Summary: What if Eric Northman was in Bon Temps investigating the intriguing telepath who had warned him about the police raid at Fangtasia when he scents a lot of blood—Adele Stackhouse’s blood? What is Sookie begs him to become Gran’s maker? This story picks up during Season 1 on the night that Rene stabs Adele. (S/E; AU) PROMO FOR THE TEASE THE MUSE CHALLENGE.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No profit has been made from this work. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. The events in this story have been inspired by True Blood and the Southern Vampire Mysteries book series.
To Kleannhouse—for your beta work and general sanity-keeping.
To Sephrenia—for making my work better with your art.
Teaser Chapter: Rooted in Blood
No vampire could have resisted seeking out the source of such a massive blood-letting.
After all, we were death enlivened. Thus, it wasn’t a surprise that all forms of death drew us like moths to flames.
Young vampires, even those of Pam’s age, would have indulged in their curiosity about the blood-scent mindlessly, their fangs already down with their first scenting of the air. However, I had seen enough vampires fall into traps to know that caution was key when a “free meal” was served up buffet-style.
Thus, I’d flown onto the Stackhouse property cautiously. I did not see it as ironic that I’d been planning to go to that address anyway. I believed in coincidence—or even fate—much more than I believed in irony.
Though I did enjoy sarcasm quite a bit.
And I wasn’t overly concerned either, for—as soon as I smelled the blood—I knew that its source was not Sookie Stackhouse herself. My sense of smell—so developed over the years—could discern the age of the blood, and it was much too aged to belong to Sookie. Oh—the scent wasn’t unpleasant. Indeed, the source had a lovely O-positive bouquet. As I landed by the lonely, dark home, I also discerned that there was something homey and comforting about the scent of the world the blood-letter inhabited. And that merely added to the temptation of the blood.
Was that cinnamon I smelled?
The flavors in the air indicated that the blood of the human would be a solid, “classic” meal—like a well-prepared steak for humans. I couldn’t help but to recall the venison I’d loved as a human. Yes—the scent of the blood reminded me of venison—and of the few simple spices of my homeland.
With my well-tuned sense of hearing, I could discern that the blood’s source was dying—though slowly. From the scent of things, the victim was a female and had been stabbed multiple times—in the upper chest, stomach, and lung. And she was unconscious.
A blessing. Clearly, she’d already lost too much blood to be saved by conventional medicine, even if I’d been able to hear approaching sirens. But all was silent in the vicinity. And—even if I could get in the farmhouse to offer her some of my blood—it was likely that she’d lost too much of her own to keep her humanity.
No—it would be one form of death or the other for the human bleeding in the Stackhouse home.
I hovered in order to look in through the kitchen window.
The woman crumpled on the floor was gray-haired and overweight in the way that older women tended to get when they “lost their figures” with age. Even injured, however, she looked to have been a hearty woman.
And a lovely one.
I could see Sookie in her—despite the woman’s paleness.
Or maybe it was just that the human was still fighting for life.
Struggling to take each new, difficult breath when death should have already taken her.
I was impressed.
I looked around the kitchen. From my research, I knew that the victim was Adele Stackhouse—75-years-old, paternal grandmother of Sookie.
But the kitchen offered so many more clues about the nature of the individual compared to the file I’d studied. Adele was clearly a baker, and she’d baked a lot recently, given the amount of sugar still lingering in the air. I could almost taste it!
She was also neat; every item in the crowded space clearly had its only space. The objects in the kitchen were well-used—a sentimentalist might say “well-loved”—but there was a clear sense of pride in the space. The woman dying on the floor had obviously spent much of her time in the room where she seemed destined to bleed out. Somehow, it seemed appropriate.
“The life’s blood,” I whispered.
Sadly, I noticed that all of the once-cleaned baking dishes in the sink-side drainer would have to be rewashed, given the blood splashes they’d received. Obviously, Adele had been near the sink when she’d been brutally stabbed.
Still scanning the room, I lingered on the refrigerator. There was a blood-splattered note there, secured to the door with magnets.
“Sookie, I made you up an extra pecan pie. You know I wouldn’t take them all to the meeting. Jason, do not touch the pecan pie without your sister’s permission. Love, Gran.”
I smiled a little at the old woman’s words—and her penmanship. She’d clearly been taught many years before—when the American school system prized such things as good writing. Adele’s cursive was perfectly slanted and curved. It demonstrated both precision and a bit of artistry. And it was another piece of the puzzle regarding the woman now barely breathing on the floor.
