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.
[Context Reminder: When Eric feels a spike of fear from Sookie later in this chapter, it is because Mike Spenser—who’s been turned—tried to drain her.]
The storm troopers led me straight to the room where Salome had tortured me several nights before.
I felt downright nostalgic.
And pissed off!
“Sit!” A storm trooper with a cropped hairdo and a bad dye-job yelled as she pushed me into the torture chair.
“You could have just asked nicely,” I smirked as she secured my arms and feet. From before, I knew that the leather straps had silver interiors, so I wouldn’t be able to break them. Another storm trooper loaded up the liquid silver as a third pushed a needle into my arm. I’d learned from Molly that the exterior of the needle was made of steel, while the interior was made of silver so that the object wouldn’t be pushed from my body.
I took a moment to think about the young techy. I knew that Molly was either already dead or would soon be dead—since Bill and Salome clearly didn’t think that she was among the “chosen.”
I growled as I thought of Bill’s betrayal—and I worried about the other betrayals he might make in the future.
There was a truth to be faced. Bill was as lost as Nora was—maybe even more so. Nora had given up her ambitions—both to have political power and to serve the cause of mainstreaming with that power. On the other hand, Bill seemed to have found his own ambition to have power. Or—perhaps—he’d always longed for power. Certainly, he’d enjoyed lording his position as king over me.
I growled in anger. I never should have let Bill in on my plans of escape. But I also recognized the main reason why I’d done it.
My bonded loved him. She would fight for him to return to “himself,” just as I was fighting to get my true sister back.
I closed my eyes for a moment and shook my head.
Indeed, Lilith was a formidable God, and I wasn’t sure I had the strength to win against her. But I had to keep tying—for Godric.
For my bonded.
Even for Bill.
And—maybe—for the fucking world as well.
When Bill came in and checked my bonds and the needle in my arm as if he were a practiced torturer, I knew that the vampire before me was one who’d truly lost himself in his feverous belief in Lilith. Gone was the Southern gentleman who had mourned his humanity. Gone was the child who had tried to choose a better path than the one his sadistic maker had chosen for him. Gone was the vampire who had loved a “human” enough to defy his queen and to kill a Chancellor of the Authority.
Gone was the individual I had begun to like—despite myself.
In front of me was a torturer who could truly damage me, for he knew about my time with Sookie. He knew how much I’d cared about her when I’d had amnesia. Thankfully, he didn’t know how much I still did.
In that moment, I was glad—very glad—that Bill had always thought me a cold, heartless bastard. I knew I could play on that assessment.
He motioned for the storm troopers to leave the room and then aimed a small remote control toward the camera in the corner. I saw the red light turn off.
“A perk of being granted Level One access,” Bill said as he turned to face me.
Bill turned around and moved slowly to the corner of the room where he got a chair. Just as slowly, he walked back and placed the chair in front of me. “Let’s not be vulgar, Eric,” he said after he’d sat down.
“Fine,” I responded. “Let’s be direct. Why am I not dead?”
“Because I believe Lilith has a plan for you. And because you have spared my life before—in the past,” he returned.
“Oh right—the first time was in San Francisco; you were a sociopathic human drainer then too,” I smirked.
“I am sure that you have killed more humans than I have,” Bill returned smugly.
I didn’t bother to correct him. As long as I’d lived and as many as I had killed, I was certain that Bill’s tally of innocents was well above my own; after all, Lorena had been his mommy.
“Well Lilith does direct us to slake our thirst with human blood,” I said instead.
“Praise Lilith,” I intoned.
“You and I both know that you have not given yourself to her—yet.”
“And I don’t intend to either, so you might as well just kill me.”
“You cannot deny that Lilith is real,” he said reasonably. “After all, you—like the rest of us—saw her.”
“I saw a hallucination,” I corrected. “Bad V trip,” I added.
“Then how can you explain why we stumbled down Bourbon Street like drunks?” I challenged.
