Chapter Seventeen: Cold
“Are you all right, Stackhouse?” Captain Kleinman asked gently. “You look tense…”
Sookie’s eyes looked up from her desk phone to the warm brown irises of her boss. “Y-yeah… Everything’s fine,” she replied.
“Expecting a call?” he asked, somewhat confused.
“Dreading,” she admitted.
Kleinman’s eyes widened marginally just as he blanched in realization. “Oh, I see,” He reached out and patted Sookie’s arm. “Just let me know if you have to leave on short notice.”
Nodding, Kleinman walked over to Trent’s desk and leaned against the edge. “How’s she holding up, Ben?” he asked quietly, unaware that Sookie could hear his conversation with the officer even with the distance.
Trent’s eyes swept over to Sookie and he frowned, “Worse, I’d say. It’s hard to tell if it’s the Bond or all the other shit going on with her. It’s been nearly a week since her and Northman Bonded, and she just gets more and more withdrawn by the day.”
“Almost like the pre-Northman days,” Kleinman agreed in disappointment.
Trent nodded. “I don’t think the interrogation pitch will let us keep her,” Trent admitted sadly.
“I’m afraid you’re right…”
Do not cry, Sookie. Do NOT cry, Sookie! The telepath prompted herself miserably while she listened to Trent and Kleinman’s conversation. Her heart was pounding furiously, her throat was dry and tight, and her gut was twisting with the effort to hold back her tears.
On top of the dread she was feeling over her grandmother’s fading health, a critical sense of foreboding had begun to envelope her over the past two days while she was at the station. At first, Sookie had feared the discomfort was a product of the Bond and that she was being compelled to quit due to her connection with Eric. However, early that morning, a new piece of evidence had given Sookie a much more disconcerting reason to be in fear of her life.
Not too close to dusk. Not too close to dusk….
A shiver ran down Sookie’s spine at the memory. It had been the briefest glimpse into a mind she did not recognize. Of course, the mind’s mantra had not been noticeably directed toward her, but the implication behind the words was enough to raise the hair on the back of the telepath’s neck.
Almost like a premonition, the thought had evoked a chill in her bones. Someone wanted to hurt her, most likely kill her, and they did not want Eric to be able to treat her injuries.
Today, it has to be today! thought the agitated mind.
Sookie jerked away from her desk and made a start to look for the body connected to the thoughts. The members of the homicide division looked up at her sudden movement, and Sookie stood frozen, a half-step away from her desk. She stared at the door as her co-workers trained their eyes intently on her.
It would not be wise to find the person whose thoughts sent icicles into her stomach. If the danger was genuinely directed toward her, she would be much better off putting an ocean between her and that person.
What worried Sookie was the fluidity of the thoughts. The voice seemed to weave in and out of her perception. It was a rather bizarre circumstance for the telepath, and the frustration it caused was almost as unbearable as the gnawing fear.
The only comfort that Sookie could take in the situation was the lack of familiarity with the voice or mind. The internal musings of every officer on the force were particularly recognizable to her, and she knew now that whomever it was that had bad intentions toward her was a stranger. It would be easy enough to discern through the Visitor Sign-in Log which unfamiliar person had been wandering the Shreveport P.D. hallways over the past several hours.
Just as Sookie was convincing herself not to make the worst decision of her life, her desk phone began ringing. Her eyes quickly glanced at the shrilling phone and her hand reached for the receiver automatically.
“Detective Stackhouse,” Sookie spoke huskily into the phone.
“Miss Stackhouse, this is Patty Garza,” the crooning, comforting voice of her Gran’s nurse came through the phone.
“Yes, Ms. Garza,” Sookie answered, her hand clutching the phone so tightly her arm began to tremble.
“I’m sorry to tell you that Adele did not wake up this morning, Miss Stackhouse,” Patty told her solemnly.
