Sookie awoke with a start but immediately drooped onto the bed she’d been tied up on. She was drained, both from the remnants of the drug she’d been given and the usage of her magic to wake herself up. The room was dark, the only light coming from a window―moonlight. Sookie rejoiced to see that it was night. “Eric,” she whispered to herself. She mustered all her remaining power, she reached out to the bond, and she call her husband to her. She felt a jolt of energy in return.
He was coming. She smiled in the dark.
Eric was flying faster than he ever had before. He had finally felt her fully; she was awake, she was calling him, and she was waiting. He was not going to make her wait for long.
Sookie took in her surroundings more fully as her eyes lost some of the haziness of the drug and adjusted to the faint light. She was in a child’s bedroom, obviously one belonging to a little girl. A few dolls stood up on the nightstand, and even in the dim moonlight, Sookie could tell that the curtains were pink.
Sookie was tied up tightly. She was lying on her side, facing the window. Her arms were tied behind her back in two places, first at the hands and then along her upper arms. Her shoulders ached already from the pressure. Her legs and feet were tied together as well. She’d also been tied down to the bed itself; a thick rope attached to her arm bindings was knotted to one end of the headboard on the twin bed on which she lay. Her leg binds were tied to the opposite end of the footboard, placing her diagonally on the small bed. She struggled futilely against her bindings, but they didn’t budge. She tried calling upon her fairy magic or the vampire blood in her system, but at that moment, she felt weak, much too weak to break through the tight knots and thick cords that held her down.
She tried to calm herself. From her position, she could see a small dresser in the corner of the room next to the nightstand. She ran her eyes along the wall with the window. It was about four feet away from her, and she could see the door that must lead to the rest of the house on the wall perpendicular to the one that she was facing.
She reached out using her telepathy. There was a familiar mind―Debbie Pelt. Her thoughts were swirling with one thing―hatred of Sookie―and she was broadcasting that hatred loudly. Debbie felt that Sookie had caused her break-up with Alcide. She blamed Sookie for Marcus’s death. Sookie didn’t even know who Marcus was, but she did know two things about Debbie in that moment. One was that she was crazy. The other was that she was high on V and was currently taking even more of it.
Sookie dug around in the Were’s head for another few seconds, trying to see if she was working with anyone. The thought that Bill might have somehow found and manipulated Debbie using his blood as payment frightened her more than anything else, but in Debbie’s mind, Sookie saw only blind madness and rage.
Sookie went against her first impulse to yell for Debbie and thought for a moment. The longer Debbie thought that Sookie was asleep, the longer Eric would have to get to her. Plus, she might be able to rebuild her own magical energy if she had a bit of time. Her hands were securely tied behind her back, so she wasn’t exactly sure how she’d be able to focus her energy, but she was damned sure going to try.
She stayed silent and closed her eyes. She clung to her bond with Eric. He was closer now and sending piles and piles of love and strength her way. She breathed in and out, latching on to that strength―his strength. She felt her power beginning to grow.
Eric landed outside of a home on the outskirts of Monroe. The van that Debbie Pelt had used to take Sookie was in the driveway, and his bonded, his pledged―his wife―was inside. He wanted to burst through the fucking door and kill the Were bitch, but he stopped just where he was, certain he’d be beyond Debbie’s scenting ability. She, however, was not beyond his.
The Were was separated from his beloved by thirty four feet and by three walls.
Eric reached into his pocket and sent quick texts to Jesus, Miranda and Pam. Debbie had brought Sookie to the home of the old packmaster, Marcus, who had been killed by Herveaux. Jesus texted back almost immediately. They were about fifteen minutes away. Miranda texted right after―20 minutes away. Pam was the farthest away, 25 minutes.
Eric inhaled deeply. He smelled V in the room that Debbie was in. High, Debbie would be stronger and more out of control than if she were sober. However, his experience told him that her senses would most likely be deadened by the drug. Thus, she would not be able to smell him if he approached the house.
Eric had never regretted being a vampire more than he did in that moment. He’d never be able to get into the house without an invitation. Unless Sookie could get herself out, it would be fifteen minutes before he could get help in to her. But he could not leave her alone. If nothing else, he could, perhaps, distract Debbie if she came at Sookie.
Sookie’s mind felt Eric’s void close in, even as the bond warmed from his nearness. She turned her eyes to the window, and suddenly, he was there, looking at her with those blue eyes that she loved more than anything else about him―her true favorite part of him. Though it sounded cliché, those eyes were truly the windows to his soul, his heart, and his thoughts. They were capable of telling her a thousand things in a minute. And right then, those eyes were looking at her with absolute love and devotion. But they also held something that she didn’t like, powerlessness.
