Content warning: This story contains brief, fictional depictions of violence canonical to the show. For readers sensitive to portrayals of public attacks of a violent nature, please read with discretion. Also, I’m sorry that the world we live in is one in which I need to legit worry about my readers in this way. xx, M
The modern house was unlit. Plastic sheeting covered the furniture, filling the rooms with ghostly, indistinct forms. Amleth spun, arms wide. “Here we are! Don’t tell me what you think just yet. You need to see it properly with the recessed lighting. I’ll throw on the breaker. One moment, darling.”
Rosalyn stood in the shadowy living room, the property title in one hand. Curtain glass windows lined the front façade. Moonlight filtered through the draperies onto the carpet. The place smelled strange, something more than stale. Amleth disappeared into the back of the house. She heard the breaker crack as he turned on the electricity. The wires in the house began their soft, low hum. Rosalyn clicked on a lamp.
Amleth returned and flipped on the overhead lights. He slapped the side of the fireplace, a little breathless with excitement. “What do you think?”
She wrinkled her nose and apologized. “It smells like chemicals and armpits.”
“New paint. New carpet. New upholstery. It will wear off, no worries.” Amleth pulled up the furniture covers in a giddy dance. Among all the stylish, modern furniture there were touches and textures of natural fibers. It broke up what might otherwise be a very sterile design.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, plopping down on a couch. “Very serene. Godric will like it.”
“This is for you, not him. Now don’t just sit there. Let me show you everything!” He pulled her up and began giving her all the details of the house’s construction: which tables and desks were authentic and which were reproductions, who made what, and so on. Apparently, the place was once featured in a famous architectural design magazine.
“This is too much,” she said.
Amleth rolled his eyes. “You’ve barely seen it. There is so much more to your surprise.”
“Thank you, Am, truly. You’ve put a lot of thought into this.”
“You have no idea. Let’s see the master suite, yes?”
Rosalyn noted the door was not secure. Amleth rushed an apology. “It’s not quite move-in ready. I haven’t had all the mods done yet.” She explored the spacious bathroom. It was blessedly free of gold spigots. “Show me which room will be yours,” she said.
Amleth raised an eyebrow. “Am I invited to sleep over?”
She smiled deviously. “If Godric will let us stay here.”
“Now you are just playing hard to get. Don’t worry about Godric. I’ll deal with him.”
“Amla, I’m pretty sure no one just ‘deals’ with Godric – especially not lately.”
“On second thought, you’re right. That’s your forté. I leave it entirely to you.” He led her through the hall. “You’re the lady of the house. You pick which rooms you’d like to hide me away in.”
“Rooms plural, huh?” she said, laughing. “How about we decide on one and christen it properly?”
Amleth pulled her to him playfully by the hips and pursed his lips. “What did you have in mind, madame? Only proper things? Or can we christen it with improper things as well?” He stroked the sides of her silk dress as he spoke.
She cupped his face with two hands and laughed. “I can’t decide if you’re actually trying to get me naked or if you really just want to steal the clothes off my back.”
He hummed a low laugh, eyes raking over her body, calculating. “One must do the first to achieve the second, no?”
“Always the middle way with you.” She bopped him on the nose with a finger. “You’re not taking the kimonos.”
She could tell her teasing pleased him immensely. He pulled her into the first of the three bedrooms. It had not yet been furnished. They tried the other two and found they were equally empty. Amleth hummed in thought. “I say we build a fire in the living room and forge our bond there.”
“Is there wood?” she said.
Amleth asked Rosalyn to sit and relax while he brought an armload of logs in and arranged them in the hearth. A blaze was roaring in no time. He stepped into the bathroom to wash his hands. When he returned, he leaned against the brick of the fireplace and pulled the tie on his jacket. He watched her reaction as he untucked his tunic and spread the fabric from his bare chest.
Rosalyn was stretched out on the couch, arms folded on the armrest, head resting on her arms. “You do know I’m not going to have sex with you.”
“Not tonight,” he said, his gaze dancing in the firelight. “Come here, Rosalyn. You’re much too far away.”
A phone rang. Amleth’s head jerked toward the sound. It rang again. He looked back up at Rosalyn.