“I… See…” Sookie swallowed hard and took a long, shaky breath. “Umm… What do I do? D-do you need me to… to… Umm… To come out there? I-I can-”
“Shh, Dear. Don’t worry. Mr. Spencer is on his way and he’ll take care of Adele for now-”
“B-but,” Sookie choked back a sob, cupping her hand over the receiver and turning her back to her coworkers who were trying to look anywhere else but at the young woman receiving the terrible news, “But I want to kiss her goodbye…” she whispered with an all-consuming regret into the phone. “She can’t leave the house without someone kissing her goodbye!” She could no longer repress the sob as this time the sorrow overtook her.
“Sookie!” Patty’s voice became moderately firm. “Take a breath. It will be okay-”
“No,” Sookie moaned. “No, it won’t! Did Jason even come to see her!?” she demanded. “Did she even get to see him one last time!?”
“Okay, Stackhouse,” Trent was behind her clutching her arm, and taking the phone out of her death grip. “Thanks, Patty. She’ll call you back.” He hung up the phone and started leading her out of the office.
“I’m sorry you’re seeing me this way,” Sookie murmured.
“You look much more composed than you might think,” Trent joked lightly. “Hey, I’ll take you home, okay? You look like you need to lay down, and there’s nothing you can do for your Gran right now, okay? So let’s just get you back to your house, and you can curl up until dusk-”
do it. Do it. DO IT! DO IT!
Sookie’s eyes widened at the sudden, close proximity of the ‘Stranger Voice’, and as she experienced that freezing block in her stomach, a deafening crack sounded behind her.
‘Oh my God, what did I do!? Why did I do that!? What am I doing!?’
Sookie looked down at the flash of color that had drawn her attention. ‘Is this my blood?’ she wondered in disbelief. The glacial pit in her belly now felt as if a blinding hot poker had seared its way through the wintery gloom. Her hands reached up while her gaze strayed further down only to see the blossoming floret of blood beneath the area where her fists were clutched. ‘Have I been shot?’
As the shock slowly began to wear off and the pain began to make itself known, Sookie turned her head to see who had fired on her.
“You stupid, fucking rookie!” Sookie snarled just as her legs weakened and she crumbled to the floor. Chlebowski had already dropped his firearm, his hands were above his head, and on his face was an expression so stunned and disbelieving that Sookie was almost convinced into believing someone else had fired the gun and then stuck it in the younger man’s confused hands.
‘What did I do!? Why did I do that!?’
That was not the ‘voice’ of the bone-chilling thoughts from earlier…
Trent was roaring, issuing orders all around. Several other officers appeared and were dragging Chlebowski away. Sookie just lay there in a pool of her own blood, watching as a third party observer.
“Why aren’t any of you worried about me?” Sookie whispered. “There’s a lot of blood here, you know!” she screamed at them. “Don’t you even care that I could be dying!? Has anyone even CALLED AN AMBULANCE!?” she demanded.
Sookie’s shoulders stiffened and she turned her head to look at her Gran standing over her, looking spry and jubilant.
“Oh, no,” Sookie moaned. “I died!?” she began crying. “No! Eric!”
“Shh, Dear,” Gran cooed, sitting on the floor next to Sookie, not getting a drop of blood on her. “This is the in-between. I spent a good deal of time here over the past week or so.”
“I’m dying,” Sookie wept.
“Yes, Dear, you are,” Gran patted her back sympathetically.
“But I finally fell in love,” she whimpered. “I barely got to be happy, and…and…”
“Life’s not fair, Sookie,” Gran reminded her. “You had some happiness though.”
“Why aren’t you telling me to fight!?” Sookie demanded of her grandmother.
Gran smiled, “You always do. Why should I have to tell you?”
“SOOKIE!” Slowly the telepath’s eyes opened into tiny slits. “Stay with me, Sook!” Trent’s voice bellowed, yet it sounded as though it was underwater. “Ambulance is comin’, just hold on!”
“Bbottom ddraw,” she slurred woozily.
“Shh, save your strength,” Trent’s hand squeezed hers.
“Bottom. Drawer,” Sookie forced her mouth to articulate. “Get. It.”
“You can hang on, Sook. You can do it. No one’s stronger than you. Just hang in there. Ambulance will be here any second-”
“Eric’s blood,” she hissed, feeling more pain while she tried to hang onto consciousness. Her muscles flexed, instinctively trying to pull away from the injury, but were incapable of escaping.
