**A/N: And now we’ve reached part three of four. This is probably a “2 pee” posting but there’s only one intermission…use it wisely… Enjoy!**
The teasing note in her voice finally restarted his misfiring brain but the only reply he could think of wouldn’t be at all appropriate…
“That’s the wrong pus…”
To his eternal delight, Sookie’s jaw dropped. Her hand quickly placed over his mouth halted what most likely should have gotten him slapped.
“Eric Northman! None of that dirty talk, buddy.”
Her sparkling eyes and blushing cheeks mostly belied her astonished outrage.
Oh. My. Odin. She’s…she’s cute! Cute? What the fuck? I am a thousand year old Viking vampire – I don’t think the word ‘cute’…! Well, she is…she’s…she’s fucking cute when she’s…
With a devilish twinkle in his eyes he ever so gently but quickly sucked at then nipped the fleshy part of her palm as he encouraged the cat from his lap.
She gasped at his actions then blushed even rosier as she jerked her hand back with a squeak.
With a hushed laugh she demanded, “Eric! What are you doing?”
“Well, if you won’t let me tongue…”
She slapped her hand back over his mouth again only to quickly squeak and jerk back once more when he repeated his earlier actions with a decidedly seductive gleam in his gaze…and more tongue.
This time when she pulled her hand back, however, he caught her by her waist and plopped her down onto his hard lap.
“Now as I was saying before being interrupted by your delightful companion, as Sheriff it is my duty to oversee the vampires residing in my area.” Sookie wiggled around a little too invitingly so he warned into her ear, “Quit it or we’re going to the sofa.”
She halted her movements after one final adjustment but looked up at him to ask, “Why would we go in there?”
“It’s softer. Anyway,” he said, stressing the word while teasingly cutting his eyes at her before settling back into teaching mode, “if a vampire visits my Area, he or she must register their presence with me and state the reason for their visit. A vampire simply passing through is not required to state their presence. If a vampire wishes to move into my Area, they must file a petition with my office. If their petition is approved, they must register with me. If a vampire plans to Turn a child, they must receive my approval unless the situation would be deemed a true emergency.” He saw that Sookie had a question and raised a brow.
Since she’s a human I realize that she couldn’t possibly give a shit less about the ins and outs of the vampire world, but her attention and curiosity do her justice. I will satisfy that curiosity but…how to make sure it doesn’t kill the proverbial cat…do enjoy her cattitude…
“Why do they have to get your approval to change someone? Unless the human doesn’t want it, the changing part seems like it should just be between them, right?”
“Not all vampires know how to successfully Turn a human, and not all vampires are financially capable or knowledgeable enough to ‘raise’ the progeny once they rise. I make sure they know what the fuck they’re doing. And as the local Sheriff, if a Maker meets their final death before their child is realistically capable of fending for themselves, I either match the child with a reputable and willing substitute or I oversee their progress until such time as they are self-sufficient or I match them with someone willing to assume that responsibility. I also oversee the dispensing of an ended vampire’s assets according to either their will if they leave one or common sense if they don’t. If a vampire in my Area has trouble with humans either by causing it themselves or because of discrimination, they are to bring it to me and I either work it out for them or contact your local authorities. If vampires in my Area have a dispute amongst themselves, I solve it. If a vampire in my Area violates one of our rules, I also solve that problem.”
He paused to let that sink in for a moment and laughed a little when Sookie, whose eyes had been growing rounder by the moment, responded faintly, “I hope you have a good secretary.”
With a shrug of his shoulders and a wry tilt of his head he replied, “My child, Pamela, the blonde vampire you met tonight, is extremely good with paperwork and keeping the calendar straight. She is my Second in Command with the authority to act in my name when I’m out of the Area.”
She nodded then asked after thinking for a moment, “And what about drainers? You said that Bill was supposed to have told you about them.”
His face hardened.