“Are you going to answer it?” she said.
His face went blank. “It’s not mine.”
Godric’s body hit the boy with force. He lay atop Michael for several seconds as his mind tried to make sense of a sudden onslaught of information. All of his blood bonds were screaming.
“Ow,” Michael said in a mewl.
Godric blinked. “You okay?”
The human winced and pushed at Godric’s shoulder. Godric was on his feet instantly and pulled Michael to stand. He heaved open one of the library’s bookshelves, revealing a small hidden room. Grabbing Michael by the scruff of his t-shirt, he pushed him inside. “Stay here. Don’t leave until me or one of the staff you know tells you it’s safe.”
“Godric!” he said in terror. “What’s happening?”
“We’re under attack.” Godric slammed the panic room shut and ran full speed down the hallway. Eric met him at the junction between the staff corridor and the living room. He was already armed with a sword and a gun. His eyes were wild. “Rosalyn.”
“Amleth too,” Godric said.
They reached the common room and Godric began giving orders. “Everyone remain calm and listen carefully. There’s been a bombing near the estate, just north of here. Rosalyn and Amleth are hurt. Isabelle, Hugo is a suspected Fellowship mole.”
“What!?” she said, her usual demeanor momentarily jarred askew.
“Have Caleb find him and bring him in. I need you here. Secure the compound. No one enters or leaves unless given orders by me. Alert the Area that we are on lockdown protocol. Get Dr. Ludwig on standby. Eva, help Isabelle organize a forensics team. Stan, Pamela, be ready to mobilize a tactical unit in five. Costas, you come with us.”
Sookie ran to join them. “What’s going on? What was that?”
Godric narrowed his eyes at her. “Lock yourself in your room and do not leave until you are given permission.”
“Why? What -” she said in a shriek.
“Now!” Godric and Eric said in unison. Eva took Sookie by the arm and marched her back to her room. Costas grabbed a rifle from Stan and threw an arm over Eric’s shoulder to hitch a ride. Within seconds, Godric and Eric had taken to the sky and were rocketing toward the source of the excruciating pain in their bonds.
‘It’s not mine,’ Amleth had said.
In an instant, the world had resolved itself into ash and fire. Rosalyn was blind. All she could see was a wall of white. All she could taste was dust and heat. It scalded her nose and eyes. Her skin felt like it was melting. Her body was dead weight. She could not move. In her mind, she was screaming, screaming herself hoarse for help. Panic rose as she realized she was not loud enough. Her voice was pathetic. She could not hear herself at all. The only sound was a high-pitched ringing. Another phone? A siren? Her ears were bleeding. Everything was bleeding.
The explosion had knocked her senseless. Struggling for air, she called out for Amleth. Bleary-eyed and coughing violently, she tried to see through the haze of white. “Amleth,” she cried out. She could see his body in the rubble. She pulled herself onto her forearms and tried to crawl to him. Something held her back. The couch she had been reclined on had flipped and she was caught beneath its remains. A shard of wood, two inches thick, was impaled in her leg. She reached down and freed herself from it and scrabbled at the floor for traction.
“Amleth!” she yelled at the bloodied heap. It did not move. She screamed in frustration. He had been standing next to the fireplace when it happened. Half the room felt miles away. When she finally reached him, she vomited.
“Oh my god, Amla,” she gagged. She bit her wrist open and tried to feed what she thought was his mouth. She wiped through the blood and plaster and raw muscle, trying to find any sign of life. She begged him to respond. She was feeding him again when she remembered her blood would do nothing to heal him. He needed his true bloodkin and he needed a human. She focused on the fact that he was still flesh and bone. Vampires denatured when they died. She desperately hoped this counted as whole.
Emergency crew sirens were already whining in the distance when Godric and Eric landed in front of the husk of the modern house. Every car alarm on the block had been set off. Eric’s flashing Audi was an unnecessary confirmation that they were in the right place. Godric motioned for caution.
“Hurry,” Eric said. “We’ve got five minutes, ten tops, before the human authorities get here.”
“What the fuck?” Costas snarled at the house.
Godric narrowed his eyes at Costas’s reaction. “You know this place,” he said. It was not a question.