“You have some of Eric’s blood here?” Trent asked in a hushed voice.
“Bottom. Drawer,” she repeated.
Trent leapt to his feet, leaving bloody footprints all the way back to the Homicide Division. By the time he reached Sookie’s desk his feet were sticking to the floor, and he wrenched open the bottom drawer of her desk to find a small insulated lunch bag. Unzipping it, he found a pint of blood nestled in a pocket of cool air.
“You glorious bastard!” Trent cheered at Eric’s grim pragmatism as he lunged to his feet and ran back down the hall. “OUT OF THE WAY!” he screamed, shoving a lieutenant kneeling next to her to get to Sookie. Captain Kleinman was kneeling at her other side, and Trent fell to his knees, swiftly yanking open the container to hold to Sookie’s lips. “Drink up, Sooks!” he commanded, tilting Sookie’s head back and trickling the blood into her mouth.
“He sends her to work with a pint of his blood?” Kleinman gasped in surprise.
“Gotta admit, that guy doesn’t leave much to chance,” Trent agreed. “Damn it, Sookie! Drink it!” the deputy roared.
“She’s out again,” Kleinman fretted.
“Sookie, did you miss me again already?” Gran teased.
Sookie’s eyes opened slowly and she found herself lying in Gran’s bed with Adele sitting in the chair where she herself had sat so many afternoons over the past several weeks. “How’d we get here?” Sookie asked warily.
“This is where you wished to be, isn’t it?” Gran guessed.
Sookie frowned, “I wanted to be able to say goodbye to you.” A series of coughs erupted from her mouth and Gran dutifully filled a glass of water, offering it to her granddaughter. “I’m fine.”
Adele clucked her tongue in disapproval, “So stubborn.”
“Always,” Sookie agreed.
Glancing slowly at the bedroom door, Adele admitted, “Well, I suppose, if this ends up being the last time I see you, there is something I should tell you that I learned in the in-between.”
Frowning at her Gran’s cryptic statement, Sookie asked, “What is it, Gran?”
Adele licked her lips, fidgeting with her hands slightly, “I want you to know something very important. You shouldn’t tell Jason; he would never believe it.” When Sookie nodded in agreement, Adele continued, “Your granddaddy was half-fairy.” Sookie’s eyes widened a bit before she choked out a disbelieving laugh. “It’s true, Sookie,” Gran told her sternly, sobering Sookie’s tittering. “Earl knew something was happening to other part-fairies. His fairy godmother was trying to get him to go away with her. He said that you weren’t safe because you were special like he was, that the fairy godmother might try to take you away, too. That day your granddaddy fell into the quarry? I never believed he fell. Now I believe he was pushed or maybe he was running for his life and didn’t see the ground end. He doesn’t know…” Adele stared at her hands guiltily. “I’m telling you this so that you can be aware that there are beautiful creatures who may try to take you away.”
Sookie nodded gravely, uncertain whether or not to believe her grandmother’s tale. Could this be a dying delusion that Sookie was suffering? At the very least, she would mention these things to Eric and see what he had to say. “Do you know the fairy godmother’s name?” Sookie asked in a whisper.
“Claudine. Claudine Crane.”
“But she won’t come after Jason?” Sookie asked to be sure.
“No. He does not have the spark of the fairies,” Gran assured her before clapping her hands and asking, “So, when are you going to say goodbye?”
“Do I get to?” Sookie asked sadly.
“Do you want to?” Gran pressed.
“No,” she admitted.
“What about Eric?”
Sookie felt a tear stream down her cheek and mechanically brushed it away, “I don’t want to hurt him.”
“Then say goodbye to me and drink your water,” Gran insisted.
Sookie stared at the glass, pouting. “Why do I keep having to say goodbye to the ones I love?” she sniffled.
“Because the world is full of meetings and partings, Dear,” Gran consoled.
“If I survive this, I’ll never see you again. I’ll become a vampire at some point and I’ll never die. I’ll never see you in heaven…” Sookie whispered.
“But you love Eric, right? You’ll never have to say goodbye to him,” Gran pointed out.
