Anger and Apathy
As soon as Eric rose that evening he had done two things. Firstly, he called Niall and left a message with the answering service. “Sookie has returned. She is in her home.”
Secondly, he had checked his messages. The most important had come last, informing him that Sookie Stackhouse and Russell Edgington had been taken to the Authority and AVL’s headquarters. He immediately got ready, grabbed Nora on the way, and headed to where they were.
“It was Compton, who reported them,” Nora told him, although she suspected he already knew. “I spoke to Roman, and he said Compton reported them last night shortly after we kicked him out of the house.”
Eric and Nora had flown as quickly as they could as soon as the sun set, but they still arrived after the alarm had been sent out. They were warned at the entrance of a vampire who had escaped her cell. “She’s still a troublemaker and very ingenuous,” Eric said, surprised she had managed to outsmart the Authority’s security.
“Oh, I do hope she hasn’t done anything too terrible,” Nora snorted, not meaning it in the slightest. She knew most of the people there worked for or were spies for the AVL. She wouldn’t mind if they had a nasty accident. “Roman and Dieter should be in the conference room; they should know what’s going on.”
He nodded and they strode towards the room, knocking once before entering.
“Guardian, Magister,” Nora greeted with a nod as she strolled into the room. “I hear the guards are having some problems with the prisoners.”
“So it seems,” the Guardian replied. He had a hidden panel in the wall open and was watching the surveillance cameras.
Taking her seat at the table, Nora watched as well, “How did she escape?” she asked “And why isn’t the camera in the room they’re in broadcasting?”
“Salome disabled it. And I’m not entirely sure. One moment she was in her cell and the next she was walking the halls,” Roman said, not looking away from the monitors.
Eric looked to Nora; both of them knew from where her telepathy came. Would she have gained the ability to teleport as the Fae did?
“Why on earth would Salome disable it?” Nora asked, as she exchanged a look with Eric. Just what could the vampire fairy do?
“She always gets creative, but it’s probably something to do with the Sanguinistas,” Roman said. He watched as the other Chancellors approached the conference room door, not turning his attention to them as Rosalyn, Alexander, and Kibwe entered the room and took their seats at the table to observe.
Nora bit her lip to keep from smiling as she saw Sookie start to skip down the hallway. It was clear she was having fun.
Suddenly the blacked out camera came back on. At the same time, the frolicking Sookie disappeared and into the camera waved another Sookie.
“What the…” Nora trailed off as she stared at the screens.
The Authority members watched in shock as Russell and Sookie walked out of his interrogation room and into the hallway; a badly burned Salome being dragged behind them.
Roman listened to the crackle of the radio as Nan’s voice crackled out to the guards informing them of the fugitive’s locations. What Nan was doing in the control room and on the radio was beyond him, but that was not his primary concern. Edgington was in the Authority. And they needed to take him out while they still could. It seemed like his child would either need to be tamed or destroyed too.
“Did she just pet one of the guards on the head?” Rosalyn asked, her eyes fixed on the screen.
“She did,” Nora replied with a smile, as she watched Sookie treat the guards like dogs.
“Find her and KILL HER!” Alexander said, ending in a yell. It wasn’t because of her treatment of the guards. But he had big plans tonight. He had bought a new erector set and wanted to assemble it. This was keeping him from that.
“I thought you wanted to talk to her, to them?” Nora questioned, turning her attention to her husband and the Guardian of the Authority. Killing Sookie was not an option.
“I do. We need to see if she can be tamed, Alexander,” Roman gently scolded.
“I think Edgington might object to that,” Kibwe remarked, as he watched Russell stepped in front of Sookie on the screen. “He seems protective of her.”
“Then we use her to make him toe the line,” Rosalyn said, as she leaned back in her chair. “If he doesn’t we kill her.”
“First, we need her in our control,” Roman said.
“That won’t be an easy feat, Guardian. Even as a human Sookie was hard-pressed to listen well,” Eric said. “There is more you need to know.” He was choosing his words carefully, and Roman knew it.
