“Of course,” Russell exclaimed with satisfaction. “The Viking is not too pleased with papa on the throne. Did he want the shiny crown all for himself?” The innocent pout on the King of Mississippi’s face did nothing to retain the ire that insulting Pam’s maker caused.
“Eric couldn’t give a fuck about a crown on his head,” she hissed. “He doesn’t have a death wish.”
“So why did he send you here?” Russell asked with a glint illuminating his dark eyes. “You seem to have one coming in here all by your lonesome.”
“Because his fucking maker has a death wish and he’s taking all surrounding vampires down with him till there are probably none of us left!”
“He needs someone to take on papa then,” Russell summarised. “Who is it this time? Moses, Lillith, Allah or all of the above?”
“Fucking worse,” Pam exhaled in annoyance. “J.C. and the sunshine band.”
“Jesus?” Russell said thoughtfully. “I met him once. He was a boring hippy that stank of patchouli.”
Pam wrinkled her nose in distaste. She abhorred the sixties for that scent alone, it was every- fucking-where. Some of her highly prized vintage clothing still lingered with the revolting smell, despite her best efforts to remove it.
“Pray tell what band is this?”
“You are aware of the Fellowship of the Sun?” Pam asked as her face settled back to its stoic stance after the slight uproar that patchouli memories rendered.
He growled in response. A far more feral response than Pam had anticipated. Most vampires didn’t respond this strongly unless they were personally affected by the so called church. All vampires naturally detested the Fellowship but the extreme hatred was reserved for their victims. Humans were never viewed as a threat unless they had succeeded in being one. The ‘church’, however, had emerged post Great Reveal when Russell was already locked away in seclusion.
The blonde vampire regarded the ancient one carefully. His insanity had clearly been exaggerated by the loose lipped vampires he once surrounded himself with. The only reason he was alive after his media stunt was because it had been able to be contained. Russell’s outburst that resulted in the cruel death of a news cast anchor had aired solely on a local news station. The AVL had managed to glamour every single TV viewer, as was standard protocol before the Great Reveal. It had been so effective they had to reglamour the same group of people again after the reveal so that they believed there really was such things as vampires.
The reason he was alive was most likely that he was older than the entire council combined. He looked as plain as he was lethal. The number of beautiful vampires were plentiful for the reason of aesthetics alone. A plain vampire was rare for a reason. ‘Always look out for the plain ones,’ Eric had taught her, ‘and always fear the ugly ones.’ Most of all Russell was unpredictable and those were the most dangerous of vampires to taunt.
Pam was satisfied that she had found her hook with the ‘sunshine band’. The Fellowship of the Sun had wronged him somehow. This is where she would reel Russell in but he had to swim himself there. Pam never relished in an easy conquest. She was vampire after all. It meant there was always time to do things properly. Pam knew for sure they were definitely going to take their time with this. She couldn’t wait.
“Hey sis,” Jason greeted with a shit eating grin on his bright face. Sookie gasped when she looked up and saw her brother happily holding hands with a cheerful Cecily.
She remained speechless as they sat down opposite her in the booth of the palace mess hall. Cecily waved at her just like she had in the throne room. Jason pulled his arm over her shoulder scooting her closer and giving her a kiss on the cheek.
“So what’s good here?” he asked looking at the menu.
“You can see her now,” Sookie said stunned.
“Huh, yeah,” Jason shrugged as he squinted at the menu. “What’s tofu?”
“It all tastes like ass,” Sookie answered as she set aside the barely touched vegan three bean platter with the afore mentioned ingredient. “Now tell me why you can see her all of a sudden.”
“Something about kin. What’s sei… tan?” Jason tried to pronounce the mystery ingredient.
“Sa-tan,” Cecily enunciated the Japanese wheat protein for him.
“I thought they were all about Jesus here?” Jason returned confused to which Cecily only giggled melodically.
“I don’t know Jase. Let’s go out and eat something real elsewhere,” Sookie suggested still awaiting an answer to her initial question. “Can you go out in the sun Cecily?”