“Amleth bought it. I gave him the keys tonight,” Costas said. He furrowed his brow. “He’s not conscious, Sheriff.”
“Perimeter first.” Godric sent the Greek vampire around back and led the way to the blown-out front. Eric was two footfalls behind him. He primed his rifle. Godric rapidly assessed the direction the curtain glass had shattered onto the front lawn. “Primary explosion came from the center of the house.” The bomb had been small. It had caused damage enough. He inched toward the entryway. “Front door was a secondary.”
Eric warned Costas across the yard. “Don’t go in. Could be rigged.” He swore under his breath. “Some fucking ISIS shit right here.”
Godric paused. His mind raced. Eric was right. The job was professional. Secondary bombs were placed to maximize carnage – to kill survivors as they tried to escape or kill aid workers entering to help. “Call it in to Stan. Hugo didn’t do this alone. Suspects are military, familiar with guerrilla explosives. Likely did deep recon – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria.” He raised his voice to call inside. “Ros, we’re coming. Stay where you are.” Godric leaned inside the doorframe and inspected the ceiling at the source of the second blast.
Eric quickly relayed the house address and situation report over the phone. “Stan, boots on the ground, stat. Hugo is priority one. Have Isa pull up our military records while you’re hunting him down. Have her start with Navy Seals. Look for long Middle East active duty, no medals or honors. Someone too top secret and deeply embedded for public recognition. Likely a recent or abrupt discharge. Hugo made some new friends.”
Godric declared the front safe to enter. Eric caught him by the shoulder. He jerked his head toward the growing spectators standing on their lawns. Godric nodded and pushed through the wreckage into the house. Eric winced with a hiss. The place reeked of silver and detonated C-4 compound. Wood shards were everywhere, sticking at crazed angles from the drywall.
Godric could not get to Rosalyn fast enough. She was collapsed protectively over Amleth’s body, oblivious to the silver shrapnel that had torn her to shreds. He worked more efficiently than he ever had in the war trenches of Europe. He fed her his blood and sucked the bits of silver from her skin and spat them out, unflinching as they scalded his tongue and lips. He ignored Costas and Eric’s shouts as they tried to revive Amleth. Rosalyn grew responsive with Godric’s blood and feebly tried to help him pull the wood and metal fragments from her body. She was getting in the way of his teeth. He went to bat her hand away. He caught it mid-air instead and swore. It took him an excruciating minute before he found the three fingers she was missing. He could not blot out her cries of anguish as he did the violence necessary to re-attach them. On her fourth blood transfusion, Rosalyn croaked a question. “Amleth?” Godric glanced over at Eric and Costas. He shook his head. Godric scooped his wife into his arms and took to the sky once more.
At the estate, Isabelle directed the emergency with total composure. She was made of fiercer stuff than any general. When she saw the look on Godric’s face as he stormed in, she slammed flat against the wall with her hands up.
“Sitrep,” Godric demanded.
“Hugo is still AWOL. Stan’s team is deployed. The King is on the phone.” She held out the device.
“But he -“
“Later. Recall Pamela.”
Godric grabbed a throw blanket from the back of a couch and folded Rosalyn inside it. “Pam is going to take care of you. Drink as much donor blood as you can and either swim or jog in between to speed along its conversion.”
“Conversion?” she said, her voicebox still scorched from the vaporized silver.
“Into vampire blood. Drink, exercise, drink more. Got it?”
She grunted. She looked like she had baked in the sun. Her skin was livid pink. “I’m so sorry.”
His jaw was set. “Not as sorry as the Fellowship will be when I’m through with them.” He waited impatiently for Pamela return. That she could not yet fly was extraordinarily unhelpful. He asked Rosalyn basic questions about the bombing. She had no immediately useful information.
When Pamela finally did arrive, she came running full-speed. “Grandsire, how may I serve?”
Godric lifted the bundle of Rosalyn off his lap and set her down on the couch. He got an inch from Pamela’s face, razor-sharp canines bared. “Guard her with your life or yours is over. Keep her fed and moving until I return.” Pamela whispered a ‘yes, Grandsire’ at the floor.
