Eric briefly glanced at Sookie, who diverted her eyes to the floor, and moved back into Stan’s office. The Texas Sheriff placed the call on speaker before laying the phone on his desk. Sookie quietly closed the door, but not before shooting a look at an openly nosy Hugo pretending to bustle about the kitchen.
“Proceed, Pietr,” Stan said.
Though his back was to her, she knew through their bond that Eric was aware of Sookie’s concerns regarding the human in the other room. Or at least, her concerns regarding something since setting foot in Stan Davis’ nest.
“He sits,” came the heavily accented voice from the phone.
“Where?” Stan asked, raising an eyebrow at Eric, whose expression Sookie couldn’t see.
“Sometimes in a tree…sometimes on top of the homes.”
“Just sitting?” Stan clarified. “Where?”
Pietr gave an address unknown to Sookie, and her surprise was almost as great as Hugo’s was on the other side of the door. “He stares at the church,” Pietr went on. “It is not a secret,” he added cryptically, and Stan nodded. “I have also heard, that you have visitors…”
Stan snatched up the phone and began hissing in a different language, while Eric turned to a startled Sookie. She knew something, and he was unsure how to ask her about it.
“Eric,” she said softly, and he held up his hand, glaring at her. “Eric,” she whispered. “I have to tell him.”
“Tell me what?” Stan appeared beside Eric, watching her closely, and Sookie could swear his green eyes glowed. “What does she have to say, Eric?” Stan asked. He seemed as interested as a vampire in his position would be in a human, which wasn’t much, and Sookie fought the shiver crawling its way up her spine.
Eric’s posture straightened, and he reached his hand out to her. “She is mine,” he said quietly, and Stan nodded. “It is more than that.” There was no reason to point out the blood bond they shared, which was more than obvious to the other vampire.
Eric’s emotions were almost choking her, and Sookie swallowed several times as she approached the pair. “Mr. Davis?” she asked cautiously, her eyes cast down until he acknowledged her. “I have two concerns…well, three.”
Stan looked up to Eric, whose face remained neutral. “Tell me,” Stan said finally.
“No privacy,” Sookie said quietly.
“You are in my nest.”
She fought her smile at his arrogance and pursed her lips. “Your nest is also a house,” she said, hoping he’d catch her veiled reference to a place in which humans lived.
He did. “I see.”
Sookie patted her pockets for a pen, and made the motion as if she were writing. Stan pointed to the desk, and she hurried over, finding what she needed. “First concern,” she mumbled, scribbling on a pad of paper. ‘Hugo’ she wrote, holding it up before writing something else. ‘Mole’ came next, and something jolted inside her chest, from Eric.
“What is the third?” Stan asked icily.
‘FoTS. House bugged?’
Stan was thoughtful, his head cocked, while Eric managed to glare at Sookie. She shrugged her shoulders and began doodling on the paper, deliberately ignoring him. Anything to hide the shaking of her hands.
“To whom does the human belong?” Eric asked, too quickly for Sookie to hear.
They were interrupted by the arrival of another vampire, a shorter, stockier Hispanic male, who looked at Stan as if he had been summoned. Sookie wondered if, like her, Sheriff Davis had a hidden talent, as well. She felt another tug in her chest, and quickly glanced at Eric, who had casually taken a seat and was beckoning her to his lap.
“Have Hugo bring in a glass of water,” Stan instructed, and the second vampire left. The Sheriff then turned to eye the couple, once again deep in thought. “You were right, Miss Stackhouse, on one of the counts.”
They silently waited, until the door opened again. The male vampire this time escorted Hugo, who was indeed carrying a glass of water. He went for where Sookie was seated with Eric, before being stopped by Stan’s voice.
“The water is not for her,” he said, waving the confused human back toward him. Sookie felt Eric’s grip on her tighten, and she watched in amazement as Stan opened his fist to reveal three small objects, which he slid into the glass of water. “Have a seat, Hugo,” Stan ordered.
Sookie could tell that Hugo knew better than to say anything, though he looked somewhat panicked to her. Images flashed through his head of two small children, and of a female, a vampire, and Sookie wondered if it was what people meant when they said they saw their lives flash before their eyes. She also wondered if it were why Eric had warned her to remain silent.
“Miss Stackhouse,” Stan said, startling her. “Do you know this human?”
“Not before tonight,” she answered, shaking her head.
“For whom do you work?” Stan asked, returning his attention to Hugo.
“I-I’m…” Hugo stammered before clearing his throat. “I don’t understand.”
Sookie got from his head that he was a lawyer, that it was his association with Stan Davis, and he was confused by the question. Her throat constricted when she realized, if Hugo didn’t come clean, she was going to have to back up her accusations. “Tell them,” she said abruptly, ignoring the nearly painful way in which Eric was now clinging to her. “Tell them who had you plant the bugs, Hugo. Tell them who gave you pictures of Eric and me. Tell them who you called tonight, letting them know we were here.”
Hugo’s head dropped in resignation, which surprised Sookie, and it sickened her to know that he had no remorse for lying or spying on the vampires, only that he had jeopardized his relationship with one of the females of the nest.
“You don’t even care about them,” Sookie whispered in disbelief, before covering her mouth with her hand. How anyone had the nerve to be a traitor in the midst of a nest of vampires was beyond her, let alone a human one.
Stan waved for the other vampire to take Hugo away, and watched as the trembling human was pulled from the room. “I believed you, when you said you did not know him,” Stan said, taking a seat across from Eric and Sookie. “So how is it, that you know so much…about him?”
“I’m a telepath,” she said quietly, slipping from Eric’s grip to sit next to him. “I can read most human minds, but little else. No vampires,” she added quickly, attempting to smile.
