“Floki is a little… Let’s just say he’s an acquired taste and his English is as good as your Swedish.”
“Oh. Alright then,” she said with resignation.
“Don’t worry älskling,” Eric soothed as his thumbs tenderly caressed her cheeks. “Bill’s predictable I’ll find him easily enough and you’ll be flying back as soon as he’s boarded his plane.”
She stared out the window watching the fresh snow descend down softly around them. “Still want to go to the beach?” she asked determined to occupy her mind with anything but Bill Compton in the short time they still had together.
“Only if I get to be the cop,” he grinned at her. It only made her burst into a fit of giggles. She wiped the tears from her eyes and when they opened again a set of penetrating blues stared her down. His lips sought out hers to tenderly explore the soft edges of her mouth and with that the last remnants of the snow on her body melted away.
A/N: All dialogue in italics is spoken in Swedish.
They found themselves awaiting the ferry in the island’s capital, Visby, to pick up Floki and his equipment as it was far too bulky to take along on a flight. Their morning had been spent meandering about the picturesque town but the cold had drawn them mostly indoors despite the rich offerings of the scenery.
“When you say Floki is peculiar, what exactly does that mean?” Sookie asked. The prospect of the language barrier was unnerving her, as she would most likely be unable to rely on her ability with the unknown man. Had they not been alerted of Bill’s encroaching presence that would have perhaps not been such a concern for her. Despite the safety she felt in Eric’s presence Sookie was in no way ready to be confronted by the man who had robbed her of so much.
“He’s a little frazzled, gets distracted easily,” Eric replied consciously leaving out the fact that the man was a bit of a dog around women. “Don’t worry he’s harmless.”
Sookie just nodded as she snuggled in to his side seeking some of his body heat for her own as her arm snaked around his waist as they continued to wait in the terminal.
“Snygg rumpa. |Nice ass.|” They heard excitedly from behind them. Eric only just managed to turn them round fast enough to prevent Floki’s offending hands to take physical evidence of that statement on Sookie’s behind.
“Hi my name is Susanna,” Sookie offered in one of the few sentences of Swedish she could manage.
He rapidly fired back a whole slew of sentences in Swedish, which she was unable to follow. He had latched both his hands upon her shoulders as he was visibly drinking in her form with eyes that wondered in lieu of hands. Compliments were lyrically expressed how the front was even more enticing than the back. Sookie cringed slightly with discomfort, despite not understanding the words, the body language and hungry eyes spoke volumes. She decided that Eric was very right in not leaving her alone to deal with Floki.
“Finally got yourself a woman to stay the night then Northman?” Floki teased after describing what he would be doing with every inch of Sookie’s body if she granted him entrance.
“Something like that. Let go of her you’re frightening her.”
“The Little Prince finally got himself a girlfriend then?” the mischievous man continued to taunt with twinkling eyes.
“It’s complicated. As far as I’m concerned that’s the last time you have your grubby little paws on my woman,” he threatened menacingly while physically removing the offending limbs of her body. His tone did not escape Sookie and she gave him a fiery look to mind his manners, which only had Floki jumping to hysterics.
“I see why it’s complicated the little spitfire has you eating out of her hand. Does she spank you when you’re being naughty?” His laughter was far from being contained when Eric directed them to the parking lot while he tried to ignore the running commentary about his clear lack of balls when it came to this tiny blonde.
Eric was thankful Sookie’s grasp on the Swedish language was still limited as Floki was explaining in great lengths the pleasures of his latest liaisons as they drove down to the cabin. He was also thankful that the man had stopped hassling him about the status of their relationship when he hardly had an accurate description of it himself. Eric briefly wondered if Sookie had turned up her ability on Floki before realising probably not. The old safe cracker happily shared his antics to anyone who would listen. It was for that reason that Eric had already been helping Sookie rehearse the sentences needed for his hypnosis to ever forget about meeting her when he was done.
They had consciously chosen not to hide Sookie while Floki was here. For one he would prove a good candidate to test out her ability when language was a barrier. Floki would also demand Eric’s presence if it appeared he was here alone, knowing they would be separating again soon neither one wanted to enforce their parting prematurely with such an unnecessary obligation.
