Rosalyn concentrated on the series of folds she was making in a white cocktail napkin. She created the final crease, twisting a pointed edge into a beak. It was the fourth paper crane she had made and she set it on the table with the rest of her growing collection. She had anticipated many things about this event, but never did she expect to be so excruciatingly bored. The past few hours had been some of the most tedious of her life. Godric’s speech was certainly unexpected, to say the least. The crowd’s reaction to his presence was eye-opening. Rosalyn could not imagine the isolation and loneliness he must feel from being so feared. But once that excitement was over, there was little to do but wait. Eric had assured her he would see to it that Godric would go to her and that she should stay put. She was not in the habit of sitting around and waiting for things to happen. It felt like time was creeping by. The bodyguard Eric had assigned her was certainly pretty to look at. His pale face was inlaid with emerald eyes and framed by a tumble of long, raven hair. But he was not very talkative. Clad head to toe in black velvet and wool, he had instead kept apace from her table where he was concealed in the shadow of several large topiaries. Only once when Queen Sophie-Anne herself breezed by did he suddenly materialize at her side. He hid the wrist that bore her ID bracelet behind his back, later explaining that the wide black and gold colors which proclaimed that she “belonged” to Eric Northman’s retinue might raise unnecessary questions.
She was working on a fifth crane – this time using a red napkin for variety – when a pinched-face vampire dressed in an unfortunate brown suit sidled up to her. He introduced himself as William Compton. His bubbly human date extended her hand in an enthusiastic greeting.
“Hi!” she said in a thick drawl. “I’m Sookie Stackhouse.”
Rosalyn chanced a glance at her bodyguard. He was nowhere to be seen. “My lovely date here saw that you are a member of Area Five and I thought you two ladies could chat while I take care of some business,” the vampire said.
The curvy woman hopped on the tall seat next to Rosalyn without an invitation. “I’m surprised we haven’t met before! I guess you must live in Shreveport? It’s a pretty big city. I’m from Bon Temps.”
“Indeed,” Compton chimed in, his voice dripping with forced charm. “It is odd that we have not had the pleasure of your acquaintance. I was not aware that the Sheriff had a new pet.”
She had no idea what to say. “Yeah, well. Like you said, I’m new.”
Her bodyguard materialized out of the shadows like a dark angel. A shock of recognition crossed the strange vampire’s face. “Amleth! Goodness…It…It has been some time. You honor Louisiana with your presence.” His thick Southern accent seemed to falter slightly.
“I cannot say the same for you, Bill.”
Bill swallowed and licked his lips. “Sookie, this here is Amleth of Cumbria. He’s currently the Sheriff of London and a very important member of our community.”
Amleth’s face was a mask. “Tend to your business. Your human will be safe here.”
“But of course. Thank you. The, uh, Queen – she passed this way not long ago?”
“You ask too many questions,” he replied, unimpressed.
Compton gave a wide smile. “You ladies enjoy the festivities. Sookie, dear? Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be back in a moment.”
Sookie started chattering at Rosalyn a mile minute in an attempt at small talk. Amleth stayed at her side. The blonde was all over the place and she smiled too much to be sincere. “Did you make these cranes? Wow, that’s so neat. I wish I knew origami. Do you know that karate place over on Washington Ave., near the Walmart?”
“No.” Of course Ros did not know it. She had never been to Shreveport.
“Oh.” Sookie frowned. “Well, um. There’s this place in Shreveport. They do self-defense stuff for women. I took a couple classes once. It was fun. We got to kick a dummy a lot.”
“What are you?” Amleth suddenly asked, cutting the woman’s rambling short. Something about her behavior was off and her scent was not entirely human. The way she paused and changed her wording was not lost on him.
“I asked what you are.”
“I’m a waitress.”
“Oh lord no!” she laughed. “Fangtasia? I’m not even allowed there. Jerkboy Eric banned me after the first time I went. No, I work at a lil’ ‘ole place called Merlotte’s. It’s a nice family restaurant.”
Amleth did not respond to the insult to Eric’s establishment. “Then what do you do for Northman?”
