**A/N: Ok, y’all, this chapter reveals what was on the video. I can’t say it’s a chapter filled with sunshine and daisies, but remember – Pam gets her roar on…**
Moments later Thalia arrived. In an angry glance she took in the scene before her and immediately cleared everyone but her Sheriff and his mate from the bloody cell.
Once they were gathered in the corridor, she sent everyone away except an underling she detested the least and took his report on what had happened, then sent him away, too. No one dared question her authority to do so; they all valued their existence too dearly.
Thalia assumed guard duty outside the room to prevent those grieving within from being disturbed, and considered alerting The Baltic One, as she believed he had been called in older times, but decided against it. She didn’t know him but, as with most vampires over a certain age, she knew of his reputation.
As was the case with all good vampires, he was harsh, brash, quiet, apparently trustworthy…a vampire’s vampire.
The Northman seemed to have trust in him, true, but this was a time for family. She could give him that.
Thankfully word had spread and the corridor remained mostly empty except for the annoying manager – a vampire she had never liked and did not hesitate to send physically flying back down the hallway. Her coal black eyes may have glittered at his hard landing.
After a while she could detect the murmur of low voices from the grieving and stepped farther away. Hearing their words, however unintentionally, felt intrusive. The Northman deserved his privacy.
She knew the grief he bore. The searing pain of losing one’s progeny wasn’t one he would ever forget, but with time would come a certain dulling of the pain, a certain ability to live with and around it.
He would survive.
The blonde hybrid would soften the sharpest edges and dull the worst flames.
Thalia turned her thoughts from the pain of losing a progeny to the puzzle posed by the Northman’s mate. The hybrid had appeared quite concerned just before emitting the bright light, but the expression on her face when she had started glowing just before she disappeared had told the ancient vampire that the ensuing vanishing hadn’t been intentional, at least not entirely.
Didn’t the twit know that fairies could transport themselves from place to place? She shrugged.
Initially furious at having lost her charge, Thalia had instinctively stilled and cast her senses out to their fullest range, and then heeded the whispers of her intuition…as well as those of the louder, younger vampires on the levels above and below where she stood.
Just as she had suspected, she picked up the fairy-hybrid’s scent as she neared the cells, one of which contained the Viking’s child.
That was a situation she would never understand, and honestly, she didn’t want to. As robustly as the Maker had spoiled the Child…for the Child to disrespect the Maker in such a way as to cause that Maker to imprison his own Child…
As she stood her silent vigil, she thought about the situation and wondered what exactly had happened. Gossip of course carried its own theories, but gossip also lied, or took a grain of corn and grew an oak tree…
Eventually Eric, with his Sookie’s arm wrapped around his waist, appeared in the doorway and for the first time in her memory, every year of his existence appeared to show on his weary being.
When he raised his reddened eyes to meet her gaze, she studied him closely, then nodded.
“You will survive,” she stated firmly, if not unkindly. He didn’t miss the understanding in her solid regard.
Eric took a deep breath, patted Sookie’s hand, and straightened his shoulders.
“To my office,” he ordered, and if his voice was a bit gruff, no one noticed.
Thalia followed along until she spotted a cleaning crew waiting offside the main corridor. She veered away to speak to them for a moment then caught up with the Northman and his woman.
Once in his office, Eric bid a surprised Sevrin and Willa to remain.
He congratulated himself on having thought to block his swirling emotions from his one remaining… She didn’t deserve to experience the…the things he was feeling. Willa had already been through enough this night.
Eric seated himself at his desk and drew Sookie into his lap. As he quietly recounted what he knew of the situation to bring her, Sevrin, and Willa up to date, he kept his hands on Sookie’s slightly undulating abdomen – his hands hadn’t left her person since she had appeared before him when he needed her most and he wasn’t about to let go of her now.
“Pamela Swynford De Beaufort, my Child, died with honor,” he finally concluded with dry eyes and a firm voice.
Upon hearing the tale Willa, still on Sevrin’s lap, had curled into his chest and wept. She wept for the sibling she had never had and would now never know, for the wasted potential, for the almost-friend now gone, and for the pain now seeping through from her Maker.
There had been a few times in the past that Pam had been just helpful enough that a vague friendship, if not a true familial bond, had seemed possible at some point in the future, but Pam had always kept a barrier of sorts between them. It hadn’t taken Willa long to realize that Pam’s jealousy of both her new sibling and of Sookie had been the root of most of the other vampire’s problems, but she hadn’t known how to overcome that weirdness.
