Aw, shucks. Y’all rock. You know, I do think it’s hilarious how much my story seems to be hindering work for some of you. I better not get sued later for profit losses.
Things are about to get… dramatic. This chapter is a little bit shorter than what I normally post, but I figured you’d all want a new one as soon as possible, so here it is.
Oh! In this fic, there is a level above the Authority, which is the Supernatural Council. The Supe Council focuses on interspecies disputes. That’s kinda important because Alcide mentions it. You’ll see.
Disclaimer: I do not own True Blood or SVM. They belong to Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball, and HBO. I just enjoy borrowing their puppets and making them dance to a different tune.
Sending Alcide into Lou Pines was a little more difficult than the night before. He firmly believed the blood pack would “just kick my ass” if he tried to enter, so he had to sneak in through the backdoor. This time, my butt stayed firmly planted in the passenger’s seat of his truck. I wanted to go in again, just to provide back-up, but Godric commanded me not to. There were too many Weres around and if things went badly, I wouldn’t have been able to pop Alcide out of there without many sets of eyes seeing it. Sure, they wouldn’t know how I did it or who did it, but if Alcide was going to play dayman the next day, there was an odd chance they could put it all together and realize just how unique I was. If Alcide got caught, he’d get a beating but if I did? I would get the true death.
Apparently, my bloodline preferred me very much undead.
Eric snickered through the earpiece when he felt my Stackhouse stubbornness rising after the command, but he firmly put a damper on my temper when he reminded me of my vow not to take any unnecessary risks. Eventually, I conceded and sat back in my seat with slumped shoulders.
I guess I’d be watching this on WolfTV.
Alcide went unnoticed for the most part. He circled through the room recording as many faces as he could. After seeing how many wolves Russell was giving his blood to, we had no doubts the Authority would sentence him to the true death. Not only was he violating one of our most sacrosanct laws, Russell was a danger to the vampire cause. If just one of these wolves told the news about what Russell was doing or the police tracked a bloodhead back to him, it would set back all the progress the AVL was making with the Vampire Rights Amendment.
He may have been the only other vampire more idiotic than Bill Compton.
There was a tense moment when we thought Alcide would be kicked out before catching Russell with the pack. Debbie found him and zeroed in on him like a hawk. Alcide pleaded with her for a moment, trying to talk some sense into her, and just when it looked like she might be hesitating, her boyfriend Cooter showed up.
None of could suppress a snicker at the name.
“Let him watch, Coot. It’s the only way he’s finally gonna understand, baby,” Debbie said. She taunted Alcide and then made-out with her boyfriend right in front of him.
What a bitch. Literally.
As they walked away, Pam quipped, “Let her go, Alcide. You don’t want to touch her Cooter.”
Even Alcide chuckled that time.
Eventually, the crowd erupted in cheers and roars and Debbie was lifted up above them. They stripped her down to her underwear and passed her from hand to hand up to the stage, letting her surf the crowd. Every single one of the rowdy looking wolves turned their eyes to the stage and a hush fell over them as they watched Debbie take her place and fall to her knees. Alcide stayed towards the back of the room, but adjusted himself so he had a clear line of sight of everything that was happening in front. Howls went up in the room in an eerie chorus and then the moment that we’d been waiting for arrived.
Russell Edgington graced us with his presence.
Triumph echoed throughout my blood connections as we watched. We now had indisputable evidence Russell was involved with a pack of wolves. He came out like a celebrity, wearing sunglasses and nodding to people in the crowd as he dropped a wolf pelt over Debbie’s shoulders. He tossed his arms up in the air and the crowd fell silent once again. Russell then began speaking in German, pausing in places for his pack to shout an answer in unison, sounding every bit like a group of insane Nazis. There would be no doubt now that Russell was anything except their master. As a couple pack members brought forth shot glasses and Russell rolled up his jacket sleeves, Godric and I gave each other incredulous glances. Was Russell about to feed them all his blood at the same time?
Yes, he was.
Shock rippled across our blood bonds and ties as we watched Russell bite into his arm and bleed into dozens of shot glasses. They passed the glasses out among the crowd and the wolves lifted them into the air. Russell told them to drink and they all slammed the shots back and howled. Immediately, the air started to get tenser and the crowd even rowdier as the blood took hold.
“Shit,” Alcide muttered. We all wholeheartedly agreed.
