A/N Okay, so I felt super mean leaving you guys on that cliff-hanger! I’m supposed to be revising but Eric and Godric kept giving me death glares across the room and muttering about how mean I was to them, and to you guys…this chapter has made them stop, and now they’re both smiling somewhat! *eye roll* Banged this chapter out in the space of a day, so sorry for any errors!
I also just want to take a moment here to discuss the fact that, since I threw in the rape and torture, I’ve been getting a lot of negative feedback.
I can understand your issues with these topics and I do appreciate you breaking it to me gently. One guest review I had stated that he/she felt the need to bow out because of the violence simply because it wasn’t their thing. He/she stated they weren’t flaming but merely giving me the heads-up. I appreciate that kind of honesty, as a novice writer it helps me tailor my stories more to the audience. I know the topics aren’t particularly pleasant and I have no idea how to write them because I have never experienced either, so I’m sorry if it’s not to your liking. Unfortunately I have a lot of readers and I know I can’t please everyone, though I do try to!
While I do not like the topics I feel they play an important role in this story. Has anyone else noticed the power switch? Ata was the strong female leader to begin with and supported Sookie, now we have Sookie supporting Ata. I needed this switch to occur. Sookie needed to grow up and realise the world isn’t great, and Ata is the catalyst for that. Sookie needed to become much stronger (even though I already think she’s pretty strong anyway) in order to be on a level playing field with Eric, and because what will be happening to her at the end of the story will require her to have a major pair of balls.
The power shift needed to occur so that Sookie could come into her own, as you’ve seen her do. I do not appreciate being personally attacked in reviews. Hate/flame etc. my work all you want but please do not start negatively criticising me. I have not personally done anything to you. I enjoy being teased with names such as ‘evil woman :P’ (which I have received in plenty of reviews!) as it gives me this strange sense of achievement at having riled you up a little, but I do not take lightly serious name calling.
While I would love nothing more than to write a 60-odd-chapter fanfiction on Eric, Sookie, Ata and Godric filled with fluff and love and all things cute and cuddly, the reality is that the world isn’t a good or nice place, and the TB world is especially not a nice or good place. There is plenty of violence in TB (or are we forgetting Eric ripping limbs off and flinging them at Laffy? The residents under the maenad’s control shooting each other and shit? Bill leaving Sookie alone so that she would be beaten until she needed blood? Jason being raped by inbred panthers? Bill’s torture at the hands of Lorena? Need I go on?) Perhaps what I did to the characters was too much for you, which I can totally understand and I respect that, and I thank you for sticking with me this long, but you have to see it from my point of view also before you start throwing your teddies in the corner.
Also, please remember that this is my first fanfiction ever. I’m not going to be some writing God; my tales aren’t going to be the best. In all honesty this story started off as a very rough idea with my best friend simply because I love Ancient Egypt/Rome, Caesar’s Palace and TB and wanted a way to combine them all (plus my disappoint at Season 5 fuelled some of this!) I actually had nothing else planned for this after Godric and Ata were reunited wayyy back at the beginning of the story!
With that out of the way, I want to reiterate now that there will be no more torture for our beloved foursome! A little bit of pain yeah, but they’re kicking ass, what do you expect!? Instead it’s time for our antagonists to be paid a visit by karma *evil laughter*
ENJOY. REVIEW. MAKE ME SMILE. KEEP THE VIKING HAPPY. ETC. ETC.
And knowing what I’ve done to you, with every thought you suffer through
My heart as black as evil can and everything I could have been
Erased by what I wanted then, I couldn’t think a lesser man
All the delicate ways that I deepened our graves
My apology pales, oh, the pain in your eyes
My regrets have never known such sorrow, oh, the shame that you hide
Resolutions are the same tomorrow so now I reap what I have sewn,
And any rapture I had shown has bled dry, and I walked the streets alone
Accepting pain I’d never known,
As you died, you died
~ 1000 Apologies, Demon Hunters
Hungry. I was so hungry. I could feel the pain of hunger slowly ebbing away from my body and without paying much thought to what, or whom, I was feeding on, I continued to drink greedily. The blood that hit my palate was incredible. It was so sweet, like the honey I had consumed in my human years, and it was fragrant like the night-blooming flowers at my safe house in Shreveport. I wanted more. I wanted it all. The source of such delectable blood was pinned beneath me, warm and pulsing. I was in my element.
One moment I was fine, consumed with the task at hand, and the next I felt this snapping sensation in my chest, like something had given way or broken. My hunger wasn’t so bad now, and I could feel myself starting to get a hold of my rational side. Pulling back from my food I looked down my body, running a hand over my side. There was nothing broken, my bones were fine. Why on earth had I felt a snap? There wasn’t just pain the moment I felt the snap, but now I felt sad, hysterical almost, and like a part of me was missing. The smell of the blood of my meal was rich in the air, and I glanced down at the person offering me such divine food.
It was like a bucket of ice thrown over my body. Rational thought returned to me immediately as I took in the straggly blonde hair, the bountiful chest, the slight gap between her front teeth. Sookie. My Sookie.
Panic filled me quickly as I realised that the snapping had been our bond breaking. I searched for it furiously but I couldn’t find it. Throwing myself down on her I pressed my ear to her chest. Her heart was still beating, but only just. It was exceedingly slow and laboured If I had taken even a drop more she would be dead. Hands clasped over my mouth in horror, I turned to the side to find Godric still feeding. Eyes darting to the figure beneath him I could see Ata sprawled on the table, her own blonde hair a tangled mess, her clothes ripped, and her body bloody. My mother and my bonded were holding hands, trying to find safety in one another. Although not physically stronger than Godric, my influx of Sookie’s blood gave me a boost. With a firm grasp I ripped Godric from Ata, throwing him to the other side of the basement.
He skidded along the floor, righting himself, baring his fangs at me for my show of disrespect by forcing him to stop feeding. “ATA!” I yelled at him, waving a hand at my mother. Godric scowled and as I pounded at our bond I felt his hunger haze disappearing, his bloodlust receding. Finally he looked around me, and the horror painted on his face at the sight of Ata, still and knocking on deaths door, reminded me of Sookie.
Promptly I was back by her side, tearing the iron chains from her, flinging them elsewhere in the basement. I didn’t care where they went so long as they were no longer near her. I could hear Godric doing the same for Ata, freeing her from the confines of the metal. Godric and I were now fully healed, we were physically fine, but our women had suffered because of us. “They need our blood.” Godric spoke up, his hands roaming over Ata as he took in every wound, every mark. He flinched as his hands met the brand on her shoulder but he powered on.
“They have little to no blood of their own left, if we give them ours we might turn them by accident. They’d meet the sun.” I was already thinking of every possible outcome. Ata and her boys had said that the sky fae would meet the sun if they were turned. I wasn’t going to risk losing Sookie. Without my blood though she would be dead soon, and I would follow after her regardless. I had never thought I would meet the true death over the demise of a human, let alone a fae/human hybrid, but life without my Sookie just wouldn’t be the same.
“We have no other option, only give her a little, just to see her through until night fall.” Godric instructed, already biting into his wrist. Parting Ata’s lips he placed his wrist over her mouth, massaging her throat to force her to swallow. I mimicked him, getting my blood into Sookie’s system. I could feel it the moment my blood entered her system. Our previous bond shot back into place, but it felt stronger now. Firmer. It was almost as if it was anchored to us. The third bond.
“Komma tillbaka till mig, min kärlek. Komma tillbaka till mig.” I prayed as I fed her my blood. I needed her to come back. I would spend every second for the rest of eternity making this up to her. I loved her and I would make sure to tell her every day if only she would wake up. There was no point going on without her. Though the initial snapping of a bond was painful, the partner left behind to walk the earth would start to feel the pain the next day, and it would only get worse, eventually driving them to the brink of madness, forcing them to take their own life. It was why so few vampires bonded to humans. Humans were fragile. They were mortal. As the wound on my wrist healed over I could see the marks on Sookie’s body starting to heal. I was still angry to see her uncovered, to be able to smell Compton in her still. Would that have any long-term effects on her? Would she need to see someone to help her? I could find a respectful woman for her to talk to if she wanted. She’d probably speak with Ata but what would happen when we returned to Louisiana? So many questions were spinning around my head and there were so few that I had answers to. All I knew was that I wanted Sookie back. I needed her back, and I would damn well fight tooth and nail to get her back. “Jag älskar dig, min Sookie.” I murmured, dropping my forehead to hers. I hoped she could hear me still, that she could understand me. Pam had once told me that hearing was the last thing that went when humans were crossing over. I wanted her to have more blood. I wanted her to have a better chance of survival.
Scrambling across the room I grabbed the bag that Felipe had drained me down with. Although the needle was filthy I put it in my mouth, using my saliva to clean it. Finding Sookie’s arm, I ran my tongue over the vein to make it stand up before I hooked her up to it, praying it would work. Godric watched me working, and mimicked my actions, hooking Ata up to his bag.
“Sunrise in 5 minutes, Eiríkr.” Godric addressed me, his voice thick with emotion. Turning my head I watched as he pushed Ata’s bangs from her face, her wounds starting to heal with his blood. I had heard him muttering to her in Latin in the background but I was unfamiliar with the language, and too consumed in my Sookie, to join in. Godric hadn’t called me by my human name in many years, and it was a true testament to his feelings and his thoughts at the present moment.
