“I know how to secure an asset, Ms. Stackhouse,” he purred in return, pulling her closer. “I like what I like.”
“Here I thought you loved me,” she teased with a fake air of drama, poorly hiding the smile that came out with the thought.
“You’re going to have to offer something enticing for me to admit that again,” he grinned while tracing the pulsing vein in her neck.
“I think you’re forgetting something,” she taunted.
“You owe me, Buster,” Sookie grinned triumphantly. “I seem to remember saving your ass from a toasty ending AND you left me choking on smoke in Dallas!”
It was a completely unnecessary movement for a non-breathing creature but he gulped regardless, a second too late in hiding the guilt. “Buster?” he tried to cockily question even though he was well aware his bargaining position was lost.
“Yes, Buster,” she smirked with a menace that rivalled his. “How are you going to make it up to me?”
“Well,” Eric grinned while moving the tips of his finger along her spine with delicate taps till they reached the top of her gown and undid the tie there. “I could be your nurse, give you a nice long sponge bath,” he offered before dropping his voice a few octaves when he added, “with my tongue.”
“My eyes!” Jason shrieked, at which Sookie hastily tried to cover her body with the dropped hospital gown.
“You have never seen your sister naked before?” Eric questioned, slightly confused at the sudden commotion.
“Odd, why?” Jason’s eyes only grew wider with the posed question as he stumbled to form an answer.
“ERIC! I swear to God,” Sookie warned, having finally recovered some coverage, but her aggravation was lost to him when Godric had suddenly called him to attention at the same time, leaving Sookie to fume at escaped air.
“Isabel?” Sookie whispered when she entered the control room and saw what appeared to be the Spanish vampiress bathed in blood on the screen giving a triumphant wave with a stolen crown.
“You have something of mine,” she spoke with a level threat to the monitor staring directly at telepath on her screen. “Hand her over and you might get to keep your crowns. Toodles!” She blew a kiss to the screen and the monitor that had previously displayed Pam in an environment of pink splendour grew black.
Cecily let out a small harrumph over her crossed arms before eyeing her Maker, “Told you not to trust her!”
“Calm yourself,” Godric commanded to little avail. “There is nothing you can do, it is day now.”
“We can drive you,” Sookie offered hopefully between the wet tears that were falling while her brother soothed over her blanket-covered back.
“She’s not finally dead, Bottom,” Russell noted offhandedly.
“DO NOT CALL ME BOTTOM!” Eric roared with rage flying untethered at the elder vampire. Russell cackled with delight as they impacted the heavy concrete wall and landed in the adjacent room.
“It has been very long since I came across a worthy opponent,” he grinned before flicking the thousand-year-old off him as if he were a mere fly. “You are not it, Bottom.”
“Sookie, get the car!” he barked after brushing off debris from his body. She scrambled up with Jason though neither had any idea where exactly they were supposed to fetch the vehicle from and stood impassive while awaiting further instructions. An iron grip fell on Eric’s shoulder, familiar, and missing the tender touch it had gained in the past decades. He stilled despite the anger coursing inside him to take revenge against the cowards that would kill Pam.
“We did not see her die, Eric,” he spoke in eerie calm that somehow managed to wash away the worst of the pain and grief.
“You have raised her well,” Russell added. “And with all her decorating she knows that palace better than I do. She gave word to protect my crown, I’m assured it will be there when I return.”
Eric didn’t dare contradict him of Pam’s exceptional skill for survival and fighting, but he had only seen the aftermath, the absent bond between them did little to inform him of her fate. He sensed something but he didn’t want to afford himself that optimism, he had simply taken cause to fact of the bloody sight on the screen.
“Don’t you two have some sort of signal?” Sookie asked carefully hoping to pull the worst of his understandable rage from him.
“We did,” he whispered. “It required our Maker-Child bond.”
“Oh,” she returned sadly, holding him close and understanding the finality of their parting when he had released her in the chaos of Godric’s path of destruction. Eric would have seen to new arrangements otherwise, she instinctively knew that and the sadness of the resignation to which she found him in Fangtasia surfaced again. “Come on,” she pleaded, taking him away from the destruction of rooms and back to their own bedroom.
“Ms Flanagan!” Niccoló shouted while slamming his fist roughly on the antique bureau and leaving behind a discernible crack in the wood grain. “Repeat that sentence.”
“We have no idea what’s happening in Mississippi.”