“Sure,” Cecily replied as if she was responding to a completely bizarre question and Sookie was especially slow.
They found themselves lying on the grass of a nearby square overlooking the Mississippi River before Sookie finally got some answers to her burning questions. Cecily was lovingly rubbing over Jason’s full tummy as the sun was hanging low in the sky.
“So Jason and I can see you because we’re related somehow?” Sookie asked her eyebrows scrunched at the thought.
“Yes we’re all fairies,” Cecily said with a tiny shrug before resting her head on Jason’s chest. “Part at least.” Jason ran his fingers through her long hair the interchange between material and immaterial entertaining him like a small child and his puppy.
“Fairies?” Sookie asked in confusion.
“Hey I ain’t no fairy,” Jason huffed out as he pulled up his upper back to look at Cecily. “I think I proved that more than once today.”
She giggled up at him shaking her head back and forth. Cecily was especially ethereal at that moment as if the elements surrounding her had no effect on her. “Not those fairies,” she admonished with a kiss.
“Like Tinkerbelle?” Sookie wondered aloud.
“Pixies,” she huffed in disgust. “Different species, related though. The fae used to inhabit this world alongside the others but vampires liked the taste too much. They live on a different plane now.”
“We’re related how?” Sookie asked wondering how healthy these relations between Cecily and Jason were.
“Same clan. Sky. It’s why you enjoy the sun so much.” Jason and Sookie nodded in affirmation of her assessment. “I am of the fire clan too. You two are pure sky. Quite rare. Special.”
“What is he doing?” a baritone voice said pointing at Jason.
“Eric,” Sookie exclaimed as she recognised him and pulled him down beside her.
He purred at her scent, “You reek of the sun.”
“Sorry,” she offered. “Apparently we sky fairies adore the sun.”
“Don’t be sorry,” he murmured as he nuzzled her exposed skin she giggled a little at the ticklish feel of it. “It’s delicious. It makes up for waking up alone.”
“Sorry,” Sookie offered again for leaving him absent in bed.
“Is he a mime?” Eric asked when he finally regained a hold of his senses.
“No. Welcome to the crazy Stackhouse clan. He can see Cecily too now,” she said off handed. “She drank his blood, we’re family.” He quirked his brow at that demanding a more thorough explanation. She regaled at length their connection to the part fae sky/fire faepire with supplemental information from the unique creature herself. By the end Eric was gazing at where Cecily would be looking for any sign of her. Frankly he felt a little left out.
“If Cecily were to drink my blood do you think I could see her?” Eric pondered aloud. Sookie growled a little at the thought of him sharing his blood with Cecily. She was possessive of his blood despite never having ingested it, though she had no rational explanation as to why. Nor did she have a logical reason for her distaste of the idea.
“Cecily says unless you’re a fire or sky clan descendant it’s not likely,” Sookie relayed.
“If you and I were to exchange blood?” he asked of Sookie. Eric was curious what her reaction would be. Never in his existence had he wanted to share his blood with anyone. Even with Pam he had been hesitant even though he ultimately wanted her as his child. From the moment he had laid his eyes on Sookie however he wanted nothing more. Upon the realisation that he didn’t want her as his child, the importance of her had been painted in a new light. They were the musings of a vampire condemned to die. With his release the facts had remained unchanged. He noticed a glint of anticipation in Sookie’s eyes as she licked her lips. It pleased him greatly.
“Meh,” Sookie imitated Cecily, not entirely sure what that was supposed to mean. “Sit up, I wanna try something.”
He obliged and she moved behind him holding his head between her palms and concentrated. She tried to project to him the image of Cecily as she saw her in front of them. For the first time in a thousand years he gasped when the lithe redhead waving to him suddenly materialised with her head laying atop Jason’s chest.
“Welcome to the zoo,” Cecily said in his native tongue.
“Louisiana,” the Queen of Mississippi greeted.
