“Sookie,” he sighed before kissing the tips of her fingers and letting her retract her hand while he carefully tucked away a lock of hair she attempted to hide behind. “A relationship may be somewhat foreign to me, but I know loyalty. Betrayal is not a quality I tolerate or admire.”
“Is getting a swift kick in the ass if she ever becomes corporal again,” he growled out, softening instantly when he sensed the anger he felt could be mistaken as directed at her. “When I say you’re mine or that I am yours, it is not for my sake, or for the benefit of a room of gawkers to claim you as a possession.” He grinned menacingly, displaying every bit of his power derived from age, while his eyes raked the quickly averting gazes back to their tables. “It is simply to acknowledge you are a part of me, like Pam or Godric are. I would no sooner discard you than I would my own limb.”
“On account of the blood,” she ascertained while fumbling with the heavy cloth napkin draped in her lap, her eyes following the movements her hand made instead of meeting his.
“No,” Eric spoke with certain clarity as his hand gestured her chin up to meet his gaze. “Blood or not, this is how I feel. It’s confusing and pisses me off most of the time, but I’m not sorry for it.”
“Why?” Sookie requested softly.
He gave a tiny shrug as his hand loosened from his hold on her chin to find hers. “Because it brought me you.”
“It’s just that simple for you?”
“Pam, calm down,” Eric commanded down the line with little effect, while Logan continued to watch her wear the carpet of her bedroom thin with excessive pacing.
“You have a sister!” she accused. “In the Authority of all places!”
“I don’t have a sister in the Authority!” he hissed back in exasperation. “Godric wouldn’t break with them so easily if that were the case.”
“She hinted their relationship was strained,” she countered before her tone turned accusatory. “It’s not as if you share everything with me, could my Grandsire not be the same?”
“No!” her Maker growled back at the insult. “I have it on good authority there has only ever been one other child.”
“Whose authority?” she demanded with a huff. “Fucking ‘Authority’! Fucking every-FUCKING-where!”
Logan glanced up questioningly, wondering if her tirade had suddenly befallen him and the Were community before she mouthed, ‘not you.’
“The source herself,” he answered succinctly before adding. “Trust me, don’t ask. We’ll talk later.”
Pam’s mouth stood gaping for seconds after she heard the line disconnect wondering if Godric’s insanity was infectious. Before she could attempt to redial and demand he put Sookie on the phone, a soft knock on the door pulled her out of her confused daze.
“Are you quite through with your Maker, poppet?” Russell grinned at her frazzled state and, without invitation, took a seat on the sofa across from Logan. “Sit,” he casually insisted with a pat on the cushioned seat beside him.
“I never met the Gaul, but I did meet his other progeny once or twice,” he mused aloud while he played with the ends of her hair.
“Nora? You met her before?”
He cackled loudly. “No, Peaches,” Russell grinned widely. “Cecily. You remind me of her, we had a grand old time once.”
“That wasn’t her, right?” Pam discerned with a slight worry in memory of Eric’s cryptic message. He shook his head before pulling a raised brow towards the wolf presence. “Leave us,” she commanded without hesitance and Logan reluctantly made to move before he heard them switch to an ancient language he couldn’t even place to an approximate geographic location.
“Chancellor Salome Agrippa considers herself quite the actress,” Russell explained when throwing another crackling log onto the fireplace. “All those years of strength and she wastes them playing games.”
“But the blood?”
“I’m sure she has a little witch or two in her employ, probably not very good ones either,” he shrugged. “Her visage slipped once or twice, your youthful eyes would never be able to pick up on that. Smell,” he demanded before his fangs pierced into the right wrist and held the blood up for scrutiny.
“You smell of me,” she said with confusion.
“Mirroring spell,” he informed, causing a sudden appearance of delight on her face. “Try it with the wolf tonight,” he finished with a wink. “You might actually find him digestible. Takes a vampire a while for that taste to become pleasant, but such loyal creatures.”
“That’s like feeding from myself,” she grinned while allowing her previously tense body to sink into the comfort of the sofa with a contented sigh at the unique prospect. “The gifts the Authority just keep on giving.” A momentary frown settled on her otherwise stoic face, “Why did you let her take Bill?”
