Rising in Russell’s mansion the next night, Eric feels bereft; Sookie is far from him and there is nothing he can do about it. He showers and dresses for the evening, pacing like a caged animal as he waits for the sun to set. He leaves the mansion as soon as it is dark, flying as fast as he can to reach Shreveport. He lands in the parking lot of Fangtasia, and enters through the employee entrance. He storms into his office, slamming the door behind him. He is in a foul mood and does not wish to speak with anyone. Knowing that he has neglected his duties, he sits at his desk to catch up on business. However, Pam handled everything in his absence; all Eric needs to do is sign a few forms and read through the quarterly report she has ready for the queen. Eric sends pride and appreciation through the bond with his child; she has gone above and beyond what he expected of her.
“Enter,” Eric calls before his child can knock at the door. Pam strolls into the office with Jessica trailing behind her. The two women incline their heads respectfully towards their sheriff. Eric rises from his seat to stand before Pam.
“You’ve done very well in my absence,” Eric says as he tucks his hand under Pam’s chin and raises her face. She smiles at him in return. Eric moves to stand before Jessica. “And how are you adjusting Miss Hamby?”
Jessica peeks up at him through her lashes; she has issues remembering the correct vampire protocol. Eric nods at her encouragingly and she lifts her head to speak, “I’m doing alright. Pam has been amazing! She’s already taught me so much more than Bill ever did.” At the mention of Compton, Eric’s jaw tightens and his eyes harden.
“Jessica, sit down.” She hurriedly complies, and Eric leans against the edge of his desk. “Your maker is being held by the King of Mississippi for his crimes. According to the Guardian, Compton and his maker are to be tried by the Authority. The trial is a formality; they are guilty and will meet the True Death. Do you understand what I am telling you?” Eric has seen other vampires go mad from the loss of their maker; some have even met the True Death because they could not cope. Eric does not wish for that fate to happen to the young vampire in front of him. She shows potential.
Jessica asks meekly, “What will happen to me?”
“Nothing; the Guardian is aware you have had no part in Compton’s schemes. What concerns me is when Compton meets his True Death, it will impact you. I do not know how you will react; I can only hope because you are so young you will not react as severely as some I have seen.”
“He released her,” Pam interjects. Eric whips his head to the side to stare at his progeny. He cannot fathom what Pam has just told him. He is a 1,000 year old vampire, and he has not been released by his maker. Pam is nearly 300 years old and has not been released by her maker.
“His stupidity knows no bounds. Jessica, you are lucky to have survived as long as you have. Pam and I will continue to foster you. I will make certain that you receive a portion of Compton’s estate once he has met his True Death. Since he has released you, I do not think we will need to worry about your reaction when he is gone.”
Jessica looks uncomfortable. She feels guilty because she is relieved that Bill meeting the True Death will not affect her. She is also elated to know that she will continue to stay with Pam and Eric. While she has not spent a lot of time with Eric, she has gotten to know Pam very well. Jessica is truly appreciative of everything the blonde vampire has done for her and taught her. “When will his trial take place?”
“I am unsure, but I will let you know when I find out.”
“May I go?”
Eric raises an eyebrow at Jessica. “You want to attend the trial?”
Jessica nods her head vigorously, “I need to be there when he is ended. I need to know that he can no longer harm me or those I love.”
Eric nods in understanding. “When the time comes, you will be with us. But you need to understand, it is not like a trial you are used to seeing on television. Normally, the trial would be presided over by the Magister and his Enforcer would carry out the punishments to be handed down. The Magister usually oversees many cases in one night. However, this trial will be different. Due to the severity of the charges, the trial of Compton and Krasinski will be presided over by the Guardian.”
Pam raises an eyebrow in surprise. She has attended several trials and never once has the Guardian presided over it. “What of Sophie-Anne?”
Eric shakes his head in regret. “As far as I know, Compton and Krasinski will be the only ones.”
Pam purrs, “I think we can change that.” She moves across his office and opens the office door. Standing on the other side is Hadley with Thalia. Eric’s fangs drop at the sight of the Queen’s child. He advances towards her, but Pam stands in front of Hadley protecting her. “You need to hear what she has to say Eric. I think you might be surprised.”
