The next evening when I climb out of my resting place I find Sookie sleeping in the bed. I lie down beside her, leaning in to inhale her scent. I wrinkle my nose in disgust. Her delicious scent is tainted by that of the shifter and several other wild animal smells. What has my lover been up to today?
Sookie stirs in my arms, and I instantly ask her why she smells of the woods and animals. She tells me that she spent the day as part of the search party for her brother. With everything else going on, it is easy for me to forget that her brother is missing. I pull Sookie in my arms seeking to comfort her, offering her my sympathy. She asks me if I truly am sorry her brother is missing. What kind of question is that? I respond that I am worried for her brother; but am I? I search my mind looking for the answer and find that I really do not care one way or the other what happens to him. I only care about Jason Stackhouse in terms of how he affects Sookie. I admit this to Sookie with some surprise. I worry my answer will anger her, that she will turn from my arms. She surprises me by asking if I will listen if she has a need to talk. When I tell her that I will always listen if she needs to speak, she asks if it is only because I want to have sex with her. I tell her it is more than just the sex; I tell her I have feelings for her. She hesitantly admits that she has feelings for me too. My undead heart soars at hearing this, and I work to quickly rid Sookie of her clothing. I want to show her exactly what my feelings are. The easiest way I know to do that is to worship her body.
As I make love to her body with my mouth, I feel a sense of dread coming from Sookie. Despite the joy she feels from pleasuring my body with her mouth as I pleasure hers, there is an underlying current of desperation. Once we are both sated, I ask her what is wrong. She tells me that tonight is the night of the attack on the witches that cursed me and we need to leave for Shreveport. I tell her that she must stay here where she will be safe, but she gently argues that she needs to be at my side during the fight. My beautiful warrior.
We dress quickly and leave for Shreveport. As we drive, we are both quiet. I am excited by the prospect of a battle; I will be able to vanquish my enemies. However, my emotions are also tempered by the feelings coming from Sookie. So many emotions are coming from my lover: worry, fear, sadness, mourning, indecision, and heartbreak. I do not understand where all of this is coming from.
“Your word of the day was annihilate,” I tell her trying to tease her. I expect her to roll her eyes at the irony or call me out on my bullshit. But she does neither, merely thanking me in an offhand way. She seems annoyed that I am in a good mood. When I tell her that nothing beats a good fight, she throws cold water in my face by reminding me that it depends on who wins.
We continue the rest of the drive in silence. Sookie’s emotions are still all over the place. Sookie has to stop several times, looking at a map of Shreveport to find our way. I think Sookie expected me to remember the way to Pam’s house, but nothing is familiar. Our drive lasts almost an hour before we reach the residential area where Pam resides. We stay in the car once the engine is off. Both of us are in somber moods, but I suddenly feel as desperate as Sookie did earlier. This night will potentially be my last evening with Sookie. I do not want that; I do not want to lose her. I told her this was something close to love, but I am sure it is love. I was too scared to tell her.
I lean over to kiss her softly on her lips. “We could go back,” I say as I pull back. “We could go back to your house. I can stay with you always. We can know each other’s bodies in every way, night after night. I could love you. I could work. You would not be poor. I would help you.” I will say anything to make her turn this car around.
“Sounds like a marriage,” Sookie says in a shaky voice.
“Yes.” Sookie gasps at the implication of my words and the intensity of my gaze. My eyes convey how intensely I want this, how much she means to me, how I never want to let her go. Her own eyes begin to fill with tears and her lips tremble. She places her hand on my cheek, and I nuzzle against it. Just when I think she is going to start the vehicle so we can go home, she pulls back.
“I’m a total idiot,” she says desperately as she exits the automobile. I move quickly to join her. I feel the conflict going on inside her; there is a war between her wish to keep me just as I am and the side demanding that we do the right thing by restoring my memories. I too am conflicted; I want to destroy the witches for the pain they have caused, but I do not want to lose Sookie.
