Huge thanks to Mini aka All About Eric for offering to Beta this story for me. Any mistakes and repetitions are still my fault but maybe there will be less of them!
I'm sure everyone's read her wonderful FF, Immortal Beloved, but if you haven't - you must!
Update: Eric is ready to travel to New Orleans.
Eric awoke in the luxurious, but cramped, travel coffin and scowled. He had never liked these coffins, mainly because he could not stretch properly, which was an irritating way to start the night. However when travelling by plane during the day, he didn't have much choice about using one. He even stayed inside it for a longer than necessary, just in case his body clock was out because of the flight. Doubtful, but he preferred to be careful in such situations.
Using his connections as Baron Northman and with thanks to Vamp-Virgin, he was travelling first class, which meant he had a coffin compartment to himself. He changed into his dark suit in privacy and left his shirt open at the collar. Vampires like necks, even other Vampires' neck's. Sophie-Anne may only be interested in women now, but she certainly had not always been so. She last saw Eric in jeans and a t-shirt, with his hair down, so he took a moment to tie back his hair tightly and make sure he looked smarter than usual for her.
Although Eric hardly needed confirmation that he looked good, he noted that, when he emerged to take his seat for landing, the human air-hostess looked at him for longer than she should. He declined a bottled blood, as he was still well fed from Tegan and concentrated on the view out of the window. He enjoyed watching New Orleans get closer.
When he reached Queen Sophie-Anne's Palace, Eric was fortunate as he was met by Rasul, a Vampire he knew, but not well. Rasul was generally chattier than most Vampires and, as he escorted Eric to the Queen's private rooms, he was keen to talk about the two Sheriffs who had so recently passed.
Eric listened intently, getting as much information as he could. He learnt that, as far as Rasul was aware, no Vampires had been approached about the two vacant positions and that the Queen was missing Andre.
Andre was known to be the Queen's first child. Eric believed her second and third children were Sigebert and Wybert, brothers whom she had turned in Anglo-Saxon England. The brothers had mentally stayed in that century; they were the Queen's bodyguard and did not seem to wish for more from their existence. Privately, Eric thought the two were intensely tedious and he was not surprised that Sophie-Anne was missing Andre because the pair were not interesting company.
Sigebert was stood at the door to the Queen's private office and, predictably, Wybert was inside, behind the her desk.
Eric's last meeting with Sophie-Anne, when he had been passing through New Orleans to visit Pam, had been in this room. Andre had been present, but not her boring bodyguards. On this occasion, the Queen dismissed her guard. The brothers were clearly concerned at leaving her alone with Eric, but after a moment left the room.
The Queen greeted him with a bright smile. Eric was quite surprised when Sophie-Anne reached up to brush a little non-existent lint from his jacket. "So smart Baron, what is the occasion?"
"As I am applying for a new position, I thought I should dress for the interview."
"A new position? You have left Londinium!" The Queen seemed eager to gossip and waved Eric to a delicate French sofa, that was clearly older than his child. She sat in a tinier chair, leaning forward to hear his news. She did not seem to be expecting his response.
"You have a vacancy for a Sheriff, I understand."
"I do... two vacancies. Of course, you have heard about our little drama from Pamela? It was very correct of her to call us; I am pleased your child has been so wonderfully brought up."
Eric nodded at the compliment and let the Queen continue.
"But why did you leave London? Surely there have been no problems between yourself and Londinium?"
"There are no issues between myself and the King, but it seemed time to make a change. May I apply for the position of Sheriff?"
"You tease me Northman. Why would a Baron of London want to become a Sheriff of a little area in Louisiana?"
"I don't want a little area, I want Areas Five and Six. I am sure I am qualified to control the North of Louisiana."
Sophie-Anne crooked an eyebrow. "You think I would give anyone that amount of power in my state!"
"Your Majesty, you have known me a long time. I am entirely trustworthy. It is a large area, but a relatively low number of vampires; you have many more here in New Orleans."
The Queen's face showed that she was not convinced. Eric continued his case. "And if I am keeping the North safe and profitable then you can concentrate on you city. Andre could come back to you."
It was the last comment that made the Sophie-Anne smile a little, evidence that she was missing her child.
"Do I have competition? Have you seen other applicants?"
