“Sookie run!” Alcide’s voice sounds inhuman as he shouts for me to run back to the bar. When I chance a glance in his direction, I see that he has already shifted into his wolf form. As much as I appreciate the gesture, what the fuck does he think he can do as a single wolf when there seem to be at least twenty Hep V vamps descending on Bellefleur’s? Bill has already vamped towards the incoming vampires, trying to draw their attention away from the defenseless humans. I run as fast as I can back towards the bar, screaming for all the humans to get inside. The other vampires in attendance are braced for battle, having caught the scent of the incoming vampires.
Sam, Jason, and I work to get everyone inside as quickly as possible, but we can’t get everyone. The Hep V vamps swarm the outdoor area like a plague of locusts. Screams fill the air as the Hep V vamps start feeding on those not lucky enough to get inside the building. Arlene and Holly are two of the last to enter the bar. Jason runs back into the fight; his gun drawn as he starts firing at the infected vampires. Sam, once clear of the prying eyes of the humans, shifts into a large panther. Thank God he shifts into something with speed and strength; can’t bring a Border Collie to a vamp fight.
“Holly, I need you to try to set up a protection spell to keep the infected vamps from getting in here! It’s a bar, not a home, so they don’t need an invitation to enter. Get Lafayette to help you if you need more power. Barricade all the doors!” I try to run back outside but Arlene grabs my arm to stop me.
“Sookie you can’t go back out there! You’ll get yourself killed!”
I quickly shake her off. “Trust me Arlene; I can take care of myself.” I look towards Holly who nods her head in understanding. Holly wraps her arms around Arlene, instructing her to start gathering some supplies needed for her protection spell.
With Arlene’s attention diverted, I teleport into Jason’s police cruiser; he has several guns and rounds of ammunition in there for emergencies. As I’m gathering up the guns and ammunition, I look through the windshield to see that Jason is running towards me. Instead of being relieved, I scream in horror because a Hep V vamp is closing in on Jason. I scream out his name in warning, but there is nothing I can do to save my brother; I don’t have a clear shot at the vampire and my light would hit Jason instead of the vampire. Fortunately, Violet comes out of nowhere to protect Jason. She stakes the Hep V vamp who explodes into a pile of goo. She vamps Jason over to my side, making sure we are both safe before returning to the fight.
Jason takes one of the already loaded guns from me and starts firing rounds at an incoming vampire. I quickly reload the other gun for him before sliding it into the back of his pants. I shove more bullets into his pockets. When we are both fully armed, we move away from the vehicle; we keep our backs to each other, making sure no vamps are able to attack us.
Jason and I are making our way to the center of where all the fighting seems to be taking place. I can’t see Alcide, Bill, or Sam anywhere. Willa is doing her best against an infected vampire, but her age and inexperience work against her. Taking aim, I fire at the infected vampire she is fighting, hitting her in the back. It’s enough to give Willa the edge in the fight; she stakes the infected female.
“Thanks,” Willa says to me as she joins up with Jason and me.
“Where’s Tara?” I haven’t seen her at all during the attack.
“I think she is protecting Lettie Mae. I saw them over by the edge of the woods,” Willa says before engaging another vampire in combat.
I keep firing my weapons until I’m out of ammunition. It’s seems as if there are more infected vampires now than when the fight started, and our numbers have drastically shrunk. Where are all these infected vampires coming from?
A male infected vampire moves about ten feet in front of me. His skin is ashy and all the veins in his body stand out prominently against his skin. Blood drips from his open mouth to his chest. He sniffs the air, his eyes rolling to the back of his head. I’ve seen that look before; it’s the look of a vampire high on fairy.
“You smell amazing! What are you?”
Deciding not to answer him, I pull the trigger on my gun. Click; I’m out of bullets. Are you fucking kidding me?
The vampire smiles evilly in anticipation, advancing on me slowly. Rather than distract Jason or Willa, I fling the gun to the ground, my light bursting forth from my hand to send the infected male vampire backwards into a picnic table. Before I can blast him again, his head is severed from his body by a sword. A sword? Where did someone get a sword? My savior vamps away before I can thank them. A shrill whistle pierces the air; it is clearly a signal for the vampires infected with Hep V, because they vamp away from the carnage, carrying several humans off with them. Since when do the Hep V vamps take hostages? That hasn’t been reported by any of the news programs. . .