“We should move somewhere shady, and put our women in the sunshine.” I gestured to the spot on the floor where the moonlight was starting to fade from. It wasn’t a huge spot, but it would give them a little sunlight, which could help them heal. Nodding his consent, I helped Godric gather the blankets from inside the iron cell, creating a pallet for our women on the floor. Picking them up in our arms we made sure the bags were still attached to them before we placed them down on the soft surface, arranging them so they were facing one another, curled up together. I could remember being told by Riei, or maybe even Oeri, that being close together would help them heal. Taking their hands I laced their fingers together again, understanding now that they sought comfort from one another that way.
Godric and I retreated back into the dark part of the basement just as the sun started to rise, its first rays of the day landing on our women. Their heartbeats were a little stronger, but they would probably need all day to heal. I didn’t want to give in to the pull of the sun, and usually I would be able to hold back, especially with such a large amount of Sookie’s blood in my veins, but the night’s events had taken its toll on me and I was unable to fight it. The moment the sun was high enough it claimed both Godric and I for the day.
So you love me as much as I love you yeah
Would you hurt me baby, could you do it to me yeah
Would you lie to me baby ‘cause the truth hurts so much more
Would you do the things that drive me crazy
Leave my heart still at the door
Oh, I can’t help it I’m just selfish
There’s no way that I could share you, that would break my heart to pieces
Honestly the truth is if I could just die in your arms I wouldn’t mind
Cause every time you touch me I just die in your arms
Oooh, it feels so right
So baby baby please don’t stop boy
You know, this ain’t the first time this has happened to me
~ Die In Your Arms, Ariana Grande
The world slipped away to nothingness, and yet I could feel that I was somewhere else entirely. I’d prepared myself to die, knowing there was a possibility that I wouldn’t make it through. I only hoped Eric was strong enough to carry on without me. Oblivious to the events occurring in the real world I found myself back in the cemetery that I had visited with Claudine, when she had given me the beautiful water and we had danced for what felt like hours. It looked suspiciously like the Bon Temps cemetery, and that was only confirmed as I passed Gran’s headstone. “Am I dead?” I mused aloud, wondering if this was the afterlife. If so, it was nothing like I had expected it to be, and where was Ata?
“No child, you are not dead.” The voice floated towards my ears and I turned in the direction of the pool. Niall and Claude were sat at the edge; both dressed casually, both holding glasses of the beautiful water. Breathing a sigh of relief that I wasn’t dead, I crossed to them, dropping to my knees as gracefully as I could beside them. I was back in one of those beautiful white dresses, which flowed over every curve and hugged me in all the right places. “You shouldn’t be here though. Only those who are full fae usually have access to the pool.” Niall frowned, glancing to Claude as if the younger faery would have the answer.
“If I’m not dead, then that means that Eric stopped feeding.” I mused, realising the implications. If Eric had stopped feeding, was he dead or alive? If he was alive, and so was I, were Ata and Godric dead? Niall sighed heavily, nodding his head.
“The Viking was able to stop himself and his Maker from draining you and Ata dry. You are both in a terrible condition though, and I have forced you both into an unconscious state. Your bodies can deal with the pain, but I worry for your mental health.” He brought a hand up to my temple, sweeping it tenderly with his fingers.
“You know what happened to us? Where is Ata?” I asked, looking around for my cousin. I didn’t feel stressed or tired, worried or in any pain in this magical world. It was as if all of my fears had been wiped away.
“Ata is with her parents. It seems her spark didn’t want to come here to heal, but wanted to go to where her parents are instead.” Claude explained, offering me a glass of the cool, pool water. Taking the glass from him, I thanked him before I took a sip. It was just as refreshing as last time and I groaned at the pleasant taste. I was parched.
Raising the glass to my lips once more I gulped the liquid down. Claude kindly refilled the glass but this time I sipped at it. “What do we do now then?” I asked after a few more sips, glancing between my great-grandfather and my sort-of cousin. They glanced to one another for a moment, almost having a silent conversation, before they finally gave me their full attention once again. I hadn’t been able to hear their thoughts here, even with my shields all the way down, and it was a nice break to not here anything at all. I’d have to ask Eric to get wherever we lived soundproofed in a hope that it would distort thoughts too.
“Claude and I can pop into the basement and offer both you and Ata some healing light. It won’t heal you completely, as in physically and mentally, but it should be enough for you two to awaken and help defeat your enemies.” Niall offered. His offer was more than I had expected and I put my glass down on the grassy bank, pulling him into a tight embrace before I did the same for Claude. I knew that the fae were touchy feely people, and that it was the best way to connect with one another where they were concerned.
“It is quite alright cousin. You and Ata have a long way to go yet, but anything we can do to help you along the way we will.” Claude offered, giving me a smile that would have had me throwing my panties at him a few years ago if I hadn’t been so in love with Eric, and if I had been unaware of our family ties to one another. There was no denying that the fae were beautiful creatures. The promise of the pair of us having a long way to go rang alarm bells in my head, but the calmness and the serenity that Faery offered me cancelled that out.
Niall glanced to the side quickly, a frown settling on his features before he turned back to me. “You have to go back now Sookie. Claude and I have been watching you from here, making sure you’re okay.” I quirked an eyebrow, wondering what his definition of okay was. Being raped by ones former lover was certainly not okay!
“Ata will be coming round when you get back. Stick together.” Claude advised me. I finished the liquid in my glass, feeling stronger for it before I blacked out.
Coming round in Felipe’s basement was no easier, especially when I realised exactly how many times I’d blacked out over the course of the past two weeks or so. My vision was a little blurred around the edges, but physically I felt fine. The rich taste in my mouth indicated to me that Eric had given me his blood, and judging from my new position on the floor he had moved me into the sunlight also. Even when I was battered and bruised, drained down and defiled, he still placed me in the sunlight knowing it would do me some good. I could feel Ata’s warm hand in mine and it reassured me that she was alive and well. A cough rattled through the room and I gazed at my cousin, who opened her eyes to reveal her slightly blurred blue orbs.
“How do you feel?” She croaked out first, wheezing a little on her words. She sounded like someone who’d been smoking 30 a day for the past 20 years.
“Fine. I was with Niall and Claude. How about you?” I responded, startled that my own voice sounded gruff to.
“A bit better. Mother and father were with me.” Ata groaned as she tried to move. Though the blood of our bonded’s had removed surface marks it was obvious we hadn’t had enough. We were still rough around the edges.
“How long were we out for?” I asked Ata as we helped one another sit up, using each other for support. We both noticed the IV bags hooked up to us at the same time, and we both closed our eyes at the thoughtfulness of our bonded’s. Lifting her head, her blonde hair matted with blood, Ata looked out through the silver bars, judging the time by the position of the sun. I’d seen people do the exact same thing hundreds of times on the old documentaries Gran would always watch on a Sunday night after her Decedents of the Glorious Dead meetings. I’d never witnessed someone do it first-hand though.
“I’d say it’s around 3pm, give or take half an hour.” Ata responded quietly. Turning on the spot she glanced to the darkened corner of the basement, her eyes adjusting to the dim lighting. I turned with her, spotting both Godric and Eric resting in the safety of the dark. “They should wake up in an hour and a half.” Ata commented, sighing heavily. “Is it bad?” She asked, turning to look at me. I frowned at her words, confused as to what she was asking about. It clicked a moment later though and I gently took her arm, turning her to look at her shoulder blade. I cringed at the brand on her shoulder. The iron rod had ensured that it wouldn’t heal, and even Godric’s blood hadn’t managed to heal it. She would probably be stuck with it for the rest of her life.
“It’s not great, but it’s not that hard to hide.” I offered as a solution, taking the honest approach with her. She was my cousin, and my best friend, and Gran had always told me to be honest with those closest to me. Ata was shaking under my hand, and I pulled her to me while her body convulsed with sobs. Shushing her the best I could, I tried to run my hands through her matted hair but the blood was drying, making it all clump up. I had no delusions about my appearance at the moment. I no doubt looked just as bad.
A popping noise distracted us and Ata pulled away, wiping at her eyes with her filthy hands in order to remove her tears. Niall and Claude were stood in the basement with us, both of them holding new, clean clothes. “These will probably just get ruined again, but we figured you ladies would like to keep yourselves decent.” Claude explained as Ata and I scrabbled to our feet, picking up the bags of blood that were still attached to us. I was starting to feel a little stronger and I could tell that Ata was to. My bond with Eric was silent as he rested for the day, but it felt a lot firmer than it had before. It felt sturdy and secure. It felt unbreakable. My eyes widened as I noted what had happened.
“Third bonds!” I squeaked in surprise, rounding on Ata and gesturing to the bag she was holding. My cousin’s wide eyes met mine but we weren’t given time to dwell on the fact we were now thrice bonded. Niall and Claude handed the clean clothes to us and we silently changed, thanking them for the clean underwear even if we didn’t feel physically clean. Once dressed, Claude took hold of my hand and Niall took Ata’s. A green light started to pulse from each fae male, spreading up into Ata and I. The healing magic was soothing, removing all of my aches and pains, strengthening me more than Eric’s blood could. Yes vampire blood was one of the ultimate healers, but there was nothing like the assistance of family, no matter how distantly related they were, or how magical. Although I felt physically fine there was still this ball of disgust in me, there was pain at what had transpired and I was hurt by Bill’s actions. Eric had given me his blood and placed me in the sunlight, but had he only done that because he felt bad about almost draining me dry? Did he still love me? Could he still love me?
