In the low-lit den of Eric’s home, Godric found he could no longer hide from his grief. It poured from him, ugly and unfiltered, flooding his progeny’s bonds. His child of fifteen hundred years was gone, lost to him in betrayal and deceit. He lay on his back, tears slipping from the corners of his eyes. “My boy, my magpie!” he wept.
Rosalyn tried to make sense of how terribly wrong it had all gone. “This must be personal for Thea,” she said, furrowing her brow at Eric. “Why else would she want to hurt Godric like this? Why risk his wrath? He’s left her alone all these years. She must have some vendetta.”
“Personal for Thea?” Eric said in astonishment. He gestured at their maker. “It’s personal for us!”
“There’s something we’re not seeing. Maybe she never intended for Tarquin to be killed? Maybe she thought Godric would save him and now she’s taking her revenge?”
Eric sucked at his teeth. “Do not try to rationalize her madness. Thea is an abomination. There is no justification for this crime.” Rosalyn stared blankly at him, not understanding. “She has broken another sacred tenant of our order,” Eric explained. “You do not touch a maker’s progeny.”
“But if Amleth was complicit -“
“Not even then. It is not done, Ros. It’s the only rule keeping us from the anarchy of endless war.”
“I thought perhaps since she is technically the lineage head -“
“No,” he said sharply. “Thea has absolutely no claim over Amleth. Tarquin recognized Godric’s adoption without question, and Amleth abjured the family outright when his maker was murdered. Amleth is ours, Ros. We have a right to him, even if it is just to bury his remains.” His expression hardened, and Rosalyn realized he was talking about a much older kind of justice. “Do you not know the old Greek epics?” he asked. “What happens to those who deprive a man of his eldest son? What happens when someone desecrates a kinsman’s body? Thea does. It’s this kind of shit that launches a thousand ships. She did it anyway.”
Blood feud. The phrase welled up darkly between them like a wound. Their family had wanted vengeance for Tarquin’s death. Now they could legitimately go after Thea.
“It’s a trap,” Rosalyn said. “She wants us to counter-strike. I don’t think we should indulge her.”
Godric curled in on himself and let out a gut-wrenching howl. Their discussion had only distressed him further. Rosalyn dropped down and pressed her face against his chest. She and ran soothing circles over his shoulder with a hand. “I’m sorry, love. We’re here. It’s okay to hurt.”
“I loved him, Ros,” Godric gasped. “I loved him with everything I had – and it wasn’t enough. I deserve his betrayal.”
“Like hell you do,” she replied.
Eric put a hand on Godric’s brow. “This is not your fault.”
“What could that wretched woman have offered him? ” Godric asked. “Why would he do this to me? I don’t understand!”
Rosalyn gathered her courage. “If Thea heals Amleth, you can ask him yourself.”
“He is lost to us, either way.” The reality of it was unbearable.
She tipped his chin gently to make him look at her. “And either way, there will be a reckoning. Someone is going to answer for this, I swear.” She spoke forcefully, with all the weight of a consort issuing a decree. He sniffed and blinked.
“Maker,” Eric said quietly. “Thea may have taken Amleth to torture him. He may not have collaborated. We must consider it.”
“‘Kill the disobedient’,” Rosalyn said, quoting Thea. “She said it to our faces. Maybe that’s her plan. It’s possible Amleth is only guilty of making a terrible joke at his own expense.” She sounded unconvinced.
“He was going to hand you over to the Fellowship to burn!” Godric hissed.
“We don’t know that for certain.”
Godric crumpled into a ball and screamed into his hands. Rosalyn and Eric cowered, covering their ears. The sound set a car alarm off outside. Eric fished the keys from his pocket and silenced the SUV in his driveway.
“That child,” Godric said. “That heartbreaking child.” He could not bear to say Amleth’s name. Pain and fury battled between his lips. “I gave him everything. And he fed Thea information on me in return.”
Eric wiped at Godric’s cheeks. “It is inconceivable to me.”
