**A/N: WARNING: There may be an unexpected (rather bitchy-bitey-fighty) character making an appearance in this chapter. Approach with caution.**
At the speed of a freaked out, pissed off, worried Maker, Eric absorbed and categorized the actions and images that assaulted and then surrounded him.
From the moment he had felt Willa’s pain and terror he had been on extreme alert. Within a second of sensing her distress, he had Thalia – his ill tempered to the point of being semi-feral but surprisingly loyal quasi-underling – on her cell and ordered en route to protect his thankfully now sleeping Sookie.
As much as he needed to rush to Willa’s side, he realized that whatever attack was going on could be nothing more than a diversion meant to make it easier for the Dae to kidnap his Sookie, which would not be allowed.
That was where Thalia came in.
If he or Sevrin couldn’t be Sookie’s protection, Thalia was his next best option, at least until he could request that Cataliades send his nieces. She was so old that even he couldn’t immediately think of a living soul who knew of her complete history, but he was as certain of her loyalty as he was of her ability to win any fight that came her way.
Her “outspoken” temperament, and the mere threat of her age and experience, had gotten her banned from most dominions but he had years ago come to an understanding of sorts with her.
Eric had been the first vampire to show her trust in a sadly long time, and it was that trust and the honest respect he also gave her which, eventually, earned her own.
He allowed her to live in peace in his Area, didn’t require her to pose for asinine tourists or to kiss any politically motivated or self-aggrandizing ass, and he didn’t annoy her with pesky mainstreaming bullshit. In return, she didn’t kill innocent humans or others in his area (often), didn’t cause public trouble (again, often), and had agreed to be his backup if needed (always). She fed when she wanted from the bar because of the easy meal options, and in fact had a small following of extraordinarily stupid groupies, and he left her to it.
Eric knew she was always up for a good fight, so they had quickly and naturally come to an understanding that if her help happened to be needed either with a problem while she was there or for a more organized engagement, she would provide it without hesitation.
It was certainly needed then, and so she came.
As she approached his rooms at top speed, he explained to her in a rushed buzzing blur what he knew of the situation. In very short order he opened his door to her arrival, ended the call, and sped past the short, curly-haired, classically-featured vampire who always appeared decidedly pissed off.
Although he no longer sensed much from Willa who felt to be disturbingly unconscious – a fact which scared him far more than he cared to admit, the acrid stench of spilled Dae blood and slowly increasing shouts from his security staff led Eric to his office on the first floor.
Fucking Dae. It was the fucking Dae.
An impressive amount of acidic spatter in the hallway in front of his office greeted his worried, angry glare, but the sight of Sevrin – huge, bloody, still snarling – so tenderly cradling in his massive arms the lax but still undead body of his beautiful Child would remain with him for a very long time.
A quick glance around revealed not only the lack of other would-be assailants but the source of the burning odor of silver – an emptied syringe, almost unidentifiable under a layer of gore, tossed to the side.
Silver…the fucking silver was in his Child!
Just then Sevrin raised his head long enough to expel a mouthful of tainted blood before immediately lowering his head again.
Eric’s instinctive growl was interrupted by the rapid approach of Fangtasia’s security chief and available subordinates. With a speaking glare he caught the tail end of a rushed conversation – one of them was speaking into a com set as they rushed to Eric’s location – and knew that they had at least had the forethought to have staff clear all customers from the first floor. Everyone was being led to/corralled on the second floor. Apparently Fangtasia was suffering some sort of water leak…
With his Child being ably tended to by the still quietly snarling Sevrin, Eric instantly concentrated on security aspects and calculated the very brief passage of time. Considering how little had passed since he’d sensed Willa’s assault, he took heart that at least very few people would have had the chance to exit the building immediately after the attack, and the many cameras throughout the building and the exits would easily have captured their images.
Being the founder of the most lucrative blood substitute currently on the market was a risky business at the best of times so he and his security staff had researched and implemented the best plans they could create. Unfortunately, as his “trusted Second,” Pamela had been privy to all aspects of…everything.
Eric shook his head and immediately refocused.
Practiced protocol stated that in the event of an internal attack, the moment anyone in security became aware of a situation, all exits were to be immediately barred, human laws be damned. Any visitors, customers, or guests in the establishment were to be “encouraged” by glamour or any other means necessary to “continue their night” on a floor not affected by the situation so that casualties and publicity would be minimized (Fangtasia had notoriously bad reception for customers’ cell and other devices…). As in the current situation, it also offered the opportunity to identify, isolate, and restrain any guilty or responsible parties.
Still processing and reacting at vamp speed to this attack on his Child, he immediately sent the security team off with instructions to call in all other members of the security department to scout every level of the establishment for further Dae “visitors” but didn’t expect much success. While he hoped Sevrin had ended all the demons involved, he didn’t think it likely, but also didn’t believe any remainders would hang around taking notes, either.
