Chapter 1 – Down the Road

Godric wasn’t sure what exactly he was feeling as he watched the trio leave the hotel, it had been so long since his emotions had actually become a driving force for him in anything it was going to take some time to untangle it all. Looking towards his clearly amused Childe and his equally un-amused subordinate at least gave him a place to start this new leg of his journey. Protocol. 

Shifting slightly to stand before the Sheriff of Area 5 of the Great State of Louisiana he pitched his voice low for the question that needed to be asked even though the answer was certain.

“Sheriff, I petition for permission to move to your area.” He knew the smirk currently gracing his lips was inappropriate for the situation but he could not contain himself. 

“Permission granted.” Normally there would be a waiting game to be played, checks and interviews to establish the hierarchy, no such need existed between them. 

“I thank you.” He was about to ask after their transportation plans, if they did not suit his taste he would be making his own way to his new area, when he was interrupted by Nan. Of course this self entitled youngling would continue to plague them.  

“Come along former Sheriff.” She turned back and began to walk towards the door she had just come from, making it nearly halfway before she realised she was not being followed by anyone at all. She turned back towards them once more her face showing the indignant fury only ever seen on the young of their kind. “I said come along!”

“Don’t you dare speak to him that way!” His Childe’s fury burned within him like an open flame now that their connection to one another had been blown wide open by his own return to life under the hands of his beautiful companion.

“I will speak to him any way I please! He really screwed up here and now he has to answer for that.” Oh to be so young again and believe that rules and penalties truly did level all playing fields. Luckily for him and his current plans for the near future that was rarely, if ever, the case.

“Actually I will be going with my Childe back to his territory and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to stop me. Before you begin attempting to threaten me with your precious Authority or any other council you may follow let me remind you of one thing dear. I am over two thousand years old, there are only four vampires my equal in this part of the world and maybe twice that elsewhere, I shall not be forced by anyone in any matter unless I choose to comply. I choose not to comply with this.” Staring her down he allowed his age to show behind his eyes and was gratified to see her wilt in fear before him. She may be the face of vampire’s but she would never truly have any power over them. 

“Eric, what are your accommodations for the trip back to your territory? I wish to depart as soon as possible.”

“Yes, Maker.” Yes, indeed.

Sookie wasn’t sulking no matter what anyone said, she really wasn’t, but cheese and rice all she had wanted to do was to get home as quickly as possible so her life could go back to the way it was back when it all made sense. Was that too much to ask? Darn right it wasn’t, but instead here she sat in a car full of her relatives and even more full of awkward silence trying not to cry. 

“You’re not the only one feeling the awkward of this situation you know. You could help it along by maybe getting rid of the silence. What do you think we need to talk about?” She didn’t think they needed to talk about anything at all, they should just mind their own beeswax about her life and her choices! She had just opened her mouth to say just that, in her sternest voice of course, when she was interrupted by her brother. Apparently he thought Daina had been talking to him.

“I know I ain’t done the right things lately, really I do know that. I just sorta thought that–” He trailed off seemingly at a loss for how to continue, oh Jason.

“You thought that by joining up with the fellowship you were making up for the not right things you did before you found them?” Oh. Daina hadn’t been talking to her at all.

You’re not the only one in the car Sook, you thought so yourself just a second ago. Just cause you feel like you don’t need this particular come to jesus don’t mean the rest of us feel the same.

Awkward indeed. Thankfully Jason didn’t hear any of it though.

Do you really think him not hearing it makes it go away? You couldn’t hear Bill either, did that make what you know he was thinking any less hurtful?

That wasn’t the same thing. Bill was her lover.

Yeah, I agree they are very different. Bill is your lover and what he did wasn’t very kind at all, but Jason is your brother and that thought you just had that I didn’t even need to hear by the way cause it was written all over your face wasn’t very kind either.

Wait, if she had been able to read her face, could Jason? Did Jason?

Of course he can Sookie, most people without our little gift have to get by on what they see and hear and Jason is no different. While you’ve spent a lifetime reading minds he’s spent even longer reading faces. Yours in particular.

Oh no. She hadn’t meant to trivialize what he was going through by being a brat, she just wasn’t in the right place to be talking about her life.

Good thing we’re not focusing on you right now then huh. Now come on, if you want to apologise for being a brat all you got to do is be here with us. Participate. Let him know that you understand and you forgive him, cause honey he is carrying around a lot of regrets right now and what he really needs is for you to listen and love him anyway. 

Jason was filled with regret? But he always seemed so in the moment about life, so sure of himself. Did she miss this? How could she miss this?

Because you don’t listen sweetie. 

Of course she didn’t listen to Jason, Gran always said that family more than most deserved their privacy. She always tried her hardest to stay out of Jason’s head.

