Eric strolled into the workshop. “Ah, Bill―good! I see that you are more yourself.”
The defeated king looked up at him angrily, “Eric, let me go right now! The Authority will never stand for this.”
Pam scoffed. She was sitting to the side filing her nails. She deadpanned. “He seems to have mostly healed, but I preferred him silent.”
Eric walked over to Bill and squatted down so that he was looking at him from the edge of the table. “Oh, Billy boy. Don’t worry about the Authority. Very soon, they will have someone as monarch of this state that even they would not dare challenge.”
“You?” Bill spit out. “They despise you! Don’t forget that they ordered your true death.”
“Tsk, tsk. I bet you are sorry now that you didn’t obey that particular directive, which I’m sure you pushed for in the first place.”
“I should have killed you,” Bill barked, trying but failing to move against his silver chains.
“Indeed,” Eric said with a smirk. “Too late now though. And since you are curious―No, I’m not going to be the new king of Louisiana. Thalia is going to become the queen.”
Bill’s mouth gaped a bit.
“Thought you’d like that one, Bill,” Eric said sarcastically as he rose to his feet. He picked up his sword from next to Bill’s head and walked over to his utility sink so that he could wash the blood off of it. He looked at Pam, “Minns han?” [Does he remember?]
“Other than that he’s a douche―no!” Pam answered with a chuckle. “He’s been going on and on about the Authority this and the AVL that. It’s seriously delusional how he believes that he’s an ‘essential member of the vampire movement,’” she used air quotes with the last part of her sentence.
Eric picked up a towel and began to dry his sword. He walked back over toward his work table as Bill eyed the sword fearfully.
“Ah, Bill, it seems you are not quite healed all the way yet. That short term memory can be a bitch when the prefrontal lobe is crushed. By the way, my bad,” Eric said as he shrugged his shoulders. “But it will heal. I’m sure that you’ll be right as rain soon enough.” He gave Bill a deadly smile. “And meanwhile, I think I will enjoy telling you the story.”
Bill’s eyes were still on the sword.
“Ah—this is better, isn’t it, Bill?” Eric asked, showing him the now glistening sword. “Much more appropriate for killing a king, don’t you think?”
If Bill could have disappeared into the table, he would have.
Eric chuckled. “Though perhaps I will use something else for you, Bill. I think my father’s sword is a bit too good for the likes of you.”
Eric glanced at Pam and then back at Bill. “Before I begin, I think I’ll give Pam a moment to say goodbye, Billy boy. She has a little bone she’d like to pick with you.” He winked down at Bill. “And then it will be story time. I have become quite adept at telling stories, you know. Hunter requires one at bedtime each night.”
At the mention of Hunter, Bill snarled.
Eric moved his sword so that it was an inch above Bill’s throat. The Viking growled menacingly, “You should not react to Hunter’s name as if you have some claim to my son, Bill.”
Pam looked at Eric in momentary surprise when he identified Hunter as his son, but then quickly recovered her steady countenance.
Eric was still talking, “If you do so again, I will have to add a few more nights onto my plans for you.”
Eric thumped the front of Bill’s head, which was still indented slightly from the earlier blow he’d received. Bill whimpered in pain. Eric moved the sword away from Bill’s neck and then nodded to Pam as he went to lean against the utility sink. Eric crossed his long arms against his broad chest; he always enjoyed Pamela’s work.
Pam smiled with glee and then reached for some gloves that were lying on top of a small table at the side of the room. Once they were on, she opened a satchel of tools and pulled out what looked to be a set of silver pinchers and a small silver knife.
Bill cringed as Pam walked over to him, snapping the pinchers open and shut in her hand. “I have wanted to de-ball you for a long time,” Pam said, looking at Bill’s pants.
Bill tried to move, but the thick silver chains that tied him to the table prevented that. His skin sizzled against them. The vampiress took the knife and meticulously sliced off Bill’s black trousers, making sure to drag the silver edge lightly over his flesh as she did so.
Once his pants and underwear lay in tatters around his legs, Pam stepped back. “Oh my word, Bill! Seriously―is that all you’re packing?” She looked over her shoulder at Eric.
Eric shrugged. “Maybe he’s a grower and not a shower. And you know what they say about tightie whities,” Eric said, chuckling at Bill’s underwear choice.
“What? That they make someone’s dick disappear?” Pam asked sarcastically. “No wonder Lillith had to fake it with him.”
Bill glared at her and then sneered, “Sookie never complained.”
Pam held up her hand as Eric growled behind her. “Bill, Bill, Bill,” Pam derided, “naughty boy. I’m sure you used the blood tie you’d tricked Sookie into forming with you to make her think you were better than you were, but that’s even more pathetic―isn’t it?”
“I did not need to do anything of the kind,” Bill burst out.
Pam cackled, “Oh―this is rich! Did you see that eye twitch, Eric?” She giggled like a school girl. “Did you know that your eye twitches when you lie, your majesty? It’s just so fun to watch for. If I were a human, I would have made it into a drinking game long ago.”
