A tired-looking woman, whom I recognized immediately as the witch Holly Cleary, stepped out onto the porch. I recalled that the woman’s scent had been prominent in the Bellefleur home, and I also recalled that she was liked by the Bellefleur girls.
She could stay.
Sookie immediately took the woman into her arms and the two cried together, even as I ushered them inside the house. Soon, Holly had shared that Andy and the girls were all in Sookie’s old bedroom, huddled together. The girls were asleep, though Andy wouldn’t close his eyes. He refused to take them off of his remaining daughters.
I cannot say that I blamed him.
From the smell of things, Claude was standing right outside of the bedroom door, obviously standing watch over the family.
After kissing my wife on the forehead and leaving her to continue speaking with Holly, I gestured for Tray to join me outside, where Thalia was giving Brady one of the guns loaded with the government-manufactured vampire-killing bullets.
“So?” I looked at Thalia significantly.
“Still in control,” she said.
I nodded in understanding—and gratefulness.
“Where are we at with the governor?” I asked Brady.
“Burrell is decimated. The leaked information implicates him in the Vamp Camp, and I’ve already ensured that a comparison to Nazi Concentration Camps will be made by the Press,” Brady reported.
He was as efficient as ever.
“Good,” I nodded. I felt that the comparison to Nazis was an apt one, considering the experiments—including silvering, starving, staking, and even “gassing” with silver nitrate—which had all been planned by Sarah Newlin, Burrell, and their team of so-called “doctors.”
And—when it came to Nazis, I’d seen their work firsthand. Even vampires were not as cruel as those who planned and operated the Concentration Camps.
Brady continued his report. “It has been confirmed that the Vamp Camp has been razed to the ground, and General Michaels is sending in his troops to investigate the site and Burrell. As expected, we are in the clear.”
“Good,” I said. “At least the Vamp Camp is one less thing to worry about.”
“You have less to worry about around the country too. Nora might be,” he paused, “unpleasant to work with, but she gets results. As of tonight, three TrueBlood factories are already up and running—though they aren’t producing at full capacity yet. But they are doing enough to curtail human panic. The TrueBlood producers are using old bottling plants.”
“What about quality control—in the plants?” I asked, thinking of Governor Burrell’s Hep-V distribution plans.
“Nora has vampire and Were guards at all the sites. Random tests will be conducted on the TrueBlood before, during, and after distribution.” Brady shrugged. “Of course, once rumors start about Hep-V, most vampires won’t touch the stuff for a long time—as if they did much anyway,” he added with a smirk.
“But the illusion that we are drinking it dutifully is needed,” I commented.
“Yeah,” he agreed.
“What about here?”
“As Thalia indicated earlier, I sent Herveaux’s group off to patrol the perimeter.” He scoffed. “In the short time I interacted with them, I found them to be fucking idiotic. I’ve sent Mustapha out there to make sure they aren’t napping.”
I nodded. I couldn’t say I was surprised that members of the Longtooth pack were generally useless. They’d been that way for a while now.
“What about Alcide Herveaux?” I asked, surprised he wasn’t there and “up in my grill”—so to speak.
“Herveaux and a shifter—who was here checking on the Bellefleur family and looking for Sookie, by the way—went to the Bellefleur place to see if Ben Flynn/Warlow could be tracked from there. I’ve yet to hear back from them, but—then again—they left only five minutes before you got here.”
“The shifter was Sam Merlotte?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Brady confirmed. “He didn’t seem to be a fan of yours and kept asking when Mrs. Northman would be back.” The Were smirked. “I don’t think he appreciated that label very much.”
“He wouldn’t,” I said sourly, “but Merlotte could be of help. If he keeps his head out of his ass,” I added.
Brady smirked. “Considering that he smells like a fucking dog, I doubt that’s possible for him.”
“Don’t wolves spend an inordinate amount of time licking their asses and balls too?” I asked Brady.
I might have done so snidely.
“I’m talented—and limber. I don’t need to be in wolf form to do that,” he deadpanned. “Wanna see?”
I chuckled. “No thanks.”
“You?” he asked Tray.
“No thanks,” Tray responded with a laugh.
