Sookie watched from the doorway, fascinated and somewhat embarrassed, given the circumstances. Like Isobel, who remained chained, obligated to watch her pet at the hands of another vampire, Sookie, too, felt rooted to her spot, unable to look away.
Eric’s large hands wrapped Hugo’s face, which was held upright by the fierce grip of Stan Davis. Sookie knew the vampires to be speaking, and judging from the looks on both Isobel’s and Hugo’s faces, it was anything but pleasant. The only clear sound audible was that of the human’s whimpers as his feet scraped desperately against the wooden floor. It reminded Sookie of an injured animal trying to escape it’s own pain, and she immediately closed her eyes.
Eric paused briefly, noting his mate’s discomfort, before refocusing. It was tempting to simply snap the man’s neck, but it wasn’t his place. Stan would deal with Hugo as Stan saw fit, and Eric was most interested in manipulating whatever glamor had been put in place and moving on. It was likely a waste of time, he reasoned, in that Eric doubted Hugo would live to see another day in the Texas Sheriff’s nest.
“Eric,” Sookie whispered distractedly, and both vampires turned their eyes slowly to her. There was a murmuring, somewhere outside, and at first Sookie had assumed it was either Eric or Stan. She’d assumed with the blood she’d had that evening, that her hearing was better, and it was. It was so much better, that she was able to ‘hear’ the clamoring of minds coming closer to Stan’s home.
“They’re coming,” she said, her eyes unfocused as images of the house came into her mind’s view. Different images, showing different sides of the structure, crowded her head, and Sookie turned as if looking around her.
“We’re surrounded!” Sookie cried, as the first blast shook the floor beneath them. The sensation of being ripped from her shoes jolted her, as she watched both Hugo and Stan slide backward into the open cage behind them, the floor tilting sharply and splintering.
It wasn’t until cool air ripped at her clothes, that Sookie realized she was no longer in the attic of Stan Davis’ home, but in the arms of Eric, who had flown them through the roof. Making the mistake of looking down, she watched as a second explosion took out another part of the nest, and she screamed.
Eric clutched Sookie to his chest, and she clawed at the arm holding her in terror. “Stan!” Frantically she focused below where they hovered, locating only one void. “One of them is still alive, Eric, we have to go-”
“Not if there is fire,” Eric replied, tightening his grip. He’d seen the scattering of humans as he’d risen through the air, and he felt his Maker close by. “We are safer here.”
“I’m gonna be sick,” Sookie moaned, slapping her hand over her mouth. She’d never been on an airplane, or a flying vampire. “I’m s-sorry,” she mumbled, trying to swallow against the heaving of her stomach.
Neighbors had begun to nervously appear in their driveways, phones pressed to their ears, and Eric debated on top of which house to land. It would be impossible to disperse the gathering crowd through glamor on his own, and it was against his instincts to leave, knowing Godric was close, and Stan was possibly still alive. Leaving Sookie somewhere alone was also not an option.
“Fuck,” he hissed, lowering them silently to the wooded area behind the house.
Sookie’s legs shook as she attempted to stand, and she fought back the urge to sob. “Someone’s still in there,” she repeated. “Eric…”
He suddenly covered her mouth and pulled them further into the tree line. Two vampires had crept forward across the yard, and not for the first time, Eric wished his Mate did not have a beating heart.
Sookie squinted into the darkness, barely able to make out the figures, and quickly recognized what they were. Her mouth moved under Eric’s hand, but he kept it in place. She hitched her thumb over her shoulder, to gesture that there was something behind them, but he shook his head next to hers and whispered in her ear. “Godric.”
“I fed on the way over,” came a voice from behind them.
Eric dropped his hand and moved Sookie to his side, away from the slight vampire now standing next to them, whose appearance was that of more than just ‘feeding.’ Godric looked as if he’d bathed in blood, and not simply drank.