“There is no other explanation,” Godric said miserably. “He knew the wedding plans. He had access to my security system. His only mistake was involving humans. Sonia made the same idiotic error last night.”
“It could all be Sonia’s doing,” Eric tried. It was a feeble suggestion and he knew it. Godric bellowed in frustration.
Rosalyn gave Eric a grave look. He really needed to stop pushing for Amleth’s innocence. “It doesn’t matter whether Amleth’s guilty or not. We need to find them.”
Godric looked up at her, tears streaming from his eyes. “I made you and he turned on me.” He curled back into a ball and let out a haunting wail.
“Oh, please,” she chastised, growing annoyed. “That’s just bad logic. A coincidence is not causation. You don’t get to blame yourself for this.” Godric shrugged helplessly. “Come on. Sit up. We need you.”
“I can’t do this,” he said.
“Godric? You cannot run away from this. If you abandon me, I’ll die. We cannot be separated.”
“I’ve made you so weak,” he said in disgust.
Rosalyn raised her voice. “Look me in the eyes and lie to me again!” He startled. “The immortality in my veins is your gift to me. It’s the power of millennia. Don’t insult it again, blood of my blood.” Sobering slightly, he tried to sit up on his elbows. Eric helped him upright and Godric melted into his chest, twining his bloodied fingers into his mane.
“Now are you with us, or what?” she asked him. Godric nodded, his grey eyes turbulent. Even tortured with grief and vulnerable in Eric’s sheltering arms, he was indescribably beautiful. Rosalyn stared at him with open desire. “Let’s get you cleaned up,” she said softly.
Eric guided their maker to the master bath, a hand beneath his armpit to support his weight. He flipped on the recessed lighting. The space was lavish. An enormous tub filled one corner. Opposite the sprawling vanity, there was a shower enclosure the size of most people’s bathrooms. Rosalyn raised an eyebrow at Eric. He shrugged. “The gods didn’t skimp when they made me. Why should I treat myself any differently?” Rosalyn bit back a smile.
“The lights are too bright,” Godric complained. Eric adjusted the dimmer on the wall. He went to light the candles set on the vanity. The wicks suddenly burst into flames. Eric jumped back, wary of being in the crossfire of his maker’s terrifying gift.
Godric stood in the middle of the tiled room, waiting. Rosalyn unfastened his pants. As she helped him step out of them, Eric stared at the Celt in a silent, heated challenge. He wanted guidance, some gesture to make it clear what was allowed. Godric met his gaze impassively, refusing to give it. Eric’s fingers found the edge of Godric’s ruined shirt and he ripped it open, sending buttons skittering across the floor. Rosalyn glanced between the men and a flicker of something dangerous danced around the trio in the candlelight.
They led Godric to the tub and he kicked a foot out against the enamel in refusal. It did not matter that they pushed. Godric willed himself immobile. “You’re like a damn cat. Get in,” Rosalyn said.
“Careful Ros,” Eric said. “You might make him nostalgic. I spent half my youth begging him to bathe.”
“There’s a half pint of blood in your hair,” she said, pulling at one of Godric’s matted tendrils.
“I got you both dirty too,” he replied.
“A good soak will make you feel better,” she pointed out.
He looked at her with wide, beckoning eyes. “But I don’t want to be alone.”
She sighed. “Alright. Shower it is, then.” She shed her bloodied clothes and walked into the glass enclosure. Godric followed her willingly. He wrapped his arms around her from behind.
Steam from the multiple showerheads filled the stall. Eric joined them silently. He soaped his hands and worked his strong thumbs into Godric’s shoulders. Rosalyn turned and kneaded a palmful of shampoo into Godric’s scalp. Their caresses loosened something more in him than his muscles. “I am so grateful for you two,” he exhaled in relief.
