The following evening, Eric rises to find Sookie sitting in a chair by the side of their bed. She is wearing a pair of dark purple satin pajamas that cover her entire body save her neck, head, and extremities. Her beautiful blonde hair is pulled back in a loose braid. She is lost in thought, her expression indicating she is in a far off place. Eric shifts on the bed so he is sitting in front of Sookie, his hands resting on her legs.
Sookie seems to come back to herself slowly. She blinks her eyes several times before focusing on Eric’s face. He smiles softly at her, “Hello.”
She stares at him with deadened eyes. “Hi.”
“Sookie, what is wrong?” Eric shifts to kneel before Sookie. She does not move, but he can feel her panicking. “Sookie?”
Dr. Ludwig flings open the door to the room. “Step back, Vampire, and let me have access to my patient!” Eric growls menacingly at the tiny doctor, his fangs dropping. Sookie’s panic skyrockets and she begins shaking in her chair.
“Eric,” Godric calls softly from the doorway. Eric looks towards his maker and sees that Godric is gesturing for him to leave the room. Eric does not want to leave his mate; his instincts to protect and comfort her are running high. He tries to squeeze her hand in comfort, but she pulls away from him. Eric is shocked; Sookie is scared of him?!?!
Eric vamps past Godric out of the room. Godric closes the door softly, concern for his beloved daughter all over his face. Godric finds Eric standing still as a statue several feet down the hallway. Godric grips his son’s shoulder comfortingly. “Eric, please join us in the library.”
“I do not want to leave Sookie.”
“She will be fine. Dr. Ludwig will be with her. I promise my son; she will not be alone.” Godric guides his child down the steps of the mansion towards the library. Inside the room are Russell, Fintan, the Ancient Pythoness, and the Guardian. Eric inclines his head respectfully towards everyone assembled. Godric pushes his son gently into the room and closes the door behind them.
“We need to discuss everything that has happened in the last few days. There are items we all need to be made aware of,” the Guardian begins once Eric and Godric are seated. He stands before the fireplace with his hands crossed behind his back. “The attack on Sookie Stackhouse is an attack on the Authority and the Supernatural Council, as well as an attack on the Kingdoms of Texas and Mississippi. Currently, we have Deborah Pelt, Lorena Krasinski and William Compton in custody for this crime. Neave and Lochlan have already been executed. Russell, as I understand it, your people have already eradicated those Weres that were following Miss Krasinski orders.” At Russell’s nod, the Guardian continues. “We know from the interrogation of Compton that he was sent to Bon Temps to procure Miss Stackhouse for the Queen of Louisiana. We also know that Miss Krasinski planned to auction Miss Stackhouse to the highest bidder. Compton informed us he knew Nevada, New York, Kentucky, and Oklahoma were some of the states expected to take part in the auction. We need to know if there were to be others involved in the auction. We also need to know where and when the auction was to be taking place.”
“I would like to question Lorena,” Godric says from his seat.
The Guardian nods his head in agreement. “I agree, but I want Russell to help you. As the crime has taken place in his kingdom, it is only fitting that he participates in the interrogation. Mr. Northman,” Eric’s head snaps towards the Guardian. “I would like for you to execute the Were bitch. I’ve already informed her packmaster of her crimes, and he agrees with our decision. He is waiting for when he can claim the body for funeral.”
“What of Compton?” Eric snarls. “As Sookie’s mate and future bonded, I demand the right to administer his True Death.”
“Unfortunately, we are in need of Mr. Compton for the time being.”
Before Eric can argue, the Ancient Pythoness interjects. “Compton will meet the True Death and soon, but it will not be at your hands.” She sighs before continuing, “There is another matter we must discuss. Fintan and I both believe that Niall has betrayed our group.” There is no reaction from the other individuals in the room. “This does not surprise any of you.”
Godric answers, “I believe that his lack of action in all of this speaks for itself. The question is what did he hope to gain from this?”
Fintan answers, “He feared the prophecy.”