“Mississippi,” he returned his tone polite.
“Love what you’ve done with the place,” she complimented. “So… authentic.”
“My tastes are not as lavish as my predecessor,” Godric replied in explanation.
“So I’ve heard,” she purred at him. “It was quite the fire from what I gather. My area three sheriff could see the ashes rising all the way in Biloxi.”
“What brings you to our state?” he proceeded to ask, not interested in rehashing the events of that night.
“I’ve come to collect,” she informed with a satisfied smile.
“I am not aware that you and Sophie Anne had any joint ventures.”
“No silly,” she said with a lyric voice. “I’ve come to collect my child and his human.”
“I will not interfere between a child and his maker,” Godric said with reverence hoping this would be the end of their conversation. With Eric’s release he had realised not every vampire would be essential to the prophecy he had received. It had taught him choice was essential to his plan.
“Well perhaps I have no use for the magister after all,” she smiled menacingly.
“The magister is in New Orleans? At your behest?” Godric asked affronted. The transcripts he had seen so far in regards to the local magister’s dealings were disconcerting. He had spoken with the young vampire, Jessica Hamby, who was turned as punishment for another vampire’s crime. Her maker had abandoned her as soon as she was born, Jessica did not even know his name.
The newborn was placed in her Sheriff’s care till she found her way to New Orleans. The callous manner at which the magister viewed human life was troubling Godric greatly. To him it was these acts that cemented their eternal damnation.
“I ask for his presence. If you would oblige me,” Godric requested.
“I’d expect nothing less from a man of your stature,” she smirked. One of her underlings left the room to make a call at her order before they continued their polite salon conversation. Godric observed thoughtfully how the veteran queen ordered around her entourage with minute gestures.
“Your numbers have been growing with the reveal of the maenad,” she observed over a warmed cup of True Blood in a delicate china cup. “You prophecy is moving along as you have spoken it.”
“Yes,” he acknowledged. “We have many new vampires seeking residence among us. Our species has been solitary for too long. They seek a warm nest.”
“Mmm,” she sounded out not agreeing or disagreeing with him. She gazed around at the distinctively cold surroundings she found herself in. “Redemption is alluring indeed,” she said with an unspoken sarcasm.
“We have some written works if you are interested,” Godric offered unaware of the Queen’s implied scepticism.
“Of course,” she replied politely. Diplomacy had been her method of survival so far and she had yet to find motivation to abandon it. “Have one of my underlings take them,” she said gesturing towards her generous entourage.
“Your child has a human companion?” Godric asked hoping to understand his own child’s infatuation with one. Sookie was an enchanting girl but Eric had never taken note of a human for more than a night. Two at best.
“Yes,” she cackled. “Isn’t it darling? He thinks he’s in love with her. It’s so sad it’s funny.”
“You think it funny he is in love?” Godric asked confused.
“You must learn to play the game better than this if you seek to keep that crown firmly upon your head mon petite chouchou,” she returned with a mischievous glint in her eye. “I said he thinks he’s in love with her.”
“How are you so certain he’s not?”
“I am his maker,” she said amused as she shifted herself closer on the uncomfortable wooden bench. “I know him better than anyone. Better than the natural mother who bore him.”
“You feel it through the bond,” he stated rather then asked. The hollow emptiness he was experiencing at its dual loss coming back to the forefront of his mind again. Despite Eric and Cecily’s physical presence the ache had returned stronger than ever before when in their proximity. It was as if the tethered bonds cried out to be rekindled.
“No,” she dismissed offhandedly while readjusting the delicate lace of her sleeves. “I released him decades ago. I don’t need the bond to see the truth for what it is.”
Godric looked at the Queen of Mississippi in shock. How she was able to know her own child so well without the bond puzzled him. He questioned whether he had relied too heavily on the bond in the past instead of observing his children like any other. Like a human parent would.
“What do you see if I may ask?”
