A/N: Hello everyone! So, Dead Ever After, eh? We waited a long time for it, and I for one won't be reading it. I have heard what happens and I can't put myself through it. Yes, it sounds dramatic, but I, like many other SVM fans, am too disappointed to finish the series. Charlaine Harris has the right to do what she wants with her characters, and I have the right to not read it. My heart is broken : (
So in order to make myself, and maybe some other book fans who feel the same, feel a bit better, I've decided to write this. This story takes place after Deadlocked, and takes a different course from DEA.
I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks to RubySun03 for her support, ideas and expert knowledge, and agreeing once again to take time out to beta for me. I love you Stacers!
Disclaimer: All the SVM characters belong to Charlaine Harris.
How come people always offer you their good advice and positivity after everything's gone wrong, instead of when you most need it?
"Sometimes these things just come to an end," Tara said. "You know, you grow apart, and move on. You'll be better off without him, anyway. Vampires, well, they're just living in another world from us, right? I mean, when I say living... you know what I mean. Things'll get better soon, you'll see."
Tara had had her own brush with the vampire world, some time ago, and it was not an experience that she ever intended to repeat. She was still talking, but I had kind of stopped listening some time earlier. I'd already heard it all from other people, in particular Kennedy at work, and even Bill. It was all the usual break-up advice, sympathetic smiles and hugs, meant to make you feel better, think positive things, and know that you're not alone. I knew that their hearts were in the right place. But it all served only to make me more miserable.
"I gotta go. The twins..."
I smiled down at the phone, and tried to sound perky.
"You need me, you just call."
My perkiness level dropped down to zero as soon as I put the phone down. I looked over at the 'empty' cluviel d'or, sitting on the counter, and picked it up. I ran my fingers over it's smooth surface, but now that the magic had been used, the warmth and energy it had previously exuded was gone. Somehow, it didn't seem that special any more. It seemed crazy to me that such a small trinket once held magic strong enough to bring my friend back from the brink of death. I'd held that incredible power in my hands.
In a lot of ways, I was happy to be rid of it.
I should have been happy. I'd saved Sam. He was alive because of me. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't that I regretted using the cluviel d'or to save his life, it was certainly not wasted, and if I had to, I'd do it right over again.
The reason I felt so miserable was because ever since that night, I hadn't heard a word from my vampire boyfriend (also husband), Eric. He'd flown off in what seemed like some sort of huff, and with nearly three weeks gone by, there'd been no contact from him at all. When I called Fangtasia the night after Sam got hurt, I'd been told that Eric had been 'busy', and he hadn't returned my call. I figured he was angry that I'd used the magic I'd been gifted, to save the life of my friend, instead of using it for his benefit.
The more time passed without word, the angrier I got with him. I heard through the grapevine (supes, like humans, are real gossipy), that my so-called husband was busy hosting the queen of Oklahoma, Freyda, and preparing for his upcoming nuptials.
I considered myself to be officially dumped.
I wondered if vamps were allowed to be bigamists, or if our short and not-entirely-sweet marriage ceremony could simply be forgotten about, and that their more important vampire marriage would somehow trump our hastily thrown together one.
The very next day, I found out, when I received an unexpected call.
"Sookie, you need to be here at the bar at nine," Pam said, without so much as a hello.
"Well, nice to hear from you, Pam," I said, surprised to hear her voice but also already in full defense mode. "It would have been nice to have a little notice. It's not like I don't have any other stuff to do but wait to be summoned to Fangtasia."
"It is important," Pam said firmly. "And you would have been given more notice, had there been more time."
There was an edge to her voice, a kind of impatience. Pam was never incredibly warm, especially on the telephone, but she was usually more upbeat than this. I began to get a sick, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"What do I have to come all the way over for?"
Pam was quiet for a moment.
"Eric asks it of you."
"Well then, why can't he ask me himself?"
She took a second or two to answer again.
"He is busy. He asks me to call, so I call."
"Pam, tell me what this is about, please?"
She sighed loudly over the phone.
"You are in no danger," she said. "There are things which need to be done, before Eric leaves."
The sinking feeling in my stomach increased.
"I understand," I said quietly. "I'll be there."
