Several floors below, Pam was making the most of her fairy high. Two female donors and a bellboy were in various stages of undress and copulation. Eric told her to behave, but he couldn’t command her any longer. As she drank from the Asian woman’s thigh she thought, “Fuck him. I shoulda known. Sookie’s fairy vagina reappears and he forgets who and what is important to him. Fuck him, he shoulda drained her with me. He survived after Sylvie, he made it through losing Godric, he kept going after Nora. I was always the one there for him. She forgot about him. She only came for him one pitiful time. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t distracted him with that fangbanger? We’d probably still be in fucking Louisiana with fucking inbred Weres and fucking Ginger… and Eric Goddamned Northman would still be mooning over a middle-age part-fairy who never gave him the benefit of the doubt. He gave her his fucking blood so he could keep her safe. Yeah, the sex dreams were an added bonus and pissing off Billy-boy was a plus, but he did it to look after her. She never fucking appreciated him for the man he was and is. She only wanted him when he was a brain-damaged muppet and couldn’t remember what a fucking bitch she is. I wish she’d fucking stayed gone.”
Pam released the Japanese girl and crooked her finger for the Brazilian bellhop to approach. She was in the mood for exotic fare and was going to use this chance to indulge. As she could feel how angry Eric was, she knew that she would be severely punished, if not by her maker then by the sheriff, with little to no leniency. Knowing that days of deprivation were coming soon, Pamela Swinford de Beaufort was going to make this night one hell of a Mardi Gras.
It was just after four in the morning when Sookie’s IV was empty and able to be disconnected. Eric had gone to his suite, both to feed and to keep Pamela from leaving. He had every intention of presenting her to the sheriff the following evening to argue her case and accept her punishment. If it resulted in time he could use to reconnect with Sookie, all the better for him.
Addie’s pulse started pounding loudly against her temples after a couple of hours of mental conversation. Sookie nodded understandingly; Lex gallantly escorted Addie to her guest room where she changed into pajamas – and blushed when she realized that she’d been nearly topless in just her bra all evening. The prince kissed her softly before she curled up on her side to sleep.
Lex returned to his other guest and took the chair that had been occupied by the girl. The woman in the bed didn’t look tired in the least. She rolled onto her right side and regarded the vampire through contemplative mocha eyes. The silent staring didn’t bother him; he allowed himself to slip into peaceful downtime. It was almost an hour later when her voice brought him out. “What is it exactly that you want with my daughter?”
Never had the sheriff been forced to “meet the parents” in his long existence. He couldn’t be sure what she wanted to hear. Wanting clarity so he didn’t inadvertently answer the wrong unspoken question, he asked what she meant.
Her eye roll was identical to Addie’s. “I mean… do you want use of her skills? Since the anti-glamour contact lenses are still widely available, her persuasion is a handy skill for a pet to have. Is it her scent? Since you’re able to sit here calmly and not salivate over my pulse, I assume you’ve learned more control since the first time her mask slipped. Has she let you bite her? Are you just enamored by the unique flavor of her blood? What is your end-game, Mr. Anthony?”
Had anyone else spoken to him in such a demanding manner, their tongue would have been removed and their jaw dislocated as a lesson on how the sheriff handled disrespect. Yet the impulse didn’t strike him with this woman. “I’ll be frank, Mrs. Brennan. I enjoyed your daughter’s company before I learned of her gift or her unique heritage. Her scent is an aphrodisiac the likes of which I’ve never encountered before, but I can and do control those impulses around her. Honestly, I’ve avoided inhaling deeply since Northman appeared outside my door. But no, I haven’t bitten Addie. A few times over the past several weeks, your daughter has gifted me with…” he couldn’t help but lick his lips in memory, “… the sweetest flavor I’ve encountered since I was turned. But those rare times and the amount that was given were her decision. I would never pressure Addie to do anything or act in a manner that would make her uncomfortable. I’ve done what I can to earn her trust and I would never betray that honor.”