“And he will pay for failing to inform me of their presence” he stated harshly. “If any vampire in my Area discovers a nest of drainers, they are required to bring the information to me as soon as possible. Directly after dark tomorrow night Compton will be apprehended and will serve the maximum five-night sentence for failure to report the situation to me.”
What he didn’t say was that the sentence would be served in silver chains attached to a silver-lined wall, and that an inmate’s survival after serving that weakening sentence was in no way assured. If the rat bastard had done his duty and reported these drainers then Sookie would never have been attacked. For that alone Compton deserved far more than a mere five-nights spent in silver. A plan was forming…
Sookie nodded and seemed to be relieved to know of the cretin’s upcoming incarceration.
“I can see telling you about it, but why wouldn’t they take the information to the police? I mean, draining is illegal, right?”
Cautiously optimistic with the calm banality of her question and of her seeming acceptance of the information thus far revealed, Eric snorted.
“Yes…draining is supposed to be illegal, but how long do you think the locals would keep drainers locked away? Most wouldn’t even be fined unless the county happened to need money. They certainly wouldn’t serve any jail time.”
Sookie’s brows furrowed as she appeared to be strongly pondering something, and Eric waited with growing impatience.
He wasn’t sure why his teeth were suddenly so on edge because of that tiny furrow between her brows or why this conversation seemed to mean so much to him.
To divert his thoughts, he turned his attention to the woman’s presence on his lap. As much as he was beginning to crave tasting her blood as her warm fragrance rose to swathe his nose in almost tangible temptation, he found to his surprise that simply holding her on his lap was…almost enough, for the moment at least. Her ass was nicely plump and certainly seemed made to ride his lap…and other parts of his body…
Unfortunately he had to wonder how long it would remain in place considering everything he had disclosed to her and what all might come forth as the conversation progressed.
Eric realized that he had given her a large amount of information in a too-short period of time, but it was necessary. He was admittedly pleased with how well she seemed to understand and accept everything but wondered how long it would last.
But how long will this intelligent acquiescence last? I wonder how she’ll react to my plans…plans I’m only now truly considering. Unfortunately for her it’s the best way to keep her from being turned into a more useful version of her cousin…or worse. But before we get into that…
His patience ended. It was time for a change of subject and he needed to know all the facts anyway.
“Why were you showing those pictures around tonight?”
He wanted to hear the explanation in her own words.
Her expression fell.
“Dawn Green and Maudette Pickens? They were murdered and Detective Andy Bellefleur wants to pin it on my brother Jason. He didn’t do it but he sure looks guilty. He’s…well, he’s not real bright, either. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Hadley and it’s not just because they look a lot alike. He’s kind of flighty, too, and it ain’t his brain that he thinks with most of the time so he comes off as kind of dumb. He’s attractive enough to get away with it, though, so he does. He’s a classic horndog – he likes the girls and the girls usually find him too tempting to say no to him, and he’s never been real particular about who he, you know…”
As Sookie’s voice trailed off, something niggled at the back of Eric’s mind.
Long ago…something Godric mentioned… What was it… Appealing… According to Sookie her brother is notably appealing to women… Hadley could be very attractive if she cleaned up… Sookie is damn near irresistible… Alluring…like sunshine in a pretty blonde bottle… Both smell unaccountably sweet… I bet the brother carries that same sweetness. Hadley tasted sweet even with the chemical contamination. This is beginning to sound a lot like…but they’re all gone, aren’t they?
He inhaled near the side of Sookie’s neck.
Definitely something… Godric will know. He never forgets anything.
“Anyway he’s connected that way to both Dawn and Maudette so I can see why Andy wants to think he did it, but he’s not the only connection between the two of them.”
Eric waited one of her heartbeats.
“Were these women drained?”
“No, but they did have bite marks on them and were known to date vampires.” Sookie shook her head sadly as she remembered how Dawn looked in her bed.
I wouldn’t call it ‘dating’…
“I see,” he responded aloud.
