“I feel like staking you so fucking much right now,” Roman growled as he pressed a stake to Bill’s chest.
“Guardian,” Eric said, “I was the one that did it.”
“You’re a King and you allowed him. Lilith help me I am going to stake you. Unfortunately, unlike the two of you, there are a great many things more important than my personal desires.”
Retracting his fangs, Roman walked around them and placed the stake on the table. “Even if those desires are to see you splattered on the floor. Instead, I have to…” he trailed off a shiver went through him as his eyes were drawn to the two large door at the front of the room. He watched as half a dozen Authority guards entered the room flanking a small figure. A smile spread across his face as he got his first look at her. It took all he had to stop himself from racing towards her. It had been far too long since he last set his eyes on her in the flesh and he found she was even more beautiful than he remembered.
Seeing the looks of disbelief and wonder on the faces of The Authority members, Eric and Bill craned their heads trying to get a look at the mystery person. Their eyes widened in alarm as they settled on a familiar looking blonde.
“Sookie!” Bill exclaimed, unable to hide his shock, his head snapping back and forth between Roman and Sookie.
“Hello, Bill,” Sookie greeted pleasantly like she didn’t have a care in the world.
“Let her go; she has nothing to do with this,” Bill pleaded fear shining his eyes.
“On the contrary fuck up one,” Roman replied, his eyes never leaving Sookie, “she has everything to do with this.” Holding out his hand, he beckoned Sookie forward.
Eric and Bill looked on in horror as Sookie crossed the room and took Roman’s outstretched hand. Neither of them was able to look away as Roman lifted her hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. Confusion clouded their minds as they saw the members of the Authority stand up and bow their heads.
“Welcome home, sister,” Dieter said.
“Sister,” Bill repeated scarcely believing his own ears. “Sookie what is going on? What are you doing here?”
The words had barely left his mouth before he found himself flat on his back, a small foot placed squarely on his chest holding him down. “How dare you address her so informally,” Alexander growled. “How dare you even think to question her.”
“Alexander, let him up,” Sookie ordered smirking at the sight before her. She suspected it was the first time Bill had ever been overpowered by a child, even if said child was close to five hundred years old.
“But he…” Alexander started to argue.
“Let him up,” Sookie repeated firmly, smiling as she watched a sullen Alexander stomp back to his chair. “Still as bratty as ever I see,” she chuckled her eyes flicking to Roman.
“He wouldn’t be Alexander if he wasn’t,” Roman replied.
“Sookie, what…” Bill started trying to hide his humiliation at being overpowered so effortlessly.
“Bill, be very carefully about what you say,” Sookie warned cutting him off. She sauntered towards him continuing, “because next time, I won’t stop Alexander.”
Bill’s eyes flickered between Sookie and the child vampire who was glaring hatefully at him. He bit back the caustic tone he wanted to use. “Sookie,” he said sweetly, “what are you doing here?”
“Visiting old friends,” Sookie replied, her eyes dancing with merriment thoroughly enjoying herself.
The moment the veil had lifted her body had been cleansed of all contaminants; both Bill’s and Eric’s blood had been expelled from her. Her mind and heart was once again her own. Neither of them was able to influence her any longer, and, unless she bonded to them in the ancient way, they never would be able to again. Her blood was now too powerful. It would easily override their blood if they tried to trick or coerce into taking it again.
As she stood in front of them, her eyes jumped from one to the other, and she couldn’t help but notice the confusion she felt just a few nights ago was gone. Her feelings for the two of them were very different. Sookie cursed herself for her foolishness; she had been controlled by the blood for too long, not able to see what was right in front of her eyes. But then, given the large quantities Bill had force-fed her it wasn’t surprising. If memory served her correctly, he had fed her his blood on five separate occasions and each time in larger quantities than was needed and at least two if not more of those times were direct results of his actions. Now, knowing the effects vampire blood can have on a body, Sookie wondered if Bill had been trying to get her addicted to his blood. She wasn’t sure, but what she did know was the resurgence of the feelings she had for him had dissipated as quickly as they came. For a second, Sookie wished she was still just a twenty-seven-year-old girl as she realized it was the blood that made her act so unlike herself and ask him for forgiveness. She bit back a scoff as she remembered her words in Bill’s house just those few nights ago.
