Sookie stepped nervously out of Eric’s Corvette. She tugged self-consciously at the hem of her sundress, and wobbled a little in her heels in which she was unaccustomed to walking on gravel.
“No need to fidget, Lover. You look beautiful. Now,” he kissed her forehead, “have fun, and I will see you later.” He held her tightly, and she could feel how badly he did not want to leave her. “And alert me if or when you feel a void approaching. I must remain further out so that Compton cannot smell me nearby. Hopefully, your evening with Jason will not be interrupted, but we must prepare for anything.”
“Okay. I love you, Eric.” She tilted her chin back for a kiss, which he gladly obliged her.
“And I, you,” he agreed with a mumble against her lips before letting her go, and getting back into his car.
Sookie watched as Eric drove away, and took a steadying breath before opening the door to Merlotte’s. The first thing she saw was a bright red headed woman with long, talon like nails. “I.D.” the woman snapped.
“Oh, I thought this was a restaurant, too. I’m not drinkin’. I’m only 18,” Sookie faltered. “Do I have t’leave?” She started backing away towards the door, wide eyes never leaving the demanding woman.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Hon- the kids is always tryin’ to get beer underage. If you say you aren’t drinkin’ it’s fine. Here, I’ll show you to a seat. You here alone?” the woman asked.
“I’m suppose to be meetin’ my brother Jason,” Sookie mumbled, maintaining a distance.
“Jason… Stackhouse!?” The woman pointed. “Ain’t you Sookie, then? The little girl that went to the-”
“Yes,” Sookie cut her off, “and it’s a sensitive subject that I would appreciate you not mentionin’ again.” Her eyes turned icy and the waitress backed off. “Now, seein’ as my brother isn’t here yet, I’ll just sit right here. Thank you, Arlene.” Sookie had chosen a booth not in Arlene’s section, and promptly sat down with a relieved sigh.
“Everything all right, Lover?” Eric’s voice asked in her head.
Sookie managed to refrain from flinching. “Yeah, just a waitress askin’ me personal questions. I’m fine, though. Jason’s not here yet.”
“Hey, my name’s Dawn, what can I get ya to drink tonight?” A brunette waitress came up to the telepath, pencil and paper in hand.
“Oh,” Sookie glanced down at the menu. “Just some raspberry iced tea, thank you,” she asked politely.
“You alone tonight?” Dawn asked.
“Oh, no, I’m meetin’ up with Jason Stackhouse. Y’know him?” Sookie decided to leave out the part about being Jason’s sister, but regretted it at the flare of Dawn’s temper.
“That… I can’t believe this!” Dawn shrieked. “Well, I hope you’re happy with him-”
“He’s my brother! I’m Sookie Stackhouse, his baby sister,” Sookie explained, feeling completely off kilter by this constant guessing game of who to share her genealogy with, and who not to. “He’s not cheatin’ on ya, I promise.”
“What the hell is goin’ on out on this floor?” The bartender stomped over. “Arlene bitchin’, you screamin’, what the hell y’all think-” He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Sookie sitting before him.
“Sam, this is Jason Stackhouse’s little sister, Sookie,” Dawn explained. “Sookie, this is Sam Merlotte, the bar owner.”
“Dawn, go get her drink,” Sam commanded distantly, which the waitress did not miss his distraction.
“Hi, Mr. Merlotte.” Sookie waved, not offering a hand which only seemed to turn the man’s gaze steely.
“I’ve never met one, but… Never thought one would look like you.” Sam shook his head sadly.
“Umm, what are you talkin’…?” Sookie finally noticed Sam’s red snarls and inched away subtly. “A Were,” she whispered accusingly.
Sam sneered. “Shifter.”
“Never met one of you,” Sookie admitted, shoulders relaxing. “I’ve wanted to since Eric mentioned that you can become whatever you want. I thought it was a lot cooler than havin’ to be just one thing.”
Sam’s brow raised first with surprise, then scrunched with curiosity. “You’re a lot nicer than I thought a blood slave would be…”
“Eric, what’s a blood slave?”
“Who are you speaking with, Sookie?” She could feel Eric’s emotions ricocheting from anger to annoyance to a bit of disappointment.
“The bar owner’s a Shifter. Thinks I’m a blood slave… Am I? What is it?”
“No, you are not a blood slave. Tell him that you are Bonded. Blood slaves are despicable creatures that vampires have made addicts of their blood and use to do their bidding. They are without their own mental faculties and only function under the persuasion of blood.”
“I’m not a blood slave. I’m Bonded,” Sookie replied vehemently now that she understood what Sam had implied.
Sam snorted. “No matter what word you call it; he’s still your Master, Girl. You still have to do what he tells you. So, was a little high worth slavery?” he asked.
