“I can’t believe he did it!” The male vampire shuts off the video feed and spins his office chair to face his captive audience. Sookie sits in an overstuffed chair unrestrained yet there is something they keep injecting in her that makes her body sluggish and unresponsive; something that also hinders her ability to call forth the light inside her to defend herself. However, it does not interfere with her mental abilities. She was fully aware of the scene she watched unfold on the television screen. It had broken her heart to see Eric end Pam, even if Eric was justified in his action. No matter what her personal feelings had been for Pam, Sookie had shed tears knowing that Eric must not only feel betrayed but desolate at having to kill the child that had been his constant companion for over a century. Willa is all he has left, and that relationship is pricklier than a porcupine rolling around in a field of cacti.
Somehow, her captor had managed to have surveillance inside Fangtasia. Actually she knows how it was done; the vampire in front of her likes to boast about how he has outsmarted the Viking for over a decade. When Eric and Pam had repaired Fangtasia’s basement, one of the construction workers had been glamoured to install the electronic monitoring devices. The construction worker had been the pet of a vampire in his retinue. However, when the construction job was over, so too had the worker’s usefulness; his body had been found in a single car crash outside of Monroe. Based on the alcohol level in his blood and the lack of skid marks on the highway, it had been ruled an accident. Vampires have been become increasingly adept at hiding their murderous ways as the vampire in front of her has bragged more than once, though he specified that by the time they were done with her, nothing would be left for anyone to identify.
“Things are moving along quite nicely if I do say so myself,” the vampire grins at her engagingly. “A bit faster than expected, but that is of no consequence. Though the Prince of the Fae has thrown a wrench in my plans, but it is not the first time I have squared off against him over the centuries. Things will slow down shortly when he comes to Nevada. I wonder if the Viking will be as bold as he was when he entered Mississippi to hunt down Compton or if he will try a stealthier approach this time. After all, you are much more valuable to him as he just proved by killing his own child. It takes a special brand of monster to be able to do that.” The vampire smiles sinisterly as his fangs drop. “I would know; I’ve done it a time or two over the years. You need to exercise a firm hand when dealing with your children, otherwise that,” he says pointing at the now blank screen, “happens. When you make a child you think they will have such promise; it’s disappointing to realize they were only good for a feed a fuck,” he says with a dramatic sigh. He rises from his desk and approaches Sookie who shrinks back in her chair trying to avoid his touch. The vampire smiles again and licks his lips hungrily. “Now you,” he says as trails his hand along her jaw line, lifting her hair away from her neck, “I’m sure would be an exceptional meal. And I’m sure you know a few tricks otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to keep Compton and Northman panting after you for so long. It almost makes me consider trying you out myself.” The vampire laughs seeing the fear blaze in Sookie’s eyes. Yes, he knows all out her troubled past; it is just one of the things he will use against her while she is under his control. “You should be honored my dear; I haven’t been with a woman in centuries. Think of all the fun we could have.” The vampire grips Sookie’s hair painfully in his grasp, forcing her head to the side as his fangs inch closer to her neck. In her mind she is screaming in agony and despair, shouting with frustration that her body is unable to fight back. This is worse than anything Bartlett had ever done to her; even though she heard his depraved, twisted thoughts, she could still run away; she could fight back. But now she is powerless; a helpless victim.
“Victor,” a quiet voice says with warning from the entrance to the room. The vampire that was on the brink of drinking from Sookie snaps to attention at the sound of his maker’s voice, releasing his hold on his prey. “Miss Stackhouse is to remain untouched until the North Man arrives. The majority of my amusement in this situation comes from the fact that his imagination is spiraling out of control with all the possible ways we have hurt his beloved. There is no need to inflict physical injury upon her when the wonderful narcotic we have been supplied with does the job of keeping her docile. I really must thank Queen Mab for supplying me with that,” the elder vampire chuckles as he notices Sookie’s eyes widen in recognition.