While Sookie was still hesitant about the use of her hypnosis on others, she rationalised as long as it wasn’t influencing people’s wills in detriment to them she would be okay with utilising it. She was half tempted to use it during the car ride to shut the man up as Eric continued to shift uncomfortably beside her while continuing to throw worried glances her way.
When the last of the heavy tool cases and assorted bags were set down by the door of the fallout shelter Eric and Sookie were both glad that the exercise had tired the unending waterfall of words coming from the man’s overactive mind. In blissful silence Floki set up a small diesel powered generator as Eric returned with two jerry cans of fuel.
Eric tossed him a bottle of aquavit for warmth and informed him to call as soon as the door was open while pointing out that the phone reception opened up by the side of the road as they made way to leave.
“It was very nice meet you Susanna,” Floki greeted in broken English being the picture of politeness after she had greeted him goodbye in her own mangled version of Swedish.
“See you and the government later Little Prince,” he winked at Eric with an all-encompassing grin that showed off two missing and a darkened tooth.
“What did he mean by ‘regeringen’ Eric?” Sookie asked when they got back into the car. It was one of the first words she had learnt and had stumbled over the pronunciation of it several times.
“It’s a Swedish thing,” he offered without further explanation.
“I know what the word means Eric. Is he threatening you with the authorites?” she asked full of concern. “Does he want more money?” He laughed a little at her interpretation of it, even though he had hoped not to have to explain the meaning of the phrase, more for his sake than hers. Clearly not amused she gave him a knowing glare which only seemed to further prove Floki’s observation of Sookie being his ‘regeringen’.
“Elderly men in Sweden often refer to their wives as ‘the government’.”
“He thinks we’re married?” she asked confused at this weird term of endearment.
“No,” he sighed as he ran a hand through his hair as he swallowed his pride. “Naming your significant other ‘regeringen’ is acknowledging they run and control every aspect of your life. He thinks I’m pussy whipped and hasn’t been shy about letting me know since his arrival.”
“That’s what’s been keeping your panties in a bunch all day?”
“I don’t wear panties,” he voiced with the confusion marked all over his face. “You know this, you do my laundry even though I’ve told you not to.”
“It’s an expression,” she giggled at him. “Next time I’ll adjust it to boxer briefs for your sake. It’s when you overreact to a minor insult.”
“The insult is not minor,” he gritted out, annoyed to be the source of another’s amusement again today. This only ignited more titters at his expense.
“You’re cute when you’re mad,” she exclaimed in vengeance for the last panties incident where he had held hers hostage. She had simply repeated the exact same sentence he had thrown at her when she was in an equal state of misery with his hilarity.
He only huffed out in annoyance.
The kiss she planted on his cheek in apology only marginally made him feel better.
It was near sundown when Floki finally called to inform them he had managed to open up the door of the fallout shelter. Navigating back was not so difficult in the dark thanks to the near full moon. The snow reflected the light and their recently acquired flashlights in their hands lit up the rest. They found Floki nursing his bottle of aquavit who gleefully motioned towards the door that stood ajar with his success.
“What’s inside?” Eric asked not willing to get his hopes up again.
“Called you as soon as it opened. Haven’t been in yet.” It was somewhat of a code of honour in Floki’s work to never look inside until whomever hired him had given permission to do so. He rationalised that he may be a bit of a crook and work for the less than scrupulous of the world but he liked to think he was generally good.
Eric nodded at Floki before he moved to open the door fully, the musky smell singed at their nostrils but the cool outside air luckily gave quick resolution to that. The electricity didn’t work so they had to rely on the flashlight to see inside. Inside were four single beds set along the walls. A cupboard full of canned goods that were by now most likely expired stood in one corner. A selection of books that had been swelled with moisture stood on shelves along the wall as the wood bowed with their weight. Sookie nudged at Eric for his attention when she had shined her flashlight beneath a desk in the corner. In the relative darkness a significant look passed between them.
“Floki!” Eric yelled out at the sight.
Upon hearing his name he stumbled in, only slightly inebriated with a third of the bottle of liquor inside him. His hand eye coordination was only slightly thrown off in the dark space.