“They travelled together,” he went on, ripping the soaked shirt from his body and tossing it aside. “Not a wise strategy.” His eyes remained on the house, and on the two creatures cautiously poking at the debris. “Who remains?” Godric asked calmly.
“A vampire,” Sookie replied hoarsely. “And a human,” she added, wincing. Hugo was barely hanging on, and she realized his thoughts were those of the vampire still holding him. “Stan,” she said, nodding. “He’s got Hugo.”
“Raban!” Godric called, surprising both Eric and Sookie. “You missed, yet again.”
The shorter of the pair turned and scowled, hissing at the sight of Eric and Sookie. “It is you who has done this!” he spat. “You have brought this!”
Godric snickered and rested his hands on his hips. “What would I have gained?” he asked incredulously, his voice suddenly faltering. “What would I have gained from…?” The words wouldn’t come, and his head dropped.
“You took her!” Raban shouted. “You took her and fed her…to those zealots!”
“I did not,” Godric whispered, his words drowned out by the sound of wrenching metal.
Those in the yard stared, as the mounds of rubble began to shift. Most of one side of the home had remained intact, and the other had collapsed on itself. Slowly, a body emerged, dragging another with it.
“Jesus, Shepherd of Judea,” Sookie whispered. Tumbling into the metal cage had apparently saved the vampire Sheriff, as well as Hugo, though the human was nearly dead. She reflexively pressed herself closer to Eric’s back, as she was sure she had never seen anyone as angry as Stan Davis appeared to be.
“You fucking coward!” he seethed. Without another word, he sunk his fangs into Hugo’s neck and drained him, before carelessly throwing the lifeless body at Raban’s feet. “You dared to spy on me? You planted this human in my home?” Stan wiped roughly at his mouth before spitting at the ground. “I am your Sheriff!”
“He is a traitor!” Raban protested, and Sookie wasn’t sure who the ancient vampire meant.
“You are the traitor!” Stan bellowed. “You abetted the enemy, you have betrayed your own kind! You drove your own Child-”
“You will not speak of my Child!” Raban screamed. “He killed her!” he said, spinning to face Godric again. “He killed her!”
“The Fellowship of the Sun,” Stan said darkly, “killed your Child. Not her mate. The Fellowship, Raban. Those you were fool enough to trust with your plan…they killed her.”
Raban gripped his black hair and growled, shaking his head back and forth, and for the briefest of seconds, Sookie pitied him. “You are a liar!” he exclaimed, grinding out the words.
“She was unhappy,” Godric said softly. “I tried…”
“The Fellowship tricked her,” Stan said. “They…supported her decision.” He smiled then, his fangs down. “And then they tricked you.” Stan stepped toward Raban to toe Hugo’s body. “The humans you thought you were manipulating…” Stan’s eyes glowed as they raked over Raban. “In the end, it was you they fucked.”
It looked to Sookie as if, for the moment, the fight left the ancient vampire, but it was the blur of the other one, the one with whom Raban had arrived, that stole her attention. She was sure she saw him remove a stake from under his jacket.
“Pietr?” Stan asked quietly, deftly catching the stake tossed to him and driving it through Raban as the other vampire held him in place. It happened so quickly, one minute there had been a vampire, the next was there was a pile of something, dissipating into smoke.
Sookie felt her stomach roil once again and clung to Eric’s shirt, breathing deeply with her mouth. She wondered how many times Eric had been through something similar, or if he had even been the one to do the staking. Sirens sounded in the distance, causing her to jump.
“Take her away,” Godric said, nodding to Eric, and once again, he and Sookie were airborne.
Within minutes, Eric had her safely inside his house, and he watched, confused, as she ran from him to barricade herself in the bathroom. While he couldn’t have been more satisfied with her behavior and abilities, it was obvious she felt very differently than he did.
