious doubts of her finishing. She had glanced at him when he had appeared, then gone back to adding seasoning to the tomato sauce she had simmering in a pan.
He hadn't been able to resist. He'd been sitting on these thoughts for weeks, from the very moment he had learned that she had been in this world long before Godric's death, had known of what was coming for his Maker and had chosen to stand by and let him die.
"You could've saved him."
Her shoulders – small and somehow frail beneath the over-sized burgundy sweater she wore – tensed, but she remained silent.
"You could've saved him," he repeated, temper flaring at the lack of reply. "You could have, but instead you let him wallow in depression and self-hatred until he killed himself."
Once he started, he couldn't find it in him to stop.
"You had eleven years to find a way to fix him! Eleven years to save his life! But you did nothing! You let him die!" he roared, slamming his hand down on the bar with such force that a section of it shattered and fell to the floor.
She gently set down the wooden spoon she'd been using, the movements slow and weary, and for a second, he almost rejoiced because finally, finally he had been able to break that damn stubborn refusal to feel anything but confidence in her decisions that he had faced for weeks after he'd learned of her situation.
Then she turned around and she wasn't broken, but pissed off.
"I'm sorry, I wasn't aware you had extensive experience with time travel," she said icily, green eyes glaring at Eric across the island. "Please enlighten me."
"Of course I haven't."
"Then you have no ground upon which to stand while you make accusations and tell me what I should and should not have done. I have had experience with time travel before and, thus, am currently the most knowledgeable on the subject in this room. So you, mate, can take your complaints and fuck off because I know. I know that if I had interfered more than I did, then I ran the risk of making things worse. I ran the risk of Godric killing himself earlier than he did, of potentially saving him only for his depression and self-recrimination to grow worse. All you can see is that I didn't do what you wanted me to, when I did what I could without risking making things worse!" She finished, yelling by the end of her rant. She bit her lip as if to hold back more words, and instead took a deep breath, holding it then releasing it in a weary sigh.
"I'm not hungry anymore," she said, turning off the stove and then walking from the room. Eric listened to her heartbeat, followed it as she returned to her room. Then, with an angry sigh of his own, he left for work.
When he returned the next morning, she was gone.
She didn't return.
The third night was peaceful.
On the night Godric was to return, Eric woke to her heartbeat in the house once more.
He emerged from his room to find her in the living room, curled up on the newly bought couch, on the phone with his Maker. He lingered in the hallway, listening close enough to hear Godric's voice through the phone.
"My flight will land around eleven; it should not take me long to drive home. Perhaps we will even manage to get in a few hours of our show before we must rest, but before that…" His maker's voice trailed off teasingly, drawing a questioning hum from the black-haired nuisance.
"I have a gift for you. It is not quite a hotel, but I think you will like it," Godric chuckled.
"Honestly, I would be happy with some Chinese food," she smiled before the expression grew solemn. "Come back safely, alright?" And something in her voice caught Godric's attention.
"What is wrong?"
"It's nothing. Just a bad feeling. Maybe I'm just imagining it," the witch shook it off.
The conversation continued, but Eric returned to his room to shower and get ready. Fangtasia wasn't going to run itself, and he couldn't stand to listen to the affection in his Maker's voice any longer.
Unfortunately, the midget's "bad feeling" had been contagious.
From the moment Eric had arrived at Fangtasia, a part of him insisted he should turn back and return to the house, insisted that something would go horribly wrong if he remained at his business.
To ease the feeling, he kept a close eye on Pam, texted Godric to ensure all was well with him, and even forced himself to send a quick text to the annoyance left at home, checking that she was alive and relatively well.
But the feeling didn't go away. The unease became like an itch beneath his skin, the feeling reminiscent of what he'd felt the night his family had been killed.
By the time a spike of unease and suspicion came from Godric's end of the bond, Eric had lost himself in the pretty new waitress he currently favored.
He ignored the buzzing of his cell phone signaling incoming texts.
From: The Black Plague
Godric's flight been delayed.]
From: The Black Plague
Arrival now expected to be ~11:45]
From: The Black Plague
Did you call in a pizza?]
