A/N: Again, the title of this chapter is from a song by Bryn Christopher called “The Quest.” Also, if you have any interest to listening to the music I was listening to when I wrote the ‘fight’ chapters, click the picture below.
Chapter 191: Who You Gonna Fight For
Pam felt herself drawn to Claude like an arrow to a target. She tried to tell herself that it was because she’d had his blood—twice.
And he was fucking delicious.
But it was more than that—and she knew it. He had become a “part” of them, and it would hurt Hunter to lose him. It would hurt Sookie. It would hurt the fucking balance of the household!
She felt the blade of her sword whirl through fur and bone and muscle and tendon. But the blood of the Weres she killed did not tempt her, nor—strangely enough—did the blood of the fairy that she was moving ever closer to.
She felt driven on, and suddenly she was looking at two vampires who were definitely well on their way to killing Claude.
Immediately, Pam recognized the vampires—Freyda and Mickey.
“Well fuck,” she muttered to herself.
Mickey was a bastard, reviled by any honorable—or even somewhat honorable—vampire. He liked to take advantage of young human women and turn them into his sex slaves. Of course, a lot of vampires enjoyed kinky sex with humans—and Pam was no exception—but Mickey liked to use a woman up, taking her from young and vibrant to a shell of a human being. He tied women to him and then manipulated the ties by sending the girls horrific dreams. He called it “experimenting with the animals.” Naturally, the girls never survived the experimentation. He was especially known for making bets with other vampires about how long it would take one of his “test subjects” to kill herself. But as sick and twisted as Mickey was, he was also known as a good fighter. He was older than Pam by nearly 300 years, and he looked ready to defend the queen.
Freyda was as beautiful as ever, and she’d used that beauty—as well as a good deal of shrewdness—the youngest queens ever. She was known for her ambition. She was also known for having seduced, married and then killed the previous king of Oklahoma so that she could take his kingdom from him. She’d also seduced a few Authority members―just to be sure that they would confirm her as queen.
Pam smiled as Jessica fought her way through the crowd and joined her—standing shoulder to shoulder with her. Pam couldn’t have been prouder of her child.
Freyda had stopped drinking from Claude, but she still gripped the weakened fairy tightly. Pam saw that Claude’s usually vibrant eyes were dim and unseeing, but he was still in one piece.
“Ah. Pam,” Freyda purred. “Did you lose something?” She jostled Claude a little. “Perhaps I’d be willing to share with you and your little sidekick—if you’d call your dogs off.”
“I see you’re as good to men as ever, Freyda,” Pam hissed. “Still taking pointers from black widow spiders?”
Freyda glared. “How is you master doing? I hear Russell has him,” she paused, “indisposed right now.”
Pam ignored her remark and chided, “Are you still bitter because Eric’s the one man who never allowed himself to get tangled into your web?”
“He’s probably not even a man anymore,” Freyda cackled.
Pam and Jessica both growled.
“I bet our dear Mr. Northman wishes that he would have accepted one of my marriage proposals now,” Freyda crowed. “Last year, he didn’t even take my fucking call!”
“He was already married!” Jessica yelled.
“To a human!” Freyda spit out as she pushed Claude down to the concrete.
“Married or not, he would have never gone for a viper like you, bitch!” Pam said with venom as she looked down to make sure Claude was still alive. He was hanging on by a thread.
“Eric and I could have been magnificent together,” Freyda said, with a hint of wistfulness.
“Don’t delude yourself,” Pam said harshly.
“Together, we could have,” Freyda began.
“Ruled the world?” Pam interrupted sarcastically.
“Just between us gals,” Pam intoned, “how many times would have you needed to be turned down before you took the fucking hint?”
Crying out in anger, Freyda rushed Pam, even as Mickey attacked Jessica.
Tara had already been climbing down from the roof of the van when she saw Jesus hurl his demon fire at the vampire who’d hurt Tray.
“Jesus!” she yelled as he sunk to his knees and then almost immediately passed out.