“My child is incapable of loving himself. Always at war with his self,” she spoke as if speaking causally of the weather. “How can he possibly love another? He loves me because he has to, I am his maker. He can only hope to love this human.”
“Love is involuntary,” Godric said remembering Cecily’s words from the previous evening.
“Are you trying to tell me something Godric,” she whispered seductively with a wicked smile, while her delicate fingers traced the contours of his visible tattoos.
“No,” he returned hastily brushing away the encroaching fingers. “I am not seeking any alliances at this moment in time.”
“Very well,” she said a little disappointed. “Perhaps we should speak of your own child. Or rather of your grandchild.”
“What of her,” Godric spoke with threat in his voice. While he had not discussed the circumstances with Eric of his progeny’s demise, he was aware it was a sudden event. The Queen’s knowledge of Pam had made him guarded and suspicious.
“I assumed the Viking would have raised her better than that.”
“Better than what?” he questioned with the same clipped voice. The insult travelled beyond his child as the rearing of his grandchild reflected as heavily on him as it did on Eric.
“Taught her to check in with the local authority when running rampant round my state,” she informed with glee with the discovery that the King of Louisiana seemed completely unaware of Pam’s dealings. It eased her mind in the suspicions of whom she might be seeking out. “Especially in a helicopter. Could she be more obvious?”
Godric’s face turned to stone at the realisation of how his son had been deceiving him. Gone she was indeed. He had defied one of his maker’s commands. How he managed that was the least of his concerns. He motioned to one of his pages.
“I will call for my child to apologise,” he offered to the amused queen as he directed the servant to fetch Eric and Sookie. He had stressed the latter wondering if her telepathy had something to do with it. The fae were known tricksters and he wondered how innocent Ms Stackhouse truly was.
“Excellent, now that anybody who is anybody will be in attendance my child can join us,” she announced with a saccharine tone that made Godric nauseous with the sound.
“Of course,” Godric acquiesced his rage still boiling beneath the surface, however, his outward appearance remained the epitome of calm. “I apologise for not asking for him sooner. His name?”
“Why Bill Compton of course.”
Tensions ran high in the throne room. Cecily had reluctantly left Jason behind to accompany Sookie and Eric. Godric had deferred his modest throne to the magister. His position did not outrank him but protocol demanded it nonetheless.
Initially taken aback by Bill’s presence Sookie had plastered on her signature smile to steel her nerves and firmly clasped onto Eric at the sight. Neither one of them failed to notice the poorly withheld scowl of disgust that descended on Compton’s face. Sookie inhaled deeply before sitting down on the punishingly hard bench. Even with the inability to read the present vampire’s minds it was clear to her things were not as they should be in Godric’s court.
She was seated beside Eric and Godric on one side while Bill and Lorena Krasiki, the Queen of Mississippi, sat across from them. It reminded Sookie of the court room setup of the previous night, be it in a more intimate range which only made her more anxious of what was to come. Eric soothed her nerves slightly by drawing languid circles on the back of her hand.
Godric and the magister continued their private conversation while Bill desperately tried to get Sookie’s attention but she refused to hold his gaze. When she did look at him she would look right through him refusing to give him anything of herself anymore. Eric held her hand tightly in his while he clamped down on every instinct to take down the smug looking Bill Compton in a room full of witnesses.
As Godric and the magister finished up their conversation in his native Spanish tongue Godric turned his attention to his son.
“I wish to speak alone with my child and Ms Stackhouse,” Godric announced to the others. With a round of consenting nods Eric and Sookie followed him obediently into his chambers where Cecily was hanging upside down from a ceiling beam.
“Hi papà,” she greeted before landing on her feet.
“Cecily,” Godric sighed at the sight of his other child.
“She’s here?” Eric asked of Sookie who nodded in the affirmative. Eric had been able to have a lengthy conversation with Cecily before they were called away. However, as soon as Sookie disengaged her projection effort the apparition had disappeared to him again.
