Disclaimer: I don't own True Blood or anything associated with it.

A/N: This isn't the last chapter after all. I've got one more in me.

xXx

Chapter 8

2 Months Later

An urgent pounding tore Vera from the depths of restless sleep.

Groggily, she stared up into the ceiling as the dread clawing at her lungs slowly disappeared with the haze of her nightmares. It was always the same dream, yet when her eyes fluttered opened she never remembered its content. Only a vague sense of something awful that stayed with her until she once more closed her eyes at night.

Two months.

He'd told her it would get better. He'd promised her.

She didn't know how much longer she could hold on.

The pounding sounded again, and Vera frowned into the still-dark room. Flesh on wood. She'd thought it was in her dream.

Again, in an increasingly desperate rhythm.

Her eyes widened when the cobwebs of sleep finally gave way enough to realization that someone was banging on her front door.

Her heart leapt into her throat and she jolted upright, desperate longing propelling her to her feet before she realized it wouldn't be him. It was still dark out, but the inky blackness of night had given way to the faintest of light, promising the return of the sun soon.

Another series of frantic knocks made her stumble through her apartment and into the hallway. When she looked through the door spy, her heart spasmed again, but not from relief at the familiar face on the other side.

Unthinkingly, she undid the chain and twisted the lock, ripping the door open with a suffocating sense of fear.

"Isabel?" she greeted the woman on the other side. For once, the female vampire didn't look like an immaculate movie star. Her hair was windswept, strands escaping her updo, and her eyes… her eyes held a desperation that would have made her look human if not for the ashy white of her makeup-free face.

"You must come," she said, reaching a hand forward, fingertips grazing against the invisible barrier of the entry she couldn't cross without an invitation. "Please. You must."

Vera didn't pause to think. She placed her hand in the vampire's upturned hand, and was pulled against her thin body. Without pause, Isabel lifted her bare feet off the ground, and then cold wind swept in against them, beating against Vera's skin with icy fury. She shivered in her nighty, clenching her teeth to keep them from chattering as Isabel ran through the city, but she didn't complain.

On the horizon, deep indigo gave way for streaks of brighter blue. It was almost dawn. There was only one reason Isabel had come to get her this close to the deathly rise of the sun. He was in trouble.

"Where is he?" Vera asked, trying to prepare herself to what she'd find. "What happened?"

The Latina didn't answer her, but suddenly, the cold air was replaced by comfortable warmth, and the flashing lights of Dallas' night with blurs of black and red. They were inside—at a hotel, as far as Vera could make out as Isabel took them up several flights of stairs.

She finally stopped, the motion ending so abruptly it took Vera a few moments to realize they were outside again.

"Please," Isabel whispered, letting her slide to the floor as she released her hold on her. "Don't let him do this."

Only then did the scene they'd arrived at blink into focus, though for the longest time it didn't make any sense.

Godric was there, his back turned as he stood on the edge of the roof of whichever hotel Isabel'd taken her through, dressed in plain white linen clothes as he faced East where the blues of morning were softening on the sky. Behind him, a blonde woman was quietly standing with her hands clasped in front of her, as if holding vigil.

Behind her, a fair-haired man sat on his knees, sobbing red tears as he pleaded in a language she vaguely recognized from those nights of passion with her ancient lover.

She'd only ever seen a vampire cry once before, when she'd told Godric she couldn't forgive him, and even that hadn't been the kind of tears this man shedded, seemingly uncaring that others would see his weakness. Something was deeply, horrifically wrong.

She focused on Godric, the fear knotting in her stomach since Isabel woke her mixing with confusion. The sun would rise soon. Why were they here?

"Godric?" she asked, taking a few steps towards the silent vampire on the ledge.

He turned his head, looking over his shoulder with a frown. "Vera?"

There was surprise in his soft voice, but it wasn't reflected in his eyes. Emptiness hit her like a bucket of icy water as she stared into those eyes that'd held eons of emotions every time she'd looked in them before. Only flat nothingness met her now, and it felt like she would suffocate.

"What are you doing?: she rasped, finding it hard to expand her lungs enough to speak. She took a few more steps toward him, but stilled before she reached the ledge. He was right there, yet it seemed like there was an ocean of nothingness between them, making it impossible to reach him. "It's almost morning. You need to go underground."

