“Jason!” Sookie said into the phone.
My cellphone had been taken by Billith. So had Sookie’s. And Claude couldn’t “travel” with one because it contained only “non-organics.”
We’d had a hell of a time finding a cell phone in the Authority Headquarters. And the main phones weren’t working because of the lockdown. Finally, we’d found the phone we were using in Salome’s quarters.
“Sook?” Jason Stackhouse said. “Where are you? Are you okay? We had to leave when tons of them motherfuckers came for us. We were literally up to our asses in vampers!”
“I’m okay,” Sookie said, looking up at me. “Eric saved my life.”
My eyebrows raised.
“And I saved his,” she added.
“Sook, I don’t like that vamper,” Jason said.
“That’s not important right now, Jase. Can you tell me where Nora is?” I asked.
“She’s in one of those space-aged lookin’ coffins,” Jason responded.
“Good,” she said. “And where are you guys.”
“Nora led us to this safe house in Lafayette. Hey—did you know that there was a whole city named after Lafayette?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes. How did the man function?
“Yeah, Jase,” Sookie said indulgently. “Are y’all safe there?”
“Uh-huh. We were plannin’ on hiding out here for the day and then comin’ to get you and Eric and Bill tonight.”
“Jase,” Sookie said tentatively, “is Nora’s coffin in a safe place? Is it light-tight where she is?”
“Seems to be,” he answered.
“Seems?” she asked.
“Well—there are these special shutters on the windows, and Nora used this remote control thingy on them before she climbed in her coffin.”
“Good,” Sookie returned.
“But I don’t like babysittin’ vamps. If it weren’t for Jess . . . ,” he started.
“Shut up!” Sookie told her brother. “I need you to wake Nora up.”
“Just listen . . . ,” she started.
Luckily, he did.
“Goddammit, Eric!” Nora yelled into the phone. “What. The. Fuck?”
“Nice to hear your voice too, Sister,” I said.
“Eric!” she yelled. “Why did you give this redneck jackass the code to my coffin? And why did you tell him to silver me to wake me up?”
I heard Jason muttering in the background.
“Oh shut up!” Nora yelled at him.
“Be nice, Nora,” I said.
“What. The. Fuck?” she repeated.
I chuckled. “I need your help, and it cannot wait until nightfall. Bill drank all of Lilith’s remaining blood.”
“What?” she asked. “What happened?”
I couldn’t ignore the awe in my sister’s voice. It was clear to me that a part of her still clung to Lilith—though she’d realized that Lilith was, indeed, ‘a godless god,’ as Godric had labeled her.
“Bill died,” I said. “And he was remade into Lilith.”
“She rose?” Nora asked almost reverently.
“Billith rose,” I returned flatly. “And—trust me—he’s a fucking douche. He tried to kill me and Sookie, so I aim to kill him.”
There was a pause.
“The question is this, Sister: Will you help me?”
“Yes,” she stammered. “Of course.”
“Then tell me what you know about Lilith,” I ordered. “What are her weaknesses?”
“You’ve read the Book of the Vampyr,” Nora responded.
“But you’ve studied it for years,” I reminded. “I need to make sure my own interpretations are correct,” I added, even as I turned on the phone’s speaker so that Sookie and Claude could hear.
“Fine,” Nora sighed. “Lilith’s weaknesses are few.”
“Remind me,” I said.
“The Book of Abderian tells of one of Lilith’s first children, Malachi. He refused to forsake his human wife. Lilith—in her mercy—gave Malachi permission to turn his wife. However, the foolish woman did not want to become a vampire. Malachi respected his human wife’s wishes over those of his maker. And—when Lilith tried to use her maker’s command to compel Malachi to turn the woman, he resisted.”
I nodded. “And because of his disobedience, Lilith asked God for other ways to control her children.”
“And God listened to his dutiful child’s plea,” Nora picked up. “He gave her two methods of punishment that would not affect her.”
“Silver and wood,” I said.
“Yes. Silver is used to punish,” Nora indicated. “However, when corporal punishment was not enough, wood through the heart would kill the vampire. ‘And in this way Lilith was given dominion over her progeny,'” she quoted.
“But Billith had gloves on,” Sookie observed.
“Huh?” Nora asked, even as I leaned over to kiss my wife’s forehead.
Of course, I’d noticed the same detail, but the fact that Sookie had too made me even more confident that she’d been made to be mine.
As if she could read my thoughts, she winked at me.
“Gloves?” Nora asked.
“Yes—he meant for me to die in the sun with Sookie chained to me. But, clearly, he didn’t want to handle the silver directly,” I clarified.
“Well, we know from the bible that Lilith was immune to the effects of silver. And a stake cannot kill her either,” Nora said.