“Isn’t he enough for you to be able to say goodbye to me?”
“Yes,” Sookie said without hesitation and reached for the glass. Leaning forward, she kissed Gran’s cheek and murmured, “I love you, Gran. Goodbye.”
“I love you, Sookie. Goodbye, and finally be happy!” Gran returned the kiss, Sookie pulled away, and drew the glass to her lips.
“She’s drinking!” Trent cheered. Sookie could hear a collective breath release around her, and then heard the minds of her colleagues letting out relieved sighs. “Whoa, Tiger! Slow down, don’t choke!” Trent gave a watery laugh as Sookie chugged the remaining pint.
“Make room!” a new voice yelled, and Sookie felt hands all over her while her body left the floor. She panicked and began thrashing against her defiance of gravity.
“NO!” she cried, struggling for the ground. “No! I said goodbye!”
“Sookie!” Kleinman cried at her wriggling body.
“I said goodbye!” Sookie yelled. “I don’t want to die!”
“They’re just putting you on a stretcher,” Trent tried to sooth her. “You’re not dying. They’re taking you to the hospital.”
Relaxing somewhat, Sookie eyed the frightened EMT and tried her best not to scare him further with her large, terrified eyes. Instead, she sought out Trent’s face and asked, “Did I drink the whole thing?”
“Every last drop,” Trent assured, keeping up with the stretcher as they wheeled her toward the doors. “You’re gonna be fine, Sooks,” he patted her hand.
“Go with her to the hospital. Keep us updated,” Kleinman called from down the corridor.
“Yes, Captain!” Trent yelled back before returning his attention to Sookie. “You really scared us there, Sook.”
“Sorry,” she replied, wiggling slightly against the sensation of her wound healing. Her lower left quadrant felt strangely missing through her awareness. “Is it healing?” she asked. “It feels numb.”
Trent’s hand palpated the wound, much to the EMT’s annoyance. “Yeah, it’s not bleeding anymore.”
‘What?’ The EMT thought, astounded.
“Vampire blood,” Sookie answered softly in response to the medical personnel’s unasked question.
Once she was loaded into the back of the ambulance, Sookie gestured for her coworker to come in close. “What is it, Sookie?” he asked, leaning in.
“Chlebowski was glamoured,” she hissed into his ear.
Trent’s eyes widened in surprise, “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she whispered. “He was hearing a command all day. I could hear it in his mind. It confused me at first, but when he shot me, everything made sense. The voice I was hearing was the vampire who glamoured the command for him to shoot me.”
Trent licked his dry lips, “Who could’ve done it? It’s really hard to glamour a command like that, or so I’ve been told.”
“I think it was the Queen,” Sookie replied softly. “She’s the only vampire who has it in for me, but I can’t imagine why she would risk so much! It’s a huge vamp no-no to kill a vampire’s Bonded.”
“It’s a huge Supe no-no,” Trent assured.
Nodding, Sookie leaned back and rested her head while the EMT continued checking her wound.
‘Can’t believe it. It’s almost completely sealed!’ The EMT thought in alarm. ‘Damn, vampire blood does a body good… I heard vamps can track humans who drink their blood though. Trade-off might be worth it-‘
“Does that hurt?” the EMT asked, reducing the pressure he was applying to the healing flesh.
“No,” Sookie griped, “It’s still pretty tingly. I’ve never had my abdomen fall asleep, but that’s what it feels like, itchy, tingly, and kind of numb.”
Nodding at her explanation, he went back to checking her vitals.
The trip to the hospital had Sookie a nervous wreck by the time they arrived. She was trying to think of a way to save Chlebowski’s life, and the only way she could do that was to reveal her telepathic ability.
When she was packed away in an exam room, Sookie looked to Trent with concern. “I don’t know what to do, Ben,” she admitted.
“About?” he asked, brow furrowed while he tried to discern what she was talking about.
“How am I going to save that stupid rookie without revealing my ability?” she explained.
Trent sighed, collapsing in the chair near her bed. “I don’t know, Sookie,” he finally answered.
