“No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.”—Niccolo Machiavelli
Probably because I’d had some of Sookie’s blood the night before, I woke up twenty minutes before nightfall, despite all the forced-waking I’d experienced, first at the Vamp Camp and then as I’d watched Nora waste away.
Immediately upon waking “naturally” for the first time in several days, I stretched my limbs out of habit and reached out to locate Sookie through our twice-set bond. My body thirsted for one more exchange; my blood craved the sealing of the bond forever. However, two exchanges certainly had perks compared to only one. Even though I could tell that she was quite far away—likely already working with the Were to complete her part of the plan—I could feel her emotions more strongly than I’d been able to the night before when she’d been standing right next to me.
She was nervous, though confident. I could almost picture the set of her jaw, the determination in her eyes. Right under her surface emotions, I felt her love for me—her trust in me.
Sensing her so strongly—knowing that we were even more connected now—was comforting, especially since the place on the bed where she’d fallen asleep next to me was cold.
I sighed. I couldn’t wait for a time when I would rise with her beside me—warming me.
I looked to the side of the bed, and on the little table lay two notes, one of which I was expecting. I read the one on top out loud:
I had a good morning overall. Terry’s funeral was difficult, but nice. Saying goodbye was both harder and easier than I’d thought it would be.
Everything’s going okay so far.
I kissed you for luck, so there’s lipstick on you—in a few places. I also made sure to rub myself all over you before I left. It was fun, though I much prefer it when you rub back.
I love you.
I chuckled and looked down at my body. There were a couple of lip prints over my dead heart and one on my lower belly, as close to my dick as one could get without touching it. “Tease,” I laughed.
Though Sookie’s absence and distance from me had been indication enough that things were going as planned, it was nice to read that in her own words. I looked at the second note in order to confirm its content before hiding the first in the safe that I’d had installed in the corner of the cubby. The safe looked like just another tile on the floor, even to my sharp eyes, and only my hand-print would trigger the opening mechanism. Months before, I had placed a few old books and letters from Godric inside of it. I added Sookie’s letter and closed the safe, wondering briefly if I’d ever be back to open it again.
My clothing from the night before had been washed and was neatly folded on the chair in the little light-tight space. I shook my head, marveling at the fact that Sookie had bothered to do such a chore for me, considering the other things I knew that she’d had to get through that day. I found myself smiling at her sign of care.
Though we’d showered together after we’d had our second blood exchange and “returned” from what Sookie had termed our “bonding trip,” I was pleased to find that I still smelled strongly of her, probably because of the “rubbing” she’d done. My fangs and dick ached at the thought of her body moving against mine. She was right; it would have been much better if I had been “alive” and could have rubbed back.
The fact that I smelled strongly of Sookie was a good thing. Both Bill and Warlow would have “felt” her intense pleasure the night before. And I wanted them to know exactly who’d given her that pleasure. On the other hand, I was confident that they still wouldn’t sense our bond. If my theory was correct, they would be able to tell only that I’d taken her blood. In fact, I’d fed a little from Sookie after our second bonding just to ensure that. However, given the fact that Bill’s and Warlow’s blood inside of Sookie avoided her light like the plague, they would still have no idea about our bond, which Sookie’s light continued to conceal.
Moreover, during our second bonding, a small amount of Sookie’s light had decided to take up residence in me and was currently acting as sentinel around our bond in my body. That occurrence had led to a slight modification and enhancement of our plan.
“You’re a lucky bastard, Northman,” I whispered, as I let myself sink into the warmth of Sookie’s light inside of me for a moment. I just hoped that my luck—our luck—would hold.
I quickly dressed and focused upon the tasks I needed to accomplish that night. In my mind, I lay them out like a list and thought of potential variables and obstacles for each item. That done, I moved a few of the steps around for efficiency.
As soon as the sun set, I left the cubby.
I flew straight to Nora’s grave, and—true to her word—Sookie had placed flowers onto it: sweet alyssum and rosemary. I closed my eyes, intuiting that my bonded had chosen the rosemary because it symbolized “remembrance.” I recalled that sweet alyssum represented “worth beyond beauty.” The combination of flowers was perfect for my sister.
