Those of Quinn’s forces who had remained at the front of the house looked on in shock as the vampire walked into the daylight as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
Eric smirked. “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty,” he sang out as Hunter did when he called the cat. “Wanna play?” Quinn’s eyes widened as he fired his weapon at Eric.
Faster than anyone could see, Eric was next to Quinn; had taken his gun; had shot two humans, who were trying to shoot him, with Quinn’s firearm; and had the large Weretiger dangling in the air by the throat. He whispered into Quinn’s ear menacingly. “It’s a shame that I will not have your pelt as a rug, little kitty. But there is another who wants you. Don’t mess with a mother, tiger. Didn’t your own ever teach you that?”
Eric tossed Quinn to the ground quickly and then whipped away just as fast as he’d come—in order to avoid a barrage of bullets being fired at him by two other humans. Eric quickly took out his sword and dispatched them. He heard a loud roar from the porch and knew that it was Miranda, challenging Quinn. He saw the Weretiger shimmer and then transform. The bodies of the two large cats propelled toward each other, and Eric both heard and felt the impact of them coming together.
His quick vampire eyes and ears assessed the scene even as he moved toward his next target, a human who was aiming at Jarod, who had just taken cover on the porch and was firing at anyone that was aiming for his mate.
Eric could hear that fighting had broken out in the rear of the house too. He could smell that Tara and Jason were firing their weapons from the back porch. He also smelled the distinct scent of fairy magic. Tray’s small Were force had come up behind the people on the other side of the house and was engaging them. He heard cars from the road and knew that would be Alcide.
As Eric decapitated another target, he heard gunfire from the windows upstairs and smelled that Lafayette was now firing.
He smiled. The battle in the front yard was in hand, and he could now turn his attention to Hallow and her brother.
The two Werewitches were looking right at him, and they had begun chanting again. He felt their spell aimed directly at him just as surely as he’d felt Marnie’s spell aim at him the previous year. But this time, the spell did not reach him. He felt other magic stop it and looked up to see Jesus chanting from the balcony off of his and Sookie’s room. Jesus was in his demon form, and Amelia was obviously using her own magic to bolster Jesus’s strength.
Eric smiled appreciatively at his friends even as he neared Hallow’s circle.
The Werewitches looked up toward where Jesus and Amelia were still chanting.
Hallow yelled out with hatred, “You bastards! That spell would have made him mine!” She turned and seethed at Eric, “You should not cross me, vampire. You should join me. You and I would make an excellent team.”
She cut her arm open, and her blood began to drip. Hallow’s tone turned seductive, “I know you cannot resist this blood, vampire. Why not tie yourself to me? Together, we could do great things.”
Eric stepped toward the circle again as the scent of her blood, fueled by magic, tried to engulf him and control him. Hallow’s blood smelled sweet—almost tempting even. Almost.
However, he was not—in fact—tempted. He could still taste the blood of his mate on his tongue and in his very soul. Sookie’s blood would always be closer to his heart than even his own. Eric used the strength of his nose to inhale pointedly, and he scented his mate’s smell lingering on his T-shirt. He scented his mate’s blood, which was mingled with his own, on the dagger that was still in the pocket of his jacket. He felt only the blood of his mate, which was crying out angrily through the power of the fairy bond that someone else was daring to try to take her beloved.
No—Hallow’s blood spell didn’t have a fucking chance.
He smirked and raised his sword. “Your blood is nothing to me, witch—or do you prefer bitch? Underneath that spell that you are trying so desperately to use to hide the foul stench of your blood, I can’t really tell what the fuck you are.”
She snarled and looked at her brother. “Mark—take them out! They are somehow blocking my spell!” She looked up at Jesus and Amelia. Eric rushed toward the circle, but his sword crashed into it and was repelled.
He heard a bullet whizzing toward him and turned to see that Lafayette had fired at the circle, but the bullet bounced off of it as well.
“Hah!” Hallow triumphed. “No one can touch me in here! Your sword and bullets are useless! You will join me, Viking, or you and all your friends will die!”
Knowing that Jesus would now be weakened from stopping Hallow’s magic once, Eric looked up at Jesus and Amelia with concern.
Lafayette cried out from above, “Bitch, you keep your fuckin’ spells off my man!”
Eric could hear that Lafayette had left his position in the window where he’d fired his shot and was now running downstairs. Eric could see that Jarod was still keeping the area around his mate safe and that Miranda and Quinn were still in the midst of a heavy battle with no advantages being won on either side. Eric could hear that Alcide and others had joined up with Tray and were in control in the back of the house.
