“So how do you know Eric-er?” I asked, with my eyes looking over at the…man?
Vampire man-boy, I’d since come to learn was named Godric.
While I was curious as to how they knew one another – because really, that was a needle in a haystack there – mostly I was hoping to distract myself from everything I was trying to not think about.
Everything I was trying to not feel.
Everything I couldn’t feel when I’d been left alone with Niall and everything couldn’t not feel, now that I was leaving him for the last time.
We had just left his house, after I’d made sure to set everything to rights and put him to bed. It hadn’t taken me very long to gather what little evidence there had been in the house that we – or at least I – had been there for him to find when he woke up in the morning.
Everything from the blood in his kitchen to my toiletries and clothes were now in bags we carried as we left his house.
Even the windows he’d boarded up in the room meant for us, to keep us safe from the sun, were once again free and clear of the wooden barriers he’d so graciously covered them in.
And I had repaid him for his kindness, not only with my petulance and all-around piss poor attitude, but I had taken away the one thing that had given him any solace.
The knowledge that I was – and would be – okay.
I still had the note he’d written and passed along to me through Eric-er when I’d first woken up that night in my pocket. The professor in him had known me well enough to know of my stubborn refusal to believe my new state was real. Chastising me on one hand and expounding on my new virtues on the other, telling me in his own way the results were conclusive.
The unbelievable had indeed come to pass.
I was now a vampire.
But it was the grandfather in him that had been overjoyed, so happy for me and for him.
I wasn’t going to die and he wasn’t going to have to bury me.
It was ironic how that last fact still remained true and yet now he would go to his grave never knowing what really happened to me.
Because of me.
I had taken that away from him.
I really was a monster.
Walking in between Godric and me, Eric-er reached out and took my hand, likely feeling I was two seconds away from a complete and utter meltdown.
I knew because I could feel a foreign sense of comfort invading my body.
It was sweet, in a weird vampirey sort of way.
And it was absolutely the worst thing he could’ve done.
Because the flimsy hold I’d had on my emotions crumbled and a choked out sob left my lips, with my eyes filling with bloody tears and my knees buckling, unable to take another step.
A part of me hoped he would leave me there and let the sun burn me up, like I knew I deserved.
The other part of me hoped he wouldn’t, even though I was surely more work than Eric-er had bargained for, when he made me his vampire child.
It was so late at night – or early in the morning – that there hadn’t been anyone out on the streets with us.
No one there to witness my spectacular – and bloody – fall from grace.
No one there to see me pay my penance or to save me from eternal condemnation, when the sun would eventually rise in the sky.
So lost in my own grief, I didn’t realize Eric-er’s hold on my hand grew to now encompass my entire body.
Nor did I realize we’d left the sidewalk and were now above it – way above it – flying through the sky, until I heard the sound of Godric’s voice filtering in to my wind-whipped ears, saying, “The first time I met Eiríkr was on a night very much like this one. Summer was coming to an end, but the nights had not yet turned cold. He was very young at the time, but I had no idea of just how young he was until sometime later. During our first encounter I had been fortunate enough to witness him in battle, wielding a sword as though he had been born with one in his hand and facing off against vampire who were decades older. He won, of course, even though he had only been turned the summer before.”
I don’t know if it was the pictures he was painting in my mind or the soothing sound of his voice that brought me out of the tidal wave of despair I had slowly been drowning in.
But where I had lost hope – for both who and what I was – for all that I had lost and could never get back – his words had given me a weird sense of resolve.
I could sink in my misery and let it consume me.
Or I could rise above it and swim.
Yes, I had lost everyone I had ever loved and cared about, even though they were all still alive and well. And while I wasn’t very alive – technically – I was well.
Better than I had been when my heart was still beating.
They might never know what became of me, but apparently I had all of eternity to remember them.
So if I lived forever then they would too in my heart and memories.
But hearing about the first time Godric had seen Eric-er – a thousand years earlier – and the fact they were together again reminded me loss wasn’t the only thing I could be experiencing.
If I accepted my new life, I had everything to gain too.
And if Eric-er was strong enough to take on other vampires who were decades older than him, when he had been just a baby vamp himself, then surely he could teach me to be just as strong.
And he surely didn’t deserve to have such a weak child.