Tara was too late to stop Amelia from leaving the confines of the privacy spell. Her ex-lover and now best friend threw her body over her fiancé’s. Tara cast a quick protection spell to stop a Were from attacking the couple, and she was thankful to see Henry engage the Were. She turned her attention back to Jesus.
“Don’t you fuckin’ do this to me!” Tara yelled at him. “Lafayette will kill me if anything happens to you!”
She breathed a sigh of relief as Jesus stirred a little and then ran to the bag of medical supplies that he’d brought. She was grateful to find smelling salts inside.
Almost as soon as she’d used them, Jesus’s eyes popped open, and he tried to sit up.
“Easy,” Tara said, holding him down.
“Amelia,” Jesus mumbled worriedly. “There was a Were.”
Tara looked back toward Amelia and saw that Henry was finishing off the Were. “Henry got him.”
Jesus nodded and took some deep breaths before trying to sit up again. This time he succeeded with Tara’s help.
“Lemme get you back into the van,” Tara said, “so that I can try to help Amelia with Tray.”
“I’ll help you,” Jesus said weakly.
Tara shook her head. “You can’t.”
Jesus gestured toward the bag of medical supplies. “There’s a vial in there. It’ll give me my strength back. Diantha gave it to me in case I had to use my power.”
Tara quickly grabbed the bag and got the vial for Jesus before she turned to go to Amelia and Tray.
Recognizing that the alpha of their enemies was injured, three of Russell’s Weres and a vampire had now turned their sights onto the couple. Tara hurled a protection spell, but she knew that it wouldn’t withstand an onslaught like the one bearing down on Amelia and Tray.
Though she was fewer than five years old, Jessica held her own against the three-hundred-year-old Mickey, at least for a little while. Pam had, after all, been training her how to fight with a sword. However, Jessica was always defending—always slightly off balance—and she couldn’t get an upper hand on the quicker, stronger vampire no matter what move she made.
Pam was surprised by the ferocity of Freyda. They were of a similar age, and the queen had obviously gotten some training in swordplay; however, Pam felt her own advantage growing. She tried to keep an eye on Jessica, from whom she felt increasing anxiety in their bond. She knew that she had to dispatch Freyda, for Jessica would soon need some help with Mickey.
Claude was weak—very weak. He was thankful when he felt the magic within him stir to life a little, and he knew that his frail body was trying to begin to repair itself. After a few minutes, he felt strong enough to look around him, and he saw Pam and Jessica fighting the two vampires who had been feeding on him. Pam was doing okay, but Jessica was in trouble.
Claude assessed himself. He could call upon only a fraction of his magic in that moment. He would have enough to teleport to the pool, or he could help Jessica.
There wasn’t really even a choice to make.
Jessica’s sword was launched out of her hand by Mickey’s blow, and she saw the gleam in her foe’s eyes. He lifted his sword, and she knew it would be coming for her neck. In a flash, she thought of Jason and of the life that she wanted to have with him. She thought of Pam and of the time since she’d been her maker. She was grateful for the last two years—her best two years. She didn’t want her life to end, but she knew that she would not be fast enough to avoid Mickey’s strike.
Pam felt Jessica’s panic even as she tried to position herself to quickly kill Freyda. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that her child was down and no longer had her sword, but Pam couldn’t get to her. She felt powerless. She was going to lose her child.
When it was inches from Jessica’s neck, Mickey’s sword suddenly stopped as it smashed against an invisible barrier. Mickey’s face showed his shock as the reverberation of the sword strike rocked him backwards.
Pam saw Claude pass out and knew that he had used one of his shields to save the life of her child. A second later, Mickey’s head went flying from his shoulders, and Duncan came into view behind his remains. He helped Jessica to her feet and then was gone in the next moment.
Relieved that her child was safe, Pam twirled elegantly, and after a few more moves, she disarmed Freyda. When Freyda tried a desperate dive in Pam’s direction, Pam kicked her away.
Freyda landed inelegantly about ten feet away, but Pam gave her no quarter. She zipped over to the fallen queen, and without a second thought or even a sarcastic word, she brought her heel—her five-inch, very pointy, and very wooden heal—down into the Oklahoma queen’s heart.
