In the end, it was his child’s tears that made him change his mind.
After all, Godric had never planned on Eric seeing this. When he decided to turn himself in to the Fellowship of the Sun, he had not seen Godric in years, and they hadn’t exactly parted on the best of terms. So he had thought this was the best way to go, without telling him. Eric would have felt him go, of course, he would feel the burning pain and the emptiness like a lost limb, but he wouldn’t be here now trying to stop him. He would get over it, eventually. His child was strong. He was a survivor, a warrior, a leader. Godric had fallen in love with him a hundred lifetimes ago for those reasons.
When Godric was first turned into what he is now, before there were even any silly names to describe their kind, he swore to himself that he would never make a child of his own. He had been turned against his will at a virginal, innocent age when he was not yet a man. He held it against his Sire, so much so that when he learned how vampires could die, he drove a stake through the bastard’s unbeating heart.
But a millennium later, Godric saw an Angel of Death on the battlefield, and watched him fall. He knew what he had to do. He had never wanted anything as badly as he wanted the blond Viking. It made him feel alive again at a time when he could only feel nothing. After the death of his maker, Godric had to learn what it meant to be alone. Years of solitude had reduced him to a mud-covered creature of the forest, a predator, a feral child…but Eric brought out the human in Godric he thought he had lost forever.
His hard-headed child was always pushing his limits and he had learned quickly that patience was the best way to deal with him. His own master had always punished too severely, and he had promised himself he would never lay a hand on Eric in anger, even when his child’s antics infuriated him.
In Eric’s lifetime, Godric had only broken that promise once: when his child was late meeting him after hunting and only a few minutes of darkness remained. Eric had been barely a yearling, but the Viking warrior’s blood still ran thick in his veins. He didn’t understand why he had to obey a vampire who looked so much like a child. As a young vampire, Eric felt invincible. Godric had been terrified that his child wouldn’t make it back it time, so when Eric came sauntering through the entrance to the cave that they were using for a lair, Godric exploded. He backhanded Eric hard enough to send him sailing twenty feet, crashing into the cave wall. That was the only time Eric had looked at him with fear in his eyes, and Godric knew he would never hit his child again. That look haunted him to this night.
Not long after that, Eric began calling him ‘Godric’. Although the older vampire did not quite understand why his child had decided to bestow this particular name upon him, he went by it from then on.
And here he was, easily one of the oldest vampires of the New World, changing his mind because of a few tears from his begging child, crippled at his feet. He had grown soft in his old age, it seemed. Or perhaps just more wise. He reached out and ran his fingers through Eric’s shortened blond hair until they came to the nape of his neck to force his child to look up at him. Godric did not know a heart that hadn’t beat in two thousand years could break, but at the sight of his child’s tears, he felt an ache in his chest.
“Do not cry my child. You know I cannot stand to see you cry.” Godric spoke in Swedish, Eric’s native language, an old habit to break.
"Then don't make me cry," Eric reasoned frankly through his begging sobs. How could his maker stand there so calm and collected, while Eric was reduced to crying a river of blood? It seemed his maker had been planning this for more than one night. He was acting as though it were a simple, mundane, every night task. This was by far the most sadistic thing the boy king had ever done, Eric thought to himself, topping thousands of years of savagery and blood thirst. This was pure cruelty, to stand before him like this and say he wanted to end it all.
It wasn't often that Eric felt helpless. Yet here he was, sobbing tears he did not know he was capable of, feeling utterly broken and weak, as if he were little more than an infant vampire in Godric’s arms again. If his heart were alive it would be dying, yet he could feel it like a phantom limb being ripped apart inside him.
This was selfish. This was foolish. Was Godric willing to die to satisfy a curiosity? Eric wouldn't allow it, he couldn't. He was either going to take Godric off this roof or die with him. "I won't leave you, then. How would you like that? Or are you too selfish to care if I burn too?" Eric accused. It was terrifying to know he meant it. He truly meant it. Sookie stood unimportant and forgotten in the background, her presence barely noticed by the two vampires. Eric wondered if in another thousand years he would feel just as tired, but he simply couldn’t imagine it now.
Godric sighed, a deep and completely unnecessary intake of breath. They both knew Godric could simply order his child off the roof, but Eric was making a good point. What if it was his child here instead of him? Of course he would not allow such a thing. He could not even bare to think about it. Looking down into the blue eyes of his child, he thought how funny it was that he could still be surprised even after two thousand years.
He felt that same tiredness he had been feeling lately, overwhelm him. Vampires as old as him in the old world would usually find a place to hole up and simply sleep for years at a time. The only advantage of his age was that he hardly needed blood anymore to survive. But he hadn't wanted to sleep, he wanted to burn, and now he saw his chance slipping away from him.