“During the day, we need better Were coverage than we have now,” Thalia said, all business.
Brady nodded in agreement. “Yes. I fear that Herveaux’s group is fucking useless.”
I sighed, but nodded too. “That’s not surprising. Sookie had hoped that their help could be a stop-gap. Alcide Herveaux is—or, at least, was—her friend. When can we expect some better help?” I asked Brady.
“My packmaster says that he can offer you ten wolves for the short-term. They’ll be here tomorrow by 10:00 a.m.,” Brady informed.
“Maria-Star Cooper,” Tray said.
“Who’s that?” I asked.
“A lone wolf now. She quit the pack when Marcus Bozeman became packmaster because he thought that being the pack leader meant that he could fuck any member. When he came at her during a run—while they were both in wolf form—she almost tore his left nut off. When he tried to come at her later, by breaking into her home, she was waiting for him with a shotgun full of silver buckshot. She gave him a choice: leave her alone or lose both nuts.”
“And did he? Leave her alone?” I asked.
Tray nodded. “Yeah. The coward pretended to abjure Maria-Star rather than to admit that she’d left the pack on her own, but he left her alone.” He paused. “Until he started getting hyped up on V all the fuckin’ time, Marcus was too chicken shit to actually test someone who could be a real challenge to him.”
“And this Maria-Star could have been?” Brady asked.
“Yeah,” Tray chuckled. “She’s like this one,” he said, gesturing toward Thalia. “Little, but deadly. Fucking smart too!”
“Would she help us?” I asked. “And could she come tonight? It’s a long time before 10:00 a.m.”
“Maria-Star and I have stayed in touch,” Tray said with a shrug. “I told her that I’d have her back if she ever needed help, and she’d do the same for me. She’s living in Monroe now, so she could be here within the hour.”
I nodded. “Call her, and see if she’s available to work as a guard until the Warlow problem is dealt with. And—maybe even after that. It’d be good to have a female guard on staff.”
Tray nodded and pulled out his phone. He walked slightly away from the group in order to make the call.
I next looked at Thalia. “Είσαι σε έλεγχο λόγω της ηλικίας σας ή το ιστορικό σας?” I asked. [“Are you in control because of your age or your history?”]
“Both,” she responded in English, even as she kept watch on the tree line.
“How do you think Pam would react—to the smell of fairy?” I asked her.
Thalia shook her head. “I honestly don’t know. She might be able to control herself around the halflings, but I wouldn’t risk them,” she responded seriously.
“I agree,” I sighed, even as I thought about vampires who would be old enough to actually help with the situation.
I could think of only one whom I trusted: Ian.
At that moment, Claude and Sookie came out onto the porch. The fairy looked at Thalia tentatively.
“You are a full-blooded fairy,” the vampiress said calmly, “but I can hardly smell you. I don’t even want to eat you.”
“That’s good,” Claude laughed nervously. “It’s because of a potion, but—unfortunately—I’m almost out of it. My sisters are, however, off looking for additional ingredients.”
“Where’s Holly? Jason?” I asked Sookie and her fairy cousin.
“They’ve gone upstairs to try to convince Andy to shut his eyes now that we’re all here,” Claude answered.
“So—what’s the plan?” Sookie asked, even as she thread her fingers into mine and leaned against me.
Gods—I loved the feeling of touching her!
“Tonight—we will secure this house. Tomorrow night, I will hunt.”
Sookie took a deep breath. I could feel her gearing up to insist that she come on the hunt too, but her free hand found our children, and she nodded in acceptance.
“Along with looking for more ingredients for scent concealments, the Claudes are doing all they can to try to find Niall too,” Claude said of his sisters.
“What about all the fairies in the club?” Sookie asked him.
“They have left the area for a while. There are other places similar to the club throughout this realm, and full-blooded fairies have the ability to teleport between the ones they have visited in the past. Currently, I am the only one left in this area, though my sisters will return after sunrise so that we can begin training the girls. The girls will need to learn much more quickly than we’d thought they would,” Claude sighed. “But—to their credit—three of them were able to elude Warlow, despite having only their innate powers and instincts to work with. That is something special, given the circumstance.”
