The second Eric and Sookie walked into Bill’s house, everything stopped. Just a single unnecessary breath from the vampires in the room told them all what they needed to know. Sookie’s scent was noticeably different, melded with Eric’s. Jessica looked shocked. Pam’s expression was changed only by the lift of her right eyebrow. Bill, on the other hand, looked downright disgusted. He sniffed the air like he smelled something foul and when he realized what it was he was smelling; his fangs came barreling out of his mouth.
“You’re late,” he glared at Eric.
“It’s my fault,” Sookie spoke up. “It took me forever to find these pants.”
“You aren’t supposed to be here,” Bill tore his eyes from Eric to glare at Sookie.
“Bill, if you think I’m going to let you kill my friend, you obviously don’t know me as well as you think you do. You can either find a way to use me in all this, or you can meet me in Shreveport.” Sookie stood her ground with Eric standing just as firm at her back.
“Don’t tell me you endorse this nonsense,” Bill looked to Eric.
“Sookie could be quite useful in this situation, don’t you think? She can hear the witch and sense where all the humans are located. She also seems to have the ability to lift spells, which might come in handy. And it isn’t for me to say if she should be allowed to fight. It’s her decision and her decision alone,” Eric stared right at Bill, who looked like he was ready to spit tacks.
“If she dies, her blood is on your hands,” Bill snarled and then moved on to his office with Jessica following right behind him.
Eric caught Pam’s eyes and the look she gave him was one Sookie wouldn’t know, but he did all too well. Pam was somewhere between amused and horrified by the change that had taken place. She had expected Eric to return the night before after Sookie played another round of ‘the indecisive waif;’ his heart broken and ready for war. Pam had considered going to see her maker but held back. Now she was angry with him for ditching her for a human.
There was a lot for them to get caught up on but it was going to have to wait until after the battle was over. The house was full of tension that had everyone wound tightly. Sookie walked around the living room, taking in all the changes that had been made since the last time she was an invited guest in Bill’s home. Being the king certainly seemed to agree with his sense of style, which was so very different from the Bill she had been in love with. She never would have pegged him to be such a color coordinated, antebellum loving, frou-frou type but every pillow on the couch had tassels and expensive chandeliers hung in every room of the house she’d seen so far.
She missed the splashes of color that used to be in his house before he painted everything in shades of brown, cream, gray and black. It was so somber and impersonal. The house no longer felt like his home, but a domicile. Even the paintings, that were more than likely originals, were gone. It was a shame that he’d turned his back on his roots, in so many ways, to give off the appearance of wealth and taste.
Sookie turned to Eric, who had parked himself on the sofa across from the one Pam was sitting on. The two of them were staring at each other but not speaking or moving a muscle. They weren’t even blinking, for crying out loud! She tried to think of something to say to get Eric and Pam talking but figured it was probably best she stay out of it. But then Pam broke the ice all on her own, and in true Pam fashion.
“Sookie, while I appreciate you putting Eric back to rights, I feel I should inform you that I have every intention of tearing your friend’s throat out before the night is over,” Pam warned.
“Pam!” Eric barked in warning.
“That cunt got me cursed,” Pam hissed in Eric’s direction.
Before Sookie could get a word in edgewise, Eric and Pam were arguing feverishly in a language she didn’t understand, but sounded like it was some kind of Asian language. Sookie’s eyes moved back and forth from one vampire to the other like she was watching a tennis tournament. The argument came to a ceasefire when Eric barked in English.
“Because I am your maker and I command you,” Eric’s eyes blazed and Pam folded her arms over her chest like a petulant child.
“Þetta er kjaftæði.” Pam muttered, her fangs ready to follow up on the threat she’d made against Tara.
“Do y’all want me to leave you be for a minute? I can wait out in the entryway,” Sookie offered.
“There is no need. The argument if finished.” Eric said calmly, forgetting that Sookie could feel the seething rage inside him.
“Þú velur hana yfir mig.” Pam spat, anger burning her eyes the same as it was Eric’s.
“Enough, Pamela,” Eric’s tone was one of warning.