I inhaled deeply and touched the headstone. “Hålla henne säker för mig, Gran,” I whispered before proceeding to Bill’s home. [“Keep her safe for me, Gran.”]
I refocused on the plan as I approached.
Step one was for me to drink as much of Warlow’s blood as possible. I had several reasons for wanting to do this. The first one required no stretch of the imagination; simply put, I wanted him weak.
Next, I wanted information that only Warlow’s blood could supply. I already knew that he couldn’t feel Sookie’s emotions as well as I could, but I needed to get a better idea of what he could sense from her. And, more importantly, I needed to know how his fairy blood functioned in a body. I would be able to sense what it did in my own body in ways that Sookie wasn’t able to do. I didn’t think that Fae blood could be used to track, but that supposition needed to be verified if Sookie and my plan was going to work. And truly “knowing” Warlow’s blood meant that I needed to take it straight from the source rather than from a vial.
I emerged from the woods and saw Billith standing at his front door, obviously waiting for me. His expression was sour; in fact, he looked downright constipated. And he had clearly picked up Sookie’s scent on me. I smirked. Sookie and I had been “loud” the night before, literally and figuratively. And now I was going to test both Warlow’s ability to hone in on her feelings as well as how interested Bill still was in her.
Two birds. One stone.
I approached him and began my performance.
“Good evening, your majesty, or is it your god-ship?” I greeted dryly.
He ignored my sarcasm. “You are here,” he said, almost like it was a question.
“I said I would be,” I responded, refraining from the impulse to call him Captain Obvious.
“You have lipstick on your cheek,” he observed as we began walking toward the basement. “I recognize the color. I bought it for her,” he finished rather smugly as he stopped at the entrance that would lead us downstairs.
I smirked. Apparently my little minx was sending a nice ‘fuck you’ to her ex using me. I certainly didn’t mind. Her leaving ‘evidence’ on me had been part of the plan.
“Perhaps she is sending a subtle love message to you,” I observed with a deepening smirk.
“Considering the fact that she recently tried to stake me for you, I’d say not,” Bill replied sarcastically.
“Then a ‘fuck you message.’ I feel so used,” I deadpanned.
“Yes—likely a ‘fuck you message,'” Bill chuckled. “But she has already honored her agreement with me nonetheless.”
“Agreement?” I asked, playing dumb.
“Yes—Sookie has confirmed that the sheriff of Bon Temps will not attempt any reprisals against Jessica for what she did to his fairy daughters.”
I nodded. I had already assumed that things had gone well with Andy Bellefleur, given the fact that no mention of problems had been made in Sookie’s note to me.
“Well now you can keep both of your babies close to home. One big, happy family,” I said sarcastically, hoping to poke the bear a little.
It worked. The bear poked back.
“I see that you have forgiven Sookie for fucking Warlow and for taking his blood,” Bill said with a smirk of his own, obviously trying to twist the proverbial knife into my back.
I didn’t take the bait.
“Forgiveness was not on my list for Santa Claus this year,” I said indifferently. “I will likely be truly dead soon. And Sookie’s warm body was a,” I paused, “nice sendoff.”
“I no longer feel her in Bon Temps—or even that close by,” Bill said suspiciously. “In fact, she seems to be near where you told me the Vamp Camp was located.”
I shrugged. “You know how foolish Sookie can be. When I awoke, I found this.” I handed Bill the second note Sookie had written—the prop.
He read aloud:
Eric, please don’t be mad. I knew you wouldn’t take me with you, but I wanted to help. And I think that Jason might be in that camp. Alcide agreed to come. Call when you wake up.
“Did you call her?” Bill snarled. “She’d better not fuck up my plan!”
Interesting—I thought to myself. Bill was certainly more concerned about his plan to supposedly “save” vampire-kind from humanity than he was about Sookie. His petty comments aside, he didn’t seem to care about her much at all anymore.
