“You wreck my van and I’ll burn down your house.” Pam said as she tossed me her keys and walked towards Lafayette’s car. I caught them easily with my new and improved reflexes, but I was confused.
“You want me to drive your van?” From what I could tell, vampires hated to ride in cars when humans drove. We were too slow for them. Wouldn’t Eric drive?
Pam laughed out loud, actually laughed, as she started to lower herself into Lafayette’s car. “You really think Eric Northman would ever drive a minivan.”
Oh, I did see her point. I could never see Eric as a soccer dad driving the van around. The thought actually did make me giggle a little even in the charged environment we were in. Pam and Lafayette were already on their way down the driveway when I finally stopped giggling. Really though it was Eric’s words that brought me back down to earth.
“I would drive, Sookie, but I think your brother and I have a couple of things to discuss along the way.” My mood immediately sobered and I actually heard Jason’s gulp beside me. “Let’s go.”
When I climbed into Pam’s van and started getting acquainted with the dashboard, I expected Eric to join me in the passenger seat. Instead, I saw him shove Jason into the backseat and he climbed in next to him. I turned around and started to open my mouth (out of reflex really), but instead Eric and I stared each other down for a couple of seconds. Finally I just turned around and started driving – and thinking.
He could have killed Lafayette and he didn’t. He could have tortured him and he didn’t. This is my brother. Yes, Jason has done worse things than Lafayette, but I was willing to try and trust Eric to deal with Jason after watching how Lafayette’s punishment ended up. Plus, how much could go wrong in an eight-minute drive? And really, what other choice did I have?
“So, Stackhouse. What do you think I should do with you?” Eric asked while leaning back and placing his hands behind his head. It looked like he was having a friendly conversation with a friend while reclining in an office chair. I was hoping Jason was smart enough not to get too comfortable with his situation.
“Well . . . ah . . . I don’t know ’bout that but I’d appreciate not dying and torture doesn’t sound good neither.” I could see Jason trying to catch my eye in the rear view mirror for some direction on what he should say but I was studiously ignoring him. Maybe getting the crap scared out of him would do him some good. “And ya know with my sister becoming one of you that I won’t wanna do you all no harm.”
“But you’ve already caused harm.” Eric said lazily and now he had closed his eyes.
“I know and like I said I’m real sorry about that.” I could hear a little worry in his voice but he was trying hard to seem like he was holding it together. I didn’t know what he was thinking and I didn’t want to. I’d heard enough of his mind for one night.
“Yes. You did say that.” Eric said thoughtfully. “Do you think Eddie will just accept an ‘I’m sorry’ and be done with it?”
“Well, I really couldn’t say. I’ve tried to help him out when I could.” Jason was speaking slowly and it seemed that for once in his life he was actually thinking before he spoke.
“But you stood back and let your woman hurt him and helped her at times.” Eric still hadn’t changed his soft thoughtful voice. It felt like a hunter that was luring its prey into a false sense of security before springing his trap.
“Yes. I’m real ashamed of that too.” Jason said in his most contrite voice.
“So, do you think it’s fair to say that you owe Eddie a debt?” Still there was no change in Eric’s voice or posture.
“Um. I guess that sounds ’bout right.” Jason said slowly. It was obvious he feared what was coming next. “So, is this like what you told Lafayette about him owing you a favor.”
“No. That was different.” Eric turned his head towards Jason and looked him in the eye. “I think an eye for an eye is more appropriate for you to repay your debt to Eddie.”
Oh Shit. Jason was going to flip out when he figured out wh . . .
“WHAT!” Jason sat straight up in his seat and his face was beet red with anger in an instant. “You want me to let him drain me?”
Eric still hadn’t moved from his relaxed posture and he even rolled his eyes. “Eddie’s not finally dead Jason. At least you better hope not. So, letting him drain you dry would not be an eye for an eye.”
“So what are you sayin’ then?” Jason asked cautiously.