Eric cursed silently as members of his management team arrived just as the security group were blurring away, and he dealt with them very hastily in his need to finally tend to his Child – they could fucking clean when he fucking gave them fucking permission to fucking do so. He ordered them away with a snarl then ordered the young, unknown vampire waitress hovering attentively nearby to bring as tall a glass of clean human blood as she could find – fast.
During those preceding moments he had been keeping a peripheral eye on Willa and Sevrin who seemed to have everything in hand, and by then it had truly hit him what the gruff vampire was doing. When it had, his gut had clenched.
While he was having to deal with fucking management bullshit, the poor bastard was sucking fucking silver out of his Child’s neck – and harshly burning the soft tissues of his mouth and lips in the process. The stench of silver-burnt flesh was unmistakable.
So was the acidic smolder of the Dae blood stilled caked on the poor bastard’s skin. He needed a shower as soon as…
As Eric immediately blurred to his office to unlock the door and open the shower in the hidden quarters off the back, he briefly wondered why Willa had apparently been heading to his office in the first place. He didn’t mind, of course he didn’t, but he was curious. Once things were as prepared for his Child and her savior as they could be in the few seconds he gave himself to accomplish his goals, he blurred back to the hallway.
The waitress, who couldn’t be more than five years Turned, had in that short amount of time acquired the blood – he made a mental note to reward her for her quick helpfulness and suspiciously quick acquisition of the blood, and resolved not to ask how she had done so later – which he accepted before kneeling by Sevrin to wait.
He tried not to look too closely at the growing puddle of infected blood on the other side of them. It was horrifying to know that his youngest Child had been so painfully injured in their own building because of actions and inactions chosen by his eldest.
Willa would not have been harmed if Pamela hadn’t allowed her innate arrogance and jealousy to hold such power over her otherwise extraordinary common sense. Sookie would not have been so used by the Dae if Pamela hadn’t… He and Sookie would most likely have been together all this time if Pamela…
Regardless of Pamela’s reasonings, whether truly believed or not, she had much to atone for.
Seeing his Child lying helpless in the arms of the almost virtual stranger working so feverishly to save her burned away the last vestiges of what small amount of responsibility and age-old guilt he might have still held for the one now once his eldest. He had tried with Pamela…he had tried so very hard, in so many ways, for so long…but there came a time when that painful door had to be eternally closed.
An almost sickening relief flowed through the Viking as he simply, and finally, let go.
When the dark-haired mountain finally lifted his bloody head to check on his precious burden, the Viking solemnly handed him the glass.
“Rinse,” Eric instructed as he allowed his gratitude and worry to show.
As Sevrin took the glass, Eric was impressed with how well the other vampire was hiding what must be agonizing pain from the silver burns, but said nothing. To do so would disrespect the male’s hard-won facade. After rinsing, spitting, then draining the remainder, the vampire returned the glass, and smoothly rose with Willa in his arms.
Apparently he had previously been aware of the blond vampire opening the door for without surprise he followed Eric into the office.
Once situated on the couch with her on his lap, without looking away from her too-pale face Sevrin asked Eric, “Command her to drink?”
His question came out slurred as the blisters made speech difficult, but he spoke again anyway.
“Lost too much blood. Won’t wake easy. Must feed now.”
Eric slid his desk chair over to the couple, sat, and took his Child’s hand in his own. “Of course.”
In a blur he pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed as he said, “I’ll call up donors.”
“No,” came Sevrin’s surprisingly strong negation. “No time. We feed her. Maker blood better for her, my old blood stronger than any human’s. We feed her,” he repeated forcefully.
Knowing that Sevrin was right, Eric nodded.
Eric rolled his chair even closer as Sevrin moved Willa to sit straighter in his lap. He knew of course that his Maker’s blood would be the most healing substance for his Child and was fully prepared to argue the need to feed her first as he began trying to slowly and gently, if reluctantly, force a command through her oblivion, but when Sevrin did nothing but raise her head to ease the drinking, his expression must have betrayed his confusion.
As ferocious as his attack on the Dae obviously was and as gently attentive as he’s currently being with her, why isn’t he itching to feed her first?
When the dark mountain made to speak again, Eric simply shook his head. Although his burns must be healing, the rate of that healing was being vastly hampered by the amount of silver that had infiltrated his wounds.
Instead, he caught and held Sevrin’s gaze. “Later. We will discuss all things later. For now, let’s heal my Child.”
With a great sense of satisfaction Eric then bit into his wrist and placed the freely bleeding wound to Willa’s mouth, and with a silent, heartfelt apology he doubled down on the command to drink.
Sevrin stabilized her body with one huge arm wrapped across her stomach and rib cage, and with his other hand he rhythmically stroked her throat to ease her ability to answer her Maker’s command.
He knew the inability to follow an order of that nature from one’s Master would not negate the pain that would come from an order not followed. Even in her unconscious state he could feel when she tensed slightly with the need to obey the command and fervently hoped helping her to swallow would be enough.
It seemed to take forever but he finally felt her throat respond, and immediately felt the lessening of the instinctive tension in her still-limp body.