I look around at the destruction to see who has survived besides Jason and Willa. I see Violet and James. Where’s Jessica? And Tara? There’s no sign of Alcide or Sam. Bill vamps in front of me, his hands grasping my forearms.
“Sookeh are you alright?!?! Are you hurt? You should have stayed inside! What were you thinking?!?!?!”
I roll my eyes. People are injured, missing, and dead; his progeny is unaccounted for. And all Bill Compton can worry about is me and my precious fairy blood. Why am I not surprised?
“I’m fine Bill, no reason to worry.”
Bill scoffs at me, pulling me closer and shaking me slightly as he speaks. “I saw that vampire almost attack you. You weren’t fine!”
My anger is rising and I can feel my light pulsing inside me. Bill must realize he’s overstepped the boundaries, because he releases me and takes a giant step back. “Sookeh,” he says cajolingly, “this is what I meant earlier. You need a vampire in your life to protect you.”
Just as I’m about to come back with an angry reply, my eyes are drawn to the woods beside the parking lot. The moonlight is reflecting off the steel blade of a sword; the same sword that was used to decapitate my would-be attacker. However, the sword is the least interesting thing about the person in the shadows. My heart begins to pound wildly in my chest; my breath is stuck in my throat. It can’t be…For the first time in weeks, no months, I’m happy; I feel whole.
“Eric?” My voice is nearly inaudible, but I know he heard me, because his lips turn up in that smirk that used to infuriate me and arouse me at the same time. He steps forward from the shadows, walking slowly towards me. I want to run to him, wrapping him up in my arms, never letting go. My heart is begging for me to voice how much I missed him, to tell him how much I love him, have always loved him, and will always love him. But I don’t; I’m too scared he will reject me. After all, I would deserve it for the several times I’ve rejected him.
Eric looks just as I remember him, a Viking God among mere mortals. His body is adorned in his usual uniform of boots, jeans, t-shirt, and leather jacket. His blond hair is as short as it was when he had been cursed by the witch. Those beautiful azure eyes are too far away for me to know what he is feeling. His hand flexes unconsciously around the handle of his sword.
“Good evening Miss Stackhouse,” he says in a voice as smooth and cool as the surface of a lake. “I see you are just as much a danger magnet as when I left. It’s good to know that some things never change.”
I’m surrounded by vampire remains and dead bodies; those that are injured sob as people work to give first aid. Hell is the only way to describe the scene before me . . . and yet I have an overwhelming urge to laugh because of Eric’s words. They make me feel normal despite everything going on. I bite the inside of my cheek so I don’t say anything, but I know he knows I’m trying not to laugh because his own lips twitch.
“Eric!” Willa vamps before her maker; she still doesn’t understand vampire protocol because she throws her arms around her maker. I envy her the ability to do that; I’m jealous of the fact she can openly cry tears of relief. And I long to feel his arms wrap around me comfortingly as they do Willa; how he caresses her hair reassuringly.
“Sook, you’re ok!” Alcide comes running over to me, wrapping me up in his strong arms. Even though they aren’t the arms I want, I do take some comfort from Alcide’s embrace. While in his arms, Alcide broadcasts his thoughts to me.
He’s back Sook. All the places in the world he could have gone, he came here. That has to count for something. I know you haven’t admitted it, but you love him. Don’t turn your back on this. Not everyone is lucky enough to get another chance.
I sniffle loudly and rub my face against Alcide’s chest. Tears run down my face as I’m overwhelmed with emotion. Alcide rubs my back in a soothing motion until I pull away, scrubbing my face with the palms of my hands.
I release a shaky breath as I step out of his embrace. I can’t help but notice that Eric is staring at us with an inscrutable look on his beautiful face. “What about the others? Where’s Sam? And Tara?” I am frantic with worry. I don’t have many people in this world left that I care about; I can’t afford to lose any more.
