Bill Compton was fast running out of time.
When he woke up the next night, blinded and cripplingly weakened from the white explosion, he found himself in the cold and dark place he could not recognize by smell, lying in a coffin. The lack of sight was crushing him. He was fed synthetic blood and then subjected to a grueling interrogation from Sheriff Northman’s second in command – Pam. And Pam was no softy. The thing here was that he didn’t know what went wrong in Eric’s office. He stuck to his story of finding Sookie unconscious in the room and then being a victim to another explosion.
On the second night, he was cuffed to silver chains hanging from the ceiling of the room and got a visit from Sheriff Northman himself.
“Bill Compton!” Eric said in a sickeningly sweet tone layered heavily with contempt.
Bill shivered slightly at the greeting and nodded in response, “Sheriff.”
Eric strolled casually towards the hanging vampire and stopped a foot away.
“I hope your accommodations are up to mark?”
“Yes Sheriff! To what do I owe this hospitality?” Bill practically spat out the last word.
“Now Bill, where are your manners? Be nice”, Eric was starting to enjoy taunting the scowling vampire hanging in front of him. The little shit really had no idea what Eric could do to him and scowling was not helping his cause. Added to that, he was hiding the fact that he had tried to give Sookie his blood in Eric’s office. The human did not smell of Bill at all, so he guessed that they were just friends and surely Bill tried to force feed her his blood that evening and had been unsuccessful. Given the circumstances he had to make sure he got every piece of information he could. She certainly smelled good but scent was not enough to keep facts from a sheriff, that too a sheriff of Eric’s stature and reputation. Something happened in his office that evening and Eric would leave nothing past him to get to it.
“Listen closely and try not to be as brain dead as you are! Was Sookie unconscious when you came to my office?”
“How do you know her?” Bill’s expression became furtive and Eric did not miss it.
“Answer the damn question Bill” Eric asked again, with a perfectly controlled and calm tone.
Bill fell silent, but Eric was very patient.
“Was she unconscious?”
“Well that didn’t hurt did it?”
Bill continued to scowl and Eric moved on.
“Did you give her your blood?”
Bullshit… “Did she drink your blood?”
“She was unconscious.”
“So you forced fed her?”
“I wanted to bring her out of shock!”
How gallant! “OK so you forced fed her?”
Pause…Eric noted the pause.
There goes the gallantry award! “So she was healed?”
“I don’t know. I was struck by a second explosion”
Ahhh, the second explosion. “You were blinded by that explosion. What happened to Sookie?”
“I don’t know”
If he doesn’t know then she does not have even a trace of his blood in her.
“Is she your pet?”
Bill actually managed to hiss at this one and tried to sound menacing, “Sookie is mine!”
Again Bullshit… “Are you two very, uh, close?”
“Sookie is mine!” he repeated like clockwork.
Yeah yeah… Eric probed further, “So she must have had your blood before?”
Another eloquent pause…
Eric smirked, you are so full of bullshit little weasel! Over to plan B then. He turned, “Pam! Let Mr. Compton leave. Arrange for transportation to take him home and a donor if he needs to feed.”
After she grudgingly set Bill in a cab, Pam went on to confront Eric. She knew that he knew Bill was lying. Why would he not let her play then? She could feel Eric’s good mood, which baffled her even more.
“Don’t tell me you suddenly turned Christian!”
Eric smiled at his child. “Trust me Pam! Rats are useful too.”
Pam became petulant, “A little fun won’t hurt a rat…”
“Oh you will have your fun alright. He revealed more than he wanted to and by not telling me the truth, he has proved he is not trustworthy and is hiding something. Right now, surveillance is being put around him and in his home. He cannot hide and he cannot get away from me. I feel no reason to host him any longer than necessary and make him suspicious.”
Finally Pam shrugged and Eric smiled. Going back to things she could understand, she went ahead and gave him a report on the rebuilding work going on in Fangtasia.