“Two minutes,” Eric says as he moves behind his desk to have a seat.
Pam moves to the side and Thalia pushes Hadley into the room. Thalia closes the door and leans against it. Hadley looks scared and takes in a shaky breath before she begins speaking. “I was attending Tulane when I fell into the wrong crowd. I became a drug addict. I stopped going to school, I lost contact with my family, and I nearly died. In rehab, I met Remy; he was one of the counselors. Once I got out of rehab, he gave me a place to stay, helped me find a job. We ended up together. One night while I was working, I met Sophie-Anne. I’d never been with a woman before, but there was something about her I was drawn to. She kept returning to where I worked to see me. Remy and I started fighting because of her. He threw me out one night before I went to work. I was a wreck; I had no money, nowhere to go, I was at rock bottom and thinking of using again. That was the night Sophie-Anne made her move. Sophie-Anne offered to take care of me, to help me. And I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I was a fool,” Hadley mumbles as a blood tear runs down her cheek. “I truly lost everything because of Sophie-Anne. I want her to suffer; I want her to lose everything she cares about. What can I do to help?”
Eric is stunned, “You want to betray your maker?”
“She betrayed me first. She took everything away from me. It is only fair that I help take everything away from her.”
The first few days in Barbados are especially rough for Sookie. She has withdrawn from sleeping for the fear of dreaming about what happened in Jackson. She has put herself in such a state of exhaustion that Claudine is forced to call Dr. Ludwig. The doctor teleports to Barbados to check on her patient’s well-being. She finds Sookie wearing a blue bikini and lying on a lounger beside the pool. Sookie’s skin is noticeably darker than the last time the doctor saw her, but she appears to have lost weight; the exhaustion on her face is clearly evident.
“How can you possibly be getting better if you aren’t sleeping or eating?” Dr. Ludwig knows from experience with Sookie that she will respond more to antagonism than pity.
Sookie gives her a baleful glare. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was supposed to just magically get over everything in the course of a day or two,” she snaps.
Dr. Ludwig glares at her patient, “No one expected you to magically get over anything, Princess. What we did expect was for you to try to heal yourself. If you’re going to be a miserable whiny bitch, you could have done that back home!”
Sookie gasps in outrage, swinging her legs over the side of the lounger. “How dare you! You think I don’t want to get better? You think I enjoy the fact that every time I close my eyes, I am right back in that room? That I can still hear Neave’s and Lochlan’s voices in my head? Or even better, the fact that I’m scared of the man I love even though he did nothing to me?” Sookie’s body is shaking from the force of her anger and tears well in her eyes. She angrily rubs her hands across her eyes; she hates that she cries when she is mad.
Dr. Ludwig stomps over to stand right in front of Sookie, poking her finger into Sookie’s chest. “If you know you have nothing to fear from the Northman, why are you scared?”
“I don’t know!” Sookie stands up from the lounger and agitatedly paces by the pool.
“I’m not buying it girlie. We talked about this before you left Jackson. You’re already showing signs of PTSD. You refuse to consider taking medication, because you don’t like what it will do to your telepathy. The only other option for you is counseling. How the hell is counseling going to work if you keep lying to yourself?” Dr. Ludwig pushes Sookie knowing there is something more to what is bothering her patient.
Sookie snaps angrily, “Don’t you have someone else to irritate?”
Dr. Ludwig raises an eyebrow at Sookie. “You’re an ungrateful bitch, you know that? Excuse me for caring about your well-being. Fuck off!” Dr. Ludwig teleports back to wherever she came from, leaving Sookie alone by the pool.
Sookie screams in frustration before plunging into the pool. She angrily swims laps, pushing herself until her lungs are screaming for air. When she surfaces, she finds Giselle, Eric’s housekeeper, standing by the side of the pool.
“I heard voices and a scream. Are you alright?” She asks with concern. She has a towel folded in her arms for Sookie to use.
Sookie climbs out of the pool, and accepts the towel gratefully. She wraps the towel around her body. Now her anger is replaced with despair. “No, I’m not alright. I don’t know if I’ll ever be alright again.”
Giselle looks at her with sympathetic eyes. “She’s right you know. If you keep everything bottled up, it will only be worse for you. If you want to get better, you have to let it go.”