“She’s over here,” a flat, deadened voice says; it’s Pam. She looks amazing as ever in a black leather jacket, jeans, and boots; her hair and make-up perfect as usual. The only things out-of-place on Pam are the two blood tears moving slowly down her face. I’ve only ever seen Pam cry when it involved Eric.
With a feeling of dread, I slowly make my way towards Pam’s side. As I round the edge of the stage, Eric suddenly vamps in front of me, trying to block me from the sight on the ground, but it’s too late.
Lettie Mae sits on the ground sobbing over a pile of vampire remains. There is only one vampire she would be crying over.
After everything she’s been through, everything she has survived, THIS is how she meets her end? Defending her mother from an infected vampire? A mother who abused her, abandoned her, and neglected her? This doesn’t make any fucking sense!!!!
“They took her,” Lettie Mae cries out as she clutches at her chest. Her dress is covered in blood. She is badly cut on her arm; it looks as if a vampire had sunk their fangs into her and then savagely ripped them out.
“Who took who?” Jason comes rushing over, Violet not too far behind.
“They took my Tara!” Lettie Mae’s chest heaves as she sobs loudly. Reverend Daniels rushes to his wife’s side, trying to comfort her as she collapses in his arms.
Pam arches her eyebrow and scoffs, “Your Tara? You didn’t know you had a daughter for the majority of your life because you were busy drowning yourself in a bottle! And when you finally got sober, instead of being there for your daughter, you abandoned her! When she needed you most, when she needed the support of her friends and family, where were you? Oh, that’s right, you told her she was dead to you and you wanted nothing more to do with her. Said she would ruin your precious reputation. So forgive me if I don’t buy the grieving mother routine.” During her speech, Pam’s voice is venomous, steadily increasing in volume as she rips Lettie Mae to shreds.
“Don’t you talk to me like that you devil woman! You made my Tara into a monster and then you abandoned her!” Lettie Mae turns her accusing eyes towards me. “And you Sookie Stackhouse,” she exclaims pointing at me, “it’s all your fault my Tara was a damn vampire! You led her down the path to Hell and had her turn her back on Jesus. Why couldn’t you be the one dead instead of my baby?” Lettie Mae collapses against her husband’s chest, screaming with her suffering.
“What the fuck didya say to my sister?” Jason’s voice shakes with his anger and he steps menacingly towards Lettie Mae. He isn’t the only one to step up to defend me; Alcide, Pam, and Eric move closer to Lettie Mae, snarls and growls coming from all of them.
Sam, who comes out of the woods adjusting his clothing, rushes towards us. “What is going on here?”
I take a deep breath before moving forward. I place a hand on both Alcide and Eric, wanting them to back down. “It’s not worth it. Besides, it’s nothing I haven’t heard before,” I say softly for their ears only. Alcide stalks back a few steps; Eric and Pam retract their fangs, but stay where they are. I breathe a sigh of relief, taking that as a sign of acceptance.
Seeing the situation has been diffused, Sam assumes the mantle of leadership. “Everyone listen up! We need to get everyone home safely. Vampires, please escort your human home. Good people, once you are home, please feed your vampire. They need to heal and regain their strength. We’ll meet up at the church tomorrow afternoon to discuss what happened tonight.”
“What about the people they took? We can’t just do nothing!” An angry group of residents stand huddled together. Listening to their thoughts, I hear that they are blaming Sam and Bill for tonight’s attack. I catch Eric’s attention and discreetly tap my temple before flicking my eyes in their direction. He nods once in understanding; I’m not a fan of glamouring people, but it does have its uses.
Jason speaks up, “Sheriff Bellefleur and I will be working with the vampires to track where the Hep V vamps have gone. But we need all of you to go home; we can’t do our jobs properly if we have to worry about you too.” The residents of Bon Temps seem unhappy with Jason’s answer but they reluctantly begin leaving. Eric has Pam glamour the humans that I identified as being hostile towards Sam and Bill. Turning on each other isn’t going to help us survive; it will just weaken us until there’s nothing left.
Bill assures Arlene that everything will be cleaned up before she arrives to open the bar tomorrow. Reverend Daniels helps Lettie Mae to her feet; Willa offers to heal the sanctimonious bitch with her blood so she doesn’t have to go to the hospital.