“We completed the third bonds.” Ata muttered to no one in particular as Niall continued to heal her with his light.
“That you did, cousin.” Claude piped up, giving my arm a reassuring rub as he continued to help me.
“Your vampires gave you their blood moments after they stopped feeding. I was watching from Faery. I wouldn’t worry about your bond right now. I have never been a fan of the fang but those men couldn’t stand the thought of losing you, they gave you their blood selflessly. At first when they only gave you both a few drops I was saddened, it was such a small amount compared to what they took from you. The moment they hooked you up to the IV bags however my faith in them was restored. They didn’t care about the consequences; they didn’t care if you ended up being turned. To them even if you were turned and then met the sun they would have been able to see you both one last time.” Niall raised a hand, sweeping it across Ata’s cheekbone. My cousin sighed happily, sinking into his touch. “They wanted you back no matter what the cost.” His hand dropped back to his lap. “It’s because of their actions that I stopped you both from being turned.” His words caused Ata and I to look sharply in his direction. “You honestly didn’t think being Prince of the Fae came without its perks eh?” He teased before his features became serious again. “The basis of your bonds was the love you share with them, and that love will continue to guide you.” Niall concluded, removing his hand from Ata. My cousin looked healthy again, rosy even, and as I glanced down to my hands I could see my tanned colouring was back once again.
Grinning at the sight of my usual skin tone, Claude removed his hand from me. I thanked him graciously, wanting him to know I truly appreciated what he had done for me. “We’re going to go back to the penthouse at Caesar’s Palace.” Claude started to tell Ata and I mentally, just in case Were’s were watching. I didn’t think they were, otherwise they would have been down here by now, but it wasn’t worth the risk. I thought it pretty arrogant of Russell and his damn bloodline to not have us watched over, thinking we didn’t need it. Claude glanced to Niall before he gave me his full attention once again. “We’ll wake everyone up and start gathering them together. The moment the sun is down we will have everyone in position and we’ll storm the palace.” Claude gave us the plan, rising back up onto his feet. Niall followed him, though his old age and his immense use of both healing magic and the magic he had used to stop us changing meant Ata had to help him up.
“Stay in the sunshine. Unhook your IV bags now. We don’t want you overcooking.” Niall’s departing words rang around the basement long after he poofed out with Claude. Ata and I followed his words to the letter, unhooking the IV bags. They still had some blood left in them and neither of us needed it. We couldn’t just leave it there; Eric and Godric felt strongly about their blood and wouldn’t want just anyone to have it. In the end we decided to store it with them in the corner of the basement, just in case they woke and were hungry. They could have one another’s blood.
Ata and I moved back to the spot of sunlight coming in through the slim window and we sat together in companionable silence, letting the warmth of the sun help us recharge our fae powers. We would no doubt be in need of them this evening. There was silence between us but I could feel Ata’s mind working in overtime. Though I wasn’t trying to listen in I would get the occasional snippet of her thoughts. Words such as ‘Godric’, ‘tainted’, ‘marked’ and ‘unloved’ were running through her mind at a mile a minute. If she seriously thought that just because she now wore a brand Godric would no longer love her then I would give her a mighty smack. Gran would’ve skinned me alive were she still alive. Even after 2000 years he still loved her. A mark on her shoulder blade wasn’t going to change that.
The thoughts of Ata and Godric’s relationship made me reflect on my relationship with Eric. He’d seen me in plenty of horrible states before today – covered in Longshadow goo, scratched to hell after a maenad attack, drained after Russell fang raped me, screaming my head off in a fire circle inside Moon Goddess. Yet it never fazed him. It never bothered him. My problem was that this time it concerned Bill, and Eric and he were not the best of friends. Heck, I don’t think I could even call them friends on any level. Eric hated Bill, and Bill hated Eric. Once again though Bill had been able to dominate me, he’d been able to control me and there was nothing I could do about it. Eric had always loved that I was strong and feisty, and I had been anything but when Bill had forced himself upon me. Would Eric still look at me the same knowing that Bill had done such vile things to me?
Shaking my head, I pulled myself together. Now was not the time to fall apart. I needed to be strong to get through the rest of the day. My thoughts had probably slipped through to Ata, as I could feel her resolve and her strength pulsing between us. When all of this was said and done, and I was back in Gran’s house, I would allow myself to break down and cry properly and let all of my emotions out. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had wept and wept and felt better afterwards. I’d cried when Granddaddy Earl had passed, but then I was already over his demise given how long he had been missing for. I’d cried when Eric had forced Bill to tell the truth about his appearance in Bon Temps, but that had been out of anger and hurt, and then I’d been faery-napped to Faery and hadn’t been given time to mourn the false ‘relationship’ I had been involved in.
Define your meaning of war
To me it’s what we do when we’re bored
I feel the heat comin’ off of the blacktop and it makes me want it more
Because I’m hyped up out of control, if it’s a fight, I’m ready to go
I wouldn’t put my money on the other guy, if you know what I know that I know
It’s been a long time coming and the table’s turned around
‘Cause one of us is going, one of us is going down
I’m not running, it’s a little different now
‘Cause one of us is going, one of us is going down
~ You’re Going Down, Sick Puppies
The most incredible scent flooded my nostrils and I stirred in my day rest. Eyes snapping open I took in the room, my eyes habitually adjusting to the darkness around me. The sun was still up, I could feel it in my blood, and yet I was up and mobile. “Ari.” The curt voice caused my head to snap sideways and I instinctively took up a defensive posture over Pamela’s still form, my fangs down, threatening anyone who dared to approach her. “Still so protective, even after all these years.” The voice continued, and I could hear the smile in the man’s voice. My eyes flickered to the door where I spotted Niall and Claude. My posture relaxed immediately as I realised that they posed no threat. My mother trusted Niall and Claude, so I was willing to trust them. Thinking of my mother I took the opportunity to feel our bond. I was surprised to find it as closed down as possible, but I could still feel some of her pain seeping through. Whatever had happened to her today had caused her immense hurt. Suppressing my growl at the thought of her being hurt, I vamped to the wardrobe to put on more suitable attire, after covering Pamela. Vampires had no sense of modesty – most supernaturals didn’t. I didn’t want anyone to see my Pamela bare though.
“Why am I up so early?” I questioned the elderly faery, returning to the bedroom. There was no need to whisper as Pamela wouldn’t be able to hear anything in her day rest.
“Things have moved much quicker than the Ancient Pythoness initially predicted. You are aware that Russell and his bloodline captured your Maker and brother?” I nodded at Niall’s question. I’d heard Godric’s mental plea as he’d been taken from Caesar’s Palace. I’d returned home immediately and had called in the cleaners, summoning my brothers’ home. The living room was still a mess, the carpets would need pulling up and redoing, but that wasn’t a concern right now. “Ata, Sookie, Godric, and Eric were all very badly hurt last night. I know you weren’t planning on storming Felipe’s until tomorrow night, but you’ll have to go in tonight if any of them are going to survive.” Niall explained the situation to me. I sank down onto the bed, listening to him as he filled me in on everything that had happened in the last 24 hours.
“You woke me, so can you wake everyone else and make the penthouse lightproof for us?” I asked, looking between Niall and Claude. With a nod Claude popped from the room.
“Claude will lightproof the living area, I’ll make my rounds and wake everyone.” Niall moved to Pamela and I had to stop myself from tearing him apart as he placed a hand on her bare shoulder. A soft glow left his hand, slipping into Pamela’s body, and seconds later she sat bolt upright, eyes wide in surprise and curiosity. Before she could attack Niall for his scent, which he had been suppressing and then using to rouse us all, he popped from the room to wake my brothers.
Leading Pamela to the wardrobe I filled her in as she dressed, helping her pick her outfit in the process. She’d settled on a pair of black leather pants and a black t-shirt, teamed with black shoes that came with wooden heels. Slipping her hair up into an effortlessly beautiful high ponytail, she offered me her hand. Taking it, I led her out into the windowless corridor. Through our bond I could feel her worry, not just for Eric but for me also.
Using my speed I pinned her to the nearest wall, letting my heavy weight settle over her lithe frame. “Whatever happens I will do everything in my power to get you and Eric out alive. Do not fret, my adjo.” I raised a hand to her perfectly flawlessly cheek, stroking the smooth, cool skin there. “I will take care of you.” I told her sincerely. The relief and love that flooded our bond said it all. We hadn’t uttered those three words to one another yet, but the feelings in our bond said it all for the time being.
“I know you will, and you know that I will always do the same for you.” She murmured softly, bringing a hand up to caress my cheek in the same manner that I had caressed hers. Leaning forward I dropped a kiss to her forehead before I moved further down, pressing another to her lips. I wanted to drown in her kiss, lose myself in it and forget about the outside world, but the sound of someone clearing his throat broke us apart.
“Nice to know you still have time to suck face, brother.” Egor teased me, having entered the windowless corridor to see what was taking Pamela and I so long.
“I will always have time for my Pamela.” I replied to my brother, not breaking eye contact with the blonde vampiress who’d sashayed her way into my life in her Louboutin heels and Juicy Couture sweatpants. Breaking apart we entered the living room behind Egor. The whole nest was assembled, including Bubba, Oscar and Isabel. Jason and Hunter were noticeably absent.