We walk inside Pam’s residence and find everyone assembled; vampires, Weres, and witches are all gathered to defeat Hallow and her coven. Pam snarks about our late arrival, but she moves forward by outlining the plan of attack. Her plan is tactically sound, even though I do not like that she plans to use Sookie as an advance scout. Yes, Sookie is a telepath, but her body is that of an ordinary human. It will be too easy for her to be hurt in the mêlée.
Pam says that once Sookie has the information we need, the rest of us will attack and kill the coven. This outcome seems to surprise the non-vampires in the room, but what other possible outcome could there be?
A vampire named Bubba agrees to be Sookie’s guard. Sookie is pleased to see Bubba. All I can do is stare in awe at the vampire. He looks familiar, but I do not know why. All I can picture is him playing a guitar and singing in a club. Bubba asks where Bill, Sookie’s former paramour is. She answers that he is in Peru.
“No, I’m not; I’m back,” a deep Southern accent calls out. Sookie’s emotions switch to something I cannot define. In an instant, I decide I hate him. I hate him for hurting Sookie and causing this upheaval in her emotions. I hate him for being her first lover. And I hate him for the sheer fact that Sookie loves him and does not admit to loving me.
“What is Debbie Pelt doing here?” Bill asks his question in a tone one would use inquiring about the weather, but I sense an underlying current of aggression.
Pam answers that she is Alcide’s woman, the Were that embraced my Sookie last night. Alcide looks embarrassed by the admission he is with Debbie. I would be too if I were him. Bill informs everyone that the Pelt woman participated in his torture in Jackson; her favorite tool was the pincers. The Pelt woman’s mate is horrified that she did not tell anyone Bill was being held captive, and even more devastated to learn his woman is a cold-hearted bitch. Bill also drops the bomb that the Pelt woman tried to kill Sookie. My eyes snap to her and my fangs drop; I will kill the bitch the first opportunity I get. Her life is forfeit. Based on this new information, Alcide abjures Debbie. The action has a profound effect on those present in the room. I do not care; it will make it easier when I dispose of her body. No one will be looking for her.
Drawing attention back to our purpose this evening, Pam summarizes our plan. Sookie reiterates what her duty is in the upcoming battle. Pam says that once Sookie has finished her job, she can wait in the car until the fight is over. I am relieved to hear this, but still uncertain because of the variables. I tug on Sookie’s hand to draw her attention to me. Sookie quickly exposes a flaw in Pam’s plan. If we kill all the witches, who will reverse the spell on me? It is decided that we need to keep Hallow’s brother alive to reverse the spell.
After everyone has their assignments for the battle, we split up. Pam shares in my excitement about the upcoming battle. However, I want it known that Sookie is to be compensated if anything happens to me. I also ask if they had anything to do with the disappearance of Sookie’s brother. I can tell through the maker/child bond that Pam is genuinely surprised by my question, which tells me she has nothing to do with Jason Stackhouse’s disappearance. If I had been in Pam’s position, I would have taken Jason to make sure that Sookie remained complacent. Pam tells Sookie she will help in the search for Jason once we have dealt with Hallow.
Before we can exit the house, Bill confronts us. Sookie tries to be cordial by asking Bill about his trip to Peru. As he drones on about nothing relevant, I stand behind Sookie, touching her body possessively. I know I am posturing; I know I am being a possessive ass. Ask me how many fucks I give? None. Bill needs to know that Sookie is mine now, not his. Bill and I stare at each other, assessing the other. Bill is the first to break eye contact, commenting that he thought I had made up the memory loss to worm my way in Sookie’s bed. My face is hard and expressionless. I understand that me with memories is an asshole, but I doubt even I would have done something so unscrupulous to garner Sookie’s affection. I may be cruel, but I do have honor.
Sookie says we need to leave and I follow her to the car. Bubba comes with us and we drive to the rendezvous point. I do not like that I must rely on someone else to protect her; that is my job. Throughout the car ride I find myself touching Sookie, trying to soothe both of us. Bubba sits in the back humming a song I do not recognize.
“This is a crappy car,” I say to break the silence. Sookie agrees with me. I ask her if she is afraid and she quickly indicates she is.