Sookie’s brow knit now. “Mr. Merlotte, I am nobody’s slave. I’m with Eric because I chose to be, and I Bonded to him because I want to be with him always. Now, either leave me alone, or kick me out of your bar, but don’t keep standin’ there presumin’ to understand my life or my choices just ’cause you hate vampires.” The glass Dawn was carrying over to the telepath exploded in her hand, making the waitress cry out in surprise, and sudden pain as a shard went into her hand. “Oh!” Sookie stood up, pushing past Sam to get to the brunette. “I’m sorry, are you okay?”
“Sorry?” Dawn looked utterly confused as she was momentarily distracted from her pain. “The glass broke. Why are you sorry?”
Shaking her head at the mistake, Sookie explained on the fly, “I meant, sorry that happened to you. Here, let me help you clean that out. It’s easier when someone else can pick the pieces out for you,” she explained kindly.
“Are you sure you don’t mind?” Dawn asked carefully as she lead the way to the ladies’ room.
“Not at all. You’re seein’ my brother, right? Don’t want him thinkin’ I don’t approve of his girl,” Sookie smiled.
“Well, we’re… Ya see, Jason and I are…” Dawn struggled for the words, but Sookie could see what the woman could not bring herself to say.
“You’re just waitin’ for the other shoe to drop?” Sookie took the words from her head. “Y’know, you can’t put off livn’ ’cause you’re waitin’ for somethin’ to go wrong. ‘Cause… It always will, but not always the way you think it will. So, enjoy the times when life is good, and don’t question them. Everythin’ has its moments where you could rip out your hair. Sometimes they last days or months… It’s hell when it’s years… But the good things come eventually,” she reassured, picking the glass fragments from Dawn’s hand with her nails. “So, live up the good times, bear the bad times, and just strive for better times when the world turns to hell again.”
Dawn gave a slight laugh. “I guess that’s true… But…”
“He’s just so gorgeous!” Dawn replied forlornly. “Every woman that passes him by gives him that look, and I just know he’s gonna cheat on me!”
“Why?” Sookie stopped her picking to look into Dawn’s eyes. “Because he’s so handsome, he must be absolutely incapable of being faithful to one woman?” she asked.
“He’s your brother, you-”
“Dawn, he may be my brother, but I haven’t seen him in about fourteen years. Heck, you probably know him better than I do,” Sookie admitted. “What is my brother like?” she asked. Of course Dawn did not need to speak for Sookie to know exactly what the waitress thought of her brother. The picture she saw was reassuring. Jason seemed to treat girls with courtesy and consideration. Almost… Brotherly protectiveness.
“Sookie?” Sookie snapped out of her daze at Dawn’s calling of her name. “Where’d you go off to just now?”
“Oh, just visualizin’ my brother like you were tellin’ me.” Sookie smiled softly. “All finished.” She dropped Dawn’s hand and gestured to the sink. “It’ll sting somethin’ fierce to wash out, but it’s not too deep to need stitches,” she assured as she washed her own hands. “Take your time gettin’ yourself together, I’m not in any rush for my order,” she teased before leaving the bathroom.
As Sookie left the bathroom, Sam Merlotte grabbed her by the wrist and dragged her away to his office. “What the fuck are you?” he snarled in her face.
Yanking her hand out of his grasp, Sookie snapped back, “None of your business, Shifter. But if you thought the explodin’ glass was impressive, you’ll be damned surprised what I can do to someone who threatens me.” Her eyes narrowed into cold shards of ice. “I’m not some naïve little girl who doesn’t know about the world. I have lived in the underbelly of this human world. I’ve seen what horrors humans can do to one another, and I’ll be damned if I let a stranger tell me what Supes are good and bad. I don’t need to be protected like some lost little girl. Now let me out of here before my Bonded shows up and turns you into a tripod.”
There was a heartbeat’s hesitation, but Sam did put a few steps between himself and Sookie. When she did not leave his office, Sam asked, “Well!? What are ya still here for!?”
Cocking her head to the side, Sookie let out a long, suffering sigh. “Listen… I get it, I really do. You’ve seen plenty of gullible little girls manipulated and just ruined by Weres and Vampires. You feel like you should try and protect them. It’s admirable, it really is. And to be perfectly fair, a few months ago I probably could’ve really used a guy like you to help me. But the vampire who found me, taught me, and made me the person I am right now… Well, I think he’s doin’ a good job. So, thank you for your concern, really. I’m not used to people, strangers even, carin’ enough to make sure I’m all right. It’s a new thing for me, and I’m sorry for threatenin’ you. It’s kind of an automatic response lately.”
“’Cause you’re with a vamp?” Sam guessed.