“I figured it would be best to leave them sleeping, and to have a few vampires posted on their door to watch over them and ensure they do not leave while we rescue Ata, Sookie, Eric, and Godric.” Niall explained. With his explanation over we all shifted into business mode. Khai, Riei and Oeri all pulled out their cell phones, hitting the speed dial numbers for the other Sheriff’s of Nevada. They all left the same message, informing the Sheriff’s that the plan had changed and that we were attacking tonight. They asked the Sheriff’s and those in their areas to meet us one klick away from the palace, to the south. The wind was blowing south, so Felipe’s night guards wouldn’t detect our scents until it was too late.
With final preparations in place, we all decided that Bubba and Oscar would stay in the penthouse with Jason and Hunter. Bubba would be able to glamour Jason should it be needed and Oscar was young enough to play with Hunter and easily keep him distracted. Having changed once again into an all black outfit, along with the rest of our nest, we piled into the elevator, heading down to reception.
The hotel was empty. After the events of the past two weeks I couldn’t say that I blamed guests for not staying with us. A lot of our staff had been glamoured into two weeks holiday, having each been handed $3000 for the work they would miss. To the outside world we were closed for refurbishment after all of the disasters that had befallen us. The media were starting to get suspicious though. Ata always went out in the day, always did her shopping and was always spotted by the paparazzi. They hadn’t seen her in days and there were many speculations as to where she currently was. It would all come to light soon, and we would no longer be able to put them off.
Clambering into the black SUV’s that we kept at the back of the building in the carport, we headed off in the direction of the rendezvous point. The trunk of the car was filled with the contents of our armoury and I had no doubt that the other vampires would bring their own weapons. Egor and Agmund had picked up their favourite swords, placing them in the back ready to strap to them when we finally parked up and prepared to storm Felipe’s palace.
Bet you think that I don’t love you, baby, bet you think that I don’t care
But I wanna tell you, well, you got something, and I’m loving you with all my heart
I don’t ever wanna part ‘Cause I don’t wanna be with nobody but you
I don’t wanna be with no-one but you
I wanna to be wrapped up in the arms of my loving woman
Rock me in your arms like I know you can
Don’t you know that you can call on me, baby
All you gotta do is say you will
‘Cause I’m ready just to love you and put an end to all your doubts
I know we can work it out
~ I Don’t Want To Be With Anybody But You, Absent Friends
As the sun dipped below the horizon I was alert. Without a second thought I moved to my Ata, but I approached her at a slow pace, as if she were some frightened little animal, a skittish filly, fresh from her mothers womb. With her back to me I was able to see the brand on her shoulder. It didn’t bother me that another marked her, especially considering the fact that I was marked to and she had accepted me with open arms. I was just glad she was alive and well, and judging by the colour of Sookie’s cheeks my sons bonded was okay too. Breathing a silent sigh of relief I made as much noise as possible in my approach towards Ata, giving her ample opportunity to hear me coming. Her body was ridged, yet the small sway of her slender frame informed me that she could feel how strong our bond was now that we were thrice bonded, and that she could feel my reassurance. Placing my hand on Ata’s shoulder she flinched a little, and I couldn’t hide my pain at her reaction.
Eric was now before Sookie, offering her his outstretched hand. She took it cautiously, and he gently pulled her in for an embrace. His lips were level to her left ear and I could hear him murmuring apology after apology to her. Taking a page from his book I moved to sit before Ata, capturing her gaze before she could look down. She wasn’t frightened of me, or what I had done to her, if anything she had accepted it and that hurt more than anything. I hadn’t intended to harm her, and knowing that she didn’t hold me liable for the pain I caused her made me feel guilty. This wasn’t about me though. This was about my wife. She was frightened of my feelings for her; she was frightened that they had changed. The third bond was an incredible thing. It told me all these things about my wife that I would have been clueless about otherwise. I’d never had a third bond before and it would take some getting use to. There was no other woman I would thrice bond with though. Gathering all the love I had in me for my wife I poured it all into our bond. I knew when Ata received them as her small frame shook with the force of it, a tear slipping down her cheek as her gaze finally dropped to her lap. Scooping up her tear I placed it in my mouth, using my free hand to tip her chin up so I could look into her eyes. The fear there was worse than the silver blades that had ravaged my body earlier. “I-“
The sound of the basement door flinging open ended my declaration of love before I had even started it, and I wanted to stake whoever dared to stop me from reassuring my wife. My need to stake them was only amplified when I finally caught sight of who was entering the basement, at quite a hurried pace. Quickly checking my bonds with all those in my nest I realised they were a lot closer, and closing in fast. They were storming the place tonight.
There’s no time for us, there’s no place for us
What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us.
Who wants to live forever, who wants to live forever?
There’s no chance for us, it’s all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.
Who wants to live forever? Who dares to love forever?
When love must die.
But touch my tears with your lips; touch my world with your fingertips
And we can have forever, and we can love forever
Forever is our today.
~ Who Wants To Live Forever, Queen
When I was awake and alert Sookie had been my first priority. She was dressed now and though I was curious as to where her clothes had come from there was no time to ask her. Pulling her into my arms I held her gently, unsure of where she was mentally. I would stay with her though, help her get over what had happened, be the strength she needed. “Jag är så ledsen, min kärlek. Jag kommer att spendera evigheten göra detta upp till dig. Jag har dig, min kära. Det är okej.” (I’m so sorry, my love. I will spend eternity making this up to you. I have you, my dear. It’s okay) I pushed her hair back from her face, simply enjoying her warm body next to my cold one. I had almost lost her. I had almost killed her. I meant every word of my reassure. I would spend eternity showing her how sorry I was for how I had acted, for what had happened to her. She was safe and I was holding her, which was all that mattered. The sound of the basement door, and approaching footsteps, had my full attention.
“How the fuck are you all still alive?” Felipe snarled in our direction, glancing quickly between the four of us. With the basement door open I could hear that the fighting had started upstairs, and I took the chance to quickly open my bond with Pam. She was happy to be fighting, but she was nervous to. Her nervousness disappeared the moment our bond was all the way open and I felt her relief and love enter my system. She was too loyal for her own good, but I loved her for it.
Marc wasted no time in heading straight for us. Now that we were two pairs of bonded couples our actions were a lot smoother, we were a lot more in tune with one another. Godric and I had always been in tune with one another thanks to our Maker-Childe bond, and I could only guess that their shared bloodline meant Ata and Sookie were naturally at one together anyway. There were two fae and two vampires on my side, taking on two other vampires. The odds looked to be in our favour.
Felipe went straight for Sookie and Ata, seeming to find more value in them. Sookie was priceless to me so I could see the reason behind his moves, but what he hadn’t been expecting was for my little firecracker to fight back. Her movements were light and nimble for someone who had never been in a physical fight before, and she used Ata to her advantage. The pair of them was like a well-oiled machine, combating Felipe together. Gold and white light erupted from their hands as they fired off light to both attack and to topple. Felipe wobbled on his feet every now and then, causing each strike to be off by a fraction. I pushed strength and pride to Sookie, hoping it would fuel her on. The smile that broke out on her face as she dodged another of Felipe’s wild punches was radiant.
I would have loved to have sat and watched Sookie fight all day, but Marc had other ideas. Using his vampire speed he came charging towards Godric and I. I was still 1000 years younger so I was nowhere near as strong, but Godric was a decade or so older than him. If Godric could bring him down and hold him, I would be able to finish him off. Marc had been aiming for Godric, and I’d stood poised ready to strike. I was lucky that 1000 years of fighting had taught me to expect the unexpected. At the very last moment Marc changed his mind, barreling towards me instead. Keeping my hands at an oblique angle, and keep my palms open and straight, I used my arms to deflect Marc’s attack as he tried to land one on me. Each of his blows I deflected down the angle of my forearm, glad that as a vampire I had a very high pain threshold, and super fast reflexes. Spotting my opening I kicked my leg up, pushing my hips forward to get the correct angle and increase the force of my strike. The top of my foot connected with Marc’s ribcage, and the crunch of bone coupled with his ‘omph’ as my foot met his body was extremely satisfying.
Not to be discouraged, Marc recovered quickly. Grabbing my arm he spun around, flinging me over his back and down onto the floor. His back had worked like a pivot point for the throw, and I soon met the concrete floor of the basement. I could feel a few disks in my back groan under the impact. The strength and stability of Marc’s back had made it easier for him to take me down. I was probably 30lbs heavier than him, but we were of the same sort of build. It was easy to take down those weaker and smaller than you, but it took some effort to knock someone down that was the same size or bigger. If I hadn’t of been fighting for my life I probably would have congratulated him on that move!
Springing up onto my feet I was ready to take him on again. Godric had gone to assist Ata and Sookie, keeping an eye on me to offer a hand when I needed it. Marc was stood before me and before I could even gather my thoughts, which usually raced around my head at incredible speeds, he’d flicked his right leg upwards. The muscles in his leg ensured that his foot was travelling at the minimum of 40mph. That was all well and good, and rather impressive, until his foot connected with my throat. The brunt force threw me backwards and the concrete wall of the basement was all that stopped me. He’d thrown me back with over 1000lbs of force, and as I slumped to the floor I realised just how precarious my situation was. Half of the bones in my body were broken from the impact, and my throat was damaged enough to stop any sounds escaping me. “Somebody take down Marc!” I barked mentally, remaining in my slumped position by the wall, eyes closed. The arrogant son of a bitch thought he’d knocked me out for a while.
