I was expecting a phone call from Pam but got Sookie instead. Not that it wasn’t an unpleasant surprise but what she told me was. Her friend Lafayette had been possessed by another spirit and this time the outcome had been fatal. I was vaguely aware that the self-proclaimed capitalist had developed some supernatural talents of his own. It was connected to my own stint with witches so they were thoughts I didn’t dwell on often.
I first noticed the fry cook when we came to collect Bill Compton for his night of judgment with the magister. For a flamboyantly gay and black man in rural Louisiana he knew how to keep his head down surprisingly well despite his ever changing colourful outfits. Too bad for him I could smell the guilt all over him. He was a dealer and recreational user. I had no issue with the recreational use. It was that which filled my club night upon night past its legal capacity.
Everyone wanted a taste of us, I rather they do it in my house. The blood is sacred but when we share it is given freely with intent. I don’t judge what other vampires do with their blood, I’ve been dealing around mine more often than Godric would most likely have approved of. I don’t regret dispensing a single drop.
It was why I had freed Lafayette in the end. He had managed what little others had, he found a tap that was willing to share. That is a rare feat. He was nothing like the drainers or murderers of our kind that filled my dungeon to the brim. A deal with a certain hot tempered little blonde may or may not have had something to do with it.
He was a useful asset to have, my fear that Godric had been taken by drainers was alleviated with Lafayette’s intel that no blood of that age was being dealt from anywhere near the Dallas area.
Lafayette was a good salesman he had demonstrated that when he begged for his life. His pitch to become a child of mine was intriguing and it made me see beyond the appearance of just another blood bag.
“Oh, don’t get it twisted honey cone. I’m a survivor first, capitalist second and a whole bunch of shit after that. But a hooker, dead last! So if I’ve got even a Jew at an Al Qaida pep rally’s shot at getting my black ass up out of this motherfucker, I’m taking it!”
The definition of a hustler through and through. Granted he wouldn’t have stood a chance of surviving a winter in my days but he knew how to survive in the 21st century. He fully acknowledged he was a person of poor moral character. It wasn’t many who would freely admit to that.
For one Lafayette wasn’t afraid to inform others of just that fact. He didn’t take hypocrisy lying down, his convictions were never compromised. Subtle or overt he let his distaste with society know in whatever form it would take it.
He was strong for a human and could stand his own when he needed to but it was more a persona to protect his dealings than a violent streak in his personality. From what my blood inside him told me he was a gentle heart. Cared more than he would ever show, that should have told me he would make a good child. Although Lafayette thought being a good dancer made him the best candidate. That had given me doubt. Case in point, Pam moves like a disjointed stick.
I knew some of what it meant to be discriminated but it only came when I was over a thousand years old. I am tall, white, blond and blue eyed. Don’t forget devastatingly handsome. My little public service announcement for the AVL even got some ‘likes’ from staunch anti-vampire types. Yes, I’m even irresistible to them. Or it may have been that they prefer me over a politician, humans seem a little odd on the political front these days. Seeing that Bill Compton was the former mouth piece of the Louisiana vampires to the rest of the world I really shouldn’t be surprised.
Lafayette wasn’t blessed with the ease of life afforded to me. He was discriminated on all accounts, every strike was against him from birth. Yet he built an empire that made him invaluable in that backwards town. They never respected him for it but they all stood in line to take his medicine. Apparently his cooking was quite good too.
“Way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That shit true as gold. You put some love in your food and folk can taste it.”
I could taste something different in him too, when we had our ‘chow’ time. I had done it to assert control over the begging fool. He didn’t cower away, perhaps he thought I would really turn him. Regardless he knew how to adapt, perhaps it was all he ever knew without solid ground to ever stand upon. I was vaguely becoming aware of just that when Sookie entered my bar suffering the inscription of a maenad’s claw on her beautiful back. Lafayette was given his freedom with her discovery but I vowed to keep him close.
Sophie Anne had me dispensing V like it was water. I knew just the vendor who could sell snow to the Eskimos. He was my contingency plan as I bartered and struck deals to rid the state of the infestation of my formerly respected Queen. Her greed got her killed in the end, if Nan Flanagan and her goons had not finished her off before me, her blood would have decorated my hands. Apparently that piece of intelligence directed my sister’s way had been the reason Bill Compton sat with a crown upon his head. I knew I should have kept it to myself and from that betrayal I should have known Nora had strayed from Godric’s teachings. Sophie Anne’s death belonged to me, Sookie is mine, or at least my asset at the time.
