Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.—Sun Tzu
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?’
I spared the growler only a glance; otherwise, it might have been too difficult not to laugh at the way his face was contorted. I smirked, wondering if I too would perfect the “snarl-pout” if I lived another 4,500 years. If I did, I would be able to annoy Pam endlessly.
Professor Takahashi came forward as soon as he saw me. He was holding up five vials of blood as if in triumph. “Mr. Northman, I have come up with a way to preserve the Fae qualities inside of the blood indefinitely—as long as these vials remain sealed,” he said in a proud and excited tone. I’d shown interest in his work the night before, and he was obviously happy to share his breakthrough with someone who wasn’t an insufferable prat or a maniacal douche.
“And how did you manage that?” I asked with curiosity. Before I’d gone to Sookie’s home the night before, Takahashi had been struggling to maintain the integrity of the Fae blood. It seemed that as soon as it left Warlow’s body, it—like vampire blood—began to degrade and lose its magical qualities.
With vampire blood, most of the magical characteristics were lost within moments once it was outside of a host. The ‘residue’ of the magic—so to speak—was what made humans inebriated from it. However, no ties or bonds could be formed once the blood had spent even a few seconds outside of a body, and even its healing properties diminished, though they were not lost completely.
Ironically, blood that was drunk directly from a vampire caused hardly any “drunkenness” in humans. It—of course—had healing properties and increased the strength and senses of the human taking it, but that was about all it did for the human, other than to provide a little euphoria. For Weres taking vampire blood, the same was true—unless they took the blood while they were shifted or right before or after they shifted. In those cases, the mixture of the “magics” would cause bloodlust in Weres.
Vampires, by nature, were selfish and suspicious creatures. Thus, most vampires hardly ever shared their blood with other creatures, but if they did, the only way it could survive in another being was if it linked itself to the blood of that being. In that way, vampire blood was truly parasitic. And that was how ties were formed. A vampire’s ability to influence his or her blood in a human host was determined by his or her aptitude in manipulating the hormonal levels within the human blood. With age came almost automatic aptitude. However, having a larger amount of blood in a human would allow a younger vampire—like Bill—more “practice” and more room for error in his manipulation.
Ties were stronger when a vampire had also taken the human’s blood. However, that strengthening was not a matter of magic. It was a matter of “education.” Simply put, once a vampire had another being’s blood inside of him, he could “ask” his blood to study the blood of the “other.” And the results of that study could be extremely helpful in a vampire’s understanding of how his blood could influence that “other.” If the vampire hadn’t had the “other’s” blood—as I’d not had Sookie’s when I’d first given her mine in Dallas—then he could try manipulate the “other’s” blood by instinct, but that wasn’t as effective.
Because of Godric’s influence, I had always made a point of “studying” any blood that I took, despite the fact that I’d given very few other beings my own blood. Granted, I’d done some “experimenting” by forming ties with Lafayette and Hadley, but I’d held onto those ties only for a little while before eliminating them from my body—which was always a vampire’s prerogative when it came to ties. A vampire could—for all intents and purposes—”squeeze” the blood of a human or a Were until it was destroyed.
Lafayette’s emotions had been easy to manipulate when I’d created a tie with him, and that had made him the perfect tool when I’d been forced to sell Sophie-Anne’s V. I’d manipulated Hadley’s fear only long enough to influence her to run away from Mississippi and to warn Sookie that Russell would be coming for her. After that, I’d had no further need for their blood in me and no desire to feel their emotions or to monitor their locations, so I’d simply eradicated those ties.
Sookie’s blood had been another story altogether. Even when she’d been in the fairy world for a year of my existence, I’d clung to her blood like it was a lifeline.
From Professor Takahashi’s notes, which I’d taken the liberty of speed-reading before my conversation with Bill the night before, I’d learned that Fae blood had some similar qualities to vampire blood. It too lost its magic outside of a host, except in its case, not even a magical “residue” was left behind. Fairy-human hybrid blood maintained its magic outside of a body for only a couple of seconds.
