Willa and I arrive at Sookie’s home to find Alcide and Lafayette pacing worriedly on the porch.
“She’s been up in that bafroom for over an hour,” Lafayette tells us hurriedly. “I knows she was gettin’ sick after hearing everythin’ said on the phone. She’s been cryin’ and we can hear the water runnin’. We don’t know what to do.”
Shoving everything in Willa’s hands, I vamp up the stairs to where I know Sookie is. The only sound I can hear from the bathroom is the water from the shower. I know she won’t appreciate me busting down her door, so I take a lesson from Pam’s book and pick the old lock. Not wanting to frighten her, I call her name loudly as I open the door. She does not respond; she continues to scrub her skin with whatever is in her hands. I rip the clothes from my body in my haste to get in the shower with her. I pull the shower curtain back so I can join her, and the sight that greets my eyes is one I hope to never see again. My beautiful Sookie has scrubbed her skin raw, causing it to bleed in several spots. And she just keeps mumbling that she needs to get clean, that she feels dirty.
“Lover?” Even standing in front of her, Sookie does not notice me; she still scrubs harshly at her skin. I can’t stand to see her like this. I grab her hands with mine to halt her movements. Sookie screams in terror and tries to fight me off.
“Sookie, it’s me! Sookie stop!” I wrap my arms around her and hold her against me as she finally sags against my body, her sobs causing her tiny body to violently shake. I do not know what to do; I’ve never seen her like this and nothing in my vast experience has prepared me to deal with this.
When Sookie’s sobs stop, I pull her away from my body. She looks up at me with wide, child-like eyes; it breaks my dead heart to see her so vulnerable. “Sookie,” I say gently, “I need to heal your wounds. Will you let me do that?” At her nod of acceptance, I tear into my wrist to get the blood flowing quickly; I let my blood flow over the cuts on Sookie’s arms. My wound heals and I have to rip it open again several times to make sure I get all the wounds on her breasts, stomach, and thighs. Once all of her wounds are healed, I place her under the water again to rinse the blood from her body. She shivers under the cold spray but there is nothing I can do about the water temperature. Moving her away from the spray, I hurriedly rinse myself clean before shutting the water off. Sookie shivers helplessly at the end of the tub. I reach for a towel on the hook and begin to gently dry her body. I am afraid to use vamp speed to dry her for fear of startling her.
When we are both dry, I lift her in my arms and carry her to the bed. I sit her on the edge before reaching in her dresser for a pair of pajamas. Something tells me my lover needs to be comfortable and secure now, so I pull out a pair of drawstring pants and an oversized t-shirt. She moves when directed, but otherwise says and does nothing. Once I have her fully clothed, I grab the comb to work the tangles out of her hair then towel dry her hair until it is only slightly damp. Pulling the covers back on the bed, I pick her up again and slide her underneath and then cover her so the blankets rest underneath her chin. I then turn the lights off and pick up our towels so I clean up the mess I left in the bathroom.
“Eric?” Sookie’s voice sounds so small and timid in the darkness.
“Yes my love?”
“Will you hold me until I fall asleep?”
“Of course Lover,” I say in relief. She holds up the covers so I can scoot in behind her. I mold my body to hers so she feels safe. Sookie links her hand with mine and places it near her heart.
“I love you Eric.”
“I love you my Sookie.”
Her breathing eventually slows and Sookie drifts off to sleep. I try to pull away from her a few times, but she whimpers in protest. I do not want to leave her, but there are things I still need to do this evening.
“Willa,” I call quietly and my child appears in the doorway. “There are things I still need to do. Will you stay with Sookie for me? “
“Of course I will. Is she OK?” Willa’s concern for my mate pleases me greatly. I wish the relationship between Pam and Sookie was this easy. Perhaps in time it will get there.
“She needs to rest,” I say as I shift out of the bed, being careful not to disturb her.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Willa says turning around quickly when she sees I am completely naked. I cannot help but smile at my youngest child’s shyness; she will outgrow that with time.
“Would you mind asking Alcide if he has something I may borrow? I do not have anything to put on.” Willa vamps out of the room and is back before I have finished speaking. She hands me a pair of gray sweatpants and a white wifebeater. It will have to do for the time being. It’s better than the shorts and sleeveless hooded sweatshirt Sookie had me running around in before.
“Thank you,” I say as I hurriedly dress to relieve my child’s modesty. I am about to clean up the bathroom when Willa’s voice stops me.
“Leave it; I will take care of it while I watch over Sookie,” she offers kindly. “Jason and Godric are back with everything you asked for. I think Jason may have even added something extra to your order when Godric filled him in on everything Bill had planned for Sookie.” I nod in acknowledgement; Jason Stackhouse does manage to get things right on occasion. Nothing motivates him more than protecting his family; I’m interested to see what his contribution is to my scheduled bonfire.
