Spoiler ShowSo I've been writing fanfiction for a little while now (properly at least, I mean, not just pre-pubescent fangasming) and have an account on FanFiction.Net
I've mostly done one-shots but I'm currently working on Stupre. It's a True Blood fanfiction with mature themes. Eric/Godric is also OTP Numéro Deux, so this really was inspired by that pairing because I love the implied complexity behind it.
You can find the fic on the site at the link below.
It's pretty darn long, so be aware. There will be more chapters in due time.
STUPRE, a True Blood fanfiction
I was baptised in Lethe water. I don't recall how you managed to collect so much of it and ship it to the boat-shaped tomb but I remember that it was red and that it stank of death and autumn leaves paving the path to Valhalla. With my straw hair and toothpick limbs I thought death was an unbecoming thing, and I feared it because it denied me the vitality with which I would pass on my father's honourable name.
His moniker and the moniker of his father and his father's father and so on—Kung—was scribed into the wood of the shield which had been procured and strengthened over hundreds of years by a process of immersion in water, drying, and then glossing with brain mush and urine. It was the very tale of our ancestors and the men before us and some even said that the metal splayed across the front, creating four separate sections, was hammered by Thor himself. At an early age I would handle the shield with childish carefulness; in later years when I found a dance in the slashes and smashes of the battlefield I would make sure to use the shield as much as possible because I too wanted to earn the moniker of Kung which I would pass down onto my son in later years.
I used the shield so much that it was cleaved in the middle; the blow delivered was intended to crush my heart and lungs but the irony lay in the fact that despite having been saved by the wooden instrument, its damaging was more painful to me than the bitter snap of a mace or the heated swoon of a sword. The realisation that I was totally open to death hit me hard and I stumbled back as I felt the impact of another shield clashing against mine: And then I saw a blunt axe come down to cut off my head but Leif, my comrade, tackled the burly man and stuck him through the neck with a sharpened wooden stick. Leif came to my side along with Joric and together they brought me to my feet and pulled me through the hilly swamp of our beautiful country.
They regarded the shield sadly for it was a most regrettable thing and I realised—even if they did not—that the two halves of that shield were replaced by the two men. I could not lift them and bring them together for I had no such strength or mind to do it, but I did understand that they were the final gates shutting me off from the sweeping track to Valhalla. I did not like to think of it, as had been the way ever since a small age, but death was now inevitable and most certainly imminent; we were delving into more treacherous lands where trees were barren and animals had gone into hibernation for the oncoming winter. The snow had not yet begun to fall but the places we camped gave nothing but berries and what birds we could shoot down with rocks. We could not live on such a small supply of food, which we realised—so we began to talk, around our pathetic fire, of death and how we should go about it.
We wanted to go honourably: or Joric and I wanted to, at least. Leif was a true man of our country but he held the rather unorthodox principle that a man should live humbly for his cause, not die heroically for it because that would be stupid. And what was our cause, asked Leif? Mine was to avenge my father's murder; Joric's to travel in search of a small village—set around the icy caves of the upper lip of our country—and its chief who had raped and murdered his wife (and his unborn child); but Leif stood for little, if anything at all.
He believed that a man was more important than a land: and this was barbaric to us. Love for our country ran in our veins as strong as the blood which fed life to the heart which in turn processed this love—like nature it was cyclic and only perished when our bodies fermented the earth and our spirits ascended to the heavens. But Leif, who was agnostic in his beliefs and simply laissez-faire about the old traditions and our Swedish ways, could only shrug when his father disowned him from his native people, which is when we picked him up—Joric and I and the rest of our band of honouring avengers—and took him along with us because—coincidentally, not out of irony—we felt that a strong group of men was more honourable than simply a quartet brandishing kingly weapons.