“A disposable pawn that never really belonged to us,” he said while regarding her dainty hands. “Good riddance. You’ll have to show me that embroidery technique sometime.”
“Maybe next time ‘Nora’ walks through the door?” she smirked.
“No!” he hissed with venom, and his sudden volatility scared her momentarily till she recognised the underlying pain that motivated it.
“From all her lies, that is what you take as truth?” she accused with a stiff backbone that could have belonged to a certain part faery telepath. “That Talbot is alive?”
“I feel him,” he confessed holding his hand over his dead heart. “I feel him as if he were here even if I know it to be a lie. I feel it.”
“Sometimes I think I feel Eric too,” she offered consolingly of her untimed, but opportune release. “Then I realise it is just a mere echo from the past.”
“This is not the same,” Russell denied with a painful croak in his voice. “I know the difference clear as day. Well, not day,” he finished with a weak smile. “The Authority has my Talbot, I’m sure of it.”
“How long have you been suspecting them as the true culprits?” Pam questioned when she stood to organise the new thoughts in her mind, finding the worn track in the carpet once more. “Before I even showed up in your cave? Years?” He gave an affirming nod telling her all she needed to know of his true motivations for retaking his crown. With that disclosure, they were both fully aware they had been using each other for different gains, but in the circumstances they now found themselves in, it made them even closer allies than before.
“So we pretend I have an Auntie Nora,” she proffered when taking her seat beside him again, finding a perky voice to match her bubble-gum pink velour tracksuit. “And we’ll be the best of friends.”
“I knew you’d understand, Precious,” he said dotingly, dropping an index finger on the tip of her nose.
“Shut up and kiss me,” she taunted with puckered lips and fiercely closed eyes.
A soft kiss was placed on the crown of her head with a muffled cackle before departing the room.
“Isabel,” Eric greeted with open hostility while they boarded the privately chartered Anubis jet that would take them to Stan Baker’s inauguration in Dallas. Hugo gave an amused wave to Sookie who peered around the large Viking’s frame to take in the unexpected duo. “You’re not supposed to be here.”
“Godric asked me to come in his place,” she boasted with a smile that projected menace and kindness effortlessly as one.
Within the limited headspace Eric managed to turn around without toppling over a surprised Sookie as he announced, “We’re leaving, this is pointless.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Isabel scoffed from her perched position in the luxurious seat. Sookie stood looking on in confusion as Eric craned his head back to regard her once more.
“You’re more nuisance than use, Isabel,” he informed pointedly. “You haven’t exactly left behind a clean house in Dallas, and I doubt you have the relations necessary to engage with the Fellowship.”
“You’d be surprised,” she returned with a sideways glance to her companion. “Hugo has been a proud attending member since Godric’s alliance with the Church. Let me deal with them while you attend to Stan.”
“Maybe we should go ahead,” Sookie offered in a whisper after some telepathic encouragement from Hugo. Her pleading eyes informed him she didn’t want to leave Jason’s safety with the Fellowship in the sole hands of the two other passengers that would be heading to Dallas regardless.
“You will follow my lead,” he demanded of Isabel with a raised brow.
“Per Godric’s orders,” she answered with a swift nod.
“Very well,” he said before settling into the two seats in the opposite aisle reluctantly.
“Why isn’t Godric here?” Sookie asked when she settled into the seat beside Eric.
“Something with his human,” Isabel informed dismissively, and Hugo gave a shrug as he mentally had little to add while the stewardess was helping him out of his coat.
“Tara,” Eric informed pointedly upon sensing Sookie’s anger with Isabel’s tone.
“Yes,” Isabel replied thoughtlessly, already preoccupied with a glossy fashion magazine. “I think that was the human’s name.”
At the continued referral to Tara as a sub-species Eric had been anticipating a further spike of Sookie’s anger to soar through their bond, but found her glare directed firmly at the stewardess who was none too subtly thrusting her cleavage into his face with a suggestive smile. He sighed, after a millennium he had become rather impervious to the gratuitous perusal of his body by either sex. He placed some deliberate professional distance between them and dismissively tossed her his coat before allowing his eyes to rest on the small blonde beside him who smiled up with gratitude.