“You are mistaking drunkenness for the euphoria of our encounter with Lilith,” Bill responded calmly. “We were led by her.”
“To a karaoke bar,” I said sarcastically. “What a divine destination!”
“She led us to a bounty of human blood,” Bill said in a corrective tone—as if he were a teacher dealing with a naughty child. Origins 6:7, ‘Led to Adam and Eve, the child of God drank her fill of their blood, and—upon their children—she did gorge.'”
“Next you’ll be like Nigel, insisting that we should drink from only kids,” I scoffed.
“No—but we shouldn’t avoid it either,” he returned coldly. “The children of Adam and Eve were meant to feed the children of Lilith.”
“What of the fact that all of Lilith’s children were humans first?”
“‘Only the most worthy did she make vampire,'” he quoted.
I scoffed. “Then how do you explain your own maker?”
He glared at me. “I am beginning to appreciate Lorena. If she had studied The Book of Lilith, she would have been able to modify some of her behavior for the greater good; however, her appetites were not wrong.”
“Says the vampire who vehemently supported mainstreaming—only a few nights ago.”
“It was the concept of mainstreaming that was misguided,” he responded. “And I was not nearly the mainstreamer you thought I was,” he added, leaning forward a little. “Do you know how long I actually succeeded in feeding on only TruBlood?”
“Feeding isn’t the only aspect of mainstreaming,” I reminded.
Bill sneered. “No—mainstreaming is all about hiding what we truly are. Denying ourselves! Hiding the vampire! Coexisting!” he spat out.
“No. It might involve hiding the most violent aspects of who we are, but vampires have always coexisted with humans—out of practicality,” I argued. “Now—we are just free to do so in the open.”
“We both know that your dealings with humans have involved more than practicality,” Bill said incisively.
I scoffed in denial.
Bill looked at the liquid silver. “Perhaps, a dosage of that would encourage you to admit the truth.” He chuckled. “But I don’t think so. I think there are better things to threaten you with.”
“Godric always said that the best torturer was the one who already knew how to hurt you the most,” I returned.
“You believe that I know?” Bill asked.
“Yes,” I responded.
“And how is that?”
“You’ve said it more than once, Bill,” I smirked. “I care for myself above all other things.”
“If that were true, then you would accept Lilith, for if you do not, you will be ended.”
“Ah—a paradox,” I grinned. “If I were to give myself to Lilith, then I’d lose what I care about the most—myself. And if I don’t, Salome will send me to my true death. In truth, it is tempting to give in, but I’d hate to become what you have Bill.”
“And what’s that?”
“A minion to a piss-poor god, who has to control others through manipulation. I’d rather drink silver-laced blood than have that cunt’s blood again.”
For my own part, I was offering Bill the answer—though a false one—to the question: What would hurt me the most?
I wasn’t lying when I said that I didn’t want to drink Lilith’s blood again. However, there were other things that would hurt me more.
“Did you have confederates other than Molly?” Bill finally asked.
“I thought I did,” I returned. “I thought you were with me. I thought I knew what you cared about most,” I added significantly.
“You care for more than I ever have,” he said.
“Not likely,” I returned evenly.
“Godric, Pam, Nora.” He turned away from me. “I watched the footage of you and Nora in the Temple of Lilith. You see the vampires of your blood as family,” he commented.
“When it suits my purposes. I wanted to deprogram Nora’s Lilith fetish by reminding her of beliefs that she once held.”
“The Book of Lilith says that all vampires must be of one family—with Lilith as the head.”
“So—has the Book of the Vampyr been officially renamed?” I asked with a smirk.
“The Book of Lilith is its correct name,” Bill instructed. According to Nora, the title was purposely mistranslated by Roman. ‘Vampyr’ is the same word as ‘progenitor,’ so the title should, rightly, name the first of our kind: Lilith.”
“Funny how things can be mistranslated,” I grinned. “I wonder how many other mistakes have been made.”