What the hell did I have to apologize for? She asked herself. I’m sorry Bill that I found out what a lying snake you are. I’m sorry Bill; I no longer love you and was beginning to doubt I ever did. I’m sorry Bill, but I just can’t let you belittle and control me.
As she stared at him, Sookie realized all she ever felt for him, or thought she had felt for him, was gone. There was no love left in her for Bill; she doubted she would even find any like inside of her for him. As she ran her eyes over the former king, Sookie smiled as she wondered how Bill would like the new-old her. He liked her weak and dependent on him, two things she would never be again. She was stronger, faster, and a hell of a lot smarter than she was the last time they saw each other. The flesh may be young, but the mind, heart, and soul were ancient. Whatever was between them was now over; it was dead and just dust in the wind.
As her eyes moved over to Eric, Sookie felt a stab of longing and guilt. She knew her rejection had hurt him, something she regretted greatly. In the space of those few days, Sookie had fallen head over heels in love with Eric, although if she was honest, she was halfway there before he was cursed with amnesia. But it had been spending time with the sweet, loving Eric that had tipped her over the edge. As she thought about it, Sookie realized he had been stripped of all he was, just like she had, only she had been reborn, while Eric had been momentarily reset. He had known something was wrong while she hadn’t. Hers had been by choice, while his by curse. She knew now that Bill’s blood had clouded her mind. It had confused her and reawakened feelings that were dead and buried. Part of her wished they could go back and she could change what happened. She wished instead of rejecting Eric she would have embraced him. She had let Bill’s blood and the words of a ghost influence her.
A hint of sadness entered her eyes as she thought about the pain she must have caused him, and her fingers were itching to reach out and soothe the hurt she caused. Closing her eyes, Sookie took a deep unneeded breath as she tried to control her emotions. Her eyes flashed open as the scent of sex assaulted her nose. Anger and hurt crept into her eyes as she stared at Eric. She could smell it all over him, the scent less than a day old. She felt a stab of pain in her chest as she realized he had gone from proclaiming his love for her to fucking someone else in the space of a few hours.
He certainly got over me quickly. I guess I wasn’t as important to him as he claimed.
Schooling her features, Sookie took a step back. “What I am doing here is no concern of yours,” she said caustically, returning to Bill’s earlier question. “The better question is what you are doing here.” Turning her back on them, Sookie strolled towards Roman and perched herself on the edge of the table. “Why are they here?”
“Warrants were issued for their true death.” Roman answered, “Their recent fuck ups and have cast a shadow over The Mainstreaming Movement. It has taken a lot of time, effort, and money to cover up their crimes. They were both aware of the warrants and were planning on absconding instead of turning themselves in.”
Sookie’s tinkling laughter filled the room. “That is hardly a surprise Roman. No one in their right mind would willingly surrender themselves knowing they were going to be killed. What are their crimes?”
“What does it matter,” Rosalyn drawled. “They have been found guilty and sentenced.”
“Humor me,” Sookie replied, running her eyes over the Texan Authority member dismissively.
“Their actions have been unbecoming of The Mainstreaming Movement,” Roman explained. “The events at the Festival of Tolerance were not easy to conceal. Vampires attacked humans in full view of the media…”
“An unfortunate situation, I agree,” Sookie replied, cutting him off. “But not entirely their fault. The vampires responsible were under the control of a necromancer; they had no control of themselves. Just like in Logroño when every vampire within a twenty-mile radius walked into the sun. I am sure you all remember Antonia Gavilán de Logroño…”
“You’re trying to claim Antonia was responsible? Antonia is dead, she was burnt at the stake during the Spanish Inquisition,” Rosalyn dismissed.
“Antonia, you woefully ignorant woman, was a necromancer. She had mastered death. Do you honestly think she would surrender to it while her hatred of vampires was still so strong?”
“Are you saying Antonia was behind the attack at the Festival of Tolerance?” Kibwe asked.
“The spirit of Antonia was inhabiting another necromancer by the name of Marnie Stonebrook… I’m surprised you don’t know about all this,” Sookie said. “I’m sure the good King reported it.”
