Andre could see Eric had made the decision already. He still said what he had to say. Eric didn’t keep him around to kiss ass.
“Do you want the spectacle of a whipping Eric? And to death no less? We could give him more pain in a more discreet fashion.”
“No. This whipping is going to happen. And in front of as many people as I care should watch.” Eric said, staring at the crystal glass of blood in his hand, sounding disturbingly calm for the occasion. It was this calm that disturbed Andre. A furious, bloodthirsty viking was better than the cold collected vampire that sat in front of him. There was no telling what he would do when he got like that. “And arrest Jessica. She will have first row seats to the show.”
“You can’t arrest his progeny just like that. Bill committed blood offence. But incarcerating Jessica is a recipe for bad supe press. She called Sookie because they are friends. And she didn’t know about your bond. Her sheriff Thalia might give her a slap on her wrist but anything more than that would garner more attention than we want on this case. Must I remind you that Freyda and Stan are still looking for an alliance and you are still buying time? They are variables capable of mischief. They can’t know of your bond with Miss Stackhouse.”
“I’ll deal with Freyda and Stan. And I’ve had a hell lot of good press to last me the next century Andre. We’ll handle this properly, exactly by law. But I want that worthless baby vampire behind my bars. She is currently in your area. Arrest her.”
“Eric…” he started to argue but saw Pam slightly shake her head from where she stood by Eric’s left side, “Of course. It shall be done.”
“Alright. Pam. What’s the status of tiger watch?”
“The witches are trying a locator spell. But he is moving a lot and shifting continuously, messing up the spell. He is still somewhere in Louisiana but we don’t know exactly where.”
“What about the mother and sister?”
“His mother was mysteriously broken out of De Castro’s prison the night of the theft. The sister has been missing since before that. Quinn clearly knew we’d be after him and covered his basis.”
Eric rose from his chair, standing taller than anyone in the study, and walked towards the fireplace, glass of blood still intact in his hand. Every vampire in the room became more alert than they were a second before, carefully watching their king move across the room, expecting an angry outburst any second.
“Get Cataliades to build a case against him. Seize his assets and company based on it and involve local law enforcement. I am sure he can’t get far without money. Do this tonight. In the next hour or so.” Eric said, in the same cold and calculated tone he’d been using all evening.
“Yes Master.” Pam nodded and pulled out her phone to text Cataliades.
“Oh and tell Cataliades to somehow incinerate De Castro as well, for helping Quinn escape.”
“But we can’t prove that.”
Eric turned and stared at Pam for half a minute, making her squirm.
“Yes.” he said finally, “But then he’ll want to find Quinn too, in a way, helping us. I’ll smooth him over later with an orgy or something.”
“What’s next Willa?”
Willa checked her list and nervously cleared her throat before speaking up.
“The Hep-V test status Master.”
“Do we have an update?”
“Damian sent an email with an update. Says that the first phase of tests are going as expected. We’ll have results on his cure by tomorrow evening. He also asked if he could have more test subjects.”
“Yes give him all that he needs. But keep it down and do the testing on orphans first. No one will care if they die from the tests. We don’t need family drama on this. ”
Eric turned towards the fire again and missed the glances of equal concern and curiosity being exchanged between his four sheriffs and two daughters.
The doors to the study suddenly burst open and Niall came in, clearly bristling with anger, and clearly showing all of it.
“You said you would keep her safe.” he walked up to Eric and practically growled, “And yet she was attacked! UNDER. YOUR. ROOF.”
Eric kept his eyes trained on the royal fairy and told his vampires to leave them alone for a while. They left in a second, without a sound and Pam closed the door after her.
“Sit down Niall.”
Niall huffed and crossed his arms in front of him, still standing close and not backing down.
“Alright if we are skipping the niceties…” Eric growled, looming over Niall, his eyes glittering dangerously in a first display of emotion all evening since Sookie left, “Care to tell me how your grand daughter seems to have grown the powers of teleportation and glamor overnight? I know fairies can share light with their family. Any chance you’ve been topping up her charge?”
Niall took a step back in shock.
“What? Teleportation? Glamor? Since when? What the hell are you talking about?”
Eric eyed him carefully before filling him in, “She can teleport. Since this morning. Iron inhibits the teleportation but she still can’t be glamored which means the telepathy remains intact. I saw the security tapes and questioned the guards before ripping them apart. She glamored them Niall. I am sure of it!”