"Not many." Sophie-Anne admitted.
"You know I am more of a Sheriff than Vincent Ward and Anton Mason put together."
The Queen smiled, but raised an eyebrow at his boast. Eric decided to press. "Of course, I can start straight away. Tonight even. Andre and I could pass on the road as he returns to you."
He gave a dazzling smile as the Queen nodded, but she was not going to give him all his own way. "I will be happy to announce that you are the Caretaker-Sheriff of Areas Five and Six."
Eric was careful not to let his dislike for his new title show in his face. Caretaker made him seem temporary and not joining the two areas together, made it possible to separate them again. "Sheriff of Area Five is a little snappier."
"Very snappy," said Sophie-Anne drily. "But I will not make a 'snap' decision, so my title stands. Let us take a look at the finances, you may not wish for the position once you have seen them."
As Sheriff, Eric would pay taxes to the Crown each month. These he could raise from local Vampires and their businesses, but any shortfall he would need to make up himself. If he underpaid, then it was expected that the following month he would pay the difference with a hefty interest. A weak Sheriff could fall into debt quite easily, Eric did not intend to.
Sophie-Anne expected him to pay the same rates that Vincent Ward and Anton Mason had paid. This seemed reasonable; although he knew Anton in the old Area Six had difficulties paying, Eric was sure he could make the cash and was keen to take his leave, but Sophie-Anne had something else on her mind.
"I would be prepared to make your first month's payment a little easier, if you could do a favour for me?"
Sophie-Anne stood from her chair, clapping her hands in delight like a child. "Yes, you are just the right Vampire for the job. I wish for you to bring my pet a gift!"
Eric was surprised at her manner, but hid his feelings as the Queen paced her room. Months ago he had heard from Pam that Sophie-Anne had a favourite pet, who was very important to her, he assumed this was the same girl.
"My Hadley was from a little place near Shreveport, she still has family there. A cousin, whom she is fond of. If you could bring this girl to New Orleans, Hadley could have a reunion."
"Could your pet not simply invite her cousin here?"
"Ah! There have been family squabbles, and Hadley feels the girl may be surprised to hear that her cousin is with a Vampire, a female Vampire at that! It is a challenge, dealing with sensitive humans, but I am sure a Vampire of your calibre can cope?"
"I am sure I can, but am I putting a Procurer out of a job? I would not want to step on anyone's toes."
"My Procurer is busy. He's in Peru. Some computer issue." Sophie-Anne was beginning to let her irritation show. "Eric, do you not want to do this favour for me? I am sure a fifty percent reduction in your first month's payment will make it worth your time."
He was beginning to think there was more to this favour than the Queen was telling, with an offer of fifty percent he was convinced. "Your Majesty, I will be very happy to help bring about this little reunion. What do you know of this cousin that may help me?"
With a satisfied smile, Sophie-Anne sat again. "The girl used to live in Bon Temps, an old house on Hummingbird Lane. Hadley doubts that she will have moved. She did work in a local bar, known as Merlotte's." The Queen almost laughed as she added, "Her name is quite original. Sookie Stackhouse."
"Sookie Stackhouse." Eric repeated. "I shall track her down for you, for you and your pet."
"I would prefer for Miss Stackhouse to come to us willingly, and without being glamoured. Hadley has been around us a long while, she might notice if her cousin was altered, I don't want her upset." Sophie-Anne instructed, but then was distracted. "Hadley has arrived. You must meet her Sheriff, she is such a sweet girl."
"Sheriff, not Caretaker?" Eric asked, hoping to change Sophie-Anne's mind on the item that mattered to him most while she was diverted.
"Caretaker-Sheriff." The Queen sounded determined.
"Of course." Eric tried a different tactic. "Maybe I could ask Hadley about Sookie Stackhouse? She may have more useful information."
"No! Eric... This is a surprise for Hadley. There is no need for you to mention her cousin." The Queen did not hide her concern about Hadley finding out particularly well, and she knew it. "I am sure my new Sheriff can keep a secret." She stressed the word Sheriff, making herself very clear.
"Of course." Eric stood and bowed low to her, convinced that he had his preferred title.