“Eric,” Willa calls for me before I completely leave the room. “I’m so sorry. If I had known, I would have kept Bill away from Sookie.”
I silently cross over to my child and place a tender kiss on her forehead. She looks up at me happily; she is still young and needs the reassurance and guidance of her maker. Going forward, I will strive to be the type of maker I should have been from the beginning. “You make me proud to call you my progeny Willa Burrell. Thank you.”
Moving silently through the house, I make my way downstairs to find my maker, the wolf, the medium, and the human gathered in the living room. Alcide is the first to acknowledge my presence. “Is Sook OK?”
“She will be,” I offer.
“Are we gonna burn that fucker’s house to the ground?” Jason Stackhouse is pacing by the fireplace, not quite sure what to do with the nervous energy that is running through his body. For the most part, he is a bumbling buffoon. However, the devotion to his sister is absolute and I can understand his need to defend her honor.
“We will. Before we do that, I need to call Ludwig. I want her to look over Sookie and I need her to explain to me what the hell is going on with the Hep V in Bill’s body. How is he still alive if he was infected weeks ago?” I know the disease isn’t nearly as deadly as the dose that was given to Nora, but I haven’t heard of anyone surviving a month with this disease.
“I have already called Dr. Ludwig my child,” Godric says from his seat beside Lafayette. The two of them are sitting extremely close to one another and I can smell the lust coming from Lafayette. Godric does not seem to be anything other than his usual controlled self, but the flexing of his knuckles against the couch cushions lets me know he is not unaffected by the over-the-top man beside him. I still am not sure how I feel about this, but if I can accept my progeny with a Were, then I guess I can accept my maker with a witchy medium.
Pamela enters the house quickly with a large suitcase in her hand. “You smell like wet dog,” she says with an upturned nose. “Here; I figured you could use some more clothes. Between Sookie’s penchant for danger and the amount of fucking the two of you are going to do, I’m sure you will run out of clothes quickly.”
“Dude! That’s my sister,” Jason says in horror.
“Get over it,” Pam deadpans. “They fuck a lot.”
“Pam,” I warn her even though my lips twitch with humor knowing her statement is going to be very true as Sookie and I move forward in our life together.
“Oh please,” she says drolly. “His sister has probably had to hear every woman in this backwoods town think about fucking her brother. It’s only fair he be forced to think about all the ways you are going to bend her body while you fuck her for eternity.” Pam turns to an ashen faced Jason who stares at her in horror. “Honestly, Stackhouse, haven’t you given any thought to how many places in this house Eric’s fucked your sister? I’m going to say at least twice in every room.”
“Bitch please,” Lafayette says from his place on the couch. “I think that numbers a little low for the two of ‘em.”
“Don’t forget the woods,” Alcide says with a grin as Jason’s expression turns green. “I’ve seen them outside at least one time with my own eyes.”
“Herveaux, you’ve been holding out on me,” Pam says with a sparkle in her eye. “I want details.”
“Are y’all done talking about the sex life of the Viking and the Fairy?” Dr. Ludwig’s acerbic voice comes from the staircase as she hobbles her way in the living room. She’s dressed in her typical scrubs with her black bag in her hand. She pauses by my side, her expression softening slightly as she stares at me. “She’s sleeping peacefully Northman. It would probably do her good if the two of you shared blood again. But know if you do it, it will be the third exchange; there is no going back from that.”
“Tomorrow,” I tell the doctor. I will not complete our bond on the heels of Bill’s betrayal. That would be taking advantage of Sookie whether she knew it or not.
She nods her head briskly and resumes her usual indifferent mien. “What do you want to know about Compton’s condition?”
“If he’s been infected for weeks, how is he still among us?”
“In truth, I do not know. The blood work I was able to do on him was inconsistent. There were times when the virus was destroying his cells and then there were times were it seemed like the virus was healing the destroyed cells in his body,” Ludwig admits baffled as she sets her bag down. She pulls the glasses from her face and begins to clean them with the edge of her smock. “Compton theorized it was Miss Stackhouse’s blood that was working to heal him, but I found no evidence to support his claim. In fact, there are cases I know where Fae blood has accelerated the rate of decay experienced because of Hep V.”
“Is it possible it is because of other blood he has drunk?” He drank Lilith and Warlow; who knows if either one of their bloods was responsible for Bill’s inconsistent state.
“Anything is possible,” Ludwig says as she pops the glasses back on her face. “I would be interested to see how his body reacts to the vaccine if it were administered to him, but as I understand it from your maker,” she says with a respectful nod to Godric who returns the gesture, “that will not be happening.”
