“How is he?” Niall asks as he looks down at his son in the hospital bed. Diantha had called her uncle to tell him about the attack on the farmhouse. Desmond immediately called Niall to let him know Fintan was injured and Sookie was taken . Niall and his soldiers arrived to find Fintan bleeding in the hallway. Niall teleported Fintan to Dr. Ludwig’s hospital; he has been there ever since.
“He’s stable,” Dr. Ludwig announces from the foot of the bed. She makes some notations on his chart and then walks to stand beside the Fae Prince. “We were able to repair the damage to his stomach and intestines. Everything else appears to be ok. We’re giving him medicine to manage the pain and keep him comfortable. As long as infection does not set in, he should make a full recovery.”
“How long will he need to stay here?” the prince asks.
“At least a week,” Dr. Ludwig says while keeping an eye on the monitors in the room.
“Good; at least I know he will be well cared for. You’ll have your payment when he leaves. I’ll have guards stationed here to make sure he remains safe.” Niall walks out of the room where his footsteps echo as he walks down the hall. Once he is past the magical barrier, he teleports away.
“You wanna tell me why you’re lying there playing opossum?” Dr. Ludwig demands of her patient.
Fintan’s eyes snap open to stare at the tiny doctor. She is standing on a stool beside his bed, her hands on her hips, with a stony expression on her face. “I didn’t have anything to say,” Fintan offers lamely.
Dr. Ludwig flicks Fintan between the eyes with her gnarled fingers. “Try again, boyo.”
“May I have some water?” Fintan asks sweetly. Dr. Ludwig rolls her eyes, and a cup of water appears in front of Fintan. She pushes a button so that his bed rises slightly so that he is no longer lying completely flat. She taps her foot impatiently while he drinks the entire cup. The cup disappears once it is empty.
“How much do you know about what happened at the farmhouse?” Fintan asks Dr. Ludwig as he adjusts slightly in the bed to find a comfortable spot.
“I’ve been a little focused on making sure you stay alive,” Dr. Ludwig says impatiently. Her tone softens, “I am sorry about Gladiola; she was a brave girl.”
“Do you know that Sookie was taken?”
The doctor gasps in shock, “No one has mentioned it! How is that possible? She has been protected for a reason!”
“That is the question I have asked myself. The Ancient Pythoness has not been able to see what will happen. It is as if someone is interfering with her gift. I do not know of any that would have that ability. But what troubles me is that my father was to have guards stationed around the house; we knew there was a plan to attack the house in addition to the attack on Fangtasia. Were any Fae killed in the attack?” Dr. Ludwig shakes her head no.
Fintan closes his eyes wearily as he sags against the pillows. “Even without the guards, the wards around the property should have been enough to keep our enemies out. There must be a traitor among us; how else would the attackers get through the wards?”
“Do you have an idea who it may be?”
Fintan opens his eyes slightly, “I think I do, though I hope I’m wrong.” He shifts on the bed again and winces in pain. “How long will I be laid up really? I need to find Sookie.”
“That depends,” Dr. Ludwig says briskly. She reaches into the pocket of her scrubs and pulls out a tiny amber vial. “Are you willing to use this?”
Fintan holds out his hand, “I’ll do anything to get Sookie away from Neave and Lochlan.”
“Hold your horses; I’m comin’!” Jason shouts as he stomps over to his front door. He’d just gotten out of the shower. His hair is slicked back, drops of water cling to parts of his body, and he’s only wearing a pair of jeans with the button undone. Jason opens the door of his home to find Jessica standing awkwardly and Pam leaning against the door frame. Jason pauses with one hand on the door, and his other hand rubbing his toned torso distractedly. “Uh, hi.”
“Hey Jason,” Jessica says, raising her hand and waving her fingers. She begins moving her fingers through her hair nervously. Pam rolls her eyes, placing her hands on her hips in irritation.
“Oh for fuck’s sake, we don’t have all goddamn night. Invite us in,” Pam says brusquely. Jason steps back from the door after issuing the invitation so both vampires can enter his home. Pam looks around in horror. “I thought the 1970s were bad; white trash redneck is so much worse. Jessica, do not touch anything,” Pam commands.
Jessica rolls her eyes at Pam’s obvious snobbery. Jason does not totally understand what Pam just said, but knows it isn’t good. “Hey! This was my momma and daddy’s house! It’s all I got left of ‘em.” Pam raises an eyebrow at Jason, but says nothing. An awkward silence descends upon the occupants of the living room.
“Um, why are ya’ll here?” Jason finally blurts out while shifting his attention between Jessica and Pam.
Jessica looks startled. Her brow furrows as she questions Jason. “Do you know what happened today?”
“Umm, no; should I?”