Sookie had a sudden moment of realization and then fear; he’d never get in to her without an invitation.
Needing to be closer to her in any way he could, Eric broke the lock on the window almost noiselessly and opened it. His eyes were locked on Sookie’s, cool blue ocean on warm rich soil, water meeting earth.
Sookie broke their gaze and looked toward the closed door of the room. Eric inhaled; Debbie was still where she had been before, half the house away from his beloved.
“Can I invite you in?” she whispered.
He shook his head. Only the owner, a resident, or a guest of the owner could issue an invitation.
She tried anyway, whispering, “Eric Northman, please come in.”
Eric looked at his beloved longingly and tested the barrier. However, as he feared, he could not go beyond its magical force, and she was tied to the bed, so she could not get to him.
“I love you,” he whispered. “Lafayette and Jesus are less than fifteen minutes away.”
Sookie struggled against the ropes holding her hands together. She shook her head at Eric when she once again could not budge them. “I love you too,” she said desperately.
Sookie felt the movement of Debbie Pelt’s brain even as Eric heard her nearing. “I’ll tear the fucking house down if I have to,” Eric whispered as he gave Sookie once last look before silently shutting the window and moving so that he couldn’t be seen. He was counting on Debbie’s frayed senses and the fact that Sookie smelled so much like him to hide his presence.
“Lovely, I see that you are awake, bitch!” Debbie slurred as she opened the door, stepped into the room, and turned on the light.
“Why are you doing this, Debbie?” Sookie asked, knowing that the more she could stall, the more likely she’d survive until someone could get into the house. She felt Eric’s strength washing over her through the bond, as if he were transmitting his power and courage straight into her. She felt the magic within her revving up, but since her hands were tied behind her, she was unable to get it focused.
Debbie’s eyes raged. “‘Why,’ little miss perfect? How dare you fucking ask me ‘why?’ Everything was perfect between Alcide and me until you were back in the picture. And then―just like before―it was all you on his mind!”
“No, Debbie. That’s not true. I know that you think Alcide wants me, but I have seen into his head; he still loves you.”
“I don’t believe you!” Debbie exclaimed rocking back and forth on her heels.
“It’s true, Debbie. And even if it wasn’t, Alcide and me would never work together. I don’t love him. I love Eric Northman.”
Debbie shook her head maniacally. “It doesn’t really matter what you want or who you love. What matters is that Alcide wants YOU! Your continual rejection of him just makes it all worse. There I was just wanting to love him, trying to be the best woman I could be for him, keepin’ his house beautiful, fixin’ his meals―doin’ everything I could think of to make up for my bad patch in Jackson―and you showed up on our doorstep, needin’ help yet again. And then all that work I’d done was out the fucking window. Nothing I could do would ever stack up against the great fucking Sookie Stackhouse!”
As large tears began to stream down Debbie’s cheeks, Sookie couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for her. In some ways, the Were was right about Alcide. “Debbie,” Sookie began softly, “I’m sorry about Alcide. I never wanted to hurt you. And it was unfair of Alcide to make you feel like you weren’t good enough, but please, Debbie, just let me go, and maybe we can talk to him together. I’ve already told him that I’m with Eric, and that’s where I’m stayin’. And I told Alcide about how I felt your love for him that day when you helped me with Marnie. Debbie―please―just let me go, and see if you can get your life back.”
Debbie raised her eyes to Sookie. Despite the tears that were still evident, they had lost all their feeling and sat like two stagnant pools of muddy swamp water, hiding all kinds of danger within them. Debbie shook her head, “Do you know what it means to abjure someone, Sookie?” she asked numbly. “It’s the worst thing that one Were can do to another one. And that’s what Alcide did to me. There is no going back from it. There is no life for me to get back to, and what little life I have left, I’m going to spend making sure you pay.”
Sookie shrank back in fear as much as her ropes would allow as Debbie pulled a large knife from her back pocket. Debbie continued coldly, “I could have just killed you in that hell hole you work in, but that would be too easy for you. I wanted to take my time.” She walked threateningly toward Sookie.
Just then, the window was literally shattered to pieces. Sookie ripped her eyes from Debbie and the knife and turned them to her husband, who stood outside the window like the Viking warrior he was. Both his eyes and his voice were filled with icy rage, “Debbie Pelt, if you touch her, it will be your last act.”
Debbie only laughed madly, “Oh look, Sookie, it’s the conquering hero come to save the damsel in distress. But the poor little vampire can’t get in, can he,” she said in a sing-songy voice.