The Ancient Pythoness swings her murky gaze to her nephew. “What reason did he have to fear the prophecy?”
“Sookie will be more powerful than him once she completes her bond with Eric. He fears he will lose control of the Fae realm.”
“That makes no sense!” The Ancient Pythoness states in agitation. She begins to pace back and forth. “Why would he fear losing control of the Fae realm? It is not as if Sookie would challenge him for control. Her bonded would be here. If he truly feared the prophecy, why not allow her to be killed years ago?”
“Because he needed her alive,” Godric answers softly. “She was his reason to retaliate against Breandon. Once Breandon was eliminated, Sookie was to have moved home with Fintan. It is only from your interference,” he says gesturing to his maker, “that she did not. He has bidden his time.”
The door to the library opens and Dr. Ludwig enters in her hobbled gait. “Before you can say anything Viking, Betty Jo is with Sookie. Not that she notices; I have sedated her so she can sleep without dreaming.
“How is she Doctor?” Eric asks while rising to his feet. He is agitated and wishes to return to his mate’s side.
“Physically she is healing. This time tomorrow, all of her wounds should be gone if she has another dose of vampire blood.”
“Done,” Eric answers quickly. “What else? What triggered her reaction earlier?”
Dr. Ludwig sighs and hops into a vacant chair. “The physical abuse, I believe, is the least of Sookie’s injuries. She had cuts, bruises, broken and fractured bones, all of which will heal. What is the most troubling is the mental abuse she suffered. The drugs they gave her interfered with her ability to focus her shields. She was unable to block the thoughts of her attackers. I believe their thoughts have done more damage to her. From the things she has told me, she wasn’t always able to differentiate what was mental and what was physical.” The doctor removes her glasses and wipes at her eyes.
“What do you recommend?” Eric asks desperately.
“If she could be glamoured, I would recommend glamouring her. Since she cannot, she needs counseling. She needs to heal mentally. I do not think she will be able to do that in Louisiana or Texas. I would suggest somewhere that is neutral territory for her; somewhere she will not feel any pressure. Also, because she is Sky Fae, I would recommend somewhere with ample sunlight.”
“I have a place. I will make arrangements for myself and Sookie to travel to my home in Barbados. We had talked of vacationing there once things had settled,” Eric says remembering the conversation with Sookie. It seems so long ago since they had sat on her porch steps gazing at the stars.
“You cannot go with her Vampire,” Dr. Ludwig declares from her seat.
Eric vamps in front of the doctor to loom over her menacingly with his fangs extended. “You would dare keep me from my mate? We are one exchange away from being bonded. You will not separate us!”
The doctor touches her finger to Eric’s chest, sending him flying through the air to crash into the wall. Books fall from the shelves to land on and around Eric. He snarls at the doctor from his place on the ground but he cannot move.
“What have you done to me?”
“Relax, you’re only stunned. It’ll wear off,” Dr. Ludwig states briskly. She hops down from the chair and walks towards the angry vampire. Her expression softens as she continues talking. “I know you want to protect her. I know you want to help her get well. But some of the images they used to torment her were of vampires attacking her. Specifically, they thought of you attacking her. The rational part of Sookie’s mind knows that you did not attack her, but fear is irrational. She cannot control it; that is why she panicked earlier.”
The fight leaves Eric instantly and he closes his eyes. His expression is one of extreme pain. His mate fears him? How will she be able to move past this? What will happen to them if she cannot get past this? The pain is so intense it feels as if it will crush him. “Who will go with her? She cannot go alone,” he asks softly.
“Claudine will go with her,” Fintan offers. “Claudine is Sookie’s godmother. She will protect and care for her. How soon can you make arrangements for them to go?”
Eric exhales slowly. “They can arrive tomorrow. I will go make the arrangements.” Eric walks out of the room, his shoulders slumped, his head bowed.
“I will contact Claudine. I shall return shortly.” Fintan inclines his head towards the inhabitants of the room before taking his leave. Dr. Ludwig also leaves the room to check on her patient.
“For once, please do not speak in riddles. Tell me they will be alright,” Godric demands of his maker.
