It felt like there was a small explosion in his chest. Eric lay on his side, clutching the spot where he’d felt the sharp burst of pain. He hadn’t been prepared for it. The witches hadn’t warned there would be any physical side effects. Eric had felt plenty of pain before in his past, both as a human and as a vampire, but nothing like what he felt when Sookie cut that fucking ribbon.
She was on her knees beside him immediately, brushing his hair back from his face. He could hear her talking but none of her words were making any sense. What the fuck had those witches done to him? Eric spoke Latin so he knew what the incantation was they had recited, and there was nothing of harm in it. Fucking blood magic.
“Eric, can you hear me?” Sookie was close to his face, and he only understood what she was saying because he could read her lips.
Every muscle in his body had seized up. His only sense of comfort was that if he had reacted so strongly to the spell, it had to have been 100 times worse for Bill since Sookie had taken much more of the toddler vampire’s blood. Eric slowly started to regain control of his muscles, and words started to make sense again. The witches wisely stayed back, letting Sookie tend to Eric alone. She left his side long enough to get him a bottle of TruBlood.
“Eric, can you hear me?” she repeated yet again.
“I’m fine,” he said weakly, and even though he didn’t need it he allowed Sookie to help him sit up.
“Here,” she offered him the bottle. “Are you okay?”
Eric drained the bottle of TruBlood quickly, although he didn’t think he really needed it. He hadn’t lost any blood, but he assumed it would make Sookie feel better. He searched his blood and realized he couldn’t feel her anymore. Their connection had been destroyed.
“You’re free,” Eric said as he handed the bottle back to her. “I can’t feel you anymore.”
Sookie sighed with relief, but her moment passed quickly. She leaned forward and hugged him. “I’m sorry it hurt you. I didn’t know that would happen,” she whispered in his ear.
The pain in Eric’s chest lingered but it was fading a little at a time. Jesus stepped forward cautiously and asked, “How are you feeling, Sheriff?”
“Like my chest exploded,” Eric answered honestly, and he didn’t need to have a blood tie to Sookie to know she felt guilty for it.
“Why didn’t you tell me it would hurt him?” Sookie demanded.
“We didn’t know,” Jesus said, looking to Lafayette. “Reversing blood bonds isn’t something that happens too often, and I’ve never done it before.”
“Oh God, Bill,” Sookie said, and she sagged.
“He’ll be fine,” Eric reached for her hand. “How are you? Were you hurt?”
“I didn’t feel a thing,” Sookie said.
“That’s interesting,” Jesus sounded intrigued. “The blood you wanted to remove is in your body, but it was Eric that was affected.”
“Maybe because it was one-sided?” Sookie suggested.
Jesus nodded and said, “Seems plausible. I’ll look into it though.”
“Do you want another blood?” Sookie asked Eric.
“No. Let’s get on with things,” Eric said, and was on his feet at vampire speed.
It felt like there was a black hole in his chest, but he didn’t know why. It was a side effect of the severing he would have to mention to Jesus before the witches departed for the night. Everyone resumed their earlier positions on the furniture, and while the candles continued to burn Sookie began to recount what she had learned at the Moon Goddess Emporium.
“Marnie is really pissed off about what the vamps did to her brother. I still don’t know why he was tortured and drained like he was. Her plan is to make vampires slit their throats to weaken themselves, and then have them drink a concoction with silver in it so they’ll burn from the inside. Eventually the pain will become so great they’ll either stake themselves or walk out into the sun to make the pain stop,” Sookie told them, her eyes landing on Eric at the end.
Enraged would be too simple a word to describe what Eric was feeling. A thousand ways to prevent the plan from coming to fruition invaded Eric’s mind, and every single one of them meant a painful end for Marnie.
“Could she really cast a spell over every single vampire all at once?” Sookie asked nervously.
“She isn’t powerful enough to do that,” Jesus said with a hint of relief. “But she could spell the vampires in this area if she brings this plan to the coven. Without the coven, she would have to get close enough to each vampire to bewitch them one by one.”
“She won’t live long enough to even attempt it,” Eric snarled.
“Eric!” Sookie admonished.
“She wants to commit genocide, Sookie. I will not allow it, and I will not allow a member of her coven to work a spell that could reverse my glamour,” Eric said before Sookie could argue with him. “I will pay her a visit personally, and attempt to negotiate with her. If that fails, she will not survive the night.”
“I’m going with you,” Sookie said quickly, and Eric growled. “You can’t force me to stay home, so knock it off.”
Damn frustrating woman.
“Jesus, can you do a protection spell on my house?” Sookie asked, effectively changing the subject.
“Yeah, I can. That’s a simple thing. I brought the supplies for that as well,” he said.