But he could also hear the painful screams of Jesus and Amelia as Hallow’s brother did something to harm them.
Eric roared and then clashed his sword against the circle around Hallow a second time. Again, he was repelled, and again Hallow cackled.
She taunted, “If you simply give yourself to me, vampire, I will happily let your little witches go. I can assure you that their pain is unbearable right now.”
Eric felt the growl vibrating in his chest, but he felt something else stirring inside of him too—something emanating from the fairy bond. That ‘something’ seemed to be building, and it began to forge a warm path through his body, but that warmth did not hurt him. In fact, he felt like his bonds with Sookie were more alive than ever before.
No—it was more than that; he felt as if his mate were actually with him in that moment―fighting from within him. The warmth traveled to his hand that wasn’t holding his sword, and he looked down in awe as it lit up with reddish light.
Hallow looked at the light, not knowing what to make of it. But Eric did. He clenched his fist and let the magic build on his palm as he’d seen Sookie do before. And build it did—until he felt like it might rage into a wild fire.
Eric smiled at Hallow menacingly. “I might not be able to get into that circle, bitch, but I can blast you the fuck out of it!”
With that, he turned his hand and aimed it at Hallow in the circle; it felt like everything that was in him was focused into the blast, and it burst from his hand with an energy that reverberated and caused everyone within sight to stop and witness it.
The force of Eric’s blast flung both Hallow and her brother from the safety of their magical enclosure.
However, that force also took with it the last of the fairy blood and magic booster that Sookie had gifted him, and Eric fell to his hands and knees as his skin began to redden and slightly smolder. He tried to move, but he was too weak to get himself into the house. The fairy bond inside of him ached and thirsted, but Eric knew it was intact; it was simply taxed to its limit. Eric intuited that it was looking for Sookie—looking for the healing balm of her magic.
Frightened that Sookie would feel him ‘calling’ her, Eric used his own magic to attempt to dampen the fairy bond; he didn’t want her to panic and try to come to him.
He was on his knees and vulnerable, but in his gut, he felt that this was not the time for Sookie to be there.
His wife wasn’t ready. Also, he felt a sense of dread about the idea of her coming; he felt like she’d be in danger if she did. He did not know how or why he had such strong feelings about these things, but he did.
And he trusted his gut.
He also knew that he was not going to let himself be taken out by a Werewitch/bitch. That was not on the fucking agenda! So he stilled himself and conserved the little bit of energy he had left. Even as he felt him skin begin to simmer, he trusted that his family would haul his ass inside before he burned up, but he would make sure that Hallow was dead first. And fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on how one looked at it—he was in the perfect position to play possum.
Several things seemed to happen at the same time as Eric felt his skin beginning to burn a little. Lafayette ran out the front door, and with a feral cry he fired at Hallow’s brother, hitting the Were in the shoulder. The impact sent him reeling again, and the injured male Were-witch reacted by transforming into his wolf form and trying to run away.
Lafayette yelled, “Never fuckin’ touch my man, bitch!” He fired another shot at him, but this one missed. Jarod quickly transformed into his lion form, attacked the brother, and had his throat ripped out within moments.
Simultaneously, the forces from the back of the house, including Niall, were running around the side of the house. However, Hallow had somewhat recovered from Eric’s blast and had already transformed into a wolf. She rushed to attack Eric.
Eric saw all of these things happening through groggy eyes and through the pain of his scalding body, but he grasped his sword, ready to strike at the bitch. He couldn’t rise to his feet, so he’d have to take her initial bite, but he knew he could fatally wound her before the rabid wolf bore into his throat enough to do him major damage. He positioned himself so that his neck was exposed to her—the perfect target. Yes—her bite would hurt like hell, but she’d be the one dying that day. Of that, the Viking was certain.
Even as Hallow leaped into the air, her teeth aiming directly for Eric’s exposed throat, Eric felt his strength increase through the fairy bond. Somehow, he knew it was Sookie refueling him. In a microsecond, he realized that she must be watching through the pool. He accepted her help and felt his skin stop burning, though it did not heal immediately. Bolstered by his wife’s healing magic, the Viking gripped his sword with more certainty.
Even as Eric felt the wolf’s breath on his neck, the vampire saw Niall ‘pop’ right next to him. The fairy pulled a slim silver sword from his walking stick, and with a graceful flick of his wrist, he cleanly separated Hallow’s head from her shoulders.
Jason and Tara had already rushed over to Eric’s side and were picking him up in the next second. Lafayette joined them to take the burning vampire inside where they quickly moved him into the first floor bedroom since the light-tight shutters on the rest of the first floor had not engaged.