Rosalyn wrung a sheet of water from her hair and Godric ghosted his fingers over her slippery skin. “Swan maiden,” he whispered. Eric made a sound in agreement and the hand that skated down her backside then was decidedly not Godric’s. Eric’s attention fixed back on their maker, and he passed Rosalyn a loofah. Godric’s expression grew placid as they took turns sponging him down. The slide of fragrant foam over his limbs and the kisses that trailed in its wake left him wanting more. When Rosalyn reached between his thighs, he hummed appreciatively. He caught her wrist before she could pull away.
“Yeah?” she said in surprise. He twitched in interest. She stroked him and he arched his back against Eric. Eric braced him by the shoulders as he keened. “Like that?” she asked.
“More,” he breathed. “I don’t want to think right now.”
Hot water poured over them and she built up his pleasure in a rhythm. Eric leaned down and offered his throat. “Drink,” he said quietly. Godric’s teeth played over his flesh in contemplation. The hairs on Eric’s arms raised in anticipation. Rosalyn slid down on a knee and replaced her hand with her mouth. The twist of her tongue quickly demolished Godric’s restraint. He reached up and bit, and Rosalyn moaned around his cock at the sight of him feeding. Eric grunted and his eyes rolled back in rapture.
For a long moment, Godric lost himself in their attention. His fingers wended into Eric’s hair and down around the back of Rosalyn’s head, pulling them closer. They were his – and he was theirs. “Not like this,” he finally gasped, stopping short of his pleasure. He did not want to be served.
Rosalyn found herself suddenly scooped up and carried out of the shower. Over Godric’s shoulder, she watched Eric lean against the glass, his expression curious and unguarded. A tendril of crimson streaked pink down his neck and chest. She glanced over the contours of his nude body and buried her face in Godric’s neck to hide her smile. Eric was, not surprisingly, magnificent.
Godric tumbled with her into bed, still wet. He rolled her on top of him. “What do you need?” she asked, cupping his face.
“You,” he replied. She sank down onto him slowly, her body taking a moment to adjust to his thickness. The initial stretch and glide of him nearly sent her over the edge. “Take, lover,” he told her. “Take everything you need.” He pulled her hips against him and laid his wrists over his head.
“Like before?” she asked, unsure. He nodded shyly. “You want to feel secure,” she realized.
He spread his legs wantonly. “Wreck me,” he said with dark smile.
His words made her swoon with need. He rolled his hips suggestively beneath her. “Oh, god,” she gasped. She gripped his wrists and pushed them down into the mattress. “I’m ravenous,” she confided. She sucked at the blue markings straining on his biceps and she rode him roughly.
“That’s it. Take it, lover,” he encouraged.
“Let me hear you,” she said. Her enthusiasm drew the filthiest sounds from his innocent looking mouth. His Adam’s apple bounced and the raspy, base notes he made thrilled her. His body writhed beneath her, feral and wanting. “Louder,” she said. “Tell the gods how good it is. Tell Eric.” Godric shouted out and succumbed to his pleasure and Rosalyn quickly followed.
Godric enveloped her in his arms. He nuzzled her like a lion, ready for more. “Tell Eric, hm?” he teased. He called to him. The blond stepped out of the bathroom, toweling his damp hair. “Did you get all that?”
Eric smirked. “Duly noted.”
Godric turned his attention back to Rosalyn and crooked an eyebrow. “You brought him into this,” he warned.
She laughed against his chest. “Sorry! Everything smells like him here.”
“It does,” Godric conceded. He slid his hands over her thighs to keep her from escaping. She was caught astride him, pinioned by his hardness. “His scent is everywhere.” He dropped his voice to a dangerous whisper. “Almost like he’s inside you.” Her body fluttered in desire and clenched around him and he let out a rumbling laugh.
“Godric!” she cried, mortified.
“Just checking. You aren’t so opposed to him after all.” He drew his fingers on her back in contemplation. “I suppose if you’ve crossed a line, he’ll have to cross one too – for parity’s sake.” Eric looked on from the bathroom doorway. “I apologize in advance for this,” Godric said to him. Eric straightened, the amusement evaporating from his face. “As your maker, I command you: feed from me.”