“Especially since she can’t be glamoured, right?” Sookie asked with a wry smile.
“I’ll admit that she had me fooled and I was begrudgingly impressed. I’ve only seen her use her gift once. It was fascinating to watch others do exactly as she wanted with the slightest suggestion. What was it like for her growing up?”
The woman sighed and leaned back to look at the ceiling. “It didn’t manifest fully until she was about ten years old. Her father didn’t notice before he died and I was clueless since it didn’t affect us. The half-fairy daughter of a neighbor and the vampires that often came around didn’t notice anything either. Her uncle was always a sucker for making pretty girls smile, regardless of age, so it wasn’t unusual for him to indulge her every whim as he did the same for his wife and daughters.
“She hated school. It was hard for her to make lasting friendships based on nothing more than what she wanted at the time. Children are fickle creatures and as soon as Addie was gone from her ‘friend’s’ presence, her influence would fade. For years people thought I was crazy because of the way other people’s thoughts affected me. Caelum spooked them because of his eerie sixth sense and the fact that he wanted to marry me. I was thrilled that Addie didn’t inherit my telepathy. Humans, and most Weres, are far nastier in their heads than they would ever dare to be out-loud. But, like Caelum, she had a specialness about her that was undefinable. Since humans are effing sheep and shy away from anything they don’t understand, Addie was unfortunately isolated for most of her youth.
“But vampires… such a catch-22 with them. They aren’t affected by her skill and embrace that supernatural part of her rather than ostracize her for it. Unfortunately, her unmasked scent also sends most of them over the edge, so she could never really relax around them. Since she grew up exposed to your kind, she’s always been more interested in the person who became a vampire rather than the vampire, understand?”
“Like I’m fascinated by a woman who happens to be a fairy hybrid and not just any fae relation I’d find on the street?” Lex asked, feeling as though he understood a bit more about his young companion.
Sookie replied, “Exactly like that. Now Sheriff, would you care telling me how you came into the acquaintance of the illustrious and notorious Eric Northman?
In the privacy of his suite, Eric drank from the donors that had been waiting in the hall. Once he’d had his fill, he sent them away with a gentle and general glamour then focused on the ties of his blood.
Just a few floors above, Sookie was resting, her mood curious and slightly protective. As he focused, he could feel her body healing and regenerating what had been lost in the attack. His connection to his youngest child was extremely weak, but he could tell she had not met her true death. Now his oldest child…
That child was not nearly as remorseful as she ought to have been. He could feel the remnants of her inebriation as well as the thrill of carnal pleasure and traces of lingering bitterness the likes of which he hadn’t felt from his progeny in over a quarter-century.
The source of said bitterness was convalescing in the penthouse.
“PAMELA,” the Viking roared into the open living space of the suite. Celebrating after her transgressions was not acceptable. When she didn’t respond, he pushed open the door to her day-space and wasn’t surprised to see the ménage a’ quatre in progress. “Pamela,” he repeated in a low growl, startling the humans and drawing a grimace from his progeny. “Leave,” he told the mortals, brokering no argument. They hastily grabbed their clothes and fled the suite, leaving a disgruntled child sneering at her furious maker.
“It’s most unlike you to spoil my fun rather than join in, Master,” she drawled disrespectfully.
She should have known better. With preternatural speed, he had her blonde locks wrapped around his hand for the second time that night. Using her hair, he lifted her from the bed so they were eye-to-eye. “A month in silver, Pam. A month! The sheriff didn’t specify chains or a box, but seeing as how your victim is the beloved mother of his cherished hybrid pet, I’m sure he’ll opt for the more painful choice.”
Despite the pain of hanging by her hair, the blonde woman cackled. “The girl is Sookie’s daughter? Oh, I fucking called it. If your brains hadn’t been lodged in your balls when it comes to her, you could have picked up on it too.”
