A/N: My apologies this update took a bit longer than usual, holiday madness is in full swing for me. This is the last chapter of In Between. I had intended one more, but why give too much away?
The anticipated sequel to Dead to Rights (entitled Left for Dead) will be up within the next few days. It'll be chock full of answers to the questions left open at the end of DtR and this short story... but I'm sure it will open up plenty of new ones as well.
As always, thanks so much for the reviews – they're my fuel and inspiration!
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or stories from The Southern Vampire series. I can only hope that Ms. Harris does not mind me taking them out to play with.
Elana had been with him for over a week, and it was beginning to look like Bill might have an indefinite nest mate. He discovered she'd come to Shreveport with little more than the clothes on her back, and no plans to speak of. Bill got the sense she'd had to leave Miami in a hurry, but other than verifying it was not due to any issues with the local power structure, he hadn't pressed her to reveal the circumstances. Despite her playful nature, she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders. Bill doubted she would have made such a hasty move unless it were necessary. Other than revealing she'd only been turned three months ago, she told him nothing of her maker or why he'd released her so soon. At least, Bill hoped she'd been released. She clearly hadn't been called back, so it seemed a safe assumption, although the idea her maker was finally dead had certainly crossed Bill's mind.
There was much Elana didn't know. She had the basics, sure, but their society and politics were full of nuance and tradition that, if unobserved, could spell disaster for any new vampire. Bill had been giving her a crash course over the past week, trying to fill her head with all the information her maker should have, and he had found himself becoming increasingly agitated at the irresponsibility of whomever had turned her. It was lucky for her that she'd run into Bill before presenting herself to Eric, for he knew now that would likely not have gone well. She was a quick study, and Bill couldn't help but feel a sense of pride at his ability to mold her into a presentable vampire. Elana treated him with deference and respect, something he'd gotten very little of in recent times, and he hadn't realized how much he needed it. While he bolstered her confidence, she also restored his.
He was standing in the living room, staring out the window, waiting for Elana to finish getting ready. Tonight he would take her to Fangtasia to meet Eric, a prospect that certainly didn't thrill him, but needed to be done. Elana had allowed Bill to furnish her with some new clothes, but under the condition she would pay him back as soon as Eric cleared her to stay and find employment. The debate over the clothing had reminded Bill all too much of the money arguments he'd had with Sookie.
Bill took a few paces around the room before settling at the piano. He ran his fingers softly across the keys, feeling himself dipping into the despair that had become as familiar as an old friend. He hadn't seen Sookie since the night he'd risen, nor heard from her. He'd hoped to see her when he took Elana to Merlotte's last night, but was stuck with Arlene as their waitress since Sookie wasn't working. The red-head didn't bother to hide her disgust for them. Elana had done her best to charm the bitch, but even her disarming nature couldn't put a dent in Arlene's hate. Elana seemed almost hurt by it, but Bill told her she'd better get used to it.
"I'd love to hear you play," Elana said softly, now standing at the side of the piano.
Bill looked up at her. She was lovely in the simple, emerald green dress they'd chosen from Tara's Togs. It was a jersey knit with a wide neck and clung gently to her small frame, flaring out just above the knee. Bill rotated his finger, indicating for her to spin. She did, and he gave her an approving smile. He couldn't deny her beauty, but his feelings for her were more that of a proud parent, rather than anything intimate. The night before he could feel her desire as he leaned in to kiss her forehead, but he'd simply tucked her into bed, wishing her a peaceful rest. His heart belonged to another, and his affection for Elana would not allow him to act on any momentary feelings of lust.
He rose from the piano bench, replying, "If you do well tonight, I will play for you when we return home."
She beamed at the promised reward, tucking her hair behind her ears. Bill offered his arm, leading her out to his car, and they were soon on the road headed for Shreveport. He quizzed her a bit during the first part of the drive, but the closer they got to Fangtasia, the more his mood began to sour, and they settled into silence. Bill was debating waiting for her in the car, not wanting to chance having to speak to Eric, but the constant hair-tucking and hand-wringing of his companion nixed that idea. He had to force himself to put aside his own issues in order to support his young fledgling. She'd earned it.
"Hey," he said, taking her hand after pulling into a parking spot, "You're going to be fine, Elana. I'll be right at the bar waiting for you."
She smiled gratefully, giving his hand a little squeeze, which he returned. Bill noticed the clasp on her necklace had slid around to the front, and he gently took it between his fingers, righting the position. He felt her shiver a bit at his touch, aware her fangs had run out. She leaned closer into him, silently begging him to kiss her. He placed his hands on her cheeks, tilting her head down, and placed a soft kiss on her forehead. Bill couldn't deny the small surge of want that ran through him, but he pushed it aside, quickly exiting the car. He tried to pretend he didn't see the pain of rejection that momentarily flashed across her face.
Bill went around to open her door, offering his hand. She took it, though he sensed a bit of reluctance, and he escorted her across the parking lot. Waiting in line at the doors, Bill sensed something of a commotion going on inside. It wasn't like the intensity that surrounded a dangerous situation, but more like the excited energy one might feel at a big party. He peeked around curiously to try and discover what was going on.
Nothing could have prepared Bill for the sight he beheld as they made their way inside.
"Wow, who are they?" Elana asked excitedly.