Fisting her hands against her forehead, Sookie leaned over herself and tried to think of something she could use to defend Chlebowski.
“I wasn’t paying attention in the hallway earlier… How many people were there with us?” Sookie asked.
“How many were Weres?” she asked.
“The Lieutenant. There was another patrol officer, and then you, me, and Chlebowski.”
Nibbling her bottom lip, Sookie continued, “You think the patrol officer saw exactly what happened?”
Trent shrugged, “I wouldn’t know what he saw. You’d have a better time determining that than I would.”
“Call the Captain, ask him to pull the Lieutenant and the patrol officer, and to not to let anyone speak to Chlebowski,” she directed.
“What are you-”
“Just do it. I’ll explain later. I need to think all this through,” she answered him sharply.
Nodding, Trent reached for his phone and dialed the Captain, relaying Sookie’s order. When he was done, the Were looked to his friend expectantly.
“I’ll have to inform the Captain and Lieutenant of my telepathy. We’ll need to convince the other patrol officer that it was a weapon malfunction and my own bad luck. Worst case scenario, we’ll glamour him. We’ll see if Eric can do anything with Chlebowski. Maybe Sophie-Anne left some breadcrumbs in his memory that I might be able to link back to her, and then Eric can take her before the Council.”
“Shit, you’re good at this,” Trent shook his head in disbelief.
“I’ve had a long time to hide who and what I am, Ben. Now I’m just gonna need a little more help,” she chuckled darkly.
Before the conversation could continue, the doctor entered the room and both officers’ mouths snapped shut.
“I heard we have a celebrity in here,” the doctor joked. “Detective Stackhouse, I am Dr. Ragnard. I heard you were shot today and that you ingested vampire blood to heal?” he asked.
Sookie nodded, “Yes, my boyfriend is a vampire… He sends me to work with his blood in case of emergencies like this,” she explained.
The doctor blanched, but still shrugged with the realization of how much sense it proved to make, “I see. Well, vampire blood is still being tested and has yet to be approved by the FDA. Technically, it is catalogued as a controlled substance.”
Sookie snorted. “Believe me, they don’t hand out their blood lightly. Seeing as I’ve not been given my Miranda rights, I could just as easily claim that I never took any. Vampire blood isn’t a substance that can be found through any type of screening,” she pointed out.
“I suppose that’s true,” Dr. Ragnard agreed. “Well, let’s see if there’s any other damage. I’m also going to order an ultra-sound to make sure there’s no internal bleeding, and then you’re going to Radiology so we can be assured there were no bones broken.”
“Yes, Sir,” Sookie nodded.
Once all procedures were completed, Sookie accepted a green scrub shirt to replace her destroyed blouse. She threw the ruined garment into the trash and followed Trent out of the Emergency Room where a patrol car waited to return them to the precinct.
“You doing okay, Stackhouse?” Patrol Officer Petersen asked from the driver’s seat.
“Yeah, healthy as a horse,” Sookie replied unenthusiastically, leaning her head against the seat while Trent got in the back with her.
“Good thing you had that blood. Does Northman always send you to work with it?” he laughed.
“Yup. He knows how much this job means to me, and I knew that accepting it would help to put him at ease,” she sighed.
“I’ve never seen V used for anything other than getting high,” Petersen admitted. “Wish we had some of that stuff out on patrol.”
Sookie grimaced, “Vamps are really reluctant when it comes to sharing their blood. Ingesting it also allows him to track me.”
“Oh,” Petersen grimaced. “Not sure I want it that bad then…”
Sookie chuckled to herself, still sitting with her head leaned against the back of the seat. With a tired sigh, she closed her eyes and let the slight swaying of the vehicle lull her into a short catnap.
“Stackhouse?” Sookie jerked, awakening violently. “Whoa, Tiger!” Trent laughed nervously as Sookie gave a sudden lurch. “You OK?”
Rubbing her eyes, Sookie glanced out the window to see that they were in the station’s parking area. “Wow,” she mumbled, “it didn’t even feel like I fell asleep.”
“Yeah, V will do that to you,” Trent said.
As the pair climbed out of the car, Sookie asked, “Have you ever taken it?”