Pam bent down to whisper into his ear. “Tsk, tsk, Bill. My maker told me that you were never to speak my mistress’s name in his presence again. That was a big mistake, Bill―huge.” She stood up and laughed, “I bet that was the only time anyone has ever said the words ‘big’ and ‘huge’ to you while you were naked―wasn’t it?” She giggled for a moment, and then her expression clouded over with darkness.
“So as I was saying, I’ve thought about de-balling you before.” She dragged the silver knife over his inner thigh. “What do you think, Eric? Should I take King Billy’s willy?”
Having regained his calm, Eric shrugged.
Pam scoffed and then spoke to Bill conspiratorially, “Actually, it looks to me like someone must have already taken it. Nan? Lorena?” She looked back at Eric. “It’s kind of sad really.”
Bill cringed as his skin sizzled.
Pam sat in the chair next to Bill and stared into his eyes for several long minutes.
Finally, she spoke in a cold voice, “But tonight I have changed my mind, Bill. Before, I thought that your genitalia were the most offensive part of you, but I am vampire enough to admit when I am wrong.”
She continued, “Tonight you opened that big mouth of yours, and you ordered your henchmen to shoot my child―the one that you originally sired. So I’ve decided that your tongue is even more offensive to me than little Willy and his two friends here.” She quickly pried open Bill’s mouth and used the silver pinchers to extend his tongue. Then she made quick work of Bill’s tongue with the little knife before dropping the organ onto the table beside him, where it immediately turned into gory sludge.
Bill writhed in agony. “Don’t worry, Bill,” Pam said coldly. “It will grow back―that is, if you survive long enough.” She looked down at her soon-to-be ex-king with death in her eyes. “I would very much like to take you apart a piece at a time and then drive a stake through your miserable heart for ordering the death of my child. She is ten-times the vampire you are, you miserable sack of shit!” And with that, Pam slapped Bill hard across the face.
She looked down at Bill as the sarcasm returned to her voice, “Oh―sorry. I meant no disrespect, your majesty.” She curtsied as Bill thrashed against his chains in pain.
Pam walked back to the side table and put the silver tools back into their places before taking off her gloves. She winked at Bill and nodded toward her maker as she left the room.
Pam quickly zoomed into the house and looked in on Jessica and Jason. She walked over to the closet, where there were some clothes that Jessica and she kept at the farmhouse. She took out a fresh outfit for her child. She did not like seeing the bullet holes in Jessica’s clothing, nor did she enjoy knowing that the blood that stained them was her child’s. The girl was healed of the wounds she’d sustained, but Pam knew that if Eric hadn’t pushed her out of the way, one would have hit her in the back and gone straight through her heart.
She smiled down at the redhead, “Jessica, go shower and change.” Pam handed her the fresh clothes. “I will watch over Jason for you until you come back. A shower will make you feel better, and should he awaken, it would be better if he doesn’t see you with blood on your clothing. He would,” she paused, “worry about you.”
Jessica stood up and nodded, taking the clothes gratefully. Pam kissed her child gently on the forehead, comforting both the girl and herself in that moment.
Once Jessica had left, Pam muttered to the unconscious man on the bed, “Thank you, Jason Stackhouse.” Pam felt that the boy was a waste of space in some ways, but he’d been trying to get to and protect Jessica when a human hit him in the head with his firearm. Jason’s actions had enabled Pam the time to kill the human who was about to fire at Jessica again.
She shook her head in disbelief. She was actually beginning to hope that Jason would prove faithful to Jessica throughout the rest of the year of the no sex and blood rule Pam had imposed. Jessica seemed to be sincerely in love with the boy, and though she had expressed some regret over Hoyt Fortenberry, she seemed to have developed a more grown-up affection for Jason. The irony of the fact that it was two Stackhouses who had captured the hearts of both beings that she had felt closest to during her existence was not lost on her.
“Do not worry, Billy boy,” Eric said as he pulled a chair over so that he could sit next to Bill.
Bill was no longer yelling or crying at the pain of losing his tongue, but he still looked to be in anguish.
Eric continued in a steady tone—though there was a lilt of sarcasm to his voice. “You will not need to talk for this part. But―I assure you—you will last long enough for that tongue to regrow, so feel free to remember any questions that you have and let me know them later.” Eric paused as if struck by a sudden thought. “Oh―wait, that’s right, the ol’ short-term is not functioning well either.” Eric sighed dramatically. “Once again, sorry ‘bout that. Well―you can try to remember your questions so that you can ask them when your tongue regrows.”
Eric got up and went to the corner of the room. He grabbed a bottle of TruBlood from a four-pack he’d put there earlier and popped off the lid. He walked back over to Bill and lifted it to his fallen monarch’s lips. Bill looked at him confusedly.
“Sorry it’s not warm, your majesty,” Eric said. Still confused, Bill opened his mouth and took the blood in the best he could, looking into Eric’s impassive eyes the whole time. Eric answered the question that Bill couldn’t ask. “My wife would not like it if I didn’t offer a guest a drink, Bill, and it looks to me like you could use one.”