As these thoughts about blood zipped through my head and were considered alongside the applicable elements of “the plan,” Takahashi was looking at Bill, presumably waiting for permission to further explain his ingenuity to me. In fact, he looked to be chomping at the bit.
“Feel free to elucidate,” Bill told the professor indulgently.
Takahashi looked back at me, the excitement clear in his eyes. “Well—Warlow’s blood is different from anything I’d ever seen before. It is both Fae and vampire, but the blood isn’t fused together. The cells of Fae blood coexist with the vampire blood, but have maintained their independence, and that is why he has always been able to walk in the sun. Under the microscope, the two kinds of blood migrate to opposite ends of the same slide!”
“Fascinating,” I said, doing my best Spock impression. “In that case, I wonder how Lilith was able to turn a fairy in the first place,” I observed. “After all, the little bit of human blood left in us at death must bond with our maker’s blood in order for our turning to be successful. I glanced in Warlow’s direction. He was still pouting and snarling.
A rabid dog begging for a bone.
Bill shrugged. “I do not know. As far as I have found, no other vampire has ever successfully turned a fairy.”
I smirked at Warlow, “But I bet you’ve tried—haven’t you?”
Warlow immediately looked guilty.
“It is my guess that something in Lilith—probably her divine nature—enabled her to turn Warlow,” Bill posited.
Takahashi continued, “But once Warlow’s blood is drawn, the vampire component of it acts like any other vampire’s blood would.”
“Thus, anything that was divine within his maker was obviously not transferred to him,” Bill finished with a sneer.
“When I figured that out,” Takahashi reported, “I concentrated my studies on just the Fae portion of Warlow’s blood. In any given sample I looked at, the Fae blood closest to the vampire blood begins to degrade almost immediately once it’s out of Warlow’s body. The farther away the Fae blood starts from the vampire blood, the longer it takes for its magical properties to erode.”
“So—theoretically—if the Fae blood were isolated immediately, its magical characteristics would remain viable for a longer period of time,” I said.
“That was my first thought!” he relayed, looking impressed that I was keeping up and even participating. “At first, I tried just removing the vampire blood from the sample, but the Fae blood became somewhat erratic and the magic quickly,” he paused, “wore itself out.”
“A defense mechanism,” I guessed. “It was looking for a body to inhabit—likely the light of a fairy host or,” I paused, “the warmth of a human one.”
“Yes!” he proclaimed. “So I removed the vampire blood from one of Warlow’s samples, and I mixed it with a sample of human blood—my own!”
“And the result?” I asked.
“The two remain separate, but a kind of stasis is achieved between them,” he said proudly. “As long as the mixture is kept sealed in an airtight container, the magic in the fairy blood won’t degrade because there is no innate magic in the human blood.”
“Thus, it feels no need to defend itself, so it doesn’t,” I paused, “wear itself out.”
“Precisely! The human blood seems to pacify the fairy blood’s need to ‘search’ and expend its energy.”
“Ingenious, Professor,” I said, duly impressed by the man’s work.
He smiled humbly at the compliment. “Well, it wasn’t too much of a stretch. I already knew that Fae blood and human blood were compatible.”
“Because fairies and humans can breed and have children,” I said.
He nodded. “Once the human and Fae blood is melded genetically, it loses potency, but not compatibility.” Takahashi added, “That is why your drinking experiences were different when you took Miss Stackhouse’s blood and walked into the sun versus when you drank the full Fae’s blood.”
“Interesting,” I commented. I’d told Takahashi of both those experiences the evening before as I’d been looking through his notes. I was glad that the information I’d given seemed to have helped him a little.
“Yes, it is!” Takahashi rolled on enthusiastically. “Miss Stackhouse’s blood allowed you to be in the sun with only relative safety and, even then, only for a few minutes because it is essentially a watered-down version of Fae blood—different from either Fae or human, but having certain properties of both. Drinking from a true fairy allowed you full protection from the sun—until the Fae blood wore itself out.”