“I informed Nan that there was a witch in my area that was practicing necromancy, but she deemed it unimportant,” Bill said, unsure what Sookie was doing there but still backing her words up.
“Good ol’ Nan,” Sookie said. “What are their other crimes?”
“They killed an Authority member,” Alexander growled.
“Really, who?” Sookie asked.
“Nan Flanagan,” Roman informed her.
“Well, that works in their favor,” Sookie said chuckling. “If they hadn’t, I’d have ripped the bitch’s head off myself.”
“For what reason?” Rosalyn asked.
“Because she pissed me off,” Sookie replied uncaringly. She moved her eyes back and forth between Eric and Bill. “Why are you keeping them alive? You say you have issued warrants for their true deaths, and yet here they are in front of you. What has changed your minds?”
“They have offered us a trade,” Roman explained. “Their lives for…”
“Russell Edgington’s,” Sookie finished shocking them all with her knowledge. “So you know he’s free,” she added, addressing Bill and Eric. “Not surprising; the same person who told me probably also told you.”
“You seem to know an awful lot about this for someone who has been gone so long,” Rosalyn remarked. “Defending these two. It’s awfully suspicious. What exactly is your relationship with them?”
Sookie’s lip curled into a half smile as she slipped off the table and faced Rosalyn, “Are you questioning my loyalty youngling?”
“I am merely stating the facts that you have been gone a long time and none of us knew where you were or what you were doing. You disappeared without a word,” Rosalyn replied, choosing her words carefully.
“That is not exactly true,” Roman cut in. “I knew where she was the entire time.”
“As did I,” Dieter added.
“Is there a reason I should have told you where I was going and what I was doing?” Sookie asked, “Last time I checked, I didn’t answer to you… You answered to me.”
“Things have changed since you’ve been gone,” Rosalyn said smugly believing she held the upper hand.
“Of course, you now have the Authority,” Sookie replied almost mockingly. “You sit on your little council passing your laws that no one really cares about or abides by. Russell Edgington is proof of that. Tell me Chancellor, who leads the Authority? Who do you answer to?”
“And that would be?”
“Roman,” Rosalyn replied.
“And who does Roman answer too?” Sookie asked. “Who does he place above all others?”
“You,” Rosalyn answered through gritted teeth.
“Me. Do you still think things have changed since I’ve been gone?” Sookie asked a small hint of the power she possessed shining through. “Do you still wish to question me?”
“No, My Lady,” Rosalyn replied, her eyes downcast in a sign of submission.
“Good;” turning to face the rest of the Authority she continued, “does anyone else wish to question me?” She smiled as she watched the rest of them shake their heads in negativity. “Very well.” Turning back to face Eric and Bill, she continued, “My relationship with the former King of Louisiana and the Sheriff is complicated, but in the grand scheme of things unimportant. Regardless of how long I have been away, my loyalty is as it has always has been with Lilith.
“If like Rosalyn claims I am defending them, it is because, unlike the rest of you, I am aware of the facts behind their actions. The events at the Festival of Tolerance could have been avoided if Nan would have done her job. So the fault there lies partly with the Authority, as she was a member of you. Now, as for them killing Nan, I am less inclined to hold them accountable for something I would have done myself. She had let her fame go to her head. She no longer served us, but her own delusions of grandeur.
“The real issue here is Russell Edgington. I have no doubt you are all questioning their claims that Russell is back. You probably believe they are simply trying to save their own lives. I assure you Misters Northman and Compton are telling the truth. Russell is free and before long he will be coming for these two. A year ago the two of them used means – I am still not happy about – to subdue Russell. But then they made the mistake of not ripping his fucking head off. That mistake is also mine as I was there and I also failed to send him to the true death. So the fault also lies with me. This is something I have no doubt Russell intends to make me pay for. As such, he will be coming for me as well… I pissed Russell off just as much as the good Sheriff when I poured the remains of his beloved Talbot down the drain…” a small smile spread across Sookie’s face as she realized she still had some of her volatile qualities even as a human. “Although I believe he will be in for quite the shock when he sees me again.”
“So what do you suggest we do?” Salome asked, speaking for the first time. “I think it’s clear you do not think we should send them to the true death.”