Ever annoying, Freyda burst apart into a big mess, but Pam neither noticed nor cared. She zipped back to an emaciated and unconscious Claude. She shook him a little and took in an unnecessary gulp of air as he stirred. That was the only encouragement she needed; quickly she tore open her wrist before presenting it to him.
“Drink,” she said stiffly.
Unable to lift his head, Claude looked up at her with haggard eyes.
“No!” Amelia was screaming as several Weres bore down upon her and her fiancé. A vampire was also poised to attack. She covered Tray’s body with her own and closed her eyes tight. She could feel the Weres’ hot breath as they aimed at her neck.
The next sensation she felt knocked the wind out of her body. One of the Weres had fallen onto her—dead weight. Amelia opened her eyes to see Batanya standing over her and Tray. The Britlingen kicked the Were’s corpse off of the couple and—without a word—turned to fight the vampire.
Alcide and Scott had engaged the second Were, who looked like the alpha of Russell’s pack, and Henry was ripping into the flesh of the third one.
The vampire’s sword clashed with the Britlingen’s. “Whom do I have the honor of killing today?” the vampire asked icily.
“No one else,” Batanya stated evenly.
The vampire laughed and then tried to use his speed to get the better of Batanya, but she was also incredibly fast. She ducked his strike and rolled on the ground before coming up behind him and thrusting her own blade toward his back. The vampire whirled around and blocked her at the last moment.
His fangs glistened in the streetlights as he swung again, this time nicking Batanya’s left shoulder.
The vampire sneered as he took in the smell of her blood. “You are Britlingen. Your blood smells foul!”
“Insult my woman again,” Duncan coldly said from behind the vampire, “and I will not be content to just watch her work you over.” He smirked, “You see—I would be forced to kill you myself, and that would put me into the proverbial doghouse with her.” Duncan paused dramatically. “So mind your fucking manners.”
The vampire positioned himself so that he could see both Duncan and Batanya. He immediately recognized Duncan and backed off a bit.
“Tsk, tsk,” Duncan said. “You think I am the one to worry about? How quaint!” He grinned at his mate. “I love watching you fight,” he said with a mixture of wistfulness, playfulness, and sincerity. “I can’t wait to fuck you when this is all over.”
Batanya smirked. “Conserve your energy then, vampire. You will require it.”
Duncan winked at her and then watched proudly as she attacked the vampire again. The fight didn’t last long. Three moves proved enough for Batanya to decapitate the vampire.
A move later and she was pressed against Duncan’s body. He growled as he inhaled the blood that was coming from her small wound. “May I seal it, my love?”
She grinned. “Oh yes.”
Meanwhile, Alcide and Scott managed to kill the alpha of Russell’s Were pack. Both quickly shifted and were next to Amelia and Tray in the next moment. Alcide carefully picked up his packmaster. Amelia felt a hand helping her rise as well and turned around to see that it was Henry, who—as completely disgusting as it seemed—had picked up Tray’s arm. Quickly, the five of them rushed back into the circle of the privacy spell.
Alcide gently laid Tray down and then looked back at Scott. “Go on back; I’ll stay here with him.”
Scott nodded, shifted, and then rushed back into the fray, which had been all but won by their forces.
“Tray!” Amelia yelled as Henry let go of her arm; she rushed to her beloved’s side and dropped to her knees next to him.
Seeing Tray, Jesus’s medical training and adrenaline kicked in, despite the fact that he still felt a little weak from using his demon power. Jesus grabbed a pair of jeans that had been discarded by one of the Weres earlier and made as good of a tourniquet as possible above the area where Tray’s arm had been severed.
Then he grabbed other discarded clothing and tried to pack the wound.
“Tray,” Amelia said as she wept above her fallen fiancé. “Don’t you dare leave me!”
In that moment, Sam entered the circle, carrying Jarod, who had been bitten in the side.
“Let me go back in!” Jarod was insisting, even though he looked quite pale.
“No!” Sam said harshly. “Don’t be an idiot!”
