I went to rest with Sookie’s smell clinging to me, yet when I rose this night, there was nothing but the smell of Shifter in her house. And not just the shifter she works for, or the Weres we met last night. No, there was something other blended in. My instincts rose quickly, and I was out of my resting place in a flash. I moved around the house quickly, making sure nothing had been disturbed. When I was satisfied the house was secure, and there were no signs of a struggle, I went in search of my lover.
I found her asleep in her bed, curled in a ball on her side. So small, my lover is. I watched the rise and fall of her chest, and let myself get nearly hypnotized by the steady beat of her heart. Her warmth called to me, as did my curiosity to know where she had been all day, and whom she had spent the day with. I got into bed beside her and sniffed.
I tried to decipher the various scents that clung to her, desperate to find her scent somewhere in the mix. I found it, of course, in the very crook of her neck, and inhaled deeply. There was a skip in her heartbeat, and then her eyes were wide open, staring up at me in confusion. She rolled onto her back as I questioned her, and I had to fight the urge to rest my head against the pillows that were her breasts.
Her defenses rose, though I’m not sure why. Was it so wrong to want to know where she was, and who she was with? We were in a dangerous situation. Mixing with other supernaturals wasn’t the way to keep herself out of danger. But then she explained that she had been out searching for her brother, and her annoyance with my questions was replaced with a deep worry and more sadness than she should ever feel.
I pulled her tight against my chest, hoping the contact would calm her as much as it calmed me. Having her so close was soothing. It made the rest of the world slow down, if only for a little while. It felt almost like nothing could touch us when we were still like we were. Yet, she continued to talk about her brother, and asked if I meant it when I told her I was sorry he was missing.
The truth of the matter is, I have mixed feelings about her brother. While it might be seen as a smart thing to negotiate some sort of payment for Sookie’s agreement to keep me until the spell is broken, it could also be construed as greedy. I saw the dollar signs flashing in his eyes while he spoke with Chow. He was essentially putting a price on his sister’s head, although I doubt he saw it that way. He saw it as earning her easy money, which made me wonder if he understood just how dangerous all of this really was. I didn’t even fully understand it.
I wanted to care because it was important to Sookie, but my instincts told me she would be better off without him. He wasn’t going out of his way to protect or, or make sure she was taken care of. If anything he seemed to be anxious to find a way to cash in on her value, and in my eyes, that doesn’t make him an honorable man. Still, he is Sookie’s brother, and it’s obvious to me she will not be at peace until she has found him. Dead or alive.
I confessed I wanted her to think well of me, mostly because I wanted to continue to have sex with her. I felt her amusement and irritation at my confession, but I couldn’t lie to her. She asked if I would listen because she needed to talk. How does she not know I want to hear everything she has to say? When I told her I would listen, she assumed, wrongfully so, it was only because I wanted to have sex with her again. While I most certainly did want to have sex with her again, and very soon, my desire to hear her had more to do with wanting to know her. I wanted to be a part of her world in every way she would let me. I didn’t have to just be in her bedroom.
My confession to having feelings for her seemed to startle her, but not so she was disappointed. What was even more surprising was her admission that she had feelings for me as well. She wouldn’t classify it as love, but she forgot I could feel her blood. If it wasn’t love, it was something very close to it. I knew the feeling, because it was very close to what I was feeling myself.
All through this short conversation, trying to sort out our feelings for one another and give them a name, we were quickly removing Sookie’s clothes. I felt chaos in her blood. It was like she was spinning out of control, and by the time all of her clothes were gone, I had to have her. I could think of a million different ways I wanted to take her, but there wasn’t time. She ended up on top of me with one leg on either side of my shoulders.
I want to put her taste into words, but I don’t know what they are. Honey is too generic. Nectar doesn’t do her justice. More than that, I want to remember it. I want the ability to recall it anytime I choose, no matter where I end up. If what we have right this moment can’t last forever, I want it seared into my memory. I used every trick I’d learned in the last two days to make her gasp, moan and grind against me.
Her mouth did amazing things I didn’t know she was capable of doing. I watched her lips slide up and down, and felt my eyes roll a little when she took me down her throat. I wanted to tease her, draw it all out, but there was too much frenzy in her blood. Her lust overwhelmed me, and it was twinged with longing and sadness. It almost felt like she was saying goodbye to me.
The thought of leaving her rimmed my eyes with tears, but I wouldn’t let them spill. Would it be so wrong for me to stay right where I was? I could love her. I could give her everything she ever wanted. We could be together. I knew this. I felt it in my bones. I pushed those feelings away, and concentrated on the task at hand, which was making sure if this was the last time we were together, she would have something wonderful to remember me by.
