“I’m coming with you.”
“You cannot be thinking about leave me here! You cannot leave me here!”
“I am. And yes, I am!” He replied with a smirk.
Son of a mother! We can’t be having this conversation again…How long ago was it when we established that we can trust each other with our lives?
“Eric Northman …” I started angrily and was promptly cut off with a sudden passionate kiss. As much as this vampire infuriates me sometimes, there is something to be said about his kissing talents. And the damn bastard knows it! He was distracting me and I was shamefully getting distracted! He kissed me with abandon, as only Eric can, tongue, fangs, everything, and my thoughts went for a toss! We were both panting by the time he stopped and rested his forehead on mine. His eyes were dancing with so many emotions as he looked at me. It almost stopped my heart…Almost.
“Eric Northman you just cannot kiss me like that and then leave.” I barely got the words out in a whisper.
He chuckled. “Sookie Stackhouse, you will be the true death of me…”he kissed my forehead and then looked in my eyes earnestly, “I cannot, will not, put you in harm’s way. Right now you have two pissed off vampire monarchs after you. We have not caught the mole in this place who got my sword stolen. All the security cameras showed just you in those corridors and not the thief and absolutely nothing that we could work with, which reeks of powerful magic. We are yet to capture Hallow who by the way is a psychopathic witch that is more dangerous than that necromancer, who almost got us all burnt. They will not hesitate to harm you to gain an upper hand with me. They have already meddled much more than I am comfortable with. Let me finish addressing the meeting and secure Freyda. We can’t let her leave and do more mischief. You will be safe in this guardroom. And you can keep an eye all around you from here.”
Dammit he was right!
I knew he was up to something when he brought me to this guard room instead of taking me back to the main auditorium.
“But I want to help in some way.” Even to my ears, that sounded awfully whiny. “There must be something I could do, other than watch TV… Let me help you Eric.”
His eyes narrowed but his smile was dazzling, “Stop pouting. And deny it all you want, but you are one bloodthirsty little fairy who cannot sit out a showdown!”
“I. am. not!”
“A little fairy?” he smirked, not hiding his amusement at all.
“BLOODTHIRSTY!” I whisper yelled, putting my hands on my hips.
“Ok, so you can sit out a showdown?”
“It’s not like that!”
He raised an eyebrow. “Really? How many times have you grumbled about getting pulled in the middle of, what you call… vampire shit? And here I am, asking you to stay put and you still want in.” I pouted. He chuckled and pulled me in a tight hug. He was doing that a lot tonight. Touching me in some way. Kissing me every chance he got. It felt…good. And right.
“Alright…” he acquiesced, “You can accompany Pam with Octavia and Amelia, for the reconstruction spell the witches will perform at the scene of crime. Spells can erase security footage from cameras but Octavia assures me that an ectoplasmic reconstruction will reveal everything. You will be needed to verify that their spell worked and showed what actually happened that night, before, during and after you ran into the bloody thief. The others can try and identify him and whatever more information they can get.” He kissed the top of my head and buried his nose in my hair as he crooned in my ear, “Is that job enough to appease my feisty lover?”
I shivered. How the hell could I deny him when he used that voice?
From what he told me of the spell, a reconstruction would be quite something to watch. And only I could corroborate the truth of the events as they unfolded again through magic. That was a very clever and a very good plan to keep me away from the main action and put me someplace where only I could help and be relatively safe.
Sneaky devious vampire! He knew I couldn’t refuse this one.
Eric leaned back and looked at me expectantly. I nodded, with a sigh mind you, for good effect. He then glanced at the guards in the room, who were resolutely monitoring the surveillance monitors and not looking in our direction, although I knew from their thoughts that they were very interested in following the whispered conversation their king was having with a part human that smelt faintly of him.
And they say women gossip?