Leaving Ata and Sookie, I could hear Godric vamping over to Marc. The pair of them broke into a fight effortlessly. My Maker had taught me almost everything I knew about hand-to-hand combat, and he was employing all those skills now. Daring to open my eyes a fraction, as Marc was too engaged in his battle with Godric to notice, I watched as Godric grabbed Marc, slamming his palm into the Roman vampires chest while hooking his leg behind one of Marc’s at the tripping point. The difference in direction caused Marc to fall backwards and Godric let gravity pull him down. I’d seen this hundreds of times in my 1000 years. Godric’s palm was above Marc’s Centre of mass and his hooked leg was below it, pulling him in each direction. On the ground and on his back, Marc was now vulnerable and susceptible to any number of finishing strikes. The most effective ending strike would be to ram a wooden stake through his heart, but that option wasn’t on the cards.
Marc’s eyes snapped to Ata and Sookie, who were still fighting off Felipe with their fae powers. In a move neither Godric nor I had been expecting Marc lunged towards Ata, who was oblivious to the impending strike. My Maker’s extra decade proved useful as he raced against him, throwing himself in the path of Marc’s attack. Marc’s arm came around Godric’s neck, forcing his elbow beneath my Maker’s chin. Marc clasped his hands together and applied pressure in a vice-like movement. If Ata had been caught up in this chokehold she would have died from lack of oxygen. A shriek of surprise left her lips as she realised what was occurring behind her and Ata spun on her heels to face Godric and Marc. The point of the move was to stop blood flow to the brain, but a vampire couldn’t become brain damaged anyway. Bubba was the only exception…
I tried to move but the broken bones in my body were taking their time to heal, even with so much of Sookie’s blood in my system. My bonded was taking the fight in her stride though, knocking back every one of Felipe’s advances. If I hadn’t of known better I would have thought she’d been street fighting for centuries. My attention was drawn back to Godric and Marc. Godric’s fangs were bared and he angled himself just right to sink his fangs into Marc’s arm, hoping the strange action would cause Marc to recoil.
Godric was the one to recoil, a mouth full of black blood, which he started to violently cough up. Marc sneered down at my Maker, removing his chokehold before he went for Ata. Mother was faster though, and with two pops she was across the room, picking up two silver nets from the wall, and was back in front of Marc, who vamped right into one net. The nets were heavy, made of thick silver chain, and Marc felt to the floor under the weight.
“SOOK!” Ata called behind her, throwing the other net back to my bonded. Sookie caught it effortlessly before she threw it over a weakened Felipe. With both vampires covered by the silver, our women turned their attention to us. Using her ability to teleport Sookie was with me instantly, using my exposed fangs to rip open her wrist, which she then pressed to my lips. I didn’t want to take from her, worried that the evening’s earlier events were still haunting her, but the insistence in her eyes, which was mirrored in our bond, told me to shut up and put up. Taking small pulls from her I could feel myself starting to heal. My eyes were on Godric though.
Still down on the floor, my Maker had now rolled onto his back, coughing up the black substance from Marc. I had only ever seen a similar black liquid once, when Bill and Sookie had come to Fangtasia regarding their maenad problem. Marc was no maenad though. The black liquid was bubbling from his lips and with each cough more erupted from his lips. I could feel Ata’s panic, her worry about what to do. Cutting her own wrist on Godric’s fangs, not caring for the black liquid that now coated them, she tried to force her blood into him to help him heal. All Ata’s blood seemed to do was make it worse though.
“Wonderful thing isn’t it, acokanthera oblongifolia?” Marc laughed from under his silver net. It earned him a swift kick from my Sookie, who seemed to relish the grunt of pain he made.
“What the fuck is an acokanthera oblongifolia?” Ata demanded, leaving Godric’s side for one moment so she could yank Marc’s head back through the silver net. Ata was not amused, and the venom in her eyes told Marc this. He was quite forthcoming with the information, thinking he had the upper hand.
“It’s commonly called Busman’s poison, or Wintersweet. Bushmen use the poison on their arrow tips. The fruits are small and black, and are the most deadly if ingested when the fruits turn green. It didn’t take much to smear the juice of the fruit all over my skin, especially considering how the other smells in the room covered it up.” Marc seemed pleased with himself. With a flick of her wrist Ata broke his neck. He wasn’t dead, but he’d be quiet now for quite some time. I had no idea why the poison had affected Godric, there was very little that could harm us after all.
With a pop Niall was in the room, suppressing his fae scents enough that Godric and I wouldn’t be driven wild by it. Sookie helped me move over to Godric and Ata was back before my Maker, down on her knees before him. “Niall.” I greeted the older faery curtly, taking in his tattered, dirty clothes and the blood smears across his usually flawless skin. The Prince wasn’t known to get his hands dirty, sending in others to do his job for him. He was usually dressed in a smart suit, hair perfectly coifed and shoes ridiculously shine. He looked a far cry from that now.
I received a nod from the older faery but his focus was on Ata and Godric. Dropping to his own knees beside them he pried one of Ata’s hands off of Godric’s arm. Mother wasn’t going to let him go, tears rolling down her cheeks. I could see her fighting the urge to shrug Niall off and take hold of Godric again. “Great-granddaughter, there is only one way. Your husband’s body contains mainly your blood, it is why the poison is affecting him.” He started off softly, his voice only just carrying under the noise of the commotion upstairs. “You know that I love you both.” He glanced to Sookie for beat before he turned back to Ata. “I hope you understand why I’m about to do what I’m going to do. The Ancient Pythoness will tell you what you need to know.” He brushed Ata’s matted hair from her face, using his other hand to stroke Sookie’s cheek fondly. “It’s time for your last fae gift, my Ata.” He spoke solemnly, his hand dropping my Sookie’s cheek to clutch at Ata’s.
Confusion clouded Ata’s features, as I’m sure it clouded mine. “But my last gift is meant to save my life?” My mother questioned. Then, like a light bulb switching on, she glanced to Godric. He was growing paler, retching and spitting out the black liquid. “That’s so cliché.” She tried to joke, forcing a smile as we all worked out what Niall had meant by that. Ata and Godric were thrice bonded now; he was, in essence, her life. “You’ll have to tell me how to use it.” She demanded of her great-grandfather. With a sad shake of his head he told her that she would know exactly how to use it, and that she wouldn’t need him.
A soft purple glow started in Niall’s hands, consuming his whole body within seconds. The purple glow was starting to feed into Ata. The colour was beautiful, enchanting, and reminded me of the purple cloak my human mother had once owned. My father had made it for her to celebrate their wedding, and she had worn it everywhere. “No, please.” Ata sobbed, looking to Niall with something akin to horror. I had no idea what was going on, and the confusion coming from Sookie through our bond told me that she too was just as confused.
“The spark is the fae’s life essence, and you have the ability to gift it to him. Take mine.” Niall’s tone was soft but stern. I was too stunned for words. The fae were savage creatures, caring only for their own. They had so many blood grudges against vampires and yet here was the Prince, giving up his own spark so that my Maker could live.
“You’ll die.” Ata protested, glancing between Niall and Godric furiously.
“My time was coming to an end anyway. You and your husband have an eternity together. I would not wish you to lose that.” Niall ceased Ata’s protesting any further, offering her a warm, almost fatherly smile, before he disappeared into a cloud of dust, just like Claudine had when I’d drained her.
Sookie’s sadness battered me from all angles and I held her close to my chest, letting her weep for her loss. So many people in her family had died over the past few years. It was a wonder my bonded could still get up in the mornings. She was truly a force to be reckoned with, and her strength far surpassed mine.
Although Ata’s shock was clear on her face, and the fat tears cascading down her flushed cheeks magnified her loss, Godric captured her attention when he wheezed beside her. She shifted into a different mode entirely, looking down at her hands, which still carried the faint purple glow. Though vampires had no need to breathe I could tell that Godric was wheezing to try and alleviate the pain. Some things from our humans lives transitioned over, the most common of which was breathing when in pain. It was common knowledge that humans could put up with higher levels of pain, for longer periods of time, when breathing deeply and slowly.
Shaken by the pale complexion of my Maker, angered by the events of the past few days, and unrelenting in her love for my Maker, Ata grasped at Godric’s shirt, using his blood in her system to haul him up so they were eye-level. “Don’t you even fucking think about dying on me! Do you have any idea of the shit we went through before you got your sorry ass here? Do you have any idea what 2000 years without you were like? You do not get to die on me!” Ata’s outburst was justified really. I’d never seen a woman lose her shit quite so much though. Her small hands were smacking at his chest, demanding his attention, ordering him to stay alive. If I weren’t so scared for their safety I probably would have found it funny – such a tiny woman taking on a 2000-year-old vampire. Raising her balled hand Ata brought it down on Godric’s chest with an almighty thump, though this time the purple glow that had occupied it left her, attaching itself to my Maker’s body instead. It disappeared into him seconds later and, using his vampire speed, my Maker turned around just in time to heave up the last of the black poison, avoiding getting it on any of us. Shaking from the effects, he slumped to the ground, groaning in pain.