Of course Gran said that, she had her own regrets buried deep inside and she wanted them to stay hidden. I wasn’t talking about his thoughts though Sook. You were always so busy staying out of his head, you pushed yourself out of his life. You don’t need to be a telepath to know he’s hurting, you just need to be paying attention. Maybe you could pay attention now, cause if you sit back and listen I think even if you might not be ready to talk about your life. He is.

Had she let herself be pushed away from Jason? She didn’t think so, but then again she might be too close to it now to see where she stood with him or anyone else at this point. She had been questioning her place in so many lives ever since Daina showed up, but she had never questioned her place in her brother’s life before. Maybe she should.

And maybe you should just listen. Questions are all well and good, but sometimes they aren’t really needed.

She could do that, if he needed to talk she would be here for him. 

“Yeah I guess I did. I got so twisted around lately and I did so many things that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around on my own you know. I thought maybe I could figure it out if I had someone else to weigh-in on it all, and since most of my problems at least lately seemed to involve vampires or their blood, I thought the fellowship would be the perfect place to find myself again. How dumb is that.” Oh, Jason, how had she missed this? He sounded so small and lost, he couldn’t have devolved into this overnight. Had she really let herself get so wrapped up in Bill and her dealings in the supernatural world that she let her family hurt without trying to help?

More Bill than anything else, but yeah pretty much.

Could you please stop rooting around in my thoughts? Maybe family didn’t need as much privacy as she had given Jason, but some things didn’t really need a comment section attached.

“Not dumb at all, but maybe not the smartest move either. Did it help?” How could the fellowship have helped? They were bigots.

He said all he was looking for was someone to help him see his way through it all. That means he went looking for someone to talk to and honey if bigots can do anything it’s talk. Besides, I didn’t ask you, I asked him. If he thinks they helped I for one want to know what they said so I can nip it in the bud now if it’s something that needs to be shook loose before he actually starts taking their advice. Whatever advice it was.

“Nah, I was so busy trying to distract myself by being the best I never really got comfortable enough to really talk to anyone about what I done. Then the whole thing with Sarah kicked off and after that it seemed a bit wrong to try asking her husband to fix my life.” She had almost forgotten about his little affair with the reverend’s wife, in the church. She was just about to let him have it when once again Daina decided to butt into her mind. This was becoming a habit with her.

This trip is about airing out our problems not attacking each other after each admission. If you lay into him now not only will he shut down before he gets it all out, but I swear when we get into your fuck ups I will tear into you just to make it fair. Capiche? And if you want me out so bad then why don’t you start keeping me out? Why is all the work supposed to come from me? You’re just as much a telepath as I am.

“So talk to us, we’re not exactly in a place to judge. What’s your biggest regret?” Probably that he ran off to the Fellowship to begin with, she knew it was a sore point for her. How could he just up and leave like that without so much as a note.

“Eddie.” Who the hell was Eddie? And why did Jason sound so sad when just saying his name. She thought she knew all his friends but she didn’t know this one. Then again after Rene Jason had stopped introducing her to most of the people in his life, Eddie could be a post Rene addition.

“Who’s Eddie?”

“He was a vampire that Lafyette knew. When I was at the height of my ah… my addiction Amy and I kind of kidnapped him and kept him tied to a lawn chair for his blood.” He did what? Did he realise how much trouble he could get into with the vampires for that?

Eric already said something to him while we were in Dallas, so for now at least I think he’s in the clear. At least on the hell front, legally speaking it’s a bit of a grey area so hush up around the fuzz. No need to go around confessing to crimes nobody’s even asking about. How embarrassing would that be? How’d they catch you? Well catch might not be the right word. He wouldn’t be able to show his face around the jail from embarrassment. Oh the humanity.

What? Eric knew? Eric knew and hadn’t hurt Jason? This whole conversation was throwing her mind through every loop ever imagined. She decided to ignore the rest of it, sometimes with Daina that was the only sane choice a person could make. It wasn’t rudeness it was self preservation.

You say po-tae-toe, I say bitch what you mean you ignore me.

“Tied to a lawn chair? What kind of vampire was he?” He did sound pretty weak, or maybe just disinterested like Godric had been. She was pretty sure if the Fellowship had just tied him to a lawn chair he might have stayed there just to see what would happen next.

I would have, I could just see it now. Question: So fellas where exactly to you see this going? Answer: Barbeque. Hahahahah.

“He was really new to the life. He told me he became a vampire to attract men, but once he changed he just sort of stayed in his life from before, stuck in the routine of the familiar. I don’t think he had any vampire friends or nothing, cause he was trading Lafyette sex for some of his blood on account he didn’t know how to use that eye whammy thing yet.” He didn’t even know how to glamour? That was one of the first skills a vampire was taught. Survival one-oh-one. If a vampire didn’t know how to make humans forget half the crap they saw them do, that vampire didn’t live for very long at all.