So we came to understand that Leif was an adventurer of sorts, doing things for himself because he wanted to, and in our many months together we had connected and we had come to understand one another which in turn lead to the birth of a lot of respect for ourselves and for our little tribe. This is why neither Joric nor I much protested when he said he wished that one of us would cut his head off and get death over and done with; he said that if there really were such a thing as Valhalla then he would go there and simply walk in. He didn't think anybody would stop him and throw him back out because he was not one of the 'many moulded'. That was, of course, a sly jibe at Joric and myself but we brushed it off as he explained that he wasn't really much different from any other Swedish man of honour: He ate, he procreated, he fought, he defended, etcetera. And he was right, of course.
In the back of my mind I had begun to consider Leif's way of thinking. It was becoming apparent to me that the men of our country were divided into their small groups; the only denominator between them was that they all believed in the country and its people and all of them would swig a gallon of ale in the name of Sweden. And yet despite this good will to all men, they would destroy one another and nothing would be left of that good will simply because there would be nothing left of the men themselves. That, to me, was rather stupid.
And yet I was still so scared of dying, and I knew that death was not far off and that I ought to die honourably because there would be more life in Valhalla; and so I should please the gods with my rituals so that they would give me another life in the white lands. So Joric and I both agreed that we would lie down, in the harsh, snowless winter, and die atop a bed of wood. I believed—or at least I hoped—that another band of men, with their honour, would see our bodies and set fire to the beds and that we would both ascend in true quota.
And that would be the end of that.
We continued, of course. And several weeks later, my father's shield surely weathered by rain and leaves a hundred or so miles behind us, the snowfall began and all things seemed to curl up and die. It was difficult enough for the birds to forage for berries and insects so there simply was no hope for us. But death came for me a little quicker than I'd anticipated; its catalyst was a troupe of bandits who, upon seeing Leif's well-kept brooch, attacked us under the assumption we were rich men with food and gold. They found nothing of the sort, of course, but then they were dead quicker than a hummingbird can flap its wings and I was still no closer to earning my moniker of Kung because I had not yet found the man responsible for the slaughter of my father and the rest of the family.
By now we were all weak, I the most. I would have told them I'd kill to have that shield once more for a bit of protection but in truth I could only sigh heavily and be grateful that I would die more quickly. Winter's bite was hard now, much nastier than its bark. We were used to them up in our country but that was all very well and good because we usually had a shop of little fires surrounding one bonfire from the wood we'd spent all year collecting and preserving. Without food, dry wood or shelter, and with an infected wound on the inside of my knee, there was no way I would make it through the day.
I was right, of course. But you knew that as well because you were following me.
Later that day a miracle occurred. The sun rose, high in the sky, and blasted away most of the snow with its omnipotent gaze. I did not understand it—science was undeveloped, you understand—back then so I assumed it the work of a god. I thought that maybe we were on the right track, our country of Sweden, and that we were being rewarded with a hint of summer because the gods loved us. Or perhaps I was hallucinating because I knew that I was so close to dying: and that the greenery of the murky swamps was in fact the lush fields of Valhalla.
I turned to Joric and Leif for confirmation that I wasn't seeing things but their joyous jumping and shouting told me that things were in fact real: And that warmed me and heated my blood like the love of our country which ran through the veins of every boy and girl. I thought that perhaps the world reflected my body: healing, warming, living, breathing. For hours I stumbled along with the two of them, light with the new high of summer, but my body was not healing. My body burned; inside my body was crumbling.
At night, which came early as it does in winter, the air was still balmy. I thought that though I was dying this was simply the lobby of Valhalla and it had settled around me to welcome me and to accommodate my weary bones. Joric smiled when I told him this with little breath left in me, and Leif smiled as well though I now know it was only to make me happy. Joric had lost much of his weight since the decline in sustenance—as had Leif—but was not yet ready for death. When I passed, Joric said he and Leif would burn my pyre before he would turn on Leif and behead him as Leif had requested. It was testament to Leif's firm agnosticism that he still wished to die in this way despite the wonderful day we had witnessed.