“Awful thoughts?” he whispered before placing a soft kiss to a particularly sensitised spot below her ear.
“The worst,” she giggled with the ticklish feel, and immediately lost herself in the silence Eric’s mind offered, away from the stewardess’ salacious thoughts.
“Let’s play a game,” he whispered sensing her anxiety for the upcoming flight. “I guess what they’re thinking and you tell me if I’m right,” He was never right, but Sookie cried with laughter at the thoughts he imposed on everyone, missing most of the thoughts herself in the process and completely alleviating her fear of flight.
“Who are you?” Tara demanded at the sudden appearance of an unknown vampire at her door.
“Feisty one, are we?” he grinned, unravelling the scruffy British accent from his tongue. “Like ’em with a bit of attitude. Godric sent me.”
“Your name?” she demanded once more, standing well clear of his grasp from the threshold. “I’ll call him up, he didn’t tell me anything of the kind.”
“Playing difficult, now?” he taunted with his grin widening in stance at her continued resilience. Reluctantly he utilised his glamour to encourage her. “Let me come in.”
Her momentary spike of fear was quickly subdued when she all but encouraged him in with open arms.
“It’s no fun when you’re like this,” the dark-haired vampire complained to the loss of her feisty nature. He grabbed her hand and, without issue, she allowed it. “Come on, pet, we’re going for a ride.”
Sookie and Hugo locked eyes as soon as the latch to the plane was released. Panic surged in both sets of gazes alerting Eric instantly, while Isabel remained completely unaware as she continued to sip insipidly from a bottle of True Blood while they waited to disembark.
Eric was on his phone without hesitation. “This is not the welcome we were expecting, Stan,” he spoke with a cool threat while he prevented the stewardess from further unlocking the door.
“What is going on?” Isabel finally demanded, coming to attention with the commotion by the exit while everyone continued to ignore her.
“We’re aware of the situation,” Stan informed tensely over the phone. “We are moments away. Stay inside the plane.”
“Eric!” Sookie said with sudden shock when they heard the ground crew unload the luggage below them while running towards him. The thoughts that seeped in paralysed her with fear momentarily before anxiety spoke for her, “We have to get out. NOW!”
“We can’t,” he tried to explain while fear was wracking her system with the knowledge of what was happening below them. “There’s too many out there. You know this. We have to wait this out till Stan and his reinforcements arrive.”
She had the same knowledge as him with a simple mental headcount of hostile minds that were poised to attack them as soon as they stepped off the plane; where he had identified the threat, the smell of gunpowder ammo and silver, ready to be unleashed upon them. “They won’t make it in time,” she informed him as tears started to flow in panic.
“What is going on?” Isabel repeated with even more hostility.
“A bomb,” Sookie whispered, but before she could finish her sentence the stewardess lunged at Eric with a silver tipped stun gun. Sookie was shoved aside while he altered the assailant’s trajectory and thrust her into Isabel’s arms, who, without hesitation, ripped out the life-giving artery in her neck with a vicious pull of her fangs. The two vampires panted heavily with the scent of dying blood in the air spilling from the convulsing body where bloodlust threatened to take over in the confined space.
“Is there a hole in their defences?” Eric managed to strangle out in the seconds left till detonation, which, by the panic that escalated further and further inside Sookie, appeared to be imminent, tempering his bloodlust in the process.
“An empty cargo plane northeast of here,” Sookie trembled out with seconds to spare as Eric and Isabel launched them through the lightweight metal barrier of the jet moments before the explosion engulfed the plane in flames.
Eric lay her down gently on the cool metal floor of the cargo plane as soon as they found a securely isolated space in the mid-section of the aircraft. She coughed profusely from the inhaled ashes and smoke as he stroked her singed hair lovingly, cursing internally that there was no water on hand. Isabel managed to close the inner latches before tossing an unconscious Hugo beside them.
“I’m checking for any hostiles,” Isabel announced while she made way to leave the darkened space.