Sam put Jarod down, glanced at Tray, and then ran back into the fight, shifting as he went.
Just as Jesus was getting ready to attend to Jarod, Henry stepped in.
“I have some experience with field dressings,” Henry said calmly as he set down Tray’s arm and quickly moved to assess Jarod’s wound.
Jarod was trying to get up, but Henry put a firm hand on his shoulder. “Let me see to the bite first. Otherwise you will be useless in the fight.”
Jarod relented with a nod. “Fine. Hurry.”
Tara grabbed the medical bag and put it between Jesus and Henry.
“What do you need?” she asked both of them.
“This clothing is better than the small pads I have in there,” Jesus said as he continued to grab discarded items so that he could stop—or at least slow down—Tray’s bleeding.
Henry looked down at Jarod’s bite and then turned to Tara. Their eyes locked into each other’s for the first time, and both were surprised at the connection. Maybe it was because death seemed so close to them in that moment.
Henry regained his composure first. “I’ll need antiseptic—if there is some—and bandages. If there’s no antiseptic, then alcohol pads.”
Tara nodded and grabbed what Henry asked for. She felt a tingle when their hands brushed each other’s, but she shoved aside her growing attraction for the redhead—and glanced only briefly at his nude body—before turning her attention back to Jesus, Tray, and Amelia.
Jesus was looking worriedly at Tray. The Were’s bleeding was not stopping no matter how much pressure Jesus placed on the wound.
“Can you do anything else?” Alcide asked desperately, seeing the worsening condition of his packmaster.
Jesus quickly scanned the crowd outside the privacy spell and found whom he needed. He looked up at Alcide. “Get Diantha!”
Alcide quickly spotted the demon and shifted back into wolf form before taking off. Moments later, Diantha and Alcide were both back in the circle.
Diantha took one look at Tray and understood what Jesus wanted.
“Can you sear the wound? Cauterize it?” Jesus asked. “We have to stop this bleeding, or we’ll lose him!”
“If I do, the arm won’t be able to be reattached,” Diantha cautioned
“But will he live?” Jesus insisted.
Diantha nodded. “Yeah, I can solder the arteries and stop the bleeding.”
Amelia was sobbing as Tray slipped into and out of consciousness. “Honey, please! Don’t leave me! I just found you!”
Blood slipped past Tray’s lips as he looked up at his beloved. “Sorry,” he whispered.
“No!” Amelia shouted. “Don’t you say your sorries to me! Not now! Not ever! You need to live. You have to,” she broke down, her head on his large chest. “If you don’t, you’ll never meet your child.”
Tray’s eyes opened, and with obvious effort, he focused on his fiancé. “Child?” he asked in a weak voice.
Amelia nodded. “Yeah, we’re gonna have a baby.”
Hearing enough, Jesus yelled out to Diantha. “You have to seal it. We have to stop the bleeding—now!”
Diantha nodded and began to gather her magic into her hands.
Right when she was about to touch Tray’s wound, an acerbic voice sounded from behind her. “Lower your hands, demon, and let me do my fucking work!”
Everyone turned and gasped in surprise as Dr. Ludwig pushed Diantha to the side and took a look at Tray.
“She couldn’t have called me five fucking minutes earlier?” Dr. Ludwig muttered to herself angrily.
“Who?” Tara asked.
“The Ancient Pythoness called and said that you all were getting yourselves into trouble tonight,” the little doctor said with a sneer, even as she injected something into Tray’s shoulder.
Her expression changed as she spoke to Amelia—more softly than most thought she was capable of. “That’ll stop the blood loss, little witch. You will not lose him now that I’m here.”
Dumbfounded but relieved, Amelia just nodded.
Ludwig turned her attention to Jarod. Henry had just finished cleaning the wound with the antiseptic and was applying pressure to it. Recognizing her authority, Henry made room for the doctor.
Ludwig scoffed. “How did you manage this, shifter?”
“I didn’t manage it. A wolf did it—while three others held me down,” Jarod reported with a cringe as Ludwig prodded at his wound.