“Lover?” he ventured, tapping on the door when an hour had passed. She had drained the tub some time before, and he wondered that she continued to remain in the small bathroom. The door opened, and Eric frowned at Sookie’s appearance. Her eyes were red, as were her cheeks, and she refused to look at him. “Are you ill?” he asked, concerned. It would explain the jumble of emotions he could feel in her, and he had heard her vomit within minutes of entering the bathroom.
He trailed her through the bedroom, where she dropped heavily on the bed. “Something is bothering you,” he observed.
“I saw three people die today,” Sookie replied softly. “Well, one person. Two vampires…I guess they’re not people.” She suddenly shuddered, remembering Godric’s comment about feeding and realizing far more had died than just three.
Eric dropped to his knees in front of her, lifting her chin to properly see her face. “This is not a typical-”
“Week?” she asked sarcastically. “You weren’t going to say day, were you? Because really, tonight was just the icing on the cake!”
“You hired me to…” Sookie’s lips quivered as her tears started again. “I would have been one of those…”
Eric frowned in disagreement. “Have I not offered you my protection?” he asked seriously. “I knew the moment I hired you-”
“But what if it hadn’t been me?” she demanded. “If you hadn’t had the hots for me, I’d have come out here alone, or whatever it was you had in mind!”
Sookie pushed away Eric’s hand and moved further back onto the bed. “Godric killed all those people!”
“They deserved it,” Eric explained matter-of-factly, as Sookie’s eyes widened in disbelief.
“So I would have deserved it? Because I definitely would have died a few times over by now!” she huffed, and Eric wondered that she’d only just understood that.
“You equate yourself to those vampire-killing fanatics?”
“Then what is your point?” Eric asked, shifting back on his heels to glare at her. “You have not been killed, you are no longer in danger-”
“Liar, I am in constant danger around you!”
Eric suddenly stiffened, and Sookie’s anger melted away significantly at the cold expression on his face. “I have not lied to you.” Not since giving her his blood.
Sookie covered her face and groaned. “Fine,” she said, exasperated. “Oh, my God, Eric! Is every week going to be like this one? I’m gonna have nightmares for months!” she groaned.
Eric quickly crawled onto the bed next to her and grinned. “I will distract you.”
“How do you live like this?” she asked earnestly. “All the death…” It was a stupid question of a vampire, she realized the moment she asked it. “Never mind.”
“If it were humans,” Eric speculated, “if the vampires involved had been humans…suppose a human had suffered a loss, and sought physical revenge on another. If humans had killed each other this evening-”
“It would have been left to the authorities,” Sookie snipped, though humans had killed more than each other that evening.
“Fine. There would have been a trial, perhaps a conviction. Your murderers are imprisoned or killed, yes?” he asked, smirking.
“Yes,” she huffed, “Louisiana has the death penalty.”
“As does Texas, I believe.”
“Make your point, Eric.”
“Perhaps you should think of it as an expedition, of sorts,” he offered, and she snorted. “Did anyone innocent perish this evening?” he asked seriously.
“Oh, is that your measuring stick?”
Eric raised his eyebrow and moved his hips closer to her. “Measuring stick?”
Sookie instead ignored him, sighing deeply and wiping at her face. “I don’t know if I can do this,” she admitted quietly, and they could both feel her sadness. “Will you still even need me? When we get back?” Hadn’t she finished the job he’d technically hired her for?
The evening had been nothing but closure for the large vampire, and he forced himself to understand and accept Sookie’s misgivings. Where once he would have barreled through her concerns, he found himself remembering to use the less linear approach. “Let us take some time…” he suggested, scrambling for something to appease her. “It is…too soon. The evening has been difficult for you.” Humans always needed time, they could be painfully slow in understanding the obvious, he felt. And if there were anything the thousand year old vampire had, it was time.
When Sookie nodded and edged closer to him, Eric smiled to himself, gathering her to him. “Thanks for protecting me,” she whispered sincerely.
“Always,” he promised. He would always protect her, just as he would always need her.