“No, ’cause I can finally follow through with them.” Sookie smirked and walked out of the office.
Walking down the narrow hall between Sam’s office and the main bar, Sookie took the time to check in with Eric. “Everythin’s still fine, I promise.”
“I know, Lover. You would have sent for me otherwise. The telepathic communication is so useful. I would have killed someone by now were it not for my lack of being summoned. How are you feeling? Your emotions have been rather turbulent the last half an hour. Is your brother upsetting you?” Eric asked.
“Actually,” Sookie paused in the hallway, “Jason’s still not here. I haven’t even felt his head nearin’ us. He must not even be in the bar yet. We said 9, and it’s almost 9:30. I wasn’t expectin’ him to be early or nothin’, but I didn’t expect him to be so late…”
Walking onto the main floor of the bar, Sookie stopped Dawn. “Is my brother usually one to run late?” she asked.
Dawn frowned. “No, not really. Only if he plans things too close to the end of work, but he’ll have been done for a few hours now.” Setting the tea Sookie had ordered earlier down, Dawn asked, “I got his cell number, you want me to give him a call for you?”
Sookie smiled. “That’d be real nice. Thank you.”
“The waitress that’s datin’ my brother said she’ll give him a call. Maybe he got nervous about seein’ me again so soon.”
“I doubt that, Lover. Perhaps he is having engine trouble.”
Sookie bit her lip and focused on Dawn’s brain as she used her phone to call Jason. He did not pick up.
“Sorry, Sookie, but Jason isn’t answerin’ his phone.” Dawn grimaced.
“It’s okay…” Sookie answered with a strained smile.
“Sookie?” The blonde turned at her name to find a dark haired man approaching her booth. She was not even compelled to reach for the void that was his mind. Only one other person in this area would recognize her name like that.
“William Compton, I presume?” Sookie crossed her arms over her chest, silently cursing herself, her brother, and Merlotte for acting as enough distraction for the void of a vampire to slip past her.
Compton grinned. “Bill, please.” He nodded his head curtly. “I see my reputation precedes me.”
“My Bonded has mentioned that you reside in this town,” Sookie answered curtly, making sure that there was no dispute that Bill would be aware of her status.
Bill did not seem phased at the news. It was obvious that Niall had informed André, and that André had alerted Bill. Yet, here Compton was, still trying to weasel his way in. “And what brings you here?”
“Oh, but you know that too,” Sookie pressed. “What did you do to my brother?” she demanded angrily, though keeping her tone even.
Bill smiled. “You are very quick. Not the bumpkin I was lead to believe you were. André told me that you were a child, completely uneducated. Yet, you seem to play the guessing game well.”
“André has old information, and so do you.” Sookie smirked. “And you won’t be gettin’ any updates from me.”
“I see.” Bill smiled at her, and Sookie could feel a pinging against her shields. She had not felt the sensation since her first night with Eric, and it took her a moment to recognize what the uncomfortable sensation on her brain was. “You will come with me to my residence,” he said in a deep timbre that was a strained bass to his normal speaking voice.
“Eric, does glamourin’ someone’s Bonded work as a punishable offense, ’cause he’s tryin’ to make me go home with him.”
“I am on my way. Hold him for forty-five more seconds.”
Sookie stared blankly at Bill, as if his words had bounced right off of her and gotten lost in the space between them. “Sookie, come with me now.”
“Bill,” Sookie answered in a clear, even voice, “you still haven’t told me what you’ve done with my brother.”
A low growl resounded in Bill’s throat. “It’s true,” he snarled softly so that none could hear. “You can’t be glamoured!” He grabbed her wrist so swiftly and harshly that it took all of Sookie’s will power not to cry out. When she was forcefully yanked out of her seat, and pulled to the vampire’s chest, he grunted, “Stay silent or your brother’s fate will be far worse than yours.”
“Compton.” Bill whirled around to find Eric looming over him. A few patrons startled at the giant’s sudden appearance, but shook it off. Sam Merlotte, however, had not missed the entrance that Eric Northman had made. “You have put your hands upon my Bonded. You have attempted to glamour her.”
“She made no declaration of her status,” Bill snapped back quietly.
“I beg to differ.” Sam stepped into the ring of Supernaturals. “I heard her state plain and clear that she was Bonded.” Eric glanced at the bar owner long enough to give the briefest of approving nods. “Now all of ya, get out of my bar. Quietly. And you,” he looked at Sookie, “come back any time, Cher. You and yours.”