I’m afraid I do. If this is the work of a bigoted hater… This upcoming trip may have better timing than I first thought. Need to check the air pressure of the ‘Vette’s tires…right front seemed a little off tonight…so glad I didn’t bring it here…need to do something about that horrible driveway…and what the fuck is that hideous yellow thing – that’s not her car, is it? Looks like a woebegone half-rotten lemon…bet she qualifies its sad existence with ‘at least it’s paid for’…
“You don’t sound real convinced that a vampire did it.” She twisted in his lap to better see his face.
“No, I am not. If a vampire planned to kill or accidentally killed a human, they would almost certainly drain their victim, and these women were not drained. But…I do sense a connection between their deaths. I will have Pam look into it. She is an excellent detective.”
“That vault of hers?” Sookie couldn’t help but snicker at the memory.
Eric smirked slightly as he replied, “Yes, her vault,” then allowed his face to resume a more serious expression. “Do not underestimate a vampire’s gifts, Sookie. It will do you no favors.”
Her wit and humor are oddly engaging but she needs to know what to take more seriously. She can treat these things as lightly as she wants with me but will need to guard her tongue wisely with most others of my kind. Never underestimate a potential foe…or friend. With the right reintroduction I could see Pam and Sookie getting along frighteningly well…and probably making my life a living hell…
“Yes. As you are now involved with the vampire world I see no reason to keep such information from you, but most of what I reveal is not widely known and it would be best for my species if it remained that way.”
Sookie thought about it a moment, then nodded.
“I can see that. But I have to ask, is this more of a ‘vampires against humans’ thing or a ‘humans against vampires’ thing?”
“Both. It is natural for humans to fear most things they don’t understand, but the more intelligent will educate themselves and rise above that fear with knowledge and higher thinking. The less intelligent will choose to hide behind that fear and nurture suspicions and hatred instead. We must carefully choose what information we reveal and to whom because of the less intelligent who would prefer to hate rather than try to rise above that hatred by choosing to explore and understand.”
“Some people are determined to be stupid. I autta know,” she replied with a roll of her eyes. “Ok, so, what’s this about gifts? What do you mean? Do you have any?”
Eric was glad she didn’t wish to pursue that topic any further just then. Soon enough she would realize the flipside of that coin, that there were many vampires who would never consider humans to be their equal, vampires who derided the concept of “mainstreaming” and who had no desire to interact with humans in anything other than a slave-and-food context. These vampires hadn’t wanted to “come out of the coffin” at all and a few actively sought to provoke and inflame troubles between the species.
There was even a cult gaining momentum near where his Maker lived and he wouldn’t be surprised to discover fundamental vampires at the heart of the bigoted unrest.
He himself scoffed at the idea of “mainstreaming”. Fake blood was foul pap and no true vampire could stomach it except for publicity or to avoid “starvation”. A vampire was vampire and he saw no reason to be other than what he was and saw no reason not to enjoy his status. While there were aspects of his former humanity he did miss, he knew there was no excuse to bemoan those losses when he had gained so much more.
And…back to gifts we go…hi ho, hi ho…fuck I need a new unlife…
“Pam has an uncanny ability to absorb and retain information in what she calls her vault. It is a gift she gained when I Turned her. All vampires rise with enhanced senses and strengths but most do not rise with abilities that are either supernatural or are exceptionally strong as with Pam’s memory.”
Suddenly feeling devilish and seeing no reason to deny himself, with Sookie still in his lap as he spoke Eric had allowed his body to very slowly rise into the air above the kitchen chair. His levitation had been so smooth that she hadn’t even noticed it…until he pointedly looked around the room.
Ready for the possibility, he had his finger over her lips before she could do more than gasp as she turned further into him and grabbed hold of his sides.
“Shhh,” he said with a sparkle in his eye. “I’ve got you, and no, I won’t let you fall. One of my several gifts is the ability to fly.”
Once she had recovered from the shock, he watched as she glanced curiously around the room, down to the floor, up to the ceiling, then grinned.
