Hit me like a ray of sun, burning through my darkest night
You’re the only one that I want, think I’m addicted to your light
I swore I’d never fall again but this don’t even feel like falling
Gravity can’t begin to pull me back to the ground again
It’s like I’ve been awakened, every rule I had you breakin’
It’s the risk that I’m taking, I’m never gonna shut you out!
Everywhere I’m looking now I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo, you know you’re my saving grace
You’re everything I need and more, it’s written all over your face
Baby, I can feel your halo, I pray it won’t fade away
~ Halo, Beyonce
Entering the lobby of the location Niall had sent us to, I felt a tightening sensation in my chest. I was unsure if it actually existed or not so I brushed it aside. The man from the photograph met us and led us through the exquisite building. There was no denying its beauty, but the Roman themes made me feel uneasy: The last time I had faced Romans I had been fighting for my life and dragged into slavery.
Upon entering the casino, I moved to flank Miss Stackhouse, not entirely trusting the surrounding vampires and weres. We were in unfamiliar territory and that made this all the more dangerous.
Stopping before the grand staircase, Ari addressed us once again. “Ah, here comes my Queen!” His words caused me to frown a little. It was true that a man should always give his lover a beautiful term of endearment but to call someone a Queen was just asking for them to gain an ego that could rival my Childe’s.
Looking up as a woman started to descend the staircase, I froze. She was a carbon copy of my Ata, even down to the shade of blue of her eyes. I watched as she moved down the staircase, oozing grace and elegance. I was captivated by her resemblance to my lover, and for a moment I believed God was playing a cruel joke on me.
Her gaze was focused on Miss Stackhouse, and I was grateful for that, it gave me time to compose myself. “It’s so lovely to finally meet you, my kinswoman! Niall has spoken so fondly of you.” She beamed with pure excitement, her body language bubbling over with happiness. She even had the spirit of my Ata, so full of life and joy. A wave of sadness washed over me as the memories flooded my mind.
Dropping Ari’s hand, the beautiful woman gestured around her to the casino, obviously proud of her business. “Welcome, welcome to my palace, Caesars Palace! My name is Ata.”
I couldn’t stop the gasp that slipped out of my lips, “Ata?”
Her eyes shifted from Miss Stackhouse’s to mine and she gasped too at the sight of me, a shocked expression on her features as her blue eyes fell to the tribal tattoo peeking out from under my shirt, as if seeking confirmation of my identity. Looking up into my eyes once again, I could tell she was fighting back her tears; her voice came out in a whisper. “Godric?”
The moment my name slipped from between her red lips I knew she was my Ata, and she was very much alive. I vamped so I was standing directly in front of her as the tears started to fall from her eyes; she grabbed me and pulled me into a tight embrace, my arms automatically wrapping around her frame as my own tears threatened to roll down my cheeks. Her body shook as sobs escaped her. The rest of the world didn’t matter at that moment, I had my Ata, and she was locked in my embrace. She remembered me after 2000 years! The last Queen of Egypt remembered me, the poor slave boy.
Pulling back to look at her, my hands cupped her face and she leant into my embrace, her warm flesh contrasting against my cold hands. Leaning forward I pressed my lips to her cheek, capturing her tears: They were sweet. “How?” I asked in a whisper.
“Fae, we have long lives,” she responded equally as quietly, obviously not wanting to broadcast her heritage to all the vampires in the world. Her hands moved to my lips and I parted them slightly. The moment her fingers ghosted over my front teeth my fangs slid down into place and I saw the anguish on her beautiful features. “I should have said something to my mother, I was too late to save you from the darkness, I am so sorry,” she apologised, more tears rolling down her face.
Shaking my head, I kissed her finger as I retracted my fangs. “Don’t apologise, it’s not your fault. If I hadn’t been turned, we wouldn’t be here now, I wouldn’t be holding you close once again,” I reassured her quietly. “I saw your sarcophagus, though, were you in it?” I murmured, the memory of watching the procession of mourners making itself known.
Shaking her head, her teeth sank into her lower lip. “It was empty. I wasn’t ageing and I refused to marry the man the High Court was forcing me to because he wasn’t you. I needed to get out of the city. My boys helped me fake it. I’m so sorry you had to see it,” she apologised again.
“Your boys?” I asked flinching at the accusing tone my voice had taken on.
Smiling reassuringly, her finger moved from my lips to trace my jaw lovingly. “When my mother died, I learnt of what I am and discovered that I would live an awfully long time. The most trusted men in the palace vowed to stand by my side forever, they sought out your kind and had themselves turned so they could protect me,” She explained, sparing an affectionate glance to Ari who stood a little to her side, smiling at us warmly.