So I drew in a ragged breath through my tired lungs and rested a spell while they threw together a pyre which took them several hours. For two of those hours I saw them stumble and catch themselves as if this was the last of their strength and I felt woeful that I could not help them prepare for my death. I felt dishonourable and in my moment of grief I told them to leave me in the ditch which bore me and to go on, to use the wood for a grand fire to warm themselves.
Joric was vehement about not leaving me there, but it was Leif who pressed forwards with a quip about missing the opening stanza of Valhalla's songs. He surprised me with it, which made me smile, and in my mirth I told him not to mind because in Valhalla there would be the entire world's wonders waiting at my feet: such as good ale and fine women. They would have none of it—even after tired laughter—and they pulled me to my feet—I marvel at their strength to this day—and helped me climb up the wooden bed. It was comfortable, softened with dried leaves like an airy mattress.
Ironic, isn't it, I told them, that my death bed would be more accommodating than that infernal thing my father had provided for me. They laughed, and then we began to talk about things we would miss once we were dead. Women, I said, women with large breasts and a penchant for the feel of a hard floor. Leif gave me a wink and asked if it had really been that long for me: Well, I told him, the well-worn hand of a warrior was inferior to the soft silk of a maiden's thighs; and then I added that a woman's thighs were the only superior thing she possessed and the three of us jostled with our laughter. You wouldn't have thought I was about to die.
But it came to me that the summer air was gone and that it was freezing once more: the moon hung overhead like a fat pearl winking behind the passing clouds. I began to shiver, as did my companions, and a curious sense of dread filled me. It was almost like the hairs at the back of my neck were standing up much like a cat's tail pricks at the air when it senses something unsafe.
Everything went silent very suddenly. If you were preoccupied you wouldn't have noticed but because we were all very well-attuned to the fact we were slowly dying we picked up on it almost immediately. The trees stopped with their whispers and the wolves howling far off seemed to be cut off very quickly like something had grabbed their necks and had snapped them with considerable force.
I looked at Leif who in turn looked to Joric who in turn looked back at me. We were asking ourselves what we should do—stupid, of course, because we hadn't planned to carry on living anyway—when there was a crack somewhere to the left and my heart began to thud. I was surprised because I most certainly thought the poor organ wouldn't have the strength for it but it appears that even in the face of extreme adversity the human body remains an amazing thing. It was adrenaline which kicked in, and I looked around with my eyes, hoisting myself to my elbows.
And yet nothing: just the black of the skeletal trees.
"Eric—" began Joric but he was cut off when something smashed into him at such speed and with such momentum that he went flying and smacked his head on a nearby rock. I saw his eyes roll upwards—having become hyper alert, and having urinated myself with fear and shock—and then he was gone.
Leif was next: the thing, a blur, a body of fog, a great streak, a massive error in the world, hit him and snapped his neck. I saw his hand give a little spasm before he dropped to the floor like a sack of rocks, and then I was truly defenceless without my shield and my band of warriors and my two new best comrades. On the funeral pyre I was more alive and alert than ever as my head twisted this way and that to find the thing which had killed my only defences.
But I was pushed back gently, barely feeling the wood touch the back of my head, and you appeared in my vision like a little bandit. And I would have mistaken you for one had it not been for the blood smeared all over your mouth as if you had just split a pig's belly open and supped out its life. I immediately understood that you were the thing and my heart almost began to palpitate. Almost—because you were doing something to me that drew me to you which at the time I didn't understand.
But I understood your grace and the swiftness with which you executed your prey. I thought that was admirable, though macabre, but then again who was I to judge what was macabre and what was not? I thought my sword had seen more blood than you, at which you laughed as if you had heard my thoughts, and my brows knitted together.
I simply could not understand you: Small, gamine, a boy no older than fifteen, and a black ribbon draped around your shoulders like the great men of Sweden. Surely you were great, but you were not a man. And then I began to consider the day and things slotted together in my head like a puzzle.
You were the end of my glorious day; you were the train come to disturb my summery layer of Valhalla's page of contents; you had come to ferry me to the land of wonder and life. I softened immediately and saw you as what you were.