“The Word is sacred,” Bill insisted, ignoring the hypocrisy of admitting to one “error” without owning to the possibility of others.
“Of course,” I said sarcastically.
Bill shook his head. “You should let go of your arrogance, Eric. ‘Nonbelievers must be purged lest all be tainted,'” he quoted.
“You should be ended,” he said evenly.
“For which of my many sins?” I smirked. “Last I checked, arrogance seemed to be valued by Lilith.”
“You have carried a grudge against a vampire for a thousand years,” Bill charged. “All for the sake of humans that you should have forgotten as soon as you were turned.”
“Did you forget about your human family when you were turned?” I challenged.
“No—but I should have,” he averred. “As I told you before, Salome reminded me that—had I truly loved my family members—I would have turned them. I had a chance with my daughter. Yet I did not. I was wrong.”
“You were still travelling with Lorena then?” I questioned. “I bet she’d not given you permission to turn a child. She was too anxious to have you all to herself.”
I saw him cringe a little, so I used that. “Of course, as you said, according to The Book of,” I paused, “Lilith, Lorena was a model citizen—right?”
“My maker was not encumbered by the trappings of humanity,” he returned bitterly, “or its guilt—as your maker became. Godric turned from everything Lilith is!”
I controlled my anger. “I wish my maker had chosen to live on,” I responded quietly—honestly, “but—even on his worst day—Godric was a better being than Lilith.”
Anger flashed in Bill’s eyes, but he quickly stifled it.
“Why did you interfere with Lorena and me in San Francisco? Did you favor a human over vampires even then?” he asked, his voice once more becoming that of an interrogator.
I responded truthfully, “It was my job for the king to make sure that vampires didn’t leave evidence of our existence behind. You and Lorena were messy.”
“Pamela was a perk; she still is,” I commented. “I did change her—after all. Just like Lilith says we should change the worthy.”
“And you thought a Madame was worthy?” Bill asked sarcastically, obviously trying to provoke a negative reaction from me.
“Why not?” I chuckled. “Prostitution is the oldest profession.”
“You care for Pam. Perhaps, I should bring her here—so you will be more willing to cooperate.”
I had to hand it to Bill. He did know my trigger points, but I’d be damned before I let him know how accurate his aim was.
“Pam’s pain would no longer affect me,” I stated evenly. “I have released her.”
“Still—you wouldn’t want her harmed.”
“No—just as you wouldn’t prefer for Jessica to be harmed,” I returned. “However, you and I both know that—if it came down to it—you would sacrifice your progeny.”
“I’m not so certain that you would do the same,” Bill responded.
“We could always find out,” I smirked. “Unlike you, however, I taught my child to fend for herself. And, between you and me,” I said, leaning forward as much as I could, given my restraints, “Pam is into BDSM. Who am I to deny her the pleasure of a bit of torture?”
Bill scoffed. “What of your sister? I know you love her. You said so yourself.”
“Did you see that footage too?” I asked with a smirk.
Bill ignored my question. “We could hurt her in order to make you comply—in order to make you accept Lilith. She has already volunteered to allow that,” he said sinisterly. “She still believes in you—wants to save you. As do I. She believes it is Lilith’s will. As do I.”
“Because I was chosen by Lilith?” I intoned.
“No, that’s not it,” I responded. “I think there’s another reason.”
“And what’s that?” he asked.
It was time for me to take a calculated risk. Bill had mentioned everyone about whom I truly cared—except for Sookie, though I was betting that it was only a matter of time before he did so. If I was wrong, then my mention of her could backfire, but—in order to control my reactions—I needed to control our discussion of my bonded.
“Sookie,” I said, responding to his question.
“Indeed,” I smirked. “You don’t want to be the only monster—do you? When you see Sookie again—when you go to kill her—you want to be able to tell her that you had no choice, and you plan to use my own ‘conversion’ to substantiate that. Poor martyr Bill; you couldn’t help yourself—could you?” I chuckled. “At least that’s what you’ll say before you drain her dry.”