“Nah, but our Packmaster has. He got to know a vampire real well, and the vamp gave him some blood during one of the wars so he could keep fighting.”
“Yup,” Trent laughed. At her questioning look, he told her, “A war against a witch coven. Amazing, isn’t it? The most human of all the Supes and they cause us some of the most grief.”
“Oh yeah, and it’s cause they pop up all over the place. Weres, shifters, vamps… We all have long memories, either from longevity or lineage. Witches don’t have that. They learn through word of mouth, or just fumbling around with their magic. Lots of room for corruption or accidents. Sometimes a coven gets corrupted and tries to exercise control over other Supernaturals. Annoying little shits-”
“Wow, they must cause a lot of trouble,” Sookie could hear his frustrated musings.
“They can, but vamps and Weres usually band together to put them back in their place.”
Sookie snorted, “I didn’t realize you guys knew how to cooperate.”
Trent laughed as well, “We’ve all kept each other’s secrets long enough to learn cooperation.”
“I see,” Sookie thought about what Gran had told her during her brush with death. “Trent… Do you know if fairies exist?”
Frowning, the Were looked at his friend in surprise, “They used to… Well, they still kind of do… It’s a sore subject. They used to be the most powerful Supernaturals, and then the segregation between Fae and humans began. After a while Fairies became so inbred that their arcane magic became corrupted and weakened. Now part-fairies have more viable magic than full fairies do…” Trent eyed Sookie suspiciously. “Why?”
Nearly freezing up in shock, Sookie whispered, “I’m part-fairy… Or at least that’s what my Gran told me…”
“Before she died?”
“No, while I was dying this morning,” Sookie admitted.
Trent stopped midstep in the hallway, looking at Sookie in utter astonishment. “You talked to your dead Gran this morning?”
Sookie nodded, “I know, it’s crazy. It-”
“No, it’s not crazy, it’s terrifying!” Trent cried in alarm. “None of us realized you were that… That close to dead!” His eyes were wide with panic that he was trying to subdue while reminding himself that Sookie was perfectly safe now.
“Everything’s fine, Ben. You got me Eric’s blood. I’m fine,” she cooed soothingly.
Nodding distractedly, Trent put his arm on Sookie’s shoulder and walked the remaining way to their department. Several officers nodded at the blonde as she passed and she gave them a tight smile in return.
When the pair arrived at Captain Kleinman’s office, Sookie took a deep breath before opening the door. Lieutenant Greggs was there as well as the patrol officer who had been present during the shooting and they were seated across from their captain.
“Stackhouse!” Emmett Kleinman rose from his desk and came around to hug her tightly, much to her surprise and embarrassment. “Thank God you carry Northman’s blood! You lost so much-”
“I’m fine,” Sookie assured him, trying to discretely pull out of his embrace. “Officer Jennings,” she turned to the younger man, “I was wondering if you saw what happened in the hallway?”
“I was talking to the Lieutenant,” he admitted sheepishly. “I wasn’t facing you guys when the shot was fired.”
Sookie nodded, seeing in his mind that he was, indeed, oblivious to the goings-on in the corridor. “Chlebowski was stupidly checking his firearm in the hall. He had a misfire,” Sookie told him.
Lieutenant Greggs looked at Sookie in disbelief, ready to protest, but at one look from her, he closed his mouth.
“Idiot,” Jennings grumbled.
Sookie nodded in agreement. There was no way for her to take all the blame off of Chlebowski. There was just no possible way for her to have been hit without his gun being unholstered.
“I just thought… you know… Given that it was so traumatic, you should know what happened,” Sookie told Jennings.
“I appreciate that. I was surprised to be called down to Homicide,” Jennings laughed. “Glad to see you’re OK, Stackhouse.”
“Thanks,” she smiled when the officer rose and left the office.
Greggs wasted no time, “That was NOT an accident! I distinctly saw him point his gun at you, Stackhouse!”
“You’re right, he did,” Sookie nodded.
“Then why-” Kleinman began.