"Are you Death?" I asked. You smiled. It was almost fatherly with its tenderness as if I were a new born babe who had yet to learn anything at all. I blinked, confused, wondering why you found me so amusing; I felt belittled underneath you who perched yourself on the edge of my deathbed on the balls of your feet. You looked at me as if I were asking a very silly question, one which was infinite in its basicness. But you went on, leaving your river of thoughts unsaid. I was alarmed at the softness of your voice: "Yes," you replied.
"But you're just a little boy." I blurted that out. I was accusing you, almost angry at you for the way you looked at me as if I were a little piglet before you for you to gorge yourself upon. And yet your eyes—blacker than the cold night, I realised—softened me. I retreated into myself once again and simply looked at you in your endless beauty.
"I've been watching you," you said. This didn't alarm me as much as it should have. I understood that it meant I was marked for death but it didn't stir anything in particular within me. I thought maybe that I was numb from the cold or that I was unable to feel because I had no food which would act as fuel for my emotions. It didn't matter to me that you'd stalked me over days and listened to my conversations with my fellow men: it only made me curious as to why.
"You have a passion for life," you went on. Your eyes were alight like someone had put stars in them. You seemed happy—or content like you had found something for which you'd been searching for a very long time. "It pulled me to you like a moth—I kept myself from you to witness you, to see if you were possibly worthy—and when I knew you were ready to die, that you had accepted it, accepted me, I came to answer your call. And here I am, Eric—" it wasn't strange that you should know my name "—and I've come to give you back that which you love."
You spoke with such enthusiasm that I felt very confused, but captivated nonetheless, because it seemed to me that you hadn't just been following me for days but for years instead. It appeared as if you'd been… waiting for me.
"Yes," you said in reply, and your voice was almost sad as if you regretted something which was deep-seated behind your eyes, "too many years, I fear…" You gave me a smile which made me jolt: behind your blood-caked lips there were wicked fangs which were too big for your boyish mouth; I knew it was these weapons which had killed Joric and Leif. It also came to me that the blood painting your sweet face was that of my two men. "Don't fear me," you said, and instantly I didn't. I yielded to you as you traced my jaw with your fingers which were only slightly warmer than the air. "Strong jaw," you muttered, "excellent bone structure… A lion, aren't you?"
You hummed to yourself as you looked me over, touching me ever so gently. My breath hitched when you found the gash behind my knee; you pressed your palm there and came away with a bit of dry blood which you sniffed before flicking off your hand. I thought you were going to taste it: and some irrational part of me thought you were going to find it unsatisfying and that you would throw me away like a broken blade.
"Yes," you said after a poignant pause, "yes, you're exactly what I've been waiting for." And again you smiled except your red teeth weren't frightful to me but fascinating. I raised a weak hand, entranced, to trace them: you didn't stop me. They were hard against my frozen skin and I knew they were harder than metal. I suspected not even a sword could hack through them: but you were also much too fast, which I had already experienced from your slaughtering of my friends. It didn't bother me that you had killed them. I found it all too trivial now that you were here.
And you needed it, didn't you? Blood, I mean. You needed it; you pressed your gentle lips to my ear and told me that you had come to me finally because I was perfect. I shivered, back arching to meet your teenage frame and despite the fact I was thirty in age—twice that of you surely—I felt like you could crush me in your sleep.
"Sleep," you said, "is but my cousin: and Life is but my cousin, too; we are all related, the three of us, all of us rocking in the boat named Forever. And she is magnificent, Eternity, and I hope you would accept her body as a vessel for your strength and I hope you would allow her to heal you, Eric."
"Yes," I breathed, "yes. Carry me forever, little boy, make me a cousin of Sleep and Life."
You smiled at me, which of course made my heart give a funny little jump and suddenly my throat felt very tight as I started to cry uncontrollably. My nose was red, my voice hoarse and my eyes stinging with the effort: I was a full grown man blubbering because I realised that first of all I was afraid to die: and that second of all, Death would take me away from you because I would not be the Living Death which you were; and Sleep would palm me off to Death, to his cousin, and I would miss you entirely because I would be caught up in my dreams which would make no sense at all.
