Master Of Puppets
Eric was shocked, but only showed a blink of his eyes. He looked to Nora for her reaction. Through the bond his surprise and a glimmer of hope were evident.
“Everyone out!” Nora ordered immediately, her voice rising above the crowd as she flicked her eyes to her brother. She knew what this meant to him, for him, and she wanted to hear what Bill had to say as soon as possible. Eric stood stoic, not letting any emotion cross his face.
The three of them stood in the room while Nora’s guards ushered everyone out. They could hear the complaints of the guests, but neither Eric nor Nora cared. This was much more important than some silly party. Bill frowned as he watched the Queen’s guards escort everyone out. He was hoping to sample some of the flavors on offer. Eric glared at anyone who hesitated. They needed to be out now. It was unacceptable that Bill knew more than him in the first place. He refused to wait any longer and was willing to bodily throw people from the room. But none of that was revealed. He leaned back on the couch where they sat and crossed his long arms across his body.
Sensing her brother’s frustration, Nora decided to speed things along. “Perhaps this would be better dealt with in my office. Eric?”
Eric nodded and extended his hand for Nora to lead the way…and effectively put his body between her ass and Bill’s eyes. Nora probably also has some clothing to wear, other than his jacket, in her office as well. When they reached the door Eric reached out before her opening the door letting it swing open.
Nora froze as the door swung open, her eyes widening in shock, “Eric,” she whispered, as she looked over her shoulder at her brother.
He looked at her as she called to him and quickly pushed his queen back as he saw who was in the office.
Russell Edgington held up a finger to have them wait. He smiled as much as he could, his teeth in the neck of a middle-aged man. The man — naked except for a mask — was struggling futilely. His flails were slowing with his heart, however, and he died at the mouth of the former King. “Sorry. You all were just taking so damn long. I was starting to think you’d never get around to visiting me. I certainly hope that you don’t mind me partaking in the local livestock.” He tossed the body, someone who had worked with the Shreveport mayor, across the room and into a corner next to the door.
The sound of Russell’s voice caused Bill to step forward; he pushed passed Eric and Nora and stepped into the room, an air of arrogance surrounding him. He puffed out his chest as he faced the ancient vampire. “Russell Edgington, you are wanted by both the AVL and the Authority for crimes against vampires and the mainstreaming movement. As a loyal follower and employee of the AVL, I hereby place you under arrest by order of the Authority.”
A mad tinkling laugh filled the room as Bill finished his big speech. “Oh, isn’t he funny. The only thing funnier is the little thing he carries between his legs.”
Eric’s eyes widened as he angled himself to confirm who said that. He almost fell to his knees as he beheld the flitting girl. Blonde hair was matted with bright red blood. Her dress was covered with blood and something that looked like intestines. In her hand was a human heart. He watched as Sookie put a valve to her mouth and sucked the blood from it like it was a vampire juice box. He was speechless.
“Sookie!” Bill cried, finally seeing what Eric was. Rushing forward, Bill reached out his hand, intending to grasp her by the arms when he felt a stinging blow on his cheek. The force of the blow caused his head to snap to the side and he dropped his fangs and growled. Shock spread through him when he realized Sookie had been the one to hit him.
“We must not touch what we do not own,” Sookie told him as she danced towards Russell. “Mmm, I got my dress all dirty.”
Russell’s hand slipped up and caressed her cheek. “It’s okay Precious. We’ll clean it; if we can’t, we’ll buy you a new one.” His hand slid off her cheek, down her arm, and grabbed her hand. He sat down behind the desk in Nora’s chair and leaned back. His lap was open, giving his Princess the option of sitting there or remaining standing. “I am actually here to see you, Northman. You see,” he continued “my Sookie would like her home back.”
Eric had been standing here, defensive and just watching, staring dumbstruck. “What–” he wanted to continue, but didn’t know where to begin. What happened? What are you doing here? What’s happened to her? What the fuck happened to his night? What is she doing here? What can he do for her?