“Sending them to the true death will solve nothing,” Sookie replied almost dismissively. “Russell will still be free and a threat to what you have spent the last twenty-five years building.”
“So what do you propose?” Roman asked, knowing she was plotting something.
“We use them as bait,” Sookie replied a devilish smile lighting up her face. She hadn’t forgotten how they had effectively fed her to Russell a year ago, and while she understood why they did it, she hadn’t completely forgiven it. While some might have thought Eric’s plan genius, she thought it was rash and poorly thought-out. Even if she ignored the danger it posed to her, there had been no guarantee Russell would come alone; he had a pack of blood-addicted wolves at his disposal. They could have easily have been waiting outside Fangtasia, ready to attack at Russell’s say so. She wondered briefly why Russell’s capture and kill had been laid at Eric’s feet. Given Russell’s televised debut, the Authority should have stepped in and dealt with it personally, not let someone two thousand years Russell’s junior handle it. She made a note to ask Roman that later.
“Bait?” Salome repeated.
“Yes. Russell will be looking for revenge against them and when he comes for them, we will be there waiting. We will deal with him once and for all.”
“We are just supposed to trust them not to betray us?” Rosalyn cut in.
“Yes,” Sookie replied simply.
“This is madness,” Rosalyn argued. “They will betray us at the first chance they get. How do we know they didn’t help Russell escape to beginning with?”
“Why would they?” Salome asked. “If what they say is true. Russell wants them both dead; they are not going to dig him up and set him loose.”
“Using them to draw Russell out could be our best option,” Dieter interjected.
“Until they turn around and stab us in the back,” Rosalyn countered.
“There is a simple way for us to decide what to do,” Roman said before they could start arguing again. “In the interest of fairness and as we have done in the past, we will put it to a vote. The options are clear, true death as Rosalyn puts forward, or using them as bait as Our Lady suggests. Chancellor’s what vote you?”
“True Death,” Rosalyn said, casting the first vote.
“True Death,” Alexander agreed.
“Bait,” Kibwe added.
“Bait,” Salome put forward.
“Bait,” Dieter said.
“Bait,” Roman voted to no one’s surprise.
Sookie suppressed a smile, relief sweeping over her as she heard the vote.
Roman smiled at Eric and Bill, “Congratulations; you have just been upgraded.”
“We will not fail you in this Guardian,” Bill said speaking up.
Ignoring him, Roman crooked his fingers towards the guards, signalling them to remove Eric and Bill from the room and return them to the holding cells.
Sookie watched feigning indifference as Eric and Bill were dragged out the room. Walking into that room and seeing them both there had been a shock to her system, and she couldn’t help but wonder if someone was aware of her relationship with them. It seemed suspicious to her that Roman would lift the veil the same day Eric and Bill were brought before the Authority. That was just one more thing she had to worry about. She briefly found herself longing for yesterday when all she had to worry about was which vampire she loved and whether or not Tara would rise as a vampire. Now she had a crazy three thousand year old vampire, the Saguinista Movement, the return of her memories, and the possibility that someone might have known who and what she was for the last twenty-eight years.
Spinning on her heels, Sookie sauntered to the head of the table, aware Roman was shadowing her every move. Sitting down in his chair, she crossed her legs as she cast her eyes over the Authority members.
“I am sure my return has come as a shock to you, and you all no doubt have questions,” she said. “The reasons for my disappearance are complicated to say the least and are not something I wish to get into at this time. I will just say it was necessary for me to leave as I did…” She trailed off as she thought it over. She was starting to realize some of the deeper reasons for why she had to do as she did. “I recently discovered some unsettling news and I now fear Russell Edgington will be the least of our problems. Unlike we all believed, the Fae are not extinct…”
Silence descended upon the room as Sookie’s words sunk in. Each Authority member was lost in his or her own thoughts. While most were too young to have any dealing with the Fae personally, they had all heard the stories; they knew of the death and destruction the Fae caused.
“That is not possible,” Dieter said speaking up. “The Fae were wiped out almost four thousand years ago. We were there,” his eyes flicked between Sookie and Roman. “We fought in so many battles… we defeated them.”