Nora flicked her eyes over the others in the room as she placed a hand on Eric’s leg; she knew he wouldn’t reveal what they had learned the night before in front of everyone, but she couldn’t stop herself from squeezing it in warning. She trusted Roman and Dieter, but she didn’t trust the others. If they knew what had been discussed the night before they would do anything in their power to stop them.
“I think it’s clear that Edgington and Miss Stackhouse could have easily escaped,” Dieter said, as he pulled his eyes away from the screens. “They are just toying with the guards. So the question is why haven’t they?”
The doors flung open and a limp Salome was plopped down right on the conference room table. Russell was older than everyone in the room, possibly combined. He smiled a hello while Sookie did as he had instructed in the hall.
Slipping into the room behind Russell, Sookie waved at everyone present, “Are Bill and Nan hiding?” she asked, as she stood beside her maker showing a united front. “I’d thought they’d want a front row seat for this.”
“Nan is in the control room. Miss Stackhouse, I presume?” responded the Guardian as he kept an eye on the two rogue vampires and his former lover.
“Yes,” Sookie replied absentmindedly, as she took in everyone sitting at the table. She wasn’t surprised to see Eric and Nora there; she knew they would have been called. She frowned as her eyes landed on Rosalyn, “Who turned Sharon Osbourne?”
Alexander turned and glared. “How. Did you. Get. Free?” he enunciated.
“That. Would. Be. Telling.” Sookie replied mockingly.
He jumped up to his feet. “Do not mock me, Vampire!” he shouted, his fangs bore.
“Aww, he’s so cute,” Sookie giggled, as she looked up at her maker. “Can we keep him?”
“Afraid not, Dear. See, he’s Sanguinista, and that would honestly just fuck up everything,” Russell said. If he wanted to do as he pleased, he could go to other areas of the world. Here, where humans were not subjugated, the beautiful men just flocked to him. It was always better to have them willing than always thinking about fleeing.
“Boo,” Sookie pouted. She wagged a finger at Alexander, scolding him like a parent would a child. “You’re very naughty. Off to bed without any supper.”
Alexander said, “I am not Sanguinista! I have nothing to do with that movement! Humans are friends, not food.” Maybe channeling his favorite movie, the Disney’s classic Finding Nemo, would help his case. He backed away from the table, his eyes on Sookie.
Nora exchanged a look with Roman as she listened to Alexander’s words. They both knew the brat was a member of the Sanguinista; his denial was fooling no one.
Alex looked back at Roman and then, figuring he could take down the much younger vampire, went to attack her. His fangs descended and he ran at her, jumping and extending his hands towards her neck.
Sookie reacted on instinct and lifted her hand, the light shot through her radiating warmth as she blasted Alexander back. “That wasn’t very nice,” she scolded, her tone as cold as ice. “Daddy, can I kill him?”
“You know we’re here to take out the blood fiend Sangs,” Russell said. He glanced at Roman who nodded. It was time for the Sanguinistas to be weeded out of the Authority; they had enough power in the AVL. “Go ahead, Princess,” Russell finished.
“Oh goody,” Sookie purred, as she advanced on the still recovering Alexander. “Naughty boys must be punished.”
Alexander had writhed on the floor for a moment in pain before getting up, prepared to defend himself. The other Sanguinistas had, meanwhile, jumped out of their seats, looking astonished at what was happening. Roman ignored their questions about whether he was just going to let Sookie kill a Chancellor. He was getting a demonstration of her abilities and judging Russell’s attitude at the same time.
Sookie clucked her tongue in disapproval as she raised her hand again and sent another burst of light at him, only this time she intentionally sent it wide and hit Kibwe with it instead. “Whoops,” she said innocently, as a smile lit up her face.
With her intentional miss, Alex was able to run towards her once again, staying low this time and coming towards the young vampire from a wide angle.
Sookie dropped her fangs and hissed at the child vampire, showing her vampire side for the first time. She curled her fingers into claws as she threw herself forward and tackled him to the ground. Twelve years of training with Russell had shown her how to prepare for a low attack.