“Agreed!” I said. The fact that any of the girls had survived an encounter with a fairy/vampire older than Thalia was amazing to me.
Claude smiled. “Like my own sisters, they demonstrated that they can work together to be stronger than they are alone; thus, the Claudes are our best resources in their training.”
Sookie unconsciously placed our joined hands over our own children just as they kicked her. She and I both knew that we were better together than alone, and I certainly wouldn’t have been planning to go into battle without her by my side—except for the fact that she was becoming more and more full with our sons.
“I will call Ian,” I said. “Thalia believes part of her control comes from her age.”
“Will he be able to come?” Sookie asked.
“He will come,” I returned. I knew that he might catch hell from Nora for disappearing—again—so soon after the New Authority was established, but I also knew that he’d give zero fucks, which was exactly how few fucks I gave when it came to Nora’s feelings on the matter.
“What about Pam and Tara?” Sookie asked.
“Once the girls are fully trained, we’ll see—if Andy is okay with testing Pam’s and Tara’s reactions in a controlled setting. But—until then—it’s better to be safe than sorry. For that reason, I’ll make sure that Ian knows not to bring Jessica,” I added.
“Okay. Good,” Sookie agreed.
Just as I was about to send Tray and Thalia on a patrol around the property, I heard a vehicle pull into the long driveway.
By instinct, I placed Sookie behind me.
Of course, my part-fairy mate repositioned herself by my side, twining my arm with hers as she looked up at me indulgently.
“Sorry,” I muttered.
“Don’t be, husband,” she grinned, once again putting my hand over our boys. Sadly our intimate moment couldn’t become as intimate as I wanted as the vehicle stopped.
“Don’t worry; it’s just Sam’s truck,” Sookie whispered, even as our sons kicked—hard against my hand.
“Ouch!” Sookie said to them.
I smirked. I agreed with them. I didn’t like the shifter either!
Merlotte climbed out of the driver’s side—even as Herveaux got out of the passenger side. Both looked at Sookie with longing—and then at me with hate.
I felt my body tensing.
“Cher?” Merlotte said as he approached.
I stifled my growl, despite the shifter’s use of the now completely inappropriate endearment. Inarguably, I wanted to kill him for using it—as my wife was carrying our children no less! However, if I’d learned one thing about Sookie, it was this: Do not to piss her off when she’s pregnant! And if I were overprotective—or overly possessive—I would do just that. Of course, if Merlotte was too pushy—or Herveaux continued to be a dick—I knew that Sookie would turn her pregnancy hormones onto them.
Was it “wrong” of me to hope that one or both of them would soon be at the business end of her lit-up fingers?
I sure as hell didn’t think so!
Sensing the tension in the air, Brady tried to quell it. “Did you find anything at the Bellefleur residence?” he asked Sookie’s ex-suitors.
Alcide narrowed his eyes at me and then at my wife’s belly. “We found a trail, but it disappeared.”
“What did it smell like?” Thalia asked him.
“I don’t answer to you, vampire,” Herveaux growled. “And what is she doin’ here anyway?” he asked Sookie with challenge in his tone.
His odds of survival just went down.
But the fool continued, nonetheless!
“You said that vamps couldn’t stand bein’ near the fairy girls—’cept for your precious Eric, that is,” Herveaux added bitterly, his eyes still on Sookie’s belly.
I heard five distinct growls in that moment—with one of them being mine. After all, a vampire could have only so much patience.
I was grateful that Sookie’s growl was another one that I heard. In addition, Brady, Tray, and Claude all seemed rather perturbed by the Were’s posturing.
But it was Thalia who spoke, and her voice was more intimidating than any growl. “Viking, this Were is looking at your wife’s belly as if he wants to kill what is inside of it.” She glared at Herveaux; her fangs were glistening. “Are those your intentions, wolf?”
Sookie seethed next to me. “Alcide? Is Thalia right?”
Immediately, the wolf seemed to gain some control over himself. “Fuck, Sookie! No! I would never hurt you or your kids. It’s just that . . . .”
“You are a jealous asshole, Alcide Herveaux!” Sookie declared.