I nodded. “Yes. Another defense mechanism inherent in Fae blood—no doubt. Once Claudine’s blood was inside of me, I remember that my own blood pursued it, but it couldn’t form a connection with it,” I said, recalling the way Claudine’s blood had felt inside of me. Her blood had literally ‘fled’ from mine. And mine had given chase. I posited that that frenzied phenomenon of the blood was what caused a vampire to feel drunk after drinking from a fairy. My blood had been mostly beyond my control until the Fae blood dissipated inside of me.
The implications of the professor’s work were quite interesting. It seemed that pure Fae blood couldn’t be bound or tied to the blood of a vampire, which explained why Warlow hadn’t been able to take a full-blooded Fae as his mate. His only hope was to try to bind himself with someone who was a fairy-human hybrid—someone like Sookie. Because of her unique blood, she was compatible with both vampires and fairies—and, presumably, vampire-fairy hybrids.
However, the Fae notes in Sookie’s blood had obviously made her somewhat resistant to ties with vampires. I wondered again, why—or how—she’d bound herself to me, but then I remembered that night in the cubby. I’d offered her the choice. I’d told her that we would be one. And then she’d drunk from me. She’d chosen me. Perhaps, that was the difference; perhaps her blood could choose whether to flee from a vampire’s.
I took the vials from Takahashi. “I’m guessing that the older the Fae blood, the longer it will protect a vampire from the sun.”
“That is my working theory too,” Takahashi said.
“Any idea how long Warlow’s blood will protect vampires from the sun?” I asked, looking from Takahashi to Bill.
Bill responded, sounding a little pissed off, “I was drawn to avoid the sun at first light this morning.”
That made sense to me. Claudine’s blood had protected me for more than two hours. I had no idea of her age, but clearly Warlow was much older than she had been. So it seemed that his blood lasted for two days—give or take. That would be plenty of time.
Seeing that Bill still looked annoyed and having gotten all the information I could from Takahashi, I decided to get back on track with “the plan”—by having a little fun at Bill’s expense.
“Yet you were already waiting for me outside of your door—looking fresh as a daisy—even though I arrived just minutes after sunset,” I observed. “Let me guess,” I smirked, “Warlow offered you more of his blood.”
Bill nodded stiffly.
I chuckled and looked down at the five vials of Takahashi’s brew in my hand. “There were more vampires than five in your vision—were there not?” I asked Bill.
“You can share with the others if there is time, but prioritize Jessica, Tara, Pam, your other progeny and yourself,” Bill said gruffly.
I nodded, trying not to show my disdain for the ‘supposed’ vampire savior. “I do have a few conditions for seeing this through,” I said.
Bill’s fangs dropped immediately. “There will be no conditions!” he yelled.
I rolled my eyes. “You aren’t going to kill me, Bill—at least not until I’ve outlived my usefulness to you. We both know that. You need me to go back in there,” I said evenly. “And I believe my conditions are reasonable.”
“What are they?” Bill barked, his gaudy fangs still out.
“I want you to order Warlow to never turn Sookie,” I said.
“No!” Warlow yelled.
“What if that is what she wants?” Bill challenged me.
“It’s not,” I said evenly.
“How can you be so sure?” Bill asked.
“Because she is the one who asked me to make this a condition of my going back to the Vamp Camp.”
“You lie!” Warlow seethed, testing his bars.
Bill and I both ignored him.
“She will likely change her mind. Again,” Bill smirked.
“Fine,” I said indifferently. “Then command him not to turn her unless she asks him to.”
Bill’s smirk grew. “What else do you want?”
“I want you to promise me that you won’t harm any member of my line.”
“I didn’t plan to harm them,” Bill said, his fangs disappearing, “so I have no problem agreeing to that unless you or they come after me.”
I nodded. “I will command my progenies not to initiate a conflict with you, and I will ask Pam to do the same of Tara.”
Bill nodded. “Is that all?”
“Plan B,” I said.
“Plan B?” Bill asked.
“Yes. I never face danger without one.”