The Stackhouse woman fiddled with her ID bracelet. One side was purple and bore Compton’s name. The other had the Viking’s black and gold insignia. “I don’t do anything for him. Like I said, he’s been extremely rude to me. They made a mistake or something when they made my ID.”
Amleth snorted in disbelief. Eric Northman did not make mistakes. He was about to grill her for more information when Rosalyn audibly gasped.
Through a part in the crowd, Godric was strolling toward her, hair wild, hands deep in his pockets, and a big grin plastered on his face. Without realizing it, she stood, dropping her red crane into the clipped grass. Her palms went cold and the moment seemed to stretch out between them in an eternity.
He was walking toward her and he was there. He was finally there. Memory must have failed her, for the man strutting in her direction was not just impressive and imposing and seductive. He was incandescently rakish, a force that bent the light and dark around him. Rosalyn blindly reached at the table for support.
A few feet from her, Godric stopped and placed a hand on his chest. His mouth opened to say something, but shut instead. No one dared speak a word, not even the jabber mouth blonde. Rosalyn stepped forward and the movement of her dress sent a waterfall of sparkling reflections onto Godric’s suit and opaline skin.
“You are too perfect a vision,” he declared at last. He shook his head in disbelief as he drunk her in, eyes glittering. “I could swear you’re clothed in moonlight. There must be witchcraft woven into every stitch of that gown.”
“Godric,” she breathed, in little more than a whisper.
He took her open hands in his. “Rosalyn, my muse.”
“You’re late,” she chided.
He suppressed a laugh and his nostrils flared. “I know. Not too late, I hope.”
“You look…ridiculously handsome in this.” She ran a hand over his grey lapel.
“I lost my tie.”
“Good riddance.” They smiled at each other like fools, hopelessly caught in each other’s orbit.
Amleth cleared his throat and Godric managed to tear his eyes away from Rosalyn.
“Amla,” he declared quietly. The black-haired slip of a man dropped immediately to one knee and bowed his head in a show of extreme loyalty. When he stood, Godric clasped his forearm, greeting him in the old Roman way. They had not seen each other since the ancient had left the Old World in anticipation of the Reveal. It was a blink of a moment in a 1400-year relationship, but it mattered nevertheless. Through their salutations, Godric nevertheless kept Rosalyn’s hand in his free arm the entire time.
“Hello, old chap,” Amleth said. “Before you even ask, no, I didn’t breathe a word to Eric. He asked me to keep an eye on Ms. Rosalyn tonight.”
“In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I needed to shield her from that insufferable bitch Sophie-Anne. I caught her by the arm.”
Godric nodded in appreciation, glad he would not be taken by surprise when he noticed the scent on her.
“Quite the speech you made,” Amleth said. Godric pursed his lips. “On a scale of 1 to that time in Baudobriga, just exactly how much trouble is Eric in?”
“Off the charts,” Godric replied coolly.
Amleth hissed through his teeth. “Sucks to be him.” Rosalyn had no idea just how thoroughly the younger vampire was acquainted with Godric’s wrath. Godric had helped raise him as a youngling and Amleth attributed much of his success to the elder – not in spite of his harsh methods, but because of them.
“Godric, please don’t be mad at Eric,” Rosalyn offered. “I’m just as much to blame.”
Godric caressed a tendril of hair at the nape of her neck and breathed her in. He was having trouble focusing on anything she was saying beyond the shape of his name in her mouth. He wanted her to say it over and over again, to chant it like a siren’s song. Godric, Godric. Sing me to shipwreck, he wished at her. Let me die on the luscious shores of your body.
From the corner of his field of vision, Amleth saw Compton attempting to slither off with his human unnoticed. “Compton, you little shitrat! You would leave without thanking me for babysitting your snack?”
“Pardon, sirs. I did not wish to disturb your conversation.” Bill awkwardly bowed in a half-cower.
“Why is your human claimed as Northman’s retinue?” Amleth demanded.
“I do not know. I believe…well…I believe he means to steal her from me!” he braved, straightening a little at his defiance.
“Why would he do that when he’s banned her from his club?” Rosalyn chimed in. Godric gently squeezed her hand with pride, still staring at her moist, full lips.