Sookie cocked her head to the side as she regarded Eric, a small smile curled her lips as she stood beside Russell’s chair, her arm lying over the back of it. “You look surprised to see me Eric,” she said, a hint of mischief in her tone. “Didn’t Pam tell you I was back? I spoke to her just this evening.”
He couldn’t help it — surprise showed on his face. He sent a sharp call to his child through the bond, demanding her presence immediately. “Sookie,” he hadn’t said her name in years, but it spilled off his lips like he had been whispering it every night. “How are you here? I looked . . . The bond . . .”
“Oh, Angel it looks like you shocked him,” Russell said, glee coloring his voice. “You see, Northman, it’s really none of your fucking business why we’re back. My Sookie wants her home back and only you can provide.”
“It is the business of the AVL,” Bill interrupted foolishly.
“Do you think if you talk loud enough we will start listening to you?” Sookie asked, as she took a step forward and perched herself on the edge of the desk.
“Sookie!” Bill said, not quite believing she was talking to him in such a way.
“Daddy, make him be quiet, he’s hurting my head,” Sookie pouted.
Russell grabbed the closest item — a stapler — and threw it hard at Bill’s head, enough to shatter his skull. “I don’t recall addressing you, you fucking worm,” Russell said. He had glanced to aim, but didn’t even look at Bill to see if it hit him. “Since Northman’s mute and we need to check in anyways, maybe the Queen can answer for him! Queen Nora, my child and I will be living in Bon Temps for a while. While I can’t guarantee his long-term safety, I can say I don’t plan on killing off your brother yet. All I require is my child’s former home. Since it’s currently a possession of your second, you can order he give it to us. If you don’t . . .” He fingered the computer mouse, his next projectile.
Bill whimpered on the floor, his head pounding in pain from where Russell had hit him with the stapler. He swore as soon as he got up, he would arrest both Russell and Sookie. Before Nora had a chance to reply, Pam came speeding into the office. The power of Eric’s call causing her actual pain. “What the fuck?” she spat as she stopped beside him, not paying attention to anyone else in the room.
“Oh look, everyone is here now,” Sookie said, her tone taking on a singsong quality as she waved at Pam.
“You knew?” Eric said harshly to Pam, his eyes full of rage. It was all he could do. His head was spinning in so many directions that he felt out of sorts. One thing at a time. Pam was first.
Pam’s eyes widened as she saw Sookie perched on the edge of the desk. “It’s not… She’s not…” she trailed off as she once again launched herself at the believed ghost. She would show them that Sookie wasn’t real. So lost in her hatred of Sookie and the need to prove she wasn’t there, she never noticed Russell sitting behind the desk.
Eric reacted quickly, before Pam could do anything so stupid as to try to attack Sookie who was obviously Russell’s child and… Sookie. He grabbed the collar of her shirt, stopping her mid leap. “Pamela,” he said, delivering a sharp command to her. Even with her punishment and his lack of trust, he did not use commands to control her like this. But more than not wanting to do that, he did not want to lose his child for her continued foolishness.
They were in the room now, close to Bill, but a foot in front of him as tried to pull himself back up to standing with blood running down his head from where the stapler impacted it.
“She’s not real,” Pam said, trying in vain to fight against her maker’s command.
“I would say she is very real,” Nora cut in, flicking her finger in the direction of the girl Sookie had used as a juice box.
“Clara!” Pam cried, finally seeing her dead pet. “You fucking bitch,” she snarled. “I’ll kill you. You killed my pet…”
“Was she yours?” Sookie questioned, as she climbed off the desk and walked around it. She swayed side to side as she ran her eyes over the dead girl. “Her head was filled with all kinds of nasty things… and not the nasty we like. Daddy, she was naughty.”
“Oh Princess,” Russell said, leaning forward to grab Sookie and lift her up. He sat her down on his lap and gently stroked her hair. “Tell me what she thought,” he said gently. “What was in her mind?” The words came out like a habit, as if he had said them many times with her perched on his lap, resting her head on his shoulder as she leaned into his chest.