“Can you open that?” Eric asked gesturing towards the safe that sat bolted on the cement floor.
Floki crouched down to take a good look. “Not with the tools I have with me. I’d need to take it to my shop. Explosives maybe,” he said excitedly.
“Let’s get it unbolted and into the car.”
“No can do my friend. You may be strong but we’ll never be able to carry this back to the car with just the two of us. Unless your little princess has some supernatural strength we’ll need some help and preferably a truck. I have a buddy living out on the east coast of the island. If he has the space we can open it up there instead of the mainland.”
“Call him,” Eric instructed at which Floki went out towards the road in search of a cell phone signal.
“Sookie, Floki needs to bring in a friend to help us out,” Eric explained what may have been lost to her in translation. “I think it is best you hypnotise him before he arrives and return to the car.”
“Is he trustworthy, shouldn’t I check his friend?” she asked with concern.
“We haven’t tried your ability on Floki yet. Perhaps now is a good time to question him on his friend.”
It turned out Sookie was able to use her ability on Floki as long as she was touching him much to his delight and Eric’s chagrin. Sookie had successfully hypnotised him to forget about meeting her and the evening’s interrogation as she forced his mind to submission and Eric gave instructions in Swedish. Floki’s friend Leon was deemed trustworthy when he confessed they were masturbation buddies but there was nothing gay about it. Eric seemed more disturbed by Floki’s candid confession than Sookie, who had insisted on translations throughout the process.
At Eric’s command the contents of the safe would be delivered to the hotel lobby in inconspicuous packaging. Sookie retreated to the car, hiding when Leon’s truck came and waited patiently while they removed the safe from the fallout shelter and Floki and his friend left.
Eric had booked a return flight for that same evening, the last to depart that night. He held on to a downcast Sookie in his arms before embarking in the small terminal. Eric whispered sweet nothings in her ear soothing her they wouldn’t be apart for long but there was little that he said that could lift the downturned corners of her mouth. A soft kiss to her forehead was all he had to offer in comfort before they said goodbye.
The next morning she opened her hotel door to the bell-boy holding a vase of beautiful wild meadow flowers. Not one flower was alike and instead of a card a paint swatch colouring from a dusky pink to a deep red was attached. She instantly recognised his handwriting on the back and was touched he had taken such an effort with this as they had seemingly been together the entire previous day.
For future reference.
She smiled at his highhandedness and warmed a little at the memory to when she confessed that she had never held a paint swatch next to the more intimate parts of her body to compare for similar colouring. She sent him a text to thank him for the flowers while blatantly ignoring the suggestive tone of the card. He responded in his usual manner.
Anything for a smile on your face. Let me know when you figure out the corresponding colour I’m thinking of repainting the apartment. 😉
Despite not missing his crude ways, she did carry a smile on her face for the rest of the day. By nightfall Floki had dropped off a box that contained the contents of the safe that the hotel promptly delivered to her room. Sookie set to sorting out a whole host of legal documents, leaving the large batch of negatives in another box untouched as she had nothing to clearly view them with. From what she could discern of the paperwork that was in English, Halina had a whole string of ghost companies that hid various assets. While happy for Eric with the discovery that would undoubtedly lead them in a more narrowed direction she couldn’t help but feel slightly sad he wasn’t here to share it with her or what was supposed to be their bed. Instead she fondled the swatch card that held his signature script and with a small smile sat in front of the mirror to compare and contrast.
It didn’t take long for Eric to track down Bill Compton in Stockholm. His contacts had informed him of his whereabouts by the morning. The eternally spoilt child was as predictable as ever residing in the most expensive established five star hotel, the Grand Hotel. Eric knew the hotel well, it was an old haunt of his grandmother and she had taken him there many times as a child.
Bill was careless. He had registered under his own name and made himself known to all staff by dropping ridiculously high tips amongst the modest Swedes. Equally inconspicuous had him asking around after Eric among his known contacts. Even if they had seen Eric none of them would ever acknowledge it to the pompous American, they all knew where to place their loyalty. Bill had his weight of inherited power back in Washington thanks to Lorena and his last name but outside of that city he was exposed as the inept creature he truly was.