Alexander bit at and scratched at the taller vampire. He had over two hundred years on Sookie, but she had 3000-year-old blood in her system. The perpetual nine-year-old had no idea what he was encountering.
Gripping his face tight in her hands, Sookie let her light travel through her again; only this time she didn’t hold anything back. She laughed as she heard his screams fill the room, his flesh being burnt off, his bones charred.
“Do not only rely on that skill, Sookie,” Russell scolded, critiquing her fight.
Taking in Russell’s words, Sookie pulled back her light before lifting Alexander’s head and smashing into the floor. She could feel his blood seeping over her fingers and it only spurred her on more. Gripping his head again, Sookie wrenched it, breaking his neck before ripping it clean off. She threw the disintegrating head on the table as she stood up. “I got my dress dirty again.”
“We need to work on how to do a clean kill,” Russell said, but reassured her still. “We need to buy more clothes for this climate regardless.
“It’s going to be so messy,” Sookie said, as she moved to stand beside Russell again.
“Well, you’re already a mess. Show me how you can take out a vampire now, using only Vampire skills,” Russell said, gesturing towards the two other Chancellors who had been at the table. Russell wouldn’t let them both try to fight her at once, but one-on-one, he was confident of his progeny’s skills. He would keep an eye on whoever she did not choose to take on. Really, it was nothing for him to destroy the entire Authority if he chose. But if he selectively could show off his progeny, it would impress Roman enough to gain his assistance with the fairies if necessary.
Sookie flicked her eyes from Rosalyn to Kibwe, her mind running through all she knew about them. With her eyes focused on Rosalyn, Sookie launched herself at Kibwe, taking him by surprise. She pressed her thumbs into his eyes, blinding him. Russell grabbed at Rosalyn once Sookie struck out, preventing her from attacking while the almost twelve-year-old vampire took on one three hundred years her senior.
Kibwe roared, his arm lashing out and slamming into the side of her torso. Sookie grunted under the force of the blow before shaking it off; she had suffered worse when she was still alive. Pain was a constant for her with the Fae curse; she had been living in it for the last eight months, so a tap from the vampire barely fazed her. Sookie ducked as Kibwe swung at her again before bringing her own fist up and punching hard in the jaw, she smirked as she saw him stumble and pressed forward. Pulling back her fist, Sookie aimed it at his chest and drove it straight into his heart. She knew it would take more than that to kill him, but it would incapacitate him giving her the chance to finish him off.
Kibwe stumbled, growling. How was a baby vampire so strong? He wondered. He moved quickly, trying to get behind Sookie to remove her head.
Sookie anticipated the move and threw her head back, slamming into his face, breaking his nose. Spinning around, she grabbed his arm and pulled on it hard, dislocating his shoulder before driving him to the floor hard.
Kibwe cried out, grunting and flailing wildly from the floor. “Get off me! Guardian, you’ll let her do this?! Magister, she is taking your job! You’ll be next.” He was doing anything he could to get them to listen and tame this bestial girl.
“And she is doing a fine job of it,” Dieter remarked, as he watched Sookie rip Kibwe’s arm off and hit him with it.
“Was she always this entertaining?” Nora asked, directing her question to Eric.
“In a different way, but yes. It’s just –” Eric didn’t want to say it where Sookie and Russell could hear him. While the saucy and violent Fairy Sookie was out to play, and obviously had been for a while, there was something that he liked about sweet and innocent Sookie.
“I’m tired of playing,” Sookie said, as she grabbed a nearby chair and broke the leg off. Lifting up her makeshift stake, she slammed it into Kibwe’s chest and watched as he exploded. Rising to her feet, she grinned as she saw the frightened look on Rosalyn’s face. “Two down and one to go.” Sookie faltered as she took a step forward in her direction, she gasped as a wave of pain swept through her. “It hurts,” she cried out switching to Romani instinctively.