“The Queen of Mississippi just informed me Pam is in her state undocumented,” Godric said with a cold heat tainting his tone. “You lied to me. She is not truly dead.”
“No he didn’t,” Cecily quipped as Eric made the same statement. Cecily continued, “I told you she was not truly gone.”
“You knew,” he seethed at Cecily. “You aid him in this deception.” At this point Sookie decided it was probably best to try her projection again for Eric’s sake. Even though it had drained her energy earlier in the night while maintaining it.
“You heard what you wanted to hear,” Cecily said unimpressed by his directed anger.
“I did not lie,” Eric stated. “I released her because I felt it was best.”
“You broke my command,” he accused Eric while redirecting his anger towards him. “You embarrass me in front of another head of state.”
“I will take responsibility for Pam’s actions,” Eric said with deference.
“How did you break my command?” he demanded his rage undeterred. It was now that Sookie understood the fear Eric had for his maker. As gentle as Godric seemed he possessed the opposite with as great a power as the former.
“I broke it,” she admitted in a small voice before Eric was able to stop her.
“You two have been deceiving me this whole time,” he accused, the disappointment cutting into Eric. A small tear sprang from the corner of Sookie’s eye with the punishment of his words. “I should repudiate you,” Godric continued to lash out.
“Survival or death,” Cecily reminded her maker.
“This is not the time Cecily,” Godric growled, minutely shaking his head with closed eyes. The pain cutting deeply with the betrayal of both his children.
“She is right,” Eric agreed. “I chose survival over death. I trust upon your teachings.”
“I told a lie,” he sighed, his tone heavy with dejection.
“You lie to yourself,” Cecily accused, tapping away on the desk even though it registered no sound.
Silence plagued the room, the only noise coming from Sookie’s nervous breath and erratically palpitating heartbeat.
“Will you choose her over your own survival?” Godric asked of Eric motioning to Sookie. His tone had tempered with the descended quietude.
“Yes,” he said without hesitance surprising everyone in the room apart from the red headed apparition who merely nodded her assent.
“But not I,” Godric stated as he felt the knife cut deeper inside of him. It pained him more than any wound that had drawn blood.
“Involuntary,” Cecily clarified.
“You released me before I did you,” Godric declared with a hint of grief to his only son. With that realisation Godric acknowledged that he had indeed spent far too long relying on the bond as an indicator of truth. It had fabricated the truth he sought rather than what he saw. He held his child’s loyalty but no longer his life. If he ever held it at all.
It only dawned upon Godric now that Eric was able to recognise Cecily’s presence. At Sookie’s pained expression he devised she had found some way to facilitate this. The faeling apparently had more skills beyond the reading of minds. His fear that she was the coordinator of this chaos seemed unfounded now. This mess was of his own creation.
“Apologise to the Queen of Mississippi and we will head to Shreveport as planned,” Godric finally said dismissively before storming out of the room.
Eric nodded and they proceed to return to the throne room. A public apology was given and accepted. Eric would be sure to inform Pam to check in with the Jackson sheriff. Her check in was a mere formality and officially Pam still had 72 hours left before it was considered trespassing. It was not the point of the exercise. The Queen needed to know what Pam was up to and on whose behalf. The added consternation between maker and child was simply a bonus to her schemes.
“There is an issue with the human,” the magister said spitting out the last word with disgust while looking over to Sookie.
“What about her?” Godric asked as Cecily growled with what could be best described as fire’s breath.
“She is hanging off the wrong vampire,” the magister stated administratively. “Mr Compton seeks to take her to Mississippi. Hand her over.”
“I am not his,” Sookie exclaimed while Eric tried to hold her back unsuccessfully. He gave her a warning glance that begged her to remain calm.
“You will not speak unless spoken to human,” the magister commanded with a clear distaste for her. “Sit,” he barked.
She obeyed even though every bone in her body told her not to. Eric’s pleading face made her finally comply. The magister looked upon his stack of papers.
