When Sookie pulled up into Lafayette’s drive at 2:58, she noticed that her brother’s truck was already there. Jason and Lafayette were standing on the porch when Sookie parked. Both of them came to help her unload the groceries from the car.
Lafayette picked up the TruBlood and looked at Sookie questioningly.
“Don’t ask,” she said as they took everything inside.
Lafayette just rolled his eyes.
Once inside the house, Sookie was surprised by what she saw. The living room furniture had all been pushed back against the walls, creating a large space in the center of the room. Plus, there was first aid equipment on the kitchen table, including things to start IV’s and even a portable defibrillator. When Sookie’s eyes took in everything, it was enough to give her pause for a few moments.
Seeing what Sookie was looking at, Jesus spoke up from one of the couches in the living room, “A friend of mine who works for an ambulance company brought that over for me to use.” He motioned toward the table.
“Do you think we’ll need all that?” Jason asked coming in behind Sookie.
Jesus shook his head, “No, but I won’t risk this without being prepared for anything. Please, come talk to me after all that’s put up.”
“Go ahead,” Lafayette said. “I gots all this.” He motioned to the groceries.
Sookie joined Jesus on the couch, and Jason pulled over a chair from the table.
Jesus took a deep breath and opened the book of spells in front of him. “I want you both to listen really carefully to what I’m going to say. I’m ready to do this today, but if you need more time or if you change your mind after I tell you about the spell, all you have to do is say the word.”
“Okay,” Sookie and Jason answered at the same time.
“All right.” Jesus said. “The kind of spell I would do on you is designed to remove the vampire blood from your bodies, but to do that, their blood has to be literally burned out. This is what will cause you a lot of pain. And you will become feverish, which is why I got the I.V. stuff and some saline. If the process lasts longer than we think it will, especially for you, Sookie, your body may become dehydrated.”
“And you said earlier that it takes ten minutes?” Jason asked. “Why so long?”
“Well,” Jesus said. “It’s not just a matter of burning the blood from your bodies. Vampires create ties and bonds by the magic within their blood, so the spell must also destroy that magical link; it has to sever the connection.”
“So the vampires will feel it too?” Sookie asked apprehensively.
“Yes, to a certain extent. What happens is that the spell we do will find the vampire blood within you and will begin to burn through it until only the magical connection is left. Then our spell will literally follow that connection, piggybacking off of it until it gets to the source, the vampire. At this point the spell enters the vampire and looks for the tie within him or her as well. Once the tie is found, our magic destroys it at the source.”
“Will it hurt them?” Sookie asked quietly. “I don’t wanna hurt them. If it will, we have to find another way.”
Everyone knew who the “them” was that Sookie was referring to. Jesus shook his head, “According to the book, they will feel our spell tracing through their bodies looking for the origin of the tie. Once the spell finds it, then they will feel it disappearing, but it will not cause them actual pain. They will, however, immediately recognize that the tie has been broken.”
Sookie asked, “How do you know it won’t hurt them?” The thought of hurting either Bill or Eric bothered her more than she could say, and the image of Eric’s pained eyes from when he was under silver flashed into her head for a moment.
Jesus answered as he looked back down at the book. “This spell originated at the behest of vampires, Sookie. Therefore, it is made with their relative ease in mind; the burden of pain falls to the human, I’m afraid.”
He continued, “There have been many times that vampires wanted to break ties before the human’s natural death occurred, and for one reason or another, the vampire didn’t wish to kill the human outright. Often when the human reaches old age, the vampire will let him or her go. Or if the vampire is leaving an area and not taking the human, he or she will sever the tie so that the human can live on.”
“Why not just let the blood fade away in time―like it’s doin’ with Lafayette? Why go through all the bother?” Jason asked.
Jesus looked pensive. “The more blood that is given, the more control a vampire can take, so the human can become dependent―a kind of addict over time.”
“Like Renfield?” Jason asked.
“Yeah, but don’t worry. Neither you nor Sookie has had sustained blood from a vampire for a long enough period of time. Historically, ties have been used by vampires to create loyal subjects that they can control for years and that can protect them in the day. Humans tend to become like Renfield only after a decade or more.”
“Oh,” Sookie said. “So they would feel your magic in their bodies and then the tie breaking, but not really pain?”
“Right,” Jesus confirmed.
“And then after the tie is broken, then what happens to us?” Jason asked nervously.
“Well,” Jesus answered. “As I said, the whole process of burning through the vampire’s blood to isolate his or her magic and then following that magic to the source and finally destroying the tie can take some time. It all depends on the strength of the tie. The human will feel the pain of the burning and then will continue to feel pain as the spell moves into the vampire. The human’s energy is used to power the magical spell in a way. Then, after the spell is finished, the human will literally pass out.”