“So I should call you the next time the ceiling lights need changing?”
“I’m sure we can work something out.”
She snorted then asked excitedly, “So can you really fly, like, if we were outside how high could you go? How fast?”
Eric found her accelerated heartbeat and breathing and that sparkle of excitement in her eyes mildly addictive.
“I can go as high as I want but it becomes uncomfortable after I reach a certain altitude, and as far as speed? I fly much faster than any car. I flew over here tonight, actually.”
“Well that explains it!” Her satisfaction at having apparently solved a riddle was…cute.
Still not sure I like the word ‘cute’…
He raised an eyebrow while maintaining his height above the chair.
“That explains why I sensed up you up above the house somewhere instead of at ground level like I sense Bill when he walks around my house sometimes at night.”
He growled softly as he descended smoothly back into the chair.
“He does this often?”
Eric had started to ask Sookie how she had sensed him but the thought of Compton skulking around her house took precedence.
“A couple times,” she answered with a nod and then she grimaced. “He lives right over there and he says he likes to walk around outside at night. Hey, does Bill have any of these gifts that I should know about?”
“Besides his terrible accent and fondness for finding the worst trouble with the least effort? None. He attempts to convince those in power that he is somehow stronger than the usual vampire of his age, and that he is somehow smarter, but in my world he is considered a young weakling, barely a pup out of his Maker’s hovel. She, Lorena, is not known for having either intelligence or a discerning personality.”
Compton’s Maker is known as a weaseling backstabbing piece of trash that gloms on to anyone richer or more powerful than…
“Well, you’re an old man over a thousand years old so you’d just think of him as a kid anyway,” she teased, then added in a pensive tone, “but I can sense a difference between the two of you. The void,” she clarified when she caught his curious expression. “I can’t hear vampire minds but I can sense the void of where your thoughts should be. I can tell from that void, from the size and I guess you’d call it the strength of it, that you’re way more powerful than Bill. Your void is huge compared to his. I wasn’t around her long at all but Pam’s void might be a little smaller than his but it’s a lot stronger.”
Interesting… Pam is decades younger than Compton…
And then he smirked outrageously as several plans finally coalesced with stunning perfection.
“My Maker would blow your mind.”
THE DRILL – YOU KNOW IT.
YOU CAN INTERMISSION WITH THE BEST OF’EM.
THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
YOU’VE GOT THIS.
(Brimme a coffee?)
When he didn’t clarify further so as to tease her innate inquisitiveness, she quickly asked, “What do you mean?”
“My Maker?” He wore his practiced innocence well. “I’m going to visit him in a couple of nights. You should come meet him.” He grinned mischievously. “He is well over 2,000 years old.”
Sookie’s mouth dropped open and her eyes positively gleamed with curiosity.
“Two…two thousand years? He’s been alive for two thousand years?”
He quirked an eyebrow, then regarded her more seriously.
“He has been undead for well over that long. He is one of the most powerful vampires in the world and is highly respected by all. I believe you and he would get along well. He would enjoy your curiosity and your ability to listen and understand. You can’t begin to imagine the stories he could tell.”
He didn’t state that his Maker was also highly and rightly feared, too. The object wasn’t to scare her away, after all, but to entice her into visiting Dallas with him. Dallas…where she would not only be safe from the queen and Compton’s undoubtedly nefarious plans, but where she could also potentially be useful against the growing Fellowship of the Sun cult he had heard about.
Mostly, however, she would be safe and would also provide a possibly needed distraction for Godric. The tenor of his last communications with the ancient being had been a bit worrisome, and besides, while the old man was once known as Death, the old man was also an excellent and patient teacher…when the student showed promise. Godric would consider Sookie a mere babe in the woods, someone to be taught and protected…she would definitely appeal to the old man’s paternal nature.
If his still-vague inklings about the Stackhouse clan were correct then she would need both protection and information. Between himself and his Maker, she would have both.