Another vampire approached our group, he had long dark hair, pulled back into a neat ponytail and his eyes were a bright green. “Ata, the penthouse is perhaps the best place to continue your reunion, people are starting to notice,” he addressed Ata, glancing around the room as more eyes started to turn to us.
Wiping her cheeks, she nodded in agreement, her hand finding mine and holding onto it tightly. “Thank you, Khai,” she addressed him. Gently tugging me, she led our group back up the staircase and to a private lift. Entering the space, the walls were decorated in rich red velvet and decorated with gold detail and the backs of the elevator doors were crystal clear mirrors. Ata pushed a button and the elevator lurched to life, starting to carry us all up to the penthouse. My grip on Ata’s hand tightened a little and I leant into her, not wanting to be physically parted from her.
“You own a beautiful building, Miss Caesar,” Miss Stackhouse broke the silence, watching my love through the mirrors on the back of the door.
“Please, call me Ata, we’re family,” Ata asked. “And thank you, I do love this place but I’m not a fan of marble, I find myself falling flat on my butt on it a lot.” She laughed, her laughter melodic as it rung out in the confined space. Closing my eyes, I relished the sound. For 2000 years I had gone without it, and now I remembered how beautiful it was. Both Miss Stackhouse and Eric laughed along as Ata laughed at herself and a sudden sense of peace fell upon me. I had my lover, my Childe and, I suppose I could class Miss Stackhouse as a sort of daughter-in-law, with me. They were my little family.
The elevator came to a stop and the doors slid back to reveal the penthouse suite. It was nothing like the rest of the building. Gone were the marble floors, and instead a rich cream carpet covered the floor, the walls were painted a creamy brown colour and the cherry wood furniture was comfortably modern. The room used a mixture of creams and browns and had a warm feeling to it, a stark contrast to the cool marble and whites that were used on the lower levels of the building. The lights gave the room a golden glow, and abstract paintings were hung on the walls. Flowers decorated the surfaces and wicker chairs sat in front of a breakfast bar. The room was an open plan so the kitchen could be seen from the living room. The kitchen itself had doors made from the same cherry wood and granite-topped counters. The appliances sparkled and a huge bowl of fresh fruit sat on one of the counters. There were two doors off of the open plan space and both were open. I could see hallways through the open doors and assumed they led to bedrooms and other rooms. It was so different from the rest of the building.
“Welcome to my home. Please make yourselves at home, what’s mine is yours,” Ata informed us all with a grin. “I’ll have a couple of my boys bring up your belongings. I had the best suites put aside for you but I can assure you staying in the penthouse will be a much better experience,” she declared, sparing a glance to a tall blonde vampire who had been leaning against the doorway to another room. With a nod he left, taking the elevator back down to presumably gather our belongings.
Ata’s attention turned to Eric and she regarded him for a moment, “I don’t believe we’ve met but I’m going to go with Viking…” she started and my Childe picked up the slack.
“You are correct. Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, Godric’s progeny,” he stated with his signature smirk. Ata’s eyes turned to me and she tipped her head sideways a little, exactly like she used to during my human years.
“Eric is a fierce warrior and I wanted his companionship,” I explained.
Miss Stackhouse watched my lover as I interacted with her before turning to Eric and speaking up. “You know, I’ve never been to a casino before. I’d just love to try and win a buck.” She batted her eyelashes, starting to drag my Childe towards the elevator. Miss Stackhouse was allowing me some time with my Ata, and I would be sure to thank her later.
The moment they left the room my arms were back around Ata, holding her close to me, relishing in her body heat. Her tears started falling again as she held me close in return, “I’ve missed you so much, the moment my guards told me you were dead I didn’t believe them, I refused to,” she confessed, the fingers on one of her hands running into the back of my hair, caressing the back of my head.
A few stray bloody tears slipped from my eyes at the memory of her anguish. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you too. Missed your smile, missed your laugh. I saw it when your guards told you. I remember being told you’d died, I didn’t believe it either. I saw you cradle your mother when she passed and I wanted nothing more than to comfort you. I was so frightened, though, so frightened you wouldn’t care for me anymore,” I confessed in return.
Pulling back, Ata’s hands held my face, her bright blue eyes finding my pale eyes, “I will always care for you. I wouldn’t have cared about what you are, I still don’t care about what you are because to me you will always be the beautiful boy who kept me company through my childhood, who held me when I cried, who taught me to swim, who slept beside me, and took me on long walks.”
“What about Ari? Won’t he be angry that you care for me?” I asked, uncharacteristically worried that the Egyptian vampire would become jealous and lash out.