“Your offense of touching my Bonded will be forgiven this time, Merlotte. So long as you stand by your statement of witnessing this whelp’s infraction against my Bonded,” Eric told him as he forcefully removed Bill’s hold on Sookie, and placed his own death grip on the back of the other vampire’s neck. “If you go to Jason Stackhouse’s residence and seek him out, and make sure that he is unharmed, then your debt for touching Sookie will be repaid,” he stated before directing Bill out of the bar.
“How did you know he touched me?” Sookie asked, nearly jogging alongside Eric towards the door.
“I could smell him.”
“Oh.” Sookie absorbed this a moment before continuing. “I was goin’ to tell you once we weren’t in the middle of all this.”
Once outside, Eric dragged Bill into the woods behind Sam’s trailer. When they were well hidden he turned to Sookie. “Get on my back, Lover, and hold on tight,” he instructed as he put a binding hold on Bill. Sookie did her best to jump onto Eric’s back but ended up needing to bring him near a fallen tree to stand upon it and mount him that way. “Tighter than that, Sookie,” Eric prodded, and Sookie clung as hard as she possibly could before Eric took off into the sky.
“WOAH!” Sookie cried as she found the ground quickly falling beneath them. “Woah, woah! Slower!” she yelped, her knees squeezing his sides so tightly that it made Eric laugh. He could already feel her thighs trembling with the fatigue of holding him so securely.
Eric felt Bill trying to squirm out of his hold, but Eric held fast; 800 plus years over the other vampire giving him more than an excessive ability to restrain Bill.
Soon Sookie saw the ground rushing back up to meet them, and the three stood in front of the building that would in later years house Fangtasia. Bill attempted to cry out for witnesses, but a sharp fist under his chin halted the action and kept his jaw securely closed.
Sliding down Eric’s back and onto the ground, Sookie took Eric’s keyring and quickly found the one to unlock the door. When they were all three inside, Eric nodded for Sookie to go ahead and open the door to the basement.
“Lover, call Pam here. She always has enjoyed watching me work,” Eric’s inner voice sounded excited.
Biting her lip, Sookie reached for Pam’s mind. “Pam, Eric wants you to join us at Fangtasia while he interrogates Compton.”
“Mmm, my pleasure!”
“She’s on her way,” Sookie told him as she followed Eric down the stairway.
“Excellent.” Eric held the vampire tightly. “Now go get the silver chains and start binding him. I will hold him while you do so.”
“You don’t want to do it? Wouldn’t it freak him out to see it doesn’t hurt you?”
“I do not wish to have all the fun too early.”
Sookie found the chains and began wrapping them strategically around Bill. Before she could truly begin she asked, “Should you remove some of his clothes first? It doesn’t hurt as much with the fabric between his skin and the silver, right?” Bill’s eyes widened at Sookie’s suggestion, but Eric’s grin widened the same amount as Bill’s horrified gaze.
“An excellent observation, my Bonded. You will make a fine interrogator one day,” he praised.
Sookie smirked and unwrapped the beginning of her bindings as Eric began ripping off articles of Bill’s clothing. The Viking left the other vampire in nothing but his briefs. He did not wish to have his Bonded seeing another male naked, with the exception of his own Maker.
With more skin now exposed, Sookie went back to chaining the enraged vampire once more. The hissing of burning flesh was more than a bit unsettling for the girl, and the smell was awful, but she endured it. Compton hissed and growled, crying out on a few occasions as well.
Thoroughly bound, Eric released Bill and allowed him to fall to the floor. “We will wait for Pam now. I would not wish for her to miss out on the evening’s festivities,” he explained. “You remember Pam, yes?” he asked Bill. Bill growled in reply, making Eric smirk. “I knew that you would.”
The wait was not long, and soon a giddy Pam was standing amongst them. “Master, please tell me that this will end with your Sookie blowing him up. I did not get to witness the explosion of Fintan, and I feel like I was denied a once in a life time opportunity.”
“If I ever get close enough to him, you might get to see me blow up Niall,” Sookie reassured the vampiress, making her eyes glow with excitement. “Although, we’ll have to think of a way to keep you from succumbing to the fairy blood if you are there for it.” Sookie felt the slightest flicker of regret in the Bond and cast her eyes on Eric. “Don’t you start, now,” she told him sternly.
“Of course not, my Bonded.” He smiled at her. “Now, would you like to try your hand at interrogating?” he asked.
Sookie was thoughtful for a moment. “It’ll be a lot different than with humans. I can’t hear in his head. Maybe I should see a master at work first?” she suggested with an even, flippant tone, but Eric could feel how desperately she wished to avoid participation.
Eric smirked and turned to Bill. “I suppose I should give you an opportunity to spill your guts before I spill them for you,” he told him. “But first, to save us time, I will tell you what we already know. You are more than aware that you are only a pawn in this game. I do not know what is in it for you, nor do I give a fuck. It is probably something as simple as a spot in high regard to André’s new regime. I say again; I could not care less about what was in it for you if you had succeeded.”
