Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
—William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
“Hi Bill,” Sookie said as she lifted the trapdoor to the cubby and looked down upon me.
Of course, I’d known that she was home. Whatever had been covering her scent before had been lifted. She now smelled like she usually did.
Beautiful like the sun.
But also reeking of Eric!
“Did Eric force a new bond with you?” I asked as she sat cross-legged on the floorboards next to the cubby entrance. Still, from where I’d been put, I could see her face clearly.
She shook her head. “We didn’t need a new bond. I love Eric. I once thought about breaking our bond; I’ll admit that. But, in the end, I accepted the bond for what it is.”
“And what is that?” I asked through clenched teeth.
“The bond is something the Eric and I can use to express our love—and to help each other,” she said.
I shook my head. “Eric is using the bond to control you. You must see that!”
Sookie sighed and looked at me with a mixture of pity and derision. “That’s what you have always wanted me to think. You wanted me to see the bad in Eric, but I’m done allowing you to influence my thoughts about him—or anyone else.”
“But, Sookie, I love you!” I returned fervently.
“No, Bill. I don’t think you do. After all, ‘love is not love which alters where it alteration finds,'” she whispered.
“Shakespeare?” I gasped. “Really Sookie? What do we have to do with Renaissance poetry?”
“A few months ago, Eric recited that poem to me—Sonnet 116. I didn’t realize it then, but Eric and I are a ‘marriage of true minds’ and you are an ‘impediment,'” she said crossly—and so unlike herself.
“Sookie, I don’t know what you are talking about!” I said.
“You want to alter me, Bill,” she said quietly. “You always have. You want—I think—someone like your human wife was, but you have always failed to recognize that I was not born in the 1830s.”
“Sookie?” I asked.
“You liked my manners—and, let’s not forget, the way I taste—but I don’t think you really like me, Bill,” she clarified. “I don’t think you even know me.”
“You don’t know what you are talking about, darling,” I returned. “Eric has poisoned you against me.”
“What do you like about me then?” she asked curiously.
“You are mine!” I returned forcefully.
“Why do you want me?” she followed up.
“You are innocent. You are pure,” I replied.
She snorted in an unladylike fashion. “I’m neither of those things. And—what is innocence anyway?” She shrugged. “Yeah—you broke my hymen and took my virginity, but there was nothing innocent in that act. You were still lying to me about who you were and what you were doing in Bon Temps. I was naïve then, Bill. I’m not naïve now.”
“Like I said,” sticking out my jaw stubbornly, “Eric has poisoned you against me, but he will soon be gone. And you and I will work on repairing what he has broken between us.”
“Why would Eric be gone?” she asked.
“Felipe will not allow . . . ,” I began.
“Felipe is dead—finally dead,” she returned flatly.
“What?” I asked dumbfoundedly. “Don’t tell me that Eric . . . . Sookie, we must get out of here! The Council will . . . .”
Once again, she interrupted me. “The Vampire Council has appointed Eric to be the King of Louisiana.”
“What?” I demanded.
“Felipe wanted Eric dead—or sold off to Oklahoma like some kind of sex slave. And it almost happened that way,” Sookie said in an almost haunted tone. “If I had broken our bond like I’d thought about doin’, Eric would have lost hope—I think,” she added. “He would have taken that as a sign that I didn’t want him, and he would have allowed himself to become chattel—Freyda’s property—for the next hundred years.” She shook her head as if shaking herself out of the possibility of a future she could not have borne.
She was—indeed—terribly confused. But I knew that—with time and patience (and just a bit of my blood to nudge her along)—I could help her to find her way out of the traps Eric had clearly ensnared her in.
“Sookie, Oklahoma is a beautiful queen. Eric is lying to you if he has told you that he does not want her,” I tried.
She practically growled at me. “It is words like those that prove that I will never be able to trust you, Bill. And words like those which tell me that I don’t want you in my life anymore.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Sookie! Please! I want only what is best for you. You must see that Eric has manufactured this situation to get his mitts on not only Louisiana but also Arkansas and Nevada!”
