The new light of day had broken over the horizon just as our plane touches down in Dallas. The four vampires consisting of my “baggage” are settled in their coffins waiting to be transported to the secure location Isabel had arranged for us. During our flight, Godric and Eric had given me every detail of who would be meeting me, where we would be going, and what I should do if I felt we were in danger. I do not like the fact that I now have two fully loaded 9 mm guns hidden inside the folds of my jacket, but I refuse to go into Dallas again wearing rose-colored glasses. I experienced horrible tragedies before and after my time in this city; but I think it is the events that unfolded while here that had the most impact on me. It was here I unknowingly opened my heart to Eric. Dallas is where I saw the best and worst of what faith can guide people to do. I have seen hope . . . loss . . . love . . . and joy. To say I have mixed feelings about this city is an understatement. It definitely isn’t on my list of vacation hot spots that’s for damn sure!
Fortunately, no surprises are waiting for us when the door of the private plane opens. A team of Weres and shifters, led by a man named John Quinn, were waiting to transport me and my vampires to Isabel’s compound on a secluded private estate on the outskirts north of the city. As Godric had promised, Quinn and his team of cohorts were ex-military that specialized in security and covert operations; they are our eyes and ears at the Light of Day compound.
Quinn, as he insists on being called after our introductions, guides me over to our transportation. Rather than transport all of us in separate vehicles, a tractor-trailer awaits us with a stainless steel shipping container. I look skeptically at Quinn who gestures for me to have a look. I gasp in surprise as I look inside the container; it looks like something out of one Jason’s beloved action movies involving covert operations. As I said, the container is completely stainless steel and there are holding bays for up to six travel coffins. Beyond that, there are stainless steel benches for people to sit on with a wide array of weapons mounted to the walls. Sweet Jesus, it looks like enough weaponry to arm a small country! Near the front of the container are stainless steel tables with computers bolted down; there are three people sitting in front of the computers wearing headsets and talking quietly as they watch the monitors. I’m glad these guys are on my side!
“I can assure you,” Quinn says from behind me, “we mean you and the vampires with you no harm. Most of us owe Godric or the Viking in one way or another.” Quinn extends his hand for me to touch; someone must have told him I am telepathic. Though in this town, it wasn’t that big of a secret. With a false sense of bravado, I take hold of Quinn’s outstretched hand expecting to find the usual prejudice against vampires and their fangbangers. However, all I find is respect for Godric and a deep-seeded love of his family. The first thing I see is a memory of two women, one older and one a young teenager but obviously related, being beaten by vampires as a much younger Quinn is restrained. A vampire wearing a cape (seriously, did he fucking think he was Dracula?!?!) watches with a sinister smile. The image changes to a large Bengal tiger, which I assume is what Quinn shifts into, fighting various opponents in what looked like the arenas I had seen in Jason’s favorite movie Gladiator. I can tell from the images in his mind that Quinn did everything possible to protect his family, from fighting in the “pits” as he called them to acting as enforcer for the caped vampire whose name was de Castro. The images change quickly but I can see a multitude of horrible things Quinn was forced to do while serving de Castro. Somehow, Godric had “won” Quinn away from de Castro and had also secured the freedom of Quinn’s family. The entire family settled in Texas, where his mother and sister still live.
“Now you know,” is all Quinn says as I release his arm. I nod my head at him, feeling nothing but admiration for this man who had survived horrible atrocities at the hands of a vampire yet did not extend his hatred to all vampires.
Once everyone is settled in the container, the truck pulls away from the airfield. As we are driving along, Quinn and his team tell me they have been able to confirm Jason is being held at the Light of Day compound. Using thermal imaging, they have detected the heat signature of a human in the barracks and three vampires beneath the barracks. They have had visual confirmation of Jason as well as Sarah Newlin, but there has been no sign of Pam or Bill. I am disheartened to hear there has been no sign of Pam, but I take comfort in the fact that Jason has been sighted and appeared to be unharmed. I have to give credit to Quinn and his men; they are extremely efficient. Within the hour of receiving Godric’s call, Isabel had Quinn and his team in position around the compound. His team consists of Weres and shifters that shift into a variety of animals, giving them the ability to scope out the area from both land and air.
“You seem surprised,” Quinn says from the seat directly across from me. He is a large muscular man, probably taller than Alcide or Eric, with a shaved head and eyes that I would swear are purple in color. “Like I said, most of us owe Godric.”