Although he had never truly fought a command from his own beloved Maker, Eric knew mostly from others how badly a command could hurt when not followed regardless of whether the vampire was actually able to follow or not. As there were no vampire doctors and their medical paraphernalia in the building to deal with this emergency and as he knew of no other way to force his blood down her throat, forcing her to drink was the only way he knew of to get enough clean blood into her body to prevent further damage to her brain from the silver.
As it was he wasn’t sure if even drinking from both of them would cure her or if it would only stabilize her until further medical help could intervene, but this was her best immediate option.
He just sorely despised causing her further pain and was almost tearfully relieved when he sensed her starting to drink more on her own.
Finally, after three courses of his blood – the wounds willed to remain open more than twice as long as they normally would, Sevrin grunted in a way Eric took to mean it was time to switch and let Sevrin have his turn.
A knock on the door brought instant snarls from both vampires until a soft voice on the other side stated a name Eric didn’t know but then identified herself as the waitress who had somehow procured the blood earlier.
Eric nodded to Sevrin then rose and unlocked the door, and to his surprise found not only the waitress, who held a beer pitcher full of blood in her hands, but also three very heavily glamoured females standing behind the vampire.
She held the pitcher out to Eric then asked where he wanted the donors. A sniff of the still body-temperature contents assured Eric that the blood was, thankfully, from a blend of clean donors.
That the young vampire didn’t offer to enter the room and didn’t waste time on unnecessary conversation raised her even more in Eric’s esteem, and he nodded toward an unused office down the hall.
The vampire gently halted the glamoured women’s progress and turned around.
With a small smile and a nod, she turned around and guided her charges to the indicated room.
When Eric returned to the sofa he found Sevrin already feeding Willa while quietly whispering in her ear. Her color was slowly improving but it was still far too pale in his opinion.
Sensing the need to give the new couple their privacy for even he could see the dark mountain’s care and concern for his Child, he turned around toward the pitcher now resting on his desk and contemplated drinking half of the contents to replace his lost blood. He didn’t want to drink from any other than his Sookie, and he knew this new, more mature version of his love would probably shout at him if he didn’t drink, but…
“Do it,” came a pitifully faint voice from the sofa a few minutes later.
Eric turned with blinding speed to see Willa still leaning into Sevrin but with her eyes almost half-way open now.
“She’ll yell if you don’t.” Her voice was painfully weak and her skin was still alarmingly pale for her, but she lived.
Sevrin, slight arrogance restored now that his Willa was showing definite signs of improvement, raised a brow all-but daring Eric to deny her words. Neither acknowledged Sevrin’s fingers gently carding through Willa’s disheveled hair.
Being the intelligent creature he was but didn’t necessarily display for the world to know, Sevrin had quickly determined what the problem truly was.
“From glass,” he indicated the pitcher, “not from neck. Drink or hand it over.”
With a hearty laugh more from relief than humor, Eric raised the pitcher and quickly drained exactly half the contents, then duly handed it over to the still smirking male on the sofa.
“There are three overly-glamoured donors in the empty office down the hall when you’re ready for more,” he informed the male still holding firmly to his Child with one meaty arm.
Sevrin nodded, then while deftly avoiding Willa’s head, he raised the pitcher to his lips. In his massive hand, the pitcher more closely resembled an oddly shaped glass.
Once he finished the blood, he placed the empty pitcher on the floor and quickly gathered the now resting Willa back into his arms and resettled her on his lap. As she burrowed more comfortably into his chest, he released his own relieved sigh. The burns in his mouth were healing somewhat more quickly now and while the demon blood coating his bare skin still burned enough to notice, he had his Willa in his arms and she was slowly healing even as she relaxed into him. Fuck if he was going to move…
Eric’s phone buzzed, and he gladly stepped out into the hallway to answer it. Part of him wanted to force that man away from his Daughter and make him declare his intentions in plain English (since he was rather certain that Sevrin didn’t speak the ancient form of what he guessed could be called Swedish now), but that man’s recent actions had honestly cured any doubts he might have had. Sevrin had absolutely saved his Child’s life – something for which he would be eternally grateful.
Still, that didn’t mean he wanted to be a third wheel witness to their cuddlefest, either.
New love…how sweet…
He couldn’t wait to tell Sookie about their recent progress… He couldn’t wait to get back to her regardless. Thalia would protect her life but she’d be rude as hell while doing it. Come to think of it, he wasn’t sure if they even knew each other anyway…shit.
“Speak,” he barked into the phone and hoped his security chief didn’t have anything troublesome to report.
“Get down to Pam’s cell. You need to see this, boss.”
**A/N: Yeah, this is a fix-it for the ending of TB, but…how do we know they wouldn’t have eventually realized what an awesome character Thalia could be? Huh? HUH? Besides, if I can have Mr. C, and eventually Gladiola and Diantha, I can have Thalia, too, dangit. So, yeah, *spoiler* say “Hi!” to Thalia… Lol, I did warn that I tend to go AU pretty much ASAP, right? Now, the deal with Sevrin and the possible bond/not bond with Willa will be addressed in a later chapter. So…what did you think?**