“No. No no no…” Niall shook his head vehemently, “Teleportation? Ok maybe she could do it under duress. But glamor? It isn’t even a fairy trait. We can’t glamor humans, much less werewolves. All we can do is affect a general emotion around us. But not glamor! Only and only vampires can do it. Are you sure she did it?”
“Yes. I am sure she glamored the head of my security team. No one else can tell because she was very subtle about it. But I know what she did because that was a very resilient wolf who she coaxed into doing her bidding, and one who was already under the command of my glamor. He broke it. And then he followed her orders.”
The ancient vampire and the prehistoric fairy just stood there and stared at each other. Niall’s face showed the fear that clutched his heart like a vice. Sookie was becoming unnatural. Unpredictable. And that never turned out well.
“Where is she?”
“She went for a drive around town. I have her watched.” Eric checked his phone, “She is on Bourbon Street right now. Her speed tells me she is walking.”
“You put a tracking device on her?” Niall asked with a frown.
“Do you blame me?” Eric asked with a shrug.
“No. I do not.” Niall sighed, “I think I’ll go talk to her. Lonely walks turn her into a self questioning insecure little human. She would need someone to knock some sense into her.”
“That’s my bonded you are talking about.” Eric raised a derisive brow.
“I am old and grumpy!” The fairy shrugged nonchalantly and turned to go, “I am allowed to gripe about my descendants, aren’t I?”
“She saw me killing a few weres.” Eric called out, “I wan’t very balanced about it. She needed time to come to terms with it.”
Niall turned to look at him just as he reached to open the door. “So she saw some blood shedding. Like she hasn’t seen that before! Did you apologise?”
“No. I just gave her my car keys to go clear her head.”
“I can tell you are no Bill Compton. Or Sam Merlotte or even Alcide. There is still hope for you. Good luck with that hope though.” Niall smirked before leaving, shutting the door after him once again.
Eric turned to the fire again, raised the hand carrying his untouched glass of blood and flung it savagely against the marble mantle piece, putting every bit of the frustration he was feeling into the small act of violence. Then he adjusted his suit jacket and walked out of the room for the next order of the business of running a very volatile empire.
Sookie drove around town for a bit, going nowhere, numb with what had happened. Between the pull to go to Eric and the wish to get away from him, she felt her innards torn to shreds. Just like those six werewolves! The image came in front of her eyes and she shuddered in horror. That was not the kind of carnage one forgot easily. Much less when the perpetrator of the carnage was the man you loved and wanted with all your life.
Feeling incapable to drive, she parked Eric’s fancy sports car at the first spot she found and got out to take a walk through the throngs. New Orleans had a live pulse that she could almost feel as she weaved aimlessly through one busy street after another.
She didn’t know where she was. Or where she was going. The only thing she felt was the faint but empty humm in her heart that told her Eric was somewhere safe and sound and still blocking her. She kept pushing at it, at the bond, as if it was a physical door that would give way if she pushed enough. What she expected to find behind the door? She didn’t know. But Sookie had nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. Nothing but beat at that stubborn door! Stubborn like the vampire who held the keys to it.
Tears started down her eyes that she wasn’t even aware of. She swayed and held onto a pillar in front of her, all the events of the day crashing onto her already overwrought nerves.
With that, came anger. At herself, for walking willingly into harms way. At Bill, for violating her yet again. At Eric, for letting her go off on her own.
Extreme frustration. Again at herself for being a fool and then fighting for the foolishness.
And weariness. At being brought yet again to the doors of death and escaping at a hair’s breadth.
Eric’s blood might have healed the outward signs of the attack, but they were still there and they weren’t going away. Sookie hated Eric at the moment because she was angry with him but wanted to be with him more than anything else. Eric was the reason she had to put some distance between them. And Eric was the only one she wanted to just hold on to and cry the pain away.
How much more fucked up could she be?
“Sook?”A familiar voice came from somewhere behind her. This was the last person Sookie wanted to see at the moment. But she knew this was also the last person who would leave her alone to cry on a random curb in New Orleans.
She wiped her face as best as she could before turning around and forcing a smile on her face.
“Alcide. What are you doing here?”
“What happened to you cher? Why are you crying? Are you alone?” Alcide cautiously closed the distance between the two, careful to not get close enough.
