Waltz of the Damned
Sookie smiled as she felt Russell step up behind her on the porch. He had been hovering over her since they returned from the party the night before. She knew he feared she was going to slip back into the dark place she had been just after she had been turned but she was stronger now. She wouldn’t let Pam or painful memories hold her down. She was Russell Edgington’s child, not some sniveling damsel in distress.
“Princess, do you still want to be here? We could take your brother and his family and just leave. Really, there would be nothing they could do to stop us.”
“I do,” Sookie told him softly. “I’m not going to be run off by Pam and that is what it would feel like. I’m stronger than her. I grew up in the last thirteen years while she didn’t.”
“I know, but none of this, none of the stress or worry, is necessary.” Russell placed his hand on her shoulder. “You should be happy.”
“I will be,” Sookie said, as she turned to face him. “I’ve been holding that in for years now. It was good to finally let it out.”
“Alright, Princess,” he said to her. He really could deny her nothing. But suddenly his fangs were down and he was pushing Sookie behind him and into the house.
“Russell, what is it?” Sookie asked, alarmed, as she was pushed into the house.
“Go into the safe room!” he ordered.
Sookie hesitated for a brief second before doing as she was ordered. She knew better than to disobey her maker, not that he had ever hurt her in all the years she had been his child.
Sookie was safely downstairs when Eric’s car pulled up. “What do you want, Northman?” Russell spat out.
“I’m here to see Sookie and apologize for my child’s behavior,” Eric said, as he slid out of his car.
“I protect my child. And I do not want you near her,” Russell growled. “You saw your child earlier in the night threatening her. And you did nothing to stop her from attacking my child a second time.”
“Pam has been dealt with, she will never harm Sookie verbally or physically again,” Eric said.
“And it should have happened sooner.” Russell was angry. He was angry enough to need to work to control his emotions and to keep his thoughts rational. He tried to remember that Sookie told him she didn’t want Eric — was it hurt or finally dead? Maybe he could hurt him and Sookie wouldn’t be mad. Limbs regrow.
“I have sent her away,” Eric growled. “She is no longer any threat to Sookie.”
“And you can guarantee she won’t come back? Honestly, Eric, I don’t think you can guarantee anything. You couldn’t control her when she was here. Sending her away certainly won’t keep her from plotting to hurt my Sookie.” He launched himself at Eric, punching him hard in the ribs before stepping back.
“You don’t think she could hire someone to come after Sookie?” he asked, watching Eric’s movements carefully.
“I have given her a makers command. She cannot disobey me again,” Eric replied, as he took a step to the side, keeping Russell in his view. “She has been sent to someone who will not tolerate her behavior. She will learn.”
“She’d be better off as ash,” Russell snarled, attacking Eric again.
Eric defended himself as best he could, but Russell was more than two thousand years older than him. “She is my child,” he growled, getting a few blows in himself.
“And Sookie is mine. She is a threat to mine,” Russell growled. He tried to grip Eric’s arm, but the vampire kept slipping away.
“Not anymore,” Eric said, ducking the blow Russell aimed at his head. “And you have hurt Sookie just as much.”
Rage welled up in him and Russell grabbed Eric’s shoulders and punched him in the chest, tossing his body across the yard. It was one of the few things in his life that Russell regretted and Eric had to bring it up.
Eric hit the ground hard and let out a groan. Jumping to his feet, he flew at Russell, his fist connected with his jaw, sending him flying a few feet back.
But Russell didn’t care. He was out to maim. So he didn’t feel Sookie’s weariness change to anger. He jumped on Eric, getting him from behind. With his legs latched around Eric’s arms Russell bit into the younger vampire’s neck.
“Stop it!” Sookie screamed, as she came running out onto the porch. She had felt Russell’s anger spike and had heard his fight with Eric and couldn’t take anymore.
Russell wouldn’t release Eric’s large body, but held tightly as he dislodged his fangs.
“Sookie get back in the house!” Eric called, trying to fight Russell’s hold.
“I said stop it!” Sookie yelled, as she raised her hands and sent a bolt of light at them knocking them apart.