“You will feed him, but he will not drain you”
“Fuck no. I don’t want no vamper . . .” That’s as much as Jason got out of his mouth before Eric had heard enough. Jason was held against the window of the van with Eric’s hand around his throat and Eric’s very furious face only an inch from his. This was a hold I was beginning to think should have its own name since I’d seen it so many times in one night.
“You are mistaken to believe you have a choice little boy.” Instead of yelling, Eric’s voice was deadly quiet. Somehow it was scarier than when he yelled and I felt a chill go up my spine. “You think you have the right to steal his blood but that you are too good to provide him with yours.” He growled menacingly. “You will either do as you’re told or I will chainyou to a chair in Eddie’s basement and see how you like to have your blood drained daily.”
“ERIC!” I couldn’t help it. The thought of my brother being held like that terrified me and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.
“Sookie.” He growled at me. “Interrupt again and you will be punished.”
My jaw dropped. Did he really just threaten to punish me? Who the hell does he think he is?
As if he read my mind, he continued, “You will learn respect and restraint. Now, be silent.”
Before I could get myself in trouble and allow my wounded pride to speak, Eric turned back to Jason.
“So, which is it? Are you going to cooperate or do we need to hold you captive?”
“What does cooperate mean?” Jason asked through gritted teeth.
I heard the glass in the window crack a little and I could only assume that Eric was pushing him against it harder than before as I heard Jason cry out a little. I hoped Pam didn’t blame me for that one. “You still think you are in a position to argue or question. You are a stupid, silly boy. You would already be dead if not for Sookie.” Eric eyed Jason with disgust. “You are nothing like your sister. Perhaps she would be better without you around to cause trouble.”
“No. No.” Jason cried out and he finally seemed to show the right amount of fear for the position he was in. “I’ll do what you want. Anything.”
“Don’t promise what you will not deliver on Stackhouse. Once a deal is made, death is the punishment for not following through and you do not seem to be the reliable type.” Eric warned and I have to admit that he was right about Jason’s not being reliable.
“If it means keeping my ass above ground and breathing then I’ll do what I have to do.” His voice had taken on the desperation and fear of someone who realized they were bargaining for their life and I sensed this was the cliff’s edge that Eric wanted him to be on.
“Good.” Eric released him and moved back to his relaxed position while Jason rubbed his throat. “Tonight when we get to Eddie. He will need to feed and he will need more than True Blood. You will provide him with blood and I will insure he doesn’t lose control and drain you since it’s been so long since he fed on real blood. Do you understand?”
“Yes” Jason replied as he looked at the floor of the van.
“His recovery time will depend on how drained he is and any burns from the silver. For as long as he is recovering, you will run errands for him. It is unsafe for a drained vampire to be out, as they are too weak to defend themselves. In addition to running errands and doing any chores around his house, you will also give him some of your blood at least three nights a week. Once he is recovered, your debt to him is paid.” Eric paused to look at Jason. I looked at him in the mirror as well and he looked rather pale.
“You don’t expect me to . . . um . . . ya know.” I didn’t understand what he was getting at but Eric did.
“No. Eddie will not be allowed to require sexual services.” The relief coming from Jason was palpable and Eric smirked. “Of course, you’re more than welcome to engage in said activities willingly.”
Jason’s response was instant and predictable. “What? No. I don’t do dudes.”
“Suit yourself. I was just letting you know it was allowed.” Eric shrugged and then continued. “Now, after your debt to Eddie is fulfilled, you will still owe me for kidnapping and draining a vampire under my protection.”
“Alright. So, what do I have to do for you?” Jason asked resignedly.
“First, you are going to be my eyes and ears in this area. It seems to be drawing everything supernatural lately and I want to stay informed. You’re going to get a lesson in Supernaturals from one of my underlings and learn how to spot them. If anything is going on in this area and I mean the smallest thing, then you will contact me. If you think something seems a little off or weird, just call or text. And I don’t care if someone threatens to cut your arm off and hit you over the head with it if you tell their secrets, you will call me, or one of my progenies, to report it. Also, you will be discreet. You will be glamoured to insure you can only talk about these issues with those I allow.”