“I just thought that you and I would—you know. Eventually,” Herveaux hedged.
Sookie shook her head. “Listen, I’m sorry about that night—the one when I was depressed and very, very drunk. I’m sorry that I would have used you for sex that night if Eric and Bill hadn’t interrupted us—and if I wouldn’t have barfed on your boots. But don’t pretend that you weren’t using me too, Alcide,” she said firmly.
“And don’t pretend that you were as drunk as she was either,” I added, my voice rough. “You were unimpaired enough to drive a vehicle without any hesitation—even without the near-pot of coffee Sookie sucked down.” I glared at him. “You knew she was drunk, whereas you were not. And you knew she blamed herself for Debbie’s demise. You were ready to take advantage of her.”
The Were ignored me. “Sook, please. Just listen for a sec. Maybe I wasn’t acting right with you that night when we almost got together. But I was trying to make sure you’d stay away from people like that dead fuck!” he said in my direction—raising his voice in his anger.
“I am the dead fuck who agreed to take over your father’s debt instead of letting him be killed,” I growled. I’ll admit it; I was also angry.
Herveaux growled back. “Oh—and you did that out of the goodness of your heart?”
“No. I did it for the 30 percent interest rate. And—if I remember correctly—I allowed you quite a bit of time to pay the debt. And when you couldn’t do that, I never threatened you or your father with bodily harm. Instead, I offered to let you work off the debt.”
“You just wanted to own me,” Alcide growled.
“No,” I said simply. “Moreover, what did I ask of you that was beyond reason? A job guarding Sookie at a Were bar? The use of your brand new parking garage and security cameras when I needed a place to stow Russell? Arguably neither of those jobs was performed up to snuff, Mr. Herveaux, but I tore up your father’s marker, nonetheless.”
Was I stirring the pot? Maybe. But it was high time for someone to show the fucking Were a fucking mirror so that he could judge himself for a while! I was fucking tired of being his scapegoat!
As Herveaux glared at me, I felt Sookie’s energy increasing through our bond, and in the next second, Alcide was sent flying through the air.
Oops! He must have thought something she didn’t like. But I couldn’t drum up any sympathy for him.
I might have even chuckled.
Okay—I laughed my ass off.
“Jesus, Sookie!” Merlotte said as he ran over toward the crumpled-up Were.
I stopped laughing when it looked like Sookie might kill the Were. Unfortunately, I knew she wouldn’t really be happy with herself in the morning if she did.
“Sookie?” I asked cautiously as I reached out to take her still-glowing hand. Though her light shocked me, it didn’t actually harm me.
My wife, pledged, and bonded gripped my hand and led me over to the place in the yard where the Were was licking his wounds.
I noted with satisfaction that the others in our little entourage all followed—all on alert.
“You forget that I’m a telepath, Alcide Herveaux!” Sookie growled. “Eric was right. You were trying to take advantage of me that night. You knew I was shit-faced and feelin’ like shit, but you thought I ‘owed’ you—for Debbie!” She shook her head. “And—though I can tell that a really big part of you is a good man—you also wanted to ‘claim’ me so that the vampires wouldn’t want me anymore. Not to mention that you think I have loose morals—even though the very night after you left my house following our ‘almost-sex’ episode, you were screwing another woman! In fact, you fucked two women that night. Two! That’s how many men I’ve been with in my whole life!” she yelled. “That makes you the one with the lose fuckin’ morals, Alcide! You! Not me!”
“Sookie,” he defended, “I’m a Were. Sometimes we cannot control ourselves!”
Sookie dropped my hand and then shot him with another blast of light that sent him another ten feet from us before retaking my hand. Again, her touch didn’t hurt me—though I could certainly feel her power flowing into me a little.
It was invigorating.
“And I’m a fairy,” she said sarcastically, “so I can’t control myself either sometimes.” She scowled at him as she marched us over to his whimpering body. “Plus, I’m tired of double fucking standards!”
“Sookie,” he managed to pant out, “I care about you. I could love you.”