So we’re just going to blow by the rape implications there, oh-kay if that’s how we plan to roll so be it. Guy says he’s paying a hooker with blood because he doesn’t know how to force compliance is presumably good looking young men yet, but you’re right let’s focus on the lawn chair. That’s the bigger problem here.

Sookie thought about responding, though she wasn’t sure how and keeping up with two conversations was starting to give her a headache, but all she could hear from Daina after her little tirade was whistling. 

What you don’t like my everything’s fine here no need to investigate this area I’m just a normal citizen whistle. I learned it from the cartoons and everything.

“So super new then, and with a shitty vamp daddy to boot. So what happened with Eddie?” Yeah, had Jason left him tied to a chair while he went off to find himself? Somehow she doubted it with how sad the conversation seemed to make him.

“Well I was the one taking care of him most days, and we got to talking a lot and after a while I just started to feel bad about it all you know. He was just this regular guy, he even had a couple of kids from a marriage that fell apart though he didn’t talk to them much. He was like any of the guys I work with on the road crew, just trying to get by in life, so I decided to let him go, you know. But Amy saw me trying to untie him and she staked him. She said he would have killed us both for what we done did to him, keeping him prisoner and all, but I ain’t so sure he would have. Guess I’ll never really know now though.” Jason killed a vampire?

No, weren’t you listening. Jason kidnapped a vampire. Amy killed a vampire and didn’t I hear she was dead now anyway? Problem solved. On the plus side this whole thing with Eddie seems to have cured him of his addiction in record time. Though I will be keeping an eye on that for the next ten years at least, just to be sure. Plus if it’s any comfort I seriously doubt Eddie would have killed Jason. Amy, maybe she sounds hardcore bitchy, but he and Jason had begun to bond and from all I’ve heard of Eddie he probably would have wanted to continue that relationship.

“Is Eddie why you went to the Fellowship?” How was Daina keeping up commentary with her and following along with Jason so easily? There wasn’t even a lag with her questions and she seemed to be paying attention to everything he says.

What you can’t do that? I’m just kidding. Years of practice added together with me just being phenomenal as a person. And you forgot I’m doing it all while driving, you have such faith in me it’s inspiring, truly it is.

“He’s part of it, I guess. But he was really just the tail end. It was just… everything.” Everything?

“Everything?” See how annoying an echo can be?

Real mature Daina. 

“Gran dying, Amy dying, Rene killing both of them and trying to kill Sookie. Me getting yanked in and out of the police station seemingly every other day for one thing or another. My addiction getting so out of control, to the point I even used Tara’s feeling for me against her to get what I wanted. That I put not only me and Amy but Lafayette in danger too, Lala was the person everyone would point to if Eddie just up and vanished and I didn’t even think of that, all I could think about was the blood. Just… my life falling to pieces. I kept doing these things, and it was like I could see myself doing them but I couldn’t stop, you know. I just wanted it to stop, and I figured if I got out for a while it would. Guess I was wrong.” She knew that feeling well, she wasn’t sure there wasn’t a person in Bon Temp who didn’t. Feeling stuck in a cycle of bad decisions and regret, with no way out.

“Not wrong exactly, you just got out to the wrong place, is all. Anything else you want to get off your chest?” What more could there be? Her head was already hurting just from the revelation of how much she had failed her brother. She had thought that by giving him space and respecting his privacy she was being a good sister. In reality she was just letting them both drift apart.

You aren’t the only one in this relationship Sookie. It’s not all up to you. He has to reach out just as much as you have to reach back.

“Sorry I slapped you at the funeral Sook, I been meaning to say it, but things just kept getting in the way you know.” He sounded so ashamed, she just wanted to hug him and tell him everything was forgiven, but even she knew that wasn’t what he needed right now. He needed her forgiveness sure, but they had a lot of relationship rebuilding to do before they could get to a place where he would really believe it. 

“Yeah I know Jason, things have been getting in the way for me too.” That was definitely the theme of their lives lately.

“Well, I think we’ve made some amazing progress so far. Who’s hungry I see a sign for a diner up ahead and I am craving some good old fashioned road trip food, ala Waffle House, but you know better. Not that it’s hard to do better than Waffle House if you’re you know, sober.”

Sookie tried but she couldn’t keep the laughter in, it was just like Daina to go from serious therapy level discussion straight into food and levity.

Of course I did. Who wants to digest guilt when you could be digesting some bad coffee instead.

Does the coffee have to be bad?

What kind of a question is that Sook? Of course it does.

Maybe this trip wouldn’t’ be so bad after all, then again they haven’t gotten to her mistakes yet. If Jason’s had been a little dip from where she thought he was in life, hers were going to be a cliff drop.

Trust me Sook, it’s not going to be anywhere near as surprising as you think it will.

What was that supposed to mean? 

