Second-to-last fic request completed! Sorry this took so long to get done; skipped a week of writing due to Brisnova. It's a longer oneshot than usual to make up for it though!
This is for pjvilar from the Godric/Eric community, who gave me the prompt 'fast' :)
Title: Beyond All Telling
Author: Harmony (Silver Harmony)
Characters/Pairing: Godric & Eric
Word Count: Approximately 2,817.
Disclaimer: Not mine, sadly.
Notes: Takes place in episode 2x09, after Nan Flanagan fires Godric and tells him to fill out forms (and Eric gets punched by Bill!). I felt compelled to write a much longer 'last moment' for Godric & Eric than what was given to us in the show, something that gives a little more closure on their relationship. As a pair, they deserve it. ♥
Feedback: Very much appreciated, as I need it to improve. Thank you!
Summary: Even when all their time together is too short, he had already been stifled with the exhaustion and gravity of the neverending days.
It’s hard to feel anything but heaviness, with Isabel hovering too closely at his side in hesitant concern and Nan Flanagan eyeing him intensely enough to drill holes into his skull – but then again, he's sitting there in her suite with little welcome; and even though this is more his dwelling-place than hers, he still feels the uncomfortable weight of being looked at as an outsider. The room feels somewhat chilly even for him, and smells like crisp, expensive perfume, almost a mark of Flanagan’s detachment, the perfectly cold picture of logic and politics and judgment behind keen narrowed eyes.
‘Are you done?’ she asks impatiently.
He turns his eyes to her briefly, taking in the distaste in her voice and her features. ‘Almost.’
Isabel’s eyes gleam with indignation at the displayed impatience for a moment, and Godric is more than grateful that she chooses to rein herself in instead of saying anything. Flanagan is an old vampire, but not compared to him – she still has the energy and dark vivacity that he knows he no longer cares for within himself; she spends every waking moment of her life building her impassioned beliefs into priority and progress, whereas he had not achieved the one thing he’d set out to do that he’d perceived to be right. For that, she is effectively blameless. She’s not yet old enough to fully understand patience, but either way, he doesn’t want to keep her waiting – nor himself.
He signs his name at the bottom of the form, and his very last duty is finished then, an arrival at the end of a time that he’s not sure how he feels about. He has both peaceful and less-than-wholesome memories of this time as sheriff – of the two thousand years of his long life in general – and he puts the pen down and knows that this is the conclusion.
Godric doesn’t wait for the responses of either of the women, and gets up and makes his way to the door. He can sense Eric waiting outside the room, a wash of foreign desperation and anger and grief; he almost stops at the sensation of that unbearable sadness, filling every corner of his child’s heart, an overwhelming surge of pure urgency and hurt beyond anything he's ever felt from him. But he doesn’t stop, because the pain he feels isn’t his own, and regardless his progeny already bears enough for the both of them – enough to cover a shared millennium of devotion and darkness and love. Godric knows he can’t allow himself the luxury of the hurt.
He exits the suite and closes the door behind him, and sure enough, Eric is waiting for him down the hallway. Godric notices that the other vampire’s expression is deceptively impassive; he walks over to him slowly, mildly raising his eyebrows when he is close enough to perceive the thin slice across the blond’s lower lip.
‘What happened?’ he asks, extending his hand and running the tip of his thumb gently over the cut.
Eric reaches up and takes that hand within the cradle of his own large palm, larger fingertips lightly brushing against the small knuckles. ‘Nothing important,’ he answers, shaking his head. ‘A small disagreement with Bill Compton. It’ll heal over in a bit.’
Godric allows himself a barely-there smile. He's surprised he's still able to smile at all, after everything. ‘You don’t change.’
‘I wouldn’t. I’m still everything to you the way I am, right?’ Eric replies in mock-playfulness, but his heart clearly isn’t in it. Looking at him, it’s almost as if it’s taking all of his usual vitality and liveliness to keep something from falling to pieces.
Godric looks him in the eye, wanting to provide him comfort, and knowing that he can’t. But he answers with the truth as he feels it: ‘Always.’
His gaze falls away, then, to the window at the end of the corridor, where he can see the sky still shrouded in darkness. There are still a small handful of hours yet until the night’s end. A sudden tight grip on his hand abruptly breaks him from that train of thought, and he looks back at Eric in surprise; the urgency is more honestly gleaming from those eyes now, accompanied by something akin to a stirring fear that is unusual and alien for his angular features. A slight touch of sympathy reaches the dark-haired vampire then, knowing how vibrant his progeny’s lust for life still is, the way it had always been from the time they’d first met: he’s almost a mirror of what Godric himself had been a thousand years ago, a portrait of animalistic elegance and passion and eagerness, the embodiment of death and life walking on swift and graceful legs. Eric probably can’t understand, and maybe isn’t going to understand, and Godric regrets that it’s only going to hurt more.