And knowing exactly what he looked like dressed as a Viking – thanks to his glacier nap – my mind’s eye put a sword in his hand, as I snuggled my body closer to his and closed my eyes, asking Godric, “Tell me more?”
Soo-key had succumbed to her daytime death, just as we landed at Godric’s dwelling, so it wasn’t until he was leading us inside that I learned what he’d been saying to her during the flight.
While it still chafed at me to not be able to understand her language or communicate with her verbally, I could tell by our bond his words had been soothing to her.
Uplifting her downtrodden spirits.
But I didn’t need to be able to understand her language to understand exactly what she was going through when we were leaving the Niall’s dwelling.
I knew from experience there were no words in any language to accurately describe what it was like, knowing you were walking away from the only life you had ever known.
With daybreak only minutes away there hadn’t been enough time for Godric and I to discuss much more, so he led me to the room we would be resting in and left me to see to getting Soo-key settled onto the elevated soft pallet he explained was a modern day bed.
It was much more comfortable than the fur covered straw I had slept on as a human.
Within the room was a smaller room, similar to the one Soo-key and I had used to bathe in earlier that night. Recognizing what I now knew to be the shower, I turned the handle – just as I had watched Soo-key do – and dampened a cloth in the water that appeared with my actions, using it to clean the bloody tear tracks from her face.
Sensing the sun had already risen in the sky, I could also sense I had the ability to fight off the pull to succumb to it. But I only did so for as long as it took me to remove the garments from each of our bodies and curling mine around hers.
Only then did I finally relax and allow death to take me.
Rising the following night, I knew from experience I had some time before Soo-key would be joining me. And while I could hear Godric’s movements from somewhere further down the passageway that led to other rooms within the dwelling, I had no desire to leave her side.
She had been so strong and then so broken the night before, there was no way I could leave her again. I knew as a newborn how disjointed it could be when rising the first few nights.
While we could no longer dream in a conventional sense, it took a while for what you expected to see when first opening your eyes to correspond with your new reality.
Opening her eyes and finding herself in a completely unfamiliar setting would be upsetting.
So even though I knew there was much I needed to learn from Godric, I knew she needed me with her even more.
So I remained.
By the time Soo-key’s consciousness was returning to her, enough time had passed that I had likely amassed a question for every year I had been submerged in the ice.
But they all fell away the moment she turned in my arms and wrapped her body around mine, with her fangs snapping down from her gums as she softly whispered, “Don’t leave me.”
While her words were still foreign to my ears, what I was feeling both through our bond and from her body pressed against mine, I understood what she wanted.
What she needed from me in that moment.
The urge for sex was just as strong the desire for blood when we first rose for the night, but I knew what she wanted was something more than that.
Something I was more than willing to give her.
Affection, both physically and emotionally, and comfort in the knowledge she wasn’t alone.
Nor would she ever be.
Rolling my body on top of hers, she willingly gave in when my lips sealed over hers in a kiss that seemed to go on forever and yet not long enough. I obviously hadn’t had any kind of connection to her before turning her into my child, but the connection we shared now felt as though we had always been together.
That we should never be apart.
It was nothing like the connection I had shared with my own Maker, so I had nothing to base these new feelings on.
No explanation to explain away how deeply I felt she had always been meant for me.
Perhaps it was the only explanation for why I had seen no other way than to submerge myself in ice for a thousand years, if only to preserve my mind, body, and spirit for when the time came that she could be mine.
But scenting her arousal filling the air surrounding us pulled my focus solely onto her body’s reactions to mine, so I took my time kissing and licking, tonguing and nipping my way down her body.
Dragging the tips of my fangs across her skin, so that I could lick away the trail of blood left behind in their wake.
Watching the way she would twist and arch underneath me, wanting more and yet perfectly willing to let me take my time.
We had coupled many times by then in ways only two vampire could, but there was something to be said for taking your time and drawing out each moment as though we had all the time in the world.
It just so happened that we did.
So I savored every moment – every inch of her I could touch, taste, and feel – drawing it out for as long as possible, until she was boneless and sated beneath me.
“How did you come to be Eiríkr’s child?”
