Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters in True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. So neither copyright infringement nor offense is meant. I simply want to make the characters do what I wanted them to do for a while. I am especially “unownerly” when it comes to this story. You will recognize a lot of the dialogue throughout as being quoted from Season 5 of True Blood, though I’ve tried to use Eric’s thoughts to make this story “different” from its source. That said, I claim no ownership to the quoted material and have placed it in bold so that it is set apart from my own words.
Now that I knew we were close to Russell, I led—not just because I was anxious to get to him, but also because I wanted to make sure that my bonded remained safe. Yes—she was brave. Yes—she was, as she’d intimated before, “protecting” us with her “microwave fingers.” But I didn’t fucking care! In an equation that contained Russell Edgington, I would always try to stand between him and Sookie.
That didn’t have anything to do with some masculine, chauvinistic bullshit. That was Bill’s department. I didn’t think Sookie was weaker than I was; in fact, I knew she was not! My protective impulse had only one motive: I loved her.
Russell’s unique scent was covered up by all the blood he’d taken recently, so I didn’t pick it up until I walked into the room where he lay. He looked better than I’d hoped, but still worse than I’d feared.
“Took you long enough,” Russell said in his fake Southern accent. Only Bill’s “real” one annoyed me more. “What an infernal racket you people have been making!”
Over my un-dead body!
Okay—maybe she wasn’t mine.
I stepped forward.
Do you remember the people in my village?
Do you remember my baby sister?
Do you remember my mother?
Do you remember my father?
Do you remember the young Viking who was too afraid—or too wise—to follow you into the night?
“We’ve come to finish what we started,” I said.
In that moment, I didn’t know who that ‘we’ was.
Bill and me? We’d put him into the cement.
Sookie and me? We’d been the reason he’d gone into the sun.
My father and me? The originator of a quest of vengeance and its agent?
Or maybe the two “me’s.” The Viking and the vampire.
Or maybe the “other” two me’s: the hopeful, amnesiac vampire, whom Sookie had fallen in love with, and the hard, jaded sheriff, who had survived a millennium.
Whoever was speaking to Russell, I was triumphant. My enemy was prone because of my actions—direct or not. He was stronger than I, but the cement I’d placed him in had rendered him weaker.
I was tired—tired of knowing that Russell was alive. I wanted him gone—finally. Godric could argue for mercy all he wanted. He could tell me that revenge would gut me. But maybe—just maybe—a little justice could heal me. Russell was bad, after all.
Granted, perhaps all vampires were “bad.” We drank blood. We dwelt in the night. The sun hated us enough to burn us.
However, Russell was a sadistic son of a bitch. Evil to the core. For at least a thousand years, he’d been terrorizing and murdering—for nothing more than “trinkets.”
And because he liked it.
Yes—I was tired.
Tired of letting Russell stay alive. Godric had told me that peace awaited those who ventured to the afterlife, so I’d made sure that the slayer of my family stayed alive. However, I no longer cared who took hold of my enemy when he died. If the Christian god or my gods or any other god or gods took dominion over him, I was counting on him or her or them to show Russell what true hell entailed.
And—if Godric had been right? If only forgiveness awaited Russell?
And no longer a threat to my bonded.
Yes—some things were more important than revenge.
Russell looked up at me with a half-sneer and half-smirk.
“Well, as my great love Talbot used to say when we were buck hunting,” he said, responding to my previous comment, “give it your best shot.”
As he snarled, all hell broke loose.
Herveaux fell to the ground with a thud, and in the next second, he was being dragged out of the room by the leg. Even as I was wondering why the fuck he didn’t just shift, Sookie ran off after him, yelling his name.
The wolf that engaged me was strong and obviously high on V, so it took me ninety seconds to get an advantage.
However, those seconds almost cost me everything.
NINETY SECONDS EARLIER
Time was a funny thing.
However, my body hadn’t changed in any significant way. In fact, only two things could change about a vampire’s appearance—our hair and our nails. Like us, these things were “dead” in a way. Maybe that’s why they grew—though slowly.