It took Ata a moment to catch on to what I was saying but soon she was laughing, “Oh I’m not with him! No, no! He’s my guardian, Godric, not my lover. That title has always been yours,” she assured me, brushing her nose against mine in an affectionate gesture.
Nuzzling my nose in the crook of her neck as more tears escaped both of us, I inhaled her sweet scent, feeling the pounding of her pulse through her jugular; it was reassuring, steady and strong. I hadn’t fed for over two years, I needed very little blood to survive these days, but she was too tempting. My fangs snapped down without warning and I promptly removed myself from her arms, raising a hand to my mouth in embarrassment. My control was usually perfect, but for some reason, my control was similar to that of a newborn’s.
Ata took a step towards me with no horror or shock on her face. She removed my hand, once again running her finger over my teeth, brushing against my fangs. An involuntary groan left my lips at the contact; vampire’s fangs were an erogenous zone. “You’re pale, you haven’t fed in a while,” she gently scolded, a brief smile flittered across my lips as I remembered my conversation with Miss Stackhouse on the roof in Dallas when I’d mentioned Ata’s way of gently telling me off. Forcing my fangs back, I licked her finger.
With a sweet laugh, she swept her hair up, pinning it to the side and exposing the creamy skin of her neck. Raising a hand to my cheek she brushed her thumb across my cheekbone, “Take from me, I want to nourish you.”
There was no denying how tempting it was, yet I struggled with myself, worried that I’d lose control and hurt her. She was fae, and I’d drained the last faery I’d drunk from.
“I trust you,” she broke my silence, gently leading my head to her neck. Stopping just shy, I turned my head to look up at the woman I’d believed to be dead for the last 2000 years. There was so much we still had to discuss, and yet I knew at that moment I wouldn’t be going anywhere without her. So, for the first time in 1000 years, I decided to share myself with another. It was a sudden decision but in the years we had been parted there hadn’t been a moment where I hadn’t been thinking of her, the smallest things reminded me of her. I wanted to feel her, to feel her emotions, to feel my blood in her veins, to reacquaint myself with her.
“Will you take from me, as I take from you?” I asked quietly, nervous about her response. As an older vampire, I’d been taught that our blood was sacred, I’d only given it to one being in my time and that had been Eric.
“You want to start a bond?” she asked in response, blinking in surprise. Clearly, the vampires that took care of her had filled her in on our kind.
Panicking slightly at her question, I babbled on, worried she wouldn’t want me. “Only if you want to, I mean I completely understand if you don’t want that, we have 2000 years to catch up on and I…” she cut me off, her lips meeting mine in a gentle yet sure kiss. 2000 years and I finally got to kiss her again. Her red lips were soft and smooth and delightfully plump. She pulled away slowly, almost reluctantly.
“I want nothing more. I’ve gone for too long without you. You’re not getting away from me again.” She smiled and my lips found hers once more, imprinting the texture and taste of her into my mind. Pulling her body closer, I pressed my hips to hers, letting her feel exactly what she did to me. A whimper escaped her as she felt my arousal and I chuckled in response, pulling back to look into her eyes.
Letting my fangs fall back into place, I led her to one of the sofas, taking a seat before settling her between my legs, her back to my chest. Raising my right wrist, I bit into it, breaking the skin, before offering it to her. She took it gently, kissing my hand before licking tentatively at the wound. “Keep drinking until it seals over,” I explained as her lips latched on, sealing the wound with her mouth so as not to spill a single drop.
Groaning at the sensation, I could feel my blood entering her system and her emotions started to fill me up. Happiness, excitement, and love. The love part baffled me; I had expected some form of affection of course but love? I had abandoned her for 2000 years and yet she still held some form of love for me. God had indeed blessed me.
Using my free hand, I swept away the stray strands of her golden locks, licking and kissing along her neck, causing her to sink against me. Finding the vein, I struck with precision, gently easing my fangs into her unblemished skin. The moment her blood hit my palate I moaned, her rich ambrosia was sweet and wonderfully thick. My free hand snaked around her waist, resting on the inside of her thigh, which I stroked gently. The smell of her arousal hit my nostrils and combined with her sweet blood I had to call upon my 2000 years of control to stop myself from throwing her down on the coffee table and ravishing her until dawn.
I felt the bond forming and relished in it. This was right. This was good. As the wound on my wrist healed over, Ata licked it clean like a vampire would and at the same time I pulled back from her neck, licking and sealing the marks I’d made. Eyes shut; I focused on her emotions, smiling as I felt each one.
The bond was there, it was faint but it was there, and for the first time in 2000 years I felt utterly complete.