“What’s your Maker’s name?”
“His name is Godric. He is so old that he doesn’t have or need a last name,” he added when she appeared to expect more. “For the past several decades he has been Sheriff of Dallas and works closely with the King of Texas. I would have you visit Dallas with me to meet both my Maker and, if you wish, the King of Texas. You would be safe there.”
The shock on her face at his proposition wasn’t surprising so he gave her time to consider his offer.
Tina wandered back over and stretched up to tap Eric’s elbow for attention. He reached his long arm down, scooped the cat up in his big hand, and placed her on Sookie’s lap where Tina immediately began purring.
Sookie absentmindedly petted the cat while her brows narrowed in thought.
As Eric watched her actions he found himself slightly jealous of the feline…even if the wait for her answer seemed to be slowly killing him.
“Dallas, huh? How long would you be staying?”
“I’ve arranged to stay with him for a week. I could easily be persuaded to depart sooner, however, as the bar will be closed for the next two nights due to the raid.”
Normally he would be torn between relief for the small break and anger over the lost revenue, but tonight…tonight, he was simply grateful for the unexpected free time to handle this newest situation.
A few moments later, she said, “I admit it, Eric, I’m curious. I’d love to meet someone that old, someone who has seen and probably done so much that I can’t even imagine. I’ve never even been to Dallas, either, and I’d like to see it, too, but what about my job? Gran? What about Tina and Jason? I can’t up and leave them, not right now at least,” her voice trailed off in disappointment.
The sound that came from Eric was nothing short of a snort. The defeat in her voice made him want to break something but the way she had paired her brother with the cat in terms of responsibility struck him as amusing.
Makes me wonder if this Jason is even house-trained…wonder if he bats at toy balls and stray leaves…
“Yes, you can. Pam will investigate these murders that I do suspect are linked in some way to the vampire world. She will clear your brother’s name. Your brother can take over babysitting your grandmother. She is his responsibility too and it is time he accepts it. Tina can remain here or Pam could take her to her house. She has an affinity for cats. Failing that, she will come with us.”
She gaped at him obviously having difficulty reconciling the vampire she had met at the bar with someone who loved animals. He could understand the problem – after all, he had ‘raised’ Pam.
“In some ways Pam is …a study in contradictions. She is unfailingly loyal to me, intelligent and an excellent fighter. She is many other things including being snarky and lazy to a fault, but if she accepts a responsibility, she will fulfill it to the best of her ability.”
Especially if I task her to do so…lazy brat…
“I dunno,” she hedged, Eric guessing that she probably didn’t want to insult anyone but was having visible qualms. “I don’t know her and I can’t just send Tina off with someone I don’t know. Gran will make sure she’s fed.”
Eric had his doubts but remained silent as he planned to solve the problem by simply bringing the cat with them. Dallas was easily within a night’s driving distance…especially if he drove. He glanced down at the cat in Sookie’s lap.
All she needs is a box, some bowls, a cage, and water and smelly food, right? Meh, Pam will know. At it’s not like Dallas doesn’t have stores. Pam would know that, too.
There was something about Compton that continued to irritate the fuck out of his intuition… His gut was warning him about something and he knew to never ignore that feeling. Lorena’s minion was an inherently untrustworthy bastard, always had been, and something needed to be done.
Bill fucking Compton had neither checked in nor registered his stay.
Being the Sheriff, Eric would certainly know.
Now why the fuck would Compton purposefully fail to register his presence with his Sheriff? As stupid as that fuck-up is, even he knows his duty… Shady… And isn’t it decidedly convenient that his hovel rests next to Sookie’s family home…
He glanced down at Sookie’s blonde head.
Once a threat is revealed, only the foolish allow it to remain.
Eric Northman was no fool.