Eric moved away from Russell as quickly as he could, thankful for Sookie’s help. But Russell remained on the ground, unmoving. His child attacked him. She had never lifted her voice in anger. She had not once swung at him. And she had never used her fae abilities against him.
“Russell?” Sookie said, a hint of fear in her voice as she approached him. She wasn’t scared he would hurt her; he would never do that again. But she was afraid he would reject her or send her away. She needed her maker more than anything but she didn’t want to see him hurt Eric or Eric hurt him.
He was silent — pouting really. The burn was gone, of course, but he felt . . . bad. It had been so long, he didn’t realize what shame was like anymore.
“I’m sorry,” Sookie whimpered, stopping a few feet away from him.
Russell sat up, got to his feet and ignored them both, walking into the house.
Sookie felt her tears fall as she wrapped her arms around herself, a choke lodged in her throat. She stood in the middle of her front yard like a statue, unmoving as the tears fell.
Eric couldn’t just watch her cry. He was over to her immediately, tentatively putting his arms around her. “Sookie, I don’t know if I ever told you this. But I have to now. . .”
Sookie looked up at Eric through tear-filled eyes, her pain clear to see on her face.
He sighed unnecessarily and his thumb brushed across her beautiful cheek, catching a tear. “You have to know—”
“What?” Sookie asked, as she stared up at him.
He took a deep breath and held it, staring into her eyes. “You have to know . . . that I can’t handle beautiful women crying.”
Sookie snorted through her tears, her lips curling into a small smile. “Why did you come here tonight, Eric?”
“I came to apologize, both for myself and my child,” he replied, thankful he made her smile. “She will no longer be in the States, and she has been commanded to neither physically nor verbally accost you.”
“It wasn’t your fault,” Sookie said, pulling back slightly. “Pam’s just… Pam’s just a bitch.”
“I shouldn’t have let her get that far or even just be so close to you.”
“Where were you?” Sookie asked. She remembered Pam shouting something about her driving Eric out of his own club and she had no idea what she was talking about.
“I’ll have to show you some night,” he said waggling his eyebrows. He didn’t want to mention (or even think about) why he was there.
“Maybe,” Sookie said softly, as she turned and looked over her shoulder at the house. She couldn’t hear Russell moving about and it unnerved her. It was only through their bond she could tell he was even inside. “He’s never gonna forgive me.”
“Don’t be silly, Sookie. Forever is a long time. What is he feeling? Use your bond to see his mood if he did not close his end,” Eric replied.
Sookie looked back at the house as she tapped into hers and Russell’s bond, “He’s feeling shame,” she said softly.
“It’s not you he needs to deal with, Sookie. It’s himself. Just give him some time and then go speak with him,” Eric suggested.
“Okay,” Sookie agreed with a nod. “So, how did you enjoy the party?” she added, as she turned back to face him.
“I liked spending time with you,” he supplied. “Our dance was especially…enjoyable.”
“For me too,” Sookie admitted.
Russell stood in the kitchen, watching them speak through the window. His child was too forgiving, too understanding. But it was also just her. It was how she was. He held in his emotions as he watched them. The subtle caresses that showed they were getting closer. The comforting way he held her. They hardly knew each other, but it was obvious they wanted to know more. Russell just didn’t know what to make of that. He killed Talbot. But at the same time, without him she might have truly died from the fairy poisoning.
“Have you been around Bon Temps much since you’ve been back?” he asked her, wondering how many people she’d seen now.
“No, not really,” Sookie admitted. “I’ve been kept quite busy, first with the fairies and being crazy and then with the AVL. I’ve spent a bit of time with Jason and Susie… his wife still refuses to meet me,” Sookie added wrinkling her nose distastefully. “Jason says she’ll come around, but I’m not too sure.” Sookie paused for a minute as she pondered something that had been troubling her since the night she first met Susie. “Eric, do you know what happened to Tara? Jason said she went on a vampire hating jag before she skipped town. Did she do something stupid?”