“I know that, and I can tell y’all are genuine in your desire to help us. The Weres back home tend to look down on me for associating with vampires.” That’s putting it mildly. Sam always flipped his shit when he smelled a vampire on me. Alcide used to be the same way too, but he’s seen the light so to speak. I expected to receive more of the same treatment here in Dallas since I smell overwhelmingly of Eric, and now slightly of Godric and Willa. However, all the people present have treated me with respect and as an equal.
“You won’t find that here,” Quinn assures me. “Most of us worked security for Godric when he was Sheriff of Area Nine.” What I hear in Quinn’s mind is that he and his family had deeply mourned Godric’s passing; he had been their savior and Quinn felt he had failed him by not being in Dallas to prevent Godric’s capture. He and his company had been in New York providing security for a treaty negotiation between rival packs. After Godric met the True Death, Quinn had spiraled down, taking his rage and grief out on the remaining members of the Fellowship of the Sun and Light of Day soldiers. Quinn had been responsible for Steve Newlin’s capture, death, and later turning. My shock only increased when I saw that Isabel, Godric’s second, the woman betrayed by Hugo, had been the one to turn Steve Newlin and had then promptly turned him over to The Authority. I tried to find it in myself to be horrified by how callously they had forced vampirism on the former reverend but given all the horrific things he had done to me and those I love I thought it poetic justice.
Our ride continues in silence and I can feel that Quinn wants to ask me something. The thoughts are hazy but I can feel them revolving around me. “You were the one on the roof when Godric met the sun,” he finally states in a quiet voice and all conversation around us ceases.
“I was,” I answer after glancing around at the anxious faces of those around me. “I didn’t want him to be alone at the end. He was at peace, happy even in his last moments.”
“But he’s back now? Isabel said . . .” Quinn’s voice trails off as he is overcome with emotion. I lean forward to place my hand on his arm in a gesture of comfort, not really thinking through what my innocent action would cause. Well, well, well . . . I’m happy Isabel found someone to make her happy after Hugo. It seems Quinn and Isabel had turned to each other for comfort shortly after Godric’s True Death. From the glimpses I can see, there is genuine affection and respect between the two of them, but both are extremely guarded with their emotions. I wish I could say something to both, letting them know life is too short, even for immortals, to waste it spent hiding your emotions. Seize the day, embrace the moment. Ah hell; I sound like a Hallmark greeting card!
“Yes,” he’s back I say reassuringly. Lifting my hand off his arm, I point to one of the travel coffins loaded in the back of the truck. “He’s back there. He showed up at my house a few days ago.”
Quinn swallows audibly and stares at me without blinking, making me uncomfortable. His thoughts are unfocused again, just a bunch of swirling emotions.
“Lady,” he finally says in a slow drawl, “I don’t know how you did it, and I don’t really care, but thank you for bringing Godric back to us. I don’t care that he’s a vamp; he’s always been one of the most honorable and fair beings I’ve ever met. If he’s on your side, then I’ll follow you to hell and back if that’s what it takes. You have my word on it.” With that, Quinn extends his hand for me to shake. His large paw engulfs my tiny hand before letting go. What surprises me next is that each member of his team gets up to come by and shakes my hand, thanking me for bringing Godric back. By the time the last one sits down, I am overcome with emotion and tears fill my eyes.
To myself I’m wondering how Godric could have left us before when so many love and respected him. If he ever pulls a similar stunt again, I’m kicking his ass!
I’m still in my travel coffin when my eyes open. This morning, I had stayed awake long after the sun had risen to make certain that Sookie was safe and there were no problems waiting for her. I felt as well as heard her conversation with Quinn. Sookie’s emotions were all over the place, but it is no different from my hearing the admiration my maker and bonded commanded from this mixed group. I know Godric is revered among them, but it is especially wonderful to hear a similar level of respect and admiration given to Sookie. For too long, she has allowed others to put her down, making her think she is not worthy of admiration. My Sookie needs to accept that she is a beautiful woman with a generous heart and the spirit of a warrior. She is head and shoulders above the rabble in that inbred town she calls home. If I have my way, she will never again doubt her worth.
Shortly after we arrived at Isabel’s compound, I felt Sookie drift away in an exhausted slumber. From what Quinn had told my bonded, I knew our room was light-tight as was most of the compound and for that I am very grateful. Because I stayed awake so long, I had a severe case of the bleeds and I do not want to worry Sookie unnecessarily. I am surprised my inquisitive bonded did not ask why I had spare towels in my travel coffin when she bid me adieu this morning. Thankfully, she is still asleep or else I would be getting scolded by my fiery fairy, which in turn would turn me on, and then I would . . .