“Apparently not,” Sookie replied solemnly. “It seems we only pushed them back to their own realm. Their numbers are depleted, but they’re still very much alive.”
“How do you know this?” Kibwe asked.
“An unfortunate turn of events had me ending up in their realm,” Sookie replied choosing her words carefully. “It was the night after Russell was subdued. The same night I believe the Authority made Bill Compton King. I had a small run in with their Queen over her harvesting humans.”
“They’re doing what?” Rosalyn asked.
“It seems their good Queen is stealing any human with fairy blood in them,” Sookie explained. “She claims she is doing it to protect them from vampires.”
“If humans have fairy blood in them that must mean…” Salome started.
“The fairies have been travelling to this world and mating with them for decades at the very least,” Sookie finished.
“They are repopulating,” Roman said his brow furrowed, “and increasing their numbers. We wiped out the majority of the Fae in the war; it stands to reason they would use humans to regroup their numbers.”
“What concerns me more is why they are really harvesting humans,” Sookie said.
“You don’t believe the Fae when they say they’re doing it to protect them from us?” Dieter snorted at their asinine claims.
“I rarely, if ever, believe anything the Fae say,” Sookie replied. “If anything I believe the humans need protecting from the Fae. They want them for a reason, and I don’t believe it is for their own protection.”
“You believe they are building an army?” Roman asked, guessing where her mind was going.
“It’s a possibility,” Sookie admitted. “Time moves differently in the fae realm, it moves slower. Twenty minutes there is over a year here. Can you imagine it? They could start a war here, pop back to their own realm for an hour and when they come back…”
“Years have passed, the forces of their enemy would be depleted, and they would hold all the power,” Roman realized. “There is no telling what they could be planning.”
“Add that to Russell being loose, The Saguinista Movement growing in strength, and the increased scrutiny we are under from the human authorities, and I think it’s safe to say we are well and truly fucked… and not in the good way.”
“Aren’t you glad you are back?” Dieter said teasing.
“That I am, old friend,” she replied chuckling.
“What are we going to do about the Fae?” Kibwe asked. “What are your orders?”
“As Rosalyn so thoughtfully informed us all earlier, I am no longer in charge,” Sookie responded with a smirk. “And if truth be told, I wasn’t before I left.”
“You have more experience dealing with the Fae than the rest of us combined,” Dieter said. “We need your guidance.”
“I’m afraid there is little we can do about the Fae presently,” Sookie admitted. “We have no idea what they’re planning or when. We can prepare all we like, but we have no idea what we are preparing for. It could be for war, it could be peace, or it could be nothing. They could attack tomorrow or in a thousand years.”
“So we do nothing?” Rosalyn scoffed.
“We watch, we wait, and when they make their move, we deal with them,” Sookie replied. “That is all we can do.”
“That is ridiculous,” Rosalyn argued. “We shouldn’t sit back and do nothing…”
“What do you suggest we do then?” Sookie asked, her anger beginning to rise at Rosalyn’s constant arguments. Her emotions were still not fully under control with her human memories so close to the surface.
“We take the fight to them,” Rosalyn suggested.
“And how to you propose to do that?” Sookie asked. “You can’t enter their realm. You have no idea where they are, if any of them are even here. Do you just plan to attack random humans for no reason other than they might have Fae blood in them?”
“You would know which of them are Fae,” Rosalyn spat.
“I will not be your bloodhound, Rosalyn,” Sookie replied, her tone cold. “I will not spend my time sniffing out humans who have the smallest amounts of Fae blood in them so you can tear them apart.”
“Has your loyalty switched to them…” the words had barely left Rosalyn’s lips when she found herself on her back pinned to the table. An irate Sookie leaned over her, her hand wrapped around her throat crushing her windpipe.
“I should rip your throat out and bathe in your blood you worthless whore,” Sookie said, her voice low and calm a stark contrast to the emotions that were raging within her. The nature that had been suppressed for so long was breaking free and taking control. Sookie revelled in the old feelings. “You dare question my loyalty. I was there when the war started; you were not. I saw the damage the Fae inflicted. I felt the pain and still carry the scars that no amount of time can heal. You lost an icon, someone you have heard stories about and revere. I lost someone very real; they took her from me. I hate them more than you can ever imagine, but I will not let your arrogance and thirst for power control my actions.” Straightening up, Sookie let go of Rosalyn and backed away. “Question my loyalty one more time and I promise you, by the time I am done with you, you will be begging for the true death.”