So many options…but the timing…alibis…accountability…logistics…
Pam couldn’t stand Compton – in the past she had often compared him to an ape with the intelligence of a squashed grape…but her lily-white hands had to remain untainted – and definitely above suspicion. Thalia, however… She was a very old vampire with the ability to dampen her scent, and while she was currently in Bossier City for some probably ridiculous reason that he didn’t want to know about, at her age she could fly even more swiftly than he could. Thalia’s mind wasn’t exactly…right, and she would gladly kill for the pure thrill of it – keeping her from killing was often more the problem. If she happened to be told…find out…whichever…that Compton had illicit designs on an innocent virgin…
Oops. No more cum stain. Oh, darn, should I order flowers? Preordering would possibly look suspicious… No, wait – do they still post Bans or…were those only for engagements? Compton would be ‘wedded’ with the dirt that shat him so that would count, right? Ohhh Thalia…do you know what “by any means necessary” involves? Apply at will…
If he could persuade…or persuade if he must…Sookie to visit Dallas with him, they would all have easily verifiable alibis.
His fangs snicked down with the pleasure of the thought and he swiftly retracted them.
Makers called their children to them all the time, didn’t they…and accidents did happen to vampires once released from a weakening incarnation, or so they say…
“But anyway, what about my job? I’m a waitress at Merlotte’s and Sam’s already pissed that I had Bill take me to Fangtasia tonight as it is. I don’t think he’d take too kindly to me up and takin’ off to Dallas with an even bigger vampire,” she said somewhat teasingly.
Eric could tell she was genuinely concerned about her job and barely contained his huff.
A waitress…for the shifter? With her gift? She has this telepathic ability that I have so far no reason to doubt and she’s wasting it on, what, knowing when someone wants more blood-sauce, no, no, it’s ketchup…just looks like congealed blood. What a waste! Nothing wrong with earning a living as a waitress but she could be doing so much more and with so much less effort… Wait until she discovers the world full of options available…a world that doesn’t involve fetid shifters at that…
“Sookie, you are a telepath, correct? Then why do you waste your talent in such a way? Why are you a waitress when you could do so much more with much less effort? Why do you waste this extremely valuable talent?”
She shrugged as she continued petting the cat, and her shoulder brushed against his chest. Eric noticed that his hands were subtly holding her as she remained seated sideways on his lap. One palm rested lightly on her thigh near her knee while the other provided a modicum of support for her back.
“I didn’t do so well in school. I mean, I graduated, but it was so hard trying to concentrate when everybody else around me was thinking about something different at the same time. I’d need some sort of degree to do much of anything else but I really don’t want to deal with a classroom setting again. My shields are stronger now and all, but…no. Just no. I have thought about buying a computer and getting internet hooked up out here so I could do one of those online degrees, but there’s never been enough money for that kind of thing.”
He exhaled as he considered her options. What she said made sense and he felt…something…maybe it was pride…that she’d even graduated high school at all with those difficulties.
That idea…the one he had been considering more and more often of late, popped into his head with all-too-convenient timing…and a calculating gleam brightened his eyes.
It was feasible…highly feasible and infinitely appealing…but before now the rut had been so insidiously…lulling. The logistics…he’d mentally sorted them out many times during the past several years but had never genuinely considered that particular course of action, had lacked that final impetus…
While he had enjoyed the pretense of autonomy he had in governing his Area, in truth Sophie-Anne still held a ruler’s full power over him – power the vicious vampire would instantly abuse if she ever felt the urge.
That had never sat too well with him.
Of course he could easily take over the State, had honestly thought about it a few times, but he had no use for all the headaches that would come with such an action.
But said vicious brat-queen knew of Sookie’s ability. If the queen knew, then not only did Andre know, but anyone Hadley had brayed to about it knew as well…and then there was Compton.
Whether she liked it or not, Sookie was no longer safe in this little backwater mud hole.
The old woman’s snoring briefly caught his attention. “Gran” had gone to bed all right…but not to sleep, at least not at first. Judging by the subtle electronic whine he had detected, she had gone to her bedroom and then cranked up her hearing devices to maximum undoubtedly ear-piercing sensitivity so she could eavesdrop on their conversation.