“Really? Pass out!” Sookie exclaimed.
“Yes, that’s actually a good thing though,” Jesus said. “When the human passes out, this is a sign that the spell has worked and is complete. The spell contains an element that will cause the human to fall unconscious after it is over so that the human body can begin to recover itself. For most people, destroying the tie will take about five minutes, and the human will sleep for a while and just feel a little tired when waking.”
“But you said that people have died before?” Jason asked.
“Yeah,” Jesus said looking at Sookie. “Generally, a vampire keeps the tie alive by giving the human just small amounts of blood every once in a while. This means that the human doesn’t get addicted as badly and retains his or her personality relatively intact. These ties are actually easy to break, even if they’ve lasted years. But when the human has gotten a lot of blood from the vampire, the tie can be harder to destroy, and the spell must be done for a longer period of time. The longest recorded spell took about fifteen minutes.”
“Oh,” Sookie exhaled loudly. “And you think it will take a long time for me.”
“Maybe,” Jesus said. “It depends on several things. First, you have blood from two vampires. The spell should find both of the ties you have and start working to destroy them at the same time, but it might take longer since there are two. Second, your bond with Eric is probably a lot stronger than a normal tie. A bond is a kind of tie, so the spell should still work on it. However, the connection is stronger, and the spell might have more work to do to eliminate it. Then again, once it finds the bond’s origin in Eric’s body, it may be able to destroy it as easily as a regular tie.”
“So that equipment over there is for me mostly, right?” Sookie asked.
Jesus nodded. “I’ll be honest. If the spell takes a while, you’ll need I.V. fluids to help you replenish, but I’m planning to give Jason an I.V. too, just to make sure that he’s okay. Otherwise, he’ll feel tired―almost like he has a cold―for a few days.”
“What about the deaths it’s caused?” Jason asked his question again.
“Well, there have been several deaths reported with this spell. One or two have been from the human developing an unrelated illness in his weakened state following the completion of the spell. That was well in the past before modern medicine, but it’s also why I want to make sure I help your bodies to build back up right away.”
“And the others?” Sookie asked.
Lafayette was walking in the room as Jesus continued, “Those deaths happened as a result of the witches stopping the spell before the human was unconscious. The witches must keep up a chant throughout the spell’s usage―to keep the spell active and looking for the tie in the vampire. Then, once the tie is gone, the chanting can stop. But if the witches stop prematurely, then the magic that had been searching for the tie rebounds into the human and tries to destroy the vampire magic from within the human’s body. This will stop the human’s heart and kill him or her.”
“So you have the defibrillator,” Sookie observed.
“Exactly,” Jesus confirmed.
“Once we start, we won’t stop. I’s promise, baby girl,” Lafayette said. “This house could be fallin’ down ‘round us, but we won’t stop.”
“But if something were to happen, we’d be ready,” Jesus added.
This information caused both Jason and Sookie to tense a bit, and the siblings looked at each other before sharing a nod. They both needed to do this, and both were silently happy that they were not alone in it.
Sookie reached out and grabbed Jason’s hand before turning to Jesus and Lafayette. “I trust you both to do your very best here, and if something were to go wrong, you can’t blame yourselves for that, okay?”
She waited until both of them nodded. Then she gave a little smile and said, “Okay. I want this. I need it. Even though I know it might be harder for me―might even kill me, I have to be my own person again. It is worth the risk to me.”
Jason also nodded. “I need to do this too. Either I really love Jess, and I need to do something to make that work for us. Or it’s the blood, and I need to recover my friendship with Hoyt, but as it’s going right now, I’m gonna lose them both.”
Jesus looked at the clock; it read 3:30. “Okay. But I want to do you two separately.”
“I’m first then,” Jason said quickly.
“But, Jason,” Sookie began.
“No arguments, Sook!” Jason said firmly. “They think mine will be easier anyway. It can be a kind of practice, to make sure it’s all workin’ okay. Once they know they got it right, they can move on to you.”
“But Jase, what if something goes wrong?” Sookie asked.
“Then it’ll go wrong on me, little sis,” Jason said forcefully. “I haven’t always been the best of big brothers to you, Sook, but you know I have always tried to protect you, and my going first now is doing that. We’ll know it works before they even try with you.”
Sookie nodded and gave Jason a big hug.
“All right,” Jason said, looking at Jesus. “What do I need to do?
Ten minutes later, a circle with about a seven foot diameter had been drawn on the living room floor with some kind of powdery mix, and Jason was sitting inside of it.