“She thought Salome was better at eating pussy than Pam,” Sookie said with a giggle. “Who’s Salome?” She shook that thought off as she ignored Pam’s cry of outrage and continued. “She was not happy she wasn’t allowed to join the party tonight. How was she supposed to report what was going on if she was locked in the room?”
“Oh dear, that does sound naughty Sunshine. Salome is someone in the Authority — I told you about them. She’s the same bitch from that Christian Bible you used to study. Did you hear who Clara was reporting to?” He asked, his hand trailing up to gently rub the back of her neck. Eric was listening raptly; Pam, of course, had brought in a spy.
Sookie nodded a knowing gleam entering her eyes as she cast them around the room. “You is a bad doggie,” she chided, as they fell on Bill. “She’s been reporting to him. She works for him, has done so for years. He liked having her suck his dick while calling him your majesty, but you’re not King, William.”
Eric turned slightly, able to keep Bill and Russell (and thus Sookie) in his view. It wasn’t really a surprise that Bill had a spy but that Pam fell for it was. He growled at the younger vampire.
Russell pressed his lips gently to Sookie’s temple. “That was wonderful Princess,” he told her. “Now . . . Nora, not only have I volunteered to wait to kill your second, the man who killed my mate, but I also outed and killed a spy with information on your Queendom. I’m waiting for your answer.”
“She wasn’t a spy,” Pam denied. “You think I didn’t glamour her into telling me everything before I took her on as a pet.”
“She was also a witch,” Sookie supplied helpfully, as she snuggled into Russell’s arms. “He had her do all kinds of terrible things.” Looking up, she met Nora’s gaze “like bewitch blood meant for a Queen.”
Nora growled as she heard Sookie’s words; she didn’t know the girl, but she found she believed her. There was no way she could have known what Bill almost did to her if she hadn’t read it straight from the girl’s mind.
“This is ridiculous,” Bill said, as he finally managed to climb to his feet. “You are not actually believing them, are you? He’s a known criminal and she’s…well, she’s obviously mentally deficient…”
He was cut off when he felt Nora’s hand wrap around his throat. Lifting him in the air, she threw him across the room, a snarl escaping from her lips. “And you’re a rapist and coward. You forget, Bill we already know you spiked the blood.”
“Do it again. Do it again,” Sookie cheered, as she clapped her hands in excitement. Russell chuckled softly at his child and gently petted her hair. He enjoyed shows like this. They were like puppets he controlled, all but his precious.
Eric growled, but held his ground, watching his Queen establish her place. He hated being reminded once again of that night when Bill ‘Fuckstain’ Compton tried to rape his sister.
Stalking towards Bill, Nora dropped her fangs as she reached down and yanked him up. She no longer cared about her almost naked state. “I want you out of my state,” she growled.
“You can’t order me out,” Bill wheezed, struggling ineffectively against her hold. “I work for the AVL…”
“And I don’t give a fuck,” Nora snarled. “If you’re not out of my state within the hour I will personally remove your head from your shoulders.”
Eric sighed audibly as Bill was thrown from the room and he turned back to Edgington. “I need to know . . . what’s wrong with Sookie?”
Russell frowned. “Oh, what do you mean, Eric? There’s nothing wrong with my child. She is the best fighter I have trained. She has more skill than I did at a millennium in other areas. She can fuck with your head easily — just ask your Pamela. She is perfect. She was perfect!” His voice was escalating throughout the tirade, finally yelling the last sentence in frustration.
“I’m his perfect princess,” Sookie cooed. “Stronger than all the others. I survived, they didn’t…” she trailed off as a grimace spread over her face. “Daddy!” she cried, almost doubling over. “It hurts.”
His arms wrapped around her and Russell opened their bond, keeping the madness out of him while taking away some of her pain. “I know Princess,” he said. “Let me have it.”