Sookie frowned. “I don’t know what evidence you’ve ever had to doubt Eric’s honor,” she said wearily. “Even when you and I were a couple, he behaved better than he would have—if he’d been a lesser man. He didn’t pull rank or try to steal me.”
“But Longshadow and Dallas . . . ,” I began.
She shook her head. “Eric hired me and paid me for both of those jobs. And—since I’d said I was yours—he paid you too. Yes—Eric flirted with me back then. But he did nothing to force me to trust him or to be with him.”
“In Dallas, he manipulated you to take his blood,” I insisted.
“No. He gave me a choice. He asked me to help him remove the silver from his body. He even suggested—when I looked squeamish at the thought of sucking the silver out—that I get a knife from the kitchen to do the job. If you had told me about all of the potential effects of vampire blood—you, not him, Bill since I was supposedly yours at the time—then I might have gone for the knife. As it was, I took his blood, but—despite my previous fears—I know that Eric never used his blood against me.”
“You really are naïve,” I said with a shake of my head. “And foolish. You need me, Sookie! Don’t you see? You need me to help you navigate the dangerous world you have found yourself in.”
“And you are patronizing,” she returned bitterly. “And a hypocrite, considering that I’ve found myself in this world only because you led me into it!”
“I could take you away from it too!” I implored.
“I don’t want to go anywhere with you—or anywhere away from the Supe world,” she said with a little smile on her face as she looked away from me. When she looked back, the smile was gone. “In the past, I worried so much about what Eric might be doing with his blood because I instinctively knew that you’d been trying—probably succeeding to a certainly extent—to manipulate me with your blood since the night the Rattrays beat me. Tell me, Bill. Did you glamour them to attack you—and then to beat me up a couple of nights later?”
I gasped. “Sookie—of course—uh—not! Eric! Eric’s putting lies into your head!”
“Your stuttered response is the only answer I needed,” Sookie sighed with resignation. “I’m done, Bill. I’m done overlooking the bad in you in order to try to cling to what I once thought of as good.”
“Sookie, Eric is to blame for everything! He has turned you against me! Just look at the situation! He has taken over three states and will use you until he finds it more profitable to sell you to the highest bidder!” I yelled out. “And—even if he doesn’t barter you away—do you really think that he will be faithful to you?” I challenged. “No! He’s probably already fucking Freyda and many others, even as he lies about being faithful to you!”
I sighed as I looked at the vampire below me.
I could feel Eric’s concern through the bond, and I was certain that he was close enough to be hearing all that was occurring between Bill and me. I could have asked for some privacy, but—truthfully—I was glad that my Viking was near. And I was even more grateful for the comfort and support being spread through our bond—both ways. For, indeed, even as Eric was doing his best to unobtrusively get me through the “Bill thing,” I was sending my support about the “king thing.”
Who knew that a vampire of Eric’s age could be nervous about a new job?!
But the fact that he was made me love him all the more.
I sighed as I frowned at Bill. “Just so you know, Sandy Sechrest has been made the queen of Nevada. It is hoped by the Narayana Clan that—with the Nevada kingdom no longer thirsting for power and territory at the expense of other clans—the equilibrium of vampire relationships in this country will be reestablished.”
“What do you know of that?” Bill asked, his voice steeped in surprise and superiority.
Bill was, I acknowledged, always excellent at condescension.
And patronizing me.
“I know what my bonded has told me,” I returned.
“And Freyda?” Bill tried. “You cannot have forgotten about her claim on Northman.”
“Freyda’s claim has been found illegitimate,” I responded with a little smirk. “My claim, however, had been recognized.”
Bill’s whole face changed. “What? No! Appius required Eric’s marriage to Oklahoma! A maker’s orders are absolute!”
I frowned. Bill was close to grating on my last nerve.
“Eric is mine!” I shared forcefully. “And Freyda is on her way back to Oklahoma.”