He fumbled with the electronic key card letting out an annoyed grunt when it finally managed to open the door after the third try. The light switched on and he was startled to see the man residing in the overstuffed armchair with a gun beside him on the antique side table.
“Bill Compton. It has been awhile,” Eric said while caressing the smooth metal of the gun’s silencer as he stared him down with deadly eyes. “Sit. We have catching up to do, you and I.”
“Northman. What are you doing in my room?” Bill stumbled out, still in shock though it was soon turning into fear with the thought that he was next at the end of the infamous Little Prince’s gun.
“You have been looking for me, have you not?” Eric mocked with menace.
“Yes, I…” Bill trailed as he proceeded to gulp audibly. In his fantasies he had entertained that his surprise visit upon Eric would give him the upper hand like it had with that little girl Pam. Now that the tables were turned he was suitably nervous.
“Are you attached to your friend,” Eric asked stoically motioning to the blonde woman who was clearly an escort. It sickened Eric that she had a vague resemblance to Sookie. She clearly lacked Sookie’s fire and freshness and was far from wholesome in her provocative dress which only distinguished the two more but the likeness couldn’t be denied.
Bill shook his head no in response.
“Leave,” Eric spoke to the prostitute who was all too pleased do exactly that.
“I do not take kindly to the likes of you circling around my family,” Eric warned Bill who had yet to move from his position by the door standing in a direct firing line of Eric and his gun. “This is your one and only warning. Ask around, no one holding a second warning is here to tell the tale.”
Bill nodded in understanding.
“I just want my fiancé’s belongings. That’s all,” he finally managed to stutter out with an appealing look that Eric could only describe as constipated.
“You mean you want the engagement ring you stole from your step momma,” Eric accused in a poor imitation of his fashioned Southern drawl as he continued to absentmindedly polish the threatening gun with the edge of his t-shirt. He gave a small smile that could only be described as malevolent as he checked his own reflection in the metal.
“It was my mother’s before her, it belongs to me,” he burst in outrage while still trying to calm himself in front of the well-known Nordic killing machine.
“Well I suggest you invest in some diving gear then,” Eric returned dryly as his cool gaze locked on Compton again.
“Where is it?” Bill demanded, betraying the desperation of his cause.
“Your stepmother was right. You really are tragic and it is very funny,” Eric taunted while sporting a menacing grin as he revelled in Bill’s unravelling discomposure.
“Tell me!” he screamed in frustration.
“You think I’d tell you. Secrets of the trade, my friend.” Eric stared at his nails with disinterest as if contemplating the pros and cons of a manicure. “You know for all this love I heard you had for this fiancé of yours, I can’t help but notice you seem more interested in that shit piece of metal than her body’s whereabouts.”
“You know nothing of the love between her and I,” Bill fumed while swallowing a ‘you cold bastard’ he was desperate to cry out. “I have been distraught with grief.”
“Clearly, on account of the worn out blonde earlier,” Eric noted drolly. “Snookie was it? Yes, lovely girl by the looks of it. A little meek for my tastes though.”
“Do not speak of her as if you knew her!” Bill exclaimed far too angered to care for his own safety anymore. “Her name was Sookie!”
“Tell me Bill, what were your plans with her? Obviously you couldn’t fob your dear mother off with used goods.” Bill’s eyes narrowed into pits of darkness with that particular comment.
“She was mine. She’d accept me I’m sure of it. Sophie Anne had agreed to help us out. Sookie loved me she would have done anything for me. We’d get a modest home live and be happy.”
“Really Bill from prostitute to stripper? My my, that truly is a step up,” Eric replied sardonically as he carefully buried the anger with the utter carelessness at which Bill had planned a future for him and Sookie. Pam had been the only one to ever escape from Lorena’s clutches and that was solely down to Russell and Talbot’s protection. “The girl should be happy to be dead if that’s what she had to look forward to. I’m glad she was saved from you and your inferior bedding skills.”
“Her cousin seems to be happy doing it,” Bill said quietly referring to Hadley.
Eric shook his head in dismay, “You really are an idiot Compton. There isn’t a woman on this earth happy to sell her body in any form. But why bother explaining that to you it’s your family business after all.” He cocked his gun in demonstration of his own family business while peering down the barrel in Bill’s direction to articulate the continued threat. “You’re never going to find that ring. Now get the fuck out of Stockholm and stay away from me and mine.”
