Sookie hurried through her shower and quickly got dressed pulling on a pair of jeans and black vest. She chuckled when she realized she was dressing like Eric, and couldn’t stop herself from pulling on a pair of black boots and grabbing a leather jacket. She sent a silent thank you to Roman for having clothes ready for her at The Authority headquarters. Although, if she knew her child like she thought she did, she doubted he had been the one to buy them. No, he would have had one of the ladies buy them, probably Nora.
Sookie felt a pang in her chest as she thought about the brown haired vampire. She hadn’t seen the young, to her at least, vampire in almost thirty years, and found she missed her. But at the same time, Sookie was jealous. She knew now that it was Nora’s scent she had smelled on Eric, her scent as well as that of sex. Sookie knew she had no right to be jealous. She had rejected Eric, and he had been free to do as he pleased, but that still didn’t mean she wasn’t jealous. She couldn’t control the feeling any more than she could tell her heart to stop loving him. Love wasn’t logical, it wasn’t about the brain. It was the blood. It came from the soul. She knew she would need to deal with it. Whether she and Eric would ever be together again remained to be seen, but it couldn’t be left to hang over their heads like it was. They had too much riding on them to get distracted by it now.
It’s not as if I wouldn’t have been enjoying some of my own reunions if Eric hadn’t been here when I returned, Sookie chided herself. She couldn’t hold something against him that she herself could have been guilty of. Over the years, Sookie had enjoyed a sexual relationship with most of the vampires of her line. She knew what it meant. Their bonds ran deeper, yet at the same time their sexual proclivities were less important. They always held meaning, but it was more like comfort than any wild passion. Sex with a Maker or vampire sibling was the equivalent of the human practice of fuck buddies. The affection and trust were there, but it wasn’t all consuming. There weren’t many with whom Sookie hadn’t been intimate. Human Sookie would have been scandalized by some of the things she had done. Multiple partners were the norm for her before she had done the ritual that made her mortal. She had thought nothing of it. Sex wasn’t a taboo subject. She spoke of it; she did it, and was never ashamed. In the grand scheme of things, what did it matter if she fucked one, ten, or a thousand different men and women? She was so ancient she had forgotten her actual age, so human beliefs were ridiculous to her.
As she laced up her boots, Sookie’s mind started wondering about some of the different vampires in her line she had met. She had met the majority of them. As the head of the line, she was aware of them all and, at times, could feel them in her blood. She may not have been the Maker of all of them, but the magic that animated her and ran through her veins made her aware of them. She knew of both Roman and Dieter’s children. She was aware of Godric’s children as well of the children of his children. Sookie frowned when a thought popped into her head. Why was it in a thousand years I never met Eric? I met Nora twenty years after she was turned, so why did I never meet Eric until after I had fallen and become mortal? Godric spoke of him often as did Nora. I was always intrigued by him. I could feel him in our line, in my blood, but I never once sought him out or asked Godric to bring him to me. Why? Was I not supposed to meet him until I was mortal? Was I supposed to fall in love with him as Sookie Stackhouse and not as the child of Lillith? Oh, Mother, I wish you were here now. I could do with your wise council.
Sookie let out a sigh as she thought of her true Mother, the woman she held above all others. Even though she had been gone for over five thousand years, Sookie still missed her profoundly. Something had always felt wrong about her human mother, Michelle Stackhouse, and Sookie finally realized what it was. Although her memories might have been suppressed, her heart had still yearned for her real Mother. She had yearned for Lillith. Sookie never had a problem accepting Corbett as her father. He had been a true father to her. He had loved her and treated her well. He was the father she never had; a father who had never betrayed her mother. Michelle was different though. The woman had loved Sookie, of that she had no doubt, but she had been standoffish and scared about Sookie’s ability. Part of Sookie wondered if that wasn’t down to her own behavior. Had she unintentionally pushed Michelle away in her need for Lillith? Sookie doubted she would ever really know now.