“Fascinating,” Stan remarked, tenting his fingers under his chin and staring intently. Sookie believed him. “For whom does he work?”
“They had him monitor my home?” he asked, and she nodded. “They circulated photos of the two of you? He called the Fellowship when you arrived?”
“From what I saw.”
Stan raised his eyebrow at the quiet blond vampire across from him and smiled. “You wished her to remain silent, Eric.”
“I would have preferred to know what she knew, prior to her revealing it,” he corrected.
“Why did you speak up, Miss Stackhouse?” Stan asked, his tone genuinely curious, and Sookie’s jaw almost dropped again.
“How could I not?” she asked, attempting to keep her voice even. “This group is helping to pick off the vampires in Eric’s family, one by one, and they’ve got a snitch in your home. I’m guessing your head’s on the block next, Mr. Davis.”
“A snitch. Indeed.” Stan drifted into his thoughts again, and Sookie studiously avoided looking at either of the vampires, not that she needed to see Eric’s face, to know how angry he was with her. “You heard the phone call,” Stan said. “Pietr belongs to a nest. Raban’s nest. I assume you know what that means,” he said, gesturing to her. Stan smirked and cocked his head. “He, too, is a snitch.”
Sookie blushed and pretended to brush something from her dress. She had almost said Pietr was lucky she couldn’t read his mind, but really, she was lucky she hadn’t opened her big mouth.
“He reports to you?” Eric asked. “You have not mentioned him.”
“He keeps an eye on things. Godric…when necessary.”
Sookie understood then, the depths to which Stan Davis had gone for Eric, in trying to help with his Maker. “Mr. Davis?” she asked politely, trying not to flinch when once again his eyes were on her. “Was Godric ever attached to a female? In the last year or so?” she added. “Elspeth?”
“The renouncer?” Stan’s eyes narrowed, but his displeasure was not for Sookie. “You believe Godric was involved with her?”
Eric was losing patience, with Sookie, with the evening, certainly with the discussion of his Maker. “Elspeth was Raban’s Child. It seems possible, that were he…were he…”
He couldn’t get out the words, or say Godric’s name, and Sookie’s heart went out to him. “An eye for an eye,” she said quickly. “Raban lost Elspeth, we don’t know how, but we’ve followed a trail of dead vampires back to him…”
Stan observed the pair critically before rising to his feet. “I will look into it,” he said, gesturing to the door. Sookie went to move past him, when he shocked the hell out of her by offering his hand. “Thank you for your assistance this evening,” he said sincerely.
“Thank you, Mr. Davis.” She glanced nervously at Eric and shook hands with the strange Sheriff. “Until next time.”
The two were silent until reaching Eric’s SUV, and she knew she was in for it once they were out of range of Stan’s nest. “Eric, I’m sorr-”
“Don’t,” he said through gritted teeth.
“I couldn’t not say anything!” she protested. “It wouldn’t have been right!”
“You should have waited,” he hissed, “until I had you safely out of the nest, to accuse one of the pets of one of the oldest vampires in the nest, of betrayal! Have you no sense?” he bellowed. Regardless of his close ties with Stan Davis, it mattered little when humans were involved.
“I don’t know anymore,” she said sadly, blinking back her tears.
“What does that mean?” he demanded. “Why do you cry?”
“It’s been a long week, okay? I’m tired, I’m hungry, you’re yelling at me, I can’t jump from a moving vehicle…” Sookie leaned her head against the window and sniffed.
“You can expect an increased interest in your telepathy,” Eric snidely went on, ignoring her.
“Like my life wasn’t going to change after this! I don’t have anything to go back to, remember?” she asked hotly. “My house was ransacked by werewolves, Eric! My boss is you! I’m on a wild goose chase to save a two-thousand year old vampire who apparently likes to sit on top of people’s homes and stare at a church. You think I give a shit about who knows about my telepathy anymore?”
The SUV had stopped behind a small home, and it was too dark for Sookie to figure out where they were. “We should get you some rest…perhaps something to eat,” Eric said seriously.
“Ya think?” she said sarcastically. Before she could blink, he was at her side of the car, opening the door. “Don’t even try to be nice,” she warned. “You have no right to yell at me, pal,” she said, poking him in the chest as he helped her from the vehicle.
“Pal?” Eric asked, carrying her through a rear entrance and into the house. He paused, as if sensing something, before carrying her down the steps.
“Oh, good, underground again,” she mumbled against his shoulder.
He knew she was upset, they both were, but there was truth in what each had said. Perhaps he’d been wrong to drag a human, particularly one to whom he was so attached, into it, and perhaps she’d been wrong to agree to do it. But Eric was certain, once they were finished, he would give her something to go back to.
Sookie gave little resistance as he helped her undress, allowing him to explore the exposed flesh as he went with his fingers and lips, but her fatigue won out before he could join her under the covers. She mumbled his name as she drifted off, and Eric smirked, content to lay beside her for the last hour before being pulled under by the day.
Hours later, disoriented and thirsty, Sookie stumbled toward the only light, coming from behind what she hoped was the door to the bathroom. After using the toilet, she drank heavily from the tap before splashing her face with cold water. The best thing, she figured, given that she had no idea where she was or if Eric had brought their things in, was to crawl back into bed and pray for more sleep.
She was about to open the door, when the movement of a void in another room caught her attention. Had Eric risen and she hadn’t noticed?
“Eric?” she whispered, pretty sure he’d been in bed when she awoke, not that she had any concept of what time it was. Sookie quickly opened the door, before shrieking at the sudden appearance of another vampire, smiling at her from the doorway.
“Not Eric,” said the slight, handsome man in front of her. “I am Godric.”