“No,” Sookie croaked between a fit of coughs causing Eric to reinforce it as a command. “They’re celebrating,” she explained with disgust, her throat hoarse with the strain of speech. “They’re celebrating our deaths. Let them think we’re dead.”
He tried to wipe away the tears that cleansed the black soot from her face, but the tears continued to fall as she experienced the mass of minds relishing in their hatred. Of her, of Eric. What they meant to be together. The cruelty was far greater than the superficial burns that Eric had set to heal topically with his blood while she silently cried, falling numb with the wave of emotion. Through it all, she failed to notice how the entire contingent of assailants ceased to produce another hateful thought as one by one, Stan Baker and his band of rogue vampires dismembered them limb from limb.
When Eric was about to reopen the wound on his wrist to feed her some of his blood, another wave of panic slammed into his system. It was clear by the absent look on Sookie’s face; it didn’t resonate from her as he sought out his phone that appeared to have melted by the heat of the explosion. The call through his system became more urgent, disabling him in the process. In any other situation he wouldn’t have hesitated to instantly take to the sky to meet the source, but now conflict reigned as he tried to give some form of answer through the newly-severed tie that cried out in equal anguish to Sookie moments earlier.
After finding Hugo’s phone in an equal state of disarray and an apologetic glance from Isabel who, like Sookie, didn’t carry it on her body, it became even more difficult to ignore the pull.
“I’m sorry, Sookie,” he whispered against her unmoving lips while she continued to lay still in shock. He turned his head towards Isabel, regretting that he was forced to rely on a vampiress in whom he had little trust. “Bring them to safety. If anything happens to my Bonded, believe me, you will be begging for your true death.”
Isabel nodded curtly, understanding the severity while Sookie came to sense what was happening while he started to dampen the bond between them to spare her the onslaught of the continued, incessant call of his Maker.
“Eric!” she cried through heavy tears when he hovered over her injured body to say goodbye, anger overtaking her with the thought that he was leaving her in the midst of chaos. “Don’t you dare leave me!”
“I’m sorry,” he repeated before kissing her protesting mouth fiercely, trying to communicate he had absolutely no choice in the matter. The pull was becoming harder to ignore by the second. It was a sensation he had never experienced before, rationally he knew a Maker retained this prerogative to ‘pull’ a Childe to them whether or not the tie was finally cut. However, he had never anticipated the physical strain to be this great, fighting against his very instinct to stay and protect Sookie. Without the live connection to his Maker he had absolutely no ability to respond to the call. “I’m sorry älskling, Godric needs me.”
“No,” she begged, latching on to him physically in any way she could. “Please don’t leave me behind. I’m sorry, I should have listened better. I’m so sorry Eric, I should have known.”
Eric considered her request momentarily, but he knew she was too weak to sustain the cold night air, especially at the speeds it would require for him to return to Northern Louisiana, the fight against the call already draining him of the energy. He kissed her on the forehead before carefully disentangling from her weak hold on him, he proceeded to address Isabel to make sure she was taken to the hospital as her shallow breathes indicated the smoke inhalation wasn’t being cured by his infusion of blood. “I’m sorry,” he whispered again with pain in his eyes.
“Eric!” Sookie cried weakly while she tried to sit up; the dizziness in her head, however, forcing her into a horizontal position again. “Don’t leave,” she pleaded in a whisper once more before passing out. Eric never got to hear the words, his body already launched into the air to seek out his Maker at the highest possible speed through the call of his blood.
A/N: So I’m still in hiding after my offered white little flag was smited on the chapter of From Time Immemorial by my favourite stalker Charity (although that position might be up for grabs now)… Look I fashioned it into a shirt for Eric so you can’t hate on it anymore…
I think I’ll still stay hidden with all the happenings in this chapter but tell me how much you want to chase me down and kill me anyhow for leaving you hanging there ; ) …but on the plus side no Nora! Don’t think anyone warmed up to her although your feelings on Salome are probably no better… The next couple of chapters will be excitable so don’t hate on me too much in the weeks ahead…
Many thanks to msbuffy for editing away the little flaws and leaving me with time to procrastinate 🙂