Satisfied with my safety and a long deep parting kiss later, he left me on a couch in the corner of the room with standing orders to the guards to fetch me anything I might ask for, till the time Pam came over to fetch me. Then he sauntered off to give his big speech at his big event.
Hardly five minutes later, frustrated with lust, tiredness and anxiety, I stood up and started pacing the room, never taking my eyes off the live feed from the convention auditorium on flat screen number ten on the wall. Eric was speaking his piece on vampire rights. There had been a huge applause when he announced that vampires were getting back their right to own and run businesses and property in the state of Louisiana. Huh! I hadn’t even known those rights had been revoked in the first place. Guess I had a lot of catching up to do on vamp shit.
I was hit by another wave of longing and lust from Eric and it drowned my anxiety for a moment. I stopped pacing and smiled at him on the screen. He was looking so good and he was smirking.
He knew what he was doing. He also knew I was getting frustrated. But Eric Northman can be very persuasive if he gets down to it and he really lay it thick on me this evening. I understood that we could not risk my getting into any sort of danger with two deranged monarchs with large retinues, who were no doubt after my life at this point. Frankly, I was lucky to get to Pam quickly and get off the scene and out of their sights. I had no interest in getting kidnapped or tortured or whatever it is that vampires did with their prisoners. Not to mention, if they got to me, they would get to Eric. I knew he would do anything to save me. So we’d be in the unfavorable position where he could be coerced into doing something he didn’t want to do. He said he would talk to Niall about securing me. But if I knew him, he would not let me get away from him so easily. That is if he ever did let me go.
Was I complaining?
Oh well… at least I wasn’t in a dungeon this time!
“So you have an answer for me I believe? Frankly Eric, how long will it take for you to realize how perfect we are for each other.”
Freyda looked smug and annoyingly happy. If only I could put her in her damn place and wipe that smirk from her ugly thin lips…But I could not. Yet! So I let her carry on her gloating in innocent blind oblivion for now, while I gladly demolished her world around her.
Without any hint of expression on my face or in my voice, I replied evenly, “Well I am known for being careful… And covering all bases for that matter…”
For a fleeting second, she looked worried, but it went out of her countenance faster than I gave her credit for. It would have been missed by a lesser vampire.
“And have you covered all those bases then?”
Too desperate! And hasty…
“You can say”, I steepled my hands in front of me, on the desk of the conference room I pulled her in for a private conversation, and watched her search my face for any emotion she could use. Of course she found nothing. I was rather enjoying watching her squirm for information I was not giving her.
“I need something I believe you have.”
Her lips curled into a poor imitation of a smile and she leaned back in her chair, crossing her legs and gave me another gloating once over. Honestly, did her maker teach her nothing about negotiation? She was all over the place.
“The mighty Viking wants something! From me! Ahhh…” she glanced coyly at her perfectly manicured and polished nails, “this should be… interesting.”
I’ll tell you what would be interesting…pulling out her polished nails once at a time!
“I find myself in need of a resource… a strong witch.”
Freyda’s eyes froze on her nails and she stiffened again. She’d said before that she was almost perfect at gambling. Someday I’ll tell her never to play poker with high stakes.
“You have the most powerful witch known in the Americas, on your retinue Eric. Do you mean to tell me there is something Octavia cannot do?”
“Oh Octavia is good. I assure you that. I would not call her the most powerful though. You would know about that, wouldn’t you?”
She clasped her hands in her lap and looked dead serious (pun intended) for the first time in the whole discussion. “What are you insinuating?”
She was so over her head in this talk here that it wasn’t even fun anymore. I leaned back and regarded her for a full minute, giving her the impression that I was carefully thinking over my reply. “I need someone who is a little more… open minded, shall we say?”
“Yes. And strong… Enough to work in shadows. You see, Octavia is much too entrenched within the council.” There! Let her think I have something to hide from the council, and that she may get power over my head if she helped me.
“And you are not?”
“Entrenched with the council? Yes of course I am. It has worked well for me.” I answered, careful to keep it as vague and as double edged as possible.