On his way out, Godric remembered that he had left Michael in a panic room. “Isabelle, Michael’s in the library. Lock him down in a vampire suite. If he’s harmed, it’s your head. He’s likely the only proof that you were ignorant of Hugo’s actions.”
“Consider it done.”
“What’s the ETA on Dr. Ludwig?”
“She’s still in Prague.”
Godric snapped at her phone. Isabelle dialed the irascible healer and passed the device over.
“I’ll get there when I get there, fanger!” Ludwig answered.
“Patsy,” Godric said, pouring glamour into his voice. It did not work especially well on other supernatural creatures. He needed to put the right spin on the situation, too. “Get here immediately. Our Fae ambassador’s life is in the balance and our peace with the humans is in jeopardy.”
He hung up and Dr. Ludwig teleported the foyer with a ‘pop!’. “Where’s the patient,” she said gruffly.
“Half mile north.” Godric went to fly her there. His arms grabbed empty air. She had already popped away. He closed his eyes and called to Eric.
They found each other in the sky. Eric was covered in plaster dust that had caked with blood. His expression was murderous. Amleth’s condition was unchanged. “Newlin,” Godric said. Eric needed no further encouragement. They rocketed westward, towards the home of the Fellowship of the Sun’s leader.
Within minutes, they were standing on the portico of Steve Newlin’s stately mansion. Eric rang the doorbell. Godric gritted his jaw and kicked in the double doors, sending them flying through the foyer. He marched inside, fists balled. Eric was stuck outside, unable to cross the threshold. “How the hell did you get an invitation here?”
“I didn’t,” Godric said. He stormed up the grand staircase, following the scent and sounds of the humans inside. The doors of the master bedroom received an equally brutal treatment. He ripped them off the hinges and threw them aside. Two shapes moved under the covers of a large canopy bed. The room smelled of sex. “Get up!” he ordered. A blond woman screamed and emerged, her lipstick smeared. He recognized Steve’s wife, Sarah Newlin. “Invite my child Eric inside,” he said. She wiped her mouth. She had been sucking cock. “Now!”
“Come in,” Sarah said, blinking stupidly.
“Eric,” Godric supplied.
“Come in, Eric,” she said. The glamour confused her. She could not remember why she had let vampires in her home. Sarah started to panic. “Who are you? Why are you here?” A muffled voice under the sheets cussed and a second head emerged. The sandy blond-haired young man was not Steve. He struggled to escape the bed linens. If Godric were not so completely far gone in the red zone, he might have found the humans’ slow reactions comical. At present, it was tedious. The blond lunged for the bedside table drawer. He fell several inches short. Godric walked to the drawer and had the gun the man was inevitably stumbling for before he could blink.
“You listen here, little fanger -” the man said, pointing an impotent finger at him. Godric pointed the gun at him in response.
“Jason fucking Stackhouse,” Eric said, zipping to the second floor.
Godric’s head spun. “Sookie’s brother?” He lifted the weapon from where he had it trained on the man’s balls.
Eric shook his head in disgust. “Where’s Steve?”
“He’s at the Church,” Sarah said. “Get out of my house! I take it back! I undo your invi-“
“No, you don’t,” Godric said, letting his influence wrap over her once more. “Eric stays. Take us to Newlin.”
“You too, Stackhouse,” Eric said. “Preferably with little Stackhouse there covered up.”
Godric snapped at Eric. “Fix her.” Eric set to righting Sarah’s bedhead and touching up her makeup.
“You’re too late,” Sarah said. Eric shuttled her back into her dress and heels.
“Tell us what you’ve planned,” Godric said.
“We’re going to roast one of your filthy kind in the sun. Praise His light!”
Jason volunteered information unglamoured. “Our Soldiers of the Sun are catching one of you tonight. I’m their leader.”
“Top of his cohort,” Sarah said.
Godric sucked at his teeth in annoyance. “Yet you are not with your brothers. Why?”
“I’m escortin’ Ms. Newlin to the church,” Jason said.
Eric rolled his eyes. “Jason, you heap of meat, you’re certainly an escort. I hope she pays you well.” He turned to Godric. “You think the Fellowship gives their hookers vision and dental? Fangtasia’s PPO does.”
Godric ignored him. “Where are they getting the vampire?”