He simply whispers: ‘Come.’
He slides his hand tenderly from the blond’s, beckons him to follow with a gentle tip of his head, and turns on his heel and starts making his way down the hallway.
Two thousand years he’s lived, and he knows full well how fast an hour or two goes by.
They settle together back in Godric’s suite, and Godric is unsure if the creeping finality that sweeps over him at that moment is a human feeling; after all, he doesn’t think like a vampire anymore, and that fleeting sentimentality wherein he feels he might miss his chambers, and this existence, is somehow a little beautiful and sadly unnecessary all at once. His private room is a contrast to the more extravagant rooms to which his guests have access, and he can’t be more grateful for his own choice in a more humble and simple way of living and the small bonus comfort of homeliness it has always brought him. He sets himself down on his plain loveseat and Eric stands across from him, a tremor in his lower lip.
‘I feel tired, Eric,’ Godric interrupts softly, and it’s nearly enlightening how heavy those words are with truth, how clearly they reflect all the days and nights he’s walked the earth, going on for years and years and never reaching any horizon, a crippling exhaustion in every muscle of the ancient body that had never grown older. ‘Come sit together with me.’
The blond hesitates for a moment, and Godric is no longer sure whether that muted, faint sliver of sadness is Eric’s or his own. He adds, under his breath: ‘Please.’
Eric moves to obey, but doesn’t sit next to him. He comes forward and falls on one knee before him; it’s the blond’s usual gesture for his respect, but this time it’s colored with anxiousness for proximity and closeness – his progeny wants to look him in the eye in every last waking moment from now on, he knows, to affirm his presence, to not let him out of his sight again if he can help it. If possible, he feels even more like a maker and father now than before, gazing back into those frightened eyes, seeing that faint quiver in his shoulders that’s almost hidden and just barely detectable, every bit the son seeking consolation from his father. Except he can only provide but a different comfort, now.
‘I beg you. Don’t,’ Eric only has to start, and Godric’s already shaking his head.
‘No, we’re not talking about this. Not now.’
The blond is driven to a pause, and Godric feels mildly sorry for the brief wounded look that flashes over the pale eyes, that expression of helpless frustration, but it’s not something he can change anymore.
‘How are you feeling?’ he asks, filling in the silence.
‘Fine,’ answers Eric with incredulity in his voice, ‘but that’s what I should be asking you, not the other way around.’
'I'm perfectly fine,' answers Godric demurely. 'Don't worry.'
The words hang thick in the air around them, unsaid but clearly understood by both: you don't need to worry about me anymore. To the dark-haired vampire's slight dismay, it only appears to set Eric even further on edge. The blond props himself up on both knees and presses forward, his built torso pushing lightly between Godric's knees and his arms coming to rest on either side of Godric's thighs as if needing to be close to him more than anything at that moment. Perhaps that's exactly what it is, and a part of Godric can't be more grateful.
'You know, Godric, I ... missed you,' utters Eric softly, almost inaudibly; the humble words sound strange on his usually sharp tongue, and there is something like a flush of discomfort across his ashen features at such an open sentiment, but the dark-haired vampire would forgive him ten times over even for that shame.
'And I also missed you,' answers Godric honestly, reaching out, fingers lightly threading through golden hair. 'Terribly. This is the first time we've seen each other in decades, isn't it? Last we parted, we were in Augsburg.'
'That was such a long time ago,' the blond utters in answer. 'Much too long.'
That's the funny thing about a vampire's innumerable years, muses Godric. The numbers of sunrises and sunsets seem to stretch out for so long, everlastingly, and the future and forever feels unbearably slow; but when all such seasons have passed they actually contradictively go by in a blink of an eye, and before one knows it, decades have already gone. The last time he has seen Eric is a very long time ago, indeed, but barely a fleeting moment in comparison to the thousands of years he'd lived and held patience with existence. It's saddening and simultaneously peculiar that even then, all those decades ago, even when all their time together is too short, he had already been stifled with the exhaustion and gravity of the neverending days.
'We had so many wonderful moments together though, hadn't we?'
He can't stop himself from using past tense already, and Eric notices this, judging by the way he suddenly digs his fingernails into the loveseat.
'Please don't,' the blond says, his voice hoarse as if caught in his throat.
The hand in Eric's hair moves to his shoulder, where it settles in a warm, reassuring grip. He knows the words were suffocating with finality, but it's his only chance left to share all of this with his progeny, to have this last moment with him. 'Sleeping together side-by-side, no matter where we were. Do you remember that?'
