I walk outside with a smile on my face, but it quickly disappears when I come face to face with my first love, Bill Compton. Bill has a smile plastered on his face, but I know it is for show. Bill’s smile never seems to reach his eyes; it’s one of the things I have noticed about Bill since returning from the Fae realm. He always tries to be this charming Southern gentleman, but his eyes always remain cold and calculating. Even when Bill was trying for righteous indignation or fury, his eyes were always empty. Eric, however, is the complete opposite; even when his face is expressionless, all the information you need to know is in his eyes.
Bill’s smile falters as I walk past him; Eric’s bite prominently displayed on my neck. Bill seizes me by the shoulders, his grip painful as his fingers dig into my flesh. “Sookeh, what have you done?!?!”
“Bill take your hands off of me!” My voice is even though my body is rigid with tension. I feel the energy beginning to tingle in my fingertips as my light threatens to shoot out.
Bill is suddenly surrounded by the vampires of Godric’s bloodline. “I suggest you release Miss Stackhouse,” Godric says from Bill’s left. Bill barely acknowledges the elder vampire’s words; he is too busy staring with hostility at the Scandinavian vampire standing behind me. I can tell Eric’s fangs are down as he glares at the vampire holding me, and he would like nothing more than to rip Bill’s hands from his body just for daring to touch me.
“Bill, I suggest you do as my maker’s maker ordered. You wouldn’t want us to finally bury your remains underneath your headstone in that cemetery over there would you?” Pam’s voice sounds from behind Bill as he continues to hold me. Her words must finally penetrate because Bill eases his grip on me. Eric quickly places me behind him as the other vampires that had surrounded Bill take a step back. Eric steps in closer to Bill, his fangs dangerously close to Bill’s face.
“Let me be perfectly clear,” Eric says calmly. His voice is soft, but that does not mean he is weak or should be ignored; he has nothing but malice for the vampire before him. “Sookie is no concern of yours. SHE. IS. MINE!” Eric turns his head to look at me, smiling with all the love he feels for me. The smile is gone so quickly that it is easy to believe it was never there in the first place. He turns his attention back to the being in front of him that he views to be insignificant. “And I am hers.”
Bill scoffs before turning his attention to the Were that has shared my home for the last few months. “And you are suddenly OK with a vampire claiming Sookie? Surely you do not want Eric involved with Sookie?”
Alcide moves away from his place beside the vehicles. He saunters towards the two vampires posturing over me. “I do not want any vampire claiming Sookie.” Bill’s expression becomes smug as he listens to Alcide confirm his suspicions. However, his expression doesn’t last as Alcide continues speaking. “But if Northman is finally claiming Sookie, then I say it’s about damn time! I knew before we went to Jackson that she must be special to him if he was willing to help her. I may not have always liked her involvement with vampires, but even I can see how much he loves her. And I know she loves him.” Alcide winks at me before moving closer to Willa.
Bill explodes, “But she’s your woman! I’ve seen the two of you together; you share a home. I’ve even heard the sounds of sex . . .”
“Have you been fucking spying on me?!?!” I am irate and I try to get to Bill, but a certain Viking vampire holds me back. The others in the group, even Bill’s progeny Jessica, close ranks as they realize the meaning behind Bill’s words: he is a stalker, obsessed with the woman he lost.
“Mr. Compton,” Godric states quietly, “after this evening I believe it to be in your best interests to have no further communication or involvement with Miss Stackhouse. It will be detrimental to your existence.”
“You cannot control me; I live across the cemetery. If I want to see Sookeh, I will!” Bill seems unhinged, as if he has completely lost his mind. I haven’t seen him like this since Eric and I confronted him in The Authority’s compound. It frightens me to think of what he might be capable of.
“Bill,” Jessica interjects moving towards her maker. She places her hand on his arm in a gesture of peace and comfort. “This isn’t the time or the place for this discussion. And even if it were, Sookie will never be yours again,” she tells him gently. Before Bill can protest, Jessica rushes on. “You lost her a long time ago; nothing is gonna change that. You gotta let her go.” Bill’s shoulders slump in defeat at Jessica’s words. He turns to look at me encased in Eric’s arms; his expression is one of pain, as if he were staked through the heart.
“Is this truly what you want Sookeh?”