Eric pounded his fists into the outside wall of the house, an act which shook the dwelling to its very foundation. “There are other ways of getting in besides being invited,” Eric threatened. “Do not make the mistake of thinking that you are safe from me in there.”
In his mind, Eric was counting down the minutes. There were still seven left before he could expect Jesus and Lafayette. While Sookie had been trying to stall Debbie, he’d texted them about the situation. Luckily, Lafayette had put his gun in his car earlier that evening when Eric had called them to come to Merlotte’s. But Eric was not certain if Sookie would live seven minutes more. His punch into the house to test the strength of the walls had told him that the structure was not sturdy, and if he continued to try to get in that way, Sookie would likely be killed right along with Debbie as the house fell in. His mind quickly went through all of his options, weighing pros and cons.
Debbie sneered at Eric as she put down the knife and pulled a gun from the back of her jeans. She moved the barrel to the side of her own head. “You think I care about what you will do to me vampire? Don’t flatter yourself. As soon as I take care of Miss Stackhouse here, I’m gonna put a bullet into my own brain.”
“Just let me go,” Sookie whimpered from the bed.
Debbie shook her head. “There’s no way I’m gonna let you live. You don’t get to live all happily ever after with prince charming here―not after you destroyed my life. Plus, as long as you are alive, Alcide will still want you, and there’s no way I’m gonna stand for even the possibility of you trapping him permanently in your web.”
Debbie looked back toward Eric, “Listen here, Romeo. I have no doubt that I’m gonna die tonight―by my own fucking hand or by this house falling in on me. I don’t fucking care! But nothing you can do will change the fact that your little Juliet is gonna go first! You can watch if you want to.” She cocked the gun and aimed it straight for Sookie’s heart.
Eric yelled from outside, a heart-rending wail. And then he did something he thought he’d never do. He begged, “Please! No! Debbie―I will get you whatever you need. Money, a new life, even V if you want it―even my own blood! I’ll make sure that you get out of here safely. I’ll even make Herveaux take you back. I’ll fucking glamour him to make that happen if you want. Anything. Just don’t hurt her. Please.” Eric had never felt so desperate in his life.
Still―he was not above begging for the life of the woman who literally meant life to him. His pride was not hurt by it, and that knowledge surprised him. He’d get down on his fucking knees if it would make Sookie safe. If he thought that any promise he could make to Debbie would actually stop the insane Were, he would even follow through with them all―just for the life of his bonded. But even as he made his offers to Debbie, he knew she would not take them. And, of course, everything with Eric was strategy. He knew that―at the very least―the promise of his blood would get Debbie’s attention. He knew that Lafayette and Jesus would be in that house and saving Sookie in less than five minutes now―if he could just keep her alive for those minutes.
Debbie looked at Eric, bloodlust in her eyes. V―any V―fuelled her like nothing else. And this was the V of a vampire Alcide had told her was over a thousand years old. Memories of the potency of Russell’s blood made her pause, but her madness and her anger at this very same vampire for taking Russell from her made her turn the gun to Eric and fire directly at him.
The world slowed down for Eric. The vampire in him saw the bullet coming and analyzed it. It was silver. On its current trajectory, it would hit him in the right shoulder, shattering his rotator cuff. It would hurt like hell and would cause him to lose function in that arm for several minutes.
He could move out of the bullet’s way fully, but he wanted to be struck―wanted to bleed. The smell of his blood would cause Debbie to become frenzied, just like the Were he’d killed at the farmhouse before Sookie went to Jackson. Debbie wouldn’t be able to stop herself from attacking him, coming outside after him, and, most importantly, leaving Sookie’s side. He lurched a bit to the right so that the bullet would strike him just under his clavicle; it would hurt, but the wound would not incapacitate him.
As the bullet ripped through Eric’s flesh and lodged into his muscle, several things happened at roughly the same time. Eric felt the burn of the silver, and the impact of the large caliber bullet shot at such close range caused even him to fall to the ground several feet away from the window. Mere moments later, the scent of his blood hit the air, and, just as Eric had predicted and hoped, Debbie lost all thought of anything except getting to it. She lunged toward the window, dropping the gun onto the bed. Sookie felt Eric’s pain through the bond, and the magic that she had not been able to harness up until that moment pulsed through her in one large wave, incinerating the ropes that had held her.