“What of Arkansas?” he asked me, seemingly grasping for geographical straws—Nevada, Oklahoma, and now Arkansas. “Is Eric claiming it?”
I shrugged. “There’s not much left up there, other than land.”
“What will happen to it?” Bill asked, suddenly even more curious. There was a look in his eyes that showed me that he was planning a strategy of some kind. It immediately struck me what that plan was.
Eric was right. Bill was predictable.
“Why? Are you interested in being Regent of Arkansas?” I found myself asking incredulously.
“I doubt Eric will allow me to stay in Area 5,” Bill said bitterly. “However, even he cannot ignore the fact that I have proven my worth many times over. I could serve him in Arkansas and still be close to . . . .”
His voice trailed off.
“Still be close to me,” I finished for him with a shake of my head. “No, Bill. Eric would never consider giving you Arkansas—or anything else of his,” I emphasized. “He doesn’t trust you. And, for the record, Arkansas isn’t his. King Bartlett of Indiana and Russell Edgington are gonna take care of it for the foreseeable future. And—also for the record—I don’t trust you either,” I added with a sigh.
“Sookie!” he practically panted out in shock—probably because he’d just picked up on my declaration that I was Eric’s.
I shook my head. I might still be uninformed in some ways, but Bill was utterly clueless at times!
“Also—just so you know—Eric never wanted Nevada or Arkansas, and he’s taking Louisiana mostly to keep me safe. However, I—and I’m not the only one—believe that he’s gonna be a magnificent king!” I said with pride. “So, your claims that Eric is ambitious to the point of exploiting me just don’t hold water.”
“But he is a king now!” Bill reminded. “You cannot simply take his word that he’s doing it all for you.”
I smiled a little as I thought of my mate. “I hope he’s not; I hope that he’s doing it for himself too. Now that Appius is gone, there is nothing to hold Eric back. And—just so we’re clear about something—Eric has my full support when it comes to anything he wants to do for himself. In fact, I will be by his side the whole way—as his queen.”
“I have finally accepted what I am as well as my place in this world,” I responded.
I nodded. “I am a Supernatural. A fairy. And I have Dae blood too.”
“What?” Bill asked.
“It’s a long story, and—quite frankly—a lot of it isn’t your business, Bill.”
“You are my business!” Bill said insistently.
“That’s an unfortunate choice of words,” I sighed. “After all, I was only a business interest to you for a long time after we met. But, even after the horrible events in Jackson and after I learned about your assignment for the queen, I was still willing to be your friend.”
“We are more than that!” Bill returned feverishly.
At that moment, I began to wonder if my ex would ever overcome his denial.
I figured some hard truths might help him, and—even if they didn’t—it would make me feel better to say them.
I shook my head. “No, Bill. And we never were much of anything—now that I think about it. Really think! What we had when we were a couple was a lie. Still,” I sighed before, taking a deep breath, “I feel obliged to thank you for your part during the Fae war—for helping Niall defeat Lochlan and Neave. You helped to save my life, and I owed you—at least until tonight.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“I saved your life tonight, Bill,” I responded. “Eric is not killing you—despite the fact that you betrayed him by being Victor and Felipe’s spy. He is restraining himself for me, even though I can feel through our bond that he is worried about letting you live since you can’t seem to find your way out of your denial in regards to me.”
“Eric is lying to you if he says that he won’t kill me,” Bill said almost desperately. “He’ll just wait for his opportunity and then make it seem like my death’s an accident! Please, Sookie! Think! He is a monster! You must listen to me!”
I shook my head. “Where you are concerned, I mustn’t do anything,” I practically seethed. “Any debt I owed you has been paid. Any affection I once held for you is waning with every word you speak—and with every action against Eric that you perform.”
“Sookie,” he whispered. “He’s poisoned you against me.”
I lifted my chin proudly.
“The only poison here is you, Bill. Listen and listen well: I am Eric’s. His! By choice! I love him. And that leaves you in quite a predicament.”