That was one reason he had finally drawn Sookie into his lap…perhaps not the main reason, but it worked as an excuse since he could lower his voice. Sookie had subconsciously taken his cue and thus their conversation had thankfully become even more difficult for the elderly lady to overhear. Very soon thereafter she had succumbed to a light sleep.
As he gave Sookie time to consider her current situation while she stroked the cat’s fur, he further contemplated some facts of his own.
While there weren’t many vampires in the country who were stronger than him, his Maker was one of the strongest vampires on the planet.
His Maker also had an easy working relationship with the King of Texas who trusted Godric as much as any vampire could trust one he hadn’t Made.
The King of Texas was a smart, reasonable, but most of all powerful vampire in his own right…one who paid his employees fairly…especially if they had vampire…or Dae…representation.
Mentally he made a note to contact his own Dae representative – Cataliades.
He glanced down at Sookie and considered the probability that he was thinking irrationally, then immediately discarded the idea.
Eric the Northman did not think irrationally.
It was just that…there was something about the woman in his arms that beckoned to more than his fangs and his cock. She seemed to be…lighter, somehow…lighter than others in a way he couldn’t explain, and that “something lighter” seemed to call to that darkness which had resided within him since he first rose. Even the thought of his own child biting her had affected him strongly and at that time he’d been exposed to her for barely a handful of minutes…
Light? Dark? Bah…much more of this line of thought and Godric will definitely wonder what the fuck is wrong with me. Any chance Freud was made vampire? Maybe I should look into it…
Then he mentally shrugged.
He wasn’t sure what was going on but opted to simply go with it. After all, earlier that very evening he’d decided he needed to lighten up anyway. And her eyes did sparkle with humor when she dared to tease him…
I can’t wait for Godric to meet her… Wait, why the hell am I so excited to bring her home to meet my Maker? That makes no fucking sense at all…
Eric mentally shrugged again; he was certain it would later.
Now, back to the problem.
“Sookie,” he started then waited for her to look up at him again, “do yourself a favor and think beyond the redneck confines of Bon Temps, beyond New Orleans and even Louisiana. There is an entire world out there that you have yet to experience for yourself. In my eyes you are so young, so inexperienced…regardless of everything else going on in your life, allowing yourself to wither away and die here in Bon Temps would be criminal.”
His eyes clouded at the thought of her languishing away in such a backward, narrow-minded area then his expression grew slightly stern.
“You have not asked for my opinion but I will give it to you anyway. I suggest that you not only meet my Maker but that you meet with his King, too. It is my firm belief that he will offer you an extremely lucrative job as his royal telepath.”
When he saw the reluctant interest emerging on her beautiful face, he continued.
“He will want proof of your ability, of course, but upon gaining that proof do not be surprised if he offers you a considerable amount of money to retain your services. I will contact my lawyer on your behalf before I go to my rest. With luck, an odd version of which you seem to have in abundance, he may well be able to meet with you tomorrow night.”
Informing the girl in his lap that his lawyer was an entirely different species could wait for another night. He would bet Pam’s Parisian storage units the girl had no idea about Weres and Shifters – even though she worked for a rather smelly one, much less the existence of the Dae…or the Fae. He couldn’t wait to see the expression on her face…
“Why would I need a lawyer? I can’t afford one.”
Silly chit…like I would arrange for his services then make her pay for it.
He thought her vaguely adorable confusion over the need for an attorney a little unwarranted but attributed it to her inexperience. But that inexperience…and then she continued…
“And anyway I’m not really sure about meeting this king. I mean, I’ve met a grand total of like seven vampires and five of them were Bill and the Disco Triplets, and that creepy guy at the bar who was convinced people who visited Fangtasia wanted to die. I’d like to meet your Maker – you seem to have turned out pretty good which speaks great on his behalf, but I’m not sure my luck would hold when it comes to meeting this king guy.”