“No!” she said with certainty. “You care about what you want. And you love only those who conform to your ideas about life! In fact, I’m beginning to think you’re the one who drove Debbie to V!” She shook her head. “You know, Alcide, the truth is that—once upon a time—a part of me hoped for something with you. When I got back from the fairy world and realized that a whole year had passed, you were one of the first people I thought about. But you were with Debbie again—the same woman who you knew had tried her hardest to kill me more than once.”
“Well—who killed whom?” Alcide asked bitterly.
Sookie scoffed from next to me. “I killed the bitch, and I’ll kill you too—if you insist upon being a bitch as well!”
Herveaux lunged at my mate, but I batted him away like a puppy before Thalia gripped him by the scruff of the neck, clearly ready to liberate his head from his shoulders.
“Thalia!” I said to stop her from doing so before I looked at me wife. “Sookie, is Herveaux a danger to you or our children?” I asked.
After taking a moment to calm down and “listen,” she shook her head. “No,” she sighed as if tired. “He’s confused and hurt. He’s prejudiced. But he’s decent at his core; however, I think it’s high time we cut all ties with him.” She paused and squeezed my hand. “Sorry I brought him into this. I thought we could use more help. I thought we could trust him.”
“No apologies needed,” I responded as I kissed her forehead.
She smiled at me and then looked at Thalia. “You are good at glamouring Weres—right?”
She nodded in confirmation. “I’m a fucking ninja at it.”
Sookie chuckled. “Can you glamour him? Can you help him to accept that Eric and I are happy? Can you glamour him to no longer want to ‘claim’ me? Can you make sure he doesn’t remember any specifics about me? Or about anything that I can do?” she asked, pointing to her head. “Or about the fact that I’m carrying children?”
Thalia looked at Sookie through narrowed eyes before looking up at me.
“Θα ήταν πιο εύκολο να τον σκοτώσει μόνο,” she observed in Greek. [“It would be easier to just kill him.”]
“Maybe,” I said with a smirk, “but . . . .”
I glanced at my wife, and Thalia snickered.
“You’ve tamed him,” Thalia said to Sookie.
“No!” my wife responded fiercely. “Eric Northman could never be tamed!”
“My mistake,” she smirked before taking Alcide into her power.
Thalia truly was a magician at glamouring.
“You are happy for Sookie and Eric,” she said.
“Happy,” Alcide sighed. “Yeah.”
“You cannot recall any gifts or talents that Sookie has—can you?” Thalia asked.
“No,” he whispered.
“Sookie is just a normal woman—right? One you have very limited knowledge of,” Thalia said.
“You won’t try to fuck with Sookie or her children again—not ever,” she whispered seductively.
“No. I won’t,” he agreed.
“Gather your useless comrades and leave this property. A check for the hour of service you all gave will be in the mail within the week, but you don’t think any of you deserve anything, so you will tear up the check,” she added with an evil grin.
Sookie gave her “a look.”
“Never mind. You will cash the check and pay them,” Thalia said with a roll of her eyes.
I grinned. My wife truly was spectacular. I had a feeling that she could tame Thalia too—not that I was admitting to being tamed.
“On your way,” Thalia finished.
I could feel the power of the vampiress’s magic in the air.
As Alcide began walking toward the woods, presumably to gather his troops, Brady spoke up. “You really are ninja with that.”
Thalia smirked. “When I want to be—yes.”
“Cher!” the shifter said, once again finding his voice. “What the fuck!”
I sighed. I couldn’t help but to wish that Merlotte wouldn’t have found his tongue—though I was curious about how Sookie would deal with him.
Was I wrong for hoping that she’d zap him too?
A/N: Sorry that I’m getting this to you late in the day. I’ve been working on an Epilogue to please the hordes who’ve been reading Given Unsought, and the day got away from me. That story is now done (except for that Epilogue), and I hope that you will take the time to read it if you haven’t yet. I ended up liking the way it turned out.
As for this story? I have to say that I really hated Alcide’s behavior in Season 5. The episode where Sookie was extremely drunk and Alcide almost slept with her was disturbing to me. Sookie was obviously insecure and out of control and—had Alcide been a good man—he would have backed off. After that, I didn’t like him in the show. Of course, in the books his behavior was problematic too. So—I let Sookie shoot him.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!