Lafayette could move volume like no other. I told him he was my top salesman and in the suitable American tradition I gifted him with an expensive car. I had contemplated an extravagant time piece but Pam advised me it would be an assault to her discerning eyes if the man bedazzled himself any more.
He didn’t know he was my only salesperson, I didn’t take unnecessary risks like that. I could make him compliant with the blood I held of mine inside, but I found that I wanted him loyal to me out of choice. A healthy dose of fear came along with that. It was a simple system one uses to train a dog. Punish bad behaviour and reward the good. I noticed Lafayette had only ever known the first part of that simple logic. I now doubted anyone had ever been good to him.
I may have caused more trauma then I intended. His fear surged in my presence, I refrained from pulling my influence on him in dreams but it failed to help him regardless. During my day rests I would sometimes feel pangs of pain coursing through. Perhaps I had miscalculated his mental aptitude of survival and the time in my dungeon had left more marks than I thought. His chest always puffed larger than it was.
It took Lafayette quite some time to accept a gift freely given. He was hesitant when I offered my blood to him. That dimwit Ginger had shot him in the leg. She couldn’t even aim properly. I think Pam only keeps her around for entertainment, she has yet to prove her use to me.
He wasn’t swayed easily for the necessity of my blood, so I preyed on his need to survive. Like a good dog he hadn’t run to the emergency room. I wouldn’t have given a shit that Ginger would be incarcerated for her crime but it would have led them to me. Lafayette was well aware by then who not to trust with his life. The law enforcement surely wasn’t one he ever trusted before. He took a chance with me. I repaid it by helping him out when I sensed his danger among the inbred panthers of Hotshot.
“I’m a bitch not a snitch, love it.”
Love it I did, Lafayette knew how to sustain his life even when he knew he was crossing the line. He wasn’t living unless he was crossing somebody’s line. He was smart enough not to come near mine.
He cleaned up his dealing of V along with the death of Sophie Anne. He never sought out a new supplier, he knew better than that. Loyalty had been earned, he may still not have liked me but he would never move against me. Tara had pleaded with me for his life once more when she was newly turned. She feared I would still retaliate against him for his participation in the circle of magic that stole my memories away. Apparently she and Lafayette had immediately sought out Sookie to apologise and offer to make it right when they could not find me.
Lafayette all but chained himself in my dungeon in the presence of Pam. He knew who he wronged and how to take the punishment. This told me he had moved on from his former trauma. There are plenty of gluttons for punishment but Lafayette was one of the few that took a punishment earned. He didn’t prescribe by the laws of the land just like I. He had a code of honour regardless, it was one I could respect.
He had paid a heavy price by turning against a powerful witch, she used his body as retribution to kill his lover. I think even I wouldn’t be that cruel from the afterlife and there’s plenty of that inside me. I had dampened the bond on his blood from that point on. My memories of a blissful time with Sookie were in the forefront of my mind and she wanted distance. I had enough of my own pain and I didn’t need his alongside it. It’s probably why his development into a failing medium had gone unnoticed by me.
Sookie told me it was more difficult for him to control than her own telepathy. She had tried to help him develop shields but some of the spirits were just too strong and could still overpower him. It only made the most determined seek him out. I wondered if my blood had induced this activation of powers, I would have to wait and see what happened with Jason. I strongly suspected my blood had awoken that Fairy spark in Sookie after Dallas. I seemed to be gaining quite the menagerie with the inhabitants of Bon Temps ever since.
Without much to do I checked my bank accounts. I was pleased to see everything ran as it should in my absence. The payments to Ruby Jean’s care home would continue to be paid until her death. Lafayette had thought himself fortunate when the charitable branch of AIG capital had taken over his payments. He was fortunate because he had met me. I had looked into his finances when he was still on my payroll.
Lafayette worked as a parish road worker by day and as a short order cook by night alongside his shady business dealings. His adult website left me and Pam with hours of entertainment, the bill on that was higher than her shoe budget that month. We especially enjoyed the dancing Laura Bush mask.
Since I took over those payments, Lafayette had only stuck to his job at Merlotte’s and the minor dealings of soft drugs. He was by no means the capitalist he was before but the pressure of his mother’s care was relieved. From Pam I had gathered that the two sisters who had birthed her child and Lafayette were by no means eligible to be mother of the year but I would continue the payments regardless. If Lafayette worked that hard for someone who didn’t deserve his loyalty I would honour that. I did nothing of care to deserve his and he gave it regardless.
I sent out an email to Ludwig to check in on the mother. Her schizophrenia might just be the same thing her son suffered from. Actual voices in her head.
