Chapter Thirty-Eight: Decisions
“I am beginning to think,” I murmur at the tinkling of bells and flash of light beneath the door while my lover and future Bonded lays naked and sleeping in my embrace, “that you are something of a voyeur.”
The Voice of The Pantheon lets loose a chuckle as he enters and leans against the doorframe of my bedroom. “Well, as you know, I never interfere until events lead me to doing so,” Endymion replies.
“Am I to assume the event to which you refer is my impending Bonding?” Crossing his arms over his chest, Endymion nods. “And are you here to stop me?” He shakes his head. “With what must you interfere, then?”
“It isn’t as much to ‘interfere’ as it is to warn,” Endymion finally speaks. “You and Camilla have a choice to make and that choice must be made before your third exchange.”
I attempt to maneuver Camilla’s sleeping head against my arm, so that I might sit up and more comfortably converse with my Bloodline’s own, personal Seer.
“Now, now,” Endymion laughs, “I am not your own, personal anything. Just as I have told you all before, Eric and Sookie have earned my respect many times over, and what you are all experiencing is the benefit of their accomplishments throughout space and time. Nevertheless, the gifts I give do not come without consequences, and I intend to call in a few debts over time.”
My lips curl angrily, “You mentioned no such debt before Sookie and Eric Bonded!” My voice is harsh, but I keep it low as not to wake Camilla.
“Believe me when I say I have known Sookie a long time, and am aware that ultimatums are a risky way of dealing with her. You will have options in the future, but I guarantee that when you hear of my requests, you will wholeheartedly desire to work with me,” Endymion announces.
There is a crease in my brow while I consider his statement, but as most situations with The Voice go, it is better not to dwell. “What is it you came to speak to me about?”
Endymion smiles, “Upon Bonding with Camilla, she will become part of your Bloodline.”
“Yes,” I reply, not comprehending his reason for explaining to me something I had already known.
“After she becomes part of your Bloodline, she will acquire the same protections,” he states with added emphasis.
“She will become a Living Immortal like Sookie!?” It takes great willpower not to raise my voice in surprise.
“She will,” Endymion nods. “She will maintain a rather human existence much as Sookie does. The only differences between Camilla and Sookie are that Camilla will not sprout wings, and will continue to be unable to have children by a vampire. However, that inability does not stem from the absence of Camilla’s reproductive organs. Had Camilla remained…intact prior to her Bonding, she would not have developed the same ability to bear children due to the absence of Fae ancestry. Since it is not a form of protection, it will not be granted by the Bloodletting Blade’s magic.”
“That means,” I frown, considering the Voice’s words, “if she is a Living Immortal, I will not be able to turn her at any point.”
“Correct. If it is yours and Camilla’s desire for her to become vampire, it must be done the evening that you are Bonded, or remain unbound and merely turn her. Those are your options. However, Bonding and turning simultaneously is very difficult. You may accidentally kill her without completing the Bond or metamorphosis,” Endymion explains. “Your success rate as I have witnessed it is as such; one hundred percent success of Bonding and Camilla becoming a Living Immortal, ninety-nine percent chance of turning her vampire without Bonding, and only a twenty-seven percent chance of successfully Bonding and transforming her into vampire.”
“Why would I take such a risk?” I ask of Endymion.
The Voice replies by pointing at Camilla, “You honestly believe she desires to be a weak link? Unlike Sookie, her continued pulse does not benefit the Bloodline. If she became vampire, she would be able to protect Sookie like her brother intends to soon. Camilla never wants to be a victim ever again.”
I frown and look at my future Bonded. I know Endymion’s assessment is correct and now I have a decision to make. I could Bond with Camilla this very evening without ever telling her of the repercussions. She would be a Living Immortal and we would all just accept it. She would never need to know there had been other options. Yet, beginning my existence with my Bonded on the heels of a lie is a greater sin than all the others I have committed in my time on this Earth. With that realization, I think of something else I must know.
“Before you leave,” I whisper, “may I ask a question?”
“You may, but I could be unable to answer it,” Endymion replies in his usual manner.
“You said that Sookie’s ability allows us to share immunities… Will this mean Sookie’s immunity to Glamour could be Camilla’s as well?”
Endymion smiles as if he sees my thoughts, “That is correct.”
“Then Camilla will never lose her memories again,” I murmur.
“She will not,” he agrees. “She will also receive the vampire immunity to Sookie’s telepathy. Her mind would be impregnable,” he offers.
A thoughtful sigh escapes me while I shake my head. There is no question that I must have this conversation honestly with my Bonded, but if I could assure her she will never be a burden by not becoming vampire, perhaps we will settle this easily, still Bonding this evening as we wished.
“If that is all, I must be leaving,” Endymion tells me. “As you know, I should not remain in a single timeline for too long.”