Eventually life had provided both distance and coolness, and Sookie had been far nicer to Willa than Pam had ever been, anyway.
Currently she wept for the could-have-beens…and the waste of what should have been a beautiful life.
For his part, Sevrin was glad that the dilemma caused by Pamela was now resolved and in a way that proved without a doubt the oddly intense loyalty he had read from the woman herself. She was a complication the Northman certainly hadn’t needed and that he hadn’t honestly wanted to shoulder.
He would have, of course, but damn if he was going to let that spoiled bitch cause complications with whatever he had going on with Willa. There were too many potential pitfalls and potholes that could have rose up in dealing with her while fucking…or whatever else it was called…her Sibling.
Sevrin gathered Willa closer and provided what comfort he could. He didn’t honestly understand the cause for her weeping, figured it had to do with compassion or memories or something, but the fact she was hurting ate at him in a way that he certainly didn’t like.
It galled him…made him very uncomfortable…made him want to kill things to make her stop.
Willa was soft and sweet, gentle humor and hidden strength…she was supposed to be smiling or at least giving him looks that said she saw deeper into his heart than maybe he wanted her to…she sure as fuck wasn’t supposed to be crying.
Sookie nuzzled her cheek below Eric’s collarbone and sent him waves upon waves of comfort, love, and what she hoped came through as peace.
It irked her that she had so little experience with that whole bond thing, but knew every bit of practice helped.
She dreaded watching whatever they would see on the video. As much as she held against Pam for what she’d done, she didn’t want to see the other woman being attacked, either, and she definitely dreaded it for Eric’s sake.
The pain he must be feeling…she couldn’t imagine what kinds of thoughts were going around in his head. From what he’d told her in that horrible cell and the lesser information he’d shared with Willa and Sevrin, he had made his peace with Pam, and for that she would be forever grateful.
Her hand fell of its own accord to her swollen stomach, and just the thought of losing her own child, a child she hadn’t even met yet, sent a stab of terrible fear through her heart. For Eric to lose a child Turned by his own blood, a progeny whose presence and feelings he had been attuned to for so very, very long…she couldn’t imagine.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered for his ears only.
She felt more than heard his breath catch, then felt him shake his head before he kissed the top of her head. She nodded into his shirt, and held him a little tighter.
Although having Sookie on his lap made dealing with the shitstorm of emotions running through him easier, it made reaching for his laptop and monitor more difficult, but there was no way in hell he was moving the one thing keeping him stable at the moment.
When her quietly whispered sentiment had reached his ears, he’d had to sternly tamp down the urge to cry yet again, and he had breathed a silent sigh of relief that she had taken his reaction to heart.
Not now…not yet…
There would be time to grieve and deal with all…that…later.
For now, that damn video called to him much the same as a vile Siren.
He steeled himself, then activated the screen. After positioning it so that Sevrin and Thalia could see it – he trusted the other male to encourage Willa not to look – he found the screen showing the still-live feed to the cell.
With a difficult swallow, he watched as one of the cleaning crews carefully gathered what was left of Pam’s remains and placed them respectfully into one of the urns kept on the property just for such occasions.
He almost smiled – they had chosen one of the lurid pink urns with the flashy gold trim that Pam had insisted they carry along with the more traditional black or red options.
After one last long look at the current stream, he switched over to the recorded section and began rewinding the video in increments until he came upon the image of Pam weeping quietly in her cell.
He pressed play, and for several minutes that was the only thing they saw and heard until Pam suddenly jumped up, snarled, and assumed a traditional crouch.
Almost immediately thereafter the door to her cell opened and four Dae entered. To the most casual observer they could have passed as human males wearing generic if expensive suits and ties, but to viewers in the know, their species was slightly more obvious.
The malevolent grins on their oddly coarse faces as they sauntered into the small room revealed sharp teeth between lips that moved in a slightly inhuman way.
Once in apparent position circling Pam, the largest one spoke.
“Mr. Pantelides is most displeased with your inability to keep your fool mouth shut.”
“Kazilieris,” spat Pam, apparently recognizing him from their phone conversations. She remained in her defensive position. The position of her body in relation to the camera didn’t allow Eric to clearly see her face, but her entire body radiated alarm.
The Dae smiled even more cruelly.
“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet you at last, but since it’s to be such a short pleasure,” he sneered the word, “I won’t bother.” He nodded behind Pam’s back.
In one smooth, well practiced movement, the Dae positioned behind Pam immediately withdrew and fired what appeared to be a silver-tipped Taser.