“What do you want, Eric?” Bill questioned, his patience obviously growing thin.
“I want to drink some of Warlow’s blood now; in fact, I’d like a lot of it,” I said with a smirk.
“Why?” Bill asked. “You have your vial; that will keep you safe from the sun.”
“And what if the humans decide to get cute and do a full-cavity search?” I asked. “They also conduct sexual experiments. What if I am punished for my ‘misbehavior’ by being forced to participate in one? If those vials are found, I can do nothing to stop your premonition from coming true.”
Bill looked nonplussed. “Taking Warlow’s blood now would help only you. So if the other vials are found by the humans, then only you would be protected.” He narrowed his eyes. “I don’t believe I will agree to that condition. I want you to be sufficiently motivated to get those vials to the others.”
“I assure you that my progenies’ lives are sufficient motivation,” I said through clenched teeth. “That is why I want to take Warlow’s blood.”
The fairy-vampire in the cage growled in protest, but Bill and I continued to ignore him and glare at each other.
“How can taking Warlow’s blood now help the others?”
I rolled my eyes. “It won’t unless I take a lot of it,” I informed. “I am the Plan B for the others. If the vials are taken from me, then the others can feed from me!” I refrained from calling Bill an idiot. Why he didn’t just drag Warlow into the Vamp Camp to feed everyone was beyond me. And if Warlow got drained in the process? Bonus.
“Surely that won’t work,” Bill said, looking at Professor Takahashi.
The scientist thought for a moment. “Actually, it likely would work, given the nature of the Fae blood and the fact that it remains intact and separate from vampire blood. If there were enough of it in Mr. Northman, the others would be able to have access to it by feeding from him. Mr. Northman might be drained in the process, but I believe it would be effective. It’s a good Plan B,” the good doctor said with a shrug, “at least for about 48 hours.”
“And since you believe your premonition will soon come to pass and you don’t give a fuck whether I live or die,” I started, but let my voice trail off before completing the sentence.
Bill looked back at me—obviously studying me. One thing that I did not see in his eyes was concern for my wellbeing. Typical.
“Taking a lot of his blood will not transform you into a day-walker permanently,” Bill said. “You will still become just as unable to be in the sun after two days’ time—just as if you’d only taken a vial full.”
“I have no reason to want to be a day-walker after all this is over,” I said honestly. “Unlike others,” I continued with a jabbing look at both Bill and Warlow, “I have never regretted what I am.”
The truth was that I didn’t want to be a day-walker. I’d been awed by the minutes I’d spent in the sun because of Sookie, but it had come with a heavy price. Just remembering her splayed out and unconscious on a Fangtasia table with fang marks in her neck and wrist made me wish I could have found another way to save us all from Russell at the time. Moreover, I hated the loss of control that taking Claudine’s blood had caused in me. It had left me vulnerable. Warlow’s blood was going to be only the means to an end for me—not some kind of sunshine fest.
“Surely, you aren’t going to let this monster feed from me!” Warlow yelled. “I will go to the vampire prison. I will feed them all myself!”
I stiffened a little. Had I overplayed my hand? Warlow’s presence as a featured actor in the plan would not be welcome, but it was one of the variables I’d considered—just not one I wanted to be stuck with. However, I was counting on Bill’s obstinacy about his “vision.”
Simply put, I was counting on Billith being Bill.
Silently, I studied him and ignored Warlow’s continued supplication.
Bill seemed to be considering Warlow’s offer, but eventually he shook his head. “You are not the one in the premonition, nor am I,” he told the fairy-vampire hybrid.
I held back my look of triumph. Bingo.
Bill continued, “It is Eric in that room, so he must be the one to go,” he said stubbornly.
“But the whole point is to change the future!” Warlow insisted reasonably.
“And so we shall,” Bill replied mulishly, “by following my plan.”
Bill looked at me. “I will agree to all your conditions, but you cannot drain Warlow fully. I need him alive to be my Plan B,” he said sarcastically. He pulled out his phone and quickly dialed a number. “I’ll need several donors immediately,” he ordered into the receiver.