“NO!” Eric’s voice is hard as steel as he answers. “Apply your blood topically to her wounds if you must but you will not give her your blood.” Willa looks ready to argue, but Eric cuts her off. “As your maker, I command it.” Willa snaps her mouth shut before moving to Lettie Mae. Once she has healed Lettie Mae, Willa offers to escort her and Reverend Daniels to their home.
Before Willa leaves she turns to Eric. “Will you still be here when I get back?” Her tone of voice reminds me of a frightened, lost child.
Eric nods once. “Where should I meet you?”
“I’m staying with Sookie.” Willa gives me a small smile before vamping off.
Lafayette and James are the next to leave. Lafayette pulls me into a tight hug. “Y’all let me know if there is any news.”
I nod my head even though he can’t see it. “You sure you wanna stay alone tonight? I’ve got more than enough room.”
James makes the decision for Lafayette. “It would be better if y’all stay together tonight. We don’t know where the infected vamps have gone. Sookie’s house is more secure and you’d have allies close by.” Lafayette reluctantly agrees after James agrees to take him to his house so he can get his sleeping pills. Knowing Lafayette, his sleeping pills include a bong, a bottle of tequila, and whatever pills he’s got in his bag of tricks.
Once every one of a non-Supernatural nature has been escorted away, those of us remaining are able to speak freely.
“What the fuck happened here tonight?” Sheriff Andy Bellefleur bellows. He had not been at the pairing party, not that I blame him given what happened to his daughters at the hands of Jessica. Andy arrived after the attack, having been called by Holly. He had let us know that Jessica was at his house guarding Adilyn, though she was not invited in.
“I tracked the vamps for a few miles but I lost them,” Sam says to the assembled group. “I think they were heading for Shreveport. They had Kevin, Jane Bodehouse, and Maxine Fortenberry with them. I didn’t see anyone else.”
“They’re looking for shelter, someplace light-tight,” Bill says. “It’s like they are exhibiting nesting behavior.”
Andy looks disgusted. “So where should we look for them?”
“Warehouses, abandoned buildings. They’d want to be somewhere without others nearby,” Eric says.
Alcide questions him. “How do you know that?”
Eric shrugs. “It’s what I would do.”
After much discussion, Andy reluctantly pairs up with Bill while Jason obviously pairs with Violet; they are going to search for the nests. Sam and Alcide are also going to pair up to do some tracking. If Tara were here, she and I would be cracking jokes about dogs running in packs. A single tear rolls slowly down my check as I sniff loudly; if I start crying, I’m not going to stop.
Alcide puts his arm comfortingly around my shoulder. “Come on; I’ll take you home.”
I shake my head. “No, I’ll be fine. You go with Sam. I can get home on my own.”
Alcide looks ready to argue with me when Pam of all people interjects. “Run along boys; Eric and I will take Sookie home. We have to go there anyway to wait for Willa.”
Alcide does not look comfortable with this decision, but he doesn’t say anything out loud.
You sure about this Sook?
“I’ll be fine,” I reiterate.
Everyone else clears out of Bellefleur’s parking lot, leaving me standing awkwardly with Eric and Pam. Eric finally gestures with his hand, indicating we should begin walking. “Sorry but we didn’t drive. We’ll walk you home.”
I’m reminded of another time when Eric Northman walked me home. It’s not exactly a happy memory since he was hiding a dead body in a recent grave, but it makes me feel nostalgic. Life, despite all its problems then, seemed less complicated. If only I knew then what I know now, I’d have left Bill to rot in Jackson and I would have taken Eric up on his offer of passionate, primal sex.
Shaking myself out of my reverie, I smile impishly at the two vampires. “I’ll race you home.” Before either can react, I have teleported back to the house on Hummingbird Lane. I’m laughing to myself as I feel a void land on the porch. Given the wards that have been placed on my house, I’m not worried about who is on the porch; I know it can only be someone that does not wish me any harm. So it is with a cocky smile on my face that I throw open the door, a taunt on my lips. However, my smile rapidly fades when the vampire on my porch is not one of the blonds I was expecting.
“Good evening Miss Stackhouse.”
Holy S . . . it’s Godric!