"All right, my child, I will not meet the sun this day," Godric finally said, and although Sookie could not understand their language, she could tell the vampire boy had been talked down.
Eric stared up at him as if he didn't believe him. In fact, he would not until he watched his maker step down from the roof with his own eyes. And not even then would Eric be satisfied. He would need to watch over Godric even as he slept. Eric took in a deep, shaky breath and wondered what had changed Godric’s mind so quickly. He owed it to his maker, as his only child, to wake him up from whatever trance held him close to the sun.
"There is nothing beyond this life for you. What did you expect to happen, angels to take you to heaven?" Eric tried to sound angry but his voice was small and pathetic and heartbroken. He could feel the dawn pulling at him like sleep and he knew they needed to seek shelter, but he would not budge until Godric did. They had spent so much time without one another, but Eric had stayed nothing if not loyal. If it meant dying with him, he would do it.
"I know there is nothing there for me, and that's want I wanted. To feel nothing," Godric explained, not really expecting his child to understand. He gazed longingly towards the horizon where the first rays of dawn were starting to peek through the clouds. "Come." He offered a hand to Eric to help him up off his knees. "Dawn approaches and you need to sleep."
Eric kneeled before Godric like was an altar, before he hesitantly took the hand extended to him. He took one scornful glance at the lightening sky, and with a hand firmly in the other vampire’s, lead him off the roof and down the stairs.
Sookie stood frozen and watched, deeply moved by the unexpected scene before her. After all, it wasn't often that Eric begged on his knees. Godric watched the human girl watching Eric. He was pretty sure his child desired this human, and now he was certain the human desired Eric right back, even if she did not realize it yet.
"She has your blood in her," Godric stated simply as Eric led them away from Sookie and down the stairs. "I did not sense that before, is it a new development?"
Eric looked down at his maker in shock. Godric was frozen in a fifteen-year-old boy's body but his eyes showed centuries of wisdom that Eric couldn’t even fathom. He wondered what he had learned over the years to make him want to end it all. There were reasons, Eric wanted to say. There were very good reasons why he had tricked her into taking his blood, but he wanted to discuss none of them with his maker.
"That is not important right now," Eric told him, for once not wanting to think about the human. She could not come between them like this. Nothing would come between them again, he swore silently.
"Hmmm," was all Godric said on that matter, too tired to pry further. His home lair had been destroyed, he had lost nest-mates and their human pets, and he was no longer Sheriff of Dallas. It was a title he had never really wanted, but it felt odd not to have it anymore. He could not tell if he felt more liberated or lost. Realistically, Godric could be King of any kingdom in the New World if he was so inclined.
Eric hated how easily Godric could hide what he was really feeling, if he was feeling anything at all anymore. The boy was an expert on passive aggressiveness and in all their years together, Eric never built up a tolerance for it.
"You say you want to feel nothing? What the hell do you feel now, then?" It was perhaps only Eric who could speak to Godric in this way and get away with it. He had always known this. The tears on his face had dried but he did not bother to clean himself off. He wore them in mourning as if Godric had really stood firm on the roof.
"Guilty." Godric reached up to lovingly trace the tears on Eric's face. "You were never supposed to find out about any of this. I did not think of Isabel contacting you after they found out I was missing. I thought it would be easier for you that way. There are years between us, but I had forgotten how strong the bond was. I should have released you the day we parted from each other. Then you would have felt no obligation for me. I apoligize for being so selfish. I would have spared you any pain."
Should have released him? Did Godric really believe that just speaking those three meaningless words, 'I release you', that Eric would be free of him? That Eric’s loyalty and love and bond with him would just magically not matter? For all his years, Godric was still so much a child.
"It was foolish of you. What would that prove, letting them tie you down and force you into the sun? Letting us start this war against them? Risking our lives to come rescue you when you did not want to be rescued? Did you think you were martyring yourself?!" The anger was rising within Eric now. Watching his maker so close to death had snapped something in him.
"They would have taken one of us eventually," Godric responded calmly. "And it would have been one of the young ones. I did not want additional bloodshed. I thought if they had their petty sacrifice, it would appease them and their false deities. I made a deal with them, but I should have known better than to trust they would uphold their end of the bargain. If you had not come, I know Isabel would not have gone after the Fellowship. She would not have found proof I was there. There would have been no attack, no war. I thought it was the right thing to do," he explained to Eric, not knowing why he felt had to when he had never done so before.
It didn't make sense to Eric. It simply didn't. "And you think I wouldn't sense something was wrong with you if you were missing or in pain? No, of course not, you forget our bond, as you say." He tried not to make it sound like he was hurt by what Godric had said, but the angry accusation was there.