She shrugged as she poured a liquid over the deep bite. “This will stop the bleeding.” Quickly, she took the bandages that Henry was intending to use and dressed the wound.
Immediately, Jarod tried to get up.
“But you will not rejoin the fight out there and ruin my work, you damned fool. Now—sit!” Ludwig snarled while pointing to the van.
Jarod glared at the doctor, but followed her orders anyway.
“Fine!” he pouted a little as he went to the van and sat in the back of it, even as he kept his eyes focused on the battle that was winding down. “But if they were losing, I would be out there.”
Ludwig smirked. “If they were losing, I would let you go.” She turned toward Henry. “You!” Ludwig said.
Henry responded immediately, as if he were being addressed by a commanding officer, “Yes, ma’am?”
“I like you. You seemed to know what you were doing with that wound,” she said gruffly—sounding as if she were not capable of liking anyone.
“Yes, ma’am,” Henry said.
“Good!” Ludwig said. “You’re with me, and, Were,” she paused, “bring that arm.” She pointed to Tray’s severed limb as Henry followed her order and picked up the arm, glancing at Tara as he did so.
Jesus went to speak, “But . . . .”
“But nothing.” Ludwig growled. “You are needed here. She dug something out of her bag. “Give him this as soon as you can.”
Jesus looked at the little vial. “Who? What are you talking about?”
Ludwig answered him only with a roll of her eyes and then turned to Amelia. “You,” she said, “may come with the Were and me. I want to make sure your little one is safe.”
Amelia just nodded at Ludwig.
“I’ll be back to clean up this mess later,” Ludwig sighed to no one in particular. “And tell Northman that I’ll expect overtime!” she added as she, Tray, Henry, and Amelia simply disappeared into a haze.
Tenderly, Duncan licked Batanya’s shoulder to close her wound. Her fight with the vampire had taken them to the edge of the battle, which had been all but won at that point. Thus, he allowed himself a moment to hold her closely to his body—even as he used his senses to ensure their safety.
She felt his erection against her stomach. “You will have to save that for me,” she flirted.
“It will always be for you,” he groaned as his savored the taste of her blood and rubbed himself against her.
She tilted her head a bit to give her man easier access to her neck. In truth, Duncan’s reaction to her blood still surprised her. When she’d first grazed her tongue on his fang so that he could taste her, she’d expected a reaction similar to the one of the vampire she’d just fought. At best, she’d hoped that Duncan would find her blood “bearable” until he could “acquire a taste” for it. For one of the only times in her life, she’d been truly nervous; if he’d despised her taste, it would have ruined what had been budding between them for months. She did not want to think of him feeding from another—not ever—but she was wise enough to know that TruBlood alone was not enough to satisfy most vampires.
In fact, she’d known of very few vampires who enjoyed Britlingen blood upon first drinking it, though older ones, who were bored with human flavors, tended to “dabble” in it for novelty’s sake.
Though she hated to admit it, Batanya was still somewhat apprehensive that Duncan might decide that he didn’t care for her blood as much as human blood, and she hated feeling vulnerable.
As if he could tell what she was thinking, Duncan gently raised her chin with his fingers. “You are not to think about the insults of those who do not matter,” he said firmly.
She scoffed, “I don’t care what he said, but I am surprised that you enjoy my blood as you do.” She rubbed against his still very apparent erection as proof of his enjoyment.
He growled and spoke passionately, “Your blood is untamed and wild—like you. I taste my freedom in it. I taste Scotland in it.” His raw stare melted her anxiety. “I loved you before I tasted you, but I love you even more now that I have. I have tasted nothing that compares in all my nights as vampire—nothing.” He kissed her shoulder where her wound had been before nuzzling her neck. “I want you,” he groaned. “Now.”
She shook her head. “Only you would think to seduce me in the middle of a battle.”
He laughed and broke their embrace. “The fight is well in hand. I am simply contemplating the best usage of my time.”
Batanya glanced over her shoulder and saw that Duncan was indeed correct. Very few of their enemies remained alive, and those would not last long.