Photographs and memories, Christmas cards you sent to me
All that I have are these to remember you
Memories that come at night take me to another time
Back to a happier day, when I called you mine
But we sure had a good time when we started way back when
Morning walks and bedroom talks, oh, how I loved you then
Summer skies and lullabies, nights we couldn’t say goodbye
And of all of the things that we knew, not a dream survived
Photographs and memories, all the love you gave to me
Somehow it just can’t be true
It’s all I’ve left of you
~ Photographs and Memories, Jim Croce
I had no idea what led me to do it. Maybe it was the build up of all of the past few days events, maybe I was just angry at the world and needed an outlet, but the moment Niall’s spark left me and entered my bonded I knew we’d be okay. I’d never raised a hand to him, I’d always been the one to nurture him and love him, but the thought of a world without him in it made me want to meet my own demise. When Niall’s spark had entered my body I’d felt warm all over. His spark hadn’t gone anywhere near mine, so the two hadn’t fused together. Instead it had stayed on the surface, waiting for its new owner. I could feel my own spark nurturing Godric’s new one, helping it to blend with what little spark he possessed in the first place. He would be so strong; he would have all of Niall’s abilities and more. My spark was forcing him to accept his new one, forcing him to stay alive. I’d never wanted to bully someone into something so much in my entire life!
Eric and Sookie were with us instantly. Raising my wrist to his lips, Eric snagged an opening. I offered my wrist to Godric, not at all affected by him nearly draining me. I was more concerned about the brand on my shoulder blade still. My husbands’ health came first though, and if he needed my blood then he would get it. Taking my wrist, Godric took a few light pulls before he let it go, healing the wounds. Pulling me to his chest I enjoyed the solid comfort he offered me for a moment, letting our bond conveying it all. The love and gratitude I received from him was enough to bowl me over, but I was sending him buckets of love and relief in return.
A particularly loud thud from upstairs drew my attention and I remembered the fight that was continuing up there. Untangling myself from Godric I gestured for Sookie to help me. Together we tied up Felipe and Marc, securing them even further so that they wouldn’t be able to escape. Chaining them to the walls with silver was Sookie’s idea. Eric had helped Godric up off of the floor in the mean time, and the four of us dashed up the stairs and into the mansion.
A brief headcount of sides gave me hope. Our team was definitely winning, especially now that Felipe and Marc were chained up in the basement and wouldn’t be able to rush to the aid of Russell or William. I wanted to stake Felipe and Marc, but I would do it with an audience, as a warning to all those who dared to oppose my family and me again. I would make an example out of the king and his brother. We were still relatively hidden and the heartbeats of Sookie and I were hard to hear over the commotion in the room, and the clash of metal as vampires fought with swords, knives, and anything else they could get their hands on. My eyes landed on Russell, who was deflecting every blow thrown his way. He had a stake tucked into his pocket and I prayed he would fall over and land on it.
The glint of a long sword captured my eye and I watched as Agmund went in for the kill. The world seemed to slow as Russell reached for his pocket, and I had no time to scream out a warning before his stake was plunged into Agumund’s heart, my youngest son exploding into a pile of goo right before my eyes. I felt our bond snap and disappear, and my scream of warning turned into one of pain as the void my youngest boy had filled was now left empty and bare. Egor’s roar as he felt his brother die echoed around the mansion. My scream drew Russell’s attention to me and I saw red.
The pain consuming me from the loss of my boy hurt more than I had ever thought it would. I’d never lost a Childe before. The pain wasn’t something I wanted to experience again. Agmund had spent 1000 years watching over me, giving me all of his time, his love and his strength. He had helped me whenever I had needed him, and this brute had murdered him, just like he had murdered my mother. Godric’s hold on me had initially been strong; stopping me from doing something stupid, but his hold couldn’t keep me back any longer. Fuelled by my hatred of the vampire before me who wore a stupid smirk, and the pain of the death of my boy, I raised my hands. Gathering every ounce of strength I had I threw a huge golden ball at Russell. The force of my blast sent him flying backwards and he crashed into the far wall, having gone through the table, turning it into wooden shards. The vampires fighting on my side were quick to gather the shards, using them as darts on the opposition. My blast had burnt Russell, and his face was charred from the strength of the sun. Stalking towards him I was unrelenting, the hurt and the pain and the loss of my boy being thrown into every single one of my golden blasts until I was stood right before Russell. He had no weapon and nowhere to run.
There now, steady love, so few come and don’t go
Will you, won’t you be the one I’ll always know?
When I’m losing my control, the city spins around
You’re the only one who knows, you slow it down
Oh, oh, oh, be my baby, I’ll look after you
And I’ll look after you
If ever there was a doubt, my love he leans into me
This most assuredly counts, he says most assuredly
Oh, oh, oh, be my baby, I’ll look after you
It’s always have and never hold, you’ve begun to feel like home
What’s mine is yours to leave or take
What’s mine is yours to make your own
~ Look After You, The Fray
We were all in place minutes after the sun had dipped fully below the horizon. The vans we had gotten into back at Caesar’s Palace were lightproof, so even as the last few rays of the sun were in the sky we were unharmed. We had expected for Russell to have some vampires working for him, but we had nearly all of the Nevada vampires on our side. We far outnumbered them. I’d been clinging to Ari’s hand in the back of the van on the way over, using our connection to let him know that I loved him. I wanted to tell him, as I’d yet to do so, but I thought it tacky to tell him right before we went into battle. I had every faith that we would survive, and then I would tell him that I loved him. The only other person I loved entirely was Eric, but he was my Maker. The love I had for Ari was so different. He listened to my ramblings, he put up with my bitchiness and catty comments, and he took care of me both emotionally and physically. He enjoyed spending time with me, and I found that I enjoyed spending time with him.
We’d deviated from the plan somewhat now that Godric and Eric had been captured and were already in the basement. We were going to go and free them once Russell and the others had been killed, but I could feel that Eric was up on the floor with us already. Ari and I worked well as a team, his age giving him an advantage over nearly every other vampire present, where as my gift of advance speed made it easier to dodge any and all attacks.
Ata’s scream brought the whole room to a stand still, and every vampire turned to watch as Agmund exploded into a pile of goo. My bond with Ari turned dark and red, twisted and vicious. I’d known the brothers were close, but I had never experienced such dark emotions from my usually happy and joking bonded before. As Ata blasted Russell across the room the fighting started up again, but Ari’s anger was clouding his judgment. I was too far away to help as several vampires teamed up on him, using silver to bring him down before they took their blades to his limbs. I did the only thing I could do. Reaching down I picked up Agmund’s fallen long sword. It was too long and too heavy for a Victorian vampire, it was more suited for Viking use, but if it saved my bonded then I didn’t care about the weight or length. With the speed I had been gifted with I took out the vampires attacking Ari, decapitating each one who subsequently exploded into goo. Dropping the sword I fell to my knees next to my bonded, taking in the fact he was now missing his left arm and his right leg. The wound from where they had been carved was hideous, but they would grow back. “Heath, cover me!” I shouted to one of the male vampires nearby. He took up his spot before Ari and I, fighting off any vampires who were stupid enough to try and take us while we were down. Tearing into my wrist I forced it into Ari’s mouth, hoping my blood would heal him enough to slow his blood flow and help his wounds scab over for now. I wished I’d captured the vampires responsible and slowly tortured them into insanity for hurting my Ari.
“Fucking stupid vampire. Getting idiotic in your old age. I need you to stick around, remember?” I soothed, brushing a hand through Ari’s filthy hair as he continued to drink. I recalled the night he had gone to the party with Ata, when I’d told them to come back alive. At the time I’d been making it sound like Godric’s happiness was my main concern, when really I hadn’t wanted anything to happen to the tiny fae woman and the huge vampire who took care of her. Feeding Ari I kept my eyes focused on the battle around us, not wanting to let my guard down for a second. Russell’s numbers were falling rapidly, and when I turned to find the man responsible I was stunned to see him charred beyond recognition, back flat to the wall, pinned in place by the women he had scorned. Ata’s arm was holding Russell up, the vampire blood in her system giving her a strength boost, while Sookie was placing silver nets over him. Godric and Eric were slamming metal pins into the wall, keeping the net in place over the deranged ex-monarch.
Bill was the only vampire left that we hadn’t been able to find. It made sense that he would scurry away at any possibility of a fight. “Sookie, go and find Bill.” I shouted out to her over the noise of the scuffle, which was slowly dying down. There were only four members of Russell’s ‘army’ left now, and as they turned their attention to a motionless Ari and me they let their guards down. In seconds they met the true death, two at the hands of blades and the other two had their heads ripped clean off. The whole room erupted into cheers as the last of Russell’s cronies dissolved into goo. Russell screamed in anger as he realised he had no one left to hide behind. Egor was down on his hands and knees on the floor, gathering up goo from the floor, placing it into an empty, beautiful crystal decanter that he had taken from Russell’s study. I was saddened to see him gathering up his brothers’ remains. The red tracks down his cheeks were a harsh wake-up call. We had casualties to. We had suffered as well.
Sookie and Eric were missing from the room, presumably finding Bill. I took stock of our casualties. Several vampires had met the true death but Agmund was the only one from our nest to have done so. With his brothers’ remains in the decanter, Egor sealed it, rising up to his full height. His shoulders were slumped through, and he scurried to Ata like a small, frightened child. Holding her hand out to him Egor took it, clinging to her for comfort. Seeing Agmund’s remains up close had tears streaming down Ata’s cheeks, and I felt so sorry for her for her loss. Agmund was her son, and he had died to save her, to protect her. He went with honour and with dignity though. Ari’s sadness had seeped into our bond and I knew I had to be the strength he so desperately needed.