“It’s part of Eric’s game,” Bill said. “Only he has lost. She is already spoken for.”
Amleth looked down and whispered something inaudible in a forgotten tongue. It elicited an exasperated grunt from Godric. “You are excused,” the elder said. “Leave our presence. Immediately.” Compton slumped off, tugging Sookie along by her purse strap. They were a few yards away when Godric spoke again. “Oh, and, Procurer?”
Compton spun around. “Yes, sir?” he said with an air of hope. Godric smiled cruelly. A look of horror crossed Compton’s face as he realized his error.
“So you do still work for the Queen.” Godric shook his head sadly at Sookie, “Little one, this vampire is not who he says he is. I do not know what lies he has told you, but I can tell he has fed you an unnatural amount of his blood, no doubt to coerce you into his power.”
“Sookie is mine!” Bill shoved her back defensively.
“So she is, but not for long, I reckon. What are your orders, underling?”
“Oh my lord! I remember you!” Sookie gasped. “You’re that frat boy vampire that came into Merlotte’s!”
“What?” Compton said. He grabbed her arm. “You didn’t tell me you saw a strange vampire. Sookie!”
“Well, I mean he was just a kid. He didn’t cause any trouble.”
“You should have told me! Sookie, do you realize what you’ve done?” Compton shook her in desperation.
“I haven’t done anything wrong!” Sookie said.
Rosalyn rolled her eyes at the obnoxious couple.
“Please, Godric,” Compton begged, “I have no argument with you. Let us go in peace. This matter is of no concern to you.”
“You’re in over your head, Bill, as usual,” Amleth said. “Answer him. What are your orders?”
“The Queen is forcing me to deliver Sookie to her. Tonight,” he mumbled.
Sookie cried out at the revelation.
“Poaching a known asset out of Eric’s backyard?” Amleth said. “Seriously? You really areas stupid as you look.”
“I was under the Queen’s orders!” Compton said.
“Orders which violate every protocol governing Sheriff’s rights.” Amleth said in outrage. “I could have her deposed for such a flagrant infringement.”
Bill saw a last ditch tactic. “Yes! Yes, help us! Please! I love her. Please, help us. I never wanted for this to happen!”
Godric let his gaze drift back to the useless vampire. “And yet you brought her here. Your love must be very limited indeed if it is so easily sacrificed for a middling job in a puppet queen’s regime.” Compton’s mouth hung dumbly open. He had no clever excuse. Godric blinked, unaffected by the pair’s histrionics and more than ready to be relieved of this idiocy. “Ms. Stackhouse, I assume from the mark on your wristband that my progeny Eric Northman has planned to protect you in the event of Compton’s inevitable betrayal. It is, however, Sheriff Amleth here who can truly help you, if he is willing. He understands certain things about your gift.”
“You mean my ‘quirk’?” she said.
“Your telepathy, yes,” Godric said, purposefully stressing the word.
Amleth suddenly grasped the situation perfectly. He was stunned that Godric and Eric had been so wrapped up in this business with the Rosalyn woman that neither had bothered to inform him that they were having fairy problems. And not just any fairy problems. Telepathy was a rare trait. These were Sky Fae matters, though only the gods knew what this halfling was doing on the wrong side of the veil dividing their realms. “We should leave. Now. I can’t even believe you’re here in the first place. This is a diplomatic crisis waiting to happen.” Amleth pulled out a set of car keys.
“Go with him, little one. He will see you home safely,” Godric said.
Sookie stood clutching her handbag, unsure of what to do. Bill tried to plead with her. “Sookeh, no! You are my light. Please, you can’t trust them!”
Amleth saw the slightest twitch of Godric’s jaw and knew the elder was growing dangerously agitated. The matter needed to resolve itself – immediately. He quickly intervened before Godric solved the issue the ‘Godric-way’. “Miss, I can see you are conflicted. Let me tell you how this is going to go down. You are either going to declare your undying love for this moron and begin your career as a blood slave tonight, here, in this gilded cage known as Chez Sophie-Anne, or you are going to be an idiot, refuse my help, and try to run from all of us thinking that you can outwit several thousand years of experience and highly superior hunting instincts.”