Letting out an unneeded sigh, Sookie rose to her feet and slipped on the leather jacket she had grabbed. She had too much to do to worry about what ifs. Slipping out of her quarters, Sookie arched a brow when she noticed an armed guard waiting in the hallway. “If you really think you can stop me, you’re more stupid than you look,” she said, giving him a quick once over before moving down the hallway.
“I have been assigned to escort you while you’re in the headquarters,” he replied stiffly, wondering how he had ended up with such a task. By now word had spread through the vampire guards of just who Sookie was and of what she was capable. In his opinion, only a fool would get her in her way or try and force an escort on her. He might not have been as well informed as some of the other guards, but even he had heard of Sookie. His Maker had been a firm believer in the story of Eve, and he had told his child about it. He had heard the tale of how Eve (Sookie) and her vampire brother had wiped out an entire civilization. He wasn’t sure if it was true or even if he believed it, but his Maker did. Regardless of whether or not the story was true, he believed she had the power to do so. So the last thing he wanted to do was piss her off.
“Assigned by whom and for what purpose?” Sookie asked, pausing midstep and turning to face the young vampire.
“Chancellor Harris,” he answered truthfully. There was no way he was going to lie to her. “The Chancellor informed us that non-Authority personnel must be escorted for their own safety.”
“Ain’t my safety she’s gotta be worried about,” Sookie snorted, combing a hand through her hair. Fucking Rosalyn, I really ain’t got time for these games. Flicking her eyes over her escort, Sookie smirked devilishly as she took in his stance. She could tell he was scared shitless, but he was following orders and doing his job. She could respect that. “What’s your name, vampire?”
“Jacobi, ma’am,” he replied, trying not to wilt under her stare. “Jacobi Cruz.”
“Don’t call me ma’am,” Sookie said, shuddering at the title. “You may call me My Lady or Our Lady.” Few people were permitted to call her Sookie, or at least they used to be. It seemed everyone called her that now. Nevertheless, she couldn’t permit a vampire she had just met to address her so informally. It simply wasn’t done. She may have hated the hierarchy, but she was a part of it, in fact, she was at the very top. “You’re a young vampire, right, Jacobi? Around what? A hundred and seventy-five to two hundred?”
“Yes, My Lady. I’m a hundred and eight-seven,” Jacobi nodded, amazed that she knew.
“Okay, so I won’t hold it against you this time,” Sookie said, grinning slightly. She always loved guessing vampires ages. She was quite good at it. She could usually guess them to a fifty year gap. “Okay, so here’s the thing. I can go where I like, when I like, with whoever the fuck I like. And I can do so without an escort. I know what Rosalyn told you, but when it comes down to it, she might be Authority, but I am the fucking Gospel. I outrank her in every way possible. Now, I want you to go and tell the rest of the guards what I said. Do you understand me?”
“But, My Lady,” Jacobi replied, remaining respectful while still trying to do as ordered. “Chancellor Harris was most adamant. She will not be pleased and could order punishment…”
“Okay, ask yourself this,” Sookie said, holding up a hand as she cut him off. “Who are you more afraid of? Chancellor Harris or me?”
Jacobi didn’t even have to think about it twice. An angry Chancellor Harris was nothing compared to an angry Child of Lillith, and given the fact that she was The Guardian’s Maker, Jacobi knew when he was in a no win situation. “I will alert the others guards right away, My Lady.”
“Thank you,” Sookie replied. “Oh, and, Jacobi,” she called out, stopping him in his tracks. “Don’t worry about fear of reprisals from Chancellor Harris. There will be none. This I promise you.”
I’m really too old to be playing these childish games, Sookie grumbled, continuing down the hallway. What the hell Rosalyn was trying to prove, Sookie didn’t know, but she didn’t like it. She refused to be escorted around the compound she had given to Roman thirty years prior as if she couldn’t be trusted. Like any guard could stop me anyway, Sookie snorted. I may have been gone a while, but I still know how to fight.