He didn’t understand why it was suddenly so imperative to him that she realize how crucial any decision she made at this point could be. She seemed bright enough to see the facts as they were but he felt some weird sense of duty to ensure she was realistically aware of her options.
Ohh, Sookie…if you only knew… Damn. I did not want to do this but she needs to know, at least to some degree, what she’s truly working with here. She seems to be considering this situation with appropriate gravity but I suspect she’s allowing her nerves about the king to influence the entirety of her future and that cannot be allowed. Fuck! Here goes…
“When dealing with vampires, retaining the services of a qualified attorney is never a bad idea, but before we get into all that, I need to be sure that you understand the gravity of your situation. You will not like hearing some of this…nor should you. You have a valuable gift, and yes, your telepathy is a gift,” he stated firmly when she started to contradict him. “This gift is highly valued in my world and therefore sought after with a vengeance…an unscrupulous vengeance. I do not understand how you have remained undiscovered for so long, but for your safety you need to realize that your former life is now over.”
The fear and sadness that clouded her gaze burned in a way he didn’t like, but he pressed forward.
“Now you have to make a choice and I will outline the most obvious of them. Some are good, most are not. You do not seem inclined toward opting for the worst ones but I will list them anyway.”
He inhaled and would have sworn he had to swallow back bile if it had been possible. Just because it was highly likely that Compton would soon no longer be a problem didn’t negate him from the ‘list’.
“You could allow Compton to use his blood to assume control over your mind and eventually both your body and your life before hauling you to his queen’s court where you will undoubtedly be ill-used until you either die or escape. Of course, Compton could have alternate plans in mind for you which would probably be even worse. I wouldn’t put it past him. You could boldly approach the queen yourself and demand fair treatment, but even with an attorney by your side, she can be manipulative and petulant and considering how vicious her Second is, the length and quality of your life cannot be assured. You could pack your bags and flee the area but you would lose all contact with your family. You would never be able to return home and the length of your freedom would be highly questionable at best.”
He paused to shift in the increasingly uncomfortable kitchen chair and considered that he should have floated them to the lumpy but undoubtedly softer sofa in the other room…at least, he thought that must be why he felt so uncomfortable.
The slight moisture gathering in Sookie’s eyes had nothing to do with it.
“Or…,” he began in a lighter tone, “with the proper representation, the entire world could be your oyster.” He grinned audaciously in part because he was so relieved to have the distasteful portion of the choices covered. Now he could proceed to the more pleasant options.
“Yes, you could easily become the King of Texas’ very well compensated and respected telepath and you would do quite well working only for him, but there are even more options available to you if you wish. With the right support and contracts you could virtually charge what you wish. You would also be in complete control of your choice of clients and locations as well as your working conditions. Most importantly, you would never be in another situation like the one hanging over your head tonight.”
Except for that damnable moisture, Sookie’s expression had gone into what he was beginning to think of as her attempted “poker face” during his recitation of her more negative choices. He found those “choices” so unacceptable that he would have quickly glamoured them from her if she had even pretended to consider any of them…assuming a glamour would even work on her given her telepathy…but her eyes were now clearing and perhaps even mirroring the gleam undoubtedly shining from his own.
“Well, I’m not too fond of oysters but I’m liking how the rest of those options sound.” She exhaled gustily and scratched Tina behind her ears one last time before easing the cat off her lap.
Eric watched in bemusement as she politely stood up and stretched then walked back to her former seat. After taking a sip of her watery-looking tea, she spoke.
“Ok, buddy, lay it out for me – what exactly do you propose, and what exactly do you get out of this? One thing I’ve learned is that nothing in life is ever really free.”
**A/N: There were several things I wanted to ask here (parts that I wanted your opinions on, etc) but every one of them came off sounding as though I was “leading” how you guys ingested the story. So, dang-n-blast’it, let’s just go with the usual: So…what’d ja think?**