From: The Black Plague
Friends of yours?]
MISSED CALL FROM The Black Plague
MISSED CALL FROM The Black Plague
VOICEMAIL FROM The Black Plague
"Oi, Neanderthal, since when did you give free invitation for everyone and their mum to just –"
To: The Black Plague
You have reached the voicemail of Holly Potter, please leave a message after the tone. BEEP.
To: The Black Plague
Answer your phone.]
To: The Black Plague
Stop ignoring me. Answer your phone.]
To: The Black Plague
On my way back. Better call before I get there or I will kill you.]
Eric knew there was something wrong before he'd pulled up at the house.
He had kept his phone in hand the entire drive back, waiting – hoping – for it to ring. For all that the baby menace lived to make his life a misery she would never ignore a call or not return one as soon as she could; not when the pair of them agreeing to look out for and keep in contact with each other was the only thing that had left Godric confident enough to travel to Dallas in the face of the 'undue attention' their friendship had garnered.
Not all of the attention was bad, of course. Many who came to his bar to observe the unlikely pair did it out of genuine curiosity, attempting to understand how and why such a close friendship had developed between the pair and, it seemed, so quickly. They wanted to know, just as Eric himself did, what it was about the human woman that had captured Godric's attention and friendship so thoroughly.
But the fact remained that Godric had enemies. You couldn't live for two thousand years without making some and considering that his Maker's first millennia had been spent essentially whittling down the vampire population any time they were stupid enough to come after him, Godric had his fair share of enemies. Those who didn't want to kill him or see him suffer wanted to use him, seeking power over 'The Boy, Death' and what better way than through the fragile human whom he had become so close to?
Eric hoped he was wrong, hoped that maybe her phone had somehow broken or perhaps she'd fallen asleep with it in another room, hoped that the uneasy feeling that gripped him was wrong.
But the shattered front door said otherwise.
Time was immaterial.
Every vampire reached a point in their new life where time ceased to have the same meaning it had before the transition, where the weight of years fell away and the frantic fear of mortality became little more than a passing thought because what need was there for fear of sickness or age when you were immortal?
For Eric, it happened a century after Godric had turned him. He'd emerged from his grave with the realization that he quite literally had forever, that he no longer had to fear his body giving out from age, that time would pass, kingdoms could rise and fall, but he would remain. After that, years began to pass by like sand slipping through his fingers.
Decades passed in a blink. A century passed in a week.
Now, as he moved through the house, it was the opposite. Seconds felt like centuries, minutes like millennia.
And all he could think of was all the harsh words he'd said to her, all the times he'd treated her with disdain or rebuffed her attempts at being civil. All the times he had taken his Maker aside and questioned his trust of the magic user because what if she had ensnared him with some kind of vampire enslavement spell? What if Godric's trust in her was really something forced upon him?
He recalled the building frustration on Godric's end each time Eric had done so, the 'why-must-you-do-this' clear in his Maker's eyes, the desire for the two of them to get along, the sheer affection and contentment that welled within the Ancient vampire each time she appeared.
The uneasiness that burned beneath his skin turned to ice that crawled up his spine, encased his heart, dropped a rock into his stomach.
All the times he had wished for her to disappear, wished that she had never darkened their lives, Eric had never before considered what such a thing would do to Godric, what his Maker would be like without her around.
"Holly?" he called, hoping-wishing-praying foolishly for an answer.
Because there was no heartbeat, only the scent of her blood in the air.
Her bedroom door was shut, as if she or Godric had just closed it behind them as they walked out.
Somehow, it made everything worse because it was not simply pulled to, but had instead been badly propped up in its frame. Part of the door jamb had splintered when it had been forced open and it was connected by a single hinge.
He didn't want to open that door. He didn't want to know. He didn't want to see.
Because there was no heartbeat behind that door and this was the only place the trail of battle had led to. And it had been a battle; as Eric had moved through the house, the path of destruction and his years of experience told him of how she had struggled.
She had killed one attacker in the entrance hall before taking off further into the house, flinging spells over her shoulder – there was the mark on the wall where one spell had missed to prove it. She'd held her ground here for a few minutes, killing three more of her attackers in a row, their ash piles mixing together, but then something had gone wrong and she had been forced up the stairs, taking one more along the way.