No one in that living room ever thought they would be happy to see Bill again, but they were. “It’s time,” he said and then turned to the front door to leave.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
The ride to the emporium was a short one and Eric drove like a maniac. Whether that was the way he always drived or just because he was so on edge, Sookie didn’t know. When they van came to a screeching halt across the street, she was hit by the immediate instinct to turn around and leave. She dropped her shields to see what she could pick up from the buildings that surrounded them and she gasped when she realized it was completely silent, except for all the chattering minds in the magic shop.
“The town is empty,” Sookie said quietly. “Everyone is gone except for the people in the magic shop.”
“How many inside?” Bill asked her.
Sookie tried to count the voices but since they were all kind of muddled and mingling together, it was hard to say. But she could pick out at least two familiar voices. They belonged to Lafayette and Tara. Shit. Both of them were inside? What the hell was Lafayette doing in there?
“I think about a dozen,” Sookie concentrated, trying to hear distinguish them all. “Tara and Lafayette are in there.”
Pam lifted that right eyebrow again. “Good,” she purred and there was another spike in Eric’s frustration.
“Oh will you two stop it? We have enough to worry about right now without you two being at war with each other too, so can you please just put whatever it is aside that’s eating at you? Thanks ever so,” Sookie shook her head at both Eric and Pam.
Eric was the first one out of the van and he went around back to open the doors to let the girls out. Jessica was out first and stood at Bill’s side. Sookie stood between the two camps of vampires, trying to find a way to bridge the divide but everywhere she looked there was an unhappy face. Even when she looked at Eric, all traces of the happy vampire he’d been when they left her house just two hours prior were gone.
“Is this how it’s gonna be all night, everyone staring each other down? We don’t have time for this. We all need to be on the same side and stay that way or we’re all gonna get killed.” Sookie couldn’t believe she was the voice of reason in all this. And she was the one they were all worried about having tag along!
“I’ll get the guns,” Bill said quietly and with Jessica’s help, he began to pull some pretty heavily artillery from under the bench seats in the back of the van.
“We’ll go scout,” Eric offered and grabbed Pam’s arm.
“What do you need me to do?” Sookie asked, staring from Eric to Bill.
“Don’t get killed,” Pam smirked even when Eric hissed at her.
Sookie hung back, watching closely while Bill explained to Jessica how the various weapons worked. She had no idea Bill was so well trained when it came to guns and the like. Obviously he could fire a gun, having been in the Civil War and around for nearly a century and a half after that. It seemed there was a great deal about Bill she didn’t know and she was pretty sure he never would have shared it with her.
Bill pulled a pretty serious looking high powered rifle from the back of the van and held it out in Sookie’s direction. “Ever used one of these?” he asked her.
“No,” she shook her head. “I’m more of a shotgun kind of girl.”
“I’ll show her,” Jessica volunteered and walked over to show Sookie what to do.
The two of them moved a few paces away from the van and they didn’t get very far before Jessica said, “So I guess you’re with Eric now.”
“Yeah, I am,” Sookie said quietly. She didn’t really want to talk about it right then.
“Bill loves you,” Jessica said with a frustrated shake of her head.
“Like Hoyt loves you but that didn’t stop you from sleepin’ with my brother, did it?” Sookie said before she could stop herself. Jessica looked like she’d just been slapped. “I’m not going to tell him, if that’s what you’re worried about. It’s not any of my business. Just like it’s not really any of your business what’s going on with me and Bill. You didn’t like me poking around in your relationship with Hoyt and I would appreciate it if you showed me the same courtesy.”
“I didn’t mean to offend you, Sookie, I was just making an observation,” Jessica said a little while later.
“It’s all complicated and there’s a lot you don’t know. Just trust me when I tell you that it’s for the best that Bill and I aren’t together anymore. It wasn’t a healthy situation for either of us,” Sookie said and then changed the subject.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
“You’re bonded to Sookie now,” Pam said as she and Eric walked along the perimeter of magic that surrounded the Moon Goddess Emporium. Eric said nothing so Pam continued. “This isn’t you, Eric. You don’t tie yourself down and you definitely don’t tie yourself down to a human.”