Jessica takes Jason’s hand and leads him to the couch to sit down. Pam huffs indignantly when Jessica sits on the dilapidated couch next to Jason. Ignoring Pam, Jessica focuses on Jason, trying to break the news as gently as possible. “Jason, honey, the farmhouse was attacked earlier today. You’re Granddaddy was stabbed; I don’t know how he is. Sookie was taken; Eric and Godric have gone to Jackson trying to find her. Pam and I are here to make sure you stay safe. Jason, I am so sorry,” Jessica says fervently. Jason sits dumbfounded on the couch; his mouth opening and closing several times as he tries to think of something to say.
Pam rolls her eyes again and sighs in exasperation. She vamps to the bedroom and vamps back out carrying a suit, shirt, and shoes in her hands. “How is it you live like this, yet you have Tom Ford and Hugo Boss suits in your closet? You’re torturing those clothes by keeping them in these conditions.” She hands the items to Jason. “Get dressed; you’re coming with us to Fangtasia. It will be safer for you there.”
Jason takes his items and goes to his bedroom, shutting the door so he can change. Jessica looks at Pam. “What are you planning?”
“Until we know what we are up against, you and I are going to stick like glue to Jason. Whoever is behind this may target him as well. I will not fail my maker by letting something happen to Jason,” Pam declares.
Jessica nods in understanding, but looks unsure. “Do you think I’m ready for this?”
Pam looks at Jessica in an assessing way. “You’re young, that it not in your favor; an older vampire will find it easy to best you.” Jessica nods her head dejectedly. Seeing Jessica’s misery, Pam feels the need to comfort the baby vampire. She has come to care for her in the time she has been her foster maker, but of course she cannot let her know that. “But your youth can also be an asset. There are those that will underestimate you because of your age. That will be to your greatest advantage. Besides, you have me, and I don’t waste my time on just anyone.”
“Invite us in, Herveaux,” Eric slowly enunciates from his stance at the apartment door. He is vibrating with rage and wants to tear Debbie Pelt apart. His heightened sense of smell allows him to detect traces of Sookie on the bitch. He glances at his maker and Godric nods imperceptibly to let him know that Debbie is fully under his influence. Godric directs Debbie to sit on the couch. Alcide slowly rises to his feet, his eyes flickering between the two vampires. With a resigned sigh, Alcide invites them in. He moves against the wall so that he will not interfere with whatever it is the vamps have planned. Eric blurs into the room, focusing on tearing the bitch apart. However, his maker stands protectively in front of the Were.
“Stand down, my son,” Godric commands.
Having no choice, Eric’s stance relaxes and he walks away from Debbie. His face, however, shows the full force of his fury. “She knows where Sookie is; I can smell Sookie on her. You dare deny me the right to find my bonded?”
Godric’s expression is one of loving concern. “No, my son, I do not. But you must think clearly. I know you wish to harm the dog,” Godric says looking at Debbie in disgust, “but there is no need for that while she is under my glamour. She will tell us everything she knows. After that…” Godric’s voice trails off but the implication hangs in the air.
Alcide moves away from the wall, his hands curled into fists. “You’re not killing Debbie! I won’t allow it!”
Eric turns to stand in front of Alcide, his face inches away from the Were’s. For all the emotions swirling through Eric, none are visible on his face. “Debbie Pelt has hurt Sookie for the last time. She will be put down like the rabid bitch she is. If you try to interfere, you will suffer the same fate. I will do all that is necessary to make certain my mate is safe once and for all.” Eric’s voice is cold, but his eyes flash with anger. He stares intently at Alcide, waiting for him to decide his fate.
Alcide’s eyes flicker to the woman he has loved for years. His shoulders slump as he realizes there is nothing he can do to save her. In truth, she was lost to him years ago. “I will not interfere. All I ask is that you let her family have her body for a proper burial. They don’t deserve to wonder about their daughter’s fate for the rest of their lives,” he says wearily. Eric nods with understanding.
Godric turns his attention back to Debbie, sitting on the coffee table in front of her. “Where is Sookie being held?”
“In a home outside of Jackson,” she answers without any inflection in her voice.
“Who is holding her?”
“What of the two Fae that captured Sookie?” Godric intends to take care of Neave and Lochlan once and for all. He will leave Lorena and Debbie Pelt to Eric, but the two Fae are his.
“I don’t know. What is Fae?” Debbie’s brow furrows in confusion.
“Nothing you need to worry about. What have they done to Sookie?” Godric sends comfort and calm through the bond with his child, hoping he will stay calm despite what the woman has to say.
“She’s tied up in a room. She’s been roughed up some,” Debbie shrugs her shoulder in a negligent way but a small smile spreads over her face.
“Did you hurt Sookie?”
“Yes,” the smile spreading on her face. “The pincers are my favorite tool to use.”
Eric and Godric both growl at the Were bitch. Alcide pales at Debbie’s words; part of him maintained the hope that she had nothing to do with this. Hearing about how Debbie enjoyed torturing his ex-girlfriend, Alcide finally realizes that his first love is truly gone. He doesn’t recognize the animal in front of him. “Can you release her from your glamour? There is something I need to say to her.”