The looney king then put another nail in his coffin when he branded Debbie. He placed the hot poker to her skin and I cringed. I may be vampire and heal quickly, but even I knew that had to hurt. Russell then quickly disappeared, slipping away from the stage and out the door, and their Alpha, Cooter, hopped up on it. He worked the crowd up into a frenzy before ripping off his shirt, howling, and shifting. A weird energy rolled over the crowd and Alcide started backing away. He made it to the backdoor just as shirts started flying into the air and people started shifting, slipping out before they noticed him.
“Holy shit,” Pam whispered.
“My thoughts exactly,” I mumbled. “When’d you become the mind-reader?”
Godric and Eric chuckled, but they did so distractedly.
“Well, I was wrong,” I said. Godric quirked an eyebrow at me and confusion radiated out from my other ties. “Turns out Russell Edgington is the most idiotic vampire in the world. Not Bill Compton, after all.”
That one at least got me genuine laughs.
“Master,” Eric started, hesitantly. “Are you sure you still wish to approach the king?”
Godric and I looked at each other with surprise. Yes, what we saw was pretty bad. If we were found out we would literally be torn apart by wolves, but the fact that Eric was reconsidering us going in was an utter shock. He’d been searching for Russell for a thousand years and Godric and I would definitely find an opportunity for Eric to arrange a meeting with Russell if we went in.
“Eric?” Godric asked in a tone laced with confusion.
Silenced filled our ears for a brief a minute before Eric finally admitted in a whisper, “I don’t want to lose another family.”
I reached out and stroked him, sending amusement across our bond when he purred into our ears, and Godric pushed him reassurance and strength. When his purr died, Godric quietly said, “Min son, if we do not, we risk losing Sookie.”
Every tie I had cried out when Godric said that. My connections burned in denial, outrage, protectiveness, and fear. Pam’s and Jessica’s also cried out with confusion, not understanding what Godric meant and why they could lose me.
I flooded them all simultaneously with reassurance, confidence, and security. I let them know I didn’t plan on going anywhere, that even though Godric had said this, I was confident we’d come out on top. Pam and Jess didn’t know about my extra abilities, but the sheer amount of confidence I sent them had relief welling up inside them.
At least until Godric spoke again.
“It’s true, Eric. She’s caught the Magister’s eye. We need Bill Compton or he’ll target her. You know this,” Godric stressed.
Jessica’s blood filled with overwhelming terror at the idea of losing me to him and I singled out her tie, pushing every bit of strength, comfort, reassurance, and love as I could into it. The Magister haunted Jess in a way, he’d literally had her kidnapped and killed, so she knew without a doubt that he was capable of taking me too and that scared the ever-loving shit out of her. I pushed her everything in a strong, continuous stream and I only relaxed the influx of emotions when I heard her gently purring in the background.
I would definitely be sponsoring Jessica. She barely blinked at the idea Bill would be given to the Magister, yet her entire being cried out at the idea of the Magister getting his hands on me. She was meant to be my progeny.
“I understand, master,” Eric said with reluctance.
Glamouring the Magister into forgetting the challenge and test he issued me was a very last resort. He was a member of the Authority and there was no telling if he had already mentioned me to the people he associated with. If I had to glamour him, we would also have to find out who he mentioned me to, track them down, find out who they mentioned me to, and so on. Not only that, but if we could complete this test and retrieve Bill Compton, I’d find myself in a much better position in our world and could work my way towards securing my safety if vampires ever found out about my gifts. The best possible outcome in this scenario was to bring Bill back.
Besides, Billy boy and I needed to have a little talk.
Seconds later, Alcide forcefully yanked the door open, hurriedly climbed in, and slammed it shut. He was panting and sweat was rolling down his face. The energy pulsing through the crowd had affected him and his eyes had a yellowish tint to them. He wasn’t as out of control as he was when he found out that wolves were doing V, so he just needed a moment to collect himself. We waited in silence as he worked to stifle his inner wolf. Finally, he cleared his throat and said, “Yeah, I’m going to need a copy of the evidence after all.”
We nodded and he started up the truck to pull out. As we passed the bar, the door flew open and the wolves shot off in every direction, scattering like cockroaches when a light’s been turned on, having been let loose in the city while high on V. Alcide cursed as we watched and punched the dashboard.
“Maybe I should call a dog catcher?” Eric asked, obviously still watching the live video feed. Both Godric and I had to desperately stifle our urge to laugh. Alcide’s responding feral growl kind of sucked the enjoyment out of it, though, and we became absolutely serious once again.