“Mr Compton acknowledged her as his in the presence of multiple vampires in the presence of his Sheriff. Northman you did not claim her for yourself as by Sheriff rights would allow.”
“No. I did not at the time,” Eric replied.
“You have since?” the magister asked looking up from the stack of paperwork.
“Yes six nights prior.” With that admission Bill looked incensed at Sookie. She ignored it as best she could. Sookie may have felt some remorse over her adulterous behaviour in the past but now she couldn’t care less for his feelings.
“So after your maker took the throne,” he remarked scribbling a side note on his tablet. “Any witnesses?” Eric shook his head no.
“I need you to say it,” the magister said indicating at the recording device.
“No,” Eric replied with the faintest hint of defeat. He didn’t dare look at Sookie anymore.
“Her skill set was known to you on the night Mr Compton claimed her?” the magister continued his interrogation.
“Yes. I offered her a contract after ascertaining her skill.”
“Yes,” the magister replied leafing through the file and finding Cataliades’ draft. “Convenient that it took so long to draw up. No salary either, obviously still under negotiations. The contract is unsigned and therefore deemed invalid.” He continued to look through the rest of the paperwork before announcing, “I rule that the human belongs to Mr Compton. His claim precedes all others. Mr Northman was no longer in function as Sheriff and the rights had expired.”
Godric held back his son with a warning glare not unlike the one Eric had given Sookie earlier. It took every ounce of control that Eric had ever garnered not to act out in rage and erupt in a bloody massacre of the pathetic excuse of a vampire. Piece by piece and inch by inch. Eric wanted every nerve ending in the Civil War veteran’s body to endure a lengthened and never ending pain. Death would be too kind for the likes of Bill Compton.
“We do not treat humans in this manner in Louisiana,” Godric informed the magister with a pained look on his face. Despite the diminished bond the rage that resided in Eric filtered through strongly regardless. It was the first thing he truly felt in days.
“This is an interstate conflict,” the magister responded unimpressed. “Standard vampire law stands.”
“His claim was unfounded,” Sookie blurted out remembering Pam’s words. “I was an innocent at the time.”
The magister gave her annoyed expression for speaking up once again. He loathed humans for anything beyond a snack and this one was especially disobedient. “You had his blood inside you according to your own statement.”
“That was for healing me,” she said hoping it to be a credible defence.
“It does not matter how it got there Ms Stackhouse, it just matters that it was there. By my nose it is still there in abundance.”
“Claim me,” she seethed at Eric who could only gift her with an apologetic face.
“Very cute Ms Stackhouse,” the magister drawled. “His claim would not be warranted until Mr Compton released his. Northman let his sheriff rights expire knowingly. According to the King of Louisiana’s own notes at initial inquiry Mr Northman still recognised Mr Compton’s claim five nights ago when he arrived at the palace here. Northman’s claim is simply an opportune ploy to keep a telepath bound to his state. Now be a good little human,” he spoke dismissively waving his hand at her. “Go with Mr Compton.”
“Unclaim me now!” she screamed at Bill.
“Sookie, no. I love you I will never let you go,” Bill said with a pained look on his face. The expression Pam always described as constipated. One she had defended on his behalf. Sookie deeply regretted it now. “I know you’re scared of leaving Louisiana but we will have a beautiful life together.”
“Stick it where the sun don’t shine,” she fumed. “Actually take all the rays the sun is willing to shine on you, asshole! This is why you falsely accused Eric isn’t it. So you can prove your claim and kidnap me to some other queen. You’re fucking disgusting Bill Compton.”
“Says the slattern who jumped the first vampire she came across when I was dragged away,” he retorted with ice in his voice.
“Screw you Bill Compton,” she snapped back with fire. “I’m not going anywhere with you. You’ll need my compliance for my telepathy and you’re not getting it.”