I nod rather than speak a departing statement as The Voice of the Pantheon vanishes in his flash of light and tinkling bells. I wish he had left the room before doing that. The sudden brightness has roused Camilla and she stretches out against my side.
“Hey,” she mumbles with a pleased smile on her lips. I cannot resist leaning over and kissing her mouth.
“Good morning,” I reply to her drowsy morning greeting.
“Mmm, I slept so good!” she tells me with that happy grin on her face.
“I am glad,” I murmur, stroking her hair away from her face while she nuzzles against the side of my chest.
“Everything okay?” she asks after I do not say anything else.
“Someone stopped by to speak with me while you were asleep,” I tell her, continuing to absentmindedly stroke her hair.
“Wow,” she laughs, “you must have really worn me out! I didn’t even feel you leave the bed!” She must notice my grimace, “Oh, God, were they in the room!?”
“He was,” I nod my head. “His name is Endymion and he has a habit of popping in wherever and whenever he wants.”
“Pervert!” she squeals.
“He is the Voice of God,” I tell her amusedly, making her face freeze, except for her widening eyes.
“Are you serious?” she whispers.
“And the Voice of God spoke to you? Do vampires get schizophrenia?” she asks jokingly.
I chuckle and shake my head, “He was the one who told us about the gifts Sookie would give us upon her Bonding to Eric.”
“So, did he come to tell you she’s pregnant, like something out of the New Testament?” She is still being sarcastic.
“He came here to warn me about our Bonding,” I reply, not letting her joking manner distract me from the importance of our conversation.
Camilla stares blankly at me after my comment before demanding slowly, “What do you mean?”
“If we Bond, you will gain the gifts of the Bloodline,” I explain.
“Yeah, I kn-”
“You will be like Sookie, not like Eric, Pam, and I,” I cut her off before she turns this into another joke.
“A Living Immortal?” she asks quietly. “No speed, no strength? Nothing cool?”
“There are options,” I continue in a whisper. “I could turn you without Bonding-”
“I don’t want that!” Camilla protests.
“I could try to Bond and turn you in the same process, but I have been warned that… I… I could kill you if it fails,” I tell her.
“Odds?” she asks weakly.
“No risk with Bonding or turning, but if we try to Bond during the metamorphosis, I am far more likely to kill you than succeed,” I try to sound apologetic. Camilla raises her head from where it was resting on my chest and sits up in bed. “Mila-”
“I just need a minute,” she tells me after she climbs out of bed. I feel her pain and disappointment. “I need to… Can I just go see Pam and Sookie?” she asks.
“Great,” she murmurs and quickly gathers her clothes to dress. All I can do is watch while she pulls her clothes on and practically runs out the door.
I stare at the door while repeated knocks hammer against it. No one comes by during the day unless Sookie is here, but my Bonded is in class right now.
“Sookie!? It’s Cammie! I need to talk to you!” Camilla shouts, and I snort on a chuckle before letting her in. “Oh!” my Master’s lover is disappointed to see me, “I was hoping to talk to Sookie.”
“She is in class right now,” I remind her. This is surprising since Camilla knows Sookie’s schedule so well.
“I forgot,” she mumbles. “She gets back at three?”
“Is everything all right?” I ask her.
“If you could turn Sookie and still have all your immunities, would you turn her?” Camilla asks me abruptly.
Staring for a moment, I consider her question before laughing, “No! I prefer my Sookie warm and alive!”
“Even though she’ll never be able to protect herself?” Camilla presses.
My expression transforms into one of complete disbelief, “Camilla, it would still be centuries before Sookie could defend herself against other vampires, even if she were one. With as much exercise she gets, mortal men would have difficultly harming her. She could outrun any average Joe. Besides all of that, I will never let Sookie defend herself. I will always be there when she needs me. Vampire, Living Immortal, or a regular human, I am never truly out of her reach. In this instance, I know where she is, how she feels, and how quickly I can get to her if she were attacked. Trust me when I say a human could not drop his pants before I was there ripping off his dick.”
“What if a vampire took her?” Camilla is still looking for an argument.
“Camilla, Sookie is my Bonded Mate. After the Supernatural world knows of our Bloodline’s immunities, there is not a creature in existence who would risk putting themselves in our crosshairs,” I tell her. At her doubt, I add, “I had this same conversation with Sookie before we Bonded. She had the same worries and concerns you have. She worried about being a burden. We assuaged those concerns by telling her we would happily protect her for the immunities she gives us, but the truth has always been that she and Jason are our family now. We will protect them and now, you, with the ferocity we would protect the vampire half of our family.”
“When Godric and I Bond,” Camilla whispers, “I’ll be a Living Immortal like Sookie. I can never become vampire.”
Godric is going to love that, I think amusedly. “I see.”
“I just feel like I’ll be on the sidelines, like Sookie, except I won’t be offering anything by being there,” she continues to confess.