“You, my dear, have made some very powerful enemies,” Victor’s maker says congenially as he walks in the room to lean against the edge of the desk in front of Sookie. “It is a rare thing for a full-blooded fairy to align with a vampire. Well, you know the reasons why,” he says as he licks his lips hungrily in memory. “I must say I was surprised when the Queen sought me out to help her. She is desperate indeed, especially now that Niall has waged an all-out war against her. He’s winning by the way, which is why Mab turned to me. She wants to use you against Niall; she mistakenly believes that he will be willing to give up control of the Fae realm to save you. I suppose the name ‘Mad Queen Mab’ is àpropos for her,” he says chuckling again.
The elder vampire watches Sookie very closely. He can tell that she is fighting against the medication; there are minute muscle spasms around her mouth and fingers. He admires her courage . . . or is it foolishness? She is thousands of miles away from her home with no allies to speak of. The only hope of survival she has rests on a vampire that is outnumbered and outwitted at every turn. The North Man is fighting to catch up when this plan has been in development since Sookie Stackhouse returned from the Fae realm after escaping Queen Mab. The Queen wants the Fae-hybrid dead, and she has partnered with others that wish a similar fate. As for himself, he has no intentions of turning Sookie over to the mad queen; it will be such a waste not only of her blood but of her telepathy. Unlike the others before him, he has no intention of falling into a romantic entanglement with her. Nor does he wish to own her like a slave. He prefers a business arrangement between the two of them, one that will be mutually beneficial to them both.
“Victor leave us,” the elder vampire commands quietly. Victor looks to protest, but a single admonishing glance from his maker has him bowing his head before hastily retreating from the room.
“You are in quite the pickle my dear,” the elder vampire says as he sits in the matching chair next to Sookie. She can tell by the size of his void that he is an older vampire; not nearly as old as Russell Edgington had been, perhaps closer in age to Godric. Of course, his physical looks are no help in determining his age. As with most of the vampires she has met, this vampire was turned in the prime of his life. His hair is artlessly styled; the clothes he wears fit his body perfectly and seem to be of the finest quality. He looks like an investment banker on Wall Street.
“You will have to forgive Victor,” the vampire says with a flicker of his gaze towards the door. “My child has always been eager to further his standing in life, and he believes that aligning with the King of Nevada will give him that chance. I do not share his vision; de Castro has never been loyal to anyone save himself. It is a dangerous situation for you that Mab and de Castro have aligned with each other. The Queen, well, we know what her intentions are. She provided us with the drug that runs through your system. Mab calls it ‘The Living Death’; your mind is fully functioning and you are completely aware of your surroundings yet your body is unresponsive. I believe it is the opposite of being roofied.”
“As for de Castro, did you know that his maker was Russell Edgington?” At Sookie’s slight noise of protest, the vampire begins to chuckle. “I’ll take that as a no. I’m sure you can understand why he has a bone to pick with both you and the North Man. Not that I fault either of you for ending him. There were many times I thought about ending him over the years; Godric and I came close once upon a time in Scandinavia. It was before Godric turned the Viking.” The vampire chuckles again as he hears the faint protest from Sookie.
“Let me tell you a story my dear Miss Stackhouse,” he says with a roguish wink. “You seem like you will be a captive audience.”
This is beyond fucked up. Sookie sits inside her “cell”, a room that is more opulent than any five-star resort. When she had been abducted from her home in Louisiana, she’d been certain this was the end. How many times can one person escape death? Her main concern had been to keep her son safe, a goal she had accomplished . . . For now at least. Sookie had vowed that when she decided to have a child that her child would not grow up unaware of his surroundings. There are very real monsters in this world and Sookie made sure early on that her boy knew how to protect himself as best he could. He would never be taken advantage of as she had been.
The struggle that had occurred inside her home had been the only time that Sookie had been injured since being taken. Once the Weres had captured her, she had been sedated while they traveled. The only reason she knew she was outside of Las Vegas was because of the thoughts of one of her guards letting her know that he needed to get to Mandalay Bay to place his money on the UFC fight before it happened. Looking outside the window of her prison only confirmed that they were in the middle of the desert with nothing but cacti nearby. Other than her imprisonment, the only complaint she had was the drug they kept injecting into her system. If she can believe the one-sided conversation she had just listened to, then tonight’s injection had been the last one she will be subjected to.