"Yes," you replied, "yes, Eric. Sleep and Life will be our cousins: and I will be your father, your brother… your son. You can hold me with your strong arms, you can cradle Death the Boy, and when the light comes to chase us away to deliver us to our cousin Sleep, I can hold you until dark falls once more, which is when I can tutor you as a father does to his child." You paused to think quietly, and wiped away my tears as you did so. "Du skall vara Kung."
I could tell Swedish was not your mother tongue but you made it beautiful with your light accent; I wondered what else your mouth was capable of, what other languages and songs you might be able to produce. Debauchery, I thought as I caught yet another glimpse of your wicked fangs, and then I realised you would give them to me, too, and I would be a king like you. I would earn my moniker in the fashion of weaponry.
The thought of it made my chest ease. If I were like you, if you taught me to be like you, I would have both the skill, patience and time to seek out the man responsible for the death of my family. I could follow him to his little crease of Sweden and then cut his throat with my teeth: but I wouldn't drink. In my youth with my idiot's sense of honour I didn't want to drink his blood. I wanted it to spill onto the grass and paint the tundra flowers red much like my family had painted our floor red: twin paintings, only my enemy's with much more gore and carrion than he'd ever been able to do to mine.
"Yes," you said softly, "you'll be an artful reaper. You'll be my blond king." Then you rose up above me, arching like a cat and there must have been my message of readiness in my eyes because you wasted no time in twisting my head to the side and driving your teeth into my skin.
I inhaled sharply as pain exploded around my throat. On instinct I went to bat you off but you were held fast to me, one leg swung across my chest to straddle me as you supped. My hand caught in your hair but no matter how hard I pulled you would not budge; even when I delivered my knuckles to your small ribs you merely shifted as if it caused you nothing but discomfort. And how old were you—fifteen, sixteen at the most? My battle-hardened hands were no match for your hunter strength. I realised this as you crushed my arm against a thick branch of my pyre, crushing the bones without realising it.
You slurped loudly and made deep, guttural sounds of hunger: And then I thought, Oh, no, I've been had! The way you feasted on my blood was like that of a lion: you gnawed through my tissue like slicing through warm butter and you looked not set to stop till I was dead. You wanted me for the feed, I thought, and you weren't going to make me your son and father and brother at all. I cried out at this point as I realised that I had failed Death's test: there would be no Valhalla for me now, only hell moulded to my worst nightmares. I would be made to relive this shame and agony forever with my family's murder occurring again and again and again next to me.
I began to cry, wailing really, but there was nobody out there to hear me but you—and even if there had been, what chance did they stand against you? A stroke of their swords would slice your flesh but you would be too fast to let them touch you; you'd grab the metal and snap it like a twig in your hands. Monster, I spat at you in my thoughts, dishonourable scoundrel, bastard fiend, traitor, condemned—
—and yet nothing could save me from you. I realised I was dying because I felt light and blissfully sleepy. I lost the feelings to my limbs gradually, and even the sharp prick of your teeth was becoming a dull ache. I tried to lift my arm as if I could possibly convince you to let me go and to let me live but I couldn't even make my shoulder move. My body became deadweight and hollow; your slurping was emptier and you pressed your mouth more desperately against my neck—I was dying, nothing would give me back my life, and Valhalla was lost to me. This I surely knew because I was cold and numb, and Valhalla's summery warmth was fabled throughout our country and amongst our people but you'd left me an empty pit without even a soul.
My eyes fluttered shut, too much of an effort to keep them open, and I let out a small sigh before my heart stopped and my lungs ceased to expand. I wasn't alive to witness you suck out the last of my energy; neither was I alive to see you sit back and observe my stone-cold face and its defeated rapture. You leaned forwards and smoothed my hair back from my forehead and placed a gentle kiss there.
"Soon," you said, "you will be a king."