“Maybe the Bill part in her just put on the gloves out of habit—or maybe Bill’s body’s not immune?” Sookie guessed.
I nodded. “Either might be the case. So I think we have to assume that stake and silver won’t affect Billith.”
“So how do we kill him, her—it—then?” Sookie asked.
I chuckled at her labeling. I wasn’t sure which pronoun to use either.
“How did she die before?” she added.
I noticed that Claude was keeping quiet, which showed his wisdom. There was no need to let Nora know that he was involved.
“A human killed her,” Nora informed. “‘And a child of the day destroyed Lilith’s resting place, and she burned in the sun,'” she quoted.
“Alrighty then,” Sookie said. “So we need to get Billith into the sun.”
I nodded. “Nora, is there any way to get into the inner temple when the building is locked down.”
“It’s a level two lockdown,” Sookie observed.
“You can tell you little fairy girlfriend that I can hear the alarms in the background,” Nora said acerbically.
“My wife,” I corrected.
“What?” Nora asked. “Your wife?”
“Yes,” I responded.
“Eric, what have you done?”
“This is not the time,” Sookie said warningly.
“Yes, dear,” I smirked. “Nora, is there a way into the inner temple or not?”
Nora scoffed. “Fine—but you will answer my questions tonight.”
“Fine!” I said loudly.
“Fine. There is a secret panel.”
As Nora told us where the panel was, I reached out my hand for my bonded. She put down the silver chains she’d been carrying and took it.
“Thank you, Sister,” I said when Nora was done.
“What are you going to do now?” she asked.
“Figure out how to kill a god,” I returned.
“Okay,” Nora sighed as if coming to some kind of internal resolution. “Good. Be careful.”
“We will be,” I assured. “Oh—and be sure to change the codes to your coffin before dying again,” I added. “Jason’s a little bit of a loose cannon.”
“I’d already planned on it,” she said before hanging up.
“Ready?” I asked my bonded.
“I’m ready too,” Claude said somewhat awkwardly. “What’s the plan?”
“No idea,” I sighed.
How does one get a god into the sun?
And then—how does one keep him there without getting killed in the process?
Our plan turned out to be a lot more complicated that I would have liked. And a lot more dangerous for my bonded!
I couldn’t just go and get Billith—and then carry him up to the roof like a sack of potatoes. The older the vampire, the more able he or she was of waking up during the day if trouble was sensed. Billith would snap me in two before I could take a step out onto the roof, and then he’d seek shelter inside.
And it wasn’t as if Claude could just teleport Billith out into the sun either. He could transport me because I’d bonded with Sookie. But Billith had not risen with a blood tie to Sookie—or, at least, not one that I could sense inside of her. Moreover, Claude informed us that a blood tie wasn’t enough. A bond was needed.
Oh—and he couldn’t teleport a “sleeping” vampire either.
Fucking fairies and their limitations!
And that’s when my brilliant, foolish, brave fairy wife—the one who acknowledged no limitations—had come up with a brilliant and foolish plan, which I’d vetoed. Loudly.
And then we’d found compromise.
And now the plan was a little more brilliant and much less foolish. I just hoped it would work. There were a lot of fucking variables! And one of them involved creating a bond between my wife and Billith—a thought which my whole being resisted!
In fact, my body literally shook as I thought about going against my instincts in such a way.
I looked at Sookie. “Mine!” I growled. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that Claude looked terrified of me in that moment.
“Yes,” she soothed, placing her hand in mine. “Yours.”
I calmed a little and she leaned upward to offer me a kiss. I was already leaning downward to meet her lips.
“I love you,” she said as she placed her hand on my cheek.
“And I you, min fru,” I responded. “My wife.”
She sighed as I leaned into her touch.
“Anything?” I asked her as I glanced toward Billith.
Clearly, Billith had not worried about the comfort of his resting place—not that comfort much mattered to a “dead” vampire. He was lying on the stone floor, his arms crossed almost comically over his chest—as if he were an extra in a bad Dracula movie.
“No—nothing from his head but the basic void. There’s no,” she paused, “movement in it. He’s asleep.”
I looked at Claude. “Ready?”
Though he looked a little wary, the fairy nodded.
I heard a growl from next to me. My wife. It seemed as if she was becoming as possessive as I.
“Take from me,” Sookie ordered, holding out her wrist.
Claude sighed loudly. “We have already covered this, Cousin. My blood is more potent and will protect him for longer.”
Sookie turned to Claude, growling even louder.
She was downright feral. And I wanted to fuck her—badly.
But I had enough presence of mind to know that it wasn’t the time—yet.