Debbie was just out the window, and Eric was still on the ground when Sookie grabbed the gun. She ran to the window. Debbie’s back was to her, but she could hear the Were growling and could see that she was getting ready to leap at Eric. Sookie was also able to see the blood on Eric’s shoulder, but she could not see his face. If she had, she would have known that he had recovered enough to meet Debbie’s attack. But Sookie couldn’t see that, and the confidence she felt from him through the bond was still tinged with pain.
And there was one thing Sookie wouldn’t fucking stand for, and that was for her mate to be in pain! Something―call it innate fairy badassness, perhaps―kindled within her at that moment. Sookie let out a kind of strained battle cry. “Get away from him, you bitch!” she yelled as she pulled the trigger once; the bullet struck Debbie in the back of the head and sent her straight to the ground.
The impact of shooting the large-caliber handgun pushed Sookie back a couple of steps. She recovered quickly, however, and went back to the window to make sure that Debbie was indeed down. Eric was standing over the Were’s dead body but looking right into Sookie’s eyes. “Min sköldmöns,” he said reverently.
“Is she dead?” Sookie asked.
“As a doornail,” he confirmed.
Sookie sighed with relief, put the gun down on the windowsill, and reached out to Eric, who pulled her carefully to him through the window, making sure that she was not cut by any of the glass. He carried her several yards away and set her feet down on a patch of grass. She saw him wincing from the wound he’d suffered earlier.
“Your shoulder,” she said. “Is it silver?”
He nodded. “It will be fine, min kván,” Eric said softly.
“Kneel down so I can see,” Sookie commanded. When he complied, she ripped his already torn shirt easily and exposed the wound.
He looked up at her with a twinkle in his eye. “You know―it would heal a lot faster if you would, uh . . .” he looked at her suggestively.
She slapped his other shoulder playfully and then kneeled down in front of him. “Sit,” she commanded. He did and she lowered her mouth to his wound.
Eric pushed her away gently. “Sookie, I was joking. You don’t have to . . .”
She interrupted, “I don’t have to do what? Take care of my husband?! Make sure that he feels as little pain as possible?! Excuse me, but that’s exactly what I have to do,” she said defiantly, even as she looked into his eyes lovingly and softly stroked his cheek. She lowered her mouth again to the wound and sucked until she felt the silver slip into her mouth.
She looked at the small piece of metal almost affectionately. “Another one,” she whispered, putting the bullet into her pocket.
Aroused by her ministrations, Eric growled, “I would take a thousand of those to keep you safe.”
Sookie raised her wrist to his mouth. “Take some blood,” she whispered. “Heal.”
Even as Eric carefully bit into her offered wrist and drank a few sips of her blood, Sookie held her other hand over his healing wound; her light rose into her fingertips, sealing the wound even faster than Eric could heal.
Eric’s eyes held Sookie’s, passion and adoration battling and building in them. He licked the small wound he’d made on her wrist to stop the bleeding and then kissed it lovingly before picking up her other hand and kissing her fingertips. He leaned into her slowly, gently taking her lips with his. Their blood mingled in their kiss, an idea Sookie would have found somewhat sickening a few months earlier, but with Eric, nothing seemed more natural than the mutuality of their blood and magic. If her blood tasted of wheat, honey and the sun to him, his blood tasted of dark chocolate and the salty air of the ocean to her, a taste made even better because of the fact that he was so ready to spill it for her.
Eric broke the kiss and pulled Sookie into his lap. He rested his chin on her shoulder and breathed in her scent, so quintessentially her own but now his as well. “I could have lost you tonight,” he said quietly even as he heard two cars approaching the house.
“You will never lose me,” Sookie said forcefully. “Never.”
Eric nodded even as he thought about the words Sookie had said the night she had convinced him that they had to help Bill with the witches, that they couldn’t just run away and be together. That night, she’d told him that there was no such thing as forever.
Eric acknowledged that there might be no such thing as forever, but for Sookie―and with Sookie―he was determined to get them as close to it as he could!
A/N: Sookie’s line, “Get away from him, you bitch!” is a direct reference to (but not quite a direct quote of) a line from the movie Aliens, which also includes a badass female lead character. I will make a confession for those of you who know the movie. I grew up wanting to be Ripley.
Eric’s answer to Sookie when she asks if Debbie’s dead―“as a doornail”―is in homage to the fifth book of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. I love that one a lot, especially the scene where Sookie tells Eric about their time together, which he has no memory of. I love the thought of Eric having all these feelings and not the memories to match them. It is one of the most heart-rending moments in the series as far as I’m concerned because Sookie is literally grieving the loss of her Eric even as Eric stands in front of her, and Eric doesn’t quite know how to show his emotions yet even though readers can already tell that he loves her―at least in my reading of the scene.