Sookie laughs harshly, “That’s easier said than done. It’s too fresh; I can’t just forget it like it never happened.”
Giselle shakes her head, “I’m not saying you should forget it. You’ll never forget what happened, but you can learn from it and move on. Moving on is the greatest show of survival.” Giselle looks Sookie directly in the eye as she mentally shows her own experience with having to move on.
Sookie stares at her in horror and whispers, “How old were you?”
Giselle smiles sadly as she sits in one of the chairs underneath an umbrella by the pool gesturing for Sookie to join her. “I don’t remember when it started. I know Master Eric found me in New Orleans when I was 15. He killed the man responsible for what you saw. He offered me the chance to heal and survive. That was more than thirty years ago.”
Sookie is shocked by the horrors she saw in the woman’s memories and she is impressed by how serene Giselle seems about it now. She whispers, “How did you manage?”
“It’s all about control. They took away your control of your life; you have to take it back. Your physical wounds have healed. All that’s left is what’s in your mind.” Giselle smiles with genuine affection as her eyes move to Izaiah, who has just returned from collecting items from the market. “Izaiah helped me take back my control; he helped me regain my self-worth. Master Eric loves you, I can sense it. He will help you anyway he can… if you let him. Right now you are pushing him away.” Sookie opens her mouth to protest, but Giselle cuts her off. “I know what they did to your mind. But there is more to it than that. Why are you pushing him away? What has he done wrong?”
Sookie hesitates to answer. There has been something that has bothered her ever since she regained consciousness. “He didn’t come for me,” she mumbles.
Giselle looks confused. “What do you mean?”
Sookie takes a ragged breath before explaining. “It wasn’t Eric that saved me from Neave and Lochlan; it was Godric and Fintan. Eric went after Bill and Lorena instead. I wanted Eric to be there so badly, and he wasn’t! Why wasn’t he there?” Sookie collapses into sobs, voicing aloud for the first time her anguish at what she perceives to be a betrayal by her mate.
It has been two weeks since Sookie left for Barbados. During those two weeks, Godric and Russell have worked Lorena over to discover every last detail about the auction that was to take place for Sookie. They learned the name of every being extended an invitation to the auction. The invitations did not extend only to vampires; it included Supernaturals from all races, as well as humans. The information was given to the Guardian. The Authority and the Supernatural Council have their work cut out for them.
Once the information had been acquired, Godric returned to Dallas. There was nothing more he could do to Lorena; the Authority had collected her and Compton for holding until their trial. He wanted to go to his children, but he knew that he could not interfere in the relationship between Eric and Sookie. They had to find their way back to each other on their own. As much as it pained him to know that they were both hurting, he could not be the one to fix their problems.
Godric returned to Dallas to find no problems in his area. Isabel had once again acted as sheriff while he was gone. Since the Fellowship of the Sun disbanded, there were no issues to report. Part of Godric wonders if he is really needed here anymore. Isabel is more than capable of taking over for him. Perhaps it is time for Godric to move on.
The doorbell ringing interrupts Godric’s reflections. David answers the door and allows the guests to enter. Godric rises to greet his guests with a smile on his face.
“I see you finally found a way to keep me from teleporting into your home,” Fintan says with a smile as he walks into the library.
“Apparently the wards did not work well enough if you could still find the place,” Godric smirks as he gestures for Fintan to have a seat.
“You can blame me for that,” the Ancient Pythoness says as she glides into the room. Godric inclines his head to his maker as she moves to his side. She settles herself on the couch and Godric sits beside her. Godric and Fintan wait for the Ancient Pythoness to explain the purpose of this meeting.
“When the trial of Compton and Krasinski occurs there will be a shift in the Supernatural world. The Guardian of the Authority will oversee their trial, but the Supernatural Council will also be there. Niall, as a member of the Council, has no choice but to attend.” The Ancient Pythoness’ voice hardens as she continues. “Fintan, you will challenge Niall. He is no longer fit to rule Fae.” Fintan nods his head in understanding. Fintan has been searching for his father since he returned from Barbados. No one has seen him in any realm.
The Ancient Pythoness turns to her progeny. “As for you Godric, how do you feel about being King of Louisiana?”