“I don’t know what you mean by Supernatural lessons and no offense but what good does that deal do me. If I have to choose between you or whoever else, someone’s going to kill me.” I thought it was a good question.
“Since you’ll be working for me you’ll be under my protection. I’m over all the vamps in this area and I’m older than most vampires in this country. That’s a lot of protection.” Eric answered before moving on. “In addition, you are obliged to assist me with anything I require for the next year. Similar to the favor Lafayette owes me, but you can be called as many times as I wish for a year. You will be compensated for any time you lose from your job and for travel if required.”
“Well, its not like I have a choice and its better than the alternative. So, alright.” My brother was being logical. There’s a red-letter day for my calendar.
“Now, understand this.” Eric had sat back up and was looming over Jason. “First, know that since Eddie will have had your blood and you’ve had his, he can track you for me at any time. Do not attempt to run.” Jason swallowed loudly and then nodded. “Also, he will know if you are in trouble and he will know to contact me. This is part of the protection.” Jason nodded again. “Finally, let me tell you that werewolves are real and I have several that owe me favors. If you do not follow through on any part of our deal, or attempt to betray me and mine, or break any more rules in my area, then there will be a newspaper article about how a citizen of Bon Temps was attacked and killed by wolves in the woods by their home.”
We all just sat in silence for a few seconds absorbing what was said while Eric continued to hold Jason’s gaze. “Do you understand the terms and agree to them?”
Jason whipped some sweat from his brow before whispering a broken “Yes.”
“Good.” With that one word, Eric relaxed again with an unnecessary sigh. After a moment or two of silence, he added. “And Stackhouse, if your little girlfriend has ended Eddie, then our deal is off.”
I think my heart stopped at those words. I’m sure Jason wanted to find out what would happen if that were the case but we were pulling onto his driveway and there wasn’t any time left for conversation.
“How far down the drive is your home?” Eric asked.
“About eight of a mile.” Jason answered.
“Sookie, pull off the driveway here and turn off the lights.” I did as he said before turning around to look at him.
“What are we doing?”
“We’ll walk in from here. If she sees us coming and recognizes me from Fangtasia, she may panic and do something stupid.” Eric explained as we all got out of the van.
We had walked up the driveway in silence for about hundred paces when Eric asked me if I could hear anything from the house yet. I still had my shields in place so I had to drop them to listen. I shook my head that I couldn’t hear anything from the house yet and we kept walking as I kept listening.
When we were in sight of the house, I realized that something was wrong. I should be able to hear Amy by now and I should be able to feel Eddie’s void. This was not good and I got chill bumps on my arms thinking about what would happen next as I reached out to place a hand on Eric’s arm.
“There’s no one there. Not even Eddie”
Eric stopped and stared at me before asking sharply. “And how would you know if a vampire wasn’t in the house if you can’t read vampires?”
Shit. I’d never explained that to him before. “Vampires are voids Eric.” He looked like he was going to challenge me again so I thought I needed to explain better. “There’s like a black hole where something should be. I can tell that something is there but I can’t read anything from it. So, I know Eddie’s not there because there isn’t a hole.”
Eric’s nodded and then his eyes grew stormy as he took in the implications of this development. He growled softly and started walking towards the house again.
We were about thirty feet from the front porch when I heard it.
“Another few vials and then I’ll leave this piece of shit. In the morning, he’ll be dust and we’ll be free and clear.” I gasped and stopped in my tracks. Eric’s eyes were on me in a second but I held my hand up. I needed to figure out where she was.
“Fuck. Jason’s such a joke. He’ll believe anything. I’ll just say I let him go.” I had unconsciously started walking towards the voice. In my head, I saw her pressing into the silver mesh hood on Eddie’s head so that it would burn further into his skin. “Stop moaning you baby.” She laughed at him. She really was sick.
I pointed in the direction I heard her from. “She’s draining Eddie in the woods that way and plans on leaving him for the sun.” Jason gasped but Eric was gone before I could blink my eyes.