“You’re makin’ the right decision, Alcide. This just ain’t safe. So many people could get hurt and they could end up revealing the two-natured before y’all are ready if they keep this up,” I said quietly.
“Yeah,” he sighed and ran a tired hand over his face. “Yeah. This shit is crazy. I’ll take it to my pack master and see what he says. If he won’t get involved, I guess I’ll take it to the Council. I can’t let this happen in my own backyard. It’s a nightmare. And I can’t believe it took a group of vampires to point it out to us.”
Godric and I both nodded, not really sure what else to say. A memory of Eric’s then popped into my head and I said, “I have a shifter friend. He came to Eric to ask for help when a supernatural creature, a maenad, took over my town. He told Eric that ‘until somebody starts trusting somebody, we’re all just single targets, just ripe for the picking.’ I think he was right when he said that.”
Godric shot me a soft smile, lifted his arm to drape over my shoulders, and gave me a gentle squeeze while Alcide tore his eyes from the road and glanced at me. He nodded slowly when he met my eyes, agreeing with me, and softly said, “Well, as crazy as it sounds for a wolf to trust a vampire, I think I actually trust the two of you. It sounds like you trust a shifter and he trusts you back. Maybe we all should work together on things like this. I keep an eye on the Were community, you keep eyes on the vamps, your shifter friend keeps an eye out for random supes, and when things overlap, we help each other? After this, no more favors and keeping tabs. If something like this happens again, where more than one race is involved, we just help each other.”
Godric and I smiled brilliantly at Alcide, already deciding that we’d accept that deal. We could feel Eric and Pam deliberating in the blood, not really liking the idea they couldn’t get favors out of this, but when they felt our resolution and how much we admired and appreciated his idea, they reluctantly gave in. When I felt them agree, I nodded at Alcide, still smiling. After a second, he realized I was giving him his answer and he slowly smiled back.
“Good,” he chuckled and lightly bounced a closed fist off the steering wheel before focusing on back on the road ahead. “That’s probably the best thing I heard all night.”
Well, technically, I hadn’t actually said anything.
He turned his attention back to the road and started driving us back to the complex so Godric and I could set up our own spyware for the night and put Alcide’s away. Godric gave the bond a double tug and I looked up at him while opening up my mind, You realize you just inspired a Werewolf to form an alliance with vampires? You did that, Sookie. You made a werewolf comfortable enough to trust a vampire to begin with and now he’s willing to work with us in the future. He won’t even ask a favor if we have to beg his help.
We did that, Godric. He said he trusted the both of us. That means Alcide also trusts you, so we did that, I protested.
He smiled beautifully at me and pushed me acceptance while delight and pleasure swirled happily in the bond. Godric was thrilled a Were trusted him, that he helped inspire something that could help all the supes in our area if things got difficult again.
I’d have to talk to Sam about it, but I was pretty sure he’d throw his lot in with us since it was kind of his idea. I decided I might even bring it up to Lafayette whenever we’d have lunch and see if he could be our eye in the Witch community. It couldn’t hurt to keep an eye out for trouble there too.
Once we were back at the apartment, we quickly unhooked all of Alcide’s gadgets and gizmos and set up our own. I could feel anticipation mounting in each of my ties as the night drew on. Godric and I needed to make a good impression on Russell in order to gain access to his compound. I grew a little bit tenser while we got ready, knowing I might see Bill Compton tonight and I thought about how I would probably react. I was going to try very hard not to become predatory when I saw him. If I dropped my fangs or hissed without provocation in front of the king and any of his retinue, I would screw us. I couldn’t take that risk.
“Master?” He looked up from one of the silver cases he was packing with a quirked eyebrow. “Can you command me not to act aggressively when I see Compton?”
His expression turned incredibly tender and he flooded me with support while he gently nodded. My bloodline was still watching and they laced our connections with confidence, security, and strength. I pushed them gratitude as Godric said, “As your maker, I command you not to act predatory around Bill Compton, unless he threatens or attacks you. I command you not to act aggressively towards him, tonight.“
He flooded me with mirth and winked at me when my eyes widened. Apparently, Godric was fine with leaving a predatory Sookie alone with Bill Compton during the daylight hours tomorrow. My fangs throbbed at the thought and two of my Louisiana ties were suddenly full of lust and yearning. I guess they would’ve liked to see that.
“No, Eric, I will not wear a camera tomorrow,” I said with exasperation.