“How so?” he asked, suddenly worried about his own well-being. He was right to do so.
“You have tried again and again to undermine my relationship with Eric. You betrayed your Sheriff. And—now that Eric is king—you are no longer welcome in our state,” I returned as strongly as I could.
“Eric is banishing me?”
“I insisted that he do it—me!” I emphasized.
“But my home! Your safety is . . . ,” Bill began.
“Sell your house—or give it to the Bellefleurs. Or let it rot!” I interrupted him. “But you won’t be able to live in it.” I took a deep breath. “Sandy would have agreed to take you in Nevada; however, the database profits have practically run their course, and she doesn’t believe that the project should have ever existed in the first place. Therefore, you won’t be able to go there either.”
“What? No! My database makes millions a year!” Bill argued.
I rolled my eyes. “You forget, Bill—Sandy handled Felipe’s finances. So she’s seen the profit margins. You haven’t seen them. Felipe simply gave you a salary—not a percentage—according to Sandy. And the database isn’t selling as it once did. She doesn’t believe you are worth the salary anymore. Feel free to start a new database elsewhere.”
“But—uh—it’s mine!” Bill stammered.
“No. It belongs to Louisiana, commissioned and financed by the late Queen of Louisiana. It belonged to Sophie-Anne and then Felipe—never to you.”
“But the updates!” Bill insisted. “There will be great profit in them!”
I shook my head, feeling a little pity for Bill; he just seemed pathetic to me now. “The vampires you already have in the database know better than to give you any more personal data. The ones you don’t have in it are either too young to be relevant or too old to be indiscreet about their lives. But—even if your database was still profitable—I want to make it clear that Eric would still kick you out of Louisiana.”
“He cannot stand that I am his competition!” Bill spit out. “He cannot stand that you love me.”
I exhaled roughly. “You haven’t been competition for a long time. But—you are right that Eric doesn’t like you. However, that distaste is because you were willing to help Victor and Felipe undermine him and steal me. Believe me when I say that his dislike no longer has anything to do with how I feel—actually how I don’t feel—about you. In fact, after this conversation, I’m even more glad that you’re gonna be out of our lives.”
“You cannot mean that, darling,” Bill insisted.
“You said that Peru is nice,” I said, standing up. I was tired of going around in circles with Bill, and I’d said what I’d come to say. “You should consider going back there. I’ll make sure that you don’t have to sleep in those chains so that you won’t be too weak to leave Louisiana before midnight tomorrow night. If you don’t leave, Eric will kill you, and I won’t shed a fuckin’ tear. Goodbye, Bill,” I added before closing the trap door and leaving the room.
“Sookeh!” Bill yelled after me.
“Sookie,” I corrected as I leaned against the door, somewhat drained from the encounter. “Don’t come back once you’re gone, Bill. You won’t be welcome,” I warned—knowing that Bill could still hear me—before seeking out my bonded.
A/N: So? Did you enjoy reading Sookie’s closure with Bill as much as I enjoyed writing it? I disliked a lot of things about the books, especially the last three, but one of my biggest disappointments was that Sookie never got to be strong enough to cut Bill out of her life. It’s one of the things that I’d thought that the books had been leading up to before C.H. agreed to extend the series (at that point, I think she was a.) overthinking things because she felt the need to “shake things up” and not give readers the ending that seemed most organic-which was Sookie and Eric together; b.) influenced heavily by the course of the show and the odd “Bill love” that TB always buried itself within. Book readers know that Bill became a secondary character from Book 4 (even Book 3) onward. He just popped up like a bad penny to either fuck with Sookie’s mind every now and then. But he was kept as the male “lead” in the show, even though both watchers and readers of the series gravitated towards Eric because-let’s face it-he’s the vampire most of us would fantasize about. Anyway, it was really cathartic for me as a writer of E/S stories to exorcise Bill via Sookie’s voice.
But is the “bad penny” done causing trouble?
Many thanks–as always–to Kleannhouse and Sephrenia!