I knew that the donors would be tasked with replenishing Warlow once I was done with him. I wondered if any of them would make it out of the basement alive, given the fairy-vampire’s propensity to “lose control” at inopportune—or was it opportune?—moments.
“You fool! You cannot do this!” Warlow said, his eyes begging Bill to see reason.
I wanted to tell him it was a lost cause, but I kept my mouth shut.
“I can and I will,” Bill said coldly and condescendingly. “And you will shut the fuck up.”
He really did make a douchebag of a demigod.
Bill dialed his phone again. “Cancel the donors until sunrise tomorrow,” he said to the person on the other line as he sneered in Warlow’s direction.
“Tough love, Bill?” I asked sarcastically, even as I celebrated on the inside. If Warlow was anything like a “normal” vampire, he’d be very weak from blood loss when I was finished with him, and without a donor, he’d stay weak. That would greatly limit his ability to feel the location and emotions of anyone who’d had his blood—including Sookie.
“I’ve found that it’s the best kind of love,” Bill said back ominously. “Don’t you agree?”
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Mr. Douchebag Demigod.
Thankfully, Billith’s question was obviously rhetorical, so I didn’t respond.
He turned back to Warlow. “As your maker, I command you to cooperate and to allow Eric to feed from you,” he said somewhat prissily.
Warlow growled but didn’t shown any other signs of aggression as Bill approached his cage.
“How do you keep him from shooting his fairy light in here?” I asked, looking around the room curiously.
“I have commanded him not to,” Bill informed. “Plus, the cage is made of silver and iron; the iron interferes with his Fae abilities. In fact, by a lucky chance, the whole basement was constructed with an alloy that contains both silver and iron.”
“The perfect supernatural prison. You should have compared notes with Governor Burrell before you killed him,” I said dryly.
He rolled his eyes and ignored my snide comment. “You will feel intoxicated after you drink from him,” Bill warned. “I drank only a little each time and have much control, given my new make-up. However, even I felt a small effect from his blood.”
I shrugged. “So much the better. His blood will be but a little fuel added to the fire I already feel for my enemies,” I commented truthfully, “an aid for what I will be doing tonight.” I put the vials in my pocket.
“Store those now,” Bill commanded, “just in case you are too drunk to remember to do so later.”
I rolled my eyes, dropped my pants, and inserted the vials at vampire speed before Bill could say anything else. However, I left my pants down longer than needed so that both Warlow and Bill could see the bright red lipstick print right next to my cock.
After all, nudity was never bothersome to a Scandinavian. Plus, I’d been hoping to find a way to show off that particular print.
Sookie’s sweet teasing.
Warlow growled, his eyes fixed on the “painted” spot. Bill looked amused by Warlow’s reaction—though a little bored otherwise.
I crossed off another item on my mental checklist.
“See something you like?” I asked Warlow mockingly as I started to pull up my pants at a very leisurely pace. “Or do you just want to get a better look,” I smirked, “so you can see how you’d compare in Sookie’s eyes—or mouth.” I gave myself a stroke or two and felt my cock stir to life as I looked at Sookie’s perfect lip print. “Let me warn you that I’m even more of a grower than I am a show-er, so you’ll probably come out on the short end of the stick. Or,” I paused, “perhaps you’d like for me to leave my pants off while I take your blood.”
“Sus tu es!” Warlow fumed in Latin. [“You are a pig!”]
“A pig—eh?” I smirked. “Maybe the phrase you are looking for is ‘hung like a horse.'”
Warlow went back to his snarl-pout.
I chuckled and pulled up my pants the rest of the way when it looked like Warlow was about to lose his mind and Bill was about to lose his patience. Riling ex-rivals was so goddamned fun that it should have been illegal. It even made the fact that I was now a vampire carrier pigeon bearable.
“Will you order him not to turn Sookie before I’m too drunk to notice?” I requested, trying to sound mostly uninvested in what Bill’s response would be.