Jason and I ran after him. I kept listening to Amy to see what happened but it just all the sudden went blank. She wasn’t dead because I could still feel her brain but she was unconscious. She just never saw Eric coming.
It took us about five minutes to make it through the underbrush to where Eric was waiting beside Eddie. He had removed his shirt and wound it around his hand in order to start removing the silver but he was having trouble with the hood.
“I’ll get it.” I offered.
“No. Jason will do it.” Eric ordered. Luckily, Jason wasn’t stupid enough to argue.
“I’m sorry Eddie. I didn’t know she was plannin’ this.” Jason whispered as he removed the hood. I’d never met Eddie but I didn’t think I’d recognize him if I had. The burns across his face almost covered every inch. It had to be one of the most disgusting things I’d ever seen. Not as bad as Longshadow’s remains though.
“I doubt that’s any comfort to him now.” Eric hissed. I took a moment to study Eric and it hit me that he really did care about the vampires that were under his charge. Sure, he may be driven mostly by pride and obligation, but it was still there.
“Give me your wrist.” Eric ordered Jason but he just stared at him, which just made Eric impatient. “He’s to weak to bite. I’ll open a wound.”
I saw Jason pale a little in his position by Eddie’s head, but he slowly lifted his arm towards Eric. I decided to raise my shields again so I didn’t have to listen. I half expected Eric to make it really painful for Jason but I think he held back – slightly – for my benefit. I could tell he didn’t try to spare him all of the pain though.
“Damn it.” Jason screamed and he pulled back from Eric. However, Eric grabbed his arm and forced it into Eddie’s mouth.
“Don’t move. He may bite in a moment if he comes around but I will stop him before he takes too much.” Eric warned and then he pulled out his cell phone. I assumed he called Pam because he started talking in some other language again. Swedish I’m sure.
I leaned against the large tree that was behind me. We were in a very wooded area with a lot of broken saplings around us. With all the broken branches and new growth around the area, it looked like there may have been a strong windstorm pass through at some point. It definitely was not the right place for a clumsy vampire because they could fall in almost any direction and stake themselves. Not that I’d ever seen a clumsy vampire.
Amy was unconscious on the ground just behind the tree I was leaning on and Eric was pacing on the other side of Eddie and Jason while he talked on his phone. There really wasn’t anything I could do so I was taking my moment to regroup while using the tree behind me for support. I had no clue what time it was now or what would happen next. So, I closed my eyes and just tried to focus on my breathing for a minute in order to calm down my heartbeat and the speed of my thoughts. It seemed like everything had been in overdrive ever since I woke up this morning. Then again, its not like I had much longer to worry about my heart rate so I might as well enjoy the crazy adrenaline rush.
I was brought from my musings by a hand brushing against my face. I opened my eyes to see Eric studying me while brushing my hair behind my ear. I hadn’t heard him hang up the phone.
“It’s been a long night for you.” He said softly and I just nodded. I couldn’t even begin to find the words to describe this night. “We’ll be going home soon.”
“Um. I’m feelin’ a little woozy.” Jason said interrupting our moment. I wasn’t sure why that disappointed me. I’d have to think about it later.
“Let me see your wrist.” Eric ordered as he approached Jason. As Eric lifted Jason’s wrist back towards his mouth Jason had to open his mouth again.
“Wait. Why you gonna bite me again?”
Eric glared at him but I decided to answer. “He’s not going to bite you.” Jason whipped his head around to look at me with a questioning look. So, I carried on in a tired voice, “He’s going to lick it. Their saliva heals the wounds so you will stop bleeding.”
“Oh.” Jason said quietly and Eric raised an eyebrow at him. “Sorry, I guess.”
After Eric had closed Jason’s wounds, he asked him if he still had any True Blood in the house since Pam would still be a few minutes. Jason said there was a couple in the fridge. I would have offered my own blood but vampire’s are so possessive that I’m sure Eric would have asked me to help if he was willing for me provide blood. After Jason spoke the words that would allow Eric to enter his home, Eric turned to address me.