Sookie protested, but Amleth continued. “At that point, I’m going to catch you and take you back to your home and guard you, just as Godric has proposed. Why would I bother, you ask? Because I happen to be, among other things, the Vampire Ambassador to the Fae. Because the Fae Prince doesn’t like it when vampires abscond with his people, even halfling abandoned ones like you. Because I don’t like it when I have to deal with an unhappy Fae Prince and I really don’t like it when useless fangs like this one dares to fuck around with my friends.” He cast a look of disgust Bill’s way.
“She’s Fae!” Compton said in sudden understanding.
“What is it going to be, sweetcakes?” Amleth asked, pouring on an irresistible smile.
“No! No, no, no! Sookie they want your power. That is it! I will protect you. I love you, baby!”
The petite blonde screwed up her face. “I’m no baby!” Drawing back an arm, she socked the distraught Compton hard.
“Sookeh!” He yelped in shock and stumbled backwards, his nose a splatter of blood. People nearby started laughing.
Amleth rolled his eyes and quickly finished what Sookie began. He knocked Bill Compton out cold with a disgusting crunch.
“Shall we?” he held out a hand. Sookie looked up to the tall, handsome man. He might as well have been a shining knight on a horse. She quickly accepted his help. Amleth gave a polite nod to Rosalyn. “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, madame. I apologize for the disruption.” He turned to the elder. “I will see this settled.”
“Keep her away from Eric and Pamela,” Godric said. “I will not have my bloodline entangled in psychotic fairy hijinks.”
“Fairies?” Sookie giggled. “Really?”
“Really, darling,” Amleth said. “Now off we go. Pip pop. You and I have a lot to discuss.”
Ros peeked over at the passed out vampire sprawled on the lawn. “Well that was certainly exciting. Is it always like this?”
“More or less.” Godric gave a weary sigh. If only he could have a night without such nonsense. Stepping over Compton’s prone body, he pulled her hand through the crook of his arm so they could mill about the party. “Where were we?”
“Hmm. I was about to tell you how glad I am to see you. I’ve often thought of you.”
“I’ve thought of you too, perhaps more than I have a right to.”
Ros flushed. “You left quite an impression.”
His eyes flickered to her neck, to the place where his mark had long since faded into nothing. “I’m sorry. I should have – “
“No.” She shook her head. “Let’s not begin like that.”
He shyly conceded.
“How have you been?” she said.
“I am better now.” He tightened his hold on her.
“You’ve got color in your cheeks. You’re taking care of your nutrition?” She badly wanted to run a hand over the pink flush on his high cheekbones, but she did not want to take liberties.
“Trying,” he said honestly. “Where are we going?”
They seemed to be ambling towards the dance floor. “I thought you knew.”
“I was following you,” he teased, leaning into her. “Would you like to dance?”
Ros wrinkled her nose at the crowded space pulsing with lights and writhing bodies. Eric was at the DJ booth with a pair of headphones on askew. He was pumping a fist to the rhythm of the techno music. For all intents and purposes, he appeared lost in his job. Even at a distance, she could feel him watching their every move. “Maybe somewhere else?”
Godric considered her suggestion. “I think I know a place.”
They picked their way between the high top tables and laughing guests until he stopped behind a row of toilets .”You want to hang out behind the Port-o-Pottys?” she said with a laugh. They were the fancy kind, complete with A/C and porcelain fixtures, but still.
He indulged her with a smirk. Ros now understood where Eric got the look. “No, I want a bit of cover so that I can take you dancing in the stars.”
Ros blinked and smiled blankly. “What exactly are you suggesting?”
“Step up on my feet. It’s a little like the waltz.” She slipped off her heels and stepped onto his leather shoes.
“Hold on tight, it’s a fast start.” Rosalyn wound her arms around his neck. Godric locked onto her waist, pulling her flush against his hard body. The intimate contact sent a jolt of excitement through both of them. There was a sudden rush of wind and Rosalyn hung on for dear life, her face buried into his neck. After a moment, the wind lessened into a breeze.