Godric chuckled and disappointment surged up in Eric’s tie. Pam pushed me all of her amusement and poor Jess was confused again. She didn’t find bloodshed as appealing as Pam and Eric did. Not when she had just recently drained someone. I wasn’t turned on by the idea either, but there was a furious need for vengeance pulsing through my veins. I once asked Godric for justice, asked him why I didn’t get any justice for my death. He was trying to provide that for me now, in regards to Bill and the crimes he committed against me, and I caressed him through our bond for it.
“All right, we’re turning off the earpieces now. See you all tomorrow night,” Godric said to our captive audience. Alcide and I handed him our earpieces and shut off the transmission. I gathered up the techy items I would need tomorrow and put them in my bag before then heading towards the guest room. Alcide would think I had the equipment on me when in reality they would be in my coffin. I’d pop in later to collect them after everyone retreated to their rooms to prepare for day-rest at the compound.
I came back at vamp speed, startling Alcide a little since he kept forgetting I was vampire at all, gave him a genuine smile, and said, “Well, Alcide, it’s been entertaining.” He laughed and nodded in agreement, “Look us up if you’re ever in Bon Temps.”
“I will,” he said and held out his hand for me to shake. I rolled my eyes and hugged him at vamp speed so he couldn’t get away. Alcide was a wolf after all. He laughed and patted my back while I struggled internally with Eric’s possessiveness.
I pulled back, muttering, “Calm down, ya big Viking. The hug’s over.”
Mirth flushed my veins from everyone but Eric and Alcide laughed, long and hard, when he realized I was reacting to Eric’s emotions. He turned to Godric to say goodbye once he settled down and shook his hand too. We wouldn’t be seeing him again after this, so we said our farewells now. Alcide would pick us up the next day and drop us off at a hotel. We told him about my gift of “staying awake past sunrise” and explained we may need some time before heading back to Shreveport if Bill was injured in order for him to feed, so Alcide would return in the late afternoon to pick us up and bring us back to Fangtasia. While that was true, I also hoped to clear up some questions I had for Bill before we headed home.
We slung our overnight bags over our shoulders and slipped out Alcide’s front door before vamping our way out into the night, heading in the direction of Russell’s property. When the huge plantation-style home came into view, we smoothly transitioned into leisurely walking, bringing down our speed so the guards on the perimeter didn’t mistake us for threats.
Even though we most definitely were.
I slid into position to the right and behind Godric, serving as his right hand when my elder siblings weren’t present. We leisurely walked up the long, cobblestone driveway and approached Russell’s mansion. About halfway up, four vampire guards appeared out of nowhere and flanked us, having used vampire speed to make their approach. Being surrounded automatically put me on edge, which conversely caused my muscles to relax. I could read from their minds that they weren’t a threat, just doing their duty and escorting us, so my emotions barely tightened at all. On top of that, I knew without a doubt Godric could take all of them. Not one of them was older than five hundred.
“Your purpose?” one of the guards asked while we walked. I was officially at the bottom of the food chain here, so I kept my lips zipped.
“We wish to speak with the king. Considering residency,” Godric replied curtly, not even deigning to glance the guard’s way. Being 2,000 years old meant he had to wear a mask at times himself. He was considered leagues above the guards because of his age alone.
The guard nodded respectfully, acknowledging Godric as an ancient, and spoke quietly into an earpiece.
I was delighted to see ours were better.
Any ancient vampire had to report to the monarch of a state if they were looking into residency in an area. Typically, vampires would approach a sheriff and apply for residency and then report to the monarch within a two week time frame to swear fealty, but it was different after a vampire hit the status of ancient. By the time someone reached Godric’s age, they were considered too powerful to approach a sheriff. Most of the time sheriffs were not as old as Godric and Eric, so it would go against vampire etiquette to approach someone of lower status for permission to reside in the area. On top of that, every monarch wanted a chance to wine and dine an ancient in hopes of adding them to their retinues.
“Name?” the guard then asked.
“Godric,” he stated.
All four guards faltered, almost imperceptibly, before continuing towards the door. I dipped into their minds and wasn’t surprised when I read that they had all heard of my maker. They were thinking about his age, the stories they’d heard about him, and were unsettled that they were in the presence of “The Gaul.”
Honestly, I was just relieved they weren’t referring to him as “Death.” Godric hated that nickname.