“If this whole thing works, will you still see me?” If her answer is in the negative, I am flying the both of us out of this vehicle to somewhere we can be together without any outside interference. She says she will; her answer while not exactly a lie, does not feel like the truth either.
We arrive at our destination and I must leave Sookie. We are going in to battle; we do not know what will happen. There is a chance one of us may not survive. It is with those thoughts in my head that propel me to pull Sookie in my arms, kissing her passionately, using every bit of skill I have. I try to convey through this single action how much she truly means to me. She returns my kiss with equal fervor. As we kiss, Bubba makes his disapproval known. Once I pull away from my lover’s arms I look at him coldly, apologizing for having offended him. My gaze falls to Sookie and I tell her I WILL see her later. She touches my cheek affectionately before she walks away.
I join the other vampires in our army and wait for word from Sookie. As a vampire, time has no meaning other than sunrise and sunset. However, it feels as if we wait eons for Bubba to return with the information Sookie provided. He says there are fifteen inside. As he finishes relaying the information, a sudden surge of fear comes from Sookie, but the sensation fades as quickly as it appeared. Bubba leads the way to the back of the building, where we wait for our chance to enter the heavily warded building. The next thing I know, I hear Sookie’s voice inviting all the vampires in. What is she doing inside the building? She is supposed to be back at the car!
Furious, I vamp in the building trying to reach her side. Our wolves move to engage the witches. I see one of their wolves take Sookie down. I try to fight my way to her, but a man chanting a spell punches me in the stomach. Really, like that is going to do anything to a vampire.
A thick fog settles in the room, making it impossible to see even with vampire sight. For those that need to breathe, it is suffocating. I need to find Sookie. But first, I need to dispose of the witch in front of me. I push my hand through his chest, grasp his heart, and tear it out. I watch with satisfaction as he falls to the ground, a look of shock and horror on his face. I drop the organ, not even tempted by the fresh blood. Who knows what toxins are in his blood? I search frantically for Sookie, wanting to get her out of here before she is injured.
Suddenly, I find Sookie; unfortunately, so has Debbie Pelt. Debbie has partially shifted and is trying to bite Sookie. Sookie has a knife in her hand that she slashes through the air, thwarting Debbie’s attack momentarily. Before she can alter her attack, I wrap my hand around her throat squeezing until she loses consciousness. I throw her body against one of the walls. I look around for Sookie, but she has disappeared. I throw myself back in the fight, looking for my lover.
Within minutes, we have won the battle. Pam has pinned Hallow to the ground. My progeny has suffered an injury, but she is recovering. Hallow begins trying to cast a spell and Pam knocks her unconscious. She quickly secures the witch, and turns to smile victoriously at me. I am proud of her; she fought well. Her smile of victory is short-lived however, as we realize that Chow has met his True Death. One of the Were’s has also met their end. Many of our allies are injured; those with minor injuries are tending to the more seriously wounded. Pam searches through the house looking for anything of value; she has given the order to torch the building with the bodies of the dead inside. I agree with her plan; it is a sound one. The fire will cover up the real cause of death.
I look around for Sookie, but do not see her in the room. A quick search of the rooms shows that she is nowhere in the building. Panicking, I vamp out of the building and find her walking back to her car.
“You weren’t there. I just looked around and you weren’t there,” I say accusingly. “Where are you going? Why didn’t you tell me?”
Sookie begs me to be silent. She is exhausted, depressed, and overwhelmed; her clothes are covered in blood, but none is her own. It seems as if the emotions of the evening have finally caught up with her, because she is crying. I pick her up and carry her to the car. I put her in the passenger seat, taking the keys from her pocket so I can drive. She does not argue with me as I slide in the driver’s seat.
Our return to Bon Temps is a silent one. A measure of calm has returned to Sookie, although she is still tired. I park the car in the back of the house by the kitchen. We exit the vehicle, with me leading the way to the door since I have the keys. I unlock the door and walk inside with Sookie behind me. A foreign smell assaults my nose; an intruder is here. Before I move though, Sookie turns on the light, revealing the intruder.
THAT FUCKING BITCH! I should have killed her when I had the chance!