Rosalyn remained unmoving on the table while her fear clogged the room with its pungent smell. Humiliation was warring with anger as the truth of what just happened settled over her. She had let her arrogance get the better of her. Her role in The Authority blinded her to the fact that there were others out there older and far more powerful than she was, and the woman who easily overpowered her was one of them. She may have been gone for the last twenty-eight years, but Sookie was still highly respected and feared by those who knew her. Rosalyn wasn’t fooling herself into believing that her threat was an empty one; she knew full well if she crossed her again, she would meet the true death, but not before suffering unimaginable torment first.
“Everyone out,” Roman ordered, sensing how close to the edge Sookie was. He watched as the Authority members quickly rose and hurried out the door before turning his attention to Sookie. “You never used to be so quick to anger.”
“I have been human for twenty-eight years; my emotions are fucked,” Sookie replied as she moved closer to him and perched herself on the edge of the table in front of him. “It’s almost like being a newborn again.”
“What was it like being human?” Roman asked curiously. “It has been so long since I was I have forgotten what it was like.”
“Painful, exhausting. Humans worry about every little thing, but often ignore the big things,” Sookie replied. “Of course I had to hear every little worry…” she chuckled, “my telepathy was reborn with me, and my Fae-like abilities, so I wasn’t really human.”
“How did you come into contact with Compton and Northman?” Roman asked.
Raising an eyebrow, “You’re telling me you don’t know?”
“You instructed me to stay away and I have done so. I have had no one watching over you,” Roman replied. “I don’t know what happened in your life.”
“I suppose the blood you gave me when I was a baby wore off years ago,” Sookie said, laughing at the look of shock on Roman’s face. “I know you, Roman. I know there was no way you wouldn’t check on me at least once after I was born, and you would definitely have given me your blood.”
“I simply wished to make sure you were safe,” Roman replied. “I couldn’t be there to protect you…”
“I don’t blame you,” Sookie assured him as she cut him off. “I would have done the same if the situation was reversed.”
“The blood I gave you wore off after a few years, and, as I promised not to contact you in anyway, I couldn’t give you any more. Up until I saw the surveillance footage from Compton’s house I wasn’t aware you knew him. If I had known, I would have stepped in sooner.”
“Surveillance footage? How much do you have?” Sookie asked.
“We installed cameras when he became King,” Roman answered. “We needed to keep an eye on him, so we installed cameras in nearly all of the rooms without him knowing. It is how we knew Nan was dead.”
“I want to see that footage,” Sookie said.
“Of course,” Roman replied before speeding out the room and returning moments later with a laptop in his hands. Setting the laptop down, Roman loaded the footage and hit play. The two of them watched in silence as Eric and Bill killed Nan and her guards.
“It seems Nan was aware of my heritage, or perceived heritage,” Sookie remarked as she rewound the footage. “She was too young to have encountered the Fae, and she wasn’t trusted to be told by us, so it does make you wonder where all the information is coming from.”
“It does, indeed,” Roman agreed. He let the footage continue to play as he turned to face Sookie. “It wasn’t until I watched the footage from the night Nan was killed did I realize you were involved in our world. So I when it comes to what you have been doing for the last twenty-six years I am in the dark.”
“I wish I was,” Sookie snorted as she thought of some of her behavior of late. “My life was quite dull if not painful. My parents died when I was seven and me and my brother went to live with our Grandmother. Gran was a wonderful lady; she really loved Jason and me. Despite my telepathy, things were quiet until Bill Compton walked into the bar where I was working…” Sookie went on to explain how she met Bill, the Rattrays’ attack, and all that followed. “He was my hero and I fell in love with him… of course, all that changed when I found out he was sent to procure me by the then Queen of Louisiana…”
“What?” Roman growled.
“Oh yeah, that’s quite a tale to tell,” Sookie replied, her eyes flicking back and forth between the laptop and Roman. “It seems a four-hundred year old vampire Queen with no history or personal experience with the Fae knew all about them: what they can do, the abilities they possess, and even the legend that Fae blood can make a vampire immune from sunlight. Don’t you just find that fascinating?”