Now she looked really confused. Good!
“You want to hide something from the council?”
I answered, again as evasively as possible, “We all have our secrets Freyda. The question here is not about hiding things, but how much we are willing to reveal…and risk…and gain…”
“I stand to lose more than I could gain.”
She didn’t know how right she was! Outwardly, I just smirked, “Really? Correct me if I am wrong, but weren’t you of the opinion that we both stood to gain through our arrangement? Or did something change in the duration of a paltry day?”
She squirmed again and replied hotly. Too hotly… “I know what we would gain. I am not a fool.”
“Precisely Freyda. That’s the only reason we are even having this conversation. So…I ask again…I need something you have. Something, some-one, who can get me out of a situation I have on my hands. If this particular situation is resolved, then I believe I’ll be free to pursue other…uhhh…shall we say, contracts?”
I could see how her mental wagon wheels were turning as she considered my words and each new thought flickered through her unguarded eyes. I let her think that she had the power of getting me out of soup and right into her lap!
Her shoulders squared a bit, again a movement I easily recognized.
“So, this situation, is what is keeping you undecided on my proposal for you?”
I gave her a wry smile. She would think I am resigning to my fate of being in her debt. “As you rightly said, you are no fool!” I said, giving her a nod, as if to acknowledge her mental prowess. And again, giving her nothing that she could use against me later.
Freyda smiled at the perceived compliment! Imbecile bitch!
“Alright then Viking! You asked nicely and I am in the mood to indulge” she wiggled her eyebrows suggestively and I again swallowed the urge to strangle her and rid the world of her sorry ass. She stood up and walked around to me, swaying her hips seductively, stopping right in front of me. “You will get your witch before sunrise today!”
I raised an eyebrow in genuine surprise. “She is that close?”
Freyda looked surprised too. “So you knew it is a she?”
I rose, put some distance between us and winked at her, “I told you I cover all my bases.”
Then, I walked to the door and held it open, gesturing for her to get moving, “After you…”
“You made the right choice Eric. And besides, once we are bound, our resources become each other’s too. No point waiting to start using them as it is…” She patted my chest in a possessive sort of way, gave me a parting wink of her own and cat-walked away to get on with little task I had given her.
Here’s the thing with self-absorbed, idiotic, piss-poor vampires! They will keep bothering you, rearing their puny heads time and again to disrupt your peace of mind, stirring trouble and sticking their asses where it doesn’t belong. They will never take a hint. They will never learn. Immortality was wasted on them. I have seen many… One prime candidate for the category is chained in my dungeon as we speak! Another is walking smugly, with literally and practically her back open for attack to me, giving away her only bargaining chip, bringing my enemy in my grasp and feeling like she is gaining my favor in the process.
In the bigger picture, these vampires will always remain pawns, strewn out on the board for the sole purpose of protecting, aiding, or becoming the sacrificial lambs for the more important pieces. Once in a while, one of them might occupy a strategic square. But in the end, they are always slaughtered…
The thought of slaughtering the fools brings a real smile on my face.
I can see Andre working the crowd. That one is certainly no pawn. I shoot a quick text for him to get hold of Stan and engage him in some quality conversation. I need Stan out of Freyda’s site right now. I can’t risk any doubt from her. If she is left to her own devices, she will bring Hallow to me, willingly and quickly, and will save me precious time and resources. The moment Andre reads the text, he glances in my direction and I nod towards the back of the hall where Stan is furiously talking on his phone. My phone pings with a message from Andre.
‘Conversation of the basement kind?’
I reply quickly, lest he do something regrettable.
‘Just the engaging kind. Where he will not be seen on the floor for a while.’