Lorena laughed loudly at the scene, “You really think we need your compliance. Oh Bill she is just darling, I can’t wait to break her in.” Eric flew out in rage at her words before his maker physically had to rein him in. The Queen of Mississippi sat regally and un-flinched at his impending attack knowing that her own security team sat firmly in place behind her ready at her defence. No matter how strong and old Eric Northman may be, the Queen of Mississippi invested heavily in her own personal safety with due cause.
“Perhaps I have a solution that works for all,” Lorena said delighted at the chaos that was ensuing. At her words Bill looked at her in shock, they were meant to be departing with Sookie in hand. There had been no discussion of other plans.
“Marriage,” Godric said as he saw the trap that had been laid before him. Twice in one night had he been the victim of ploys of deceit.
“Yes Godric,” she condescended with a tickle of laughter. “You do seem to catch on fast. That crown will remain on you head just a little longer.”
“I will agree to a hundred year alliance if he releases her claim.”
“Enticing but no,” she returned with great satisfaction. She had come here to blackmail Godric into a marriage with the rights to a telepath. The Northman’s infatuation with her had only shored up her bargaining position. “I seek a joining of our states.”
“The Authority will agree to this?” Godric asked of the magister knowing full well that Lorena had already discussed this at length with them. It wouldn’t surprise him if the magister had aided Lorena in her request. His moral character was hardly one he aspired to.
“The Authority will approve this,” the magister answered twirling his cane on the edge of his palm. “It has been too tumultuous in the southern states for far too long.”
Godric looked over at the golden haired twosome. Sookie lay shaking in Eric’s arms as he tried to soothe her while tampering down on his own rage. The damage had already been done in listening to Bill Compton by allowing his case to be heard Sookie’s fate had been cemented. She would once again be a pawn in the politics of vampires through no fault of her own. Involuntarily.
“Love,” Cecily said to her maker. “It even inspires others.”
A pleading look from Eric determined his decision.
“The telepath remains free to do as she sees fit. She works for us by choice,” Godric proposed to Lorena. “Eric will be her liaison unless she indicates otherwise.”
“Agreed,” Lorena smiled triumphantly. She saw no value in the telepath anyhow and for the sake of her child she preferred her away from the Mississippi court.
“Negotiations will begin as soon as Compton relinquishes his claim.”
“Very well. You are still recording?” Lorena asked the magister who indicated he was. “Bill let the little human go.”
“No!” Bill cried like a petulant human child. Eric noted he was putting Pam to shame in his little tantrum. It was now Eric who carried the smuggest grin in the room. “You promised I would be able to keep her.”
Before Sookie could blink Bill was thrust upon the hard wood bench lying on his back at the mercy of his maker who sat astride him. She held an ornamental stake with a silver tip over his heart with the royal insignia of the state of Mississippi engraved in the sides. Smoke was already emanating through the thin linen material of his shirt.
“I am your maker,” she hissed. “You dare defy me. Release her or as your maker I will end you, as is my right. Either way your claim ends.”
He stared at her wide eyed, pleading with Lorena to give him this small crumb, the only thing he ever wanted in his damned eternity. The Queen of Mississippi’s hard glare left no room for discourse. Bill Compton would never win with her. Not even a crumb. “I relinquish my claim,” he finally sobbed out in defeat.
“Get him to the palace,” Lorena instructed as she tossed a whimpering Bill across the room to a pair of her bodyguards. Two other vampires in business attire stepped forward at her beckoning fingers to begin the negotiations.
“Sookie, I love you!” Bill screamed while he was carried away and out of the throne room, red tears staining the white linen of his scorched tunic.
She merely cried tears of relief in Eric’s arms. “I claim Sookie Stackhouse as my own until she indicates otherwise,” Eric stated for the record. Sookie looked up with tear glistened eyes and mouthed ‘thank you’ to him. She was touched to know he had given her an out after what had just happened with Bill’s claim.
He kissed her softly on her forehead as her exhaustion was overtaking her. The exertion of projecting Cecily for Eric and the emotional rollercoaster of the night and the one previous was taking its toll on her. Eric took her and cradled her in his arms as het got up.
