It didn't take long for the Authority to put their plan into effect and a few hours before daylight the largest TruBlood factory in the world was in flames. Salome called us into the main chamber to see the news broadcast. When I entered behind Eric I realized there was a man tied to the table, Salome's version of a celebratory feast. I glanced at Eric nervously.
"You're going to have to feed on him," Eric thought to me as Salome went on about how great it was that the vampires were finally getting back to the way they were supposed to be. I wanted to turn to him and say that there was no way I was going to be able to do that but I couldn't draw attention to myself and so I just squeezed his hand tightly.
"Should someone say grace?" Russell asked. "Northman?"
"Prayer is a bit of a foreign concept to me, perhaps someone with more practice should do it," Eric said. "If you don't Salome will know something is wrong. Don't drink much and don't throw up."
Salome finished up her prayer to Lilith and they all dived in. I tried to back away when the metallic scent of blood hit the air but Eric grabbed me and pulled me down. Reluctantly I popped my fangs out and stuck my teeth into the man's flesh. The awful red liquid filled my mouth and it was all I could do not to start gagging. Thankfully the man was drained quickly.
"I'm going to go freshen up," I stammered before darting out of the hall and towards the only restroom in the underground facility. I knelt over the toilet and vomited until there wasn't anything left. I groaned and stood up. I barely managed to grip the sides of the stall before my legs gave out. I suddenly felt extremely light headed and let myself slide back down. I wondered if I was going to die of starvation. After all how long can a vampire who can't keep down blood actually survive.
I made it back to my room in one piece by some miracle and dropped into my bed with a thud. The door opened moments later and I opened my eyes enough to make sure it wasn't Salome. Though it wouldn't have mattered if it was, I didn't think I could act like I was alright. Luckily it was only Eric who was holding something in a black bag. He sat on the edge of my bed and pulled out a case of TruBlood and opened one of the bottles. "Try this," he said trying to ease me up into sitting position.
"I can't drink that," I said.
"Just try." He looked so worried I decided to give it a chance, if I threw up again so be it. I took a tiny sip at first and then a bit larger one. The synthetic blood was sweeter and thinner than the real stuff and I found the taste wasn't entirely unpleasant. Rachel had told me she had tried one of Bill's bottles one time when we'd first started living with him and that it had just been a little unpleasant but not horrible, she was right.
"It doesn't taste the same; I think I can finish it." I took the bottle out of his hands and drank it more quickly. It was the first thing I'd been able to drink in days and I was parched.
"Human food may still help you but we have no way of testing that, not to mention there isn't any way to get it down here, so that's out. TruBlood was the next best thing I could think of. You'll have to hide it, Salome won't be happy if she finds out you're drinking it instead of human blood."
I glanced around for a place to put the remainder of the case. I pointed to one of the statues that I'd learned had a hollow base by kicking it while upset a week or so before. Eric picked it up and stood the case on one end inside.
He came and sat down next to me again. "Are you feeling better?" He asked. I nodded, even though I didn't feel much better. I put my arms around his neck and kissed him. He slid me over so there was more room on the bed and he stretched out next to me. "It's almost daylight, you should rest." I curled up facing him and he brushed his fingers through my hair.
"Am I going to die?" I whispered. He moved his hand to rest against my cheek.
"We'll figure something out. I'm not letting you die again." He pressed his lips to my forehead. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep but all I could think about was how I was supposed to live forever and here I was even more fragile than before.
I don't know if it was the TruBlood or the sleep but I woke up the next night feeling much better. Eric was already gone so I went ahead and got up. I peeled off yesterday's jeans and shirt and tossed them into a corner. Salome had redone my wardrobe with official looking blazers and evening gowns, though I had no idea when I was supposed to be dressing up. I grabbed the only remaining pair of jeans and a simple tank top. When I glanced in the mirror the Authority crest necklace was the only thing I could see. I wanted to rip it off and throw it across the room but I knew that if I didn't keep it Salome would get suspicious.
I left my room and walked down the hallway looking for Eric. Or better yet, maybe I'd find Bill and he could explain what the hell was going on. I finally found Eric coming out of a room with Molly. "What's the plan?" I asked casually. Eric shook his head and led me down the hall in the direction I'd just come. We passed my room and headed toward Salome's room where Bill was standing.
"Good, I need to talk to you too," Eric said grabbing Bill and pushing him into the room. "Now maybe you'd like to explain why you've suddenly decided to start a civil war."
"There aren't any cameras in here so fill free to cut the bullshit," I said.
"I don't know who I believe anymore," Bill said. "I saw Lilith, we all saw Lilith."
"We were high as kites," Eric reminded him.
"They're crazy, Bill. Certifiably crazy," I said.
"What if they aren't?" He asked.
"Are you really going to tell me humans are now only food to you?" Eric asked. "Even Sookie? Rachel?" Bill didn't answer. "That's what I thought."