“I know that Niall was looking to gain a vampire militia and the last remaining portal between Elfyria and this world hides within Louisiana. Seeing as Sophie-Anne would happily watch the destruction of the Fae, she would never supply Niall with this army. So, he courted André, offering to put him in a situation to become King and command those who owed him fealty to embark on Niall’s crusade. I also know that Sookie was made to be a fringe benefit to this arrangement. Seeing that she is a descendent of a Royal, she would be a truce between the Louisiana vampires and the Fae royal family, thus allowing a safe portal for fairies to travel between the two worlds un-accosted. How am I doing so far?” Eric asked. Bill’s reply was to clench his jaw. “Quite well, I see.”
“Now, the best time to go after Sophie-Anne would be at a gathering. A situation where her safety could be compromised by the additional bodies. Of course, there would need to be an altercation or distraction so that she could be put in a situation where her security would be minimized, perhaps leaving her well being solely to André. At first I thought that this would happen at the Late Autumn Moon Gala, but no. She would be the only regent, and surrounded by too many loyal followers. There is also the issue that to become King, a vampire other than André cannot be the one to kill, and we both know how difficult it is to kill one’s Maker. If any other vampire were to assassinate Sophie-Anne, they would take on the role of Regent unless they too were overcome. So, who does that leave? A Were would never agree to kill a royal. And there are so few that could try and take down Sophie-Anne to begin with. That leaves the Fae once again. Only, Sophie-Anne’s palace has similar wards against Fae as my residence. How would they get in? True, Niall has the ability to mask his essence as a Fairy. He could slip in and commit the murder. But how would he get in? No.” Eric shook his head. “The Gala is too big of a risk for Niall to take. He would want to send an underling to die.”
“Now, where would Sophie-Anne go that is crowded, where she is not the center of attention, and Fae wards are lax?” Eric tilted his head contemplatively. “There is always the interspecies Summit. But that is not for another two years, and Niall is supposedly losing ground quickly. He cannot wait that long. Then do you know what finally struck last week after meeting Jason Stackhouse? Sookie.” The telepath’s ears perked at her name. “She was suppose to be your in, was she not? André was informed about her heritage, and unique taste. Sookie was going to be offered to the queen, since Sophie-Anne is such a large collector of unique flavors. Once Sookie was in the palace, Fintan would be able to use his grandson’s blood to create a bridge to Sookie and bi-pass the anti-teleporting ward. I found it strange that Niall would hit Jason. No matter what Stackhouse had said or done, Niall would never touch an ungifted offspring like Jason; even in anger. But he needed Jason’s blood; Sookie’s closest blood relative to work the magic that would allow him to bi-pass the teleportation ward. So, now that Fintan is dead, and Sookie will not be around the queen other than the Gala, André’s plot has taken a turn for the worst. Niall will be scrambling to come up with a new plan, and probably make a mistake, too.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Eric stared at Compton. “I can tell by your strained expression that I have been more than on the right track. The more you try to hide your responses, the more you confirm my suspicions. One thing I have not been able to suss out is why Niall would give Sookie to André. As my Bonded pointed out earlier, a marriage between the two of them would hardly create a lasting relationship between the Fae and Louisiana vampires. She cannot possibly be in line for the throne of Elfyria.” The slightest drift of Compton’s eyes made Eric pause. “She is in line for the throne? Well, that is certainly a surprise.” Sookie shifted uncomfortably now. “Has the Brigant clan been so thinned out that a hybrid like Sookie is actually eligible for the throne?”
“I’m not going to answer any of your questions, Viking,” Bill spat back.
“I am sure that my Child is glad to hear that.” Eric smiled down at him, a kindling of enjoyment visible in his eyes. “Pam, would you wish to begin?” he offered his progeny.
“Ooh, Master, you spoil me!” Pam walked forward, her own delight even more visible than her Maker’s. “Where should I begin?” She eyed Bill with a hungry gaze. “It has been so long since I was able to torture a vampire,” she purred, crouching down to look over the man’s body contemplatively. “How about we take the little piggies for a walk?” she suggested, rising after her evaluation to retrieve a serrated blade.
“Now, Compton, before my Child starts sending your “piggies off to market”; what were all the circumstances of Sookie’s role as a bargaining chip?” Eric demanded, but the younger vampire kept his mouth tightly sealed.
Sookie blanched at the cry Bill tried to withhold when his right pinkie toe was cut off. It was even worse to hear Pam mentally sending her, “This little piggy went to market…” Pam paused momentarily between each toe as she worked her way in, waiting for an answer to Eric’s question. When she reached the big toe of his right foot, she stopped and worked her way from the outside in on the other foot until only the largest toe on each foot remained. Bloody tears were welling in Bill’s eyes, but he had managed to keep his screams in, and they were still wanting for information.