Eric doubled over with a grimace, as though he had been socked in the stomach. “Where,” he choked.
Godric threw back his chin. “Take from your maker. Now.” Rosalyn watched in disbelief as Eric strode over and fell on Godric’s throat, gagging at the obscene command. Only when the blood hit the roof of his mouth did Eric moan in relief. Godric shouted out and grabbed a hank of Eric’s hair. He came apart at the seams, sweeping Eric and Rosalyn along with him. Eric roared in gratification, and Rosalyn came and immediately came again she was so spun-up.
Godric fell back, enraptured. The pleasure rocketing through their connections as they came down left them momentarily incapacitated. Eric had collapsed, half on the floor. He reached blindly for the towel he had dropped to clean up after himself, then crawled in beside them. He drew the comforter up around them and nestled in, threading a leg through Godric’s calf and curling a foot around Rosalyn’s. Their hands laced together over Godric’s heart and Godric sighed, temporarily pacified.
“I didn’t realize you could command us to bite you,” Rosalyn said, after a long silence.
“I would not do that to you, sweet love,” Godric replied from behind closed eyes. “Not yet. You wouldn’t be able to.”
“Your body would refuse the command and your mind would sicken your body for refusing me.” He touched the tip of his finger to the point of her canine and it snicked away instantly. “It takes a progeny studied in extreme defiance to overcome the conflicting commands.”
“And an extremely powerful maker,” Eric added. “I wasn’t sure I was going to manage that.” He sounded unusually humbled. “That was -” He hesitated. “Different,” he decided. He hid his confusion well. Godric had never taken his pleasures passively. Quite the opposite.
Godric squeezed him in reassurance. “Thank you for indulging me.”
Eric searched his maker’s gaze for answers. Godric replied with a playful nip and Eric laughed. “I’m glad you’re feeling better. We will get through this.”
“Together,” Godric agreed.
His easy manner with Eric made Rosalyn bold. She tucked a loose piece of Eric’s hair behind his ear. Her touch lingered, stroking his chest, roaming the plains of his body. A lightening fast smack drove her hand off course. “That is mine,” Godric said.
Her face was caught between surprise and laughter. “Mine too.”
“Mmm, yes.” He leaned down and kissed her deeply. “But I’m feeling very greedy.”
“Is that so? Then it’s a miracle we’ve managed to go this long without him ending up naked in our bed.”
Eric snorted. “I’ll kindly point out that you’re in my bed, mistress. And you didn’t make it twenty-four hours under my roof before yielding to my charms.”
The retort earned him a thump. “I haven’t yielded anything,” she said.
“You will,” Eric replied. A sly smile spread over his features. “Especially when you realize how much Godric likes to watch.”
“Really,” Rosalyn said, intrigued. Godric licked his lip and shrugged mysteriously.
Inspiration struck Eric. “Goðí, allow me to bring Ros her meal? She’s not fed tonight.” Godric stared at him for a long moment before nodding against the pillow in agreement. Eric bounced up in excitement. “I’ll be right back.” Slipping into a crimson robe, he disappeared upstairs.
Godric lay unmoving, his expression thoughtful. Rosalyn fished under the covers and locked a pinky around his. It earned her a small, lopsided smile. “Michael signed Section 14 of his contract,” he said.
“Oh? What does that cover?”
His smile grew impish and he cut his eyes toward her. “This.”
She laughed. “Eric is one thing – we’re bound by magic. But Michael? I don’t…I’m not…” she tried.
“I know.” He rolled over her with an impish pounce. “No human will ever satisfy you like I can.” He caged her hands over her head and nudged her thigh apart with a knee. “No vampire will either, for that matter,” he added mischievously. “Quick. Once more before they get back.”
“Is this you re-establishing your territory?”
“You better believe it,” he said huskily and dove in.