I had initially only taken an interest in Lafayette for his skills but I found him to be a loyal friend to Sookie though she had informed me he had cursed her car in retribution of Tara’s death. Family meant more to him above all other’s that much was clear. Fortunately things had patched up between all three before his death.
I had seen it with other vampires who shared a shitty maker. They bound closer to each other than the maker and child in retaliation, it’s why parenting was a responsibility I had always refrained from entering upon. I only turned Willa out of strategy and I wouldn’t have if Pam was unable to stand on her own.
I had sensed through Tara’s tough exterior the importance of her cousin, as much as she tried to distance herself from her human past she couldn’t give up on the people that were closest to her. She had shared more with them than she ever would with Pam. Their relationship was just different.
“Any news?” I asked when I spoke to Sookie for the second time that night. She usually called at this hour, right before my day rest. At this time of year the Swedish nights were extremely short and the days long, it helped my healing along as I spent the day in upturned soil and replenished with pints of blood by night.
“No,” she said with some trepidation.
Sookie had lived through this before and would come out unscathed once more. I was certain of that. Death becomes easier when the numbers become larger. I don’t remember every death I doled out but the ones of significance never fade in the confines of my mind. The memory of my human family’s stands tall above the rest. I felt powerless then just like Sookie does now.
“That’s good then,” I offered.
“No news is good news,” Sookie quipped back but her usual spirit was missing from her voice.
“In these cases it usually is,” I returned. “Just keep breathing.”
“You told me to keep on breathing, to keep on living. HOW?”
I needed her to remain safe despite her inner turmoil. Bill’s ridiculous donor scheme wouldn’t keep the people of her town secure from those infected beings. A handful of vampires protecting them from a swarm of mutants? I refuse to call them vampires, they’re no longer of us. I saw Nora degenerate, she was gone before she finally fell to pieces. My own physical recovery from the flames was going faster than expected but I was not well enough to scoop Sookie out of that hell.
“Willa. She’s with you now?” I asked when all I could hear was the sound of her heavy breathing.
“Yes,” she said so softly I knew tears were staining her eyes. I hated the distance between us, especially now. When she told me she had found that girl in the white dress again a few nights past I was elated. She was letting me back in, when I had respected her need for a life without vampires. Perhaps I should have been persistent, it seemed I was the only one that ever listened to what she wanted.
I had agreed with her that I was best a part outside of her life when I signed her back the deed of her house. If she was willing to take me back now I no longer saw reason to object. For now all I could do was send comfort through the distant bond we shared but it was a paltry offering to what my body could bring her. I may not carry warmth but I know how to express it with her.
“Is this how we’re all going to end up?” she sniffed.
“We could end up in Hell, or fuckin South Dakota.”
She was living in a warzone while I lived in the comfort of the Swedish countryside. On a nightly basis my personal meals on wheels were delivered and not a single person in this hamlet gave a derogatory glare. They cherished me as much as the ancient and well preserved Vasa ship down in Stockholm. I was a part of their collective history not a threat to it.
Lafayette never had that acceptance, only three people ever cherished his black ass. A dead lover, an undead cousin and a sad fairy. He needed more people in his corner especially now.
“No,” I said with determination. Sookie was a survivor, like me and like Lafayette. I’d be dammed if death was going to come knocking on her door again. She’d be in safety beside me soon enough.
Pam was supposed to be airlifting Sookie out of Bon Temps tonight to bring her here. That would have to be put on hold for now. The magic of our blood is never a guarantee but we’ll have to wait another two nights and see. He won’t be my motherfuckin’ bad-ass vampire but at least he will be Pam’s.
A/N: So I pulled an Alan Ball… I wasn’t ready to let Lafayette go quite yet. I love his character even though I find it difficult to capture that spirit in my own writings. I think it’s because the performance Nelsan Ellis puts in lifts that character from the pages beyond the words so he’ll ‘live’ for now.
VAlady asked for mercy last week, so I would like to make it clear that this was mere coincidence. I wrote this entire story before the first episode aired. I swear I was not bribed with high quality dark chocolate (72 % please) or fancy footwear…
I’ll warn you that next week’s instalment won’t be a pleasant read, not so much for the character but content. After that it will all become slightly more digestible even though those chapters were the hardest to write. Next banner is up on the It’s Already Gone page.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet: in celebration of my fanfic birthday this past Wednesday I wrote a silly little one shot called The Doctor is in that has Dr Ludwig setting right some of the wrongs of CH’s dead ever after. Please check it out if you like.