Bill couldn't answer. His vision was turning red with rage, barely believing what he was seeing in the middle of the dance floor. A blond, clad in revealing leather and a gauzy skirt, was writhing up and down Eric's body, almost like a stripper on a pole. The crowd was gawking, the sexual tension in the air palpable. Pam was watching with her typical grin as the girl grabbed Eric's ass during the heated dance. But... this blond, that Eric now hoisted over his shoulder, was no typical fangbanger...
...it was Sookie.
Bill tore back out to the parking lot, shoving aside anyone who got in his way. The fury that was consuming him was more intense than any he'd ever felt in battle. He spotted Eric's Corvette, and flew straight toward it, driving his fist into the hood so hard that it buckled into a huge dent. He tore off the mirrors, jumped onto the hood, and put his foot through the windshield.
"Bill!!" he vaguely heard someone scream.
He turned, glaring at the fledgling that barely registered on his radar, and then took to the sky. He flew past the highway and into an area of thick forest overgrowth. He was shaking with the intensity of his rage, tearing trees from the ground, clawing blindly into anything he could damage. His knuckles were bleeding from the force of his punches into the tree bark, and he couldn't recognize his own voice when the howls and growling burst out from the pit of his stomach. He grabbed a thicker tree with both hands, ripping it out from the roots, and using it to smash down others.
He continued to tear a path of destruction through the twisted limbs and branches. One of the numerous broken limbs had a perfectly sharp point at its end. Bill grabbed it, holding it in front of him, aimed at his heart. It hit him all in that instant... he'd lost her. Truly lost her. Maybe he'd never had her to begin with. The image of her behaving like a fangbanger slut... for him... he'd never be able to remove it from his mind. He should march back and stake Eric first... then himself...
"Bill?" came a gentle voice, a hand grabbing onto the arm that held the impromptu stake.
His head snapped sideways, and it took a moment for him to realize it was Elana. He snatched at her hand, twisting it away.
"Get away from me," he growled, showing his fangs and staring her down.
She showed fang right back, "No."
His eyes widened, and he lunged his hand for her throat, grabbing and tossing her backward. She managed to grab onto the stake just before, ripping it from his hand as he threw her. This only angered him more, his hands curling into claws, every sense in him wanting to tear her apart.
But, she was up and on her feet before he'd made a move, lunging toward him and knocking him to his back. He grabbed for her wrists, feeling her fangs graze the back of his hand as she turned her head to bite. He deftly flipped her off him, landing in a straddle on top of her. He growled down at her and she hissed up at him, their eyes locked in rage and blood lust.
And suddenly, he was tearing her dress from her, and she was shredding his shirt. He dove his fangs into her breast, and hers found his shoulder. They became a tangle of limbs... biting... clawing... growling and completely animalistic. They were all over the place... on the ground... against a tree... hovering in midair... consumed with each other in a haze of madness and lust.
Their flesh was covered in smears of dirt and blood, ravaging each others' bodies with no regard for injury or pain or the power of the endless blood exchange. His fingers were driving into her... her nails clawing into his ass... and both grunting and screaming with their primal urge. Bill threw her, face down, over a tree branch, not hesitating as he mounted her with a force that would have shattered a human pelvis. Over and over he thrust into her, fucking her with every ounce of anger and hate that had festered and boiled over. She screamed and begged for more, and he raked his nails down her back, and reached around to mercilessly finger her clit.
As he felt his climax building, he sank his fangs into her back, sucking in rhythm with every slam into her. He grabbed her by the hair, yanking her head back, and felt her muscles spasm around him as she crested on a wave of intense orgasm. He thrust violently a few more times, and howled as his own came, flooding her with his release.
He collapsed onto her back, shaking as the tension in his muscles was finally beginning to relax. She trembled beneath him, laying like a limp rag doll, bent in half over the tree limb. A few aftershocks hit him, causing a few more spasms of his member, which was still lodged inside her. She grunted a bit.
Eventually he dragged himself off of her, flopping onto his back on the hard ground. He laid his arm over his eyes, not able to bring himself to look at her. Bill knew she'd want an explanation, and that was the last thing he wanted to give her. He'd undermined his authority with her, and feared she'd now have expectations. Could this night get any fucking worse.
He heard her finally lifting herself off the limb and the crunching of leaves as she settled on the ground next to him. He tensed, fearing she was about to try and snuggle into him, like there was some blissful afterglow to share. All he wanted was for her to go away.
"You could just... kill him," she said flatly.
Bill's eyes flew open, staring up at her as she tried to somehow fasten her torn dress back around her body. It was certainly the last thing he'd expected to hear from her, and he had no idea how to even react. She'd actually caught him off guard, and the grin on her face told him she noticed.
"You don't know what you're talking about," he growled softly.
She shrugged, tying her hair into a loose knot at the base of her neck. "Well, I know what I saw... it's up to you to tell me the rest."
Bill was getting annoyed now. Perhaps he hadn't taught her as well as he'd thought. "And why would I do that?" he snapped.
She fixed her gaze on his, her stare intense and deadly serious. "I think you owe me that much," she replied.
Bill just snorted.
She reached over, placing a hand on his cheek to turn his gaze back to hers. There was a glint of danger in them he'd never seen. She leaned down, kissing him fiercely, crushing her lips to his. After a few moments, she broke away, grinning down at him.
"I'll help you, Bill," she held the tree limb up, shaking it with a smirk. "You fill me in, and we'll come up with a plan to put Mr. Tall and Blond back in the grave."
Bill arched a brow, silently watching her... and allowed her words to sink in.