The tips embedded themselves into her back with sickening ease, and Sookie had to look away from the screen when Pam’s movements became grotesquely jerky.
Her movements were so unintentionally distorted that the loaded darts thrown by the demon on each side of Pam missed their intended targets. One stuck the floor while the other grazed her calf. The males made to reach into their jackets again but the speaker glanced around furtively and waved them down.
Eric clenched his jaw and was fiercely proud of his progeny’s silence in the face of such pain.
To the shock of the Dae, Pam regained enough control over her movements to spin around, grab the wires, and pull the device from the male’s hands. Immediately after she yanked the tips from her skin with a sickening squelch, she swung the hand unit in circles above her head, and when she released it, it flew directly into the face of the one who had formerly held the device.
He landed back against the wall head first and sank to the floor in a heap.
“You were saying,” she replied to the one she had called Kazilieris.
He chuckled while giving Pam an appraising look, then taunted, “So brave for one about to lose her baby sister.”
Keeping her eye on the three remaining foes, she scoffed, “Willa? She’s tougher than that sweet Southern drawl would lead you to believe.”
Willa, who had quietened as she listened to the video, choked back a sob. Sevrin cupped the back of her head in his big palm and slowly rubbed his fingers through her hair as he lightly held her face to his chest.
“So why did you have to go and run that pretty mouth of yours, Pammy? I thought you were smart enough to understand the situation.”
An expression that looked a lot like betrayal ghosted quickly over Pam’s face then was replaced with a sneer.
“Tokatlidis, I presume.” She didn’t turn to directly face the speaker, instead keeping her gaze dancing over all three males.
“At your service,” he replied glibly.
“You can go service yourself, you acidic piece of shit. I have enough asslickers in my life.”
The Dae growled, obviously enraged that his presence hadn’t been more disconcerting to the petite vampire in their midst.
Eric saw the three remaining demons exchange a glance amongst themselves then saw the chosen speaker Kazilieris nod after a glance to the open door.
In unison all three withdrew guns whose metal construction should have set off the metal detectors at every entrance to the large establishment but had obviously not.
Moving so quickly that her appearance on the screen was a blur, Pam avoided most of the bullets aimed in her direction and, with her movements, in fact caused one of the remaining demons to fall to “friendly fire”.
Neither Eric nor Sevrin bothered hiding their slightly smug expressions at the blonde vampire’s ploy.
That the newly fallen foe was Tokatlidis seemed highly fitting.
Kazilieris and the other male who had yet to speak stalked toward Pam who was now bleeding heavily from several new wounds. Eric theorized that the Tazer tips must have injected some sort of silver into her system because of the way she kept automatically reaching back with a clawed hand to rub those small wounds.
Plus, vampires didn’t have labored breathing.
“You knew better than this. Now your little sister has to pay, and then it will be your Master’s turn,” Kazilieris growled as he withdrew a surprisingly long-bladed knife from his jacket.
The unnamed Dae mirrored his actions and added after glancing mockingly down at his watch, “Yeah, your little sister should be down for the count right about now. Then daddy’s gonna get it.”
Kazilieris added, “We did warn you what would happen.”
Pam blurred a bit slower than usual to the farthest corner of the room and only Eric and Sevrin caught her flickering glance toward the camera in the ceiling. “How did you know, anyway? It’s not like your species is known for brilliance.”
Kazilieris growled but the other one taunted smugly, “You don’t think the manager here is just a manager, do you?” In a clearly audible “aside” to Kazilieris he smirked, “Are all vamps so fucking gullible? All this stupid bint had to do was keep her fucking tongue still, but no, she had to go running her mouth to that other deader.”
Kazilieris rolled his eyes and snarled in agreement as he tossed the long blade between his gnarled hands.
“Because of this stupid bitch and her damn mouth, we have to grab the breeder now instead of later,” he griped conversationally to the room at large. “We had been willing to allow her to ripen elsewhere but now,” he said directly to Pam, “thanks to this stupid bint, we have to deal with a fucking whiny pregnant cunt that we can’t even rough up all that much because we might hurt the precious little imp!” He spat the words as though it was a well-versed complaint. “And now we have to deal with the damn whelping of the brat on top of it all.”
He suddenly lunged at Pam and a second later was joined by the other demon. Pam managed to escape them but left two of her fingers in the unnamed Dae’s grasp.