Eric sighed and took her hand. “Sookie. She, — well, you remember how she was with Franklin?” At her nod, he continued. “I don’t know if you realized, but Franklin came for Tara again, right after you were taken. Your brother had to kill him to save her. She left not long after, but she went to New Orleans. Mickey lived down there. He was Franklin’s progeny.” He looked her in the eye. “For his crimes, Nora staked him, but there was nothing she could do for Tara.”
“I’m sorry, Sookie.” Sookie smiled sadly as she thought about her old friend. Truth was she hadn’t thought of Tara much over the last thirteen years. She would sometimes cross her mind, but for the most part she had moved on. Maybe that made her selfish, she didn’t know.
“He was punished,” Eric reassured her.
“Good,” Sookie growled. “Does it make me a terrible person that I’m not more upset?”
“No. She seemed . . . aggressive towards you and your choices the few times I met her,” he replied.
“She was a good friend before…” Sookie trailed off, the rest of her sentence didn’t need saying. Tara was a good friend before vampires came into her life. She was a good friend when Sookie was alone.
“Recall those times,” he recommended.
Sookie did as he suggested and recalled some of the times she spent with Tara. There were some happy ones, she wouldn’t deny that. Tara had been a good friend at times but there had also been a lot of pain and anger. Tara was only happy when they were all miserable together.
“Jason told me how she would come to your house. He said how your Gran took her in too,” he told her.
“Yeah,” Sookie nodded. “Her momma was a drunk and she would lash out at Tara so she’d run to us.”
“He said she was like a sister most of the time. It’s okay not to be upset. She wasn’t nice at the end. But remember you have forever. Humans have so little time. If you want to value any of them, don’t focus all on the negative.”
“If I do, I will end up living in the past and never have a future,” Sookie replied with a small laugh.
“It needs to be a balance. I can appreciate humans I met in the past. I can also appreciate some humans when I meet them. Especially when they walk in my bar looking the complete opposite of those typically there. Asking questions that could be rude. Challenging a vampire.”
Sookie giggled as Eric described their first meeting. That seemed like several lifetimes ago now. “And ya’ll were all so nice and helpful.”
“I told you it wasn’t a vampire. Though I have to disagree. You are especially sweet.”
“More than ya ever knew,” Sookie said with a mischievous smile.
“You should go to Merlotte’s. Your friend Lafayette is there,” he said with a chuckle.
“We were planning on going to see him later,” Sookie said, as she once again looked over her shoulder at the house. “Although, I’m not sure if that’s still the plan.”
“Princess,” Russell said from the house.
Sookie spun around the second she heard his voice. Her feet moved on their own accord as she moved nearer to the house. “Russell?”
He met her in the yard. “I’m sorry, Princess,” he said in Romani.
“I’m sorry too,” Sookie replied, switching to the same language. “I just don’t like seeing you fight.” She bit her lip as she stared at him, “You…you don’t hate me?”
“Of course not, Sunshine. I just—” Russell paused. “My anger was out of control.”
Sookie took a step closer to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. She hugged him tight as she rested her head against his chest.
“I know you do not want him finally gone. I will not disappoint you in this,” Russell whispered.
“Thank you,” Sookie replied, her voice as equally as low.
“Eric,” Russell asked in English, “Would you like to join us at Merlotte’s?”
Sookie smiled up at Russell, “Thank you,” she whispered before turning to face Eric and waited for his answer.
“I have to speak with Nora but if you wouldn’t mind her, we’ll come with you both to see Lafayette and Jesus,” Eric replied.
“That’s fine with me,” Sookie said, a smile etched firmly on her face. “Russell?”
He nodded. “Call her on the way? She can meet us.” Eric nodded and pulled out his phone. “We’re going now?” he asked Sookie.
“Yeah,” she nodded, as she linked her arm through his.
Instead of calling, he texted his Queen, advising her to meet him in Bon Temps instead of his home.
“Are we driving or flying?” Sookie asked.
“Driving is probably better,” Eric suggested, gesturing to the vehicle Sookie and Russell had.