“Steve knows,” Sarah said cheerfully.
“Then let’s ask Steve-O,” Eric said.
Godric caught the glint of violence in Eric’s eyes. Toying with his prey was one thing – Godric had unfortunately taught him that. Further violence tonight would be the Reveal’s undoing. “We will spill no blood. I command it.” Eric dipped his head at his maker. He shoved Jason into an inside out t-shirt.
They heavily glamoured the duo and proceeded to fly to the Fellowship compound, touching down at a cautious distance in the parking lot. Men armed with stakes guarded the front doors. The Church was on lockdown too.
Godric reaffirmed his directions with Sarah. She was to get inside, tell Steve that Jason had caught a vampire, and that Steve needed to come outside to help bring him in. Sarah got past the guards without a hiccup. She was expected. They crouched behind a row of parked cars, waiting for their ringer to do their dirty work.
“What’s taking so long, boss?” Jason asked Godric.
“Shush,” Godric told him.
Eric was busy hotwiring the GT next to them. “You’re like a bad penny, Stackhouse. Does your sister know you’re here?”
“Nah, Sook run off with a fanger months ago. Some new fella, all swarthy and foreign. Fuckin’ fangers.”
“Well this ‘fuckin’ fanger’ owns your ass. Or did you think I didn’t know you were doing V in my Area?”
Godric snarled at Jason. “What’s this?”
Jason recoiled, crossing his fingers at Godric. “Get back! The power of Christ compels you!”
“Keep your voice down, you idiot,” Eric said. He shook his head in dismay. “Seriously? ‘The Exorcist’? You have got to be the dumbest son of a bitch on this planet.”
Godric smacked Jason’s crossed fingers away, irate. “Whose blood have you stolen, you warped faeling thief?”
“Edward Fournier’s,” Eric said. “He didn’t make it thirty years into his undeath. Pathetic.” Godric pressed his palms into the asphalt as his control started to slip. Eric saw it. “Maker,” he warned. “That business is done. We’re here for your wife and Amleth.”
“You killed this vampire?” Godric said to the boy, his voice dropping. He saw Jason’s muscles twitch as he thought of fleeing. Godric clapped a foot down on the cuff of Jason’s jeans, trapping him before he could scramble away.
Jason swallowed. “It wasn’t me! Ya gotta believe me!”
Godric flicked his eyes to his son and back to the pinned human. He got in Jason’s face. “What I believe is that Eric is the only thing standing between you and me.”
Eric dropped the two wires he was sparking beneath the steering column. He set a hand on Godric’s bicep. “Stackhouse’s girlfriend was the drainer. She killed Fournier to hide the crime. She’s dead too. I’ve handled it. Jason is more valuable to us as Sookie’s brother.”
Godric raised his chin to look down his nose at Stackhouse. “You had better start telling us why you’re in bed with our enemies. Don’t lie. I’ll know.”
Jason proceeded to spout a mess of convoluted ideas about how vampires were taking everyone’s jobs and fooling with men’s wives and sisters and were generally a virus that should be wiped from the Earth. Godric entertained his pitifully mundane blather until he felt his bloodlust ratchet in back of his throat. “I haven’t eaten fairy in a very long time,” he said. “Not even a spark-less one such as yourself.”
“Who you callin’ a fairy, Chuckie?”
“You.” Godric ran a tongue over his fangs. Jason swallowed. “You’re an adulterous blood thief who’s guilty of possession, kidnapping, wrongful imprisonment, and conspiracy to murder. Let us hope, for your sake, that is enough to keep me repulsed.” Godric turned to Eric. The car was running and ready for Sarah and her husband to emerge from the side exit as planned. “Don’t let him speak to me again. I’ll do something inadvisable.”
Eric snickered. “It’s good to be in war with you again, Maker.”
Godric gave him a dirty look. “There is nothing good about this.”
Godric should have stopped and fed. He should have at least asked Eric for his blood. He was drained from feeding Rosalyn and yet far too full of rage to do anything but press on. He sent Eric home with the Newlins and Stackhouse in cuffs, and went straight to the ER to join Dr. Ludwig.