“Open your eyes, Rosalyn,” he told her. They were floating in the sky. They were honest to goodness flying. Her mouth was a perfect ‘O’ of amazement and a question lingered there, unasked. Yes, his eyes said, some vampires can fly.
A carpet of cloud spread out below them like a puffy, swirling meadow. Overhead the somber, silent moon shone, cut into a crescent by Earth’s shadow. Godric spun slowly in a circle, whipping up misty tendrils of vapor around them. The moist air was cool and dew formed on their skin and clung to their hair. “Magic,” she said. It was the only way to describe it.
He drifted aimlessly and Ros got up the courage to reach out and touch the sky. “It’s like touching heaven. It’s just too beautiful.”
“It is,” he agreed. He was not looking at the stars, but at the vibrant human he was holding in his arms. “Beautiful.”
Rosalyn pulled back a wet hand and licked it. “What does it taste like?” he said.
“The rain,” she said and he smiled. She offered her fingertips and he kissed them lightly, tongue darting out to her skin. She wondered if he tasted the same flavor. He wondered if she knew all he wanted to savor was her.
“How far can you go?” she asked.
“Anywhere where the light isn’t.”
“Faster than the earth moves. Much, much faster.” Such speeds were almost unfathomable. He could fly faster than sound.
“And how high?”
He gazed up to the constellations. “I don’t need air,” he said quietly, hoping she would not press further. He traced his nose along the ridge of her ear.
“But you do need life,” she countered. He met her gaze. “All life needs other life to survive.”
“Yes,” he admitted. “Yes, I think you’re right.”
He squeezed her tightly and rolled onto his back and shot along the horizon. Godric felt her bouncing laughter against his chest and she threw her arms out wide to try flying, trusting he would not let her fall. The press of her slight weight against the length of his body was sweet torture and through sheer willpower he managed to keep his erection at bay. They remained that way for some time, although he banked in shallow curves to keep them circling over the city. When the low throbbing sound of an incoming jet forced them to retreat into the secluded forest of fog, Rosalyn wrapped her tired arms around her pilot’s wide chest and she nuzzled her face into his collarbone. He relished the heat of her and how his own skin warmed under her touch. Only when he heard the chatter of her teeth did he realize he had not considered that she would be cold at these heights. In fact, she was shivering violently. Very carefully, Godric took her back down, softly landing where she had left her shoes.
“Thank you for the dance, milady.”
“No, thank you,” she said, thoroughly exhilarated. “That’s the second time we’ve gone moondancing, you know.”
“Indeed it was.” He shrugged out of his jacket and draped it over her shoulders. When they emerged from their hiding spot, they were confronted with the hustle and crush of the event.
“What happens next?” he asked in a conspiratorial whisper.
“You want to get out of here?” Godric shrugged noncommittally. “Let’s blow this clambake.”
“Certainly. Was the seafood not satisfactory then?” he said.
“Clambake – it is a traditional New England seafood dish, is it not?”
Rosalyn burst into laughter and pulled him to her. She pressed a big, hot kiss on his cheek.
“I’ve said something silly, haven’t I?”
“You’re perfectly correct, dear.” She rewarded him with another playful peck. “Only sometimes it’s just an expression.”
The sight of a human woman manhandling the boy Death was outrageous and too intriguing not to stare. And gossip. Godric threw his arm over her shoulders and pretended to be deaf to the chorus of whispers. “Where to?” he asked.
“Hmm. I hear there are great zydeco bars, or, how about a riverboat tour?”
“I can show you to a good zydeco bar, but they will not welcome a bloodrinker inside. The French Creoles here have known about manjasang like me far longer than most humans. However, the riverboat would be a nice chance to talk with you more.”
“Well, we could just wander and chat? My hotel isn’t too far from here,” she said casually. The sudden swell in her scent betrayed her calm and it gave Godric hope.
“Certainly,” he agreed. “Where are you lodging?”
“The Roosevelt. It’s…decadent.” Godric frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“They don’t have light tight rooms. I wasn’t intending to stay in the city tonight.” Quite the opposite. He had planned on potentially staging a coup of half of North America in order to protect his lying dog of a child.