“Are you going to meet us there or…” Sookie trailed off, the rest of her question left unsaid.
“No, he can ride with us,” Russell said, pulling the keys out of his pocket and starting the car. A classic now — a black 1989 Lexus LS.
“I guess you’re riding with us.” Sookie giggled, as she slid into the car.
Eric nodded, slipping into the back seat. “Sookie — could you move the seat up?” The Lexus was comfortable, but her seat was all the way back. And he could kiss his kneecaps.
“Sorry,” Sookie said with a small laugh as she adjusted her seat and brought it forward.
Russell drove the classic luxury car quickly, hugging corners as he sped to Merlotte’s.
“I’ll get used to how you drive one of these decades,” Sookie grumbled good naturedly.
“Not a requirement of travelling with me, dear,” Russell assured her, stepping out of the car once he had parked. His arrival has sent the gravel of the lot flying.
Climbing out the car, Sookie grinned as she stared up at the bar, “You ready to see where I used to work?” she asked, as she linked her arm with Russell’s.
“Hardly. It smells like . . . Well, you can smell it now,” he said with a scrunched nose.
“Now you know what it was like every time I had to come to this . . . establishment,” Eric told Sookie with a chuckle.
Sookie wrinkled her nose as she stepped closer to the bar. “It doesn’t look like it’s changed much,” Sookie said.
Eric smirked. “Well, one thing has. New management.” He vamped to the door to hold it open for her.
“I heard Sam got married and moved away,” Sookie said, as headed towards the door.
Eric nodded. “Some shifter named Luna. But I think you’ll like the new owner.” he added quickly not wanting to talk about the Shifter. The real reason for him leaving so many years ago wasn’t widely known, and Eric didn’t want to have to admit his part in it.
Sookie paused by the bars door and looked over her shoulder. “You know the new owner?”
“You do too…”
“Hooka, git yer fine ass in here!” a voice called out.
Sookie snapped her head around as she heard the familiar voice. A smile lit up her face as she raced into the bar, “Lafayette!”
Lafayette was a bit older (Jason’s age), but looked much the same. He was wearing low-rise jeans, was once again sporting shorter hair, and had a shiny green shirt button up shirt on. “Sooks, I gotta see yer ass on T.V. before you come in ‘ere?” He scolded her but it didn’t stop him from wrapping his strong arms around her waist, picking her up and spinning her around.
Sookie laughed as Lafayette spun her around. It wasn’t until she felt his arms around her did she realize just how much she missed her old friend.
“Now what was up wit’ that? Why’d ya take so long to see me? You too good for us here?” he teased.
“I had to leave the best till last,” Sookie joked, as Lafayette set her on her feet.
“Mmmmm, Sug, you lookin’ good! That T.V. don’t do you no justice. Jesus! Come meet Sookie!” he called, not caring who was staring at them.
Sookie smiled as she watched the man she assumed to be Jesus walk out from the back. From the look in his eyes, she could tell he loved Lafayette a lot.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sookie,” Jesus said, stopping a few feet away from her. “I’ve heard a lot about you from Lafayette.”
“All good I hope,” Sookie joked.
“Nothin’ but the truth, Sook, so if it’s nasty you got no ones to blame but yerself!” LaLa said with an eyebrow raise. But he slipped into Jesus’s arms. “This is my ball an’ chain.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Jesus,” Sookie said with a smile. “Susie speaks highly of you.” Russell cleared his throat behind her, obviously unnecessarily. Sookie smiled as she looked over her shoulder at Russell. “Sorry,” she said sheepishly, having forgotten her manners.
He shook his head, but his face had a small smirk. “Hello, lovelies. I’m her maker, Russell Edgington.” He reached his hand out to Jesus.
Jesus eyed Russell’s hand as he stretched his own out and shook it. He was very familiar with vampire protocols and behavior and he knew shaking hands wasn’t something they did. “Mr. Edgington,” he greeted politely.
Russell’s fingers stroked Jesus’s wrist and he stepped forward to kiss the back of his hand. His eyes were hooded slightly. “So Jesus, who in your family was dae?” Dae smelled a little spicier, and were notoriously wild in the sack.