“He was glamoured to shoot me,” Sookie told them. At their stunned looks, Sookie began slowly, “There is something you should know about me, and the reason why you two are in this room and Jennings isn’t included…” The young woman took a deep breath and felt Trent’s hand squeeze her shoulder reassuringly, “The reason you two are here is because you’re Weres, and I trust you to keep what I am about to say in the strictest confidence.” Both Kleinman and Greggs looked at her with alarm and apprehension. “I don’t mind the Were community knowing my secret anymore. Trent knows, and he’s been respectful and admirably silent about it.” The older men stared at Sookie expectantly and she took another deep breath before she finally admitted, “I am not hyper-observant. I’m a telepath.”
The Lieutenant and Captain looked at one another in shock, and then looked back to Sookie. She could hear in their minds that they were both taken aback by her confession and had no idea on how to proceed or what to ask without sounding disbelieving.
“I also have it on good authority that I am part-fairy. Not much, but apparently there’s a little fairy blood in my veins.”
Greggs sat back heavily in his seat and Kleinman clutched his desk for additional support. “Why are you telling us this?”
“It’s the only way I know to explain Chlebowski’s actions,” Sookie answered him. “He doesn’t deserve to have his life ruined because some vampire queen has it in for me.”
“Sophie-Anne?” Kleinman asked in surprise. “Why would she want you dead?”
“It’s related to a case I worked.”
Kleinman frowned, and then asked, “The Grosse case?”
Sookie flinched at his immediate bullseye. Trent had not yet made the connection. “Yes,” she whispered.
“Was she the actual ringleader?”
“Eric believes so, especially now. That was one of our reasons for completing our Bond so quickly. Sophie-Anne commanded him to kill me. He told her we were Bonded to keep me safe, and then we Bonded shortly after the call.”
Kleinman felt his way back to his chair, collapsing into it, “You Bonded to Northman for your safety!?”
Sookie shook her head, “I Bonded to Eric because I love him and I want to be with him for the rest of forever. We Bonded when we did for my safety, but it was always my intent to accept. The only reason I planned to wait was because I didn’t want to risk my career.”
The two newly-informed Weres nodded in understanding, “So, where do we go from here?” Greggs finally asked.
“We need to keep IA away from Chlebowski until after dusk. Then we’ll need to get Eric in here so he can see if there’s any remaining evidence to link the glamouring to Sophie-Anne. I didn’t want too many Weres knowing of any vampire involvement because we can’t risk a war when we have a single suspect within our sights.” The three men nodded agreeably. “I don’t know what Eric might need from Chlebowski, but whatever it is, we need to give it to him so he can clean up this mess neatly and with as little backlash between the two communities as possible.”
Kleinman thought for a moment, “Darsen from IA is a Were. I’ll talk to him and get him to lead the case. Do I have your permission to bring him up to speed on what’s happening? Including about the information regarding your gift?” Sookie’s body went rigid, however, she nodded her consent. “I’ll get on that right now. You… Trent, take Stackhouse home. Stackhouse, you go home, get some rest, and come back with Northman as soon as you can. I’ll stay here with Greggs and Darsen until you return, and then we’ll sort out this whole mess.”
Sookie nodded, “Yes, Sir.”
“C’mon, Sook,” Trent placed his hand on her side and pushed her toward the door. “Let’s get you home.”
“Thanks, Ben,” Sookie replied with sincerity while she let her friend lead her out of the station once more.
The drive to the house she shared with Eric was a quick one. Sookie fell asleep shortly after getting into Trent’s car, and it was not until he was shaking her that Sookie realized she had fallen asleep again.
“Can’t seem to keep my eyes open,” Sookie muttered while she climbed out of his car.
“You gonna be okay?” Trent asked worriedly.
“Yeah… It’s just the wound was bad enough that Eric’s blood could only heal it. That doesn’t help the blood loss much. I’m feeling a couple pints low,” she laughed teasingly.
Trent grimaced, but nodded while he watched Sookie go into the house.