The, frankly, huge front door swung open as we approached, manned by yet another guard, and we passed through without harassment. We then all came to a stop in the foyer, still maintaining our positions. I had to admit the place was beautiful and the Southern style was gorgeous. The walls were covered in elegant, white panels that had a slightly bluish hue, the floors were done in dark wood, an intricate staircase led up to the second floor on the left, and an antique table with a vase of lilies sat just beyond the entrance on a wide, European looking rug. I definitely liked this house.
It wasn’t long before the king’s consort joined us, eyeing Godric appreciatively as he approached us. He gave the guards a hand signal and they immediately dispersed, two heading back outside while the others took up position around the rooms. I dipped into the consort’s mind as he approached and instantly learned he was not a threat. In fact, he hadn’t picked up a sword or a stake in hundreds of years. His name was Talbot and nothing in his mind gave me any inclination to act predatory or for my emotions to tighten. My maker was also much older than him, so I didn’t need to feel overly protective.
“Consort,” Godric said as he gave Talbot a respectful bow of the head. I followed suit.
Talbot was surprised to be addressed so formally. He smiled brightly at us and murmured, “And I thought nobody had manners anymore.” He then spoke louder and said, “Godric, you come to seek audience with the King?”
“My progeny and I do, yes, Consort,” Godric said, his hands clasped behind his back,
Talbot’s eyes flickered over me briefly, taking in my position and realizing Godric had added to his already powerful bloodline. With amusement, I listened to him think about how disappointing it was Godric’s new progeny was female. I couldn’t understand his language, but he was clearly feeling disenchantment while picturing us in an embrace. Godric tugged on the bond twice and I connected our minds and began filtering in thoughts. In turn, Godric filtered the translations back to me. We were easily able to do this thanks to the nature of a vampiric mind.
“Oh, you really must call me Talbot. Both of you,” he pouted.
While Godric had been addressing Talbot, I had blanketed the compound with my telepathy. I quickly realized Bill was in fact here with his maker, Lorena, and pushed that to Godric. I could also hear that Bill was listening to this very conversation, recognizing the name of an ancient and realizing it was the same ancient he and I went to Dallas looking for. He was worried about the presence of another ancient, afraid it would make things incredibly more difficult for him. Resentment was also clouding his mind and he was blaming Godric for what happened to me and therefore found Godric responsible for the punishment he suffered by the queen.
Exasperation pulsed in the bond from the both of us as Bill’s thoughts filtered in.
I tuned back into the conversation happening right in front of me when Talbot took a step towards me. He ran his eyes over me again, appraising me and was genuinely surprised by how comfortable I appeared to be and how well-behaved I was for a newborn, and asked, “And you, young one? What is your name?”
“Sookie Stackhouse, Talbot. I’m delighted to meet you. Your home is just beautiful,” I said, using a heavy Southern drawl and flashing him a smile. He was delighted with my manners and the way I complimented his home and about to say something when everything went horribly wrong.
Bill shot towards us faster than canon at the mention of my name, quickly followed by his maker, through the door on the wall opposite the one we just came through. Both of them came to a stop next to Talbot and just stared at us, one with a look of shock and the other with nothing but pure malice.
What the hell did I ever do to her?
“Sookeh?” Bill asked, voice laced with disbelief.
“Beehl?” I drawled with the same tone, bringing my eyes back to resting on my ex and wearing the picture of absolute surprise on my face.
If he was gonna massacre my name, I’d return the favor.
Amusement and mirth immediately flooded my veins from my Louisiana connections and Godric had to stifle an urge to laugh out loud. I wasn’t the only one who noticed the butchering of my name and they thought it was funny as hell that I gave him a dose of his own medicine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t treat Bill to a meeting with Vampire Sookie yet (but they did have a later appointment) and it seemed Fairy Sookie was going to take full advantage of Godric’s command and spread a little mischief.
Before I could even begin to start making trouble, Lorena’s fangs dropped and she tensed to move towards me. Godric slammed her against the wall by her throat before my own fangs could even drop and lazily stated, “You are an old one, I can tell, but you are not nearly as old as I am. Attempt to challenge my progeny again and you will not live long enough to take a step in her direction. Now, retract your fangs.”
Lorena’s hands immediately flew to her throat and she, quite foolishly, tried to pry his hand away, like she could actually force an ancient to release her. She looked around the room in panic before her eyes settled on me for a brief second. Not even the least bit intimidated, I just raised an eyebrow at her, as if to say, “Well?”