Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to Charlaine Harris. I do however have an unhealthy obsession with Viking vampires and their friends.
I lay in bed, snuggled next to my Viking in extreme post-coital bliss. He had arrived as soon as he could after the setting of the sun. We made love and lay in bed together, not talking but comfortable. I was twirling my fingers in his golden chest hair, when I felt him tense. His whole body went rigid. To say I was frightened was an understatement.
"Eric, what is it?" He did not answer immediately but stood up and walked to the window of my room facing the driveway. He pushed aside the curtains and waited.
"Lover, I fear we will have company momentarily. We need to get dressed. Stay calm; I won't let anything happen to you. I am calling Pam."
I didn't hesitate, I had learned my lesson. When Eric gets this way, it means something and I was sure as hell going to obey this time. If I had done as he asked before the Fae war, I would not have endured so much pain, Bill would be well and Tray and Claudine would still be alive. I got up and pulled on my discarded jeans, a bra and a long sleeve Merlotte's t-shirt.
As predicted, within minutes there were headlights from two cars in the driveway. The first car was a long, black limousine. The second was a black Hummer. This type of entrance could belong to only one man, well vampire, Felipe de Castro.
De Castro is the king of Nevada, Louisiana and Arkansas. Eric owes him fealty as Sherriff of Area Five in Shreveport. He frequently desires my assistance in matters of business. You see, I am telepathic. I can hear the thoughts of humans, weres to a certain extent and some vampires; although that is on a need to know basis. And as far as I am concerned, no one needs to know.
Eric took my hand and led me from the house into the yard. Amelia's wards were sturdy and I knew that no uninvited vampire could come past them. We were safely inside the limits, when Eric stopped. He bowed low to de Castro and although I could taste the bile in my throat, I bowed deeply too.
"Your Majesty, to what do I and my bonded owe the pleasure of this visit?" Eric was very cordial, but it was apparent that de Castro was not in a cordial type of mood.
"Northman, you are a good sheriff and a formidable ally but your pride and arrogance will be your downfall. After Ms. Stackhouse was brought home following the Fae War, you show up in my office in a rage. Do you remember the female? Her name was Agatha Regenta; she is the queen of Georgia. We were negotiating a marriage. When you interrupted demanding to know where my protection of your bonded was during the war, you embarrassed me. I allowed you to live just then because I did not want my future bride to think me unjust. She is quite tender hearted. I have since come to understand that I can not be as lax with you as I have been. You must learn to respect authority. Therefore, I have decided to replace you as Sherriff. You will come to Las Vegas with me, where you will be punished for the crimes you have committed against me."
"I will not leave this state. You know that if we were to fight that I could easily overpower you, and that all of my loyal in Louisiana would help me overthrow you were that my desire," Eric told the king, his jaw stiffed into a hard line.
"I had a feeling you would say that. But don't worry; I have a way of coercing you to obey. If you please…" de Castro directed at the back of the limousine.
"Child, kneel." Eric hit his knees without a thought, a look of confusion on his perfect face. A tall figure exited the car. He was wearing a long red cloak. He appeared to be about 40 or 45 years old, and he may have been quite handsome at one time. However, he was much, much older. Appius Livius Ocella rose from the car and walked slowly toward Eric, who was on both knees now and facing the earth.
"Master?" Eric cried.
"It has been a long, long time my child. I am impressed at the life you have cut out for yourself in this new era. But that is no longer our concern. You will accompany myself and the King back to Las Vegas at once. Stand."
Eric stood at once, unable to disobey an order from his maker. I felt sick. My beautiful Viking, helpless at the hands of a cowardly king and an ancient vampire that had abused his power too often.
"Master. I beg of you, do not make me leave my bonded. I love her." This was the first time I had heard the actual words cross Eric's lips. I gasped and ran forward to him. He caught me in his arm and then pushed me behind him, protecting me from the vampires before us.
"You love her? Eric, she is a human. You cannot love her. Humans are meals Eric, not mates. What could you…"
"Perhaps I could help you to understand, Appius," interjected de Castro. "You see, Ms. Stackhouse is a telepath. She has been a great asset to both Louisiana and to my kingdom."
"That is not why I love her and value her, Master. I admit in the beginning, I knew how she could be used for my own purposes. But this woman and I have been through so much together. We have fought together. She saved my life. Did you not hear about the bombing in Rhodes by the Fellowship of the Sun? She rushed into the hotel, despite the fact that it had been bombed and was literally falling to the ground—with the express purpose of waking Pam and myself from our day time sleep to save our lives. She is more than just an asset to me, my Master. "
"I am impressed human, however, I have already made a deal with Mr. de Castro. Eric will leave with me. You may have a moment to say goodbye to each other. Eric, it appears that your child has just arrived. You will order her not to approach or try to kill either me or the King. Then you must say goodbye, sunrise is soon. We must leave."