“Do not worry, Compton, I am only getting you warmed up,” Pam assured. “Consider this the opening act. Eric is the main feature.”
“Actually,” Eric smirked, “I was hoping that Sookie would like to perform the coup de grace. I wish to see how her newest ability works on vampires, as well as see if she can localize it.”
“You want me to see if I can blow off individual body parts instead of the entire body?” Sookie asked nervously, unable to keep her words as blasé as before.
“Yes, but we will have to wait until he either tells us everything, or find that he is strong enough to endure my millennium’s worth of experienced interrogations.” Eric smiled at her.
Bill cringed. “She can actually blow people up? She actually killed Fintan?” he asked.
“Oh, yes.” Eric nodded. “Quite… Effectively, I might add.”
“How did she find him?” Bill demanded.
Eric snorted. “I believe you are the one that should be answering my questions. Or have you forgotten how torture works?”
With a sneer, Bill tilted his chin up and away from Eric. “Your Child needs more practice if she thought I would succumb to a few lost toes.”
Pam cackled. “I’m just here to enjoy myself. I have not even begun to torture you. I am merely entertaining myself at the moment,” she assured him and Sookie shuddered.
Eric could feel how just the beginning of the torture was effecting his Bonded. He should have told Pam to at least leave Bill’s feet alone to begin with. The sight of Sookie shifting her weight ever so slightly and the occasional grimace was more telling than her emotions. He knew that she was recollecting the foot whippings Bartlett had given to her in no short supply.
“Sookie,” Eric’s voice was soothing in the telepath’s head, “would you like to go upstairs?” He could feel the relief in the Bond, and smiled. “Sookie,” he began aloud now, “go upstairs and get ahold of my contact. They should know what is happening.”
The young woman nodded and turned to leave. She had only gone a single step when Bill called out tauntingly, “Looks like your Bonded doesn’t have the stomach for your work.” Sookie’s shoulders stiffened and she turned back slowly to look at the tethered vampire.
“Torture,” Sookie said huskily, “is years, not hours, of pain. Torture,” she hissed, “is wounds that take months, not minutes to heal. That’s why vampires like you are so weak. The pain you’re feelin’ right now… It’s fleetin’.” She was stomping towards him now. “You feel it, and seconds later, you’re already healin’, already losin’ the pain. You don’t have to feel it every fuckin’ step you take for the next week. Do you want me to torture you? Do you want to feel my torture?” She thrust her hands down and grabbed Bill’s face.
The vampire reeled his head back in surprise, smacking it against the concrete beneath. Bloody tears were already dripping from his eyes, rivers of crimson rolling from his ears. Sookie was not quite sure how she was doing it, but through a mixture of her telekinesis and telepathy, she had shoved the blanket that cloaked his mind aside. However, instead of listening to his thoughts, she sent him her own. Every second of each painful step she had taken, every single throb of her head as she was suspended upside down for collective hours.She reminded him what it was to breathe, and the agony of being unable to take a true breath with layers of duct tape restricting her ribs. The aches and sores of sleeping in a tub or on a floor came next. The grinding hunger as her stomach contracted in pleas for nourishment.
Bill had felt torture before, both psychological and physical from his Maker. But he had been a man, one that knew the hardships and cruelties of the world. He could have easily taken the abuse this little girl had endured! However, it was not the thoughts of her pain that made him begin to shriek, it was the memories of them. The way her tiny body had experienced the tortures, the way her young mind had been so confused, so discarded… Bill was spasming with every strike she recalled, flinching at every remembered second of pain that lasted days before she finally acclimated; only to have the wounds re-inflicted. Every moment of the last six years of Sookie’s short life was playing in a resounding loop. Every tear she hid from Bartlett’s wanting and expectant stare was his to shed now.
“I can do this for days, Bill. I do not need much sleep, as of late. I will keep you awake morning, afternoon, and evening if I must.” Sookie growled. “72 hours straight if you so wish. Can you endure? Through the sun sickness, through the nights? Would you like to see my early childhood next?” She unloaded endless nights and days of being surrounded by violent minds. Soon, she felt a pushing against her brain and allowed whatever it was minimal entry. Bill was projecting at her. She viewed his experiences, the hardships he showed her, and she howled with indignant anger. “That is not PAIN! That is not FEAR. That is anger and resentment! That is not torture!” She pushed her thoughts harder at him as she used the projection to gain entry to his own memories and thoughts. “You lost your family. Mine was ripped from me, mine despised me-”
It was like a stab to the young girl’s gut when she saw his memories. When she realized just how deeply Bill had been influencing her life, her terrors. Sookie snapped at him when she had seen enough. Seen all. “Your burden was a large one, but one a man can shoulder. Tell me of any child that should have to shoulder mine. I will kill every monster, every child’s living boogyman! Starting with all of my own! STARTING WITH YOU!” She released his mind and stood back up sharply.