“No!” Warlow beseeched. Neither Bill nor I paid him any mind.
Bill nodded and looked at Warlow. “Warlow, as your maker, I command you to never turn Sookie unless she gives you explicit permission to do so.”
“You bastards,” Warlow cursed softly as a pinkish drop rolled down his cheek. Not quite blood, not quite tear. But it still smelled delicious nonetheless. “I will kill you both for this!” Warlow threatened.
“You should keep him in this cage indefinitely,” I suggested to Bill, keeping my voice even. “After all, he’s already found a way to kill one maker.”
“You only want him here so that he’ll stay away from Sookie,” Bill responded.
“True,” I said honestly. “But—as you said—she is likely to alter her affections sooner rather than later. Maybe she’s already mounting the mutt. Or—perhaps—you will get the next ride on her ‘merry-go-round of love,'” I said acerbically. “Regardless,” I continued more seriously, “you should probably keep an eye on her once she returns to town. “Lest she try a ‘daring rescue attempt’ for this one,” I said gesturing toward Warlow.
“My Sookie will come for me!” Warlow insisted.
I wanted to laugh at his delusions, but they made him all the more dangerous to my bonded.
“Will you not be with Sookie when she returns?” Bill asked.
“What? Stay in this town? No—I have Fangtasia to see to and a new progeny to train—if I survive what is to come. Plus,” I smiled sinisterly, “I’m sure that there are many more responsible for the Vamp Camp and the TruBlood factory than will be there tonight. Before I am done, I will kill all in restitution for my sister.”
Bill glared at me. “That is not part of my plan.”
“Do not worry. I will be patient—at least for now,” I lied smoothly. “And—when the time comes, I will be,” I paused, “discreet in taking my revenge.”
“I doubt discretion is in your bloody vocabulary!” Warlow scoffed.
I chuckled. “My vocabulary is very ‘bloody.’ Are you ready to find out just how much?”
I winked at the serial snarl-pouter and then moved behind him before sinking my fangs into his neck.
The sound of his tearing flesh was even more satisfying than I’d thought it would be.
A/N: Thanks to everyone for your responses to this story! I love reading what you have to say, and I’m happy and proud that so many people are enjoying my version of things following Nora’s death! What can I say? You all help to keep me excited about the stories I write, which is such a wonderful gift!
I hope that all the stuff about how the different kinds of blood work was not too tedious or hard to follow. Given some of the inconsistencies on the show, it was difficult to come up with a logical explanation for the way the blood worked in this story.
To clarify: In Funeral, the effects of Warlow’s blood won’t just “disappear” if he dies. After all, Claudine was dead, yet her blood kept Eric safe until it wore off. And I did not want day-walking to be permanent either! Ridiculous! In my spin of things, the amount of “sun safety time” for the vampire is directly proportional to the age of the fairy. I imagined it like this: For every hundred years old a fairy is, his/her blood will “live” about an hour once a vampire drinks it.
When Eric took Claudine’s blood, it was still dark outside, and in this story, he was safe in the daylight for a couple of hours, so Claudine might have been 300-400 years old (her blood remaining intact in him for 3 hours or so).
Warlow—as a 5,500 year old—would have Fae blood that would survive in another body for around 55 hours or so, which, depending on the time it was taken, would allow for 2-3 “sun-safe days.”
Make sense? It does in my head, but that’s no guarantee that I’m conveying it right. The important things to note are that: 1.) NO permanent day-walking; 2.) After he takes Warlow’s blood, Eric will have about 55 hours before he feels “unsafe” in the sun (no matter what happens to Warlow); 3.) Just like what happened to Eric when Claudine’s blood wore off, there will be some “warning time” for the vampires when Warlow’s blood wears off. Their skin will begin to redden and they will want to seek shelter; they won’t just burst into flames; 4.) Warlow’s blood in Bill wore out sometime during the night, so he simply didn’t notice that it was “gone” until the sun was about to rise.
Anyway, hope that’s clear-ish.