The Ancient Pythoness looks at her only child with concern. “I do not know what to believe anymore.”
“So let me get this straight,” Jessica says to Jason as they lie in his bed. “Hadley is your cousin. She met Sophie-Anne while in New Orleans. Why was Hadley in New Orleans?” She turns in the bed so that her arms are folded on Jason’s chest, her chin resting on top of her hands.
Jason sighs with regret, moving one arm behind his head, and the other arm wraps around Jess. “Hadley was going to school at Tulane. She was doin’ well, and then she just disappeared. We all tried to find her, but we couldn’t. She vanished without a trace. We all thought she was dead.”
“But instead, she became the pet of the Queen,” Jessica says turning her head. “Bill drained her, forcing Sophie-Anne to turn her. And I was turned as punishment for Bill,” she says in disgust.
“Do you regret bein’ a vampire?” Jason asks softly.
“I regret not seein’ my little sister,” Jessica says with a sniffle. “But I don’t regret bein’ out of my daddy’s house. Daddy was overly religious; we weren’t allowed to wear pants, go anywhere but church, and we were homeschooled. Daddy’s favorite form of punishment was the belt.” Jason tightens his arm around Jessica when he realizes she’s talking about abuse.
“What happened to your Daddy?” Jason demands. He’d like to find him and give him a taste of the belt to see how he likes it.
Jessica turns her head so she is facing Jason. She’s smiling evilly with her fangs out. “When Bill needed to teach me about glamourin’, we used my Daddy as the guinea pig. He won’t be usin’ his belt anymore.”
“Uh, that’s good, I guess. Anyway, Bill was sent here to procure Sookie for the Queen. Hadley never did know when to shut her mouth,” Jason grumbles.
Jessica moves so that she is sitting beside him. “Jason, I didn’t know why Bill was sent here. He just told me he was banished to his family home. I had no idea he was sent for Sookie!”
Jason moves so that he is sitting as well. His hands cup Jessica’s face. “I didn’t think you did. Jess from what you’ve told me, you and Bill weren’t close. You were a burden to him. Hell, he’d even released you, and I know a maker isn’t supposed to do that until the vampire can take care of themselves. Your maker is an asshole in more ways than one.” Jessica leans forward to kiss Jason’s lips.
“We should be headin’ to Fangtasia,” Jason says as he reluctantly pulls away from Jessica.
“We need to talk to Hadley and find out what else that vampire bitch of a queen has planned.”
Hadley opens her coffin in the basement of Fangtasia to find Pamela leaning against the staircase. Hadley climbs out of the coffin and closes the lid.
“Follow me,” Pam orders and leads the way up to the bar. Pam walks behind the bar to a private refrigerator. Inside the refrigerator are bags of donor blood. She pulls several bags of blood out of the refrigerator and then places them in the microwave to warm up. She hands two of the bags to Hadley before drinking her own.
“Thanks,” Hadley says before quickly draining the bags.
“Don’t thank me. I don’t feel like dealing with a hungry baby vampire. It’s bad for business,” Pam states while throwing the empty bags in the trash. She collects Hadley’s empty bags and throws them away too. “So, you’re maker sent you here to collect Sookie. How does the Queen even know about Sookie?”
“I told her.” Hadley has the grace to look ashamed while admitting that. “I was homesick, so I spoke a lot about my family.”
“And yet your family thought you were dead. If you missed your family so much, why didn’t you ever contact them?” Pam has her hands on her hips. Pam is furious; she might be selfish and spoiled, but she would never do anything to harm those she considers her family.
“I was scared,” Hadley mumbles.
“What the hell do you have to be scared of? They obviously knew about the Supe world, so it is not like any of this was going to be a surprise.” Pam advances on the baby vampire. “I’ll tell you what I think. I think you were selfish. I think you liked the attention that Sophie-Anne lavished on you. I think you enjoyed being her favorite pet. But then her attention started to wan, so to keep her interested, you started telling her stories about your “special” cousin.” Hadley is shaking her head violently, denying Pam’s claims, bloody tears streaking her face. “Oh come on sweetheart, no one here to fall for your innocent routine.”