It took Bill one whole slow week to fully recover his strength and his eyes. He was on the verge of madness by the time and resented every power of the universe that had sent him to dilapidated back waters Bon Temps. Sookie still hadn’t had his blood even once and he needed to control her. So when Bill found out that Sookie was in coma, getting treated at the intensive care unit of Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, he was actually angry at the puny human for putting his plans in disarray, again.
Then he got to know about the special ‘Eric Northman’ therapy sessions that Sookie was getting and his madness hit the roof. Something needed to be done about the Sheriff. Too much of his own future in the vampire ranks, was riding on the girl. And Eric was starting to get too involved with her. On this last visit, Eric was totally focused on Sookie and hadn’t even looked at him, instead of just sticking to ignoring the other humans.
Grumbling, he stepped outside the hospital building and brought out his phone. There was a new text message from Pam, beeping on the screen. The message was a summons for all vampires in area 5 Louisiana for an emergency security meeting at the new area headquarters (after Fangtasia was closed up for repairs) with an address in Shreveport which was… Wait! A Church?
Totally missing the humor of the situation, he scrolled through his emergency contacts and dialed a number. It rang twice, before a cold irritated voice answered curtly, “What?”
“Good evening Andre…I wish to speak with her Majesty on an urgent matter.”
Eric was out of the glass door of the ICU when Adele Stackhouse, Sookie’s gran, finally made a decision and called out to him.
“Mr. Northman. Can I speak with you for a moment?”
Eric stopped and turned back. He had never once spoken directly to her. There had been no urgent need. The routine information and forms were all taken care of by the staff and doctors, his only contact being with the specialists who were actually treating Sookie.
Eric did not have to offer condolences and support, through sissy platitudes that most humans and the likes of Compton were so good at. He just strictly stuck to business. As it is Pam was enjoying much more than she should be allowed to, on account to his growing visits to a sick human. He had somehow kept this disturbing piece of news from spreading to other vampires in his area. He could not explain to them his doubts for the unconscious girl, and they should surely not think him to be soft with a human in the absence of any other explanation.
So Eric was surprised when Adele called out to him and approached with a polite smile.
“First of all I want to sincerely thank you for all that you have done for my granddaughter. You really didn’t have to go all the way like this.”
“Mrs. Stackhouse, please don’t thank me. It’s nothing really.” Eric was trying to be polite, on account of the woman who slept peacefully inside those doors and the woman who stood in front of him not looking even slightly scared of being in the company of a vampire.
“It is a lot for my family Sir. I will always be indebted to you.” She took a deep breath and continued. “Mr. Northman, though I may not be as old as you are, but my eyes have seen a lot. I wouldn’t be confiding in you right now if I thought that you would harm my granddaughter in any way. Somehow, and I do not understand why, but my Sookie trusts you, trusts your presence with her. That is the reason I needed to speak about this. I know you are doing a lot for her treatment and all, but I think the hospital is not a good place for her right now.”
Eric was taken aback and his eyes narrowed. What is she talking about? “Are you not satisfied with the doctors, Mrs. Stackhouse?”
“No, no, please! You misunderstand me.” Adele was starting to struggle now. How do you tell a stranger, that too a vampire, that her granddaughter was telepathic! First he wouldn’t believe her, then he would scoff at her and then just like all of Bon Temps, he would call Sookie and herself plain crazy. But crazy or not, if it was trauma that was keeping her brave little girl down, then the hospital was one place that would be forever full of traumatic thoughts of all kind. Sookie could get no rest here, no respite. Mr. Northman would keep bringing doctors from all around, and not listen about getting Sookie out of there without telling him the honest truth to convince him. She had earlier tried the pretense of medical insurance but Eric had flat out refused to listen and paid for everything. That was before she knew that Sookie was not suffering from any outward injuries or concussions.
She took another deep breath and steeled herself. “She is telepathic. My Sookie, can uh..hear people’s thoughts…”
Eric went blank and stared at Adele. It took him thirty seconds to process the news he had just got and then another five seconds to formulate a reply and speak without any emotion, “Well then, isn’t that sweet!”
He took out his cell phone and was still staring at Adele while he dialed a number.
“Dr Ludwig? Eric Northman here.”