Salvation

How Stephan with his vampire senses couldn't hear the long awaited arrival of my saviours I will never know, but I saw them before he did, even in my sorry state. They appeared quietly through a window high up in the wall and it occurred to me to wonder how they'd reached the conclusion I was here. My confused brain at least assumed they'd come for me. Salvation had come just in time; I wasn't sure how much longer I could hold out. My brain and body were getting ever increasingly disorientated and pathetic.

Stephan's fist collided with my ribs, yet more bones crunching beneath his touch. I coughed and spluttered, choking back the pain, "Evelyn," he said, "I can't understand you. Why do you protect him? Still?" He meant Eric, why do I protect Eric, "He has not claimed you as his own. He has allowed me to do this to you. He could have saved you." He made entirely valid points, for which I still had no answer, but I was pleased that both Bill and Eric were here to hear those words come out of his mouth. I had wondered several times myself on that very point this past week or so, when I was on my own in the coffin. Stephan hadn't put me in the dreadful thing last night, but instead left me bound and masked strapped to the chair until he returned at dusk.

He struck me again and had it not been for my restraints I would've ended up on the other side of the continent. My good arm tightly reined to the beam above my head, Stephan at least had the good grace to strap my broken wrist to my waist in a makeshift sling. Wrapped in silver, of course. I saw Bill grasp Eric's arm tightly as Eric lurched forward in response to Stephan's attack on me. I tried my best to remain silent. Stephan was so close to me I could smell the scent of seared flesh as his knuckles brushed the chain on my belly. It healed quickly.

"Or the one from Bon Temps. He prefers to mainstream and bang that dumb blonde waitress rather than save you. They both do. Time and again, they both choose that fairy bitch over you."

I smiled at him broadly, the first time in days, completely ignoring the pain a simple smile managed to cause my cheek, "You shouldn't have said that," I replied, my first words of the evening to him, as Bill and Eric encroached slowly on him, across the warehouse.

"What?"

I spat blood in his face, and he slapped my across the cheek, sending my head woozy once again, "You're done for now," I grinned, Stephan looked at me with a befuddled expression. His fangs glinting menacingly, "You mean you are," he said, striding forward and sinking his teeth into my upper suspended arm.

"Fuck!" I moaned and tensed all my body. I don't know why it hurt more than it had down previously. Maybe it was because the entire event was being quietly observed by the only two vampires I had ever voluntarily let bite me.

I felt a blazing ache as his teeth were ripped out of my flesh brutally and he flew across the warehouse floor. Both Eric and Bill were on him in an instant, their once friendly fangs turned violent for me to see.

I managed to remain conscious for the following melee between the three vampires. In reality, overpowering Stephan, a barely decade old vampire, should have been like a walk in the park for either Eric or Bill alone. Yet, as I watched them zip and blip across the warehouse in hot pursuit of the younger, seemingly more able vampire, the two of them struggled to catch him.

They all slipped to a halt, a few metres away from me, across by the broken window with the single pane still intact.

Stephan laughed heartily, "So you've finally come, Sheriff. The question is, have you come to save her or to kill me?"

"Both," Eric snarled, as he and Bill stalked their prey in symmetry, as if dancing with their victim.

Bill spoke up now, "You've done enough, Stephan. There will be no visit to the Authority for you. We will show you no mercy."

Stephan's following cackle was one reserved for only the craziest of people, a laugh you only heard the once in a movie before the person was carted off to an insane asylum, never to be seen again.

"Oh you won't catch me. I'm far cleverer than either of you will ever be," he zipped through the pair of them and stopped behind me. Adrenaline smashed through my body like a crazed bull.

"We'll see about that," Bill muttered, before he and Eric dashed in my direction, halting a foot away.

Stephan, using his hostage as a shield, swayed side to side behind me, goading Eric and Bill, "You know how wolves on V have enhanced strength, well just imagine the sensation of feeding on a high wolf. It's electric!"

"That's blasphemy, The Authority will never…." Bill was interrupted.