“Just imagine it’s a training bra…”
“Would that be my training bra or Rosalyn’s? It’s been a long time since I’ve worn one…”
Sookie grinned at the exchange and she headed toward the room from where the voices were coming. A soft laugh escaped her lips when she saw Eric and Bill standing topless in the middle of the room wearing some funny looking devices.
“Sookeh!” Bill cried when he laid eyes on her. “You shouldn’t be here.” He still refused to believe her story from the night before. As far as he was concerned she must have been brainwashed. There was no way she was the Child of Lillith. She just wasn’t special enough. Sure her blood was delicious, and she had a modicum of talent when it came to sex, but if she really was Eve she would have been a helluva lot better. Eve was said to be thousands upon thousands of years old. Even if she didn’t remember, she still should have been able to please her partner much better than Sookie! Bill might not have been a full believer of The Story of Eve, but even if a tiny bit of it was true; well, then Eve would have been cultured, dignified, a true lady. She would have never sullied herself serving drinks in a bar for minimum wage. She was practically a Goddess, not a backwater waitress without any education or class! Hence she couldn’t have been Eve, Bill decided.
“Yeah, not doing that whole song and dance with you again, Bill,” Sookie replied as she stepped into the room. “It was tediously mind-numbing the first time.”
Bill was just about to reply when Molly raced forward and dropped to her knees in front of Sookie. “My Lady,” she whispered in amazement, gazing up at Sookie in wonder.
“You don’t have to kneel. This is your office after all,” Sookie replied kindly while she gazed at the young vampire tech. “Besides, there’s only one reason I like someone on their knees before me,” Sookie added, flashing Eric a smile and making him chuckle.
“Sookie!” Bill chided, aghast to hear her speaking in such a crude manner. “That’s not very ladylike. What would your Grandmother think?”
“Well, considering the fact that she had an affair and cheated on her husband, I don’t think she’d really have much room to say anything,” Sookie replied with a shrug. Seeing Bill’s shocked look, Sookie laughed and added, “What? Did your little rummage around in the Stackhouse family history not dig up that little gem? Shame on you, Bill, you weren’t that thorough after all. Also, she wasn’t really my Grandmother so I don’t really care what she would think; and, as for me not being very ladylike… By whose definition?”
Opening and closing his mouth, Bill floundered under her gaze and forthright attitude. He wasn’t used to her being so assertive and he didn’t like it. “How… What…” He fumbled.
“By whose definition ain’t I being very ladylike?” Sookie asked, rearranging the words to make it clear for him. “By modern societies? The Romans, Saxons, the Persian Empire, or Babylonia Empire? Or, how about the Vikings?” Sookie added, nodding toward Eric as she walked around Molly’s office. “Do you think they would have considered me unladylike?”
“You would have been considered a lady of high class in my time,” Eric answered, seeing that Bill was still floundering. He grinned at the constipated look on Bill’s face. It was obvious the obtuse Southern vampire had no idea how to deal with the new-old Sookie.
“That’s because the Vikings knew that it wasn’t the way a lady talked or dressed that proved her worth, but the strength she possessed,” Sookie replied, flashing Eric a smile. “They loved that their women were strong. The women in that time ran the houses, looked after the children, were in charge of the slaves, and defended the land while the men were out a-Viking.”
“In my time, a lady was…” Bill began, finally finding his voice. He refused to let Sookie challenge him in such a way. He was the man. He was in charge.