“You should do her brother’s house too,” Eric offered, and everyone’s eyes shifted to him. “If Sookie needs a safe place to go nearby, her brother’s home is the most logical place. The wards need to keep out any supernatural creature with the intent of doing harm.”
Sookie’s fairy relatives were the ace in the hole to get her back if she was taken against her will, but Eric didn’t want it to come to that. He was going to have to explain to her what he knew of fairies. His knowledge wasn’t too vast since fairies were notoriously secretive creatures, even more so than vampires. What he did know was that if they learned their kin had been taken, especially by vampires, they would stop at nothing to get her back. Even if that meant starting another war.
“I’ll call Jason tomorrow during the day and let him know what’s going on,” Sookie said, but it was obvious she was nervous about doing so.
“Sook, you sure tellin’ Jason everything is a good idea?” Lafayette asked.
“I can’t ask him to potentially put his neck on the line for me without tellin’ him the truth. He deserves to know what he could be gettin’ into as much as I do,” Sookie said with conviction. “Hidin’ things from him won’t do him any favors, and if I’m really in that much danger, why wouldn’t someone take him just to get to me?”
That was an excellent point, and a connection Eric was proud of Sookie for making. Sophie-Anne would definitely stoop to that level. He assumed Sookie’s brother didn’t have the same unique traits that his sister did, or he would have heard something about two telepaths in one family. Jason’s blood, however, would be reason enough for the queen to take him. It was entirely possible that Jason could end up suffering a fate similar to the one that Marnie’s brother did if the queen decided to take him.
“Sookie why don’t you and I go outside so you can show me where you want the perimeter set up for the spell?” Jesus suggested.
“I’ll go,” Eric stood quickly, and Sookie’s eyes followed him. “You should stay indoors in case Bill comes back to check on you. He may try something… unsavory.”
Sookie looked like she was going to argue but it was Lafayette who said, “He’s got a point, Sook.”
Perhaps the V dealer wasn’t as useless as Eric had once thought since Sookie agreed to stay inside. Jesus followed Eric out of the house. They walked around the house, marking a place at each cardinal point.
“We’ll use blood magic for this,” Jesus advised. “The wards will be stronger that way, and will recognize Sookie as the home’s owner.”
“Good,” Eric said with a slight nod.
Then his vampire hearing picked up on the sound of something coming toward them quickly, and judging by the direction the sound was coming from it was most likely Bill. He was moving fast.
“Go back into the house. Now,” Eric ordered, and Jesus didn’t waste any time asking questions; he just hauled ass.
Bill came tearing out of the woods that lined Sookie’s property, and stopped short when he saw Eric in the yard.
“What have you done with her?” Bill demanded.
“Sookie is fine. She’s in the house,” Eric said calmly.
“I don’t feel her presence. You killed her!” Bill charged at Eric, but quickly found himself flat on his back with one of Eric’s foot pressing against his neck to keep him there.
“Sookie is no longer yours, but I am still your Sheriff. You will not charge at me like that again,” Eric said with authority, and his fangs desperate to bite something just then. He really was tired of Bill’s antics. “I could file a grievance with the Magister for this offense but instead I will let you travel to Mississippi empty handed and explain your failure to the queen. I suspect that will be punishment enough.”
Eric removed his foot from Bill’s throat, and the toddler vampire was on his feet immediately. He stared Eric down, doing his best to look intimidating. Unfortunately Bill was as about as intimidating as a spring rain.
“Go home, Bill. Your presence is no longer wanted or needed here,” Eric said, his voice maintaining the same level of calm.
“You think you’ve won her? You have no idea what you’ve just done,” Bill smirked, and then disappeared into the woods.
Moments later Sookie appeared from inside the house and asked, “What is Bill talking about? Is there something you aren’t tellin’ me, Eric?”
“Bill is attempting to mindfuck me, Sookie,” Eric turned toward her. “You really shouldn’t stay here alone until we know what the queen’s contingency plan is.”
“You think she’ll try to kidnap me?” Sookie asked, but didn’t sound too surprised.
“I think when Sophie-Anne decides she wants something there is very little that will stop her from getting it. Bill lost the battle, but the war isn’t won,” Eric advised with a hint of a smile.
“I take it that means you have a plan?” Sookie folded her arms over her chest.
Eric smirked and walked toward her with that trademark swagger of his as he said, “I always have a plan. Do you trust me?”
Sookie looked him up and down, her eyes following him as well as they could while he slowly circled her body. “I’m sure there are a million reasons why I shouldn’t, but yes, I trust you.”
“Good,” Eric came to a stop in front of her. “This plan starts with you packing a bag and not asking me a million questions.”