A part of him marveled at it; she was a tiny thing and, magic or not, that she had killed five vampires on her own was impressive. But, a part of his mind mused idly, Godric had never suffered defenseless fools; he would never stand for her to be unable to put up a fight.
And she had put up one hell of a fight, even forced to retreat as she was.
… Until she'd reached the bedroom.
He didn't want to open that door.
He found her on the far side of the bed, between it and the bathroom door. Green eyes stared sightlessly at the wall, her head having been forced to the side to expose her neck – and the gruesome wound on it where someone had quite literally torn into her throat.
One arm was outstretched, reaching for the silver knife that lay just out of reach.
Eric dropped to his knees, a hand stretching out to touch her, but never quite made it.
Holly was dead.
Godric answered the call with a smile, relief filling him. "Holly, I am almost there, truly; I can only drive so fast consid—"
His smile dropped, his hands tightened on the steering wheel until it creaked in protest as dread filled him as quickly as the relief had. All evening, from the moment Holly had first mentioned having a bad feeling really, he had been filled with tension. That tension had grown into unease when his flight had been delayed; such things rarely happened with Anubis Airlines because delays could quite easily turn into life-or-death situations for their passengers. But the delay had not lasted long and when both Eric and Holly had assured him they were fine just before take-off, he had allowed himself to relax.
But then he had felt a spike of unease from Eric within minutes of his flight landing, then his childe's end of their bond had faded until he could barely feel anything at all.
"Eric, what has happened? Why are you calling from the house phone? Is Holly alright?" A choked repeat of his name cut off his questions. "…I am almost there."
He hung up and pushed the car to its limits, cutting the remaining drive from ten minutes to two. He was out of the car and moving towards where he felt Eric before the car was even at a full stop, the dread and fear rising once more.
It couldn't be true; he refused to believe it to be true.
Holly had become such a pivotal part of his life that he couldn't imagine it without her, didn't want to imagine it without her. From the moment he had met her in King's Cross Station in the afterlife, something about her had fulfilled a need he had always known was there but could never really name.
Their friendship and the sheer ease and depth of it had become one of the brightest parts of his life, their bond as important to him as his bond with Eric. That she lived at all was precious to him; that she chose to share her life with him, had made him a part of her life in this world before he even really knew who she was, was something he could never repay her for, but would gladly spend lifetimes trying to.
And that was the problem, he had mused to himself before Isobel's request for help had called him away to Dallas; it always came down to time. He knew that he would have longer than the usual amount of years with Holly, that she could easily live for close to two hundred years as a mortal because of her magic, but… He'd found himself doubting that he would be satisfied with that amount of time.
And he'd found himself considering it, considering turning her. He just hadn't had the chance to bring it up to her yet, to gain her opinion on it, on if she would like to try it; he'd told himself that he would ask as soon as he'd returned from Dallas.
He hoped he would still have the chance to.
"No," he breathed when he found them. He sped over, a hand dropping to touch her neck as if to feel for a pulse. "Please tell me she will be in transition. Eric, please," he begged uselessly.
He already knew the answer.
He could not sense any of his or Eric's blood in her. "Please…"
"Father, I am sorry. I was too late. I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Eric apologized, fingers digging into the floor as he felt the entirety of Godric's grief through the bond.
Godric was silent as he gathered Holly's body to him, shuffling until his back hit the wall and he sunk to the floor once more, Holly's body cradled in his lap, his face buried in her hair.
There was no sound to give away the fact that he was crying; only the faint scent of blood as it left Godric's eyes and soaked into Holly's short hair.
Few things could compare to the pain Eric felt, both at his own at his failure and that from Godric's grief, as he watched his Maker rock back and forth, clutching at the lifeless form of the woman who had become something more to him than just his guide back from the afterlife.
Eric wondered if he was going to lose Godric again, if Holly's death would push the Ancient once more over the edge. No matter how often Godric had insisted to all and sundry that he and Holly were only friends, Eric knew his Maker, and the grief he could feel through their bond was not just that of someone mourning the passing of a friend.
