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.
As we approached the Authority compound, I felt my mind begin to swirl through all contingencies. And I found myself second guessing whether I should have involved Sookie in this business. After all, I was putting her in danger.
However, I also knew that she wouldn’t forgive me—or herself—if we didn’t try to get Bill “back.” And there was no way that he would listen to me. I’d tried that already.
No. Sookie was the only hope there was for disentangling him from Salome’s influence.
And, of course, there was Pamela to save too. And Jessica.
As for the rest of it? Now that Russell was dead and gone and Nora was on my side, I felt as if we could take down the nest that had taken over the Authority. In fact, taking out Salome and Rosalyn—and destroying Lilith’s goddamned blood—would likely be the only way that vampires wouldn’t become hunted by the government. Order needed to be restored—but not the order of Lilith.
Salome would be difficult to kill. She was old and powerful. However, she was no fighter. Without Russell and Kibwe, she would be vulnerable.
As for Rosalyn? Well—without storm troopers backing her up, I bet that even Tara could take her out.
A storm trooper at the gate stopped our progress. “Chancellors, we weren’t expecting you until tomorrow evening,” he said.
“Well, our flight was aborted halfway to DC,” I said irritably. “No one has told us why or was there to meet us when we got back to New Orleans. Has there been trouble?”
“There’s been a breach. A shape-shifter,” he informed. “We’re still on lockdown. I’ll need to call this in.”
Interesting. A shifter. I had an odd feeling that it was Merlotte.
“Chelsea, I have Chancellors Northman and Gainesborough at the gate requesting access,” the storm trooper informed. “What’s your cargo?” he asked, looking at the three “prisoners” we had in the back of the truck.
“The vampire’s a mainstreaming spy,” I responded. “The humans are lunch.”
“The blonde smells amazing,” the guard said with a leer.
“Roger,” the storm trooper said into his radio. “They’re just trying to track down a chancellor.”
I wondered why it was taking so long.
I was somewhat surprised to hear Bill’s voice instead of Salome’s over the radio. “Of course. Send Chancellor Northman and his party on down.”
“You’ve been cleared,” the guard said, waving us through.
“Thank you,” I replied.
As soon as we got into the elevator, I nodded at Tara.
“Now,” I told her.
Tara used the device that Brady had given us to disable the surveillance as Nora and I quickly took the bindings off of our other “prisoners.”
Sookie looked up at me. “Be careful?” she half-asked and half-commanded as I handed her a stake to use as a weapon.
“You as well,” I said softly.
She gifted me with a little smile as she tucked the stake into her jeans.
Of course, Nora looked little different as she strapped on a harness holding half a dozen stakes.
As soon as the elevator doors opened, Jason took aim at Chelsea and pulled the trigger. However, the young vampiress had been fast enough to trigger the alarm.
We’d been counting on that.
In the next moment, the computerized voice that I was beginning to despise indicated that Level Two protocols had been initiated.
As soon as I’d heard that, I yelled “Go!”
I’d told Jason where all the cameras in the room were. Moving fast, he targeted them and then he leapt over Chelsea’s desk.
“Stay back!” he yelled before killing three vampires as they came into the room.
The annoying computer voice began a countdown.
“Clear!” Jason shouted, still in hyperactive status.
I had to hand it to Stackhouse. He did know how to kill vampires—at least young ones.
Sookie followed her, and she and I shared one more look before Nora and I zipped from the lobby into the large meeting room.
We positioned ourselves where no cameras could see us and waited for the Level Two protocols to be followed. We both knew that a squad of ten storm troopers would be deployed to secure the temple and the control room.
“Weapons tight. Go!” said the squadron leader as the force entered the room.
Zipping down from my hiding place, I killed six with my bare hands before watching Nora take out four, using her stakes like daggers to their hearts.
It was just like the good ol’ days when Godric was an enforcer and Nora and I helped him.
She gave me a smile of agreement before zipping to our next destination. I was right behind her.