“There’s very little you do seem to know,” he spoke lowly. “Why am I not surprised? You obviously have a leak in your retinue.”
“They had sworn their loyalty,” she spluttered in protest. “The telepath was seconds away from being secured.”
“Loyalty,” he hissed with derision, “means nothing in a world ruled by blood. Respect is earned by instilling fear, you have made a mockery of this Authority. We are being defied and our strongest allies are betraying us.”
“You have twenty-four hours to locate the Gaul, the Viking, and the Druid. Use whatever leverage you have on them to bring them to our side,” his voice was aloof; the intent in his eyes spoke more of threat than his words did.
“What about Roman?” she prodded carefully while gesturing to the portrait of the Authority leader.
“He is a face, Ms Flanagan, nothing more.”
With that she nodded and set to work instantly to spare herself from a final death in less than a day. “Idiots,” he grumbled while Salome sashayed into the emptied office. She nibbled on his ear while tracing a line down his crisp button down shirt.
“We are ahead of schedule,” she happily announced in a whisper to his ear. He instantly grabbed her and spread her body over the desk where she let his power wash over her, covering his body over hers.
“He is ours?” Niccoló requested with an assurance the job was done.
Her eyes brows rose in an affirming reply, “Come nightfall,” she grinned.
“This might work yet,” he smirked while tracing the contours of her face with a tenderness only reserved for her. “Have I told you lately how very fond I am of those relatives of yours?”
“Bitch,” he growled thrusting the towel against her nude body. “Get dressed.”
Alcide’s back was turned to her while Tara quickly scrambled into the oversized wife beater that now masqueraded as a dress. She heaved a sigh of relief, it was a setback, but somehow she was thankful that it hadn’t come to that, trading her body for a way out. The worry of her confinement, however, remained.
“I promise we’ll die before they turn us, Bug,” she whispered to the mirror patting the hard muscle of her stomach that had yet to reveal the existence of life there when Alcide had vacated the small space. “It’s probably for the best, I’d be a shitty Mom to you anyway.” With a final rinse of the soiled clothes, she left them to dry hanging over the tub before knocking on the door again. Her captor wordlessly led her out and back to her own cell, ensuring himself three separate times that the lock was firmly in place.
A new meal sat on the small table and Tara picked at it carefully, stretching time as best she could. Unsure of what to do next she decided to nap, saving her energy for whatever happened next. Her tray with food was gone, and the large bulk of muscle sat on the stool looking at her while her eyes fluttered to a conscious state. Her breasts had fallen out through the large armpit holes and she quickly covered them, rescinding the offer she had given earlier. This somehow pleased him, the nervous energy dissipating from her with the thought that he was sympathetic to her once more.
“You want to live?” he asked, the threat that usually accompanied such a question remaining noticeably absent. Her teeth held her bottom lip hostage, her lust for life had never been effervescent, so the honest answer was probably not the one he wanted to hear. Portraying herself as weak and fragile, however, was the thing that had earned her his sympathy so far. “For the Bug?” he offered in clarification when her answer took too long to come out. She nodded her head fiercely, without a conscious thought to the subject, startling herself with the ease at which she responded.
“Very well.” He got up and left the room closing the door on her with a soft thud while she seethed. Hormones or human instinct, whatever the cause was to her quick response, she loathed it. The rage in her unleashed; and with little to take it out on, the ridiculously small stool he had sat on moments earlier was flung to the wall till it lay in shattered pieces.
“I was serious about the car,” Eric spoke evenly while Sookie directed them to their bedroom.
She turned around to look up his tall frame and placed a gentle hand against his cheek. “I know, tell me where to go and we’ll go.”
“Take me to Pam.”
“I wish I could,” she whispered while resting her warm hand over his heart, choking back a tear or two herself. “I’d bring her to you if I could or you to her. If I could.”
“Be mine,” he pleaded in a near incoherent tone. “Just for the day.”
“I’m not her, Eric,” she answered, letting the carefully held tears for Pam finally escape the corners of her eyes.
“I know!” he retorted gruffly before stalking into the room and nearly slamming the door in her face. Her sympathy flew right along the wave of rage he was riding on, and she followed him with a determination in her step.
“Get over yourself, Eric!” she yelled, finding him slouched in an armchair as soon as she slammed the door on them. “You know for a thousand-year-old creature, you toss the towel in the ring awfully quick!”