“My grandfather,” Jesus answered, as he pulled his hand back.
Russell nodded and smirked at Lafayette. “And you’re Lafayette?” he asked, eyeing him calculatedly.
Lafayette looked incredulously at Sookie. Her maker was the crazy fucker who ripped that guy’s spine out on TV, and he was hitting on his husband. “I am and this one’s all mine,” he said leaning into Jesus.
“Lafayette and Jesus got married about seven years ago,” Eric added, stepping in next to Sookie.
“Congratulations,” Sookie said sincerely, as she reached for Russell’s arm and tugged him back slightly. “Behave,” she added in a whisper for his ears only.
He flashed a fangy grin at her, raising his eyebrow. “Who is the maker in this relationship? I forget. Is it you who’s 3000, or me? I think it’s you, right?” he asked teasing.
“It’s about time you figured that out,” Sookie replied cheekily.
Eric was surprised at their relationship, but he was stunned when Russell smacked Sookie’s ass with a fair bit of strength.
“Alri’, lemme find you bitches a seat,” Lafayette laughed. “You are here for some blood? I stocked just for you, Hooka!”
“I’d love one,” Sookie said, as she rubbed her ass. “You got time to join us for a chat?”
“Since it’s Jesus and my place, I’d say so,” he said, ushering them to a corner booth built for eight. He daintily plopped his ass in the booth and turned to everyone else in the restaurant/bar who had watched him with the vampires. “Mind yo own business and stop on by if ya rememba Sooks here!” His eyes stilled on Hoyt’s mama, Andy (now retired), and a few others.
“So how did you end up owning the place?” Sookie asked, as she slid into the booth opposite him.
He humphed. “Sam just took off one day. No word to no one. I had just started datin’ my boy. Suddenly we was all out of work an’ the place was on the market to be sold. Jesus and I couldn’ afford it ou’selves, so my friend Eric here put the monies up for us. We paid him back quick enough once we got business goin’ an’ everyone got over a coupl’a fairies ownin’ the place.”
“I can’t believe Sam would do that to you,” Sookie said, as she shook her head. She was surprised to hear Eric put up the money for the bar and that Lafayette called him friend. Last time she saw Lafayette, he was terrified of Eric. “You’ve certainly done great with the place.
“Ehh,” he said, laughing smiling. “It was and will always be a dive. I think the townies are just happy it ain’t covered in rainbows and pictures of Elton John.”
“Don’t sell yourself short, Lafayette,” Sookie said. “You’ve done a great job here, you both have,” she added, looking at Jesus.
He had laid down three warm bloods and a couple of beers for himself and Lafayette.
“Certainly better than the Shifter had it,” Eric added to Sookie’s praise. It was nice too. They had new tables and new padding and cushioning on the seats. They kept the local grub favorites and added a few more.
“Thank you,” Jesus said, as he slipped into the booth next to Lafayette.
“So Sooks, whachu been up to otha than lookin’ all pretty on TV?” Lafayette asked.
“Traveling mostly,” Sookie replied.
“Where to?” he asked.
“Everywhere,” Sookie answered with a smile. “Greece, Italy, England.”
“Damn girl!” he teased. “Which did you–”
“AUNT SOOKIEEEEEEE!” A cry sounded from the door as Susie escaped her father’s arms and ran up to her aunt.
“Hello, Susie,” Sookie laughed, as she scooped her niece up.
Susie sat on her lap, her fingers weaving through Sookie’s hair. I like your mind, she thought to her Aunt.
I’ll teach you some neat tricks so you can block all the voices out as well. Sookie thought back at her.
She gasped and a grin lit up her face. “Uncle Lala! Uncle Seuss!” Though she could pronounce Jesus’s name now, she had thought he was Dr Seuss when she was younger, and his name stuck. “Mommy and Daddy brought me here for dinner! Hi Mister Eric!” Her eyes glanced to Russell. “Hi Mister Russell,” she added a little more subdued since he was less familiar.