Eric didn’t know the local language they were speaking, but the expression on her face and the pain in her voice made him take a step towards her. It was only Nora’s hand that went to his arm to subtly restrain him that kept him from comforting her. Russell, however, didn’t hesitate to rip out Rosalyn’s spine, letting her drop uselessly to the ground, right before he held Sookie in his arms. He murmured in Romani, “I’d offer you my wrist right here, but the silver is still in me, and I don’t want to somehow hurt you on top of this,” he shushed her gently, holding her face gently against his chest.
Sookie nodded in understanding as she clung to him, her arms going around his waist. “I know,” she whispered.
Dieter and Roman exchanged looks as the watched Russell comfort his obviously hurting child. They weren’t sure what to make of it; they had never seen Russell show so much emotion before, not even with Talbot who had been his mate for seven hundred years.
“What’s going on?” Roman asked. He didn’t care who answered. Eric and Nora obviously knew more than they let on. The display Sookie was giving had been impressive. Now he wanted to know what the fuck was wrong with her.
“Guardian,” Nora said, as she flicked her eyes to Salome, who was still lying on the table injured. She would tell Roman anything he wanted to know, but she was hesitant to say anything in front of Salome, even if she was burnt to a crisp.
Roman nodded. He called out on the radio for a vampire guard to come escort Salome to her room. One of those who had been in Sookie’s cell entered and stood dumbfounded. A scorched Salome, vampire remains — Alexander, Kibwe, and Rosalyn — and the two escapees were standing in the room with the Guardian, remaining Chancellors, and Louisiana’s second.
“Guardian?” the guard questioned confused.
“Do as you’re told and take her to her fucking room already,” Roman said impatiently.
“Yes, Sir,” the guard said, as he hurried to the table and pulled the whimpering Salome off it. He practically dragged her out the room and back to her own.
“I think we should all sit for this,” Nora said, as she retook her seat.
Eric sat next to Nora while Roman sat at the head of the table with Dieter to his left. Russell sat a seat down from Dieter with Sookie on his lap.
Sookie rested her head on Russell’s shoulder as she watched the others in the room; the pain was beginning to lessen slightly. “Ask your silly little questions,” she said, as she felt Russell’s arms tighten around her.
“You need to explain what you know now, Nora,” said Roman, his voice full of business.
“She’s dying,” Nora said, seeing no point in sugarcoating it. “They suspect it is fairy magic.”
“Why would the Fae do this?” Dieter asked. “It is to my understanding Miss Stackhouse is, or rather was part fairy.”
“She is,” Russell said scornfully.
“Are you sure the Fae are responsible for this?” Dieter asked his tone firm. While he knew the Fae were ruthless, he could see no reason for them to do that. “What reason could they have for doing this?”
“Why don’t we invite them around for afternoon tea and ask them,” Sookie replied, her tone filled with malice. “They did this. We know they did.”
“We . . . spoke with the Fae in Ireland. They confirmed,” Russell said matter-of-factly. He stroked her back gently, still feeling the pain lingering in their bond.
No one missed Russell’s brief pause and everyone knew how said conversation went, “Is that why you have returned?” Dieter asked. “Do you think there is a cure for her here?”
“They said she needed blood from her Fae family. Niall has a portal in Louisiana, does he not?” Russell said, knowing he dropped a bomb on them. Russell truly didn’t care if Sookie ate the only remaining Prince of Fae, as long as his child was healed.
“You intend to let her drain the Prince of the Fae?” Dieter asked, not sure if he was hearing what he thought.
“It’s him or me; I choose me,” Sookie answered, as she lifted her head off of Russell’s shoulder. “They did this; they’ve gotta face the consequences.”
“You support this, wife?” Roman asked Nora, once he didn’t see any surprise in her face.
“I do,” Nora replied without hesitation. “The Fae used her disappearance to better themselves. They put a price of her life and now they are trying to take it away. Miss Stackhouse is right. They should be held responsible for their actions. After all, we are.”
“Vampires first,” Roman agreed with a nod.
“I contacted your relatives as soon as I woke. We — or you — would benefit more from being at your home, where I informed Niall you would be staying,” Eric said, choosing to direct his information directly to Sookie rather than around her.