“Sookie isn’t just any human,” Eric said as they walked.
“Yes, I remember when you almost burned to death because of her,” Pam deadpanned and Eric stopped walking.
“This is not up for argument or debate, Pam. It’s done.” Eric stared at her and Pam moved so they were standing face to face.
“We have been together since the night you turned me. Do you remember what you said to me when Bill took you as his prisoner, Eric? You told me you weren’t the vampire I knew. You denied everything I know about you, everything you have been for the last millennium and you did it for a human! You are everything to me, Eric. I don’t exist without you, do you understand that?” Pam spoke with red-rimmed eyes.
“I’m not going anywhere, Pam. I didn’t know what I was saying then and I do remember what I said to you. I remember everything about the time I was cursed. I can feel your guilt and it’s a waste of your time. I’m not angry with you for telling Bill where I was. You did the best you could for me under the circumstances. You made an arrangement to keep me safe with someone you knew I could trust. My mistake was letting Sookie remain in a house that any vampire could walk into at any time without an invitation or a way to expel them.” Eric said and made a promise to himself that he would make arrangements to have the deed transferred back to Sookie the next day, assuming they all survived.
“You love her, don’t you?” Pam asked, hands propped on her hips. She didn’t need to hear Eric say it in order to know it was true. “Christ, Eric, this is a fucking disaster.”
Eric hissed again and glared right at Pam when he said, “She has proven that she is someone we can trust. She can’t be glamoured and she chose to bond to me. She came to me willingly and with a clear conscience.”
“And what about next week when she decides she loves that sniveling weasel we call a king? When she breaks your heart, then what? I’m sure she tastes fantastic but is that worth your life? Does her cunt do magic, too?” Pam asked and Eric punched a parking meter in response.
“Enough!” he roared and it was loud enough for Sookie to hear it because he felt her jump in his blood. “This jealousy of yours ends here. She is not a threat to you. Do not make this about choosing sides, Pam.”
“This isn’t about sides, Eric, this is about whether or not you’re thinking clearly. Ever since the trip to Dallas, you’ve been different. Is it because of Godric, because of Sookie? You don’t talk to me like you once did,” Pam said sadly, her head hanging and her bloody tears finally making tracks down her cheeks.
Eric lifted Pam’s chin and looked into her eyes. “She can’t replace you, Pam. You were the first great choice I ever made. You make me proud.”
And just like that, something lifted between them. The guilt and disappointment Pam had been holding onto disappeared. Eric wrapped her in a hug and softly kissed her hair. There was still much more to talk about but it was going to have to wait until later. They needed to report back their findings to Bill and come up with an actual plan before Antonia/Marnie, whatever the fuck her name was, attacked first.
oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo
“I can hear Tara chanting with another woman, but it isn’t Marnie,” Sookie said with her eyes closed as she listened. “I don’t know what they’re saying though.”
“Eric, you take the roof. They won’t be expecting an aerial assault. Jessica will take the back and Pam,” Bill reached into the van for a grenade launcher. “Will take this and cover me on the ground. I will attempt to negotiate a surrender. If that fails, we attack. Is that clear?”
“What about me?” Sookie asked.
“You’re coming with me,” Eric said decisively without giving Bill a chance to answer.
“And how am I going to get up on the roof of a building, Eric?” Sookie looked up at him.
“Trust me,” he winked.
That wasn’t quite the answer Sookie was looking for but there was reassurance in his blood so she nodded. With everyone clear on their positions, they all moved to where they were supposed to go. When Eric and Sookie got to the building across the street from the emporium, Eric took Sookie’s gun from her.
“What are you doing?” she asked when he bent his knees a little and wrapped his arm around her waist.
“Scaling a building in a single bound,” he said casually and lifted her up into the air with him.
“Eric, what the…” she trailed off, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Can you fly?”
“Just one of the many services I offer,” he smiled at her as they got higher and higher up.