“Sookie…” Eric placed a tentative hand upon her shoulder, his voice sounding distant; as if under water. “Are you all right?” he asked gently as he brought his other hand to his mouth and pierced his index finger with an elongated fang. Sookie gave him a curious look as he put the bleeding digit into her mouth. Once his blood touched her tongue, the girl lost her curiosity and let herself be dragged into the bliss his essence brought her. His own mouth was licking a slow, but predetermined trail up the side of her neck before delving into her ear, making it pop. He repeated this action on the other side as well before whispering in that ear, “Your ears began to bleed. Your emotions were so intense, though, that I thought it wise not to interfere unless I felt that you were… Unless I felt you breaking.”
“I guess ripping off whatever it is that shields your minds from me was a bit of a strain,” she mumbled around his finger, giving a hard pull as the source began to close off. “Eric… Let me kill him. Please.”
“You could read his mind?” he asked.
“Not at first. He was tryin’ to justify himself mentally. When he started projectin’ at me, I got a pathway into his head,” she explained. “I couldn’t do it under normal circumstances, though. A vamp would be well aware somethin’ was really really off if I tried to do it in a normal settin’. Even then, I couldn’t get in their head unless they let me, either intentionally or by accident… Kinda like how vamps can’t go into a house uninvited. You can trick humans into lettin’ you in, but it doesn’t always work. I got lucky. Please, let me kill him now.”
“What did you learn?” Eric asked.
Sookie sighed. “Niall doesn’t want me alive much longer. The circumstances are: I’m next in line for Elfyria, but Niall would rather give the throne to the water clan than have me rule. So, the deal was, André gets me as a toy the next few years, and then I was suppose to be some brood mare for another fairy. When I gave birth to a reasonable heir, André would have the choice of turnin’ me or killin’ me. Either way, once I’m dead, I’m ineligible for the throne. Niall preferred that I was turned, though, ’cause my kid and I would be the truce between the Vampires and Fae. As for Bill’s compensation, well, it was pretty much like you said: good standing with the new Regent. Also, André was gonna have Bill’s Maker killed so that he would be free of her.”
Eric nodded. “I see… I will contact Sophie-Anne and alert her to some of the goings on. We may have to meet in secret to discuss such a sensitive topic.”
“I shouldn’t go,” Sookie told him.
“What?” Eric froze. “I cannot-”
“Eric, I can’t go anywhere near Sophie-Anne. Especially if you’re gonna put her in a situation where she’ll be minimally guarded. Niall can still use Jason’s blood to get to me. If he feels that I’m in New Orleans, what do you think he’ll think I’m doin’ there? No, we can’t risk it. If he’s as desperate as you think to get the queen out of the way, we can’t risk givin’ him any opportunities.”
“But he could hear that I am in New Orleans from André and go after you here,” Eric told her.
“Godric,” Pam’s voice rang in Sookie’s head. “Call Godric here. He can watch over you while Eric is away. Also, splitting the two of you up will throw both Niall and André off. We might be able to take one or both of them out if the two of you are not together.”
Sookie relayed Pam’s suggestion to Eric telepathically. She felt him immediately resist in the Bond. He felt the same way she did. They did not want to be separated.
“Eric…” Sookie gave him a look that spoke volumes. He did not need the Bond or telepathy to understand that look. It was Sookie’s, “Brave Girl” face. She was preparing to do what she knew she had to, and by the Gods he could feel her trying desperately to focus on anything but despair, which only made her brave front so much more endearing.
“Sookie…” Eric sighed. “Call Godric.” A single tear dripped down from her eye as she nodded, trying to subtly brush the tear aside.
“Yes… Eric,” she whispered. “Godric, we need you to come to Shreveport as soon as possible. Eric has to leave for New Orleans to assist the Queen, and I can’t go with for security issues. Eric wants to request that you… Guard me while he can’t.”
“I will be there this evening,” Godric replied immediately.
“He will be here tonight,” Sookie spoke quietly still.
“What the hell… Are you communicating telepathically now!?” Compton demanded from his place on the floor.
“Can I kill him now?” Sookie asked.