Sookie nodded, but said nothing in reply. Any question she had, Eric couldn’t answer. He had no idea why she was targeted by the Fae or what poison they had used on her. Not even she and Russell were able to find the exact kind. All they learned was it was meant to kill her slowly and painfully. She was meant to suffer.
Roman looked to Russell. “You and your child just destroyed half of the Authority’s chancellors. Your television debut was only a decade ago. That is on the Internet and doesn’t go away. You owe me. And I want to know what you can offer.”
“You wanted us to destroy your Chancellors,” Sookie said, speaking up. “You wanted to know what I could do; if I could be of use to you.”
“And you could be, which is why your fate is not necessarily tied with your maker’s,” Roman said, harshly. He was the Guardian. And his word needed to be law in the Authority.
“You’re wrong,” Sookie told him softly. “It is. I’m loyal to Russell and I always will be. He’s more than just my maker, he’s my family.”
“He kidnapped you,” Dieter said, not understanding why she was so loyal to him.
“He tortured me too,” Sookie replied flippantly. “But he still has my loyalty.”
“And you are not whom I am questioning,” Roman interrupted them.
“What is it you want? I’m 3000 years old. Generally, I can do. . . whatever the fuck I want,” the ancient vampire responded.
No one could argue with that. Thirteen years ago he had proven that when he killed someone live on TV. They couldn’t control him then, and they doubted they could now, but things were different now. He was no longer mad with grief, a deal could be made.
“Don’t think I want you to do it all on your own. But the AVL has been overrun by fuckin’ Sanguinistas,” Roman gripped.
“You want us to kill Compton?” Sookie asked, her eyes lighting up at the prospect. She would gladly do that. She was planning to regardless of what they wanted anyway.
Roman stared at the young bloodthirsty vampire. “You may, Sookie,” he said. “And the rest of the Sangs in their program as well, Russell. But do not worry. I am not like Salome. I fully intend to help you. Once your child is healed, we will come back here and there will be…a restructuring.”
“Done,” Russell said, willing to do anything for Sookie’s health.
“One more thing,” Roman continued. “You will remain in the States. You and your child will work for the Authority. And you will help her learn how to kill without making such a mess. These carpets will have to be replaced now.”
“I know how to kill without a mess, we just chose not to,” Sookie giggled. Russell had taught her how to kill without even spilling a drop of blood, but sometimes you just had to get dirty.
“But your dress,” Eric teased her.
“It got all dirty, but Daddy will take care of it,” Sookie replied her tone light. “He always does.”
Eric’s eyes caught hers as he looked at her. He was glad that she seemed lucid and not in as much pain. He still examined her face, looking for the slight twinges that revealed her body and blood was betraying her.
Sookie relaxed into Russell’s arms as she stared back at Eric, her eyes assessing him. The thought of him had crossed her mind a few times over the past thirteen years, and she wasn’t sure what to make of him. Whatever relationship they had ended before she was even kidnapped. And things were very different now. He hated the person she loved the most. She wasn’t lying when she said her loyalty was to Russell.
Roman watched their interaction closely. “Russell,” he said, “Nora, Dieter, and I need to talk to you.” The Chancellors, Guardian, and ancient who would soon be the eldest member of the Authority needed to talk shop about taking out the AVL’s Sanguinista base.
Dieter watched as Russell tightened his grip on his child. It was obvious there was no trust among them, but if this was going to work they would have to start trying.
“I will be fine,” Sookie said switching to Romani, as she placed her hands over her makers. “They mean me no harm.”
Russell examined Sookie’s face for a moment while he also probed their bond, looking for any trace of pain or unease. While there was caution, and even slight nervousness, there wasn’t fear. That and her assurances were enough for him.
She smiled as she felt his acceptance, “And they know if they try anything you’ll rip them apart,” she added still speaking Romani. “No one hurts your Princess and lives.”
Russell laughed before patting her back gently to get her to stand up. “Where to Chancellors, Guardian?” he asked.
Sookie rose to her feet and let Russell get up; she smiled as she watched him play nice for her sake.
“This way,” Dieter said, leading him towards the only office he knew wasn’t bugged, his own. Molly made sure of that.