“I’m going to go pull the van to the end of the woods and get the True Bloods. I’d like Eddie to have a little more blood before we move him.” I nodded. “He shouldn’t wake up but I’m going to place the silver chain on top of his clothes in enough places to hold him still so he doesn’t have the ability to attack in the off chance he wakes up.” Good to know I wasn’t at the mercy of a thirsty vamp. I just nodded again. I was out of words.
Eddie was still lying about twelve feet away from my tree with his feet just about parallel with my resting place. Jason had finally stood up and he was standing close to Eddie’s head just looking down on him and he looked deep in thought – a strange look for Jason. By covering his own hands with his shirt again, Eric had finally managed to arrange the silver chains how he wanted them to hold Eddie. It was completely inappropriate timing but I couldn’t help but admire Eric’s exposed chest. He really was beautiful in the moonlight.
I was broken from my thoughts when Eric spoke again. “Keep an eye on that one.” He said pointing to the still unconscious Amy, who was still unconscious behind my tree. “I’ll be back in just a minute.” I had already handed him Pam’s keys earlier so he was gone in the blink of an eye.
With everything quiet and just the sounds of the woods around us, I took the opportunity to rest my eyes and mind again. I just continued to lean my back against the large tree and concentrate on my breathing. It was something I used to do on the playground when I was younger. It helped me to calm down and try to enforce my shields when children were being mean at recess. I was just contemplating slouching down the rest of the way against my tree and sitting on the forest floor when I heard a very faint jingling sound behind me.
I had just opened my eyes and was about to turn towards the sound when I saw Jason’s face. Apparently he had turned towards the sound too and was shocked and scared by what he saw. I couldn’t see anything from where I was standing and I wasn’t sure if whatever was there knew I was hiding behind the tree. So I decided to wait.
“You son of a bitch. You hit me.” It was Amy.
“Naw. That wasn’t me. I just found you both here.” Thank goodness Jason was good at lying to women.
I heard her moving closer to where I was standing so I started looking around me for a weapon. I had to believe she had some sort of weapon or Jason wouldn’t look the way he did. I found a large stick that could have been made into a walking stick leaning against a bush beside me. Very slowly, I grabbed it and silently moved it to my side.
“Well, how did you find me?” Her tone said that she didn’t believe him at all. “And why weren’t you checking on me since I was unconscious?”
As she slowly worked her way forward, I saw a gun pointed at Jason and it was just about three feet to my left.
“I followed your track through the woods and I was just makin’ sure he wasn’t gonna be able to attack me while I came over to check on you.” He said sweetly. “Why don’t you put that thing down and let me look at your head?”
“Who was the other voice I heard?” She was getting angrier with every one of his lies.
“It was Eddie’s.”
“Bullshit. Why did you do this Jason?” She asked angrily. “Why did you lie to me baby? I thought you loved me but all you do is LIE AND BETRAY ME.” She was yelling hysterically now and I knew she’d lost whatever grip on reality she had so I took my chance and swung my branch at the gun to knock it away.
Unfortunately, she had apparently decided that she’d had enough of Jason’s bull at the same time that I decided to strike. So, my stick hit her arm at the same moment that she fired her gun. I heard Jason scream out in pain and he fell to the ground.
Luckily, I had hit her arm hard enough that she dropped the gun, but I didn’t expect the knife. Who the hell was this psycopath that she had so many weapons? Before I could try to defend myself with my stick again, she had lunged forward and cut a large gash on the arm holding my weapon.
My body’s immediate reaction was to drop my stick and draw my arm into my chest to cradle it. Of course, Amy took that opportunity to throw a very strong right hook against my jaw. Let me tell you this, Amy might look like a small thing but with all the V she’d been taking, she could really pack a punch. I collapsed to the ground with the shock and pain of the past five seconds so I was on the perfect level to see her reach down and pick up her gun.