“Oh…” she said, crestfallen. “Everything will be booked up, won’t it?”
His mind raced through a series of possibilities. “Pig-headed, arrogant, manipulative boy,” Godric cursed. “Let me guess: Eric booked your suite?”
Rosalyn blushed deeply. She had not planned on confessing her stealthy collaboration with his progeny so soon. “Yeah, Eric made the reservation. Crap, I’m sorry. Why didn’t I think of this? But…you can just crash with him tonight, no?”
She had no way of comprehending the extent of Eric’s plot. His schemes were layers upon layers deep. To the man who had taught him every facet of strategy and game theory in existence, however, they were painfully, obnoxiously obvious. Godric wanted to beat him black and blue, if only because he knew he had no choice but to do exactly what his child wanted him to do. “I don’t suppose you have any interest in visiting Dallas?” he said.
Rosalyn put on a brave face. “Oh, of course, Godric. I’d love to see you again. Soon, I hope.”
His fangs slid out. And that was Eric’s check mate.
Godric let his arm drop from Rosalyn’s shoulder to her waist and he crushes her against his body, panting to take in her scent. “Oh, I don’t intend on letting you go just yet,” he said, his voice low and dangerous. His possessive instincts were screaming at him. They chanted along with her pulse. Hot, wet, throbbing thoughts of subduing her, claiming her, stealing off with her into the shadows. Take, take, take, they called. Godric grabbed a fresh drink out of the nearest vampire’s hand and he gulped it down greedily.
“Woah there, cowboy!” Ros said as the blood disappeared down his throat.
Godric shoved the empty glass back at the frozen vampire with a look that dared him to say a word. The man managed to strangle out a platitude, thanking the thief for having just robbed him.
The draught of blood helped Godric’s state only slightly. He closed his eyes and willed himself to relax. Rosalyn’s suggestions were innocent, he reminded himself. This was Eric’s web of teasing treachery.
“Are you alright?” Rosalyn said, trying not to draw more attention to them.
He had no idea how to explain his reasoning to her. “Yes,” he said. “I just do not like thinking about parting ways so soon. I apologize.”
She rubbed his back, telling him everything will be okay. Godric was not so sure. The matter was so messy he was at a loss for where to begin. The notion of roving about with this woman in a city positively overrun with vampires and every other kind of supe gave him a coiled, chilly knot of unease in his throat. Moments before, when he smelled the hint of her arousal, he was willing to choke back his abhorrence of filthy vampire hotels if it meant getting to be alone with her. But Eric was deftly using his habits and his own teachings against him. And it positively enraged him. Per Godric’s meticulous instruction, his child knew never to stay in a city during a large summit of their own kind. It was a simple matter of security. There would be no light-proof hotel room here to ‘crash’ in. But this only scratched the surface of Eric’s deceit. The Viking was relying on the assumption that his maker would feel increasingly territorial and hyper-protective of Rosalyn the longer he was in her presence. By eliminating the possibility of sound accommodations, Eric knew the situation would only compound this impulse, which in turn would make the thought of separating from Rosalyn wholly unacceptable. It left Godric with two choices: return with Rosalyn to Shreveport on his child’s turf, in some unfamiliar property, where his presence would complicate Eric’s authority as Sheriff or, conversely, retreat to the territory he knew with absolute certainty can be secured. There was no decision to make; Eric had already made it for him.
“Tell me, why are you here really?” Godric said.
“It’s a long story,” Ros admitted.
“No doubt. Skip to the part where you agree that I’m somehow involved. What did you hope to get out of it?” His words came out courser than he intended.
“Godric…” She blushed again, this time in shame. “I just wanted to see you again. I’m sorry. This is starting to feel like an awkward blind date.”
He recognized her discomfort and backtracks. “Bear with me. I only meant that…I cannot fathom your expectations. I understand Eric’s motivations and I see his machinations in all of this.” He paused, unused to explaining himself or justifying his actions. “I’m fighting 2300 years of deeply ingrained habit because I want to know what kind of relationship you would like to have.”