"I thought there wasn't going to be any Authority!" Stephan shouted loudly behind my head, "Look at the two of you, pathetic. You're fighting for a human that you won't even turn. Killing your own kind in their defence."

Eric shot me a stern look that asked if I'd told Stephan the truth. "Don't look at me like that!" I spat, glaring back at him.

"Ooh finally. Trouble in paradise," Stephan said, triumphantly to my left, distracting us both.

As Eric and Bill stepped forward, Stephan vamp speeded between them and stood across by the window again. I had a brief moment to wonder why neither Bill nor Eric had turned to untie me, when I remembered the silver chains. I pulled my arm and rattled the chains. Neither of them so much as glanced in my direction, their intent fixed solely on the wayward vampire.

"Stephan," Eric voice rang out in the warehouse, strong and true, and bizarrely made a flush of warmth ebb in all my right places, "Your brother deserved what happened to him."

Stephan's gaze fixated on his elders, his head fell forward and he glared at Eric, "You killed him."

Eric squared up, "He stole from me."

"What?"

"Daniel broke into my club and cleared out a weeks takings."

"You're the Sheriff," Stephan's hand raised to his forehead, as if in confusion, "You would have just sent him to the Tribunal if that were the case."

"True," Eric shifted his hands into his pockets nonchalantly, as Bill stepped backward closer to me. It was as if they were flanking me, putting themselves in the way of danger, rather than letting me get hurt, again. Eric continued, "I declined him permission to make a progeny of a human in my area."

I gulped at the realisation Eric had killed Daniel to defend me, well before we'd had a relationship.

"Your brother had very little respect for my authority as Sheriff," Eric continued, "All I did was in self-defence."

Self defence my arse. I couldn't help but smile. My cheek bone throbbed its disagreement.

Stephan's anger got the better of him. You could see it in his body, his face and his fangs. Somehow they managed to look even more lethal as he spat out my death warrant, "You will both meet the true death, and so will she."

What followed was a fight at vampire speed that my mere human eyes couldn't comprehend. The three of them blipped and flew and punched and chased each other. Generally Eric had the upper hand, sometimes Bill, occasionally Stephan. I'd always thought that Eric could still anyone with a mere flick of his wrist, but I could see the frustration on his face as Stephan and his wolf-heightened strength eluded him. Similarly Bill's patience was being tested as my heroes struggled to pin down this toddler of a vampire. His eyes, darkened with the thrill of the fight, darted back and forth between their prey and me, the hostage. It was as if he couldn't decide whether to leave Eric to the fighting and come to untie me. Whilst I was flattered that little old me elicited this response, a selfish part of me wanted Eric to be doing the same, instead he was fixated on the brawl. He would deal with me later. In truth they didn't have to wait much longer before Stephan realised his only levy was me. Eric and Bill would inevitably outrun him, their strength was eternal, and Stephan's was visibly waning.

He was behind me as quick as I could blink. My head wrenched to my shoulder agonisingly, baring me to fangs glistening defiantly at my neck.

"You want her to live? You let me go," he ordered.

Eric and Bill panted, despite not needing the breath, pacing back and forth, scowling at him.

I stared painfully at Eric. A million words never uttered passed between us and he smiled sadly back at me.

At least the last image I see will be of a handsome face, I thought morbidly as I looked on, his hair all askew with the fight and I smiled back. Somehow content in knowing that both he and Bill had tried to protect me from this. I wasn't alone anymore.

They both remained silent and I thought once more, finally, that this was it. My breath was ragged and unsteady, my entire left hand no longer had any sensation and ultimately I was tired.

"Very well," Stephan said and all hope I had remaining vacated my being absolutely.

The very instant I felt his teeth graze at my skin, an explosion of body tissue and thick, slimy liquid jettisoned across my back. I shuddered where I hung, eyeballing Eric.

"Honestly, why send men to do a woman's job?" said Pam dryly, coming around into my view. Her once pink outfit was adorned with vampire remnants, ruined.

She looked me up and down, taking in the state I was in. A small smirk graced her lips, "You owe me new Chanel."

THE END