“You sure?” Jesus asked one more time as he and Lafayette sat down a few feet from the circle. They sat facing each other Indian style. Sookie was sitting on one of the couches watching her brother nervously.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Jason said looking at Sookie with certainty in his eyes.
“And don’t stop no matter what,” Jason added, looking at Jesus and Lafayette.
“We won’t,” Jesus assured as he began crushing a mixture that looked like herbs and oil in a cauldron that sat between himself and Lafayette. Once the contents were mixed, he and Lafayette grasped hands. “Ready?” he asked the man he loved.
Lafayette nodded, and the two began to chant words that sounded Latin to Sookie’s ears.
For a moment, nothing seemed to happen, but then Jason doubled over in pain. Sookie had to remind herself that she couldn’t go to her brother as she wanted to. Jesus had instructed her to stay out of the circle no matter what. Jason lay on the floor groaning for a few minutes, his body breaking out into sweats. Then after about four minutes total, he let out one last grunt and fell into unconsciousness.
Jesus, who had been looking at Jason the whole time, gave Lafayette a look and stopped chanting. He rose and went into the circle, checking Jason’s pulse. “It’s strong,” he assured Sookie and Lafayette, who were looking on with concern. Sookie sighed with relief and went into the circle to pull Jason to her. Jesus got a kit to start an I.V., and then Lafayette helped him move Jason to the couch. The I.V. started, Sookie waited for her brother to wake up.
A short time after Lafayette and Jesus had begun chanting, Jessica woke up from her day sleep with a start. As a precaution, she was still sleeping in Bill’s locked basement with him, although they were no longer wrapped up in chains. She looked anxiously around, wondering what had stirred her.
Bill, feeling his child’s anxiety, also woke up, afraid that she was being attacked. “Jessica?” he said.
“Fuck,” Jessica said, grabbing at her stomach, “is this another spell?”
“I’m feeling somethin’ really weird here,” she said with uncertainty in her eyes. “I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like I’m being compelled to do anything like before. It just feels like somethin’ is inside of me, like someone is reaching around inside of me, trying to find somethin’.”
Groggily, Bill rose and went to his child, looking over her body for any wounds. There was nothing visible. “Try to be calm,” he said.
Jessica, obviously freaking out, said, “What the hell is happenin’?”
Bill tapped into his bond with his child. He felt no pain from her, just her anxiety, so he held her hand, trying to calm her.
She continued to squirm for several minutes and then finally seemed to stiffen and fall back to sleep. As she fell into her slumber again, Bill heard only one word from her mouth, “Jason.”
Bill checked his bond with his child again. She had returned to her day sleep and felt normal to him. No longer compelled into wakefulness by his child’s anxiety, Bill returned to his bed as well and fell back into his rest, wondering what could have happened to his child and why she seemed to think of Jason Stackhouse as she fell back into slumber. He was determined to look into it as soon as he rose.
Jason woke up about 15 minutes after the spell had been completed.
“How do you feel?” Sookie asked, both concern and relief clear on her face.
Jason thought for a second and then answered, “Fine. I feel better than I did when I woke up this morning, that’s for sure.” He sat up on the couch and looked at the IV a bit warily.
“Just fluids, like I talked about,” Jesus assured. “As soon as the bag is done, I’ll take it out.” Jesus checked Jason’s vitals again. “Everything seems normal. The vitals are just like they were before we did the spell.”
“Cool,” Jason said. “Like I said, I feel fine, maybe a little tired, like after I wake up from a long nap, but otherwise normal.”
Sookie let out a big sigh of relief and hugged Jason to her.
Looking at Jesus, Jason spoke up, “But dude, could I get this thing out now? I kind of am freaked out by needles in me.” He looked down at the I.V. in his arm squeamishly.
Jesus laughed. “Yeah, you have probably had enough, and you seem good.” He carefully pulled out the I.V. and then put a bandage over the wound.
“Do you feel any different, you know, without the blood?” Lafayette asked.
Jason again paused to assess himself, “Nah. I feel like I did before. I guess I’ll just have to wait until I see Jessica to know if any of the feelings I was having are still there.”
“So there’s no bolt of lightning telling you what you feel?” Sookie asked ruefully, wondering why it couldn’t be that easy.
“Sorry, Sook,” Jason answered.
“Oh well,” she sighed. “At least now, you’ll be able to explore how you feel the old-fashioned way―using your own mind.”
“For what that’s worth,” Lafayette joked.
Jesus rose and looked at Sookie. “You ready for this?”
“Yep,” Sookie answered, “more than ready.”