Bill slunk onto the edge of the bed in defeat. “I’m not leaving till I know where to look for the ring,” he whimpered. “Please, Eric.”
Somewhere in his frozen over heart Eric felt a tinge of sympathy for the man before him. He would probably carry that same expression if he would be without Sookie in his life after knowing her so intimately.
“Check the Mississippi,” he finally offered when he pulled out his phone. “Russell always liked that river.”
“What about Sookie’s things?” Bill asked softly.
“We had a celebratory bonfire in your honour,” he stated dismissively seeking out Lorena’s number in his address book while his other hand remained firmly atop the gun.
“Do yourself a favour Bill,” Eric spoke as the phone was ringing on the other side of the Atlantic. “I did the investigations of the accounts. Donate the money from the sale of her house to a charity this Sookie would have liked. Give yourself some peace.”
“I can’t,” he said deflated. “I’ve spent it all on this trip. Lorena controls all the family money.” Any sympathy Eric had felt for the broken man was instantly lost at the mention of him squandering away thirty grand of Sookie’s money on lavish accommodations and no doubt prostitutes.
“Lorena,” he spoke a little harsher in greeting than intended.
“Northman what can I do for you?” she replied in a clipped tone.
“I have something of yours and it’s reluctant to leave,” Eric expressed pointedly looking towards Bill. He put Lorena on speakerphone at her request as she knew exactly of who he referred to.
“William, I’ve indulged this long enough. Now get back here or I will cut you off permanently.” Bill merely sighed deeply in response.
“What’s wrong Willie?” she cooed causing both men in the room to cringe with the pet name. “Come back to my bed darling. It’s time for things to get back to normal.”
“Yes, dear,” Bill returned dejectedly as he resigned to his continued fate in life.
Eric hung up after getting Lorena’s assurance Bill would be gone by the next day. Despite that he would make sure himself to see that the interferer would leave the country under his watchful eye.
“You two really do have a messed up relationship,” Eric said in commiseration when Bill was seeing him out the door.
“At least I’m nobody’s butt boy,” Bill hissed forgetting the threat of his company.
With that one comment Eric punched him squarely in the face in response. “Don’t assume everyone lives your miserable reality, you conniving piece of shit,” he seethed and further emphasized his distaste by spitting on his flailing form on the ground and delivering a hard kick to the gut. With satisfaction Eric stepped over the miserable man and slammed the door behind him.
Frankly Eric wasn’t that insulted by Bill’s comment. An attractive young boy suddenly entering the lives of two openly gay men had many assume similar thoughts. It had never bothered Eric before because it was far from true. There was plenty to hate about Russell but his treatment of him had always been fair and generous. For a lack of a better word Russell and Talbot acted like parents to Eric and in the public arena he would always come to the defence of their reputation as it pertained to his. Their world was filled with sick bastards but on that front Russell and Talbot had always been innocent.
Eric had simply been waiting all night for Bill to lash out. He had promised Sookie not to kill him but he felt the least Bill deserved was a good beating. Greeting the night air Eric happily departed the hotel with a huge smile on his face and an aching hand. Every inch of pain well worth what it had inflicted.
Mindful of the hour he sent out a text to Sookie to get her sexy ass back, Bill would be gone by the next day.
A/N: thevikingskittykat pointed out to me last week that Floki is a character on the TV show Vikings who is played by AS’s brother. I had no idea, I just chose this name out of a Swedish name generator but hey it works…
This story arrived a day late due to sudden work commitments on Monday and Tuesday which had me travelling abroad, so my regular scheduling got interrupted so instead of trying to maintain the usual scheduling with set days I’ve decided to just post chapters in a set order every other day for a while. I have four stories going on at the moment aside from the Thanksgiving Fixin’s in between so count on the next chapter to be here in a week plus a day. Because today’s Thanksgiving Fixin’s wasn’t attached to the announcement should you still wish to read it find it here. It’s probably a new favourite of mine even though I shouldn’t play favourites with my own babies 😉