She ignored the acidic sting of his blood as it dripped from his other hand, along with his forearm, dangling from her uninjured hand. In the process she had managed to avoid most of Kazilieris’ lunges, but a painful few had landed.
As the second Dae’s face suffused with horror upon realizing what had happened, she smirked.
“Looking for this?”
He didn’t duck fast enough and was hit in the face with his own bleeding arm. The force of her throw caught the already floundering male off balance and he landed hard as he grabbed at what was left of his stump.
At that point Pam apparently noticed that Kazilieris had suffered his own “friendly fire” wound because Eric saw a tiny little smile, barely discernible, lift the corner of her lip when the male’s body shifted.
Displaying a remarkable lack of concern over the newly injured Dae, much less the one still unconscious and the other beginning to stir, Kazilieris chose instead to taunt his prey as they warily circled each other in the middle of the room.
“So I hear your precious Maker is back to fucking around with our breeder. That was ill-done of you, Pammy. Does he know he’s fucking Dae property? Does he know that you running your fat mouth is going to cost him his life and her freedom?”
“Yes,” Pam replied with an even voice. “He finally has his sweet little Sookie, and I hope they have their twee little happy ever after. They’ve earned it. From what I heard about your little bitch boy, he treated her like shit. If he’d minded his manners and treated her like he should have, none of this would have ever happened.”
“Don’t you worry your dead cunt about Steve,” the Dae spat. “He has been taken care of. Fucker had so little Dae in him that it took all day to burn his retarded ass.”
Pam zipped, albeit more slowly than a healthy vampire would have, to the corner farthest away from both the walking Dae and the one now recovering too quickly for her peace of mind.
“I was wondering how she managed to get knocked up by him. Everyone knows it shouldn’t have peen possible. He must have been a watered down version of you people because neither fairies nor humans can carry a true Dae spawn. You nasty pure-blooded fuckers have to breed with Weres if you can’t get Dae pussy. Why are you bothering with Sookie when she couldn’t breed with any but the weakest of your kind?”
Eric once again caught the flicker of her eyes toward the camera as she ostensibly surveyed the entire cell. She was weaving side to side, and he suspected it was as much due to blood loss and pain as it was to prevent any of her attackers from gaining a true aim, but through it all she was pulling every bit of information out of the bastard that she could.
Odin bless her.
“Mr. Pantelides has a tiny doctor in his pocket,” Kazilieris crowed. “She likes to run experiments and has created a potion that helps keep the brat stuck inside long enough to be born. It only worked in a small percentage of the human trials but she assured the boss that if the female is at least part supe it’ll work better. She said the hybrid would be perfect for her experiment and our purposes.”
Eric held Sookie, now shaking and trying her hardest not to cry, even closer. He paused the video and concentrated on stroking her back and flooding her with calm reassurances.
He wasn’t sure how much more of this kind of stress she could take, especially not in her condition. She had a fierce heart but was afraid of how this would affect her. As he held her closer he murmured bolstering phrases in her ear and kept flooding her with soothing and loving emotions even as he planned the long and painful death of a certain doctor.
Sevrin and Willa’s low growls were somehow in perfect harmony with each other while Thalia’s thunderous almost subsonic snarls shook the room.
The ancient vampire was perplexed by how very murderous her rage actually was. She didn’t even particularly like the hybrid and only tolerated the woman’s Viking mate because she respected him. Her slight confusion over her feelings added greatly to the number who would die by her hand when that beautiful time would come.
Mildly aware of the rage swirling in the room around him but concentrating on his Sookie, Eric kept soothing her as best he could in the face of such horrible words.
“You are safe,” Eric ordered to the top of her head. “You are safe and this will not happen.” He repeated various forms of this litany praying something would work.
Willa rose to pace. This couldn’t be happening. She’d known that things were bad, had known what she’d been told of the Dae’s plan, of course, but it had been just some vague possibility lurking somewhere…else. Hearing it from that monster’s mouth, however, made it too real.
Before she could pace herself into a frenzy, Sevrin caught her by her waist and hauled her back into his lap. He had seen the mounting fear and realizations in her eyes and knew she was nearing her wits’ end.
“Willa, look at me,” he commanded softly but with strength in his voice. She raised her head and his heart lurched a little at the wild expression in her eyes.
“This will not come to pass,” he enunciated clearly if a little slowly in his desire to not be misunderstood. “This threat is serious,” he allowed, realistic as always, “but we are strong, we are prepared, and we have options.”