Simply becoming a vampire seemed to slow the world down. From my very first moments as a vampire, I could, for example, see in great detail. I could—and automatically did—analyze each slight movement that took place around me.
However, learning to react to those movements in the most proficient way had taken time—and experience. And guidance from my maker.
The difficulty in dealing with V-addled Weres was that they had very little logic to their movements, and that made it almost impossible to anticipate what they would do next.
But getting an advantage was only a matter of time.
In English, there is an overused idiom: “Time is on your side.”
Sadly, time was not on my team in that moment. As Alcide was dragged away, proving to be pretty much useless, Bill and I were occupied by Russell’s other furry friends. We, too, were proving to be useless—to Sookie.
Even as I concentrated on my fight, I heard another confrontation begin—one that chilled my dead heart. Russell, it seemed, was not as weak as advertised.
I was feeling it too.
“Mmm,” Russell sounded as if smelling a delectable meal. “You’re just what the doctor ordered, my twee fairy vixen.”
In that moment—that millisecond of time—there was a choice to be made. My well-practiced mind flew through my options. I could go to my bonded, leaving my own fight. I could be the knight in shining armor, coming in to rescue the damsel in distress.
Or—I could trust my bonded to fight on her own. I could trust that, though in distress, she was not some kind of helpless damsel.
I could trust her. I would.
Even if I would have had a million seconds to decided, my choice would have always been the same. I fought my opponent, and I let Sookie fight hers.
I heard Russell’s fangs click and then a rapid, hungry snarl.
And then I felt the most beautiful feeling in the world: a surge of electrical energy.
Sookie might not be able to sing for shit; being in her home when she’d sung in the shower had taught me that much. However, she could conduct one hell of a tune!
A clearly hurting Russell let out a sick laugh. “There is that aspect of you which I loathe,” he said, right as I gained the advantage over my own opponent. I snapped the Were’s neck, and—not to be outdone by my magnificent bonded—I threw his body against the wall.
Sookie’s fear had abated with the exhilaration of her fight, so I moved to Russell. Obviously still suffering from the effects of Sookie’s blast, he was leaning against the wall he’d hit, his body slack.
Russell groaned, but did as I bade.
“I wanna be the last thing you ever see,” I said, poising the stake that had been in my pocket over his black heart.
I heard a yelp as Bill defeated his own foe. And then I felt surprise from Sookie—and a fucking stake point against my back, poised to find my own dead heart.
I could sense Sookie’s surprise at Bill’s actions—and her anxiety for me. I almost smiled at the small victory.
Bill interrupted my enjoyment of Sookie’s concern.
“He dies—we die. Most certainly. But if we take him back alive, maybe we don’t have to die,” Bill said.
“Unlikely,” I said through clenched teeth. Bill was really starting to piss me off!
“But not impossible,” Bill reasoned, even as he took the stake away from my body and kneeled down next to me and Russell.
As a flash of Godric on the rooftop entered my mind, I thought about a vampire who’d been ready to die. I did not wish for death, as my maker had. And I certainly wasn’t bored! I’d been enlivened by Sookie’s presence in my life. The truth was that the Authority had sent us to deal with Russell. We’d not been asked to bring him alive, but I could see the potential benefit of doing so. The Guardian loved ritual. And he’d likely enjoy torturing Russell himself.
Thus, he might—indeed—become distracted from any punishment he still wanted to give to Bill and me.
So for myself and for my bonded and even for Scrappy-fucking-Doo, I put my fangs away.
Russell looked smug.
So did Bill for a moment.
A/N: I know this chapter is short, but I wanted it to stand separate since it’s finally the moment when Eric could kill Russell. But the Viking has, indeed, learned that some things are more important than revenge, which-ironically-is why he lets Russell live. Once upon a time, Eric was willing to die (along with Russell) in order to get his revenge. Sookie just happened to save him that time. Here we see Eric choosing life (and Sookie) over revenge. At least, that’s how I’m choosing to read the moment.