“You can have the house,” Eric said, watching their interaction closely. “I just want the details about what’s causing her the pain and what’s making her mad.” He looked to Pam “Get the paperwork from Fangtasia at first dark tomorrow.” He looked back to Edgington. “I’ll sign it over tomorrow if you just tell me what’s going on. I — I want to help.” He hated bargaining, giving allowances. He hadn’t had to do so in years. But for her he would.
Pam scowled, but said nothing. The cunt had killed her pet and was being rewarded for it.
Sookie whimpered pitifully as she burrowed into Russell’s embrace. Her body was racked with pain and she did as her maker asked and let him have some of it. “I wanna go home,” she cried.
“Shhh–” he soothed his child. “We’ll stay there today, and it will be signed over tomorrow,” he said. With Eric’s nod, Russell continued. “Magic, more powerful than that of the Romani. She has bouts of pain that wrack her body.” He stroked her hair and siphoned her pain through the bond and into himself. “So strong,” he whispered. “Her lucidity and… cognition comes and goes,” he continued. His fingers wound through her hair as he gently stroked it, a father taking care of his sick daughter.
Lifting her head, Sookie blinked back tears as she looked from Russell to Eric. “I can go home?” she asked, her tone childlike.
“Yes, Princess, soon,” Eric said softly. He wondered if it was coincidental — Princess.
“Why did you come back?” Nora asked softly, as she wrapped Eric’s jacket around her. “You were free. Nobody had a clue where you were.”
Russell scoffed; he had not agreed to answer her questions. But, for the moment, she was his Queen, even if he was still sitting in her chair. “She’s dying. She can only take in so much blood. The pain — it’s ripping her apart. I give her my blood. But…it doesn’t heal her. I would drain her and change her again, but I worry that that would only make her body weaker to fight off the magic.”
“I want to die at home,” Sookie said weakly, resting her head against Russell’s shoulder.
“Shhh-” Russell cooed to his child. He had already told her not to talk about such things — not that he could blame her since Nora brought it up.
Eric was once more unsure of what to say. He reached into his pants pocket, and pulled the key to Sookie’s house off his key ring. He placed it on Nora’s desk and sat down in a chair before it.
Sookie snatched up the key like she was afraid it would disappear. She clutched tightly in her hand as she smiled.
“No vampires live in Bon Temps anymore, so you shouldn’t be disturbed,” Nora said, as she eyed Sookie. All she knew about her was what her brother told her, but even she knew this wasn’t right. The girl was obviously suffering. “Try not to eat the locals.”
Russell nodded to Sookie, listening to, but generally ignoring Nora. “All I can think of for the cause are the Fae,” He said. He looked at Nora, Pam, and Eric, trying to judge their reactions. “Know of any portals?”
“Portals?” Pam scoffed, interjecting herself into the conversation. She hated being ignored; they all spoke like she wasn’t there unless it was to bark orders at her. “Why would they do this to her?”
Raising her head Sookie eyed Pam; disgust clear on her face. “If she opens her mouth again, can I kill her?” she asked.
“I’d like to see you try,” Pam sneered foolishly, her hatred once again overtaking her. “I’m older and more powerful than you.”
A dangerous glint entered Sookie’s eyes as she curled her lips into a smirk. Lifting her hand, she pointed it at the hate filled vampire and let her instincts take over. A flash of white enveloped the room as Pam went flying backwards and crashed into the wall. A scream was wrenched from Pam’s mouth as she felt intense pain; it felt like her face was on fire.
“Older, not more powerful,” Sookie informed her, seemingly lucid. “You forget, Pamela. I was never just human to begin with.”
“Pam!” Eric yelled, feeling the pain in his own face as well, once again the result of his child’s foolishness. She was liable to get them both killed if she continued. “You will go wait by my car!” he snarled.
Russell laughed as the puppets danced. Displays like this were why he lived. “Scoot along now,” he taunted. “If he needs anything I’m sure he’ll call you so you can fetch.”