He stared down into her eyes and willed her to the best of his ability to have faith and find that inner strength she would need. He now cursed the fact that, in his consideration for her feelings, he had not allowed a bond to form between them, that he had allowed her Maker to feed her first thereby voiding that power in his own blood when it mixed with that of her Maker in her body. The ability to literally send her his strength and courage, the ability to calm her the fuck down, would have come in very handy just then.
She closed her eyes and although her nails grazed the flesh of his chest as her hands fisted, she exhaled slowly, then swallowed hard. When she opened her eyes they were clear, and she spoke.
The fear wasn’t entirely gone but had mostly been replaced with that steely determination he had so hoped to see. The trembling of her lips had been replaced by a firmly jutting jaw, and he had never seen a sexier sight.
Courage he could understand; courage in the face of realistic fear, he honored.
Needing to feel her writhing under him but knowing right then was definitely not the time, he forced himself to be only mildly dissatisfied with a kiss to her forehead as he kept her firmly seated on his lap.
He and Willa politely pretended to ignore the similar conversation taking place between a rigidly pissed off Eric and a Sookie now thankfully not nearly so upset.
Eventually they surfaced from their own little world, and Eric restarted the video.
Kazilieris was grinning malevolently, his true species creeping through more than ever.
“If the bitch survives, she’ll have a new career. Her cunt is more valuable than her mind to us, but the offspring should have her pitiful version of telepathy, too, which makes it even better.”
That apparently pissed Pam off because she took immediate action. However, instead of directly attacking the bastard taunting her, in an almost blur she ripped the heads and remaining arms off both the friendly-fire victim and the one lacking an arm.
Eric hated how quickly she appeared to be losing her strength and the silver bullets Kazilieris then fired into her thigh and shoulder in retribution didn’t help.
“I had thought you were going to leave her alone after she birthed the freak’s whelp,” she said as though she hadn’t a care in the world.
Eric silently applauded her tactics. Not only had she removed the two lesser threats that were hardest for her to keep an eye on, but she was encouraging the bastard, who obviously liked hearing himself talk, to keep spilling information. That she spoke calmly enough to apparently disturb her foe was awe inspiring.
The now slightly agitated Dae laughed cruelly even as he narrowed his eyes at Pam who he obviously thought should be down by now.
“You stupid little deader, why would you think that? Steve’s job was to use her to see if offspring would take, and if it did, he was to bring her into our fold. He finally got the first part of his job done after a long fucking time, but just because he failed to bring her in doesn’t mean she’s getting away. If she can produce our young, then that’s what she’ll do. Good breeders are impossible to find for our kind.”
Pam hissed then snarled, and the sound was far more savage than any Eric had heard from her before…almost primeval. She moved to another side of the cell, but while her speed was obviously suffering, the expression on her face was beyond murderous.
Kazilieris chuckled at her reaction and quickly if nonchalantly tossed the long knife into his other hand only to withdraw a different gun from inside his jacket and fire. Eric was able to identify it as a hollow bullet filled with silver pellets before it hit her stomach.
“Now, after I finish with you, it’s Eric’s turn. I’ll make him pay for your loose tongue with silver ropes, then I’ll collect that fertile little fairy. Maybe I’ll let her watch as I remove his skin from his flesh and drive silver rods through all his orifices. Fairies do get off on torture, don’t they,” he asked rhetorically as a line of drool escaped from between his sharp teeth and not-quite-human lips. “I’ll make him scream and beg for mercy as I break his bones and snip his fingers and toes then make him watch as I fuck his bitch’s fat ass. Can’t risk the spawn so I can’t exactly ride her like the deader whore she is, but I do like me a tight …”
A frighteningly inhuman bellow that seemed to call down the wrath of the ages shook the cell, and Kazilieris dropped both his weapons in shock.
“In the name of my Maker, for the honor of all who have come before me, I end you,” she intoned in an otherworldly roar.
In less time than it took for Sevrin to remember to close his mouth, the room was painted in acidic blood with demonic body parts landing wetly in a furious rain. He had never before heard that particular sound, that audible fury, and honestly never desired to hear it again.
How such a tangible noise could have been made by such a slight person was beyond him. The memory of it resounding in his ears sent frissons down his spine.
Eric…Eric stared enthralled at the screen. His Child… Pride welled until there was no room for grief or pain or loss.
In one instant the ages seemed to merge.
Godric had been Death, perhaps a related form…
Himself, he had been…and now his progeny…
He closed his eyes as a painful bliss suffused his face.
**A/N: Annnd there you have it. So…what did you think?**