Rosalyn tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear. “Isn’t it a little soon for that ‘Talk’? Maybe let’s get to know each other first.”
She did not understand. He needed to walk her though his perspective and it felt glacially slow. He pulled her into an embrace near a loudspeaker where others could not hear him whispering into her ear. “You are human, Rosalyn. Unclaimed, immanently fragile, in a world full of monsters and villains. It’s hard to express the immediacy I feel. This?”
He looped a finger through the ID bracelet on her wrist.
“Its protection is no better than the paper it’s printed on.” He snapped it cleanly off and the wind caught it and sent it fluttering away. “To me, your life could be taken as easily as that. I would very much like the time and space to get to know you as well, and my first priority to do that is security. Eric has engineered it so that I either have to part with you come sunrise, putting precious seconds between us come nightfall, or take you home with me. New Orleans is not a town where one can go to ground outside; there are too many witches and vodun priests who would be more than tickled to get ahold of my body while I’m dead for the day. Even if I could get back to you ten – even five – minutes after sundown, that would be more than enough time for something terrible and irreversible to happen. So.”
He caressed her throat, hiding his eyes behind long, curling lashes. “I should have left you unmarred that night. Eric would never have interfered and you could have gone your own way. I’m too old, you see. Everything I do is under constant scrutiny. My every movement has political consequences. The door to our world does not revolve, Rosalyn, and it was wrong of me to bring you into it without your consent. Just as we do not enjoy equal rights in your world, humans do not have equal status in ours. You cannot wish to be treated as my property, and I do not wish to treat you this way. It’s not too late. If you want, I can arrange for your security so that you will be protected the remainder of your life. You wouldn’t have to see them; it wouldn’t affect your lifestyle much.”
“You don’t get it at all,” she huffed. “I was at the AVL gala by my own choice. I already made the decision to be involved in vampire affairs and if Eric hadn’t stepped in with his absurdly high-handed ways, I would have undoubtedly fallen prey to some asshole like that Sookie woman. By the time he got to me I was already well on my way. I was messing with forces I didn’t understand.”
“Precisely. And this is exactly why The Reveal is a failure. It has drawn humans to us on our own terms. Nothing has changed. If anything, it is worse. It has shown me how ugly and hateful creatures can be toward each other.”
“That is why I’m here! This is why everyone around you is here, Godric! Enough with the fake mouthpieces like Nan frigging Flannigan or hatemongers in pastor’s clothing like that dipwad Newlin. You’re right, I don’t want to be called somebody’s pet or talked about like steak. And it’s refreshing to hear you don’t want that either. This is why we need a forum where we can learn from each other. That’s my vision, Godric. A school. The School of Night will foster dialogue – real communication – across species so that our ignorance doesn’t lead to mutual distrust. We have to stop acting as if we haven’t co-existed all along.”
Godric was taken aback. “This is your dream? This is what you want to do…what Eric is helping you with?”
“And you truly believe this is possible?”
“Aren’t we doing it right now? Talking, understanding, negotiating?” She gave him a patronizing look.
He had not truly considered it before. But possibilities seemed different now that he was trying to listen and trying to understand. Godric toed the ground. “Alright. Look, if you don’t have plans for the weekend and you wouldn’t mind being in Dallas, we could go there tonight.”
“We can fly more?” she asked, lighting up.
“Traditional methods, I’m afraid. I have a plane standing by.”
“Oh, really, you too?”
“Tease. Just answer.”
She thought for a moment. “I would like that very much. How about you though? You seem to be working awfully hard to push me away.”
“I want you to stay with me for…well, for as long as you like.”
He gave a boyish grin but it quickly evaporated into a cold mask. “I need to speak with Eric before we leave.” He looked at her in assessment. “I’ll warn you, it’s not going to be pretty.”
A/N: Phew! It’s a marvelous night for a moondance, no? If you enjoyed this chapter, please leave me a review. I’ve labored for months to try and capture the same weird magic that these two characters had when I first put them together in Chapter 1. I never intended to make this story more than an experimental one-shot, but alas, here we are. Ch. 12 is already written, so expect an update shortly. Reviewers get to waltz in the stars with Godric until dawn.