Pam glared at the vampires in the room, but said nothing as she stormed out. How dare Eric dismiss her like that? That bitch had killed her pet, attacked her, and her maker was taking her side. He should have demanded the cunt be punished for attacking her. She should have killed the whore when she had the chance.
“I don’t know of any portals, but it would make sense if there was one there. So many supernatural’s seem to be attracted to that area,” Eric noted, once Pam had stomped out.
“We have had no dealings with the Fae since…” Nora trailed off, as she flicked her eyes from Russell to Sookie, her meaning clear. They hadn’t had any dealings with the Fae since Russell kidnapped Sookie. “They threatened us with war due to Pam’s actions, but obviously that was averted.”
“Why, pray tell, did you even have contact with the Fae in the first place?” Russell asked. He had known about a lot of Louisiana and Mississippi’s business through informants while he had been with his child. However the connection with the Fae wasn’t something he had found.
Nora flicked her eyes to her brother; the original contact came through him. She had met a few fairies in the first few years after Sookie was kidnapped, but she couldn’t say she was impressed. Sure she would have loved to rip their throats out and fuck in their blood, but she wouldn’t invite them to one of her parties.
“I’m sure you know they’re her relatives,” Eric said. He didn’t want to go into his plan to save her from exactly what had happened. It didn’t make sense to reopen wounds right now.
“I don’t like them,” Sookie whined.
Russell looked to Sookie and nodded. “I know, dear; they made you sick,” he stroked her back some more and examined Eric and Nora, wondering how much to share. “Hopefully once we find the right kind for you to eat you’ll be all set.”
Eric and Nora exchanged a look as they watched Russell care for Sookie. Neither of them knew what to make of it. Sookie seemed to be at ease with him, seeking his protection and comfort.
“There’s a cure for her sickness?” Nora asked.
“That’s what the Irish fairies said between screams,” Russell said a growl in his throat. “They didn’t hold up nearly as well as my strong girl here.” He praised Sookie often now, after their less than ideal beginning. “They told us whatever we wanted to know. Their blood and mine helped Princess here, but the blood of a fairy from her family would truly rid her of the curse.”
“They only lasted four days,” Sookie added with a giggle, memories of ripping into their flesh making her giddy.
“And you did so well, Sunshine,” Russell praised. Really, her skill with the iron tools had been excellent. She put her cooking knowledge to great use when handling the knives he had permitted her to use.
“It hurt less for a while afterwards,” Sookie said.
“She drank their blood, with some of mine mixed in for good measure. But the pain and other symptoms returned,” Russell told them.
“I can contact them — her family,” Eric said, surprising himself. But Sookie was more important to him than any connection with the Fae had ever been. And it seemed, from what they were saying that this was somehow resulting from her family.
Nora nodded her head in agreement. She already hated the Fae, they had used Sookie’s kidnapping to assert power and bargain for riches. She had no place for someone who would betray family to improve their own standing. Not to mention what they had done to Eric.
“Are you willing to work with us?” Russell asked. He was a smart strategist. He could imagine the Northman killing him if he could, not that Russell would ever offer him the opportunity. But Northman was one of the few vampires around over 1000 years old. Godric, who was notable in his prowess, trained him and his sister. He would be a fool not to utilize his skills given the opportunity like this. Once they cured his Princess, then he could end the Viking.
Although she was Queen, Nora looked to Eric, knowing the history between her brother and Russell, she wouldn’t agree to anything without his okay.
Eric nodded his head, to reassure both Nora and Russell. His guard would be up constantly. Sadly, it seemed he’d have to keep it up even around Sookie. Who knew what she thought of him now, but he would help her.
“We will work with you,” Nora said, voicing it. “Eric will contact her family and I will forget to inform the Authority of your return… for a few nights at least, anything else and they will know I intentionally concealed it from them.”