“And I bet you want your Uncle Lala to make you your favorite chicken dinner,” Jesus replied with a smile. Susie smiled shyly in response; if she was older it would definitely be closer to Eric’s smirk.
“Is Michelle here?” Sookie asked, directing the question towards her brother. She’d been back a while now and had still yet to meet her sister-in-law. Every time she had seen Jason and Susie, Michelle had been busy.
“Yes, please,” Susie said to Jesus before Jason had a chance to answer his sister. “Could I also have a Shirley Temple?” She climbed down from Sookie’s lap and went over to Jesus to crawl up onto him. “Uncle Seuss, you need to tell me! Did you ever figure out that spell to make the bathrooms here smell better?” Her nose wrinkled as if she was smelling it right then.
“No, I didn’t,” Jesus replied, as he wrapped his arm around her and tickled her. “It ended up smelling like wet dog when I tried.”
Susie screeched and squirmed away as his fingers dug into her ribs. Still giggling, she was now sitting by Russell. “I don’t like that smell. It smells like that kinda up in Hot Shot when Daddy takes me hunting.”
“It’s a horrible smell,” Sookie agreed, realizing what the smell actually was.
Susie wrinkled her nose again and shook her head, as if she could smell it right there in Merlotte’s. “Did you try getting Uncle Lala to help?”
“I did, but he just ended up making a bigger stink,” Jesus teased.
Susie screeched at the joke and giggled. She looked at him conspiratorially. “Maybe I can help,” she whisper talked.
“And how might that be?” Jesus asked.
“Can you teach me like you teached Uncle Lala?”
Jesus laughed as Susie tried to convince him to teach her magic again, “Your mummy has already said no, Susie. I’m not allowed to teach you anything magical.”
Susie scowled at him before she glanced over at the door where her mother had yet to show. “Daddy thinks she’s being silly and pre-juiced.”
“Prejudice,” Jesus corrected kindly. He had to admit he often thought the same.
“So…” she looked at him imploringly, “we wouldn’t need to tell her.” She looked at him carefully, brushing her mind carefully against his, liking the static sound that was always a comfort whenever he and LaLa babysat.
“Your mom has a freaky way of finding things out,” Jesus replied. “Remember, she found out last time I tried to teach you something.”
Susie turned around and pouted. Her smile didn’t return when Lafayette brought a plate of the requested food to her. Mentally, though her thoughts were racing.
“Aunt Sookie?” she asked with her mind, to see if the vampire was listening. She brushed against her Aunt’s mind subtly seeing if she could get her attention that way.
“Yes, sweetie,” Sookie replied telepathically.
“Is there something different about my mommy? Why — why can she sense stuff?” she replied silently. Everyone she knew who was special didn’t keep it from her. But if her mommy knew things that made her special.
“I don’t know, sweetie,” Sookie admitted, a frown creasing her brow at Susie’s words. “I’ve not met your mommy yet.”
“Mommy’s by the door . . .” she thought to Sookie. But her thoughts trailed off as she caught the look on her mommy’s face. A mix of anger and determination. And something else. Fear. Susie’s eyes widened at her mommy’s expression.
Looking over her shoulder, Sookie frowned as she got her first look at her sister-in-law. There was something familiar about her, but Sookie couldn’t put her finger on what. She was certainly pretty, or she would be if she wasn’t scowling at them all.
With a blank face, Susie wordlessly slipped off of Jesus’s lap. Her entire demeanor had changed. Usually springy and excitable, she was now stoic and almost sullen. She trudged slowly, almost tripping on her sluggish feet, towards the doorway. Her face and eyes were blank as she walked by the other patrons.
Sookie watched her niece as she closed the distance to her mother. “Jason,” she said confusion coloring her tone at what she was witnessing.
Susie’s food was practically untouched. When she reached her mother, she stopped. She didn’t make a sound as her arm was roughly grabbed. She didn’t blink as her Mommy began to take her outside. But she did manage to whisper a petrified, “Aunt Sookie!” in her mind.