The vibrations in her throat when she screamed added another layer of pleasure, on top of all the stimulation from her hands, lips and tongue. I was on the edge of losing myself, and wanted her to go over the edge with me. I turned my head to the side and bit her thigh, which had her core tightening around my fingers. Her muffled screams sent my hips thrusting up, and my release shooting down her throat. She moaned while she swallowed, and I lapped alternately at her thigh and her center until I was sure she was cleaned up.
She snuggled into my side for a while. I stroked her back while her fingers lightly tickled my chest. I could have stayed just that way with her forever. We were happy. But then her mood changed like the gradual build of a thunderstorm ready to break the sky wide open. Dark storm clouds gathered in her veins and the sunshine of her happiness disappeared. She told me we had to get going. Pam was expecting us and we were already late. We were going to war.
My instincts screamed that she should stay behind, right where she was to wait for me. I wanted her to be there waiting for me to celebrate the spoils of war, but no, my Sookie wouldn’t stay put. She explained she had to come along. I didn’t know where I was going, after all, and this had become just as much her fight as it was my own. She didn’t tell me what purpose we would serve, but I assumed I would fight just like the others. I worried for her. I didn’t give much thought to my own mortality, until it dawned on me that I would die to protect her. I would give my life to save hers. Maybe, just maybe, I do love her after all.
We reluctantly got out of bed and went to the bathroom to wash up. She picked up her hairbrush, and surprised me when it was my hair she began to work the tangles from. I moved to the toilet and sat down so she could reach it all. There was sadness in her smile as she brushed. She put a braid in my hair at the side of my head, explaining she had seen it in a few books about the people I had come from. I had no recollection of whether or not she was correct, but I appreciated the gesture.
We got dressed and headed to Pam’s. I felt her hesitation and the turmoil of her emotions, almost as if she was debating whether or not to stay the course. I reminded her I’d checked her Word of the Day calendar. ‘Annihilate’ seemed like an omen. Whether it was good or bad remained to be seen. We arrived at Pam’s a short time later. Judging by the number of cars already parked in front of the house and in the driveway, we were definitely late.
Sookie moved to go inside, but I grabbed her hand and pulled her back to me. It was my last chance to kiss her, quite possibly, and I was going to let the opportunity slip through my fingers. I heard the skip in her heartbeat and felt the sadness flood in her veins. There was a part of me that was thrilled to know she didn’t want to leave me any more than I wanted to leave her. I had one last chance to convince her not to go inside. I used it well, I think.
“We could go 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 had to ignore the quaking of her bottom lip. I didn’t want her to cry. “I could work. You would not be poor. I would help you.”
She gave me a tearful smile and said, “Sounds like a marriage.”
The shaking of her voice put a pain in my chest. I nodded, realizing I meant precisely what she suggested I was proposing. I wanted to hear her say it was what she wanted. We could go back and forget the rest of them existed. I would be hers. She would be mine. We would be happy.
But that’s not what happened. Her heart sank while she lost herself in thought. She mumbled something about being an idiot as she got out of the car. We walked into the house together. I wanted to hold her hand, but I didn’t. I was immediately overcome with all the various smells in the house. I smelled many vampires, along with the Werewolves and then there were a few humans. I was intrigued to learn witches didn’t have a smell to them unless they were using magic, but that was something I didn’t learn until later.
It was obvious Pam was running the show. I felt a sense of pride in knowing I was at least a little bit responsible for the kind of leader she was. I took in the faces of those surrounding us. My eyes briefly settled on the Werebitch who had insulted Sookie, and then I found the one who had been coming into Merlotte’s just as we were escorted out. I felt Sookie’s vindictiveness and realized she was staring right at Debbie Pelt. My fangs popped and I felt the urge to kill, but I kept myself in check. I was ready to do battle, even if Sookie wasn’t nearly as excited about it as I was.
When Pam revealed that Sookie would be the first to go in, I was prepared to speak up on her behalf, but a Were called Alcide beat me to it. He didn’t seem any more thrilled with Pam’s plan of attack than I was, at that moment. I grabbed Sookie’s hand and squeezed. She didn’t turn to me like I’d hoped she would. Instead, she focused on Pam’s explanation. Since Sookie was both human and a telepath, she wouldn’t be as easy for the witches to detect. She would also be able to count brains so we would know how many were inside.
Once Sookie invited us inside, it would be a bloodbath. We would kill everyone. I learned then that Clancy, a vampire in my retinue, was more than likely dead. The clothing he had been wearing when he was taken had been returned to Fangtasia. I didn’t know how old Clancy was, but I assumed being able to capture him at all was quite the accomplishment. If he was dead that meant there was still a chance they could get me, too.