Godric cared deeply for the small human, more than he had ever cared for any before, rivaling only the care Godric felt for him.
It was… A revelation that was both startling and yet not. Because it was true, wasn't it? Godric cared for the both of them equally, didn't he; had never once looked at either of them with less care than the other, his affection differing between them only in the slightest of ways.
Because Eric was his son, his brother, his father; but, Holly was his equal, his touch stone, his ocean.
Why, he asked himself, why couldn't he have realized – accepted! – this sooner? Why had he so adamantly refused the friendship she had offered him in the beginning, so ruthlessly squashed any and all benevolent feelings she'd inspired in him whenever she had made Godric laugh, whenever he had lingered outside a room to listen to the sound of his Maker's happiness?
(Jealousy, his mind whispered. Jealousy that she had been able to fulfill a need in Godric that Eric hadn't even really known had existed until it no longer did. Fear. Fear that after a thousand years, Godric would find something lacking in Eric, would find a reason to regret ever giving that Viking who lay on his deathbed but refused to give in a second chance.)
His Maker had begun to mumble into Holly's hair, the words following a rhythm as if they were a chant or a prayer, though Eric couldn't understand them.
Eric felt regret. Guilt.
And he hoped for a miracle.
"Back again so soon, my Master?"
"You know how it is, My Old Friend. I can never stay out of trouble."
Laughter like the crackle of leaves blowing across pavement, like the soft sigh at the end of a life well-lived, echoed, quickly joined by the sheepish chuckle of a relatively young woman.
"You may choose once more, my clever Master: go on or go back?"
Holly Potter returned to life with a choked gasp, her body kicking back into fight-or-flight mode as if only seconds had passed.
One hand went to cover the wound on her neck, stymieing the blood flow that had restarted with her heart; the other clawed at the arm around her waist as she jackknifed, struggling to escape the tight hold around her shoulders and torso.
"Holly," a familiar voice said. "Holly, it is just me. It is Godric," the voice soothed, the hold on her not relaxing in the slightest, but tightening if anything.
Godric, Godric who? Her mind repeated wildly, memory scrambling to make connections other than 'Gryffindor' to the name.
Godric a small part of her mind breathed. Godric who she met in the Place Between Living and Dead, in King's Cross; Godric who had lived for 2000 years, had been worn away by life, like a stone in water, until it had become too much; Godric whose love for the ocean was so deep it was rivaled only by the love he had for his son; Godric who played board games with her just because they made her smile, who cheated at cards just to see her perform ridiculous tricks with her magic; Godric who watched awful telly programs and mocked the people in them with her; Godric who had kept every little gift she had ever given him, even when he didn't know it was her.
The pieces all clicked back into place and she sagged in his hold, a wheezing whisper of his name escaping her before she started choking on her own blood.
A wrist was pressed to her mouth; coppery liquid that was somehow richer and more potent than what already coated her tongue pouring past her lips and filling her mouth until she had no choice but to swallow or choke once more.
"Drink," Godric commanded firmly. "You need to heal."
There was a tremor beneath that order, a tiny shudder that wracked his body and betrayed his emotions, revealed to her a grief deeper than the kind he had shared with her before.
So she drank.
After the wound in her neck had healed, Godric had carried Holly from the bedroom to one further down the hall, one that didn't reek of her blood, of her fear and desperation. He'd set her on the bed carefully, as if one wrong move would send her shattering into a million pieces, and then had fetched a wet cloth. He'd hesitated for a split second, as if considering cleaning her up himself, but had eventually handed the wet cloth to Holly, who had set about scrubbing her face, neck, and hands free of blood and vampire remains while he lingered at the end of the bed.
When she was as clean as she could be without a bath, she met Godric's eyes and intended to say something, anything, to try and wipe away the lingering grief in his eyes when he lunged.
She yelped, nearly tumbling over the edge of the bed, but Godric's arms caught her and pulled her close, then he was peppering her face with kisses: her forehead, her cheeks, the thin skin of her eyelids. All the while, he was whispering in a foreign language, his voice so full of gratitude and relief that she didn't need to know the language to understand the meaning.