Andre nods in my direction and sets off towards Stan. I trust him to find something distracting enough to keep the crazy monarch out of my hair for a while. Next I check in on my girls through the bonds. Pam is excited and lusty…No doubt she has met up with Amelia already. Willa is bored… Better bored than anything else. Tara is grumpy, which I am beginning to understand is her most natural state of being. And my Sookie, is equal parts frustrated, horny and impatient. I can’t wait to remedy one of those conditions in the near future. Tonight, if I have any say in it. I do have to keep my promise of fucking her to oblivion after all!
I scan the crowd and spot Niall, surrounded by a number of simpering human and non-human bureaucrats, no doubt pulled to him because of his fae essence and charm, and walk unhurriedly towards him. Before his fans can turn their needy asses my way, I catch hold of his eyes and nod respectfully. Understanding my gesture, he quickly disentangles himself from the group and joins me. The group of people looked momentarily disoriented as they were released from his sway and trickled away, one by one, melting in the larger crowd, still carrying slight smiles and dazed looks in their eyes. Watching him work people this way is fascinating. He can get them to agree on anything, happily, without glamour and without bloodshed. Collaborating with the fae was indeed a good move on the council’s part.
“Eric.” He nodded.
“There is something I wish to discuss with you. Privately.” I spoke, loud enough for him to hear and low enough to avoid eavesdropping.
“The next speaker takes stage in fifteen minutes.”
“I am sure it won’t take long. We can continue the discussion later after the speeches, if you want. But there are some things you need to know of, and as soon as possible.”
Niall flicked his hand and immediately we were engulfed in an invisible foreign force that I didn’t understand. I quirked my eyebrow to him and he shrugged, “It’s a privacy shield. We don’t need to physically move to a secure place for this conversation. No one will hear us through this shield. In fact, no one will recognize us for some time.”
“Impressive…” I filed away this particular talent of his for later pondering.
“So what is it that can’t wait?” he was trying to be polite, but I knew how very curious he was. He didn’t show it at all. But if he weren’t curious, he would not have revealed his shielding abilities in my presence, let alone include me in one. Fairies were fascinating and secretive. They didn’t share.
“A spell was carried out today, late morning that magically bound your great grand-daughter and me, tight enough to pass as a blood bond, even if no blood exchange happened.”
Instantly his eyes grew hard. I couldn’t blame him for his anger and he had the right to show it to me.
“What spell? You knew of this?”
“An illegal binding spell Niall. And no, I didn’t know of this. I was, in fact, woken from my day rest when the magic took shape, and if I were any less powerful than I am, I would have walked straight into the sun, to be with Sookie, even if I was burnt on the way.”
Niall silently considered the disturbing news. I waited for his response.
“Whom do you suspect? Could it have been Hallow?”
“I am positive it is her. And I am working on securing the culprits involved. There is also a slight complication with two vampire monarchs who started all of this for their own ends.”
“How would binding Sookie with you, magically, benefit other vampire monarchs? Didn’t they all want her for her telepathy?”
I chuckled and Niall gave me a questioning glance. “Oh they were not planning on binding Sookie to me. They were more interested in a forced merger of states. Their spell did not go as planned.”
“In that case, we’ll need to protect her…”
“Yes…And put the monarchs in their places, without starting a vampire civil war between all the states. But rest assured for Sookie. She is safe and within the walls of the most secure place on this property. If anyone so much as looks at her the wrong way, I will kill them, painfully, civil war be damned! I’m working on the monarch situation. I don’t want any blood or unnecessary spectacle on my hands while this convention is going on. I’ll keep you posted.”
He nodded and then rubbed his hands together in glee. “Excellent. Do I get to kick some vampire arse?”
Sookie… Jason… and now Niall! Was this thirst for bloody adventure a family trait? Or maybe it was a fairy trait…
“I’ll deny I said this, but you are most welcome to it!” I smirked and with another flick of his hand, the privacy shield was gone. Visible to the world again, we went towards our seats for the next speaker. As I sat in my place of honor on the stage, I received a text from Pam.
“It was THE fucking tiger!”