“Stop those thoughts right there Buster,” Sookie’s sleep-laden voice says from the bed. She is lying curled up on her side, facing my travel coffin yet her eyes remain closed. Thankfully, I am already out of my carrying case so it is an easy matter to use my speed to dispose of the bloody evidence, wash off quickly, and then climb in bed to spoon behind my beloved. We both sigh in relief as her body melts into mine; she fits perfectly in my arms. I bury my face in her hair, inhaling deeply of our mingled scent and rumble happily in my chest.
Sookie giggles. “You’re like a big ole cat with the way you’re purring back there.”
I nip at her ear in mock anger, but then suck the lobe in my mouth as my fingers dance their way down her torso to the juncture between her legs. “There is only one pussy in this relationship,” I murmur seductively in her ear as my fingers glide smoothly over the area I speak of. Sookie’s breath catches before she releases a shaky sigh of pleasure. Her hips begin moving against my fingers.
“We don’t have time,” she moans even as she spreads her legs to give me more access to her covered sex. My fingers make quick work of the button and zipper of her jeans. Using my speed and strength, I have her as naked as I am in seconds.
“We’ll make time,” I growl as I settle behind her again. I lift her leg so it rests over top of mine so my rigid cock rests along her slit. I kiss and lick her neck as my hips thrust lazily against her, my cock gliding along her lower lips as her juices begin covering my shaft. My hand plays with her nipples, plucking the rosy buds until they are hardened peaks. Sookie’s breathing becomes labored as her arousal becomes more pronounced. Her warm, fragrant flesh moves against mine; we work in tandem to increase our pleasure so that by the time I slide inside her welcoming wet heat, she’s cumming with a quiet sigh. Her walls pulse and squeeze me as I rest inside her, enjoying the feel of her orgasm around me. I turn her chin so our lips can meet in a languorous kiss as she loses herself in the warm pool of ecstasy.
When she pulls away from my lips, she whispers, “I love you” and it fills me with absolute joy. As my hips begin moving again, Sookie continues whispering “I love you”. Her words roll through me like a warm wave, making me feel cocooned by my personal sun, my Sookie. When her second orgasm crests, my fangs slip gently in the juncture of her neck and shoulder. Her sweet wine makes me moan in pleasure and my orgasm shoots out of me in slow, long spurts that coat the inside of Sookie’s womb. As I fill her with my seed, part of me is saddened that her body will never grow and expand with my child. My hand spreads over her stomach, wishing with every fiber of my being that I could give her a child: beautiful blond angels that would play and grown in the sun. Little girls that would be as sweet and kind as their mother while the boys would have her warrior’s spirit.
My fangs slip out from her skin and I seal the wounds with my saliva. Before I can prick my tongue to completely heal the wounds, a tear drop trickles down my face to slide over the wounds. I watch in fascination as her skin stitches itself back together before licking the excess away. I try to pull the hand on her stomach back so I can wipe my face but Sookie has her hand over mine so I won’t move.
“Tell me what’s wrong,” she demands quietly.
“I don’t deserve you,” I say quietly. She murmurs in protest, but I continue. “Your life will always be in danger because of me. Look at the situation we find ourselves in now; it’s dangerous and I hate that I feel I won’t be able to protect you completely. What if something goes wrong? I couldn’t bear it if I watched your light be snuffed out,” I say reminiscent of the dejected feeling I had when I tried to walk away from her when I had amnesia.
Sookie shifts on the bed so she is now facing me. She traces the features of my face lovingly though her brow is furrowed. “Eric this situation is not one of your making. And as for always being in danger, that’s kinda the norm for my life since Hadley told the Queen about what I am. I’d rather have someone strong stand by my side, and not face everything alone. As for tonight, we don’t know how it will turn out. Ideally, Bill and Sarah will die and everyone we care about will come through without a scratch. Do I think that’s gonna happen? No, but I hope for it,” she says quietly.
She grips my chin so her brown eyes stare into mine. “I love you,” she says emphatically. “Even if we were both human we would face adversity. It would just be a little less life and death,” she tries to joke.
“But if I was human, I could give you children,” I say morosely.
“Yes, you could,” she admits after a tense moment and my eyes close in pain as I feel something stabbing through my heart.