After the blood was gone, Eric sat back down in his chair and got comfortable. He waited until Bill had turned his head and was looking at him. “So―where should I start the story, Bill? Would you like to know just how all of your carefully laid plans unwound and how you ended up on my little table here?” Eric looked at Bill, who—somewhat energized by the TruBlood—was now grunting and struggling against his chains. “You would!” Eric exclaimed. “Excellent. It is a very good story―if I do say so myself.”
“Let’s see, I should start with a confession―I think. The night that I warned you about Nan and we prepared to face her, I planted a few bugs in your house. Just a few.” He winked at Bill. “Whew―I must say that it feels good to confess that,” Eric said sarcastically, wiping his hand across his forehead as Bill looked up at him in horror. “Confession is indeed excellent for the soul.”
Eric leaned forward a bit. “Yes, Billy boy, that means that Sookie heard your plans for me and for her. We knew of every pathetic scheme that you crafted in your pathetic little head―all this time. Now that is how you use fucking listening devices.” Eric stood up and walked to the foot of the table. “I suppose I should not be angry that you tried to return the favor by planting cameras and bugs onto Lafayette’s and Jason’s vehicles. Turn-about is fair play―right? It’s just too bad that you didn’t get the idea a little sooner, Bill. You see—you were right about one thing. I was incapacitated, but the night before last that ended. I guess the fates were with me this time.”
Eric sat back down and lowered his chin onto his folded hands. “So, you see, Bill, I knew all about your plans, and I let you hear what I wanted you to hear.” He paused as Bill pulled at his chains again. “Hiring the mercenary vampires as well as the human gunmen was actually quite clever. They may have very well managed to take out Bubba, Pam, and Jessica, as well as Miranda, Jarod, and any humans that were here.”
Eric’s cell phone rang, and he answered it. “Understood,” he said. “Let me speak to him.”
There was a pause as Eric got up, turned his back, and walked to the other side of the room. He spoke into the phone. “It’s okay, smár rekkr. I am just outside and will be with you in three minutes. Will you be okay until then?”
There was another pause. “Good; I’ll see you in three minutes.” Eric hung up the phone.
“Well―Bill, sorry we have to cut story time short tonight,” Eric said as he drew a heavy black blanket over Bill’s body. “But I have confidence that you will remember the tale yourself before I see you again. Now―don’t move, my liege. The sun will be coming up soon, and I’d hate for this blanket to slip off of you. You see, this workshop isn’t exactly light tight.” He stretched the blanket to its full length. It didn’t cover Bill’s face, however. “Oh no, Bill,” Eric smirked, “it looks like I didn’t plan this well; it seems that the blanket isn’t quite long enough. Sorry about that. I’ll cover your head though. We wouldn’t want you to lose that—prematurely.”
Eric turned the blanket diagonally so that it left only Bill’s right lower leg exposed and then quickly left the workshop. He stopped outside to talk to Bubba. “Keep close watch until you must seek shelter for the day.”
“Thanks for all the cats, Mister Eric,” Bubba said.
Eric held his cringe inside. Sookie would probably shoot him, but he’d made sure to have several cats—all older and all due to be euthanized—on hand that night. Bubba had been shot several times before he and Thalia had gotten to him.
Yes—Eric thought—Sookie would understand the cats. In fact, Bubba’s being shot had been part of the plan, which was why Eric had put him into his Kevlar vest.
The now-fully-recovered and very pink-looking ex-singer took position outside the workshop as Eric zipped inside the house. He quickly went up to Hunter’s room, where the boy had awoken from a nightmare, despite Jesus’s spell on the nightlight. The brujo and Pam were both working to comfort Hunter, but as soon as he saw Eric, his arms raised to him.
“It’s okay, smár rekkr,” Eric said as he took Hunter into his arms and held him comfortingly. “I am here.”
After just a few minutes, Hunter calmed down as Eric rocked him in his arms and gently stroked his hair while saying comforting words in both Swedish and English. Soon the boy fell back into an exhausted sleep.
He whispered to Pam, “Tell Miranda to let him sleep an extra hour this morning.”
Pam nodded and left the room with Jesus.
Eric picked up Dino and carried Hunter to his and Sookie’s room, not wanting to leave his son alone to his dreams. The boy had never had a nightmare when he’d been with Eric, and he wanted the rest of his son’s night to be peaceful.
Eric gently settled Hunter onto Sookie’s side of the bed and then lay down on his side. Odin jumped up, followed by the kitten, and both animals snuggled together next to Hunter. Eric stroked his son’s bangs from his forehead and kept watch over him for the rest of the night. Compton could wait until the next night when Hunter fell asleep. Eric’s priority was in front of him, and not even the rich, molten anger that had welled up inside of him for his once-king could have taken him from his main concern in that moment.
Eric closed his eyes as he petted Odin and the kitten. Hunter had been through too much in the last month. He’d been frightened by Eric’s illness, which had also made everyone in the household even more worried about Sookie’s safety. And with the fear for his aunt—of course—came Hunter’s increased fear for his mother. And then, tonight Hunter had been worried about the battle. Eric prayed to his human father’s gods that they would have a time of peace so that Hunter would begin to feel more secure again.