They were joined by Hadley with Rasul escorting her. Eric was interested in meeting the girl, of course, she greeted the Queen first. Hadley bowed low, then moved quickly to the Queen's side, taking the hand that was offered in both of hers and kissing the Queen's cheek. Such a show of affection was rare, but Sophie-Anne was often close to her children, Eric wondered if this girl would become the Queen's youngest child quite soon.
"Hadley, this is Eric Northman. He has just been appointed Sheriff of Area Five, he replaces Sheriff Ward and Sheriff Mason from the old Areas Five and Six."
"Pleased to meet you, Sheriff. Congratulations!" Hadley turned to Eric, giving him a genuine smile.
Rasul had not yet been dismissed from the room, he stayed by the door and nodded his congratulations to Eric, adding a surprised raised eyebrow.
After their greetings, Sophie-Anne left Eric and Hadley so she could talk about business. Eric listened into her conversation with Rasul, but it was just daily matters, so he concentrated on Hadley.
She was a pretty girl, just as you would expect of the favourite of a Queen, but she seemed brighter than most pets. She wore a simple dress, no sleeves with a scooped neck but it was modest in length, just reaching her knees. Eric could tell it was a rich material, with expensive tailoring and her jewellery was discreet and excellent quality. She was too thin, as was the fashion these days and looked a little tired. Eric could just see old scars on her inner arms, probably from past drug use, and scars on her neck presumably from the Queen.
Hadley's most striking feature were her big brown eyes, they were warm, friendly and showed that she was excited to be here. She had no problem with looking Eric in the eye, Sophie-Anne was at the other side of the room so she knew he would not glamour her.
"Does Area Five still contain Shreveport?" She asked. "I grew up in a little place called Bon Temps, it's near there."
"It does. Bon Temps is in my area too, I shall have to visit."
She smiled. "It's not the most interesting of places. I doubt there are any Vampires there."
"I shall have to check. Some Vampires are happy to have a boring existence."
"Not the ones I've met." Hadley shot a cheeky grin towards the Queen, who was clearly listening. She sat on the little sofa that Eric had used, he stayed standing as he was sure he would not be required to be there longer. "If you're passin' through the old place, be sure to say 'Hi' from me."
"I certainly shall."
It wasn't long before the Queen had finished her business and joined her pet on the sofa. They linked hands and Eric knew he was surplus to requirements.
"Keep me notified of any problems, Sheriff. Rasul will assist you, if there is anything you require before leaving the city."
Sheriff Northman bowed respectfully and left his Queen to her evening meal.
It was clearly one of those nights when everything would go Eric's way; he found that arranging transport was incredibly easy.
Rasul had heard rumours about a car that needed an owner. In the hope of persuading her child to keep his position as the Sheriff of Area Six, the maker of Anton Mason was in the process of buying him a car. Anton certainly no longer needed a it, so the car had not yet left the dealership. Anton's devastated maker was relieved that Eric wanted to take ownership of it, even though she had to sell it at a loss.
When he viewed the car, Eric was thrilled with it. He and Rasul stared at the red Corvette, acting more like teenage boys than Vampires who had seen the very first cars.
Anton's maker had even arranged personalised number plates, BLDSKR. Eric knew the plates were incredibly inappropriate, but he believed Pam would enjoy them and, as she was his priority, he did not waste time getting them changed.
The new Sheriff's drive from New Orleans to Shreveport was very pleasurable, apart from the possible problem that Sookie Stackhouse might become, he was certainly enjoying his new start.
Pam had done an excellent job of refurbishing an office for Eric in Fangtasia. The room had once been an office for her and Longshadow, her business partner, but they now shared a smaller office, that had once been a store room. There were definite benefits of having the Sheriff of the area based in the bar, so Longshadow had no objections to Eric moving in. If he had objections, it would not have been sensible for Longshadow to have voiced them.
Three very productive night later, Eric leaned back in his new power-chair, enjoying the scent of the leather and propping his feet up on his desk. It was the first time there had been a clear spot on his desk since he had arrived and Eric decided he deserved a moment of quiet.
Since arriving in Shreveport, he had met every Vampire in his new area, either alone or in their nests. All were given the opportunity to leave the Area or offer loyalty to their new Sheriff. All had stayed, although some loyal to the last two Sheriffs had left when Andre had taken over.