He moved his dead gaze off her then, replacing the chilling emptiness in her chest with a mixture of relief and intense loss. "You should not have brought her here. All you have caused is more suffering. It changes nothing."

He was speaking to Isabel, she realized. Instead of answering her, he turned his focus back to the Eastern sky.

"Godric?" Vera asked again, a sense of urgency making her take another step forward. And another, until she could reach out and brush a hand against his linen top. "I don't… I don't understand? You need to get inside."

He didn't answer her. Simply stood silently as a sentinel. Waiting.

But for what? The paleness of the blue sky made her heart pick up speed as she tugged on his shirt. "Godric!"

"Leave," he said, his voice calm and soft, but so… so wrong. Lifeless. "I do not wish for you to be here."

She hesitated, the coil of rejection at his words rasping painfully against the raw cage of pain where she'd kept every memory of him since the day they parted. But not. He'd come for her, when he felt her fear. He'd saved her, despite everything. And then he'd promised to take her pain away.

Vera didn't understand what was going on, but she knew—without a shadow of a doubt, she knew that this time, he was the one in trouble. Isabel wouldn't have gotten her otherwise.

"Godric," she said again, firming her voice against a tremor. "Please. Come inside."

Only silence met her. Above the rooftops, the first hints of rose broke, covering Dallas in a beautiful tapestry.

Godric lifted his arms to his sides then, tilting back his head as if welcoming the embrace of dawn.

And finally, she understood.

"No!" Her voice broke in a scream, the sound of a wounded animal. She'd thought she'd known pain, these past fourteen months. She'd been wrong.

Desperate, she clasped at the back of his white shirt, pulling with all her strength. "No!"

He didn't move. The cloth tore in her grip, but the ancient being didn't so much as sway as she clawed at him, fighting with everything she was to pull him back inside—to safety.

"Godric, you can't! You can't!" She was sobbing too, now, her tears not ruby red like the fair-haired vampire's but no less despairing.

Only silence met her. Silence, and an ever-brightening sky.

It was all so clear then. In one horrible, crystal-clear moment, she finally understood. She'd fought him for her freedom, fought to never end up like her mother had, so consumed with a man she'd lost herself. Her life.

And it had always been too late.

From the moment she met him, she'd belonged to him. Not because he demanded it, but because that was how the strands of fate had been woven. She'd fought it, fought him, and nearly broken herself apart to deny it.

Only now, as the light of morning slowly spread above them for the very last time did she understand.

If he was no more… then neither was she.

"I love you," she pleaded as she slid to her knees by the ledge, clutching to the hem of his pants as she sobbed. "Don't leave me. Don't… I can't live without you. Please. I—I'm surrendering. I'm yours! Please—please, don't do this!"

"I promised you I would take the pain away," he said softly, never looking back at her. "And I will. For both of us."

"No, you won't!" She fought her way to her feet again, still clinging to him in a desperate plea. "How can you think I can live on without you? I love you. Please, please, I'm begging you! Don't leave me!"

"You love a monster, my Vera," he whispered. "But you are strong. Once my taint in your blood is gone, you will be happy once more. You will be free. So long as I live, there is nothing but pain for either of us."

Free. It was all she'd wanted, all she'd fought for from the moment he claimed her as his. The wretched word tore at her heart as she stared at him through the tears. There was no freedom for her. There was nothing. And there never would be again.

Staggering, scraping her naked feet against the concrete, she climbed up on the ledge next to him. The street far below was blurred by her tears, and she swayed as the winds tore at her body, pulling her to the deep.

"Vera!" For the first time, Godric's voice held more than deadened emptiness.

Anger; fear.

She'd spent so many years hating her mother for how weak she'd been. Hated her for giving so much of herself, there was nothing left once her heart'd been broken.

In the end, she finally understood.

She hadn't given her heart to the vampire. He'd taken her soul. Without him, there was no life left to lose.

Gold bathed her face as finally, the sun broke the horizon.

"No more pain," she whispered.

Closing her eyes, Vera stepped off the ledge and into the nothingness.