Sitting in Godric’s living room, I swallowed the blood in my mouth and set my glass down on the coffee table before looking over at him on the opposite couch, shrugging with my reply of, “Uh…I’m not really sure? One minute I was staring at the body of a frozen Viking and the next…I don’t know. I’m pretty sure he lunged and I screamed and then…well…”
I shrugged again because it was all pretty hazy.
At least the parts leading up to when I woke up from my dirt nap and then had myself a grand old time sexin’ him up.
The bright side was that with my vampire-ness I could no longer blush.
Because I was sure I would be just as red as the blood still lining my glass if I could.
“That is normal,” he smiled kindly, with his eyes going back and forth between Eric-er and me.
But I had to stifle my chuckle because in what world was being turned into a vampire normal?
But then glancing over at my vampire daddy beside me, I had my answer.
It was the same one I’d been born into and yet infinitely different than the one I lived in now.
I wondered if that was how Eric-er felt.
Everything was different and yet the same.
The thought made me feel even more connected to him, which was saying something since I couldn’t imagine being any more attached to him.
If we got any closer, he’d be wearing me as a scarf.
Or more like a condom, considering how much sex we’d had.
Not that he knew what those were.
But then again, we didn’t need them.
The shock rocked through me and exploded out of my mouth, when I stared back at Godric in horror and asked, “Can I get pregnant?”
It honestly hadn’t occurred to me until now.
Which only solidified how ignorant I was about their – our – world.
So I was hanging on his every word – and hanging my hat on the hopes that the birds and the bees only showed themselves during the daytime, which we couldn’t – praying I hadn’t inadvertently given us something else to worry about.
What in the hell would a vampire baby eat anyway?
Being one myself, I grabbed a second glass of blood from the table and chugged it.
Hoping all the while I wasn’t eating for two.
God help me, it was the last thing we needed.
Feeling Soo-key’s abject terror, my fangs snapped down unbidden and my wary stare focused on an amused Godric, as he shook his head and said, “No.”
Then turning his eyes towards me, he chuckled, “She asked if she could become pregnant.”
Regret slammed into my body, literally rocking me where I sat, at the thought of how distressed she’d become when it occurred to Soo-key to ask her question.
Knowing I had taken that possibility away from her and there was no way for me to give it back.
So I didn’t understand the relief his reply had given her, nor did I understand her words when she sighed out, “Thank god.”
“What did she say?” I asked him, more determined now than ever to learn her language.
I couldn’t stand not being able to understand her.
I couldn’t stand the thought of not being able to make her understand how sorry I was for taking away her ability to have a child of her own.
Even if I hadn’t turned her, my ability to father one with her had been taken away from me a millennium earlier.
A fact I had ruminated over not long after she’d first risen as my child.
“She is thankful,” he replied easily.
Neither the relief flowing through her body nor her translated words had the ability to ease my guilt over what I had taken away from her.
And even though I knew she wouldn’t understand, I turned to face her asking, “How can that be? I took away her ability to have children.”
How could she not hate me right now?
Hate for one’s Maker was something I knew all too well.
I hated even more feeling like I was no better than Ocella himself.
With my mind in a maelstrom, I paid no mind to the unfamiliar words he spoke to her next. Instead I was stuck – mired down in what I had done versus what I could have done – until I was brought back to the present.
She would have been able to feel everything I had been feeling. Not only were we sitting right next to one another, but I’d done nothing to try and block my emotions from her.
It was yet another sign I was a terrible Maker.
But it was the feel of her soft touch, when she placed her hands on my face, soon followed by her even softer lips pressing against my own before she pulled back enough to look into my eyes and said, “You didn’t take anything from me. You gave me a life I had already been told I had lost. We’ll figure everything else out together.”
Whatever it was she had said the words themselves were truthful.
Hearing Godric’s translation didn’t make me feel any less astonished.
The Niall had told me she had been mortally ill, but I hadn’t given it much thought beyond that, knowing she was no longer sick.
My blood had taken care of that.
So it would have made sense she had given up any hope of having a child of her own.
But it was only feeling the absolute certainty flowing through her and not the slightest bit of regret over the topic of conversation that allowed me to believe her.
And only reinforced my belief that I would do whatever was necessary in order to be whatever she needed me to be. To do whatever was required in order for her to be happy.
I may have taken many things from her with my rash actions and decision to turn her, but I would give her the moon and stars from this night forward to make it up to her.