Rosalyn managed to appear halfway decent when Michael descended the stairwell. She had piled her hair on her head with a clip and dressed back into her cutoff shorts paired with one of Eric’s oversized black racer tees. Eric glanced appreciatively at her loose breasts in his own clothing. Godric, on the other hand, looked positively baroque. He lay nude beside her, one arm tucked behind his head, black sateen sheets twisted at his hips. Michael’s heart rate jumped wildly when he saw the pair waiting for him.
“Jackrabbit,” Godric drawled. “Come take care of my wife.”
“You lucky bastard,” Eric said. He nudged Michael toward the bed. Michael stared in awe of Godric’s tattoos. “Look – but do not touch – unless you are asked,” Eric reminded him.
Rosalyn beckoned him forward. “How are you tonight?”
“Fine. Is everything okay with you all? The alarm went off. I heard yelling.”
“Forget it,” she said coolly. The glamour rolled off her effortlessly and Michael blinked, the memory gone. Godric broke into a ferocious grin.
“How do you want me?” Michael asked.
Rosalyn fidgeted, her restraint on edge. “I’ve only fed at your neck. Could I try your femoral?”
He blushed. “Sure.” The swell of adrenaline from him suggested he had more than wanted this kind of encounter. Michael glanced over his shoulder, realizing Eric was still looming in the doorway. The three vampires in the room were all staring intently at him.
“Lose your pants, wild thing,” Eric suggested. “And don’t forget you work for me. If they’re not happy, I’m not happy.”
“Oh shush, Eric. Don’t pressure him.” She pulled Michael nearer. Her fingers toyed over the button on his waistband.
Eric sent a vial sailing through the air at Godric. The ancient caught it and smelled it. “That is not a good idea,” Godric said.
“But it’s a fun idea,” Eric countered. “Admit it.” Godric tipped his head in consideration.
“You can drink from me,” Michael offered, sliding out of his jeans. “We didn’t really finish that discussion.”
Rosalyn shrugged over her shoulder. It was more than fine by her. Godric blinked lazily. “Tempting,” he told Michael. “But not tonight. The last human I fed from directly was Rosalyn.” He unscrewed the vial and downed its contents.
“Jesus, Godric. What is that?” Rosalyn asked.
“3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine,” he said and belched. “And at a rather high concentration, I should think.”
“Ecstasy,” Eric translated.
“Woah,” Michael said. “Does that do the same thing to you all?”
“Not even remotely,” Godric replied. “At my age, it’s perhaps a bit like a sip of bubbly.”
“Or the whole bottle,” Eric said under his breath.
“Don’t listen to either of them, Michael. Champagne didn’t exist in their time.” Rosalyn patted Godric’s leg. “But in spite of everything, we do have a reason to celebrate. We deserve a moment to enjoy ourselves.”
“Right you are, my heart. Slàinte,” Godric said, raising the vial. He sucked at the remaining dregs and tossed it on the side table. He motioned to Michael. “Lose the shirt as well. I want to see my brother from another mother.”
Michael pulled off the rust red polo he wore with a single arm and ran a hand down his bare chest. Chills ran across his skin. “Is the house too cold?” Godric asked. Michael shrugged noncommittally. “She’ll warm you up soon enough.”
Rosalyn took the shirt from Michael and inhaled it. “I love this color on you. I rather enjoy you out of it too,” she added conspiratorially. He bit back a sheepish smile. She folded the shirt carefully and set it on Eric’s dresser.
“Have fun, kids. Be safe.” Eric said. He had changed into his usual palette of black and leather.
“You’re not going to stick around?” Rosalyn asked playfully.
“I’ll take a rain-check. Duty calls.” Eric blew her a kiss and slipped out.
Rosalyn circled Michael, dragging her fingertips over his skin. “I think you had better lie down.”