Immediately, I cued up the cameras to the detention area and pushed air from my dead lungs in relief as I saw that Sookie and Tara had safely made it to the cells.
“Hurry,” I said to Nora, as she opened the computer program that controlled the door to the cells.
She looked up at me with a glare. “I am hurrying.”
“No you aren’t,” I chastised, pointing to the computer.
Nora scoffed but went to work.
“No, wait, you’ve got to do that thing first,” I instructed. I didn’t know a lot about the system, but once I was a Chancellor, I had read up on all the systems and the protocols. And I knew that the alarms would be set off if the cell doors were opened before the security system was disarmed.
“Can you not . . . ,” Nora started.
“You’ve got to reroute the sensors,” I directed.
“That’s the first thing I did,” she insisted slapping away my hand as I tried to help.
“No, you didn’t. Please, let me just . . . .”
“Okay, maybe not,” I smirked.
“Then shut up and just let me do this!” she sassed.
“Just don’t fuck anything up.”
“You worried about your fairy?” she smirked, even as her fingers went back to the keyboard.
“Got it!” Nora exclaimed. We watched as the doors to Pam’s and Jessica’s cells opened.
“Interesting,” I smirked as Tara and Pam kissed in greeting.
Nora sighed that longsuffering sigh she was such a master at producing. “I swear, Eric, if Godric were here . . . .”
“If you even suggest that he would have thought badly of my progeny and her child,” I growled, “you will be sorry.”
Again, she sighed.
“Godric disapproved of how Pam was turned,” I owned. “However, he recognized that she made a fine vampire, and he never questioned her loyalty!”
“I’m just saying that Godric would be concerned.” Nora motioned toward the screen. “You seem to have quite the little harem developing.”
“Pamela can take care of herself and her progeny,” I returned sharply. “And Godric is no longer here.”
“You can’t tell me that you don’t care about what he would think,” she challenged.
“I care very much about what he would have thought—what he did think! And whom he thought worthy,” I whispered fervently, following Sookie’s progress with my eyes. “Now come!” I said forcefully, zipping back to the lobby to meet my bonded and the others.
“They’ll be waiting for you up top, so I suggest you all reload on the ride up,” I commented as soon as we’d all met up.
She gave me a tender-ish smile. Maybe her feelings for Tara were softening her heart.
“Wait, aren’t you coming with us?” she asked with confusion.
“We’re gonna get Bill,” I returned.
“Eric, you can’t be serious,” Pam said with frustration. “You should just let that douche fry.”
“Sookie!” Jason yelled, clearly upset that she was coming with me. Didn’t he recall that this was the main reason why she’d come in the first place? To try to get through to Bill?
Maybe that bump on Jason’s head was affecting his short-term memory.
Sookie and I shared a look as I took her hand.
“Bill’s been altered by this place,” I warned.
“Let’s see how much,” she returned bravely.
I gave her a little smile and led her to Salome’s chambers, where Bill was almost sure to be. As we approached, I smelled blood—a lot of it.
And there was vampire muck on the floor. Bill had apparently killed Salome.
“So, Lilith appeared to you as well,” Bill said to me almost accusingly. Oddly, he seemed to be purposely ignoring Sookie’s presence.
And—clearly, given Salome’s condition—Bill had won.
“She’s a mad god, Bill. She’s nothing but destruction. Don’t do it,” I cautioned, gesturing toward the blood in his hand.
“So you can?” he charged defensively.
“Pour it in the fucking fire!” I growled. There was no fucking way that I would drink another drop of that tainted blood, but clearly Bill felt that I was there to take it from him.
“So why’d you authorize our entry, then?” I asked reasonably. “You knew we would try.”
“Because I wasn’t yet sure I’d be able to get rid of Salome on my own,” he responded coolly.
Likely, he’d used guile and not force to kill the older vampiress. But clearly he’d been prepared to use me to kill his competition—if force had been required.
His eyes almost black and cold, he focused on her.
“What the fuck do you know about me?” he challenged. “For all you know, everything I did while with you was an act—calculated to elicit a particular response.”