Egor stuck fast to Ata’s side, and Godric released his hold on her enough so that she could tuck her son into her, rubbing his back soothingly, whispering reassurances to him. The mood in the room was solemn as we all silently mourned for those who gave their lives. Khai was nursing Isabel, whose right hand was missing. I’d witnessed it being removed. A vampire had crept up on her and chopped it off – it was her knife wielding hand. Khai’s blood stained her lips and the wound, and I had a feeling the Hispanic vampiress would soon become a member of the family by blood. Oeri was missing an ear, and Riei was tending to the injury, keeping a cloth on his brother’s wound, feeding him his blood to help him heal. Looking at the eclectic bunch of vampires and faeries around me, all bloodied and battered, all having fought together, for one another, putting aside their prejudice, I felt a sense of family overcome me. Ata and Sookie’s fae family had even come through to help them in their time of need. It had always been Eric and I against the world, but now we had a whole nest to fight alongside of, a whole nest to protect, and a whole nest to love. My cold heart thawed just a little.
You chewed me up and spit me out like I was poison in your mouth
You took my light, you drained me down
But that was then and this is now
Now look at me
This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
Throw your sticks and your stones; throw your bombs and your blows
But you’re not gonna break my soul
This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no
Now look at me I’m sparkling, a firework, a dancing flame
You won’t ever put me out again, I’m glowin’, oh whoa
So you can keep the diamond ring, I never liked it anyway
In fact you can keep everything yeah, yeah
Except for me
~ Part of Me, Katy Perry
Eric and I fled the room in search of Bill. The beauty of now being able to hear vampire minds meant that I could track him wherever he was going. His Southern drawl could be distinguished anywhere. Eric left me at the top of the basement, vamping down to grab some silver nets. He returned with leather gloves on, a heavy silver net in his hands. Bill would be under it soon, and I felt no remorse for what I was about to do. He had it coming.
I had no idea where I was going in the mansion, following Bill’s brain pattern in the general direction that I could locate it. Eric knew the layout of the palace a little better than I did thanks to all of the planning he had been present for, but he had never thought we would be straying this far from the main body of the house, where they had planned for the battle to go down.
Eric and I stopped outside of a thick wooden door. We could hear two voices on the other, both of which were distinctive. Eric and I turned to look at one another, frowning at what we were hearing. Delving into the mind of the other vampire in the room I was shocked to find my assumptions about the owner of the voice being correct. “Didn’t want to be left back at home. Useful here. Defend my family. Has to die.” His intentions were well meant, but he wasn’t safe here. He was too young. Oh Oscar.
Oscar was confronting Bill, stalling him, demanding answers. From the positions of their voids I could tell that Bill had his back to the door. Mentally telling Eric this we seized our opportunity.
It all happened so fast.
Eric flung the door open just as Bill snapped a leg off of a chair, overpowering Oscar and killing him. The young vampire turned to goo in Bill’s hands. Eric was on Bill in an instant, pinning him down. The silver net was thrown over him and my previous lover had no way of escape. I was too stunned by Bill’s actions to speak. He’d only ever killed Longshadow, and that was because he couldn’t damage me before he handed me over to Sophie-Anne. Usually he had others do his dirty work. There was no love lost where Bill was concerned.
Glancing around the room I found a crystal decanter. Felipe was just as much a fan of these as Russell was. When I’d been trapped in Russell’s mansion I’d spotted at least one in every room. The decanter I picked up was empty and, not caring for the clothes that Niall had given me, I dropped to my knees, scooping up what was left of Oscar. Placing him into the decanter I closed the lid, sealing it tight. A few years ago vampire goo would have had me screaming and racing to Driskill Mountain, but now it had no effect on me. It was strange how much things had changed. “Bring him with us.” I instructed Eric, keeping my voice cold and emotionless.
Bill struggled against the silver, gasping and hissing as his flesh was burned. “Sookeh, don’t do this. You know you don’t want to, sweetheart.” He tried to stir my sensitive side, the side that cared. There was no sensitive side for him now, no side of me that cared. He had hurt my family; he had taken me against my will, and done absolutely nothing while I had been tortured. He had taken my innocence under false pretences he had tried to kill Eric several times, and my association with him was the reason Gran was dead.
There would be no forgiveness. There would be no mercy.
My first day of recess they all laughed at me
When I fell off the swing set and scraped up my knee
The nurse called my Momma to say I’d be late
And when she gave me the phone I could hear Momma say
“I’m so sorry, son. Oh I think you’re’ so brave”
And she was smilin’ when she said:
When you come home no matter how far,
Run through the door and into my arms
It’s where you are loved; it’s where you belong
And I will be here when you come home
~ When You Come Home, Mark Schultz
I should have been thrilled at the coldness that my Sookie was showing Bill, I should have been happy dancing my way to the nearest stake, sharpening it for her. Instead I was concerned for her mental health. She had always held a soft spot for the bastard in the silver net behind me. Had his actions against her finally made her realise what an asshole he really was? I could only hope so. I didn’t want my bonded to be a cold woman however. She was good and honest, warm and sweet. I never wanted that to change. Maybe this colder edge would do her some good though. If Bill were to meet the true death then a new king, or queen, would need to be appointed to Louisiana. As the eldest vampire in the state, and the one present for Bill’s death, it would fall on me to be king. Sookie would be my queen; there was no doubt about it. She would be my wife and carry my surname very soon. This indifference to Bill’s treatment could be the start of something wonderful. As queen she wouldn’t be able to show special treatment to anyone who had broken our laws.
We marched into the main room where I deposited Compton onto the floor, for all to see. Sookie approached Ata, the earlier coldness gone as she slowly handed her the decanter, explaining that Oscar had come along anyway and had stalled Bill, keeping him in the palace for us to find. Though Oscar had been a new addition to our nest I could see that the women had been fond of him. Heck, I’d been fond of the little squirt!
More waterworks came from my mother and I moved to her side to comfort her. Egor was holding one of her hands, the other cradling his brothers’ remains. Ata was holding onto Egor’s hand and Oscar’s remains. Godric’s hands were on her arm, offering her comfort, and I placed my hands on her shoulders, rubbing soothingly. I’d always thought of Ata as the stronger of the fae women in our nest, but it seemed my Sookie had stolen that title from her for the time being. “Bring me Marc and Felipe.” Ata ordered once her tears subsided. Willing to do anything to make her happy again I left the room, vamping down to the basement. My leather gloves meant I could handle the nets. Removing the two vampires from the wall, both of whom looked rather crispy around the edges now, I returned to the main room. Dumping them unceremoniously on the floor beside Compton, I waited for further instructions.
“Take him.” Ata ordered gently, handing Oscar’s remains to Egor. My brother took our fallen comrade, holding his decanter close to his chest with Agmund’s. Crossing the room I watched as Ata picked up a chair that only had one leg left, snapping it off to make a makeshift stake. The chair tumbled to the ground, unable to support itself anymore. The vampires on our side had collected as much wood as possible to make as many stakes as possible. Returning to our group, Ata held the stake out to me. “He killed your parents, and your baby sister. You deserve the revenge you have spent 1000 years chasing.” Her features softened as she spoke.
Before Sookie I hadn’t been a very emotional vampire, Godric had drilled it out of me, but now I had to fight back my blood tears. Russell hadn’t just killed my parents though; he had killed Ata’s too. This job was as much hers as it was mine. Taking the stake from her, I grabbed her hand as she went to pull it away. “Do it with me. Let us avenge our families together, mother.” I tested out the word. The tears welled up in Ata’s eyes as I gave her the title I had wanted to address her by for the last few days.
“I would be honoured my son.” Her voice was soft, and one of her small hands came up to trace my cheek and jawbones lightly. My bond with Godric was positively alive with his happiness, and my connection with Ata pulsed in contentment at her new name. Moving us into position I placed the stake in Ata’s hand, wrapping her fingers around it. Placing my larger hand over her own I held her securely. With my free, gloved hand I pulled the silver off of Russell who had been considerably weakened by Ata and Sookie’s faery blasts. The other vampires formed a circle around us to stop his escape. Giving my bond with Ata a shove of pride and love we brought the wooden instrument down quickly. It cut through Russell like a hot knife through butter, and he turned to sludge, splattering us as he hit the floor.
“Well, that felt even better than I thought it would.” I breathed as I let go of Ata’s hand, the stake falling to the ground where it clattered loudly before the room was shrouded in silence. I’d promised my father vengeance and 1000 years later I had made good on my promise. The job was done. Ata’s shoulders slumped and I wrapped an arm around her waist, dropping a kiss to her temple. She needed that as much as I did, and now I felt comfortable enough to refer to her as my mother.
The howls of pain from Marc and Felipe as their Maker met the true death broke the silence in the room, jolting Ata and I from our thoughts. To think that a few years ago I had almost experienced their pain. If it hadn’t have been for my bonded and her quick thinking I would have lost Godric, and would have no doubt died by Russell’s hand. I was alive now though, Sookie was my thrice bonded, and no one would be able to touch her without being punished by the true death. Godric was still here, and Ata was with us to. I’d lost my human family 1000 years ago, but my supernatural one was just as great.