He snorted, not even bothering to give her a reply and thus only angering her more. “She’s not dead until she’s dead, Eric!”
“Just leave, Sookie,” he dismissed with a wave of his hand that only seemed to make her feet move in his direction.
She eyed him calmly, “No.”
“Be upset if you want to, but don’t take it out on me,” she warned. “I can feel everything you’re feeling, Eric, why lie?”
His fingers played with a loose thread on the upholstery while he mumbled, “I’m not lying.”
This time Sookie laughed, verging on the territory of mocking. Despite his aggressive stand, she came to sit in his lap and hovered her genteel face over his snarling one. “Stop hiding, Eric, it’s okay to hurt.”
The hostility fell from his shoulders when she moved her arms around him, he didn’t sob but Sookie did spot some specks of red on her gown when he finally pulled his face from her shoulder. She carefully opened his shirt, button by button, till his chest was exposed bare to her and the fabric fluidly fell from his shoulders. His pants were next where his cock fell out limply for the first time, not excited to greet her or grow hard with the movements of her warm hands over his skin. Free of all his clothes, she guided him to the bed and tucked him in among the sheets. The hospital gown she wore was tossed in the trash and she moved behind him. It would surely be a comical sight to anyone that would see them laying together, his giant body cradled in by her smaller frame. It didn’t matter, it was a supreme comfort to them both. He started to say something but she shushed him.
“Let someone else take care of you,” she whispered as her lips left soft touches to his spine while her hands soothed over him. “They’ll know what to do now.”
“How can you be so sure?” he asked in a voice she would have otherwise mistaken for a child’s.
“I know things, Eric,” she whispered. “I knew you weren’t meant to die. I know Pam should be here for many more years. She will die one day or rather night, but now is not her time.”
The certainty with which she spoke finally allowed him to relax, and though he was always one to deal with fact, for once he allowed himself to believe in hope before falling into his day death.
“Sarah has passed?” Godric asked softly, a glimmer of sadness overtaking his features for the blonde woman who had treated him with kindness. “The Fellowship was attacked, our allies.”
Cecily nodded, showing not an ounce of sympathy before relaying, “No survivors.”
“We were attacked by the Authority, but they do not fight with guns,” Russell noted. “It is too overt, leverage has always been exerted rather than actual force. It’s the nature of their business. Talbot and your human are mere pawns to them.”
“So who has taken your state?” Godric questioned.
“Mexico, of course,” he dismissed, displaying little regard for that conclusion. “Greedy bastard has deep pockets and Isabel has always been for sale.”
Godric didn’t reply, too many occurrences in a short period of time had given him thought to who he could trust.
“You’re up,” Russell prodded at an absent-minded Jason who looked at him in confusion.
“Watch it with the poking, Bubba,” he answered while caressing the point of impact. “What?” Jason demanded when Russell continued to look at him expectantly. “Oh, she said somethin’ about no survivors, your ancientness.”
“How did you survive then?” Russell asked with keen interest.
“Dunno,” he shrugged. “One minute I was there, then poof! We was gone and with Sookie. More guns. Some girl named Claudine came by and y’all found us in that field. Got any ESPN on this?” Jason questioned while prodding at the control buttons for the different CCTV monitors.
“Huh, yeah,” Jason mumbled while flicking through the channels. “She looks after Sookie or sumtin’. ‘M gonna need to talk to her employer about the piss poor job she’s doin’.”
Russell grinned like a loon while listening to the nonsensical ramblings before directing his attention to his ancient colleague and addressing him in his ancient tongue, “You don’t even realise what an asset you possess, do you?”
“Ms. Stackhouse is not an asset,” he spoke pointedly.
“Is that so?” Russell grinned. “If you won’t have her, I will.”
Godric’s eyes narrowed with enough warning to clear the hostile air between them, a small snort escaped Russell in a display of defeat. “What is she?”
“You really are blind, aren’t you, Pappa?” Cecily giggled in the same falsetto tone as Russell. “You think all this strife and war is about you.”
“It’s about her?” he whispered with sudden realisation. “It’s about Sookie.”
“YES!” Jason squealed with excitement when he flicked through a channel that held his attention longer than two seconds. “Vamp porn!”
A/N: Thanks to the wonderful msbuffy for all the commas, fixes and finishes!
Right so some answers and probably more questions… the plot thickens. More on Pam’s fate next time. Thoughts?