“If our presence is no longer necessary,” he said eying Lorena, acknowledging that their part in her little play was done. A sinister smile confirmed as much. “We will take our leave. My liege, we will join you in Shreveport tomorrow when Sookie has recovered.”
“I fear I will not be leaving until tomorrow either,” Godric said as two Louisiana vampires entered to initiate the negotiations. “Good night my child.”
Eric nodded and took Sookie to their bedroom. He placed her softly on their shared bed, already fast asleep in the cradle of his arms. He carefully arranged the covers around her, Eric removed her jeans leaving her in a t-shirt and underwear. A small smile travelled across his face as he observed the little dainty hearts on her cotton underpants. The innocence of her still present in parts, he was glad Bill Compton had not been able to steal that away from her. He entered the adjoining bathroom to wet a soft cloth in order to clean the tear tracks from her face. As he gently dabbed at her face she stirred a little.
“You were right,” she said as she looked into his soft blue eyes. “We should have left.”
“Shh,” he soothed before chastely kissing her on the lips. “You’re mine now I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“Not to me, no,” she whispered. “Poor Godric has to marry that awful woman.”
“He made his bed,” Cecily informed appearing behind Eric.
“You’re harsh Cecily,” Sookie exhaled. After which she relayed to Eric what Cecily had spoken, it was less straining than the projection at this point.
“Vampire politics are harsh, beloved. Not unlike your human ones,” he offered while he caressed his thumb over her cheek. “Godric seeks to distance himself from it, so instead it comes to knock on his doorstep.”
“You two don’t seem that bothered at the prospect of your new wicked step-mother,” Sookie sighed.
“Godric negotiated your release before the actual pledging,” Eric explained. “Lorena greedily accepted. She doesn’t seem to have an interest in your telepathy. Her thirst for power will be her downfall. Negotiations for marriage can take decades sometimes centuries. A claim is a claim, it cannot be overturned. Except by you,” he finished with a soft smile. She granted him a grateful one as she remembered his generous addendum.
“So we were all just lubricants to her plans. You me and Bill?”
“Unfortunately yes,” Eric replied, hating that he too had been played in her house of cards. Luckily Lorena was a weak card player, she had already shown her hand.
“Godric secures her crown,” Cecily offered. “As she does his.”
Sookie nodded sleepily at Cecily. The sounds of thunder and pelting rain filled the silence in the room. A shot of lightning jolted through the darkness.
“Lie with me,” she asked of Eric as Cecily waved her goodbye for the night. “Just for a little bit.”
“Of course,” Eric said and stripped down to move behind her and spooned her into his body. “I’m not leaving you alone.”
“I was always scared of thunder as a child,” she confessed as she interlaced her fingers with his. Another rumbling sound trembled through the room as Eric turned out all the lights.
“Me too,” he admitted when it was fully dark, the room only illuminated by the waning moon. She turned her body to face his with an incredulous look.
“Really?” she questioned and he simply nodded. “Big Bad Vampire Sheriff was scared of thunder?” Sookie asked as a small smile crept into her saddened features.
“You’d be amazed what scares me,” he acknowledged without thinking about it.
“What?” she enquired as the pad of her index finger trailed down his chest.
“The thought of losing you,” he returned as he pulled her palm to his mouth and kissed it softly.
“Why do you care for me so?” she asked nuzzling their interlaced hands, their foreheads now barely held apart.
“That scares me too,” he admitted as she drifted off to sleep.
A/N: Sorry vegans but as a vegetarian I need someone to pick on ;). I sincerely doubt that Sookie would enjoy your offerings with het Southern Comfort food tastes. At least at first.
I put some pictures in the slideshow below of what I imagine Godric’s palace looks like, albeit a more detailed and architecturally designed version of it. It’s actually an abbey in Mamelis near Vaals in the south of The Netherlands. It’s very beautiful in its austerity and was designed by Dom Hans van der Laan who was a monk and architect.