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Fearless

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Past midnight in Bon Temps that night, Eric and Lafayette sit there at the table in the brightly-lit kitchen. Eric watches as Lafayette cuts and eats the damn near raw filet steak that's leaving sickly red smears across the bone-white china, watches the meticulous action as he slices off each piece in turn and knows it's only so deliberate and so precise because he's terrified and trying oh so hard to hide it. As he eats, Lafayette is obviously wondering if he's what's really on the menu.

Eric likes to tell himself that the night he died he wasn't scared. There'd been so much death he'd seen already and he'd caused so many of them himself those last few months and years that he really should not have been scared to die; he was going to Valhalla, after all, where the dead of his people lived forever. His father and two brothers of five had all gone before him, slain in battle and glorious in death. He'd seen the pyres and he'd felt proud to be their kin. As he lay there in the boat, ready to burn with his sword clasped to his chest, he expected to see them again as they welcomed him home - he looked forward to it, he'd missed them bitterly.

Then Godric came to him like some new kind of inquisitive god and when he looked into his eyes he knew that even if he never saw his family again, if he never joined them, if he was never remembered, he wanted to be at that young god's side forever.

He knows all that was just a simple glamour, of course. Godric looked at him with a kind of childlike wonder despite all his many years and told him he could go with him if he just said the word and so he said it, yes, he'd go with him. The bite stung and he felt each last ounce of what little blood he had remaining in him tugged through that open vein like warm, flowering bliss. He died in Godric's arms and woke in them beneath the earth the following night when everything was new again, brighter, sharper, stinking and pristine. Godric smiled as he reached to brush the dirt away from Eric's long blond hair and then he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was the right choice.

They didn't stay long in Sweden. They went north in the snow because while the bitter cold chilled them right down to the bone, they couldn't die. Godric taught him that as they walked in the night wrapped in furs, the words explaining their nature all in his own language but he suspected they weren't Godric's. He said he'd forgotten his mother tongue four hundred years ago but the accent remained there like music in his voice, and so Eric listened. The timbre enthralled him, the way Godric killed was like the way the bards sang, and he was happy.

They watched the world grow up around them. As they moved through Europe through the years, as they learned new words and saw new customs rise, as nights beneath the dirt became nights beneath the floorboards, became nights in coffins, nights in crypts, they saw the world grow up; they existed out of time, observers even when they stepped into society in powdered wigs then top hats and tails all dressed up like the humans did. Godric always told him this was not his world and not to be seduced by it though all the vampires that they met along the way had let it do just that. He told him that every place he'd been he'd heard the vampire myth retold another way, another variation and a thousand years that had become fifteen hundred in his company told him humans would always fear them.

He taught him to glamour, he taught him to fly. He taught him everything he knew and Eric watched him growing tired, sapped, exhausted year by year. There were other vampires, newer, full of what for them resembled life, and Godric didn't hold him back from taking rooms with them in Salzburg, in Florence, in London, Paris, Rome. Their ragtag band of vampires made their way through Europe for more than three hundred years in feeding and whoring and following fashion and then, his first time crossing back to the North and Scandinavia where the man he'd been was born, Godric left him. He liked to think that any trace of humanity he had left in him fled that night with his maker. He liked to think the hollow space that opened up inside him meant that he was now more vampire than he could be man, and not that Godric was and would be everything to him.

Power's come easy to him as networks between covens and countries have grown. Godric taught him well over the years they spent together, all the skills and arts he'd need to beguile or argue, flirt or threaten his way to the positions of influence with their kind rather than finding his way there by force; the fact was violence was simpler and he'd learned that himself even before his death, so blood tended to be the way he erred even if he could play the politics as well as any of their kind. Perhaps he only does that to distinguish himself from Godric.

With power came knowledge and that opened up further doors, made it impossible to avoid the fact that Godric was there in that world, his world, and always would be though for years he dodged any possibility of a meeting, excuses that he was needed elsewhere, that there was business in his area. He tried to think didn't miss the stories, all the lifetimes of events that no one else would ever remember, the places and the people that would never exist again. There were no edicts, no commands, and so they wouldn't meet. Until one night Godric came to him.

He hadn't changed. The clothes had, of course, modern and they suited him, made him look just as young as he had been the day he was made though a look at his eyes and the expression on his face said he simply must be older. Godric reached up to tuck back Eric's hair and it was just as if he'd never been away.

Lafayette puts down the knife and fork as he swallows the last mouthful of that steak, his hands unsteady and his eyes flickering from the table where he rests his hands to Eric as he sits there not five feet away. He's terrified. Eric doesn't tell him that he shouldn't be.

Down the years since that new meeting, they saw each other just infrequently. There was the convenient hotel out in Texas where they'd been more than once, sprawled in a bed past dawn because it seemed like such a decadence and Godric smiled and granted him that with the same steady grace he'd always had. The physical intimacy of the sex they had seemed slight once they'd opened each other's veins to drink, then Godric slept with his head on Eric's chest, one hand over the space where his heart used to beat and he held him there until nightfall, or they shared a coffin once they'd fed together. He'll miss that, the tang of blood on Godric's lips and the weight of his body against his the most familiar in the world. He'll miss everything about him. He never wanted to be free. From the deference he showed, no one would suspect he ever was.

Lafayette has begged and pleaded for his life before tonight, and Eric has never been moved by those pleas. Perhaps by the thought of making him one of them, yes, but for the moment he's more useful to him living. Making him is just a passing fancy, he knows that, something piquing his interest because a thousand years is almost too long without diversions and in his cynical moments he wonders if that was what he was to Godric, even though he knows so very much better.

Lafayette has begged and pleaded for his life before tonight, and no doubt Eric's going to hear those words again before he leaves. It's tempting to take him with him, drain him, feed him, sleep in the ground and teach him the way Godric taught him, but what they could have would never be the same. He tells himself that's why one day Lafayette will have to die, because Eric Northman will never be Godric, and Lafayette is scared of death. But that's not it at all.

He pats Lafayette's cheek with a small, amused smile and then he leaves him there, unharmed for now. He can almost feel the surprise and the relief in the air as he takes to the sky, heading home to Fangtasia, willing snacks and fearless death.

Beneath the glamour, deep down he knows that he was terrified that night he died, and that Lafayette intrigues him. They're more alike than he wants to admit, and he will never allow himself to fill the space Godric's absence left in him. Even if it means he'll always be alone.