Tired and maybe a bit more than apprehensive about having to explain all that had happened throughout the day to Eric, Sookie trudged her way to his dark room and peeled off her borrowed scrub top. She threw it into the hamper and then quickly tugged off her boots before stripping out her remaining clothing. She was surprised at just how much blood she had all over herself, but then decided not to think too much about it, rather, she went straight to the shower and began rinsing away the remaining blood, all the while wishing she could wash the memories away as well.
When she climbed out of the shower, she looked over her body in the fogged-up mirror while she wiped the condensation in order to get a more enhanced view of her healing injury. The shiny, pink pucker of healing tissue glared in opposition against her tan skin and she touched the wound tentatively. It did not hurt, but felt strangely absent of sensation. A peculiar need to scratch at the new, weak skin until she could feel it flashed through Sookie’s mind, but she ignored it and went to lay in bed beside her unaware boyfriend.
Eric’s body was cool and solid, and Sookie felt safe pressed against him despite the fact that there was little he could do to help her at the moment. She glanced at the clock, determining how much longer she needed to wait until she saw his beautiful eyes, allowing her to vanish into the fragility that only she let him witness. She wanted to cry, to feel dependent, but she could not nor would not until he was there to protect her in her vulnerable state.
She could hear Mags and Junes whining through the two doors and she wanted to go to them to let their warm, furry bodies absorb some of her pain. Still, she could not move away from the bed. She could not leave Eric’s side. Her body was slowly refusing to acknowledge her orders, and her limbs felt as if they no longer belonged to her.
“Sookie,” a worried voice murmured against her ear.
“Uh,” she responded while her eyes slowly opened.
“What happened?” Eric’s voice did not betray his Panic in the same way as the Bond did.
“Gran died,” Sookie sobbed.
“Why do I smell your blood almost like it is a perfume in here?” he demanded, and then she felt his hand reach between her thighs as if he was trying to determine whether she had started her period. She knew he only did this out of blind Denial. He did not want to believe that she had been critically injured.
“I was shot today,” Sookie answered almost inaudibly.
Eric snarled and he turned her onto her back to examine her body. She knew the instant he found her healing wound when he let out a pained growl and the Bond flared with Rage.
“Who will I be murdering this evening!?” Eric roared, crushing Sookie’s body to his own.
“Probably Sophie-Anne,” Sookie admitted.
“What?” Eric’s Rage turned to Confusion.
“Someone glamoured another officer into shooting me,” Sookie told him. “I’ll need you to come to the station with me at true dark so we can see if there’s any additional evidence that may lead back to the Queen.”
Eric’s hand began petting her hair anxiously while he processed this information. Tentatively, Sookie began tracing soft symbols on his chest, sending him Comfort in the Bond as her lover absorbed all of the news. After a few moments when her comforting had scarcely thawed his darkness, Sookie took his hand in hers, slowly moving it to caress her breast. Surprised at her action given that he had felt no building lust or desire in her before this, Eric looked at Sookie, slightly confused.
“I’m still here, Darlin’. I’m safe cause of you,” Sookie whispered as she pulled him carefully over her body and snuggled beneath his frame. “Come here,” she spoke softly as she took his phallus into her hand, stroking him calmly and steadily. “Make love to me, Eric. Reassure yourself that I’m here and I’m fine,” she encouraged as her legs parted.
Without a word, Eric crushed his mouth to Sookie’s, tangling his tongue with hers while his hips rocked against her hand. It was as his lips were on hers that he realized just how cold her skin felt although she was sweating. He listened intently to her pulse, noting its speed and weakness.
“Sookie,” Eric pulled away in alarm, removing her hand from his body to examine her nails that were turning blue at the nail beds. “Sookie!”
“Hmm?” she cooed to him.
“How much blood did you lose?!” he quickly laid her flat on her back and began situating the pillows until her legs were propped up.
Chuckling at his concern, Sookie assured him, “Maybe a pint or two… I went to the hospital, Eric. I’m fine,” she reached out her hand for him, but frowned when the limb took far too much time to respond.
Eric felt her Unease and grabbed his phone. Pressing a number he had set into his speed dial after meeting Sookie, Eric only needed to wait halfway through a second ring.
“Ludwig,” came the annoyed voice who answered the phone.
“Doctor, I need you to appear! My Bonded is dying!”