“I AM INNOCENT!” Hadley pushes Pam away from her. “I didn’t tell Sophie-Anne about Sookie until I was made a vampire. She used the maker’s command to find out if I had any other family that was part Fae. I had to tell her about Sookie; I couldn’t tell her about Hunter.”
“Who the fuck is Hunter?” Pam demands.
With 90 minutes until sunrise, a limousine pulls to a stop in a private hangar at Jackson-Evers International Airport. The chauffeur opens the door for the passengers to get out. Godric, Eric, and Sookie exit the vehicle. Claudine and Fintan are waiting by the plane. Godric and Eric nod their heads in acknowledgement of the two Fae. Claudine and Fintan board the plane so as not to tempt the two vampires; she is unable to hide her scent from vampires. Fintan is going to make certain Sookie and Claudine arrive safely in Barbados. Once the two women are settled, he will teleport back to Louisiana. The three new arrivals walk towards the plane. At the bottom of the steps leading to the plane, everyone stops.
Godric speaks first. “Be safe, my daughter.” He leans forward to kiss her on the forehead. Sookie smiles slightly at him and squeezes his hand. Godric walks back towards the limousine to give Eric and Sookie some privacy.
Eric looks down at Sookie. He is absolutely heartbroken that he cannot help her. He fears that this time apart will ultimately drive them apart. He feels completely helpless in this situation. He clears his throat trying to swallow the lump that is wedged in his throat. “All of the arrangements have been made. The house will be ready for your arrival. There will be food and clothes for you and Claudine. If there is anything you need, please do not hesitate to let Izaiah or Giselle know. They take care of the house; Giselle is a witch and Izaiah is a shifter. Of course, you can always call me.” His eyes shine bright with his emotions. Everything he wishes he could say is in his eyes, but he does not put words to his feelings.
Sookie nods her head in understanding. She can see how much Eric is hurting by her leaving. She wants to comfort him, reassure him that it is temporary, that everything will be alright. She wants to tell him she loves him and will be coming back to him. But now, she isn’t sure of anything. Instead she merely says, “Thank you.” She turns and walks up the steps of the plane.
“Sookie!” She stops and turns to look at Eric. He walks up a few steps so they are eye to eye. He leans forward to brush his lips softly but quickly across hers. Before she can respond, he has pulled away and retreated a few steps so there is space between them. “Come back to me min älskade,” he says softly. Sookie nods her head as tears fall from her eyes. She turns and runs up the stairs into the plane.
Eric returns to his maker’s side and they watch the plane leave. Once they can no longer see the plane, Eric shoots into the sky. Godric dismisses the limousine and takes off after his child. It does not take him long to catch up since Eric is heading back to Russell’s mansion. Once in the mansion, Eric vamps down to the holding cells. He has the guard unlock Debbie Pelt’s cell. Debbie has been restrained since she is going through V withdrawal. She doesn’t realize that Eric is in the cell with her. She doesn’t even feel his hands on her before he snaps her neck like a twig. Eric looks at her body in disgust. Killing Debbie Pelt did nothing to reduce the flood of emotion coursing through his body.
“Eric?” Godric calls from the door of the cell. He knows all too well what his son is feeling. Godric himself feels helpless that he can do nothing to help his daughter.
“Tell Betty Jo she can contact Flood to collect the body,” Eric says while staring at the body. He turns to face his maker. “Tomorrow, I will return to Shreveport. I have left Pamela and Jessica alone in the area far too long.” He brushes past his maker, leaving the room.
The sound of Lorena’s laughter drifts down the hallway towards Godric. “A mighty vampire such as Eric Northman loves a blood bag. How tragic!”
As Godric walks out of the holding cells, he flicks a switch. The sound of Lorena’s screams fill the air as the ultraviolet burns brightly. After five minutes, he flicks the light off. “Bitch,” he says as he leaves to seek his daytime resting place.