“But I’ve never wanted children,” she admits as if it is a deep, dark secret. “Why would I want to pass something on that I’ve always viewed as a disability?” My lips open in protest, but she covers them so I won’t speak. “I don’t look at it that way now, but it is still something that would endanger a child. There is no way I can guarantee a child of mine won’t have this. And if my children didn’t, what about their children? Or their children’s children? Niall is already trying to find Hadley’s son because he’s like me. I never want to put a child of mine through this,” she admits softly. I know she means everything she is saying, but it still doesn’t change the fact I wish I could give this to her if it is something she does decide she wants. We lie in silence, holding each other as we get lost in our own thoughts.
After a time, Sookie leans forward to kiss my lips before rolling out of bed. Her hair swings around her plump ass as she sashays towards the bathroom which is connected to our bedroom. She turns her head to look at me over her shoulder and winks flirtaceously. “Are you gonna wash my back? We have a meeting to get ready for.” Sookie’s laughter reverberates through the rooms as I scoop her up in my arms. As requested I wash her back . . . among other things.
Once the sun has set, everyone gathers in a large conference room. Isabel’s eyes show the remnants of her tearful reunion with Godric. Quinn too looks very emotional after seeing Godric in the flesh. It is very surreal to see him standing in the city where I lost him.
With Godric in the room, everyone defers to him to be the leader of our meeting. “As you are all aware, Pamela and Jason Stackhouse have been taken by Bill Compton and his newest progeny, Sarah Newlin.” Growls and hisses erupt around the room at hearing the name of that murderous bitch. She is the perfect progeny for Compton; she is as delusional and self-righteous as him. They are a match made in hell.
“Quinn, tell us what your team has found out,” Godric says raising his hand to show that Quinn has the floor.
“The compound has multiple buildings, all with multiple entrances spread over about twenty acres.” Quinn presses a button to show us an aerial map of the compound. “Based on today’s reconnaissance, we only detected one human through the use of thermal imaging. That was here,” Quinn says highlighting a building with a laser pointer. “The heat signature identifying a human came from inside the barracks. There were no other signs of humans or Weres on the property. Thermal imaging also showed us there are three vampires in a subterranean level. We have confirmed the identities of Sarah Newlin and Jason Stackhouse. We have been unable to confirm if the remaining vampires are indeed Bill Compton and Pamela Swynford de Beaufort.”
“Are we sure only three vampires were detected? Is it possible they have more allies?” The questions come from Isabel who stands beside Godric staring intently at the aerial maps of the compound.
“Who would possibly side with Sarah Newlin? Especially now that she’s a vampire,” Willa scoffs. The face of my youngest progeny shows her disdain for the woman who tried to become her step-mother.
“I know of no vampires that would aid Bill,” I say shortly. “His profession as procurer and his incompetence as king did not have supporters lining up,” I say sarcastically.
“What of Hep V vampires? Bill was using them in Bon Temps,” Sookie points out.
“Thanks to the cure from Sky Pharmaceuticals, every infected vampire in Area Nine has been cured,” Isabel says with a worshipful look to Godric. “Quinn and I have worked closely together to keep the spread of this disease contained.” According to Sookie, that’s not all they’ve worked together to do. And the smell of sex that clings to both of their bodies supports her theory.
“Maybe he’s brought in vampires from other areas,” Sookie offers.
“What about her sister?” Willa’s question is out of the blue and all of us look at her like she has grown a second head.
“Her sister was killed by a vampire. That’s what set Sarah on the path to the Fellowship of the Sun,” Isabel says.
Willa shakes her head emphatically. “That’s what she wanted everyone to believe. It wouldn’t do for one of the leaders of the Fellowship of the Sun to have a vampire sister. I overheard Sarah on the phone one time with her sister. Sarah was paying her sister to keep quiet about being a vampire. She didn’t want it getting out that one of the leaders of the God’s crusade against vampires had a vampire sister living in Dallas,” Willa says with a sneer as if recalling the conversation verbatim.
Isabel demands, “Who is her sister?”
“Amber. I never knew her last name,” Willa offers.
“The only Amber I knew of left the area six weeks ago after her maker died from Hep V. She said she was moving to the West Coast. I let her go because she didn’t show any signs of the virus,” Isabel explains to the room.
“You did the right thing Isabel,” Godric reassures her. “Based on the timing, I would say Amber left the area right around the time Sarah was turned. It could be that Compton contacted her because he needed someone to watch the younger vampire when he could not.”
“So where’s here sister now?” My youngest child asks the question that is on everyone’s mind.