“I love Eric with my whole heart. I don’t want to be without him again,” I state with firm conviction. Eric’s arms tighten fractionally around me letting me know that he returns the sentiment.
Bill turns and climbs dejectedly into one of the open vehicles after hearing my response. Looking at the others, I shrug and climb into a different vehicle from Bill. Everyone else in our group finds a vehicle to ride in and we are on our way to drop off Holly and Lafayette before heading to Shreveport.
After dropping Holly off with Adilyn and Lafayette with Nicole, we make our way to Shreveport. The ride is silent, all of us thinking of the upcoming battle. We stop a quarter-mile away from Fangtasia. The mixed group of humans, Weres, and vampires approach the building on foot. Looking around, I hope our forces will be enough. In addition to myself, there is Jason, Andy, Alcide, Sam, Godric, Eric, Pam, Willa, Bill, Jessica, James, and Violet. There is a good chance that not all of us will survive tonight.
Eric leads everyone to the back of the building where Fangtasia is located. “There is a hidden entrance; it was part of the Underground Railroad. It leads to the vent shaft in the basement which is where I would hold the hostages,” Eric informs the group.
“Yeah, some of us know from personal experience,” I say drily. Eric just gives me a look that says it’s neither the time nor the place for this conversation. I shrug my shoulders before focusing on the task at hand.
“I can tell there are at least seven people inside but their thoughts are all jumbled. I think they’ve been glamoured. I can’t tell who is in there,” I say in frustration. “Sam, would you mind shifting to go inside and find out exactly how many people are in there?
Sam nods his agreement as he quickly sheds his clothing and drops into a crouch before shifting into a rat. He scurries into the building through a small opening. Everyone waits for a few tense moments until he returns. Jason and Andy check their weapons to make sure all their guns are fully loaded. The vampires stand still as statues; they are accustomed to the tension before a battle. Alcide paces the alley like a caged animal, his eyes taking on the yellow glow he gets right before a shift. While I wait, I try to count the voids inside the building; at least twenty by my count.
Sam scurries out of the building and shifts back to his human form. “They have five women and four men in the basement. Kevin didn’t make it; his body is slumped in a corner. Jane and Maxine were in there, but we have to hurry. As I was leaving, one of the vamps came downstairs to get a human; it was Maxine.”
Without further ado, Eric slams his fist into the concrete wall, reducing the concrete to a pile of rubble and dust. Godric and Eric move into the exposed hallway at vamp speed. I move to follow them, but Pam blocks my path.
“Wait here Tinker Bell. You’ll only be in the way if you go in there. Godric and Eric are more than capable of freeing the humans.”
I reluctantly agree but pace nervously until I feel the human minds getting closer. Jane Bodehouse and Ginger, the overly glamoured former employee of Fangtasia, are among the humans freed from the basement.
“Mr. Stackhouse, please escort the humans to the waiting vehicles,” Godric requests. “You, Sheriff Bellefleur, and Willa will guard them. The rest of us will go inside to deal with the infected vampires. We must hurry.” Godric directs the rest of the forces down the hallway but stops Eric and me.
“We need a distraction. They outnumber us almost three to one. Eric, you know what to do.” Godric nods to his progeny before vamping down the hallway after the others.
I look at Eric questioningly. He smirks and leans down to whisper in my ear, “Trust me.”
Eric’s words spark a memory of another time we faced impossible odds and overcame them. I smile slightly as I whisper, “Always.” Eric brushes his lips against mine before picking me up. He vamps us in front of the main entrance. He sets me down and places me behind him before turning to pound on the door.
“My name is Eric Northman; I used to be sheriff of this area and I own Fangtasia. I am infected and in need of sanctuary.” Eric’s voice sounds strained and weak. I marvel at his acting ability; he missed his calling as an actor. Hell, he was probably an actor for William Shakespeare for all I know!
“Piss off,” comes a reply from a vampire with a cockney accent. I feel the voids moving closer to the door, and I fist my hands in the leather of Eric’s jacket.
“I’ve brought a human with me. I’m more than willing to share her.” I pinch Eric’s ass to let him know I don’t appreciate the sharing comment. He turns his head to look at me over his shoulder and mouths “Never” while his eyes smolder. Eric turns back around to focus on the infected vampires inside. They seem to be debating among themselves, but finally the door opens to grant us access to the place where we first met. I stare in horror at the rotting corpses piled in the corner like forgotten trash. Blood smears are on the floor and walls; they look like a fucking Jackson Pollack painting. And lying on one of the leather benches is Maxine Fortenberry. Blood drips on the floor and pools around her body from all the jagged bite marks on her; she is alive but barely hanging on. Hurry is the only thought running through my head. We need to hurry to save her and ourselves.