As I stood there in the kitchen, I realized that all this time I had been waiting for Eric to call me, or turn up outside my house, asking me for my forgiveness, to tell me he wasn't leaving with Freyda, that he'd found a way out of it. I hadn't listened to the sympathetic advice of my friends because I thought that in the end, it would work out. Eric had known about the cluviel d'or, probably considered it to be the ace in his pocket, and when I had used it on something else, he'd been angry with me. I even understood that, to a certain degree. But I figured he'd get over it, in time. He'd told me, the night of my birthday, that she would not win. I'd believed him. I thought he would find a way. I thought I'd been truly special to him. I'd been wrong.
I drove to Shreveport on auto-pilot. I thought of nothing, in particular, only that this was probably going to be the last time I saw Eric. I tried not to think too much about what had passed between us, and the times we had shared together. The last thing I wanted was to be going in there crying.
Pam opened the back door for me when I knocked. She was in her usual work attire, her black filmy dress, with the trailing skirt.
"You're late," she said, and I looked at my watch. She was right, I was three minutes late.
She turned and led me down the corridor to Eric's office, and I followed her without another word.
She opened the door, and stepped aside to let me in. Eric was sitting behind his desk. He was wearing a Fangtasia t-shirt, and his hair was tied back. He was leaning forward in his seat, resting his elbows on the desk, his fingers pressed together. He looked at me as I stepped inside. His eyes were cold, his face more stern than I'd maybe ever seen it.
There were three other people in the room; Freyda, and two vampires I didn't know. I guessed they might be hers, unless Eric had gotten some new people. Freyda sat in one of the other chairs, and the other vamps stood close by.
Pam shut the door, and suddenly the room felt incredibly small. I realized that I wanted to be anywhere else but there.
"Sookie, would you like to sit?" Eric said, and he gestured to a seat in front of him. I shook my head.
"I'll stand. Will this take long?"
He looked at me for a moment, and then at Freyda.
"No. It won't take long."
He sat back, opened the top drawer of his desk, and pulled out a shiny, gleaming blade. It was the ceremonial knife, the one that he'd somehow retrieved from the rubble of the ruins of the hotel in Rhodes, the one he'd had me present him, all that time ago, in front of Victor, to bind me to him in a vampire marriage I had been ignorant of.
Eric rose from his chair and slowly walked towards me with the knife, and I felt the eyes of every vampire in the room on us, all in anticipation of the moment. Freyda seemed especially attentive.
He stood in front of me, the knife in his hand, and for a fleeting moment I felt a rush of fear as I wondered just how this marriage was supposed to be severed. Was there only one way to sever it, that way being the death of me? Then I remembered Pam said I wouldn't be in danger. But had she said that just to get me here?
Eric looked down at me, his expression still cold, and I tried to remain as calm as I possibly could.
"Take it," he said, holding the knife out to me. "Take it, and draw my blood, and our marriage will be severed."
"A cut to my hand, that will suffice."
I looked from his face to the blade, and then back again. A cut, that was all it would take. A cut that would soon heal, in seconds. Like it had never even been there at all.
"Take it," Eric ordered quietly, his hands moving closer to mine. I glanced behind me to see Pam was just behind my shoulder, and I saw her give the slightest of nods.
"This is it?" I said, my voice shakier than I'd hoped it would be. "This is all we have to do?"
"And what happens then?"
"You will belong to no vampire," he said, "unless you desire it. The king, Felipe De Castro, will not seek you out for his own purposes, nor will any vampire within his kingdom, on penalty of final death." He looked away from my eyes. "I will be leaving shortly. Pam will take over as sheriff."
And you can get on with your life, he might have said. Find someone warm, and human, and alive, to grow old with. Move on.
"She'll do very well, I'm sure," Freyda said, speaking for the first time since I'd arrived. I realized after a moment that she was talking about Pam. The queen smiled at me, and for a second I had this crazy idea that I might just take that knife and stab her through the heart with it. But it wasn't silver. She probably wouldn't die. I probably would.
I took the knife from Eric, and quickly turned his hand over, palm up. I pressed it against his skin, looked him in the eye, and slashed. He grimaced, but didn't look away.
"I don't have to kiss it, do I?" I said, holding up the blade. A drop of blood ran down it, and trickled onto my hand. Eric squeezed his hand into a fist, and shook his head. "Good."
I put the knife down on his desk, and turned to leave. Pam opened the door, and I made my exit, hot-footing it out of the club as fast as my legs could carry me.