“Extremely,” Roman said.
“I mean neither the one nor two thousand-year-old vampires, I met knew or suspected what I was,” Sookie added. “And then there is Russell Edgington, the three thousand-year-old vampire who would have at least heard tales of the Fae, and he hadn’t got a clue what I was, even after he saw me use my light…” She trailed off as the white light encased her hand. “Great, now I can do it without even trying,” Sookie murmured. “Russell saw me use this, and he still didn’t know what I was. Yet Sophie-Anne knew just from hearing stories from my cousin… I call bullshit.”
“It does seem unlikely,” Roman agreed.
“Doesn’t it just,” Sookie remarked. “Of course, Bill failed. Sophie-Anne ended up meeting the true Death, and Bill became King. Whose bright idea was it to make a vampire less than two centuries old a King?”
“It was Nan who put forth the idea,” Roman admitted. “He worked for her; he was one of her puppets.”
“Of course he was,” Sookie drawled. “An Authority-backed, mainstreaming, royal procurer. It just screams make me King. And his history with Lorena didn’t put anyone off? It didn’t raise any red flags?”
“He seemed to be following The Mainstreaming Movement before it was even official,” Roman explained.
“You mean he wasn’t leaving dead bodies for the human authorities to find anymore?” Sookie scoffed.
“You think we made a mistake making him King,” Roman said.
“Maybe I’m letting my personal experiences with him cloud my judgement,” Sookie replied thoughtfully. “But then, having someone stand back and watch while you are almost beaten to death just so they can get their blood into you will do that to a girl.”
“Compton did this?” Roman growled, his fangs snapping down in anger.
“It just screams mainstreaming doesn’t it,” Sookie mocked.
“I will kill him,” Roman roared.
“No you won’t.”
“You can’t be defending him,” Roman growled disgust coloring his tone. “You can’t still love him.”
“No to both,” Sookie replied half-heartedly. “Any love I had for him was expelled with his blood when you lifted the veil. It was just the blood.”
“So why can’t I kill him?” Roman asked.
“Because it’ll make a mess,” Sookie deadpanned, making Roman laugh. “What’s done is done, it can’t be changed. Besides, killing him now would draw too many questions…”
“He knows you were human,” Roman reminded her.
“I know, but it’s gonna get out sooner or later, and unless you’re planning on killing everyone in Bon Temps and some of the Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi vampires, it can’t be avoided. We will just have to deal with it.”
“How do you suggest we do that?” Roman asked.
“As far as the humans are concerned, we can just say I was turned,” she smiled at Roman. “You can be my Maker if anyone asks.”
“Does this mean I can command you?” Roman asked amusement dancing in his eyes.
“No, it doesn’t,” Sookie replied her accent thickening as her laughter filled the room.
“I like the new accent,” Roman remarked. “It’s cute.”
“Cute?” Sookie repeated amused. “Did you actually just use the word cute?”
“No,” Roman denied half-heartedly enjoying the sound of her laughter.
“If you say so.”
“And the vampires? How do you plan to tell them?” Roman asked returning to the topic on hand.
“I don’t,” Sookie replied shrugging. “I don’t owe them any explanation.”
“Some will not accept that,” Roman warned cautiously. “If word gets out that you were made human, there will be some who will want it for themselves, while others will fear they can be turned human as well.”
“Unless they got the same fucked up DNA as me, that ain’t gonna happen. No spell can turn a vampire human; if it could I’d use it on Russell fucking Edgington then drain him dry. If they find out and want to know how, tell them it was divine intervention or Lilith commanded it.”
“You think it will be that simple?”
“No, but nothing can be done about it,” Sookie replied. “No spell can undo what has been done. Too many people, vampires, werewolves, shifters, and humans knew me when I was human. Altering the memories of so many people isn’t possible. You can’t just erase their memories; my life was so entwined with some it would be impossible. We will just have to deal with whatever happens. Besides, I think the real problem at the moment is Russell. If word gets out that he didn’t meet the true death and is in fact back, it’ll be anarchy.”
“He will be dealt with properly this time,” Roman swore. “He will meet the true death.”