Eric moves behind Debbie to secure her. Godric releases his influence over Debbie. She blinks twice as she regains control of her mind. She looks around the room frantically realizing she is surrounded. She looks to Alcide pleadingly, “Alcide, you can’t let them have me! They’ll kill me!”
“I abjure you,” Alcide says quietly. His eyes are resolved, although his face shows his pain. “I see you no longer. I hunt with you no longer. I share flesh with you no longer.”
Debbie gasped in pain, aghast at his words. “Alcide, NO!” Debbie cries out and tries to move to him, but Eric’s hands hold her down. Alcide turns his back on her, walking into his bedroom and shutting the door behind him. Debbie begins to cry.
Knowing there is nothing else for them in the apartment, Godric gestures to Eric. “Bring her with us. She will lead us to our Sookie.” Debbie does not resist as Eric forces her to her feet and drags her from the apartment. Godric follows behind, closing the door quietly on their exit.
Sookie’s first thoughts are of how cold she is. There is a sense of wrongness about everything; her body and mind feel disconnected from each other. Her body is sore and throbs as one giant ache; her head feels thick, like there is a fog swirling inside that she cannot push her way through. She is scared to open her eyes and see the state of her body. She remembers Neave and Lochlan taking turns torturing her. At one point, she thinks Debbie Pelt had been in the room, but she couldn’t be sure. Sookie blacked out earlier when she felt a rib snap.
At some point during her ordeal, the restraints had been removed from her body with the exception of her hands. Her hands are bound together in front of her with iron cuffs. Sookie has never had an issue with iron before, so she is not sure if the iron is the source of her weakened mental state. She remembers that she had been able to conjure the ball of light at the farmhouse when she was in danger. She hopes she will be able to do it again. She tries with all her might to envision the ball of light forming in her hands. She cries out as the pressure in her head increases, and she stops her attempt. The pounding in her head is so intense; it feels as if someone is pounding a railroad spike into the base of her skull.
The door to Sookie’s room opens and closes quietly. She looks up to find someone standing in the doorway. She whimpers softly at the appearance of the intruder, but she cannot make out who it is. In addition to the damage to her face, there is no light in the room. The body blurs into the corner of the room and seems to climb the wall. Sookie hears the sound of an electronic device being crushed, the pieces falling to the ground. The intruder walks toward Sookie slowly, and she shrinks back in fear.
“I mean you no harm. I am truly sorry you are here.” Sookie recognizes the voice as Bill Compton. She hears him walk to the chair that is in the room and pick it up. He moves it closer to her bed, but stops several feet away. He lowers himself into the chair, groaning softly as he does. “Are you alright?” he asks softly.
Sookie snorts in derision, “Fan-fucking-tastic. You?”
Bill smiles softly, admiring the spirit Sookie displays. “I will heal. This is not the first time my maker has felt the need to teach me a lesson. I worry for you though. You have many powerful enemies.”
“Funny, you’d think they would have introduced themselves, but somehow their names never came up during our earlier session,” Sookie says sarcastically. “I know your maker, I think I saw a Were I knew, but I am unfamiliar with the two Fae. Who are they?”
“Neave and Lochlan. Have you ever heard of them?”
Sookie gasps softly. After a few minutes, she nods her head slowly. “I had heard they were dead. They were followers of Breandan the enemy of my great-grandfather. But we were told that all those that opposed him were dead. How is this possible?”
“I do not know. I know you have no reason to trust me, but if we are to survive, we need to work together,” Bill declares.
Sookie looks at him warily, assessing all of her options for several moments. With a sigh of resignation, she asks, “What do I have to do?”
Bill vamps to Sookie’s side; his fangs extended, and pulls her head to the side. He buries his face in her neck, and she cries out in pain. To those that may be watching, it looks as if Bill is feeding from Sookie. In truth, Bill is whispering his plans against her skin.
Godric and Eric land a few hundred feet away from Lorena’s home. Once they left Alcide’s apartment, Godric had led them to the car with David waiting inside. Debbie was secured and placed under Godric’s glamour once again. She told them the location of Lorena’s home and about the security guards patrolling the grounds. David stopped several miles away from Lorena’s place, and the two vampires get out of the vehicle. They would fly the rest of the way so they would be undetected. Before leaving, Eric threw Debbie in the trunk of the car, ensuring she would not cause David any problems.
Debbie informed them that there were four teams of Weres patrolling the grounds; the guards are on V. Working together, Godric and Eric find the first security detail; two wolves patrolling along the road leading into Lorena’s home. Eric and Godric swoop down from the sky, each vampire snapping the neck of a wolf. They take the next two pairs of guards out in the same fashion. They head for the fourth pair of guards, but the smell of blood in the air gives them pause. They land softly on the ground to find two naked men lying on their sides. One of the guards was stabbed through the stomach; the other bled out from the jugular.
“You didn’t think I would let the two of you have all the fun did you?” Fintan appears a few feet away, wiping the blood from his sword.