Bubba offered to go along with Sookie so she would have some sort of protection. I wanted to be the one to go, but I understood why I couldn’t. Bubba asked after Bill. Did anyone really care where Bill was? From all I could tell, he was an inferior vampire. No sooner did Sookie explain Bill was in Peru, than Bill stepped forward. He was back. My fangs throbbed in anger, and my grip on Sookie’s hand tightened again to keep myself from charging at Bill.
A ridiculous back and forth began that was nearly impossible for me to keep up with. I learned, as did everyone else in the room, that Debbie had taken part in Bill’s torture while he was being held captive in Jackson. She’d known what was happening to him and she did nothing to help him. To add insult to injury, she was the one responsible for Sookie being assaulted in the trunk of the car. I wasn’t sure who I wanted to kill more at that moment, but I was sure I was fast enough I could kill both Bill and Debbie before anyone had time to react.
There was a bit of a commotion when Alcide abjured Debbie in front of everyone. Her shock and devastation was wasted, since Alcide quickly began to look right through her. The meeting returned to order, and Pam recapped the plan. Sookie would go with Bubba to scout the building and collect all the useful intelligence she could about who was inside, and what they were doing. Bubba would relay the information to Pam, who would then contact Colonel Flood to keep him informed.
We would converge on the building all at once. Sookie would go in, invite us inside, and then the fighting would begin. Sookie would return to the cars, where she would be safest, while the rest of us fought. We were told it was in my best interest to make sure Mark wasn’t killed, since he was the best chance at breaking the curse on me. Hallow, on the other hand, was too dangerous to go on living. The Viking in me wanted that particular kill as retribution for what she’d done to me, but the rage I felt from Pam at the mere mention of the Witch’s name made me think Pam had earned the kill. Part of me hoped Hallow would be killed without Mark knowing what spell she’d used, if only so I could stay with Sookie.
Debbie decided she’d had enough and wanted to go home, but it wasn’t to be. Since had already admitted to having weak character, she was left in Bill’s charge. If she got out of line, she wouldn’t live to see the sun rise. I can’t say I wasn’t hoping she would make a wrong move. Travel arrangements were made and after a little more discussion we headed out.
I asked after Sookie’s brother, since it seemed strange he had yet to hear anything about his location. It dawned on me, rather suddenly, that perhaps Pam was responsible for his disappearance. It would explain why she seemed to be dragging her feet in finding him. She swore up and down she had nothing to do with the abduction, though she wished she would have thought of it. I knew by her blood she was being truthful. She was eager to fight and get everything settled back to the way it was before.
I wished I shared her sentiment. It took all the will I had not to scoop Sookie off and fly away. Even though we were headed into battle, and there was a distinct possibility all of us might die, Sookie was concerned about Belinda. It took me a moment to remember who she was, as it did Pam and Chow. I insisted that if I died, Sookie be paid for her services. I had no intention of dying, but I wanted it said for the record. Pam assured me it would be done.
Pam and Chow went off to finalize the travel plans and get everyone in order so we could head out. Bill stepped forward and a rather dull conversation about his trip to Peru began. I scrutinized him in attempts to find anything remotely appealing about him. Aside from his southern accent, I failed to see what Sookie must have seen in him for so long. I couldn’t see what was worth dying for, where this particular vampire was concerned.
Of course, Bill attempted to return my stare, but I don’t think he could have intimidated a hamster, much less a vampire centuries older and definitely bigger than him. From what Sookie explained to me, I could have been much smaller and my age would have been enough for me to win a fight against Bill. He passed judgment on us both, commenting on how he had been reluctant to believe my memory was failing me. He thought it was all a clever- and very elaborate- ruse to get into Sookie’s bed.
Much like my child a few minutes before, it was a plan I wish I had considered. It would border on evil, but it would be much more convenient. I wasn’t really offended by Bill’s insult to my character, since it seemed like something I might actually consider doing. I did, however, wonder what made him think it was appropriate for him to address his superior in such a fashion. Most importantly, I was livid at him for suggesting Sookie was too stupid to be able to tell what was going on around her. He was supposedly in love with her once, and yet, he could dishonor her in such a fashion. He deserved to lose her.
Before I could lose myself and rip his throat out right there in Pam’s living room, I decided it was time to head out. Sookie’s embarrassment over Bill’s suggestion stung in my own veins. Maybe when I was done killing Hallow, I would take Bill out next. It was to Bill’s advantage that he found another ride. Being trapped in Sookie’s crappy car with Bubba was bad enough. He sat in the backseat humming what sounded like a love song.
I began to wonder if Bill’s remarks had gotten to Sookie. Her emotions were so snarled and tangled together it was hard to pick them out individually. I asked if she would still see me once it was all over, and things were returned to normal. She said she would, and the conviction in her voice matched the feelings in her blood. I settled some, and focused my mind on the fight ahead.