Had it been? Had I been wrong about Bill?
No—I knew that he loved Sookie. But I was beginning to wonder if he loved power more.
He certainly didn’t “love” Lilith.
“I know that’s not true,” Sookie denied.
“Why?” he chuckled darkly. “Because of the light you bear? Did you ever consider the possibility that it’s a handicap? One that blinds you to the most obvious of truths—that you are an abomination, just like the vampire Bible states.”
I growled at his words and damned him for them.
Handicap? Sookie had always thought of herself as being handicapped. How dare Bill prey upon her self-doubts? Her worst fears!
“Bill, you are stronger than this,” Sookie implored desperately, trying to ignore the pain that his words had caused her. “You are capable of sympathy and kindness and generosity. You are unique among all the vampires I have met. Don’t throw that away,” she begged.
“I have spent my entire life as a vampire apologizing,” Bill returned, his tone harsh, “believing I was inherently wrong somehow, living in fear—fear that God had forsaken me, that I was damned. But Lilith grants us freedom from fear. Vicissitudes 9:24. ‘Fear not, for my blood is beyond fear—fear of sin, fear of mankind, fear of retribution—for thou art begat by God. And this world is but a spring to slake thy sacred thirst.'”
In that moment, I finally acknowledged something that I wished I had acknowledged before.
Or maybe he had always been on this path—a path leading to his self-proclaimed “ascension.” He’d always been so quick to blame everyone else for his actions—his shortcomings. His sins.
He’d blamed Lorena.
Underneath all of his denials, he saw himself as a martyr. And now he was ready to give himself to Lilith, fulfilling the destiny he saw of himself.
The one he wanted.
Suddenly, I felt sick—sick that I’d brought Sookie to try to help him.
Sick that I’d done so because I’d not wanted her to hate me for giving up on Bill fucking Compton.
Sick that I’d allowed Bill the chance to strike at her with words meant to harm.
“I told you the first night we met—vampires often turn on those they love the most,” he responded icily.
“Oh, God,” he gagged.
I pulled Sookie back so that she was behind me.
“No,” Sookie sobbed.
I pulled her into my embrace—holding the back of her head as she cried into my chest.
And I felt something else—almost as if each cell of her blood was sighing with relief as Bill’s blood burned out of her body. Her blood would no longer be pulled by his. His blood would no longer fight mine inside of her. And I was determined not to allow my own blood to influence her in any way, as Bill had allowed his—even if his attempts were not always conscious on his part.
Was I sad to see Bill Compton gone?
No. I was ambivalent.
But I was sad that Sookie had to bear losing someone else—especially in the way it had happened.
“Sookie,” I said, shock and horror weighing equally in my tone.
Bill rose from the muck, blood covered.
“Fuck,” Sookie gasped.
“Fuck!” I thought again in silent agreement.
They were the longest I’d ever seen.
I was a warrior, and I had been scared many times before fighting battles.
I was a child, maker, and brother, and I had been scared for my family’s well-being.
I was a man in love, and I was scared for the safety of my bonded.
In fact, I’d never been so scared.
As I saw him focus his unfeeling eyes onto me, I knew down to my very bones that I would not be able to stop him for long.
But I was willing to die trying.
Because some things really were worth dying for.
A/N: Well-that is the “end” of Season 5! I gotta say that I’m both sad and relieved. When I started this “project,” I had no idea how I would like it. Sticking so closely to the original was harder in some ways, especially when things happened that I didn’t like-and didn’t want to work with. But-forcing myself to do that was a really good exercise for my writing. I had to “make” things work, even as I took the story toward that Eric/Sookie ending that I wanted.
From here on, however, all bets are off! And I’m no longer gonna be following the narrative of the show. Whew! (‘Cause S6 left a lot to be desired.) That being said, I am going to be dealing w/ the S6 issues, including Billith and Warlow, in the sequel to this story-which is called From the Inside Out.
There is an epilogue to this story, and-for the first time-it isn’t from Eric’s POV. I put it in Sookie’s.