Pam had run all the way from Shreveport. Her hair was tangled from the wind and there were bloody streaks across her face. Her bond with Eric had apparently relayed his emotions. She flew toward Appius.
"Pam, as your maker, I command you not to attack my maker or the King." She stopped in mid lunge and fell to her knees. She was heaving and sobbing now, uncontrollably upset at the loss of her master.
Eric turned to me; he held my face in his hands. His eyes were rimmed in red, threatened with tears that would overflow at any moment. He gazed at me for several long moments.
"Sookie, you must understand. I have no choice. I do love you, I will always love you. You must carry on. I need you to take care of Pam for me. I must go." He laid his lips upon mine and kissed me, not a passionate, fiery kiss but one of desperate heartache. I wanted to say so many things but I knew I could not in our present company. I tried to reach out to him with my mind. I knew it worked, when his eyes opened widely at me.
Eric, if you truly love me you will not close the bond. I will find a way back to you. Do you understand? You must promise me. I love you, so much. I cannot lose you. I know that you have no choice but to go. I will get you back. Promise me.
He looked stunned but he nodded his head to me slightly. I watched as he reached up to the necklace he always wore, his talisman. He tore the cord from around his neck, and placed it in my hand.
"Min alskare." Then he turned and walked away.
Pam lay in a heap on the ground in my driveway. She had stopped crying but had not been able to move yet. I watched the two vehicles until I could see them no more, then I ran to her. She allowed me to lift her up, with Amelia's help. We walked her into my house and straight through to the kitchen.
I put a True Blood into the microwave, removed it and shook it to get rid of the hot spots. I placed the bottle in front of Pam. "Drink, Pam. I mean it."
A vampire does not have to obey a human, ever. But Pam did in that moment and she began drinking. She stared up at me, her face covered in blood and the look of a desperate, helpless child.
"Amelia, will you please get me a washcloth? Pam, finish your blood. We have planning to do tonight. "
Amelia returned with a warm washcloth, she immediately took to the task of wiping the tears from Pam's face. My heart ached, as I remembered washing Eric's bloody feet in this kitchen not so long ago. I could feel the hot tears at the corner of my eyes, but I refused to allow them to fall. He needed me now; it was time for me to be the strong one.
"Sookie, it is hopeless. What can we do against such powerful vampires? A witch, a telepath and a vampire without her master. What can we do?" Uncharacteristically for Pam, she threw herself into Amelia's arms.
Amelia, who had not spoken at all this evening, rocked Pam and patted her hair, shushing her like an infant. She was my best friend, and she had been dragged into more hell at my hands than she rightly deserved. I could not force her to go through with the plan I was hastily forming in my head.
"Amelia, you know I love you. I am planning something very dangerous. I will not force you to help me. I will understand if you want to leave."
She looked up at me from Pam's head, her face almost registering offense. No, she was most definitely offended. When she spoke, it was not the Amelia I knew so well. This was an Amelia that had been bottled up for months, since she had buried Tray. Her anger had been hidden but just under the surface.
"Sookie Stackhouse, do not try to get all noble on me now. I am in a for a pinch, in for a pound. Eric was right to demand to know where the hell de Castro was. You saved his wretched life, but when you needed it where was he? Who the hell knows? I was falling in love with Tray, I was happy. That bastard is as much to blame as anyone for his death. I love you like you were my own sister, and you know how I feel about Pam. You tell me your plan. I am ready."
I fell down at their feet and wrapped my arms around the two women I cared most about in the world. When I spoke, I know that I shocked them both.
"Pam, I know you are devastated. I understand. But I need you to be strong and I need you to get up and clear your head. If you are going to be my maker, I need to know that I can depend on you. Now look up."
I had their attention then. I had resolved the minute Appius ordered Eric away, that I would become vampire. I would go to Eric and I would kill anything in my way to get to him. Pam looked up, and spoke first.
"Am I to understand that you wish to become vampire and rescue Eric? You have never wanted to join us, but now you change your mind? I will do this for you. When do we begin?"
"Pam, it will not be tonight. And before you balk, hear me out. I know that Eric will not be killed, he is simply too valuable. I will train. I will make my body as strong as possible before you turn me. I need to learn to use a sword. I assume Eric trained you and you will train me. Amelia, we will need your spell knowledge to carry out this plan. You are one of the most talented individuals I know. We also need to gather a few more friends and bring them in on this proposal. We should do this one at a time. First things first, do we all agree to this plan?"