“Your life brings more light to Godric’s existence than the sun Sookie gave him ever has,” I tell her truthfully. “Believe me when I tell you that is just as important to Pam and me as everything Sookie has given us.”
“R-really?” she asks me, hope clear in her tone.
Giving the young woman my best smile, I nod, “What good is immortality if you are miserable?”
“I guess,” she murmurs, but I can still read her hesitation and concern.
“I understand you do not wish to be looked after, and I do understand that, Camilla,” I smile as sympathetically as I am able. “Like Sookie and Jason, you do not wish to be left on the sidelines and protected. You wish to stand alongside the Bloodline and fight. That is admirable, but, as I have said, it would have been many, many centuries before you could have fought with us. Pam has only begun handling multiple Weres in head-on attacks. She will not fight with Godric and I any time soon. Jason will not be participating in battle for a long time, either.”
“Camilla,” I interrupt her continued protests, “argue as much as you like, but had you or Sookie ever been vampires, you would never have made it on to the battlefield. Godric and I fight more freely, not having to worry about you two. We were born to fight, and there is nothing wrong or disgraceful about being born as the someone whom a warrior comes home to.”
I watch Camilla stare at me wondrously. Her eyes are still hesitant, uncertain about how to interpret what I have said.
“You and Sookie will give us far greater strength off the battlefield than on it,” I whisper.
“Because you guys would want to protect us from more than just injury,” she murmurs, and I let out a relieved sigh, then nod.
“I hope I have helped you as well as my wife could have?” I venture curiously.
Camilla smiles and nods, “Yeah, you really have. I don’t feel so disappointed… and… I just thought about it, if I’m a Living Immortal, I’ll always be the warm embrace he comes home to and I can nourish him forever. I’ll never have to see a different person in his arms when he feeds…”
“I know I appreciate that knowledge when it comes to Sookie,” I agree.
“And I’ll be able to keep Sookie’s food traditions alive after Jason is turned!” she adds excitedly, making me laugh. “We’ll both have someone who gets it,” she says. Looking up at me, Camilla grins and waves, making her way to the door. “Thanks, Eric! I feel much better! I’ll see you tomorrow as a Living Immortal!”
I chuckle and wave goodbye to Camilla while the front door swings shut behind her. Pulling my phone out, I call my Maker, “Master-”
“Camilla was with you? Did she speak with Sookie?”
“Sookie is at school,” I remind him with a sigh, but remember he is preoccupied with the situation at hand. “I spoke with Camilla. She should be on her way home now. I have eased her worries.”
“You did?” Master asks in surprise.
“Yes, Master. I do understand this situation, you know. Sookie and I went through the very same concerns before Bonding,” I tell him, attempting to keep the exasperation from my tone. Why does no one think I know how to speak to mortals? I have been lying to human women without glamour for many centuries, and I could not have done that nearly as well if I did not understand women.
“Regardless, I thank you for assuaging her concerns. I feel her returning home. I will speak with you tomorrow-”
“I doubt that, Master,” I laugh. “It will be your first day Bonded. I will not be insulted, nor surprised, if I do not hear from you for a week or longer!”
My Maker laughs at my comment, but chooses to reply by disconnecting the call. However, he does open his end of our link to allow me to feel his joy and excitement. It is a marvelous feeling, to finally know that the Master who taught me everything I know about this dark world, from whom I accepted every harsh lesson, is finally and blissfully happy.
“Hi,” Camilla greets me meekly when she comes in the front door.
“Hello,” I return encouragingly. She does not have the benefit of feeling me yet and I sense her worry. My Mila believes she has upset me. “I understood that you needed to talk this out with someone other than me,” I assure her.
Camilla gives a weak raising of her shoulders, “I just feel like it’s something I should have been able to discuss with you…”
“But it was not something you felt you could speak to me about. You know I love you and will have you any way I can,” I tell her soothingly. “Eric does not mince words, he does not try to protect your feelings. You know his words were truth, not comfort.”
“I do,” She agrees with a slow nod. “He also told me that you and he are both warriors. Sookie and I aren’t, and it’s just as important being the one a warrior comes home to.”
A smile lifts the corners of my mouth, “That is the most important role. Being someone to fight for, to protect, is a far greater role than being the one who fights.”
“I can better protect you by staying safely on the sidelines,” she continues quietly. I choose not to reply to that one. Acknowledging it and having it force fed to her are two completely different stances. “So, after the sun sets, I want you to know that I happily accept you as my Bonded and my future as a Living Immortal, not because I don’t have choices, but because I like this choice best.”
“Before the sun sets, I want you to know,” I begin, “no one will ever be able to glamour you again. You will have Sookie’s immunity to it. Also, I will never keep a secret from you because you will have gained the vampire’s immunity to Sookie’s telepathy.”