Something akin to shame flashed momentarily in his eyes. “I no longer care about Sookie.”
“I don’t believe you,” I responded with a smirk.
Bill glared at me. “You care for her—don’t you?” he accused almost desperately. “Perhaps if she were brought here, you would cooperate.”
I was ready for that threat. I laughed. “She is a decent fuck—inexperienced, but willing to learn—and her blood’s delicious. There’s no denying that. And her telepathy is quite the asset.”
“You were willing to die for her,” Bill reminded.
I was silent for a moment as I pretended to contemplate my response. “Hmm. We both were, but that would have been folly. The witch’s spell had left me empty—ignorant of my true nature. And I had always lusted for Sookie.” I shrugged. “But I got over it—and her—as soon as she rejected us. Both of us. Or don’t you remember?”
Instead of answering my question, he evoked scripture again. It was getting annoying.
“Pheiccles 3:27 declares that humans have been put on this earth for the purpose of serving vampires—that it is their destiny to do this. If Sookie’s being brought here served to speed along your conversion, then she would fulfill that destiny.”
“Bring her,” I said evenly, using every ounce of my guile to make it seem as if I didn’t care.
He seemed to consider for a moment.
I took that opportunity to strike. “Did you feel her spike of fear earlier?”
“No,” he answered immediately, “and I wouldn’t care either.” I could tell he was lying—on both counts.
I chuckled, having seen that he did care as a flash of anxiety had momentarily clouded his eyes. “Sookie was petrified—as if she feared for her life. But what’s new?” I asked nonchalantly.
“You still feel her—because you still care for her,” he accused.
“I still feel her because I am a thousand years old and began a bond with her when I had the intellect of a newt,” I smirked.
“Shall we test that? By bringing her here?”
“You should do it,” I said cockily. “In fact, I bet your bible would disapprove of your pussy-footing around about it. After all, what if I did care about her?” I taunted. “Of course, it would be a shame to interrupt her again; I bet she’s making puppies with the Were even now!” I chuckled.
I laughed even louder. “It’s you who still cares about her—loves her. Lilith would be so jealous,” I added sarcastically.
“You’re right,” Bill confessed, his shame clear. “I should bring her here—and kill her—in order to purge her from my being. But that would be too easy. No. I must become indifferent toward Sookie on my own,” he said self-righteously. “Only then will I truly be worthy.”
A voice came over the speakers. “Chancellor Compton to the meeting room.”
Bill rose. “I hate to cut this short, but Molly must be dealt with.”
“You’re going to kill her?” I asked.
“She is not worth the effort of a conversion,” he responded coldly.
“Nor am I,” I stated.
He chuckled. “Yet I will see you converted, Eric.” His expression sobered. “Salome believes that you are unworthy to take the blood of Lilith again.”
“Good—I don’t fucking want it,” I spat out.
“But it is what you need, so I will convince Salome to trust my judgment in this,” he said with certainty. “Lilith will help you to see that the existence you cling to is folly.”
He opened the door and motioned for a storm trooper to come in.
“See to it that Mr. Northman has a dose of silver every fifteen minutes until I call for him,” Bill ordered.
“Oh—and I thought we were forgoing traditional modes of torture,” I commented sarcastically.
“Best to loosen you up,” Bill responded with a little smirk. “I shall see you in the Temple soon.”
I practically sighed with relief as he exited. He wouldn’t be going after Sookie—at least not yet.
A/N: So this was a completely added scene. I wanted to echo the torture earlier in the story, but also I wanted a better transition to let us know what happened to Eric between his being captured and his being giving Lilith’s blood again. I also wanted to show him manipulating the situation to a certain extent. He doesn’t want to take Lilith’s blood, but he intends to make the most of the situation.
Oh–and Bill’s a putz.