“Meant to look pretty, stay silent, and do everything a man said,” Sookie said, cutting him off and finishing for him. “But you see, Bill. This ain’t your time!” Stepping around Molly’s desk, Sookie moved toward Bill and stood in front of him. “The Civil War is over, the South lost, and change did come to the Southern States.” Looking up at Bill, Sookie stared at him unflinchingly, allowing him to see just a small dose of the strength she possessed. She knew it wouldn’t deter Bill for long. He was, if nothing else, annoyingly persistent. “I might be considered unladylike by your narrow-minded ideals and beliefs, but the world is bigger than you… This room is bigger than you. In some cultures, I was considered a goddess. Now, the next time you open your mouth to try and shame me because of your own outdated views, stop and think…”
Taking a step back, Sookie gave Bill a minute for her words to sink in. She doubted they would do any good. Bill refused to move with the times. It was remarkable that he hadn’t been staked years ago. Sookie suspected that had something to do first with Lorena, and then Nan. For all their problems, the two of them had been skilled at staying alive… At least they were until they met her. After that, they signed their own death warrants. “Right, now that’s done with… What are they?” Sookie asked, directing the question to Molly as she pointed to the devices strapped to Eric and Bill’s chest.
“They’re iStakes,” Molly replied, stepping forward and offering Sookie an explanation.
Bill silently fumed while Molly explained the devices to Sookie. Who the hell did Sookie think she was to talk to him like that? He was a King… Her King. He deserved respect. His beliefs were right. Women should act more demurely and subserviently to a man. Men were the breadwinners, the protectors. They were the ones who held all the power. He refused to let any slip of a girl tell him differently, regardless of who she believed she was.
“Amazing!” Sookie exclaimed as she eyed the device on Bill’s chest. “The uses of modern technology never cease to amaze me.” Stepping closer to Bill, Sookie lifted her hand and tapped a nail to the circular devices. “What sets them off?” She asked, smiling devilishly at the look of horror on Bill’s face when she tapped the device again. “Can they be set off accidentally?”
“No, they’re safe from accidents. They are activated by a remote,” Molly replied, holding up one of the tiny devices. “I can arm them from anywhere.”
Sookie nodded as she slid across to Eric. She ran her eyes over the device strapped to his chest, looking at the black straps that held it secure. “What’s to stop them from taking them off?” She asked, tracing the straps with a finger.
“They are tamper-proof,” Molly answered as she leaned back against her desk. “If they try to remove them, they will activate and stake them.”
“Amazing. The iStake as well,” Sookie said as she looked up at Eric and smiled.
“I have showed you mine,” Eric replied flirtatiously, flashing a lustful smile. He wasn’t sure what was going on between them, but he couldn’t help but flirt with her. It came easily to him; it always had when it came to her.
“Maybe later if you’re a good boy,” Sookie said with a wink, making Eric laugh. Seeing the guards standing by the doorway, Sookie let out a sigh and added, “Considering I pretty much threatened the guard who was escorting me, I’m guessing they’re here for you. Taking a step back, she watched as Eric slipped his tracksuit top on. “I will see you later,” she whispered in Old Norse, her tone as low as possible.
Sookie busied herself looking around Molly’s office as the guards escorted Eric and Bill out. She saw Eric incline his head slightly and she took that to mean he has heard her. “What does all this stuff do then?” She asked, picking up random items and showing them to Molly. Once she was satisfied the guards were gone and they were alone, Sookie crossed to the door and closed it. “Am I right in assuming your office is the only one free of surveillance?” Given the amount of tech gear there, Sookie doubted anyone would be able to hear anything even if they did manage to get one by the gadget girl.
“You are,” Molly replied.
“Good, that means we can talk freely,” Sookie said. Moving to the center of the room, Sookie opened her arms and smiled at the young vampire. “I have missed you, my child.”
“Mistress,” Molly cried, overcome with joy as she threw herself into Sookie’s arms. “I didn’t know until earlier that you were back. I would have come to you before if I had.”
“We’ll have time to catch up later,” Sookie replied. Cupping Molly’s face in her hands, Sookie brushed a chaste kiss over her lips. “Right now, I don’t have much time. I need your help, child.”
“Anything,” Molly said without thought. She would do anything for her Maker. There was nothing she could ask for that would be too much.
“Our line is in danger and I need to protect our own,” Sookie replied, her tone deadly serious. “Eric is one of ours…”
“What do you need me to do?” Molly asked.
Sookie beamed with pride as she stared at her child. She really had picked the best. “I need you to…”