At first, I was sure she was going to come over to finish me off because it definitely looked that way. However, Jason suddenly let out a groan that caught her attention. I quietly rolled over and pushed myself up to my knees in time to see Amy standing over my brother with the gun pointed down at his head.
“You fuckin’ shot me.” Jason yelled at her.
“Yep. I guess I need to get better at picking my soul mates.” Amy said in a deadpan voice. “Cause it ain’t you.”
As she started to pull the trigger on the gun I felt the biggest rush of fear and anger I had ever felt in my life. She was going to kill my brother right in front of me. I would notallow it.
Without any thought in my head, I threw my hands up in front of me with my palms facing towards Amy and yelled “NO!” The voice that came out of my mouth was pure command and anger.
What happened next is hard to describe because it was like nothing I had ever seen, or experienced, or would have expected. The second I held my hands up and yelled my command, a white light radiated from my hands and seemed to hit Amy’s body full on. She was thrown ten feet into the forest and I saw the gun fall out of her hands. I could only see her shoes from where she landed but she didn’t appear to be moving and neither was I. My body was humming with energy. I was shaking a little from it all and the only way I can think to describe it is the biggest adrenaline rush you’ve ever had coupled with the worst case of stage fright in your life. That was how on edge my body felt and I couldn’t fathom how to move again.
“Sookie?” Eric said tentatively. I heard him but I was still too lost in my body’s reaction and my mind’s shock to respond. Everything had happened so quickly. It was over even before Eric could feel my fear and return.
“Eric what the fuck was that?” Jason asked softly with a bit of what sounded like awe. So, apparently Eric had shown up in time for my light show.
“Shut up Stackhouse.” Eric hissed softly at him. I heard something coming towards me from my right side and I immediately turned my hands and head in that directly. It was instinctual.
Eric held his hands up and stopped his approach. “Sookie?” He said softly. “You know I won’t hurt you but your bleeding. Let me heal your cut.”
His words seemed to breach my distressed state of mind and I began to come back to myself enough to feel the sting of the cut on my arm. I just nodded my head and dropped my hands.
He was beside me in an instant and raised my arm to look at it. The cut was long but it wasn’t too deep so he started licking it so that it would close. While he was taking care of my cut, I noticed Jason getting up to walk over to us.
“Jason,” I started quietly “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I think so. It hurts like a sonofabitch but I think the bullet just grazed my shoulder.” He said while inspecting his arm.
“Well, ding-dong the witch is dead.” Pam said as she came out of the underbrush where Amy had landed. I didn’t even know when Pam had arrived. “And here that bitch was my best chance at a plaything tonight.” She pouted.
“What!” I yelled. “What do you mean she’s dead? You mean that thing I did killed her. I didn’t mean to kill her. I swear . . . I . . . ” I started crying hysterically and Eric took me into his arms to try and soothe me like he did after my panic attack earlier in the night.
“What you did only pushed her away, Sookie, but she landed on part of a broken sapling and it pierced her chest.” He said softly. Ironic that earlier I was thinking about how dangerous those broken saplings were to vampires.
“So I did kill her.” I pushed myself out of Eric’s lap and I just started pacing and yelling at the woods. “I’m a murderer. Oh my god, I’m not even a vampire yet and I’m already killing people.”
“Sook” Jason grabbed me by my shoulders to stop my pacing “I don’t know what that light show was with your hands, but if you hadn’t done it then she would have killed me and then you. You were protecting us.”
A part of my brain knew he was right. A part of my brain was glad it was over, that we were all alive, and the psycho was gone. But another part of my brain just couldn’t accept that I had done the deed – that I had ended a life basically with my bare hands. The realization made my knees go weak and I started to fall.
Luckily, Eric was there to catch me.
“Pam. You know what to do and be sure to give Stackhouse instructions about his duties.” Before another word was spoken I felt myself being propelled upward.
“Jesus Christ,” I gasped as I clutched tighter to Eric. “You can fly.”
Before he could acknowledge my statement, my body decided it didn’t need any more excitement tonight and for the first time in my life I fainted.