“I don’t want him!” Claude insisted, gesturing toward me. “I mean—he’s cute and all. But he’s a vampire! And most fairies don’t want them,” he added, looking pointedly at Sookie.
“He’s mine!” she proclaimed.
“I know, little nesting one,” Claude said indulgently, rolling his eyes. “But—seriously—you need to chill out. You’ve nothing to fear from me. If anyone has anything to fear, it’s me. I’m about to let a vampire drink from me—for the second time today.”
“Sookie,” I soothed, taking her hand. “I do not want your cousin, and I do not want to weaken you.”
She sighed and then turned away. “I’m not gonna watch.”
Claude approached me. “Don’t drain me,” he said.
“I won’t,” I promised.
“Two drags,” Claude said. “Count them in your head and then pull away. I’ll heal myself.”
“Two!” he reiterated.
“Two,” I confirmed.
He held out his wrist.
“Two,” he whispered as I bit.
Lightness. Divinity. Sweet.
I wanted more. So much more.
Sookie. My wife. My conscience. My love.
I pulled back from the fairy.
“That was two and a half,” he said, smirking at me.
“And you look like chicken,” I said, slurring noticeably.
Sookie came over to me and shot me with a spark of her light.
“Sober up, Cowboy!” she said loudly, still obviously a little pissed that I’d taken Claude’s blood.
“I like it when you are territorial,” I said before kissing her breathless.
“Enough tonsil hockey,” Claude chided, interrupting us.
Sookie growled at him again.
He chuckled. “The sun is at its apex outside. It’s time.”
She got control of herself and nodded. “Sorry about the whole growling thing.”
“It’s natural,” Claude said.
“Natural for a vampire—but not for me,” Sookie said, shaking her head. “Since we bonded, I feel different.”
“Nesting,” Claude said.
“You’re going to have to explain that to me,” she said, “but later.”
I chuckled as I took two needles from my pocket. They were the same kind that Molly had given me for Bill to use to collect Salome’s blood. Sookie cringed a little at the sight of the needle I aimed at her.
“It won’t hurt,” I said. “They have been specially made with a witch’s spell so that vampire blood can be taken without the knowledge of the vampire. Or—at least—that’s what I’ve been told.”
“I don’t exactly trust witches,” Sookie said warily. “And I don’t like needles.”
“But you’ll let yourself get bitten,” Claude intoned.
“It’s not the same,” Sookie insisted.
I chuckled again and then quickly used one of the needles to collect a drop of Sookie’s blood.
“Hey!” she cried out once she’d realized what I’d done.
“Did it hurt?” I asked.
She shook her head, though her lips were set in a pout. I leaned over and kissed her neck where I’d taken the blood.
Then, I approached Bill’s prone body.
“All right,” I said quietly. “Billith shouldn’t feel me taking his blood, but—just in case—let’s do this fast.
Both Sookie and Claude nodded.
I quickly pierced Billith’s body with the needle before handing it to Sookie.
“Gross,” she said as she drank the blood. I opened Billith’s mouth to insert Sookie’s blood at the same time.
Claude and Sookie were holding their breaths, and I would have been holding mine, if I breathed. We waited for a reaction from Billith, but he made none.
“Still asleep,” Sookie whispered a moment later.
I looked at Claude.
“I can feel the bond,” the fairy informed. I could feel it inside of my wife too, and I hated it.
“Once he’s awake, I can teleport him.”
I nodded. Claude would be teleporting Billith—as well as Sookie and me—to the same open field where I’d killed Russell. As vampires were not “supposed” to teleport, we were counting on both me and Billith being stunned for a few minutes. And—if our luck held—Billith would burn in the sun even before the effects of the teleportation went away.
Of course, Billith had just gotten a drop of Sookie’s blood, but I figured that would protect him from the sun for mere seconds. The other fairies were already waiting in the field. As a failsafe, Claude and the others would all shoot Billith with their light as soon as Sookie got me clear of him after we’d teleported.
I raised the ceremonial stake over Billith’s chest, part of me praying that the staking would kill him—that the body I was hovering over had retained its vulnerabilities.
“Wait!” Sookie said. “Let me.”
I nodded and gave her the stake. She deserved this act of closure.
“You all have to be touching me in order to teleport with me,” Claude said. He moved between Sookie and me, and I placed my hand on his back as he put one hand on Sookie’s knee and the other on Billith’s stomach.
“Ready?” Sookie asked.
“Yes,” Claude responded.
A/N: I hope that you liked this chapter. It was a fun one to write for me b/c I was enjoying the interactions between Sookie, Eric, and Claude. So do you think their plan will work? And what do you think “nesting” will entail?
Until next week,