Amelia nodded first and then Pam nodded as well.
"I will help you get my master, Sookie. I will help train you. You must promise me, Appius Livius Ocella – is mine!"
"I will do my best to keep that promise, Pam. I need to make a phone call." I crossed the room to the phone on the wall. I dialed the number and waited through two rings.
"Bill. I need you, please."
Less than five minutes later, Bill was in my kitchen. His color still had not returned to normal since his poisoning. But here he was, because I crooked my little finger. He came running. I knew at this moment that I had truly forgiven him for everything. It was the past and now I had a future looming before me that filled me with trepidation and if I had to admit it, excitement. I felt like Eric, looking forward to a good fight. I allowed him to wrap his arms around me, and I reciprocated.
Amelia and Pam slipped into the living room. I warmed Bill a blood and explained what I had in mind. To my surprise, he did not protest. He was resigned that I would never let anything happen to someone I loved.
"Sweetheart, are you sure this is what you want?" he asked me, holding my hand.
"Bill, I am. I love him; I can't let Appius hurt him like he used to. And I won't ever see him bow to de Castro again. Will you help me?"
"I will. I am still very weak but I will do anything you ask me to."
"I know that you are not one hundred percent, and I do not ask you to fight. As a matter of fact, I implore you not to fight. We may need you in the end. I want to you go to Las Vegas, follow his scent. Keep an eye on him, report to me. I know that you were a scout during the Civil war. So many people died in that war, but you lived. It was because you are an amazing tracker. Find him, watch from a distance, and keep me up to date. I will be here training."
"I will leave tonight. In case, something happens..." he began, a pained look in his eyes.
"No, you will be fine. I won't lose any of my vampires," I stubbornly cut him off.
"Sookie, please. Hear me out. I have always loved you and I will always love you. I honestly would or will meet my final death for you. Know that these are not only words. I swear this to you. "
He stood and kissed my hand. Before I could respond, he was gone.
I looked at the clock. Sunrise would be soon, so I told Pam to retire to the hidey hole. She did not have time to make it back to Shreveport before dawn. I desperately needed sleep myself, but there were more urgent matters before me.
My next call went to Sam. I waited until just after seven before I called him up. Not surprisingly, he answered on the first ring. He was already up and cleaning. I asked him to come over and he said he would be there shortly. Amelia had brewed a pot of coffee and I drank deeply of my morning ambition while I waited for Sam to arrive.
It was not long before I saw his truck pull up to the back. He walked right in and drew me into a tight hug.
"Sookie, your yard smells like a vampire convention. What the hell has been happening here?"
I handed him a cup of coffee and asked him to sit down. I told him everything, absolutely everything. He had dealt with my vampire shit for far too long, without nearly enough answers. He now knew all about mine and Bill's relationship and troubles, how I came to find myself in love with a thousand year old Viking, how I came to discover that I am part Fae, my part in the Fae war, and now how I planned to become vampire and wipe out anything that kept me from Eric.
I braced myself for his anger. But it never happened. After taking a long drink of his coffee, he took a deep breath and let it out.
"That explains so much, cher. And for the first time in a long time, I know that you are Eric are meant to be. You complete each other. I still don't like it but I will help you. What can I do?"
"You can help me train. I need to get into shape, like amazing shape. You can run with me. I need to be able to fight things that are bigger than me, I am talking were guards and you can help me learn to fight them. You can schedule me for night shifts to get me used to a vampire schedule. And you can keep being my very best friend. "
"Have you told Jason yet, Cher?" Sam asked.
"No, right now he doesn't need to know. He won't understand. And don't think that I am calling him stupid, because he has matured a lot but not enough to swallow this. I will tell him—when the time is right. "
"I understand. But Sookie, you look like hell. You need to go to bed. Tomorrow night is a full moon; we begin Were fighting 101 at first dark. And, Sookie. I love you."
"I know, Sam. I love you too."
After checking on Amelia, I went to my room. Eric's discarded shirt was on the floor. I took off my own shirt and put his on, basking in his scent. I remembered his necklace that I removed from my pocket before taking off my jeans, and I tied it around my own neck. Then I lay down in my bed and placed my hand on the pillow where his head had been.
And I cried myself to sleep.
A/N: This will be my first attempt at a multi-chapter story. I usually have my wonderful friend, VampLover1, beta for me. But I was excited about posting and the Deadpan contest has begun. So any mistakes in this are 100% mine. Please review and let me know if I should continue or to offer any suggestions.
**Don't worry; I plan to have our girl kicking ass soon. The next chapter, I intend to have from Eric's point of view. Thank you all!!