“Do you want me to encourage him to use the coffin? A solid month encased in silver, weakening you and burning through your skin? You would prefer that torture over owning up to your mistake and apologizing to your victim in exchange for some possible leniency?”
“I’ve only ever apologized to you and she was the reason then too. I won’t do it again. Not to the sheriff, not to you, and certainly not to that little bitch upstairs. I’m not sorry and would finish the job if it wouldn’t mean my true death.”
Eric had never heard his favorite child be so antagonistic, especially to the maker she claimed to love more than anyone. If she wanted to cop an attitude like a surly teenager then she could accept the consequences for her actions and behavior. “I’ll let the sheriff know to expect you at first dark for sentencing, Pamela. I hope your pride is enough to protect you when your skin starts sizzling. Maybe then you’ll learn some humility before your superiors.” Without warning, he opened his fingers and let her drop to the floor at his feet. “Don’t even think of running, child. If the sun doesn’t catch you, I will. A month in silver will seem like a vacation compared with what my punishment would be. Do NOT disappoint me.”
He stalked from her room without a backwards glance and made the promised call to the penthouse. The somewhat-distracted sheriff made arrangements for sentencing that evening and abruptly ended the call. Eric then scrolled through the television channels to find business news and stock reports. It cheered him slightly to see the jump in Rochol’s share cost based on rumors of a “revolutionary new product for vampires and humans alike”.
In the brief time left before sunrise, he let himself relax into downtime, allowing his consciousness fade into the restful slumber of his renewed tie to the fairy hybrid upstairs. He could always tell when she was sleeping after Dallas. The rippling of her emotions as she dreamed was soothing. Not that their tie had ever been especially peaceful. It was exciting… dangerous… familiar. She felt like home to him.
It was a feeling he’d not understood until he was reading and relishing the sun on that Swedish mountaintop. Before he burnt to ash, he’d found refuge in an abandoned ski lodge near a small town. He was almost too weak to hunt, to get the blood that would help him heal the grisly burns that marred his body. Almost. Somewhere in his stores of survival tactics he’d found the drive to go on. His Pamela needed him. His Willa needed him.
His Sookie needed him.
He’d never imagined succumbing to Hep-V. Remembering Nora’s last moments, he could feel his insides rotting, his veins collapsing… it was a torture in and of itself. The fever dreams were a special kind of hell. He never wanted that kind of mental misery to be visited upon him ever again.
When Pam took him back to Louisiana, Sookie’s relief at seeing him was palpable as was her grief and shock when she saw the tell-tale tracks of his infection. He and the Yakuza worked together to find the Newlin bitch and discovered she was the cure to the epidemic. Her blood erased the virus, but only time and blood could heal the depredations of his time suffering the illness.
Perhaps that explained the comradery he felt for Compton. The younger vampire truly loved the telepath despite his original orders from the queen; of that, Eric was certain. He was also well acquainted with the ravages the mind and body endured as the vicious disease progressed. Although he had gotten close, the Viking’s survival instinct wouldn’t allow him to seek the serenity of the true death. He didn’t fault Bill for doing so. He did, however, blame the antebellum doofus for trying to guilt Sookie into extinguishing her fairy-light by way of assisted suicide. What made him think that he – Bill – was the authority on how Sookie’s future should be? How could he feel so certain that the fairy-hybrid telepath was meant to be something so… disgustingly mediocre as a wife and mother when the woman was clearly exceptional and meant for extraordinary things? Why did he let her live with the self-doubt and low self-esteem created by the town of mundane yokels that thought her stupid and/or insane? He should have praised her, let her know how smart she was, how brave and kind she could be, how her generous spirit touched his unbeating heart.
Complimenting her beauty was empty. With her blonde waves, warm cocoa eyes, and slender, petite figure, she was the modern-era’s epitome of attractiveness with a few quirky flaws thrown in for character. She’d surely heard as much in the thoughts of her brother’s friends or the shifter’s patrons. Her physical appeal was plain and obvious. What was inside… what made her Sookie… that was what was truly beautiful.