All the better for Sookie and me.
“I did not call her,” I reported evenly. “I contacted the Were. Sookie won’t be able to do anything stupid,” I reported evenly. “I ordered Herveaux to keep her from going anywhere near the camp.”
“How do you know he’ll follow your orders?” Bill asked skeptically.
“His father ran up yet another gambling debt last year; I bought the marker when he couldn’t pay. Plus, the Were hates my fucking guts and is infatuated with Sookie; therefore, it was easy to convince him that she’d be in too much danger if she went inside the camp. I even promised him that I’d ‘sacrifice my own life to help Jason if needed.'” I said sarcastically. “Herveaux has secured her in a nearby building for the night and will bring her back to Bon Temps tomorrow morning.”
Bill studied me through narrowed eyes. “How has she been secured?”
I laughed. “According to Alcide, she has been tied up and gagged and is . . . .” I paused. “Now—how did he put it? Oh yeah!” I chuckled a little louder. “Fit to be tied.”
“How did you get the Were to do that?” Bill asked skeptically.
“I told him that I could collect on his father’s debt at any time,” I said ominously. “And I reminded him how easily Sookie forgives and forgets. After all, did she not forgive you for having her beaten up in order to get your blood into her?” I asked pointedly. “Next to that, a night ‘all tied up’ seems like a misdemeanor—would you not say?”
Bill gave me a glare. “She will not forgive him if her brother dies,” Bill pointed out.
I shrugged. “It is good—then—that the Were hasn’t thought of that and,” I paused for effect, “that he has gagged her.”
Bill nodded, accepting my story. “Good. I’d prefer that Sookie not be injured, but we must not sacrifice the plan for a single life.”
I nodded again. “Agreed—especially since the lives of my progenies hang in balance. And Sookie is quite safe,” I added sarcastically. “I see no way that she could hinder the plan.”
I didn’t bother to tell Bill that the plan had changed and that Sookie was now an integral part of it. He’d find out about the first change soon enough.
I had to admit that I didn’t quite get Billith’s logic for wanting to wait to attack the Vamp Camp. I’d told him where the camp was, so for all practical purposes, he could have gone there that day to save everyone. Hell—that’s what I would have done! He could have given me Warlow’s blood and commanded Warlow to help too! A vampire demigod, plus a fairy-vampire hybrid, plus a day-walking me equals a badass group. But Bill was so tied to letting his vision “play out”—at least up to the point where we all started to burn. He seemed to think that it had to play out that way. I, on the other hand, wasn’t wed to the scenario from his premonition—especially since it starred me as one of the “burn victims.”
Bill’s plan called for me to go to the Vamp Camp that night. He even agreed to “let me have a little fun” before “letting myself” get caught. I would keep the vials of Warlow’s blood “in me” until I had a chance to distribute them, which Bill figured would be when I was in the round room with the others. I was to prioritize giving the blood to the vampires we knew and wanted to save.
How I would “drop trou” and retrieve the vials without arousing suspicion—or at least libidos—was obviously not something he’d considered.
According to his premonition, I would be saving the others during the day, though Bill didn’t know which day.
Nothing like a vague fucking vision!
All Bill could say was that he “sensed” that his premonition would come to pass soon.
In all actuality, I didn’t give a flying fuck about Bill’s vision, except that it was going to put me in the position to secure the “ammunition” I needed for my own plan. In fact, I was going to prevent Bill’s premonition from coming to pass by making sure I destroyed the Vamp Camp and the TruBlood factory at sunrise—after everyone was out and/or dead, depending on species.
As Bill and I entered the basement and progressed to Warlow’s holding area, the hybrid growled. I guess he saw the lipstick. Or maybe he sensed more of Sookie’s blood in me. Or maybe he smelled her on me. Or maybe he’d felt her emotions as we were having our “fun” the night before. Or maybe he was just a dick.
Was there a box for checking ‘all of the above?’
So—the game is afoot. Rubs hands together. What else does Eric have up his sleeves? Or—ahem—in his pants?