“What will your Authority do once they do find out?” Russell asked. He was confident he could destroy each one of them if necessary. The oldest was Salome, and she was a thousand years younger than him.
“It is not the Authority I’m concerned about, but the AVL,” Nora answered as she tried to explain. “Things have changed in the last thirteen years. The AVL broke away from the Authority around ten years ago and while the Authority are still the ruling body; the AVL has gained a lot of power. They are the ones that could make things very difficult.”
“Is Flannigan still running that mockery?” Russell asked. She wouldn’t be an issue. Truly, he was more than likely, the oldest and strongest being in the States at the moment.
“Along with Salome, she was not happy her position was… downgraded,” Nora replied, being somewhat diplomatic. Truth was Salome hadn’t been happy when she had been overlooked as Queen for both Louisiana and Mississippi. She was even less happy when Roman had kicked her out of their bed and taken Nora to it instead.
“No longer attached to Roman at the dick?” Russell asked, not mincing words.
Nora couldn’t hold back a laugh at his words. “No, the Guardian got tired of her trying to rule the Authority. He decided she was no longer desired to warm his bed.”
“I’m not worried about the AVL. Sookie and I could handle them,” he pet her head approvingly.
“I’ll contact Niall. I’m sure he’ll have something to say about her being here.”
Russell looked up with a start “Niall is her family?” Eric nodded his confirmation.
“You know of the Prince?” Nora asked, distaste clear in her voice at his mention.
“At my age, I know or know of most of the older Supes,” Russell said with a nod.
“If he agrees to help he’ll probably want something in return,” Nora warned. “He put a price on her disappearance.”
“Then don’t ask him for help,” Russell said plainly.
Eric nodded, having thought the same thing. He had known about the price. “I can tell him she’s back here,” he suggested. “I’m sure he would send someone . . . no matter what his intentions are.”
“I want to go home,” Sookie said suddenly, interrupting all their talk. She felt tired and wanted to rest in her own home for the first time in thirteen years.
“All right, Dear,” Russell said, holding her back to help Sookie stand up before he stood up from Nora’s chair. He led Sookie to the door, but looked back. “Either her family will help us willingly or not, or we are here until Sookie’s body cannot hold out anymore,” he addressed Nora, making her fully aware someone would die as a result of their being there. The only question was whether it would be Sookie or some of her family.
Once she was sure they were gone, Nora turned to face her brother, concern clear on her face. “Are you okay?” she asked, but the question sounded stupid even to her own ears. Of course he wasn’t okay, he had just come face to face with the man who had killed his human family and kidnapped the woman he loved. And found out said woman was now Russell’s child.
Eric had sunk down into the chair where she had sat when she asked, looking where she had been led out and still clutching the key he had given her. It was surreal and amazing. Was it a second chance or just an opportunity for Russell to fuck with him more? He had always known that it would be coming. There was no denying that Russell would seek him out and kill him eventually. But what did that mean for him now that Sookie was thrown into the mix. He wasn’t sure. Eric looked at Nora; almost like he was surprised she was still there.
“Brother,” Nora said softly, as she took a step towards him.
“She’s alive. And with him –” Eric started. But she seemed to care for him, as he did her. This was just craziness.
“He seems to care for her,” Nora said, voicing his thought as she kneeled before him. “Do you think he is telling the truth? About her illness?”
“It seemed. But we can’t trust him either way, really,” Eric said. He sighed. His life just got so much more complicated.
Nora rubbed her hands over Eric’s legs in an attempt to comfort him. “At least she is still alive.”
Eric nodded. “I should get to dealing with Pam,” he said, standing up. “I’ll call Niall as soon as I wake tomorrow.”
“You’re more than welcome to rest here tonight. You and Pam,” Nora offered, as she rose to her feet.
“Thank you, but I should probably go home,” he nodded to her respectfully.
“It was an enjoyable night despite how it ended,” Nora said with a smile. “Thank you for my party, Brother.”
“You’re welcome, dear Sister.”