Camilla’s eyes widen, “Seriously? Sookie won’t be able to hear me anymore? I’m going to miss that a little bit, but it’ll be nice not being the one left out of the surprise parties.”
She allows me to fold her into my arms and I hold Camilla a long moment before easing us toward the bedroom. Soon we are naked and beneath the bedding, touching softly, almost exploring, while we wait in a building anticipation for sunset.
“I have envied Eric greatly over this last year,” I tell my lover softly. “He has basked in this beauty I have sought and circled the world several times over, and yet what I searched for practically ran into his arms.” She stares at me with wide eyes, running her smooth fingertips against my chest. “Now, here I lay with the most beautiful woman I have ever known and she is with me because Eric found his love first.”
“You don’t think you would have found me otherwise?” Camilla asks me sadly.
Shaking my head, I confess, “If Sookie had not turned Eric into the vampire he is now, you would have been institutionalized if you were lucky, perhaps dead.”
“That’s a rather strange series of events,” Camilla giggles softly. “So, in a way, Sookie saved me, too and found me my true love?”
I chuckle and shake my head, “Who is to know how a series of events moves? Even Endymion, Voice of the Pantheon, remains in the dark about many things. Still, he is unaware of how and when Sookie’s fertility will manifest. He knows enough to see it will happen, but this timeline has not come to a head yet for those events.”
Camilla’s brow furrows thoughtfully, “I don’t understand?”
“The Endymions are the only creatures-”
“Endymions? Plural?” Camilla interrupts in surprise.
I chuckle and nod, “Endymion is the type of creature he is, not his name. However, the meeting of two Endymions is so rare, they are called by their title, rather than their true names.”
“Oh,” She appears even more confused, so I choose to elaborate further on that matter.
“Endymion is the only creature who may travel through time and space. This means he may jump ahead in a universe and see how everyone is doing, but may only interfere with an event once. Therefore, he probably gathered some information from a distance to confirm Sookie’s abilities. However, since he cannot act directly, his information is lacking. He would not want to interact with any key players in the event he had to return to that timeline and intervene,” I explain slowly, but I see Camilla’s head beginning to tilt as she falls into deeper confusion.
“Cool?” She ventures after a moment and I laugh as she takes my wrist and places my hand over her breast. Camilla giggles while I begin to absentmindedly play with her breast. It has been a long time since I shared an easy intimacy of hands touching flesh for more than the purpose of arousal. My touch is one of affection and very little about my pleasure, or even hers. All that my hands know is their desire to be pressed against her skin at any opportunity.
“How much longer before the sunsets?” Camilla asks me while my fingers tighten over her breast.
“Another two hours,” I reply softly.
“I’m feeling impatient,” she confesses with a giggle.
“I am as well,” I admit.
“What’s it going to be like? Such a large family of immortals?” Camilla murmurs curiously.
My lips turn upward, “Who knows? Life is now a limitless adventure. Perhaps we will open the school that is the Stackhouse’s dream? You could teach math,” I wink at her.
“What would you teach?” Camilla giggles.
“I suppose that depends on the level of schooling. If it were high school, I would probably teach sociology. If it were primary school, more than likely I would teach social studies,” I tease.
“What about Pam and Eric?” Camilla presses, her face a wide grin while she pictures Eric or Pam as educators.
“Eric should teach sexual education!” I remark with laughter.
“Oh, no!” Camilla laughs loudly at my teasing.
Those two hours that felt an eternity away pass quickly in the company of my lover. She must sense the sun setting in her own human way because her hands clamp around my wrists and Camilla pulls me atop her impatiently.
“Hurry, hurry, hurry!” she squeals excitedly while her legs wrap around my hips.
“Mila, wait,” I am laughing as her mouth rains kisses wherever it can reach. Her teeth clamp playfully on my throat and I feel another chuckle tumble past my lips. “You are such an impatient creature.”
“Impatient to be yours,” she replies with a kittenish whine.
Holding her face in my hands, I capture Camilla’s lips and kiss her slowly once more, “I am impatient to be yours as well, but let us not rush this.” Her body softens in my hands and I feel her mouth relax into a smile. “Thank you.”
It is not long before our slowly wandering hands grow impatient once more. This time, I am the one who can no longer wait, and Camilla does nothing to stop me from tearing into my wrist. I am barely able to offer her the wound before her lips are clamped in a seal around the injury. Her sweet mouth is suckling at my blood, silently encouraging me to open her throat and share in this exchange. I do as I am bidden and soon her blood is trickling into my throat. Her body is tightening in my embrace and her soul is braiding itself into my own.
Elation sings through myself and Camilla. Even as we reach new peaks of pleasure, it is still secondary to the overwhelming joy of being eternally united with our other half.
From this day forward, no matter where this world takes me, I no longer take the journey alone.