Jason and Lafayette both left the room as soon as they put Eric onto the bed—Lafayette to go up to Jesus and Jason to rejoin the fight outside. Niall came in behind Tara, who was looking at Eric with concern.
“What the fuck did you fuckin’ do to yourself, dumbass?” Tara yelled at Eric. She offered her wrist to Eric to feed from, but the vampire shook his head weakly.
“Get him some of his synthetic blood,” the fairy offered.
Tara quickly hurried to the kitchen as Niall walked over by the bed. “Would you like some of my healing light, child?”
Eric shook his head feebly again, though he’d stopped burning now. “Only Sookie’s blood; only Sookie’s magic,” he muttered.
Niall chuckled. “I thought so. Both you and your bonded are incredibly stubborn, young Eric, but I can feel that your wounds will heal, or I would not have given you a choice.”
Eric growled a little at that, but Niall only chuckled louder. “Two of a kind,” the fairy said with a smirk.
Tara hurried in with three TruBloods, though she’d not warmed them. She opened the first and put it to Eric’s lips since his hands were burned.
He drank it in progressively stronger gulps before taking the bottle himself. “Thanks,” he said, looking up at Tara.
“Welcome,” Tara said as she opened a second bottle.
“No offense about not taking your blood,” Eric said between gulps.
Tara laughed a little. “None taken.”
“It was nice of you to offer—surprising even,” Eric said with a little smirk, though he grimaced a little as he made it.
Tara rolled your eyes. “Surprising—yes,” she muttered. “But Sookie’d motha fuckin’ kill me if your dead ass burned up.” She left the other bottles on the nightstand and hurried to see if Lafayette needed any help.
Eric continued drinking and felt a surge of his wife’s love thrusting into the fairy bond, and for a moment, he saw her watching him before she disappeared.
Niall too had felt the magic. “Amazing,” the fairy commented.
“Even more amazing that Claude kept her away,” Eric observed.
Niall chuckled, “Very true.”
“After I fired the fairy light at Hallow and was depleted, I felt the fairy bond within me calling to Sookie; I tried to stop it from happening, but I suppose I failed,” Eric reported.
“Yes,” Niall said. “But Claude kept her there, so no harm was done.”
“She stopped my burning out there,” Eric said. “How is that possible?”
Niall shrugged and then sighed, “She will likely be quite angry with me when I return.” He grinned mischievously, “Perhaps, I will stick around for an hour or two more―just to make sure the battle has truly been won.”
“That might be wise,” Eric smirked after swallowing another gulp of the blood.
“Wisdom comes with age and experience,” Niall smirked back. “I learned this particular lesson when I displeased my Viola. Yes—if you do not already know it, young Eric, take my advice. When a Stackhouse woman is angry with you, it is best to let the hornet’s nest settle a bit before approaching it.”
Eric couldn’t help his laugh, and he snorted out some of the blood he’d just drunk through his nose.
Eric wiped up the blood with his ruined T-shirt and nodded. “I have already learned this lesson as well—the hard way.”
Both men were quiet for a moment as they each thought about the fire within their respective mates.
Niall broke the silence. “You are quite the fighter. Worthy enough even for my great-granddaughter—I think. And I never thought I would see the day when a vampire shot fairy magic from his hand.” He shrugged, “Unless you count my sister, of course, which I do not―because she was a fairy first.”
Eric looked up at Niall and spoke after he’d downed most of his third TruBlood. The day was pulling him into sleep, and the bleeds—because of the toil on his body—had begun. “Will you check on my people upstairs and offer your healing magic should they need it?”
Niall nodded and closed his eyes, obviously assessing the wounds of the others in the house. “The witch Amelia is fine. Your demon friend will also be fine, though he is weakened and in some pain.”
Eric looked at him with some concern.
Niall spoke reassuringly, “I will complete his healing after I have left you—if the Fire Fae will permit a Sky Fae to help him—that is. And even if he does not, he will have little more than a headache by tomorrow.”
Eric sighed in relief as he put down his empty bottle. “Hunter is well too,” he said, even as he checked his son’s heartbeat for about the fiftieth time since the battle had started. He was still safely tucked away in the cubby.
Niall nodded. “The child was never in any danger. I will see him before I leave and assure him that you will recover.”
Eric nodded again.
Eric sank into the bed, feeling the day pulling at him even more now. He looked gratefully at Niall. “If you ever have need of me, you will have my sword.”
Niall smiled. “I have need of you already, young Eric. I need you to continue taking care of my great-granddaughter and great-great-grandson. That is my need, vampire.”
Eric nodded weakly and was asleep.