The cement bones of Fangtasia thudded with the heavy hitting beats of a dance song. “Boss,” Chow greeted tersely, throwing the door open for Eric. Strobe lights pulsed in the pitch black, capturing writhing bodies in freeze frames of pleasure. Eric sauntered in and was met with screams from his fans. Eager men and women reached out to touch his leather jacket. Chow shoved them away. Pamela sat in the throne on the stage, looking wickedly gorgeous. The dancing pole platforms that dotted the floor were decorated with mylar flame cut-outs uplit in red. The limber performers appeared to be dancing on hellfire. Eric bobbed his head to the music as he moved through the crowd. He flicked a finger at the DJ in the booth to raise the volume and gave a thumbs up.
Fangtasia’s “No Saints Night” was their answer to All Saint’s Day. The annual Halloween party had to be pushed because of the wedding. Samhain was not just an occasion to capitalize on humans’ gothic fantasies – though it was certainly good for that. For many of the elders who lived in the shadow world between life and death, it was sacred. It was only proper to have held Godric’s wedding on the night when the cosmic veils were thinnest.
Eric had wanted to forgo the club’s usual week-long celebration entirely. Pamela, however, had different designs. Ever the capitalist, she had made damn sure they had a full series of events on the books. America had woken up to their family’s faces on every major newspaper and news program in the country. Everyone and their mother wanted to see Eric Northman and Pamela Swynfort de Beaufort in the flesh. Neither had anticipated being able to attend. Godric’s sudden move to Shreveport meant the humans were in luck. Eric cruised across the dance floor, scowling at his guests, looking every inch the apex predator.
Pamela rose and sauntered down the steps of the low stage. Eric caught her by a hand and dipped her aggressively, leaving a kiss on the corner of her mouth. “Well hel-lo Daddy,” she purred. “You’re in a mood.”
“You don’t know the half of it.”
“Nothing,” he growled.
Pamela nodded in understanding. “I’ll get Yvetta.” The Estonian dancer was hanging inverted on one of the dancing poles dressed as a devil.
“That’s not going to cut it.” His eyes scanned the seating area. “Booth nine.”
“Booth Nine,” he repeated, arching an eyebrow meaningfully. Four women sat in the corner drinking the club’s overpriced, sugary daiquiris.
“I only ever get your scraps,” she said, throwing a hand on her hip.
“You could always try men again.”
“Fuck you. You and your perfect dick ruined me for men.”
Eric’s gaze traced down her curving satin corset to the spiked designer heels she wore. “You don’t look too upset about that.”
“I’m not,” she said tossing the blond curls he had displaced. “It’s just inconvenient.”
“I’m well worth the inconvenience, Pammy.” He pinched her chin. “I’ll be in my office. Don’t keep me waiting.”
In the leaky basement below Fangtasia, Eva stiffened. The wiry vampiress began panting. Constantine sat in the jail cell beside her. “NNnnnnn,” he said, unable to speak past the gag in his mouth.
Eva stood up, clenching her chest. “Mmmmhhh!” She too had been gagged.
“Shut up or I shut you up forever,” Thalia snarled. The petite vampiress twirled a long blade in her fingers. She despised younglings. Eric had promised her a fight. Instead she was stuck babysitting. She should never have taken refuge in Northman’s territory. The Viking coddled her like a painted egg when it was she who was his guardian. She growled in annoyance.
Constantine shook his head frantically at his sister. “Nnn. Nnn, Ehhva! Shuht uhhhp!”
Eva struggled against her chains. She let out a muffled scream, terrifying the other prisoners. The counselors and Bill Compton looked at each other in distress. Thalia stood and brandished her weapon. “I said silence!”
Eva screamed again, and again Constantine told her to shut up. Thalia flipped the blade and holstered it. She stalked over to the cell and reached through the bars to pull the rag from Eva’s mouth. “What’s the problem?”
Eva coughed and sagged in relief. “Amleth. I can feel him. He’s growing stronger.”
A/N: Thoughts? Theories? Reactions? Let me know in the box below! The crew needed a little R&R after the crazy events of the wedding. Don’t get too comfortable just yet. There’s more to come and WHOA is it explosive. Commenters get a steamy shower with the characters of their choice and free entry into Fangtasia’s “No Saint’s Night” event :F