I inhaled deeply and picked up the scent of several beings. Among them were familiar scents: Sookie, Bill, and the shifter I’d met before—Sookie’s boss. There were three other discernable human scents too. One had worn a lot of perfume—an overwhelming amount, in fact; I speculated that the source was a friend of Adele’s, trying to cover the scent of age with a cheap fragrance. The second was just similar enough to Sookie to indicate that it must be a sibling’s scent. The last scent was heavy in the air.
Its source had been at the home only minutes before I’d arrived.
Obviously the killer.
Unable to get into the house without an invitation, I was just contemplating whether or not I should try to track the killers scent when I heard the rumble of an engine. I quickly jetted to a tree and watched Sookie get out of a truck. Her companion was the shifter, and the two seemed to be on a date of some kind—probably a first one—given the awkwardness of the kiss he tried to perpetrate upon her full, luscious lips.
The whole attempt was a study in failure, and I would have laughed if the old woman’s pulse rate weren’t slowing.
I didn’t know Sookie well, but I figured she would deal with the situation better if she were able to hold her grandmother’s hand—or whatever human’s did with their elderly and/or dying—during Adele’s last moments of life.
I kept waiting for the idiotic mutt to take a whiff of the air, but he seemed more likely to try to hump poor Sookie’s leg.
Luckily, she dismissed him after a couple of uncomfortable minutes, and he drove off before she’d even entered the house.
I guess chivalry was dead.
I watched as Sookie went into the house. Speaking of chivalry, I thought about stopping her, but I worried that I would frighten her even more. After all, I’d met her exactly one time for less than ten minutes! And it hadn’t exactly been a positive meeting. What good could have my involvement done anyway? The last thing I needed was to be implicated in a murder, given the fact that fangbangers were already dying left and right in the tiny community of Bon Temps.
I doubted that any Barney Fife wannabe on the Bon Temps police “farce” would accept the story that I’d just been “flying by” when I smelled fresh blood. The fact that I wouldn’t have been able to get into the house without an invitation likely wouldn’t have caused them to second-guess any theories that they managed to crank together either.
Still—once Sookie was inside and found the bloody mess of her grandmother, I couldn’t keep myself from going back to the window.
Maybe it was the fact of her tears, but I told myself that it was only the scent of them.
As if she could “hear” me hovering in the night, Sookie looked up at the window and gasped.
I nodded and came closer to the window so that she could see me better.
She already had her house phone in her hands and had dialed 9-1 when she said my name. She dialed the final 1 right after that.
“Kendra!” she yelled. “Someone’s stabbed Gran. It’s bad. Send help right away!” she cried, the tears from her eyes the biggest tears I’d ever seen wept. However, her voice was perfectly understandable. She hung up the phone and looked back at me.
I was impressed that she’d not accused me of murdering her grandmother while she was on the phone. I was also impressed with how she was applying pressure to Adele’s wounds.
“Is she gonna die?” she asked, seemingly knowing quite well that I would be able to hear her.
I found myself discomforted—even sad—as I nodded in confirmation and answered with a single word, “yes.”
Her tears became even bigger and she gasped.
“Could you save her?” she asked. “Like Bill saved me when I was hurt?”
Interesting. I’d smelled Bill’s blood in her, but I’d not had a hint of the situation which had put it there—until now. I’d have to find out that story on another day.
I shook my head in the negative, despite knowing that I was taking the hope away from her.
“Would you turn her?” she asked me.
I was taken aback by her words, and she clearly recognized my shock.
“Can you come in?” Sookie asked.
I shook my head to indicate that I could not.
“Then, Eric Northman, I issue you an invitation,” she said, her eyes almost wild.
I reluctantly entered through the mud-porch door and went into the kitchen.
“Turn her,” Sookie pled, as soon as I’d stepped foot into the kitchen.
“I won’t,” I said firmly. “Generally, we leave the old to die.”
“Generally!” she said, latching onto that single word. “But Gran’s not like most old people,” Sookie pled. “She’s full of life! And she’d want it!” the telepath added passionately.
“Sookie, I . . . .” I stammered. I’d rarely stammered—and never since I’d been a vampire. But there was something about the telepath’s pleas that moved me.
“Please,” she whispered.
“Why?” I asked.