Picking up the stake that had fallen to the floor, I handed it back to Ata. “Marc is yours.” I told her, gesturing to the Roman vampire writhing under the silver net. His fangs were exposed, blood tracks from the loss of his Maker covering his cheeks. He was Ata’s childhood nightmare, he was one of the monsters that had ruined her life, and it was her job to end him, to end the torment. Without a second thought she had the silver net off of him, and though he tried to fight her off he was considerably weak from the silver. The stake went right through him, and he turned to another pile of goo on the floor. Ata’s monster in the closet, her nightmare, was finally truly dead.
Felipe’s look of horror as he took in the goo remains of his Maker and his brother was almost comical. Without batting an eyelash Ata handed the stake to Godric. “Felipe is yours. He committed blood offences against me and, as my thrice bonded, you get the right to end him.” The news of Godric and Ata being thrice bonded drew Felipe’s attention. Obscenities of all sorts, in a variety of different languages, all flew out of his mouth. I could tell that my Maker wanted to draw out Felipe’s torture, make him suffer for everything he had done, but it was getting late, sunrise wasn’t far off, and all of us were in need of food, showers, clean clothes, and bed. Godric made quick work of Felipe’s death, a satisfied smile on his features as the monarch turned to goo at his feet. As Godric had been the one to end Felipe he would now take the crown of Nevada. It was befitting. From the goo of his remains Godric plucked Ata’s engagement and promise bands, taking her hand to slide them back where they belonged.
Bill was the only enemy vampire left, and we all turned our attention to him. He was a quivering wreck, seeking out any form of sympathy from everyone looking at him. He found none. His gaze shifted to Sookie, as if she were his fail-safe, and the dread in his eyes as he took in her cold gaze made me proud to be able to call her my bonded.
Now that I’m over you and I’m sober too I can finally feel alive
But I won’t give you my heart ‘cuz it don’t break twice
Just to let you know, let you know
And if you play the part and play it real nice, maybe I’ll let go
I’ll let go
I’m sure you’ll tell me anything under the sun
Like how you think I’m special and the only one
Cuz normally I’d probably just get up and run
But you’re looking so damn good to me under the sun
~ Under the Sun, Cheryl Cole
It was like everything suddenly fell into place. If I were to show Bill any form of sympathy it would be seen as a weakness. He had destroyed everything I had ever cared about and if I let him get away with it then I would be a push over, a doormat. I would never be one of those again. With Eric and our nest I could be myself, I could be sweet and cuddly, soft and girly, but faced with a vampire like Bill I needed to pull my big girly panties on and put him in his place.
“Sookeh, it doesn’t need to be this way. I know what I did was wrong, and I will repent for my sins for the rest of time. I promise you.” He tried to plea. His plea was pathetic though, and I found myself curling my lip up in disgust as he tried to beg for his life from behind a silver net. Didn’t he realise he was done for? I was still hurting from everything he had ever done, I still felt dirty and tainted by his actions. Death would be too good for him, but I wouldn’t make the mistake that Eric had and leave him alive.
“Can someone carry him for me, please?” I looked around the room. Several vampires stepped forward, offering me their service. I took in their gloved hands and was pleased that they had come to the fight prepared. Gesturing to the netted Bill they scooped him up, ignoring his thrashing and trash talking. Turning on my heels I asked the vampires to follow me as I left the room, heading for the front door. Eric’s curiosity and worry was spiking through our bond, so I wrapped it an emotional blanket, assuring him that I had this under control. I scooped up an armful of silver chains as I left the mansion.
Leading the hundreds of vampires that had rushed to save Ata, Godric, Eric, and I, I stopped before a tree. I would have asked the vampires to do this for me, but I needed to do it myself I were to ever close that chapter of my life and start anew. “Dump him here.” I instructed, gesturing to the base of a thick, white alder tree. Securing silver chains around Bill through the silver net, I tossed the net aside. Using the tree for leverage I hauled him up, moving to secure him to the tree with the silver chains. I had three thick chains around his middle, tying him to the tree. Though the chains didn’t have direct contact with his skin it would still weaken him. Other chains secured his ankles and wrists to the trunk. I didn’t want him to have any chance of escape.
Testing the chains I was pleased to feel that they wouldn’t be giving any time soon. Bill continued to scream and protest, and using the little trick I had learnt when I’d been in high school and I’d been changing for physical education, I shimmed myself out of my panties, keeping my pants on in the process. I could feel confusion from all those in my nest who were watching, and a few of the vampires even quirked their eyebrows. Approaching Bill I forced his mouth open, shoving my panties into his mouth before I closed his jaw. “Maybe now you’ll stop your yappin’.” I hissed. “Take care of that, you’re never going to be anywhere near that part of me again. Actually, you’re never going to be near me ever again.” I corrected myself, daring him to try and speak to challenge me. Grabbing the cord around his neck I gave it a sharp tug, causing it to snap. Sliding Gran’s pearls from it I put them back around my wrist, warmth overtaking me as the protection magic returned. “And fuck you for how you spoke about Gran.” With a strong backhand that I’d learnt from Jason when we were teenagers, I broke Bill’s nose.
Turning back to the vampires gathered around I took a moment to study them all. “I’ve decided that, rather than staking William or using my fae abilities to end him, thus giving him a quick death, I am going to let the sun do the work for me. He has abused my family for long enough that a quick death is not satisfactory. He will be forced to watch the rising sun and will burn away until he is nothing but charcoal pieces on the ground. I do not take lightly to those who harm my family. Anyone who dares to do so will feel the full weight of whatever punishment I see fit to give him or her. Are we understood?” I spoke up, keeping my voice firm and level. I would take no prisoners. Though I wasn’t the monarch in this area I would not let any abuse stand. There might be some backlash from the night’s events and I wanted every vampire present to know that I would kill if it would keep my family safe. I had revealed the fact I was fae as a reminder to them that although I was a tasty treat, I was a deadly one, and I would have no problem slaughtering them all.
I hadn’t expected every vampire to bow their head in acknowledgement, but they did. Even Eric and the rest of our nest bowed their heads. The awe and the love coming from my bonded was making it difficult for me to maintain my steady expression, when all his feelings made me want to do was smile and grin and laugh. Pam had managed to carry Ari outside to witness this, the poor man having to hop on his one good leg. Ata and I would be using a lot of our healing power to return our nest to good health.
When the vampires raised their heads once more Ari took the lead. “If you could all return to Caesar’s Palace you will find a light tight room for each of you. Dr. Ludwig should be there to tend to any injuries. The bill is on us. We thank you all for helping us this evening and you will all be paid handsomely for your assistance. I ask that you be at The Colosseum tomorrow at nightfall, where you will all be debriefed and rewarded for your valiant and honourable actions.” With the crowd dismissed they all started to go off into their own groups, heading in their own directions to make their way back to Caesar’s Palace before sunrise.
Looking to Ata, who looked as terrible as she felt, I was certain we were a right pair. “Time?” I asked her softly, moving to stand with her. She was now holding onto Egor again, who’d tucked himself into her side like a terrified child on parent’s evening.
“15 minutes until sunrise.” She answered, having spared a glance up to the stars.
“Is there anything we need in the house?” I asked our group. Everyone shook his or her head. Our fallen loved ones were with us in their cases, Agmund’s sword was now strapped to Riei’s back and we were all accounted for. “What are we going to do with the place?” I asked Ata, knowing this was her territory.
Looking to her sons, the ones who could move about freely, she came to her decision. “Torch it.”
Piling into the one remaining light tight van, I took a seat where I could see William. The windows allowed people inside to see out, but for no sunlight to get in. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Eric and Godric returning with Riei, Oeri and Khai. They’d covered the place in the gasoline they’d found in the gardener’s shed and had flicked a few lit matches into strategic rooms. The whole building was about to be consumed by fire as they raced into the van, narrowly avoiding the sunlight that breached the horizon. Godric was clutching an ornate bowl in his hands and from it he produced their stolen trinkets. Eric placed his necklace on while Ata tied Godric’s bracelet back on.
My focus was on Bill though, and as the rays of the rising sun spread out across the lush, green grounds of the burning mansion and hit him, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. His screams of terror echoed through the grounds and then finally there was silence, and the silver chains clinked to the ground, no longer having anything to hold up.
The monster was gone.
Eric took my hand, holding it tightly while Khai hopped into the driver’s seat, able to navigate using the UV-proof windows. Pulling away from the burning mansion I gave Eric’s hand a squeeze, offering him an affectionate smile and love through our bond, both of which he eagerly returned. Yes I had been cruel towards William, yes I had killed this evening, but I was still capable of love and kindness to those who deserved it. My thrice bonded, and everyone in our nest, were deserving of such love and kindness. I felt better about myself, I felt like these two different sides of me worked well together and would guide me in the future. But, most of all, as I watched the burning mansion slip away in the horizon, I felt at peace.
A/N Yes I killed off their enemies a bit quickly, but I thought a wham, bam, thank you mam type of death would be better taken…thoughts? This isn’t the end of the story! We still have the gang coming to terms with what happened to them and then the tying up of loose ends, including quite a few happy moments! I’m thinking no more than 10-15 or so chapters, but that might vary depending on Eric and Godric’s input…they’re very fussy men!
Komma tillbaka till mig, min kärlek. Komma tillbaka till mig (Swedish) = Come back to me, my love. Come back to me.
Jag älskar dig, min Sookie (Swedish) = I love you, my Sookie.
Adjo (Ari’s term of endearment for Pam)(Egyptian) = treasure