“She smells amazing,” says a bald vampire with the blackened veins all over his arms, neck, and head. He advances on me, but Eric steps in his path to block him.
“Yes, she does smell amazing, but she is mine. Now, I’m willing to share her,” Eric says congenially, “but she isn’t someone you gorge yourself on. You savor her; like a fine wine. Are we clear?”
“Fuck that! I want a taste of what’s between her legs,” the bald vampire says as he advances on us.
Eric clicks his tongue in disapproval. “She is a lady, and she will be treated as such. Remember, she is mine.”
“I am his,” I add pointedly to the bald vampire. My fingers are tingling with energy; my light is ready to come out if needed.
The bald vampire has me pressed against the wall of Fangtasia before the last word is out of my mouth. He is sniffing along the length of my neck and his eyes glaze over with lust. “Do you like it rough sweetheart?” His fangs slide out and he lowers himself to his knees so he can bite my femoral artery.
FUCK. THIS. SHIT.
My light bursts forth from my hands sending the kneeling vampire forcefully back into the opposite wall, his body consumed by flames from my light. I can’t help but smirk at the burning body of the infected vampire as I ask, “Do you like it rough asshole?”
The infected vampires stare at me for a moment, clearly unsure about what just happened. This is apparently the distraction Godric required because he and the others in our group burst forth from the door leading to the basement. The surprise factor allows us to easily take out a third of the infected vampires before they begin to retaliate. A few of the infected vampires flee through the main entrance, but Alcide and Sam (in the form of a wolf and a cheetah) take off after them. I’m thankful that Sam chose a cheetah; it is both fast and vicious, two things that we definitely need tonight. Eric and Godric have taken up stances in front of me, pushing the infected vampires away from me. It is impressive to watch them fight; between the two of them they are battling five vampires. You would think the infected vampires would have the advantage since there are more of them, but Eric and Godric clearly have the advantage. Somehow Eric acquired a sword and is using it to slice and dice his way through his enemies. Godric is just as impressive with his hand-to-hand combat skills. They continue to push the infected vampires towards the entrance. Looking around, I do not see Violet, Pam, or Bill. Jessica is down on the ground with silver chains wrapped around her neck and legs. James fights his way towards her, staking the vampire that had silvered Jessica. I scream out a warning, but it is too late; James explodes into a pile of goo that covers Jessica. One of the infected vampires staked James while he was trying to remove the silver from Jessica’s neck. The vampire that staked James raises his weapon again to deliver the True Death to Jessica. Without thinking, I raise my hands and shoot my light into the infected vampire, engulfing him in flames. His screams are shrill as he flails around the bar trying to put the flames out; all he is doing is making the flames move more quickly over his body. The idiot runs towards the bar, because fire and alcohol are a perfect combination. However, Pam stakes the vampire before he causes the alcohol to ignite.
Seeing that all the fighting has moved outside, Pam picks up a fire extinguisher to start putting out the flames from my two fireballs. “Try not to burn the place down Tinker Bell. I don’t think our insurance policy covers fire by fairy,” she says with a wink as she continues to douse the small fires I have inadvertently started.
While Pam plays Smokey the Bear and prevents forest fires, I run to Jessica’s side to free her from the chains that bind her. Once free, she immediately makes her way to Maxine. Jess rips into her own wrist so she can offer her blood to the dying woman. “C’mon Ms. Fortenberry, DRINK!!!! You can’t die! Hoyt needs you!” Jessica’s screams make Maxine’s eyes flutter open. Jessica opens the wounds on her wrist again, trying to force life back into the woman who has hated her from the moment they met. Maxine raises her limp hand to push Jessica’s wrist away from her mouth.
“Ms. Fortenberry, please! You need to drink my blood,” Jessica begs. Maxine shakes her head slightly, her lips continuing to move. The hand that Maxine had raised gestures for Jessica to come closer. Jessica clasps Maxine’s hand and leans down, her ear near Maxine’s lips. Jessica leans back with a bloody tear moving slowly down her cheek. “I’m sorry too Ms. Fortenberry,” Jessica says in a choked voice.