We arrived at our designated location. She parked her car and we piled out. It was a quiet neighborhood with a strange smell to it. The lawns weren’t maintained and beat up old cars in worse condition than Sookie’s littered the streets. Half of the homes appeared to either be abandoned, or up for sale. The rest of the homes were closed up with just the flickering lights of televisions on in the living rooms. I wondered if there were other Erics and Sookies in those houses, curled up on their couches and enjoying whatever mindless program was on. I found myself jealous of those clueless humans.
We walked down the street, the three of us together. When we got to the corner, Sookie was to go one way, and I another. But before she could break away from me, I grabbed onto her and kissed her. If it was the last kiss I got to give in my very long life, I wanted it to go to her. I felt passion ignite her, but it was quickly tamped down by anxiety and that familiar sadness. I would have stood there holding her longer if it weren’t for Bubba commenting on how Sookie wasn’t supposed to be kissing on anyone else because even though Bill had said it was okay (like I needed Bill’s permission to do anything), Bubba didn’t like it. I wasn’t too worried about hurting Bubba’s feelings either.
“I’ll see you later, my lover,” I whispered to her and grazed my lips against her forehead.
She touched my cheek in such a gentle gesture, and yet, it felt like a hug. “Later,” she promised, and then headed off to do her part.
I found the vampires waiting for me. Pam had them organized into squadrons, based on age and abilities. I was surprised to learn I wasn’t the only vampire with the ability to fly. I would stay with Pam, since she was my child, and she felt duty bound to ensure I survived the fight. She handed me a broadsword that fit my hand perfectly.
“It’s yours, Eric,” she gave me a wink, then stood back so I could take a few practice swings.
The lust for battle rose in us both, and it was obvious everyone was ready for a fight. Bloodlust. Sookie had mentioned it in passing, mostly after I questioned her about my reaction to the fairy. She’d explained how it had been after I’d seen her covered in Long Shadow’s blood, how I’d come at her with a predatory stare and an obvious hunger in my eyes. She’d done the right thing in calling in Ginger to act as her stand-in, since I was quite sure I would have fucked her quite mercilessly and nearly drained her in the process.
It seemed to take forever for Bubba to return with the information we needed in order to take our positions outside the building. I took to the sky and flew overhead with the others, following my squad from the sky. I looked down to try and find Sookie, but couldn’t see her anywhere. The stench in the air was beyond disgusting. I wondered if humans could smell it as well as I could. One minute I was searching the surrounding area for Sookie, trying to spot her position in the whole thing, and the next thing I knew, the battle had begun.
Everything from that point on is a bit of a haze for me, it all happened so quickly. Some of the witches tried to escape from the building, and it was the job of the fliers to make sure they didn’t get away alive. A few of them surrendered, but chasing was much more fun. For the first time since my memory had been taken from me, I got the chance to be the vampire I had been for centuries. I chased, hunted, drank and killed.
What stopped me was Sookie’s blood buzzing in mine. She was in trouble. I stopped chasing the witch I was following, and headed back to the building. A thick white smoke filled the place. A fine mist was also falling. I assumed it all had to be the work of the witches, everyone trying to counteract the magic of the others. There was blood everywhere. Wounded and dead bodies were sprawled out on the floor. Vampires were attacking wolves and humans alike. It was complete and utter chaos.
I tried to sniff out Sookie’s scent, but the smells of smoke and blood were just too strong. I engaged in a rather vicious battle with two wolves before I heard Pam’s screech. I moved toward the sound, stabbing a wolf that lunged at me in the process. The wolf became a human on the end of my sword, and quickly dropped to the floor in a heap when I yanked my sword back. I watched as Sookie stabbed the man attacking Pam, who was pinning Hallow to the ground.
And then, as if by magic, all the fighting stopped. The smoke that had filled the room dispersed. Groans and wails of injured Weres, witches and vampires filled the room. The witches were quickly dispatched by the injured vampires in the room. It wasn’t until I found Chow’s mangled body that I realized I’d been cut at some point. There was a gash in my arm, but it was already healing. I looked over my shoulder to see Hallow gnashing her teeth at Pam, trying to wriggle her way free.
“Stay down, bitch,” Pam ordered in an authoritative voice that would have made a human shudder.
One of the fliers from outside came in with twine to bind Hallow. We searched for Mark, but he was nowhere to be found. We would have to let Hallow live until Mark was found, or the spell was broken. Pam was already taunting the Werebitch, talking about all of the tortures she planned to employ to get Hallow to talk. Hallow’s eyes were steely, but I could smell her fear. The vampire in me wanted to stick around and have a little fun with her myself. First I needed to see to Sookie. If she was injured, I would heal her.
Only when I looked around, I realized she was gone. My lover was gone.