Ludwig, to her credit, was discrete. She did not comment on the fact that Godric charged through eleven hours of surgery during the daytime without the bleeds. They had worked together before. Between his vampiric speed and her dwarven magicks, they made a formidable team.
Eva joined them at the hospital for the first critical hours, scrubbing in to assist. She had not trained as a nurse, but she could give Amleth direct transfusions, hold clamps, and pass gauze. It helped that infection was not a concern. She passed along updates to Godric as they filtered in over her earpiece until the nearing sunrise sent her to find shelter for the day. What news she shared was not heartening. The preliminary report from the forensics team at the crime site confirmed everything Godric was seeing on the operating table.
Amleth’s condition was critical. He had taken the brunt of the blast on his right side. Forensics determined that the first bomb had been hidden in the kitchen island where the house’s open concept floorplan allowed it to cause maximal damage. It had been packed with a variety of projectiles, including silver bullets. The bullets were hollow points. Illegal and vicious, the casings exploded on impact, radiating fragments inside their victims. Rosalyn had caught her fair share of shrapnel. Amleth was absolutely riddled with it. That amount of silver stopped the body’s ability to force foreign particles out of the flesh and heal, leaving the victim paralyzed and vulnerable. That Rosalyn had managed to crawl toward Amleth after being injured was exceptional. Godric allowed himself only a brief second to send love to the selfless, brave woman. He had to focus on Amleth’s ruined body and the forceps and retractors in his hands.
Forensics needed more time to investigate, but they suspected the second bomb had been triggered immediately after the first by accident. The thin ceiling supporting the explosives above the entryway had not been reinforced. The ceiling had collapsed. It was a blessing in disguise that Rosalyn was hurt in the initial explosion. If she had tried to escape in the handful of seconds after the primary blast, she would have most certainly been killed.
As if the silver hollow points planted in the bombs were not egregious enough, the bomb-maker had filled some of the bullets with colloidal silver. The idea was devious, but like the bomb sitting on a flimsy bit of plasterboard, poorly executed. The bullets were weighted incorrectly as a result. Top-heavy, they spun out along unstable trajectories and mostly bounced off the brick and drywall. Two had deflected off Amleth’s shallow bone – at his scapula and cranium – causing superficial chemical burns where the silver liquid burst over his skin.
By the time Godric and Dr. Ludwig had debrided Amleth’s wounds and realized he was still not healing, the damage was done. Amleth’s CT scan had shown where he was riddled with shrapnel. But CT was notoriously distorted by the presence of metal. They thought they had excavated the last of it. When they scanned Amleth again, they saw what had been missed. The wound on the back of Amleth’s head had masked another, far more substantial injury. One of the colloidal bullets was lodged inside his brain. It had unloaded a toxic dose of silver particulate into his body. There was nothing anyone could do – human, vampire, or dwarf – to stop the silver poisoning. All they could do was remove the silver fragments and wait.
Godric’s medical skills were limited to what had been cutting edge in the 1940s. He sat helplessly in the operating theater observation deck and watched as three human neurosurgeons used a robot to carve into his son’s skull and prod at his brain. The doctors were revoltingly giddy at the opportunity to cut into a vampire. Medical experimentation on their kind was outlawed. The humans had neither knowledge about vampires’ magical nature nor basic instruments to guide their surgical decisions. The usual accoutrements – electrocardiograms and heart monitors and the like – were useless on bodies with no electrical signals or cardiovascular movements. The doctors were flying blind, unsure of how their treatment was affecting the patient. They proceeded as if it was a cadaver – an extremely valuable cadaver whose absurdly youthful-looking father sat and watched their every move.
A darkness settled over Godric as he waited. His Second in Command had missed her human lover’s involvement in this disaster. It was a grotesque and unconscionable misstep – the stuff of blundering newborns. There was not a stitch of mercy in Godric’s body for such outrageous errors. How many fangs had he pulled over the years? How many underlings had he staked? He had beaten Eric within an inch of his newborn life for risking their security. He had done far worse to Amleth over similar incidents. And when Tarquin had compromised the safety of their nest?