Eric closes his eyes tight, hurt etched into every line in his expression, and nods. It was a simple practice they had fallen into easily whenever they were far from home; nothing had brought them greater solace than lying silently beside each other in the dark, taking comfort in each other's wordless presence. It's a silly question – there's no way either of them could have forgotten that, but Godric doesn't regret asking.
'And visiting the shore,' he adds. 'You always accompany me to the shore when you believe I miss home. Even when I already had my home in you.'
The pale eyelids flutter open, and Eric gazes at him with shadows of emotions Godric can't quite discern; but he thinks the expression on his own face must be similar. Perhaps it's a fatal combination of the attempted pretense of aloofness with layers of neverending tiredness, sorrow and love beneath. To his own surprise, he allows himself another small, mild smile.
'Hunting together, and being inseparable those first few centuries. Living together, separating, finding each other, parting ways again, and finding each other again. You made every moment bearable. And even if I'm not with you, I'll still find you, like I always have.'
He doesn't know if it's a promise he can keep, depending on whether or not Eric keeps him alive in his heart, but a tiny, less-than-selfless part of him hopes for it. He wonders faintly how Eric will grieve, how fast he will stop grieving. He wonders if Eric will see him in his dreams, in misty visions, after this.
'Don't leave me, Godric,' the blond whispers. 'Please.'
Godric's eyebrows slant, and he takes Eric's face in both his hands and brushes his lips tenderly against his forehead. 'I'm here right now.'
Eric nods once, the most excruciating heartbreak never leaving his eyes, and lays his head down on Godric's lap in silence. He slides into sleep within minutes.
In just over an hour's time, when the approaching dawn is signalled by the faint brush of much colder air within the room, Godric manages to loosen himself from Eric's grip, where he had stayed in silent contentment. He plants a tender, lingering, heavyhearted kiss on the blond's cheekbone and leaves the security and shelter of his suite for the last time; he goes and bids farewell to Isabel, who doesn't quite understand why or where exactly he is going, but she has always implicitly trusted in him and doesn't press him with her questions, and he is thankful and thinks that's probably best. He also bids farewell to a few of his other subordinates, quelling their confusion with the simple explanation of his removal from office. And that's it. Soon enough, there's nothing more.
He takes slow steps to the rooftop, and the climb up the stairs is almost surreal.
When he reaches the open area, the air is unforgivingly wintry; it's somewhat appropriate in accompaniment with the pre-dawn mist, the cold pale light creeping over the horizon, the sky and the wind and the wide, wide expanse of space. He feels almost weighed down with shadows on the inside, and thinks that they would have fit in well with his surroundings if they had any tangible form. This thought, however, is dispelled by Eric's clear presence, looming behind him.
'Don't go through with this,' Eric hisses, and his voice is hard with anger and fear.
Godric raises his eyebrows. 'You're fast.'
The words are mercifully light-hearted in its tone. He fears that if it were anything but, his progeny would fall to pieces before him. But he recovers quickly from that luxury, knowing that sunrise is fast approaching.
'Would you forgive me?'
'No,' the blond says immediately, his eyes gleaming, filled with aching, saying without words: I'd miss you beyond all telling.
Forgiveness for everything is all Godric is searching for, and Eric's the one person who had forgiven him everything in the world and will still forgive him anything, and yet, he understands this one refusal completely.
'Even now, you're in here, more deeply embedded than anything else,' he says softly, brushing his hand against his own chest, filled suddenly with nostalgic memories of that night he'd first turned Eric, of sharing blood over years and years, being a part of him, becoming almost one with each other in that intimately-shared existence.
Eric's lip quivers, and he mirrors the gesture. He replies, under his breath: 'And so are you. Always.'
With those words alone, Godric feels a great weight lifting from him; for the first time that night, he feels the smallest sliver of self-peace.
He turns away from Eric to look at the horizon. It's not long now. He can hear light footfalls ascending the steps to the rooftop, and can see from the corner of his eye that it's the girl, Sookie Stackhouse. She's stopping at the top of the stairs, watching them and keeping silent out of respect, but he wouldn't have minded even if she had joined them at this point in time. He knows his child sees hope in her, and that rouses contented acceptance in him even more, knowing that there is someone to look out for Eric after he's gone.
He lowers his head, and carries no fear at all. He's about to burn, and is surprisingly no less than calm, and almost reconciled with himself. It's a strange, pleasant feeling.
'Two thousand years is enough.'
The sun rises and he feels the natural warmth and light of the world on his face for the first time in two long millennia; he stretches out his arms and thinks of Eric, keeps the memory of centuries of faith and love closer than ever, holds the image of his comfortingly familiar features and golden hair firmly in his mind and doesn't let go.
His mouth curves into the faintest smile, and Godric closes his eyes.