Can I really trust him? Sookie is torn. If this vampire truly desires to help her, then why did he let his progeny taunt her so? Why didn’t he prevent de Castro, Mab, and the others from abducting her? If he wanted to help Eric, why not go to him and tell him about the plot against him? Sookie knows that the vampire had told her about his history with Godric to gain her trust, but all it did was make her more suspicious.
What the fuck am I gonna do?
Felipe de Castro, the King of Nevada, sits in his private suite at the top of his hotel and casino in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. He managed to take over Nevada around the time crime families began taking an interest in the Spartan desert. They had needed money to turn the barren desert into an oasis, and he had provided that. He’d been here to see it all; he was the one constant among the ever-changing landscape in Sin City. Felipe is extremely proud of his accomplishments in Las Vegas and oversees the running of the city himself. The rest of the state he lets his sheriffs handle; he has no interest in the barren wasteland other than maybe Reno. Felipe de Castro is enamored with the glitz and glamour that surrounds him and since vampires have announced their presence to the humans, he is treated like a celebrity. The rich and famous flock to his hotels and casinos; the paparazzi follow his every move to see who is with him, what he’s wearing, and where he is going. Felipe de Castro has been a master at perfecting his brand, and he has furthered his reputation with the public by having a reality show on E! His reality show, Blood and Sin, has aired on the entertainment network for five years, and is the highest rated program in the network’s history. You would think he would be happy with his existence.
But he isn’t.
He isn’t the most famous vampire in the world. That title rests with Eric Northman, his arch nemesis. The Viking doesn’t know de Castro views him as his arch nemesis, but that will soon change. Felipe is a very jealous person; he cannot stand that anyone is viewed as more important than him; he needs to be the best at everything. But his hatred for the North Man runs deep.
It’s not that de Castro had a deep love for his maker; in fact, he hated Russell Edgington. Edgington had turned de Castro because he and Talbot had desired to have a plaything of their own that was more durable than a human. As a maker, Russell had been especially cruel, forcing de Castro to service both himself and Talbot for centuries. Felipe never appreciated the sexual advances of men, always preferring women, but that didn’t matter to Russell or Talbot. It wasn’t until the 1800s that Russell had released de Castro and it was all thanks to a temper tantrum Talbot had thrown because someone had “accidentally” broken a Ming vase that had been the focal point of the décor in the foyer. Russell had offered to punish de Castro for the infraction, but Talbot wanted him banished from his sight. To appease the vampire he loved, Russell had released Felipe and banished him from the state of Mississippi without a penny to his name. Felipe didn’t care; he was free! Using the ruthlessness that his maker had taught him, he worked his way up among the ranks of vampires until he was able to take over the state of Nevada. Felipe became one of the wealthiest vampires in the United States thanks to the casino business. And he relished his existence.
That is until his maker had to go and fuck everything up.
Russell Edgington murdering the news broadcaster on live television had destroyed Felipe’s high life. His casinos became silent; the hotels were ghost towns. Felipe cursed his maker’s foolhardy action; while he didn’t believe that humans were his equal, he wasn’t of the opinion of subjugating them like his maker. After all, humans made him rich. Who was going to spend money in his casinos if humans were treated as nothing more than slaves? Felipe cursed his maker for his idiocy. He didn’t know what had happened to set his maker off, nor did he care. Because the bond between them was broken, Felipe could sense nothing of his maker’s whereabouts or his emotional state. To be honest, Felipe preferred it that way. But then came news that Russell Edgington had been vanquished. Nan Flanagan went on a blitzkrieg; any and every news platform she used to tell the world that Russell Edgington was a madman, a terrorist that had acted of his own accord. His behavior did not reflect the mentality of all vampires. Felipe had mixed feelings about Nan’s propaganda campaign; on the one hand, Russell had given the gift of eternity to him; he would be nothing more than a pile of bones in a cemetery if he had remained human. On the other hand, he hated his maker for making him nothing more than a sex slave for centuries. Russell and Talbot had forced Felipe to debase himself in ways no one would ever imagine.
It took time, but people slowly returned to his casinos and hotels. Of course, he had to offer huge incentives to get people to come back. Felipe cursed his maker for fucking up his cash cow. He further damned his maker when he learned Nan Flanagan had lied about Russell’s death. Not only was Russell on the loose, slaughtering humans and leaving the evidence for others to find, but he had contacted Felipe.