“What else can you do?” Sookie asked since, as far as she knew, Bill didn’t have any special talents like that. Then again, he’d hidden a lot of things from her so who knew what he was capable of.
“I’ll be happy to give you a first hand demonstration of all my talents later,” Eric stole a kiss from her and set her down on the rooftop.
“That wasn’t what I meant,” Sookie tried not to smile.
“Then that will teach you to be more specific in the future,” he handed her the M-4. “Do you know how to shoot that?”
“Jessica gave me a crash course. I can fire a shotgun,” Sookie shrugged.
“Hopefully you won’t need that,” Eric stared at the rifle in her hands.
“Why did you want me up here with you?” Sookie asked as he led her across the roof.
“Because I don’t trust Bill to keep you out of the line of fire,” Eric said simply. “And because from up here, Marnie won’t see it coming if you blast her with that magic of yours.”
While Sookie wasn’t happy with his former argument, the latter certainly made sense. The pissing contest needed to end. Eric had won. Gloating was unattractive in this situation. But that was a conversation for them to have later. At the moment, they needed to focus. Eric would be listening to what was happening between Bill and Marnie while Sookie would keep listening to the humans inside, as well as Marnie to make sure she wasn’t casting any new spells.
“Tell me, Sookie, just what can you do with that magic anyway?” Eric asked once they were adequately hidden behind the sign at the top of the building.
“Honestly? I don’t even know. I’ve used it to repel people who wanted to hurt me. I kicked Russell Edginton’s ass with it. I used it to break those handcuffs. And apparently I can also undo other people’s magic with it.” Sookie recounted for him.
“So it’s possible you could eliminate the spell Marnie has cast to keep others out of the emporium?” Eric asked her and she shrugged.
“I guess so.”
There was a scream from the street below, along with a bright flash of yellow light that Sookie might have thought was sunshine if it wasn’t pitch dark outside. Both she and Eric looked over the side of the building in time to see Bill land on the street about twenty feet away from the perimeter created by magic. He was on his feet immediately and charging back toward the building.
Seconds later the doors of the emporium opened and Marnie appeared with a snarl on her face. “Lamia,” she spat the word.
“What the heck?” Sookie muttered.
“It’s Latin for ‘vampire,'” Eric translated for her.
“You speak Latin?” Sookie couldn’t stop herself from asking.
“I speak many languages but now isn’t the time to discuss it,” Eric said without looking at her.
“Right. Sorry,” Sookie hushed up and refocused her attention on the human minds she could read.
“I am asking you to release the humans, Antonia. You say you don’t want any more death. Now is your chance to save lives. Let them go and they don’t have to die,” Bill said in his best southern drawl.
Sookie zeroed in on Marnie and once again she was casting a spell. “Eric, she’s casting,” Sookie warned.
Without thinking twice, Eric called Pam, who was standing in the shadows about ten feet away from Bill. A loud crack sounded in the air. A gun had fired. The bullet, however, bounced off the shield that Marnie had put in place and hit Bill in the leg. Sookie gasped but stopped herself from screaming and giving away her and Eric’s position. Bill dropped to his knees and when Marnie passed through the barrier, it became obvious she was in no mood to surrender.
I doing so, however, she opened herself up to either Eric or Pam taking a shot at her. Eric lifted the M-4 and looked through the scope to line up his shot. Sookie stood completely silent and stock still behind him. Her hands began to tingle and she felt sparks shooting off of them. She was charged and ready to go at the first sign of trouble. It occurred to her that every time she’d used her magic, she had to direct it. She told the magic what to do. When she wanted that vamp guard off of her, she had repelled him. When she wanted the cuffs broken, she’d done that, too. It was all in her head.
Sookie didn’t even hear the click of the trigger when Eric pulled it. The bullet moved quickly and struck Antonia right in the head. Her body dropped quickly in a heap on the street. There was a flash of yellow light and then it was like watching a firecracker die in the sky. The magic was gone, the spell broken. The question was whether or not Antonia was gone as well now that her human host was most definitely dead.
Þetta erkjaftæði.– This is bullshit
Þú velurhanayfirmig.– You choose her over me