Godric slid his head into his hands and stared at the ugly rubberized floor of the observation deck. When Tarquin had carelessly revealed their resting ground to humans, Godric had almost killed him for risking the safety of the boys. All those centuries ago, Godric had been so badly rattled by the incident that he had claimed Amleth as his own, not trusting Tarquin to care for him any longer. He had taken Eric and Amleth far away for many years. He had raised them right. They knew better. Which is why the present situation beggared belief.
Godric himself had missed Hugo’s defection to the Fellowship. It was he who had not acted quickly enough on the King’s information about the Fellowship. He was Sheriff. He was one of a handful of true ancients in North America. These were his underlings, his children, in his Area, on his watch. This was his fault.
The doctors stepped back from the steel operating table and looked expectantly at Godric. They had succeeded in removing the bullet fragments, but were not sure how to close up. Godric scrubbed back in and showed them how to set the bone and skin in the correct positions with dissolving sutures. They should not use staples or stronger suturing wire, he explained. It would hinder the body’s ability to heal. They accepted it as they had accepted that he was a good vampire. As they accepted he could walk around during the daytime. He did not know why he bothered to teach them. He thought of Rosalyn and knew she would have some hopeful insight about the beauty of the doctors’ docility. But she was not here. She had nearly died and Amleth lay wrapped on a slab like a mummy. There was nothing beautiful he could find in this. The same healing knowledge he had shared could be weaponized to hurt vampires. He had seen hideous things done to that effect.
Godric glamoured the human surgeons to remember only that they had helped him heal a vampire, and that they could rely on him to help them again. He had the doctors strip off their bloodied scrubs and gloves and put them in a plastic sac. Everything with traces of Amleth’s blood would be destroyed in the incinerator. The lead neurosurgeon who had performed so admirably lingered behind to thank Godric for the opportunity to have assisted. She was not sure what she had done to help. Godric found himself on autopilot, telling her about the possibility of an all-inclusive medical school. Vampires wanted to learn how to use their robots and modern lab techniques. She was interested.
“How long have you practiced?” she said.
“I’ve…always practiced. It wasn’t called medicine when I was young.”
“What did you call it?”
Were it any other time, he might have felt a weak smile well up. No one had asked him that in half a century. It was the Gods’ Order – Goðrík. He had never felt more unworthy of the name than right now, as his beloved magpie lay unhealed. “The Old Ways,” he said instead.
She smiled brightly. “Like Magic?”
“Something like that.” Like Rosalyn’s music, he wanted to say. Godric desperately needed his wife. She would know what to do with this catastrophe.
The neurosurgeon went to pat his shoulder and he shied from her touch. “Sorry!”
“We prefer if you ask.”
“Of course. Apologies. I only meant to say that I’m sorry about your boy, Dr. Godfrey. I’ve got rounds elsewhere, but I’ll try to be back later to check in. I’d like to hear more about this university too. Sunset, right?”
“Yes. Thank you, Dr. – “
“Thank you for your work here today. I could not have done it without you.”
“You sure you don’t want me to have a nurse find a better recovery room?”
“No, Dr. Jones. Small and windowless rather suits us.”
She gave a reassuring smile and left Godric to wait. Either Amleth would wake at sundown and he would start healing automatically, or he would not. Godric could not let himself imagine the rest of that thought.
The only longer hours Godric could remember enduring were those that crept by before Rosalyn and Eric’s Awakenings. The Earth made its lumbering procession and the clock on the wall ran slower and slower. Dr. Jones rejoined him. A quarter of an hour later, Dr. Ludwig came back too, startling the human when she materialized out of thin air.
Godric felt the sun’s rays drop behind the curtain of night. The bandaged man on the stretcher did not move. Godric mentally nudged the tiny spark of their bond which told him Amleth lived, but nothing happened. He tried again and again. The spark was there and it would not rouse. The neurosurgeon poked the bottom of the patient’s foot with her pen. “No plantar reflex. I’m sorry. Not even a positive Babinski sign.” Godric’s fists curled and Dr. Ludwig wisely got Dr. Jones out of the room.
In an either/or scenario, Godric had been prepared for the ‘either’. He had no idea what to do with the ‘or’. Amleth could not Awaken. He was dead.
A/N: *ducks* Don’t hate me! Leave a comment if you have a moment. The next chapter is nearly complete. Stay tuned!