She looked back at her mate and gave him a stern look. “You may continue to seduce me for one more minute—one—and then we have to help them clean up this mess and move into our next position.”
“I can think of many positions that I would like to move you into,” Duncan purred.
“Less talk and more seduction, vampire,” Batanya chastised.
Duncan pulled her into a searing kiss and shut them both up for the rest of his allotted minute.
Claude sputtered at first as he tried to take in Pam’s blood, but as soon as it hit his throat, it began to strengthen him. He felt his own magic grow stronger with the aid of hers, and his body immediately began to heal.
As the wound in her wrist closed, Pam looked down at Claude. “Was that enough?” she asked as she went to bite into her wrist a second time.
“Yes,” Claude answered weakly, though gratefully. “My body has begun to heal itself now.” He smiled at her. “Thank you.”
Pam looked at him skeptically, but lowered her wrist. She then turned her gaze to Jessica, who was standing guard over them. “You did well, child,” Pam said with a little smile.
“That nasty vampire would have had me if it wasn’t for you,” she said to Claude gratefully. “Thank you.”
“You also helped to save my life, Jessica. Thank you,” Claude said sincerely as Pam helped him to sit up.
Pam looked around them and noticed that all but a few of Russell’s Weres were dead, and there were no other enemy vampires to worry about. Rasul, Isabel, and Kibwe were helping the Shreveport pack finish off their enemies. Sam and Luna had already shifted back in their human forms. And Duncan and Batanya seemed to be necking off to the side.
Isabel spotted Pam and came over to her. “You’d best take your friend into the privacy spell. Rasul is younger, and the fairy smells delicious.”
Pam winked at Claude. “You do smell tasty.”
Claude rolled his eyes even as he shifted a fraction of his magic to cover his scent again.
“Better?” he asked, as he moved to stand up. He teetered and then fell backwards into Pam’s grip.
“No!” Pam said as she raised her wrist to her mouth again. “You will drink a second time, stubborn fairy. You’re too fuckin’ weak to even stand up.”
Claude was going to protest, but he relented and took Pam’s blood, mostly because he didn’t want to have to go back to the pool before he knew if Sookie and Eric had succeeded.
When Pam’s wound closed this time, Claude was able to stand on his own.
“Did you take care of the Weres left in the warehouse?” Pam asked Isabel, who couldn’t quite hide her surprise at the care that Pam was showing to the fairy.
“Yes,” Isabel responded. “By the time we got there, only two were left on the roof. We thought it better not to enter the warehouse itself, so Kibwe took care of them; he has the gift of levitation.”
“I left Clancy and Chow near the entrance of the warehouse so that they could report if anyone else shows up,” Isabel informed.
Pam nodded again as Sam and Alcide came over to them.
“We lost four Weres—one from Rasul’s group and three from the Shreveport pack,” Alcide reported. “We have a couple more injured, but Ludwig promised to return soon, and we can take care of them until then.”
“The troll was here?” Pam asked.
Alcide nodded. “Yeah. Tray got hurt really bad—got his arm cut off by one of their vampires. Ludwig was able to stop the bleeding and took him and Amelia back with her. Henry too. She also tended to Jarod’s wound.”
“Is Jarod okay?” Jessica asked.
“Yeah,” Sam replied. “It wasn’t bad.”
“You gonna be okay?” Alcide asked Claude.
“Yes. Thanks to Pam and Jessica, I will be fine,” the fairy responded.
Alcide had a moment of revelation. “I think Ludwig left something for you,” he said to Claude, “some kind of medicine.”
The fairy nodded gratefully.
Pam looked around one more time. “Okay—let’s finish up here and then get to the warehouse in case Sookie needs us to be her back-up plan.”
A/N: Thanks for all the comments about the last chapter. I have to admit that writing the “action chapters” is difficult for me. I want to make them exciting, but I’m new to them, so when you all say that they are good, it makes me feel awesome! That said—it took me a bit longer to edit this one than I thought. But don’t worry. I got your fruit and vegetable “gifts.” The torches and pitchforks were also appreciated. So lovely with my décor! 😉