As they pulled into the parking lot for the nearly deserted Diner she decided to let it go for now. It would be her turn soon enough, no need to rush anything.

Godric it would seem had been a bit hasty in his departure from Texas. He had wanted to get to his new home as soon as possible so he could try and have everything at least planned for his new residence even if it wasn’t all secured by the time that Daina arrived back with her relatives. He felt it was needed to show the girl that he was independent of her in every way possible, and give her no cause to think him too clingy for her tastes. She had become his life line for the immediate future of his immortality and he would do nothing to have her choose to leave him prematurely. 

He held no delusions that she would stay with him constantly or indefinitely however he did see her as a true companion and one day perhaps if she were to agree, a Childe. She would make a marvelous vampire; he was sure of it. Unlike this creature he was currently trapped with. If Compton did not get her under control soon he would, and judging from the shifting and twitching of his Childe he would not be the only one. Or perhaps Eric simply knew his temperament still even after so many years and he was waiting to see what his actions would be. All he knew at this point was that if this girl did not stop crying so close to his ear soon she would be exiting this plane before they landed. It was night and they weren’t over too rough of terrain they should all survive the sudden descent easily enough, or at least he and his Childe would and that was all that mattered really.

“I just don’t understand why I had to come with you and not go with Hoyt! He and I are just starting out and you just busted in and ruined our first time together and now you won’t even let me see him. How is that fair?”

This Childe was truly a child in all ways it would seem. Whoever had chosen this red haired weeper had truly been setting everyone involved up for failure. There was annoying and then there was the level she was currently reaching, a level of ear piercing, eye bleeding, mind numbing screeching he had never seen in all his years walking this earth. Compton should just command her to silence until they left their current company, though he was not sure why he thought he would find common courtesy ingrained in a Childe of Lorena. 

Closing his eyes he chose to focus internally instead, touching on his small connection to Daina for a moment to find her equally happy and frustrated, before drifting away and allowing himself to begin committing every moment of the night before to his memory. Every sight, every sound, every smell, and every sensation. Every moment of his time with Daina as she awakened his soul and ensnared him completely was precious to him and he would not lose any of it to time.

Eric wasn’t overly familiar with the feeling of embarrassment but he brushed up against it enough to know when it was looking him in the face, and he was feeling it now. Godric, his Maker, was sitting next to a whining eternally love struck teen and her Maker was sitting next to her brooding and doing nothing about it. He didn’t even have Pamela with him to provide a counter balance to the level of stupidity they were being forced to sit through. At least if she were here they could have some caustic remarks to listen to instead of nothing but teen angst on repeat.

This was not the first impression of his Area he wanted to project, not that things could have gone much better with Bill and Jessica anywhere in the mix.

This girl lacked the simplest of knowledge about not only the vampire hierarchy but also her place within it. There were certain things you did not do when a vampire as old as Godric was in the room and crying about your interrupted sex life was one of them. He had a feeling that the only reason that his Maker hadn’t reached over and permanently silenced the brat was because it would take too much effort and he was only very recently returning to the living, so to speak. And Compton was doing nothing to help the situation or to really help his Childe at all. 

He never thought he would see the day when Lorena was cast in the light of a good Maker, but the day had come. Even though she was as mad as the proverbial hatter when Bill had gotten on his bad side when they first met Lorena had at least intervened on his behalf verbally if not physically. Bill was doing nothing, it was like he wasn’t even aware of what was happening around him or the absolute mess his Childe was creating for herself. She was digging herself a hole filled with delayed retribution because while his Maker may be in a seemingly forgiving mood at the moment, he never forgot such transgressions. Never.

His Area had no idea what was coming, and he was perverse enough to be looking forward to the fireworks once Godric was truly feeling himself again.

Bill knew that Daina held a great deal of sway within the Stackhouse family but for her to be able to separate him from his Sookie was crossing several lines. He would be dealing with both her and Sookie, who had followed another over him, once they were all back in Louisiana where he could call upon the Queen for help. 

Sophie-Anne wanted to collect the entire Stackhouse family, including the blandly human Jason, so he would simply set things up for Daina to go next. That would get her out of his life and relationship while also giving him time to come up with a plan to convince Sophie-Anne to allow him to have Sookie. She would still be a part of the Queen’s retinue of course and available to her whenever her gifts were needed, but he would be her keeper. He would be the one to see to her needs and hand down any punishments ordered. Everything would be as it should, once that little upstart was gone.

Deciding there was nothing more to be gained by dwelling on things he could not change he allowed himself to indulge in his favorite pastime of late. He turned his attentions farther inward and checked on his darling’s emotional state through his blood in her veins. If Daina was upsetting her it would make his case against the girl far easier to make, no one wanted to spend time with someone who was constantly causing them misery after all.

He found much of what he thought he would. Shock. Confusion. Anger. And-

Bill sat up straighter; Sookie!

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