“I could be persuaded to give him the cure,” I say thoughtfully. “It would give me plenty of time to make sure that Bill has suffered sufficiently for all of his crimes.”
Sookie’s voice sounds forcefully from the bottom of the staircase. Everyone, me included, is surprised to see her out of bed. She looks so fragile standing there. Willa stands behind her looking helplessly at me.
“Lover, you shouldn’t be out of bed,” I say gently as I go to her side.
“I don’t want Bill to have the cure,” Sookie says adamantly. “I just want him dead for good. Please Eric, I need it for my peace of mind,” she says while looking at me beseechingly.
“Of course,” I say as I wrap her in my arms. Whatever she needs, I will be only too happy to give her. “You have my word that Compton’s True Death will be a swift one.”
“How do we know he isn’t dead already?” Jason’s question is a valid one.
“If he were truly dead, Jessica would have felt it,” Pam explains. “Given that he was able to control her after the Authority, they must have some type of bond still in place.”
“Even when a bond is severed, a child still knows when a maker dies,” I say softly with my eyes on Godric.
“So Jessica could be our best bet to find the sumbitch? So, let’s go get him!”
“It doesn’t work that way sweetheart,” Pam says sardonically to Jason. “If he’s blocking the bond, she’ll have no idea where he is. He could be standing right next to her and she wouldn’t be able to feel it in the bond.”
“Well that fuckin’ sucks!” Jason looks so dejected by Pam’s revelation about maker/child bonds. Sookie laughs, which is the sweetest sounding music to my ears now.
“Lover you should go back to bed. You’ve had a rough night.”
“Hell no,” Sookie says as she pulls out of my arms. “I’m goin’ with you to set that fucker’s house on fire!”
Is it any wonder why I love her?
I am more grateful to Eric than I will ever be able to express. Everything I’d learned about Bill reminded me of how violated I felt by everything my Uncle Bartlett did to me as a child. His actions and his thoughts had always made me feel dirty, and I would scrub myself raw trying to feel clean again. I’d never actually hurt myself though; tonight was a first. Eric was exactly what I needed tonight; he was the rock I clung to and I love him more for it.
But now it’s time for me to fight back and take control of the situation.
All of us have moved over to the Compton house; it’s a family affair for us to destroy this house. I know if Gran were here she would tan my hide for wanting to destroy something that is a piece of history. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t give a shit! The things Bill has done to all of us outweigh any historical value this house could have.
Alcide, Jason, and I work to spread gasoline and alcohol through the main part of the house while the vampires work to take care of the basement and the tunnels. I have been told to stay out of the tunnels. I had been ready to argue with my high-handed vampire but Godric politely stated that there were things down there that both my brother and I did not need to see. I’d glared at Eric who had glared at me in return. If he’d only explained it to me like his maker, I wouldn’t have tried to argue with him. But nooooooooooooo; he has to go all Viking vampire on me. When is he going to learn that shit doesn’t work with me?
The three of us work quickly and use up every last bit of gasoline and alcohol Jason and Godric and managed to procure, save for one bottle. Alcide pours the last of the gasoline down the stairs to the entrance of the home. We wait outside for the vampires to return.
Alcide’s head turns to the side and he starts sniffing. “It smells and sounds like they’ve gotten the party started.”
It makes me nervous to know they have started the fire in the tunnels. What if they don’t make it out in time? What if something goes wrong? I am a nervous wreck until I see all of our vampires come out of the house. None of them look the worse for wear, though I do see some black soot on their hands and faces.
I run to Eric’s side. “Are y’all OK? Did you have any problems?”
Eric smiles reassuringly at me as he plays with my hair. “Everything went off without a hitch Lover. I had to make sure one room in particular burned.”
Alcide wraps his arm around Willa’s shoulders as they begin walking away from the house. Pam pulls Jason by his jacket so he’ll get a safe distance away. Godric also vamps towards the path leading to the cemetery. Eric and I are left standing in front of the house. I hand him the bottle of vodka I’d save for the end. “Would you like to do the honors?”
Eric unscrews the cap from the bottle and shoves a scrap of fabric into the opening, soaking the bottom of the fabric in the liquid while leaving half out for us to light. He pulls a silver Zippo lighter out of his pants pocket. Before he lights the bottle, he hands it back to me. “You should be the one to light it on fire Sookie. I destroyed what I wanted to; I think you need to do this.” At my nod, he flicks his lighter and puts the flame to the end of the fabric. I wait until the fabric has caught before I throw the bottle against the staircase. Eric then vamps us over to where everyone else is standing. We watch in silence as we see the flames catch through the windows and open doorway. The interior of the house catches quickly. I feel an intense sense of satisfaction at seeing the burning light. It’s cathartic; I’m exorcising Bill Compton from my life once and for all.