"If you still care about humans, how could you possibly have done something so stupid that puts everyone we care about in danger?"
"I don't know."
"Do I need to remind you that your so called god almost had me killed by Russell?" I asked. He wouldn't look me in the eye and I groaned. "Please tell me you have a plan to get us out of here?" I asked Eric.
"We're leaving tonight."
"I'm so glad you're alright," I told Alcide for what must have been the tenth time. We were in Alcide's truck driving out to his dad's place in Jackson. We had thought it was probably best to get out of town for a while until things settled down a bit and then we'd be able to figure out where to go from there. I'd packed the necessities and we'd hit the road as soon as we could. "If you had died, I don't know what I would have done."
"You shouldn't have come," he told me. "You could've gotten hurt or worse."
"Well I didn't. I'm okay. You're going to have to start treating me like your equal. I'm dangerous now, I can hurt people. You saw what I did to JD. Now that I can defend myself, I'm not some damsel in distress that constantly needs protecting."
"I don't want you to get hurt."
"Don't you get it? We want to protect each other. That only works if we both start treating each other like equals. Even if I can't help you, I want to go down fighting right next to you." I stared at him, daring him to make another comment.
He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and I saw him smile a little bit. "I love you."
"I love you too." I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "We're in this together."
Eric and I went into the main chamber and found Nora in the room with the vial of Lilith's blood. "I'll let you two talk," I told him. I went to sit down far enough away I couldn't hear what they were saying without using my vamp-hearing. They spoke quietly for a few minutes.
"Lily?" I was surprised to hear Nora call my name and I glanced up. She motioned me towards her. When I got closer she stepped forwards and held out her hands to me. I took them cautiously. "I've been horrid to you, ever since you arrived. I was blind then to how much Eric truly cares for you. I want to ask for your forgiveness. I want you to see the light as well. You and Eric and I are all Lilith's children."
I glanced at Eric. I could tell he wanted to believe in all the Lilith bullshit for Nora's sake. He didn't want her to be crazy because he loved her too much. I supposed I would be the same way if it was Rachel and I in their position. "I'll give it a shot," I told Nora.
"We'll drink her blood together to celebrate. I'll help you believe." She smiled and then gave me a hug. "It will be magical, you'll see!"
When Alcide and I finally arrived at his father's trailer it was night. We walked up to the door and Alcide just went on in. I followed behind him and walked up the steps. Alcide's father was lying in bed drinking a beer and watching a race on television. I stood in the doorway awkwardly unsure of what to say. "Grab me another beer, hun," he said. I glanced beside me and saw the fridge. I pulled out a couple of beers and handed one to Alcide and one to his dad. "What's your name?" He asked.
"Rachel," I said. He nodded but didn't say anything. I glanced at Alcide a little surprised he hadn't mentioned me.
"You here to lecture me again, son?" He asked Alcide.
"I lost pack master, I was abjured," Alcide told him. Alcide's hand found mind and I squeezed it.
"A lone wolf, just like your old man," his father said.
"I'm nothing like you," Alcide said. I had always thought of Alcide as a bit of a lone wolf from the start, he was never like his pack and that was a good thing. Eric had done a lot of things but one of the best had been putting Alcide in my life.
"Sure you're not," his dad mumbled. I wanted to say that I was sure Alcide wasn't like him because I'd yet to meet a single other person like him, but I kept my mouth shut. I had a feeling there were things I didn't know about the two of them and I didn't want to stir them up that night.
Nora was planning on having us drink the blood the next night, but little did she know we didn't plan on being here that much longer. Eric led Nora out into the lobby and I followed behind. "Oh it's going to be just great, the three of us, I can hardly believe it," Nora was saying. Molly was waiting for us by the elevator and Nora looked a confused. Before she could say anything Eric quickly injected her with liquid silver to knock her out and we went to the door. Molly turned off the cameras and hit the elevator button. Eric quickly scooped up Nora and carried her to the door to prick her finger for the blood scan. I held up a hand to stop him from opening the door quite yet.
"Where's Bill?" I asked. I glanced at the door and bobbed on me heels.
"We need to go," Molly said.
"He's coming," I told her. Bill appeared and I sighed in relief.
"You had us worried there for a minute," Eric told him. Eric pricked Nora's finger and the light flashed green. The doors slid open to reveal Salome and several guards waiting for us. We were surrounded in seconds.
"Bill, how could you?" I yelled as two guards grabbed my arms.
"Cover her eyes and shield your minds, she can glamour you and see what you're thinking," Bill ordered the guards holding him. I gasped in horror that he was telling them what I could do.
"She lost her powers in the change," Salome said.
"No, she kept them all," Bill told her. He walked forwards and touched my cheek.
"Don't touch me! Don't you fucking touch me!" I screamed as someone covered my eyes leaving my totally powerless. I went limp and they dragged me away.
"I'm doing this for your own good, Lily. This is what god wants," I heard Bill say as the led me down the hallway.