“I know it’s selfish, but she’s the only person who’s ever really loved me,” Sookie cried, her eyes stricken with grief. “And the person who killed her was looking for me!” she added guiltily.
I frowned. Bill hadn’t told me that Sookie was in danger, though such a thing would have made sense—if Bill had made his association with Sookie publically known. But why would a vampire do that if he knew a madman were targeting those who associated with vampires?
Was Bill really that fucking clueless? Careless? Daft?
Or did he have a hidden motive for wanting Sookie to be vulnerable?
I looked at the bleeding woman on the floor.
Adele Hale Stackhouse.
A high school education.
A woman who’d managed a small farm homestead with her husband.
A grandmother who’d stepped up to take in her orphaned grandchildren.
The woman who inspired such great love from Sookie.
Turning an older human was not without precedent, though it wasn’t common. Russell Edgington of Mississippi had been turned in his early fifties. Queen Agatha of France was turned in her sixties. And the most revered vampiress of all, the Ancient Pythoness, looked to have been even older than Adele when she’d been turned.
“What are her current health issues?” I asked.
Sookie looked at me incredulously.
“Despite the obvious?” I smirked.
“I little angina,” Sookie said automatically as if a doctor were asking. “She’s on medicine for it. Um—arthritis. And—uh—she says she aches and has ‘old bones’ sometimes.”
“Cancer? Strokes? Has she had either?”
Sookie shook her head. “No. Please, Eric. Hurry. She’s slipping away!”
“You can feel that with your mind?” I asked, even as I heard a siren in the far-off distance.
She nodded. “Yes. It’s like she’s disappearing.”
“I want the use of your talent—as payment,” I said. I was nothing if not opportunistic.
“Three times per week—beginning one week from today,” I continued. “Your grandmother will be somewhat stable by then, and you can visit with her during your shifts at Fangtasia.”
“Thank you,” she gasped.
“As I did with Pam, I am going to give Adele the opportunity to meet the sun if she doesn’t want this life,” I said seriously. “I won’t have an unwilling child. And—changing one so old has many chances for problems. Plus, she is already pretty far gone. I won’t keep a child who is so damaged that no quality of life can be obtained.”
“She wouldn’t want that anyway,” Sookie said desperately.
“You will work for me regardless. Understood?”
“Agreed!” she said quickly.
I heard the shifter’s truck approaching again even as the ambulance turned onto the road to Sookie’s home.
“I’ll see you at Fangtasia in a week, Miss Stackhouse. Meanwhile, tell the authorities what occurred here and what you asked of me. I will not be implicated in her attack!”
“I swear. You won’t be. Thank you,” she whimpered even as she bent down to kiss her grandmother’s bloody temple.
“I love you, Gran,” she whispered.
She looked up at me with an amount of gratefulness and trust that surprised me. “I know you’ll take care of her, Mr. Northman.”
“It’s Eric,” I said as I took the elderly woman into my arms. “After all, we’re about to be family.”
She nodded. “Go,” she whispered as she obviously heard the minds of those in the vehicles approaching. Impressive range. “They might not let you take her after they get here.”
I nodded and then flew Adele out of the kitchen and into the night.
NOTE: This “teaser chapter” is being posted today in order to promote the wonderful Queen of Area Five’s Tease the Muse Challenge. (She has extended the deadline in order to get more stories into the challenge, and the link to the prompts is below.) Just so you know, Granpire was inspired by one of the prompts given, and I was going to enter it into the challenge, but after I got started on it, I realized that I want for this story to eventually become one of my longer pieces, but it will—unfortunately—be a while before I have time to get back to it (definitely beyond even the new deadline). Meanwhile, I hope that you enjoyed this teaser and then go to check out all the wonderful prompts for the challenge! I would love to see many authors–new and “old”–attempt stories, and I might even sniff through the prompts again to see if a “shorter” idea strikes me.
Please tell me what you think about this concept and this teaser chapter. Also, if you have an idea you’d like to see incorporated once I get back to drafting this story, feel free to share it. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to incorporate all ideas—and I already have quite a few of my own—but it would be interesting to hear your thoughts. And remember, it will be a while before I get back to this story. I have two longer projects that I’m already working on, and then I have some others I want to try to return to (like Who’s Your Daddy?).
Check out the prompts for the TEASE THE MUSE CHALLENGE by clicking HERE! The new deadline is February 7, you can pick any prompt you like (according to the QoA5, it’s okay if several people pick the same prompt).