She returned the affection easily, running her fingers through his short hair, rubbing his back, pressing a kiss to his temple when he laid his head on her chest to listen to her heartbeat. She held him as they lay there, silent as Godric matched his breathing to her's; then, her eyes caught on Eric as he hovered unsurely in the doorway, torn between entering or leaving them alone.
For a moment, she debated ignoring him, considered sending him away, and thought of any number of ways to hurt him. The vulnerability in his eyes stopped her; the raw, sincere regret and grief that aged him.
If she had been younger, if she had still been the same teenager that had been thrown into a world of magic on the brink of war and floundering beneath the weight of millions of lives, if she hadn't managed to make a life after it had ended, hadn't manage to have a family and a chance to live and to grow… If she had still been that person, she would've lashed out at him, would've kicked him while he was down.
Instead, she held out her hand in a silent invitation for him to join them.
He vamped over, one moment at the door and the other sitting on the edge of the bed, cradling her hand in both of his, fingers resting on her pulse.
For a time, they remained silent, the two vampires listening to her heartbeat and matching her breathing, as if by copying the action, her lungs would continue to work.
Then, Godric's voice broke the silence. "How is this possible?"
"I still had a tie to this world. It wasn't very strong, but it was enough for me to have the chance to return rather than move on," she answered.
Godric looked up. "A tie to this world?" he repeated.
Holly's expression became sheepish. "Ah, was rather hoping you wouldn't question that bit. I, uh. That night I cut my hand on a knife while I was doing the dishes, I kind of… Well, I sort of conveniently bled into the TruBlood I gave to you. It wasn't much, barely a mouthful because any more and you would've noticed something was off, but it was enough to form a tenuous connection. Because some of my blood was still in you, I still had a tiny handhold in the world, so when I was given the chance to return, I took it. But, I'd rather not test this out again; I'm not sure Death would like being circumvented again, even by me."
"The next time you die, it will be for the transition," Godric swore fervently, his hold of Holly tightening as he realized just how close he had come to truly losing her. He hadn't drunk much since that night a week and a half ago; his instincts had protested against it every time he had considered it, insisting that if he got too much new blood in his system, something would go wrong.
Holly blinked and met Eric's unsurprised gaze, but said nothing.
They ended up in Godric's chambers; by the time they had surfaced from their relief to consider moving to a safer place, the sun was on the verge of rising and they had no time to get to any other safe houses. Godric had asked Holly if she couldn't just teleport – Apparate, she'd corrected– to her home, but the witch had grimaced and shook her head.
"They got me with some kind of magic suppressant; it's why they actually managed to kill me. One of them injected me with it before I killed them there on the stairs; I was able to summon a knife before my magic was completely out of reach, but it still hasn't quite recovered yet. If I were to try, we'd likely get splinched, or end up in a meadow with no place for you two to hide from the sun."
Eric felt the weight of guilt on his shoulders grow heavier; of the three of them, it was only he who had mentioned – complained – about her magic in a public place. One more thing to lay the blame for at his feet. It was his house she had been attacked in, his housekeeper who had invited the vampires in, his negligence at getting the house signed over to prevent such things.
So, for one last day of rest, the three of them had locked themselves in Godric's chambers and curled up with Holly lying between them.
Some things changed, but some also remained the same.
They moved out of the house that Holly had died in; not only was it a risk to remain there, but neither Godric nor Eric could stand to be near the room she had lost her life in. Instead, Godric, Eric, and Pam moved into the house Holly had bought not long before reuniting with Godric at Fangtasia. Not only had the witch provided them with the usual top-of-the-line protections that they used to protect them as they slept, but there was bonus protection in the wards she had around her land, the runes carved into her home, and even in the secrecy of the underground rooms. (Really, until she'd told them that the entrance to their rooms was through the storage under the stairs, they hadn't been able to see through the overwhelming amount of illusions and notice-me-not charms.)
Eric's mistrust and outright dislike of Holly had faded; in its place came a mixture of guilt, caution, and almost-fondness. He no longer glared from a distance, attempting to sit her ablaze through will-power alone. Now, he hovered, lingering on the fringe of her perception until he bolstered his courage and approached. He hadn't reached the same level of easy friendship with her as Pam had, nor did he have the close intimacy she and Godric shared.