He discovered that Ward and Mason had both offered low taxes to elder Vampires while penalising the youngest. This was probably to keep the elder Vampires content, but as they were the most able to pay Eric increased the contribution expected from them. Although not pleased, most of the eldest realised they had been getting away with paying too little for years so they accepted the payments, rather than object to a Sheriff who was much older than them.
Most of the younger Vampires were excited to have a new Sheriff who clearly deserved more respect than their last leader. They were interested in Eric's scheme which reduced their taxes if they visited Fangtasia and entertained the customers. The free blood and willing company was also a benefit to them.
Eric made a point of sitting in the bar himself; Pam had reserved a table for him which enabled him to see the whole bar. Unfortunately, this meant the whole bar could see him, he was not used to being watched so intently but Pamela insisted that he was good for business. After the first night he decided to limit his time 'on show' to short sessions; he didn't want to offer himself too cheaply.
Pam must have sensed he was relaxing, Eric could tell she was on her way to the office. She was smiling as she entered, these past few nights, Pam was smiling more than she ever had before. In fact, she looked quite smug because her maker was here. Fortunately she managed to look more serious in the bar, Eric was sure her thrill would calm down soon.
After she had greeted him with a kiss on the cheek, he asked how busy the bar was.
"Saturday night is always busy, but I believe the vermin are getting here earlier now, to get a good table." Pam spoke about her customers with disdain, but Eric knew she would miss them if they were gone.
"Are you hungry?" She asked. Eric had last fed from Tegan, he was not especially hungry but could be tempted to try someone, which was exactly what Pam was hoping. "There's a new girl. She looks eager!" She pointed out a woman on the security screen.
As Eric inspected her find, Pam continued, "She has never been here before, I am sure she has never been tasted."
The 'new girl' was looking around her with aloof amusement. She was tall with dark hair and dark eyes, but not painted black like many humans in the bar. She was wearing red too, which seemed like a pleasant change to Eric who had already seen too many humans dressed in black, trying to look like a stereotypical Vampire.
"You will never guess what her name is."
"When have I ever enjoyed guessing games?"
Pam decided not to try and tease her maker any more. "Her name is Dawn! Isn't that ridiculously inappropriate?" She was thrilled as Eric showed a fangy smile.
"Are you saying I should 'go meet the Dawn'?"
Pam's grin matched Eric's, "I think you should!"
Dawn Green was certainly enjoying her first night in Fangtasia. She had flirted with the female Vampire on the door and received admiring looks from other Vampires inside, although no one approached her, until Eric Northman.
Dawn's eyes were wide and excited as Eric led her back to his office. He locked the latch on the door and turned to his guest as she stepped closer to him, arching her body to his.
"This is your first time at Fangtasia?" Eric asked, as he backed her to the wall.
"Yeah, I've been really looking forward to this." Dawn replied, while she caressed his cock through his trousers.
Eric was already sure she had a great deal of experience, he did not need to be too careful with this woman. He stroked her ass through her black denim skirt; it was so short her could caress her bare thighs without having to hitch the skirt up. She was braless under the flimsy red top; small breasts but eager hard nipples that Eric could feel through his shirt.
Dawn did try to kiss him, but Eric wasn't interested in that tonight, he buried his nose into the curve of her neck and shoulder enjoying the scent of her pounding blood. Dawn only managed to kiss his ear, while she linked her arms around his neck and enjoyed his cool fingers exploring under her skirt.
Eric was too impatient to worry about her minuscule panties and once he got them down past her ass, he stepped back so she could wriggle out of them.
"Are you enjoying your first time here?" He asked, as he unfastened his zip and released his cock.
Dawn stared down. "Fuck, yeah!" She gasped. "I'm enjoying this."
Eric unfastened a couple of buttons from his shirt and tugged it over his head. Dawn followed his actions and her red top hit the floor as Eric stepped back to her. Again he pressed her back against the wall.
Eric might later admit that the fuck was nothing special. Hard and fast, against a wall, the girl was one of many. She enjoyed herself, scratching at his shoulders encouraging him to pound her harder. Rough sex was clearly Dawn's thing.
Afterwards, he set her back on her feet, standing close to keep her upright as she swayed a little, regaining her balance.
Only for one moment did she show a little insecurity. "You didn't drink from me?"