When he heard through the grapevine (Pam) that the Civil War veteran was a decaying puddle, he spent his nights on Fangtasia’s stage, waiting for her to grace his presence with her sass and attitude. He so anticipated her arrival that he disregarded his biological needs for blood and sex. It got to where his child could feel him withering in their bond.
Then… she was coming. Through his weak tie with the telepath, he could feel his blood getting closer. Only his centuries of practice kept him looking stoic and bored on his throne. His progeny though, she could pick up on his excitement.
He wanted to wait for Sookie. Wanted to indulge in the closeness he’d craved and been denied since the curse on him was broken. It was Pam that pointed out that it wouldn’t be affection if the telepath gave in to his desires. Sookie’s amazing heart would offer to feed him out of pity, not because she wanted him. Being the object of the hybrid’s sense of obligation wouldn’t be satisfying in any way… but he was hungry. It wouldn’t do to appear any less than his usual, formidable self when she arrived.
It was Pam that pointed out the fangbanger at the bar. The hair was dyed an unnatural red, but its makeup hadn’t been applied with a trowel. It had only ordered a single drink from the bar and didn’t seem otherwise intoxicated. The tight purple velvet dress emphasized a full, curvy figure. That pleased the Viking: he could drink his fill and not weaken it too much. From his throne he could see that neither its neck nor its wrists bore the marks of those before him. That pleased him as well. If it was relatively clean and not too otherwise wasted, its blood would help him regain his strength. For Sookie.
At his child’s urging, he beckoned the groupie to the stage. Unsurprisingly, it accepted the invitation to his office without hesitation. Its blood was thick and tasted of a junk-food and drive-thru diet, but it warmed him and gave him nourishment that a bottle could never provide. As his muscles started to relax, he released the fangbanger, sealed and healed its wounds, then applied a glamour. In its mind, it had interviewed for a job for which it had not been qualified for. Embarrassed, it would have no desire to return to Fangtasia.
Pam rolled her eyes at his goody-two-shoes glamour when the woman left and curled her lips when she realized her master hadn’t even gotten a blow from the besotted redhead. She shook her head in disappointment and returned to the floor.
Eric closed his eyes and focused on his tie with the hybrid. It had been almost a year since their last exchange, so he was unable to get specifics. What he did feel was disappointment and growing distance. All he could think was “Not again”.
Perhaps she had arrived while he was in his office and hadn’t waited when she hadn’t seen him on stage. He assumed that she’d lost her usually-reckless courage, turned away before even arriving, and rejected him again. Before he could think of an acceptable course of action, he became occupied with calls from the Japanese labs he’d hired away from the Asian remnants of Mr. Gus’ gang, taking advantage of the time difference.
Time started moving quickly for the Viking. Much faster than he was accustomed to. When the NuBlood factory was ready to open, Eric paid his final tribute to Andre, a pompous little prick installed by the “new” Authority as King of Louisiana, and left Area Five, the state, the continent, and the hemisphere without a single word to the telepath.
The Scandinavian vampire started to feel the pull of sunrise. Before he was pulled into his day-death, he once more checked his bonds. Willa was still existing. Pamela was still in the suite, pouting in her room mere feet away from his own. She was closer to succumbing to the dawn than he was due to her younger age, but she was still surly and unapologetic. He felt relief when her bond faded with her when she went to rest.
From upstairs, his tie to Sookie was still calm and peaceful. He remained uncomfortable that his fairy’s daughter knew so much about their shared past. Since the younger hybrid could mask her scent – unbelievably convenient when a fairy wished to coexist with vampires – he could appreciate his child’s, the sheriff’s, and his own tolerance. How had Sookie’s essence increased from traces of wheat and honey to pure ambrosial sunlight? Before he could contemplate the sneaky ways of the fae further, he collapsed in his light-tight room to await sundown.