Nor did he want it, thank you very much; she was Godric's and Godric was a possessive little fucker on good days. Eric was not about to give his Maker anymore reason to want to maim him, not when he could still feel the aches of the royal ass-kicking the Ancient had given him when he'd learned that Eric had ignored Holly's texts.
If Eric were brutally honest (and on the verge of death and had sworn whoever he was telling to secrecy), he'd admit that Holly was becoming like a sibling to him. They fought like siblings, the insults like those he had once tossed back and forth with his sister so very long ago, and they still barely called the other by name. Eric continued to pull out various ways of calling her short and annoying; Holly returned fire with various insults to his intelligence, calling him a dumb blonde and a Neanderthal, and asking if the nutrients meant for his brain had gone to making him tall instead.
It was probably odd, building their friendship on insults, but it worked for them.
His growing friendship with Holly was only aided by the fact that there was a common enemy for them to unite against.
The common enemy being everyone that wasn't them, Pam, or Godric, as it turned out.
The attack that had taken Holly's life, that had put Godric's happiness at risk, had been a combined effort of both humans (supporters of the Fellowship of the Sun) and members of the Supernatural community that had long held a grudge against Godric.
And while Holly had done quite well for herself in the fight, she hadn't been able to kill all of those who'd been sent after her. Some of them had gotten away, had whispered of what they had seen in the fight, of how she had wielded sunlight in the dead of night, how five vampires had died before they'd managed to kill her.
And then she had appeared at Fangtasia three nights later, as if she hadn't had her throat torn open and hadn't been drained of blood until her heart stopped. She had seemingly returned from death just as Godric had.
And in that act, it was revealed to the supernatural community that she was not just the "interesting" human they had assumed she was. She was something more, something to be wary of. Something dangerous.
Of course, questions were asked.
None were answered.
He wasn't sure where things would go from here, didn't know what the next night would bring.
But as he heard the board game Holly and Godric had been playing in the living room hit the floor, followed by a breathy moan and his Maker's husky laughter, he couldn't help but grin wickedly.
He wasn't worried about what the future had in store for them.
They'd find out together.
*When I can, I like to find a song that I feel summarizes the overall theme I'm going for in what I'm writing. For WHF, I chose "Feels Like Home" by Josh Groban. Give it a listen if you'd like!
I had a large portion of this written not longer Chapter Two was posted, but then holidays happened and then three days before Christmas, I had to put my cat, Mr. Kitty, to sleep. He'd been a part of my life for sixteen years and it was difficult letting him go; I just wasn't up to writing until around March. Then Eric decided to be a stubborn ass and finishing up the chapter became like pulling teeth. Hen teeth. There was nothing there.
To be honest, I'm still a little unhappy with this chapter just because I didn't feel like I really portrayed Eric as well as I hoped to. As a person, I feel he's remarkably good at burying his head in the sand when it comes to feelings and, when it comes to Godric, he maintains a bit of childish possessiveness and adoration that makes him very defensive when he feels his relationship with his Maker is being threatened.
His feelings towards Holly were much more complex than he would let me show. Once you've decided to dislike someone, everything they do somehow becomes offensive to you, so while Holly was likely just doing her own thing and not actually doing something to bother Eric, he would see everything she did as an annoyance. But I think he found himself somewhat liking her anyway, finding similarities between them, which only made him more annoyed. Both were leaders, both were responsible for large numbers of lives, both can be stubborn, impulsive, reckless, and both feel things deeply. Holly was, in a way, tempered by having lived out her life in her world - she found peace, I suppose you could say.
Holly eventually got fed up with continually trying to play nice because I can't see her ever quite getting over how quickly opinions changed about her in Hogwarts, so she felt Eric's dislike and started returning it on principle. Things are by no means perfect between them, and I can't ever see them having a nice friendship; instead, they'll be the kind of friends who are constantly insulting one another, arguing, and heckling but get furious when anyone else does it. More like siblings than friends then.
Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, favorited, followed. Seriously. Thank you. Hope to see you all for future stories!