A lifelong habit of covering up her real emotions and making up conversation on the go kicked in as Sookie shrugged and wiped her sweaty hands on her dress.
“Oh Tara’s here, somewhere around. I’m fine. All’s well. What are you doing here?”
“I just came to get a drink.” he pointed towards the bar they were standing in front of. “You could sit with me till Tara comes to find you.”
Sookie gulped. She couldn’t tell him that she lied about Tara. Maybe he would go on his way after a drink. Should she go sit with him for a while? God knew she needed a drink right about then!
“Ok.” She nodded at Nick standing in the shadows and stepped into the bar with Alcide, who was positively giddy at getting his perfect chance at revenge so soon and so easily. In his excitement he placed a hand on Sookie’s back to hurry up and usher her inside. Now he only had to spike her drink with the Hep-V and by the way she reeked of Northman, he would drink from her and get infected.
He guided her to the bar and helped her on a stool. Then he ordered her a G&T and a beer for himself. The bartender placed his beer in front of him and quickly mixed the other drink, offering it up to her with a kind smile. Sookie sure looked like someone in dire need of a drink.
Sookie turned to look back towards the door ,and while her back was turned, Alcide poured the contents of the Hep-V vial into her glass. The liquid virus mixed in perfectly with the drink, not leaving any traceable color. Suddenly Sookie stood up.
“Give me a moment Alcide. I’ll be right back!”
“At least have that drink Sook!” he pleaded, practically begging the girl to drink a sip out of the spiked glass.
Sookie met his eyes and nodded, “Yeah I’ll take this with me. I think Tara is outside. I’ll tell her to give me a minute or two.”
She snatched the glass and walked towards the door.
As soon as she reached the door, Niall took her elbow and steered her towards a side alley, out of sight and earshot.
“Do you know what’s in it?” he whisper yelled.
“Niall! What the hell? How did you know I was here?” Sookie whispered back.
“That is beside the point young lady! What are you doing with that wolf? And today of all days when your vampire is out wolf hunting already?!”
“Calm down!” she growled, “I was investigatin’ Alcide!”
Niall cocked an eyebrow and glowered at her.
“He spiked this. With Hep-V. He had a vial of liquid virus. I heard him plan to infect Eric to kill him.”
Niall snatched the glass from Sookie and smelled it.
“And you saw him put the this virus in this glass?”
“I saw him in the eyes of a man sitting next to us. What are we going to do great granddaddy?” Sookie asked, frantically thinking what to do.
“You have to ask that? Turn him in of course! Along with the evidence!” he waved the glass n front of Sookie’s eyes, pointing at the evidence.
Suddenly the thought of turning Alcide in, gave Sookie the chills. The nervous nauseous paranoia died out, replaced with pure deep fear.
“I have already gotten six weres killed today. Then there is Bill who, though he thoroughly deserves to die, is going to be killed in my name, for attacking me. If I turn Alcide in, he is dead before I can say lickety spit! There must be another way.”
“Yeah sure there is!” Niall bit back, “Drink the cocktail, get infected, infect Eric and kill him instead of the wolf!”
“Or here’s another one. Don’t drink it now. Let Alcide go and give him a chance to catch you unawares later. Then get infected, infect your vampire and kill him eventually.”
“STOP IT! Why is everything leading to death today?”
“Everything always leads to death. We are born and we die. Face it child! Sometimes we can help it and sometimes we cannot. Alcide chose his end when he chose to attack Eric through you. Now you chose who you want to save. Eric or Alcide?”
“I will always choose Eric. But that doesn’t mean Alcide has to die!” Sookie argued.
Niall stared at her in disbelief.
“You really are clueless aren’t you? You think these human morals are the ones that decide whether you are saint or sinner? You think you can spare someone their due end? Or give someone undeserved life? Well wake up little fairy! Our world is a savage. You either kill or get killed. And by God I’m going to make sure you are not the one who ends up getting killed.”
“Even if others get killed in my stead? You want me to feel all happy and thankful for that?”
“You have lived a pitiful life till now, always tying yourself in ropes you knit yourself from self doubt! But no more! No descendant of mine is going to make a fool of themselves like this! You’re going to go back to the viking this instant and apologize for arguing about personal things with him in front of lowly guards no less. And then you are going to give him Alcide Hervoux.”
“And sign his death warrant?”
“It’s either him or you. Who do you chose Sookie?”