Jessica and I clasp Maxine’s hands, both of us with tears running down our face. Maxine Fortenberry, the dragon lady of Bon Temps, takes a final shallow breath before her heart stops. Jessica continues to shed bloody tears as she folds Maxine’s hands on top of her stomach. Maxine’s last thoughts had been how much she loved her son Hoyt and how she was sorry for never giving Jessica a chance. Maxine had finally realized that despite being a vampire, Jessica was a good person.
Jessica brushes at the tears on her face, and looks around the room frantically. “Where’s Bill?” I shake my head to indicate I haven’t seen Bill and Jess vamps outside.
Eric walks through the door and looks every inch the conquering hero. I’m envious that he still looks impeccable; not a hair out-of-place and it seems as if there isn’t a drop of blood on him. I feel as if I’ve been ridden hard and put away wet; I don’t think I’ll ever feel clean again.
My beautiful Viking walks swiftly to my side, one hand reaching up to cup my face the other resting on my hip. His eyes have darkened with concern. “Are you alright?” He brushes a kiss against my forehead before wrapping me in his arms.
I nod my head and grasp him tightly. “What about the others?”
“Violet met her True Death. Everyone else is accounted for except Bill and the Shifter. Alcide said the last time he saw the Shifter was when he re-entered the building through the hidden tunnel; he had chased one of the infected vampires.”
I pull back from Eric’s arms, my eyes filled with fear. I glance towards the door leading to the basement; I can detect the faint buzz of Sam’s brain in the basement. Eric knowing what I want grabs my hand and pulls me to the basement door. “Stay behind me,” he cautions before we go through the door. Our footsteps seem to echo in the vast emptiness of the basement. I clutch Eric’s hand, afraid of what we might find in the basement. Eric stops at the bottom of the stairs, trying to block my view of the room.
“Sookie,” Eric says urgently, “go back upstairs now!” It’s too late, I’ve seen what he is trying to protect me from; Sam’s naked body is curled up on the dingy floor. I rush past Eric, intent on getting to my injured friend. Falling to my knees beside him, I cry out in horror as I realize I’ve landed in a puddle of his blood. Close up I can see that his throat has been ripped out; blood continues to flow from the wound, but it is at a slow pace.
“Eric help him!” My hands flutter above Sam’s body helplessly; he’s lost so much blood. Who did this to him?!?!?!?
I feel Eric standing behind me, his hand resting on my shoulder. “Sookie, he’s lost too much blood. If I were to give him my blood it may turn him. I’m sorry,” he tells me gently.
“NO!!!!” Hot tears fall down my face as I reach for Sam’s hand. I feel guilty for Sam coming to help us tonight. He shouldn’t have come. What are Nicole and his daughter going to do now? I know how hard it is to grow up without a father, and I’ve condemned Sam’s daughter to the same fate. My head hangs in shame as I sob for my fallen friend.
Sookie . . .
My head snaps up. “Sam?!? Hang on, we’re gonna get you some help!”
Sookie . . . not gonna make it . . . Bill . . .
The blood in my veins goes cold. “What about Bill?”
Sam’s mind rewinds like a videotape until someone presses the imaginary play button and the flashback begins here in the basement. Bill was talking to one of the infected vampires; the infected vampire was angry with Bill for bringing everyone here tonight. Bill apparently had a deal to keep everyone away from Fangtasia and the infected vampires; he’d even glamoured Holly to perform a repelling spell to keep humans away from the bar. The conversation progressed to the infected vampire blaming Bill for the limited number of humans they had captured from the pairing party; Bill had claimed the town was defenseless and easy pickings. Before the infected vampire could say anything else, Bill had staked him. Sam had tried to retreat without being detected, but Bill had vamped to his side and dragged him back into the basement of Fangtasia. The image goes static, ending the flashback from Sam’s mind.
Tell Nicole . . . love her . . . and the baby.
“SAM!!!!! NO!!!!!!” I scream and cry out as I feel the buzz from Sam’s brain go completely silent. Eric gathers me into his arms holding me as I rage and cry out against the injustice of Sam being taken from us and shit like Bill Compton continues to walk this Earth.
But I guarantee you, it won’t be for long.