Jason Stackhouse slumped moodily in his chair and pouted as he looked at himself in the dressing-room mirror.
There was nothing in his reflection that suggested he had anything to pout about - he knew he was young, buff, cute as all getout, and God only knew he had what the ladies wanted, but he was definitely pouting right now.
As he picked up his invitation and read it again, there was a knock at the door and a female voice trilled, "are you decent?"
The pout turned into a scowl and he was tempted not to answer, but he knew Sookie would come in anyway - she knew he was there. Hide and go seek had been no fun when they were kids.
He muttered something unrepeatable as his sister came into the room, flicking her curls back over her shoulder.
"Are you nearly ..." she broke off as she realised he was still only half-dressed, and a frown settled on her delicate features. "Jason! Will you get moving? The ceremony starts in fifteen minutes and you haven't even got your shirt on!"
His eyes ran over his sister. She presented a pretty picture, in her blue silk evening gown, but he didn't seem to get any pleasure out of it. He mumbled sullenly and she raised an eyebrow.
"Don't wanna do this."
"Don't wanna do what?"
"Don't wanna present the comedy award."
She rolled her eyes, not for the first time that night, and definitely not for the last.
"Now, Jason, honey, we've been over this. Fairy felt this was the best award for you to present and ...
"Don't see why. It's dumb."
"Well, so are …" she paused, struggled with her conscience briefly, and changed what she was going to say. "Because it's a comedy award, and you're a funny guy. Everyone says so."
"I'm not funny all the time. I can do serious. I'm a law officer - why can't I present the mystery award? or the action award? Hey yeah! That would be a great one for me!"
"It's too late to change now - you agreed to do this and I'm holding you to it."
"I only agreed because that Fairy asked me and she's totally hot."
"Well, let this be a lesson to you - try thinking with what's between your ears instead of what's in your pants and maybe you'll make better choices. Eric never makes decisions without thinking carefully first."
Now it was Jason's turn to roll his eyes. "Eric, Eric, Eric," he sneered. "So what award is that damn show-off presenting?"
"Best epic. That's the prize for really big stories." She smirked slightly and Jason snorted.
"Oh great. It's always about size with him. And that's another thing - how come Eric's dressing-room's twice as big as mine?"
"Because he needs the space for his coffin. You know he likes a double-wide."
"Probably can't fit his ego in a regular one. I swear, that Vampire's head is so big it needs its own damn Zip code."
A small smile played across her lips. "Well, I'm not commenting on that, but I will say his coffin's about nine inches deeper than most."
"He likes to rest on his back, and the lid just won't..."
"Hey - brother in the room! I do not need to hear that, Sookie Stackhouse!"
Sookie grinned and said, "Yeah, well, just saying, Eric's head is not the only thing that needs its own Zip code. Now c'mon, get that ass in gear and that shirt on your back!" She patted his shoulder and bounced out of the room, leaving the door open behind her.
Jason huffed and crossed the floor to close it, glancing out into the hallway as he did so. He saw some of the other presenters for the evening coming out of their dressing-rooms - all much nicer than his, he was sure. Lorena sashayed past him in red velvet, Bill Compton trailing forlornly in her wake. Jason could hear him whining about wanting to be with Sookeh ...
A few yards away he could see the towering figure of the Viking, preening in one of the full-length mirrors that had been left backstage. The show director came past with an iPad in his hand, and said, "ah, Mr Northman, glad to see you're nearly ready." He made a quick entry on his tablet and added, "Now, I want you to go out there and really sparkle for the cameras."
With a snarl, Eric turned on the hapless man. "How many times do I have to tell you, real vampires do not fucking sparkle?!"
With a gasp the human turned and fled, and Sookie quickly hurried over to soothe the irate sheriff, running her hands across his broad chest and murmuring sweet nothings to him until he retracted his fangs and drew her into a close embrace.
Jason snorted in disgust and was about to close the door when a delighted voice echoed down the hallway. "Yoo-hoo ... Jason, darlin'!"
"Oh fuck!" Jason quickly slammed the door and flipped the lock. He hurriedly pulled on his shirt and fastened the buttons. Steve Newlin had the hots for him, and the last thing he wanted to do was drive the crazy preacher-turned-PR vampire even wilder with lust at the sight of the fabulous, half-naked Stackhouse physique.
He crept back to the door and listened carefully through it. He could hear Doctor Ludwig telling Tara to fuck off and Charles Twining attempting some olde-worlde charm on Pam without much success, but there was no sound of Steve.
Just then his cell phone rang. He answered, and heaved a sigh of relief at a familiar voice. "Hoyt? Where are you, man? No, I can't get out of my dressing-room - there's a lust-crazed vampire on the loose and he won't leave me be. Can you come here?"
A few minutes later he eased the door open and Hoyt Fortenberry slipped through. He had brought two bottles of beer with him and handed one to Jason.
"Hell, it's a madhouse out there, Jase. There's vampires everywhere, Ginger's having hysterics and ..." He looked round him. "Hey, your dressing-room's really tiny, man. How come they've shoved you in the broom-closet?"
"I fuckin' knew it! Those vamps have got it in for me!"
"Well, you did kind of get addicted to their blood, date a Vee-pusher, kidnap one of 'em and turn him into goo and then join an organisation dedicated to their destruction. You can see how that might give 'em a slightly skewed view of where your priorities are at."
"That's all in the past, man! I haven't done anything like that in … months. Honest."
Hoyt shrugged. "I'm just saying, is all."
"Yeah, well, they didn't have to be such ass-holes, is all I'm sayin'." He moodily chugged his beer and waited for his cue from the stage manager.
At last he heard "Jason Stackhouse, two minutes please," over the speaker system and got up and slipped into his tux. At least he knew he looked great. Hoyt checked that the coast was clear and they both sneaked out into the hallway and headed for the stage.
The wings were crowded with Supes of all types, and someone handed Jason the envelope with the nominations in it. He knew he wasn't supposed to open it before the actual presentation, but he couldn't resist just edging up the corner of the flap to have a tiny peek…
"Yoo-hoo, Jason!" His head jerked up and he looked round wildly. He couldn't tell where the voice had come from but he recognised the lovesick tones. All heads were turning, and there was a sudden stir as eight Security Weres wrangled the baby-faced but barking mad Reverend Newlin to the ground.
Just in the nick of time, Jason heard his intro music, took a deep breath and tried to achieve the same dignity and sexy stage presence that he knew Eric would be projecting when he presented his award.
As he stepped forward into the spotlight, he heard a faint cry of "Expeliamus!" behind him. Dang, there must be something in the water - that Harry Potter kid had the runs again ...