He opened his mouth a little and let his fangs slowly drop to their full extent. "I will now." He said with a grin.
Dawn had stared as his fangs came down, now she was part terrified, part excited; an excellent recipe for great tasting blood. She was surprised as Eric, lifted her over his shoulder and then placed her onto his desk. She didn't know whether to giggle or to scream and try to run.
"On your back." He instructed.
Drawing in a breath, Dawn lay back, while Eric looped one of her legs over his shoulder. With her skirt hitched up to her waist, she was open to him. Eric leaned over her and rubbed his cool cheek against her inner thigh, enjoying the sensation of the blood rushing past. He gave a nip to her thigh, not breaking the skin and heard her gasp. Carefully he rubbed the bite mark with the ball of his thumb, making a circular motion. Slowly and methodically, he let his thumb make circles on her skin, all the while moving closer to her eager pussy. Dawn was whimpering and moaning, desperate for him, as he teased her while feeding from her thigh.
She came at least twice, which even the humans in the bar might have heard. Dawn was doing wonders for his reputation. Eric thought she tasted reasonably good, especially when she was coming and Pam was right, she had not been tasted before.
As he stood she stood too, putting her arms around his waist, clearly hoping to kiss him, but now he had fed Eric wanted to fuck again.
He stepped back and turned Dawn to face his desk, muttering, "Hold tight."
Dawn had a talent for talking dirty, and was very complimentary about his cock as he slipped inside her again.
Eric's hand was on the door when Dawn asked. "Do you need waitresses? It would be cool to work here. There are obvious perks to the job."
Eric was about to comment that this was not an interview, but she continued hurriedly. "I work at a bar called Merlotte's. It's a busy place in Bon Temps. I have loads of experience."
"Merlotte's in Bon Temps." Eric repeated, amazed at his good fortune and relieved that he had not the opportunity to find out about Sookie Stackhouse walk out of his office. He certainly didn't show his surprise, and as Dawn gave him a big grin, he easily caught her eye. "You will not remember any of this conversation."
"OK." Dawn quickly fell under his glamour.
"Do you know Sookie Stackhouse?"
"Does she work at Merlotte's?"
"Yes!" Dawn replied excitedly, as if she knew the answer to a particularly difficult quiz question.
"Tell me about her."
"She's a waitress…" The instruction seemed to confuse Dawn a little. She wasn't used to talking about other women.
Eric tried being more specific. "What does she look like?"
"Ahh… She's blond, nice boobs. She could be real pretty but she's always got her hair tied back and she wears training shoes to work. She should wear heels, and hold herself better… and do something different with her hair!"
Eric hadn't expected a fashion commentary, but he supposed he couldn't really expect much more from Dawn. He tried a simpler question. "Is she married?"
"No, she still lives with her Gran." Dawn smirked.
"Never!" Dawn actually laughed.
Eric thought that Pam might be better at this bitchy conversation than him. He tried again. "Is there anything different about her?"
Dawn shrugged. "Lots of people think so. They used to call her Crazy Sookie, some still do. They think she's psychic or a mind-reader or something…"
"But you don't?"
"Not really. You hear a lot of secrets from drunk people in our line of work. I think she listens in a lot. Too nosey." She scowled.
"When does she work? At night or during the day?"
"Both, she's there tonight, took over my section."
Eric was pleased to get something concrete and useful from her. Tonight seemed like a good night to track down Sookie Stackhouse. If she was actually a 'psychic or a mind-reader or something' then he could see why Queen Sophie-Anne was interested. Hadley must have told the Queen about her cousin.
He spoke calmly to Dawn. "You enjoyed your evening, but you won't become a regular visitor to Fangtasia. It will be at least a month before you return."
"And you will not tell anyone about me."
Eric held her gaze and slowly released her. "Thank you for your company. Hope we see you again."
"Yeah." Dawn was still a little dazed, but Eric put his hand on her back and gave her a small push out of the door. He locked the office door behind her and growled a little to release the tension. Eric decided to take a shower before his night out at Merlotte's.
Apologies if you don't like Eric with anyone else – but Sookie arrives in the next chapter so if I don't write Lemons now, I won't get chance for ages!
Thanks so much to everyone who's read and reviewed this fic, I am thrilled at the reaction! Over 100 Alerts already!