"We have not shared blood in many years and our bond is not as strong as it once was. You would have felt me die, but that is all," Godric told him. The feeling of his maker's death had been nothing more than a paper cut.
"That's all!?" Eric repeated with a short laugh. Godric spoke like it would be a quick pang, like the stubbing of a toe. Then why did he cry and beg and know that only fire from the sun would silence the screaming he felt inside?
Godric said nothing at that. The dawn was here. Safe in this room, Eric felt exhaustion wearing heavily down on his mind and body. Godric went further into the room and took a seat on the couch. "You should retire to your bedroom and get some rest. I will rest out here."
"I don't believe you that you won't walk into the sun when I shut my eyes. I want to be near you as you sleep," Eric told him.
"Since when is my word not good enough for you?" Godric challenged, his role as maker to his child instinctual. Eric used to think his maker hung the moon, but his child was different now, all while never really having changed at all. Perhaps having a child of his own now had made him see things in a whole new light. It had for Godric, anyway. "I told you I would not meet the sun. That should be good enough proof that I won't," He added as if it was the most reasonable thing in the world.
Eric cast his eyes to the floor as if ashamed of challenging his maker. How could Godric put him in his place so easily without even raising his voice or changing his expression? Despite his fear and anger, Eric couldn’t help but to surrender then.
"I've missed you," Eric admitted instead, his focus still downcast to the floor. He did not want to watch his maker’s eyes well up with pity. He did not want to face the fact that he had not missed him back.
Yet Godric’s eyes softened as he looked over Eric, even if his child could not see him. He stood up and walked over to where the blond vampire was standing. He had missed Eric too, more than his child could ever understand. But he had never been good with feelings or expressing them, even to the only one he loved.
"I have missed you as well," He told him softly. Eric was surprised when his maker, the stone statue, melted at his confession. "You have done very well for yourself. I... I am very proud of you." Godric gave a small smile and took Eric's hand in his. "Come, let us rest."
Godric led his child into the bedroom and gently pushed him to lie down with him as they faced one another. Their height differences got in the way at times, Eric remembered, but never in this position. The older vampire automatically reached up to run his fingers through his child's hair. "You've cut it," he said, his voice barely above a whisper. "It makes you look more grown up." He smiled faintly at his own humor.
Eric was still afraid that when he opened his eyes again the bed would be empty, and he held himself awake despite all his vampiric instincts. Yet his maker's fingers through his short hair soothed him and settled his nerves like nothing else could, and he felt himself finally relaxing. "Maybe you should try it then," he teased without breaking a smile.
Godric raised an eyebrow at his child. "I did, and it didn't work." Again, that smile. He was glad his child no longer seemed upset at him, but evidence of his earlier upset was still on his face in dried tears. Godric leaned forward and began to lick his face clean of blood. He held back a moan at Eric's familiar taste, having gone so long without it. He tasted like home.
When Eric closed his eyes and allowed his maker groom the blood from his face, it was like there had been no stance of time between them at all. Godric was eternally his dark angel, his dark god, his world. If he had been successful this night, there would be nothing left for him. Eric had risked so much to save him and only to learn Godric wanted death?
"Don't leave me again," Eric whispered shakily, tears threatening to begin flowing anew.
Godric closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against Eric's. Eric had always had an independent, ambitious nature. Even before Godric had turned him, while he lay dying and watched his two comrades murdered by a demon child, he wanted to know what was in it for him. Godric soon learned, however, that his Viking king could be rather dependent, as if the metaphorical umbilical cord attaching them had never been scissored. Only he knew that secret about Eric Northman.
Godric had thought he had done the right thing by leaving. After all, Eric had been several centuries old by then, and he could clearly take care of himself. Godric had feared that Eric would start to resent him as he started his own endeavors, and the thought was too much to bear. It was a terrible feeling, knowing that the love of your unlife no longer needed you. The last thing Godric wanted was to hold Eric back from achieving his true potential. He should have known better, he thought to himself.
"Sleep, Eric, and we will talk again tomorrow night when you wake," Godric promised when at last Eric’s face was clean.
That was enough for Eric. Godric would be here when he woke up and that was all he could ask for right now. His maker had his cruel moments, but he had never been a liar. Sleep could come, knowing that. Feeling his maker's fingers soothe through his hair, he closed his eyes and let the dawn take him.
Godric continued to pet his child and watched him sleep for a while thereafter. He had forgotten how much pleasure just simply touching Eric could bring him. He was starting to see that he had been too hasty to let death claim him. After all, if there was something to live for, his Viking was it. He closed his eyes and for the first time in many years, he slept peacefully.