“I have to ask, why the hell did you order Eric, a thousand-year-old vampire to bring down a vampire two thousand years older than him?” Sookie asked not seeing the sense in that. “You must have known there was a strong possibility he would fail.”
“It was a mistake; I knew it when we did it,” Roman admitted letting his guard drop he let the weight of the last quarter century show on his face. “But it was what The Authority voted. After hearing his report, many of them blamed Northman for Edgington’s actions. They believed he provoked him by killing Talbot. Many believed it was his mess to clean up. It was put to a vote, and it was decided five to three that Northman would be responsible for killing him.”
“You’ve surrounded yourself with idiots,” Sookie scoffed. “The second Russell killed that man on live TV you should’ve moved in and dealt with him. Both you and Dieter are older than him. You could have taken care of him instead of leaving it to Eric.”
“It was a mistake,” Roman conceded. “But you seem to be taking this personally.”
“Because it is,” Sookie retorted. “I was there Roman, when Eric sprung his trap. He used me as the bait, something I’m still not entirely happy about…”
“Is that why you offered them up as bait?” Roman asked.
“No, that was the only way I could think to keep them alive,” Sookie confessed. “They had already offered the trade, I just capitalized on it.”
“You care for them.”
“No, not for them.”
“You care for him,” Roman amended.
“More than I should,” Sookie admitted, “more than is healthy. It’s not…” she trailed off as she struggled to explain her relationship with Eric. She wasn’t sure she could explain something she herself didn’t fully understand. Her feelings for Eric were complex and a little frightening and not something she had time to dwell on. “It doesn’t matter. All that matters at the moment is Russell is free. We will deal with him first; the rest can wait.”
“Do you intend to ignore your feelings for him forever?” Roman asked pushing the issue slightly.
“No,” Sookie admitted. “I won’t be able to, I know that. I wish I could, but I will have to deal with them, with him soon, just not now. It can wait.”
“I don’t think Northman or Compton will wait,” Roman remarked. “They both knew you when you were breathing… Intimately I’m guessing. They will want to know what is going on.”
“Oh,” Sookie groaned. “I don’t suppose you wanna tell them, do you?” Seeing his rueful smile she shook her head. “I didn’t think so, but it was worth a try. I better go and see them…” She hopped off the table. “This should be fun,” she groused. “I can already hear Bill’s chiding. ‘Sookeh, how could you lie to me like this…’”
“Sookeh?” Roman repeated his lips curling into an amused smile.
“Yes, apparently that’s how Bill thinks my name is pronounced… And thank you for naming me that by the way.”
“It’s your name. The name She gave you. Others might have called you something different, but that was the name She chose.” Roman replied, not surprised in the slightest that she knew he had named her. “It was only right.”
Sookie eyed the door as she lingered by Roman. Part of her wanted to stay where she was in the presence of her favorite child, while the other part wanted to go to Eric and Bill. She knew she owed them an explanation, despite how much she didn’t want to give one.
“You’re nervous,” Roman said, breaking into her thoughts.
“I can’t think why,” Sookie snorted. “All I have to do is tell two vampires, who up until recently I thought I was in love with, that I’m not really a twenty-seven-year-old telepathic barmaid, but in fact I’m older than any living creature on the earth, and telepathic, and once started what was believed to be a species-ending war. That’s nothing to be nervous about.”
“I’m sure they know most of that already,” Roman replied, trying to calm her nerves. “Most vampires know your story…”
“Exactly Roman, they know a story and half of that has been twisted so little of the truth remains. It has been a long time since I walked with you, long before I became human. Most vampires consider me nothing more than a story, like the fairytales humans tell their children.”
“They will soon learn you’re much more than a story,” Roman said.
“Eric and Bill sooner than the rest,” Sookie replied. “I want privacy for this Roman. No one watching, no one eavesdropping, no surveillance of any kind. Just me and them.”
“I will take care of it,” Roman assured her. “No one will disturb you.”
Sookie smiled softly as she straightened her shoulders, and she sent a silent prayer to Lilith to give her the strength she needed to face Eric and Bill. Then she made her way out of the room, heading towards the interrogation rooms where Eric and Bill were being held.