Standing in Felipe’s office, with the Las Vegas Strip as his backdrop, Russell had the gall to ask him for asylum since he was persona non grata in Louisiana. Felipe had denied him; he didn’t want his crazy maker anywhere near him or his empire. Felipe had braced himself for Russell’s attack, knowing that the elder vampire could easily hurt him. But Russell surprised him; instead of attacking, he had laughed. It was a sound of deep amusement, like he knew a joke that no one else did.
And the joke was on Felipe.
Rather than attack or use force, Russell had an ace in the hole, one that literally brought Felipe to his knees and rendered him mute. As Russell gleefully explained to Felipe, he had never released him; the words he had used did not sever the maker/child bond. Rather than dissolve their bond, Russell had completely shut down his side. The sensation Felipe had felt with Russell’s words had been a burst of pain that Russell had sent before closing the bond. Felipe wept blood tears as Russell defiled his body, using it any way he wanted to bring himself pleasure while humiliating Felipe. The only saving grace was that Russell only stayed a night before returning to Louisiana to hunt for fairies. However, that one night inflicted enough damage on Felipe that it took him nearly six months to heal. There was only one thought that sustained him while he was healing from the wounds to his body.
Destroy Eric Northman.
Russell had bragged that he’d escaped the concrete grave the Viking had committed him to and then bested him again when they were both at The Authority’s compound. Russell’s second piece of business after hunting for fairies was to end Eric Northman once and for all. Russell had sneered while talking about how everyone at The Authority had accepted his bullshit speech about bygones. Felipe’s maker gleefully spoke of how he was going to drain Northman’s fairy in front of him and then make him suffer for a year in retribution for taking Talbot from him. Felipe of course had been the one to pay the price as Russell had demonstrated only a portion of what his plan for the Viking was.
It didn’t matter that Felipe finally felt Russell Edgington meet the True Death. To be honest, he considered it a great insult to learn that Northman was the one to end his maker. If Northman had done what he was supposed to the first time, then Felipe would have never experienced pain and humiliation at the hands of Russell again. It is for this reason alone that Felipe has sworn vengeance on the Viking.
So when Mab approached Felipe with his plan, he readily accepted. Felipe could care less about what happened to the Fae hybrid; she was a means to an end for him. And that ending was Eric Northman losing everything he loved before meeting his True Death at the end of Felipe’s stake.
It is with all of this swirling in his mind that Felipe dials the number for Eric’s cell phone. Based on the surveillance footage he had seen earlier, he knows the Viking and his people have figured out that he is involved with the plot that abducted the telepath from her home. He isn’t overly concerned about that; it would be a suicide mission for the Viking to attack him in Las Vegas. His security is tighter than Fort Knox thanks to the use of Weres, witches, Fae, and vampires. What does concern him is the fact he has not heard from Mab. As per their protocol, Felipe had informed her when the Weres had abducted Sookie Stackhouse from her home. Felipe was supposed to arrange for the Stackhouse woman to be transported to Nevada, where Mab was going to take her off his hands. But his efforts to contact Mab have been met with silence. When he had called at the start of the evening, instead of getting her voice mail, he had to listen to a message indicating the voice mail box was full. What the fuck could have happened to the mad Fae queen?
Felipe is surprised that he has to wait for the Viking to answer his cell phone. Normally the Viking answers within the first three rings. Felipe glances at the time, wondering if the elder vampire has gone to his daytime rest. Despite the time difference, it is not yet sunrise in Louisiana so what is preventing the Viking from answering his call? Unless he is on his way to Nevada . . . Northman would not be able to answer his phone if he were on a plane.
“Very well Viking,” Felipe says evilly as the call ends. “You think you can come to my territory and challenge me. Give it your best shot.”
AN: I believe the idea for The Living Death is something I first read about in fan fiction and I think the idea originated with Carroll E. Stewart, in their Season 5 rewrite that went on to rewrite Arthurian legend. I remember laughing a lot while reading it and liked the idea of The Living Death. So kudos to you for being awesome enough to think of this!