“Sookie, what did you mean, starting with him? Your monster is dead. I killed him. Fintan is dead. The only remaining-”
“Niall had André and Bill in his pocket for about fifteen years now. This chess match has been in play almost as long as I’ve been alive, Eric. Ever since my telepathy was realized. Fintan must have told Niall that I had a spark. Since I was a hybrid, I would be easier to hide from the Water clan. All of the offspring they have been creating just kept getting killed off, and the hybrids they were makin’ weren’t showin’ Fae traits. Then I came along, and I was a girl. I could be used as a baby maker for a male fairy, and a sex slave and drinkin’ fountain for André. Bill would finally be free of his Maker, André would be free of his Maker and become Regent. Niall would have his vampire army, along with a new heir. But they couldn’t let anyone know about me, not when I was young and vulnerable and incapable of breedin’. Since Jason had Fae qualities, but no spark, and I had a spark, but was part human; Fintan and Niall severed their blood connection to us to keep the Water clan from findin’ us. They had to put me somewhere safe, somewhere to break me. So, Niall had Bill glamour my parents into believin’ I was mentally ill. Implanted memories of violence. He even glamoured the fuckin’ psychiatrists at the hospital so they wouldn’t realize that I wasn’t violent or crazy. Eric, they put me in that place. My parents might’ve actually loved me.” Sookie sobbed for a second before collecting herself. “Then, André got concerned that if I stayed in a mental hospital the entire time, I might become too damaged to be worth keeping. Rather than glamourin’ my parents into wantin’ me again, Niall let information leak that my father was a hybrid, and the Water clan killed them both. Bill glamoured my Gran into taking me in, and even altered her memories enough that all I heard were good things from her. My Gran might have actually hated me for all I know… That one shred of peace in my past, and it was probably a lie… Then she had a stroke, she died and I went to Bartlett. Again, Bill comes in. Does he glamour him into not wanting to abuse me? NO! He fuckin’ glamours him into just never shovin’ anythin’ up my pussy so that I can be a royal baby maker!” She was gasping for air as her thoughts and realizations flowed into Eric like violent waves from a hurricane.
“Sookie,” Eric said, bringing her slowly back to reality, “kill him. With extreme prejudice.”
Turning her tear streaked face to Bill, Sookie asked, “You wanted me to try and just blow off a piece at a time right?”
“You may kill him however you wish, My Bonded. I will find another worthy of your experimentations,” Eric reassured her.
Sookie nodded and focused intently on Bill. It took very little strain for her to gather enough anger and intensity to send his body flying in several different directions. The vampire did not even have time to cry out in pain before his head was ripped from his shoulders, and the rest of his body seemed to fall apart; the bones disintegrating and the flesh sloughing away in clumps of goo.
“That was fucking beautiful.” Pam exalted at the mess at their feet. “I’m not cleaning it up, though,” she quickly added.
“Not to worry, Pamela. I have a Were that will handle the clean up,” Eric assured. “I am sorry that you did not get to enjoy torturing Compton more.”
The vampiress shrugged. “I got to watch your Sookie make a vampire explode. That was far more entertaining than any torture I could do to him. I’d hate to acclimate to it too quickly, though. It should be special… Like Christmas, or the Fourth of July.”
Eric smirked at his Child. “If you had anything else you needed to do this evening, Pam, you are free to leave at any time.” Pam took his prompt and nodded. Soon Eric and Sookie were standing in the basement of the warehouse, Compton’s blood pooling at their feet. “I do not want to leave you behind, Sookie,” Eric admitted once he knew Pam was out of ear shot.
“I know you don’t.” She smiled up at him sadly. “How long will you need to be gone?” Sookie asked.
“I will probably leave while it is still daytime tomorrow, and arrive in New Orleans by dusk. Everyone will have thought that I left you tonight. No one will know that you are guarded by Godric. He is flying in shortly,” Eric assured.
“What if someone checks flight manifests?” Sookie asked.
“Not that type of flying,” Eric explained.
“Godric can fly too!?” Sookie asked. “Can Pam? How come I never knew y’all could do that?”
Eric chuckled. “Pam cannot, and I never brought it up because flying is a high risk ability. It is too easy to be caught doing it.”
“Can we go back to Merlotte’s? I want to see if Sam found out anythin’ about my brother,” her voice was tight with worry as she asked this.
“Of course, Lover.” Eric put his arms around her and lifted Sookie up from the ground before carrying her up the stairs and out the door. Soon, they were back in the air, and heading towards Bon Temps once again.
When they settled back in the woods behind the bar, Sookie took off like a bolt for the door, not caring that it was an employee entrance. She went to Sam’s office and flung the door open to see him sitting at his desk with a rather ragged looking Jason sitting across from him.
“Jason!” Sookie reached for him.
“Just,” Jason held out a hand to keep her from coming closer; it was covered in blood, “stay right there.”