Thalia kicked Bill all the way back to his home—in approximately ten-foot increments.
She was pleased to sense that Padma and Bubba had shifted their positions in order to better keep an eye on the telepath’s home. The North Man was with Thalia’s charge, but he had priorities other than protection at the moment. Meanwhile, two of the two-natured guards, Maria-Star and Onawa, were flanking her—just in case Bill somehow managed to make a run for it.
“That might be fun!” the vampiress thought, licking her lips.
“Please make a run for it,” Thalia sneered, even as she kicked him onto his porch.
He hit a step, so she kicked him again—just to “right” him.
“Fuck you!” Bill said, spitting out some blood. “The queen will hear of this!”
“One hour,” Thalia said evenly before turning her back toward the younger vampire, daring him to try an attack.
She figured that Eric would completely understand if she “had” to thrash Bill Compton for “attacking her.”
Sadly, the inferior vampire went inside without a struggle, though he cursed her and Eric all the way—but only in one language. Thalia scoffed. Bill was old enough that he ought to have traveled and learned a variety of languages. Even vampires in the old days—when travel was difficult and outsiders were looked at with tremendous suspicion—sought knowledge beyond themselves. From her study of Bill Compton, Thalia had learned that he’d lived in exactly two states—Louisiana and Washington-and had never spent more than a few days in another country.
“Certainly not long enough to learn adequate cursing skills,” she muttered at Bill repeated “mother fucker” for the twenty-third time.
“Unimaginative twat,” she mumbled as she listened to him begin to collect his possessions—suitcases full of khaki pants, Thalia imagined with a sneer. It took Bill only fifteen minutes to load his vehicle, and he kept up his cursing all the way.
Thalia heard Onawa and Maria-Star make a bet about how many times he’d say the phrase “mother fucking Northman” before the vampiress somehow incapacitated him.
Thalia figured just one more.
Bill actually managed to look both shocked and constipated when he found her waiting by the driver’s side of his vehicle when he lugged out his last load of possessions.
“Keys!” she demanded.
“You can tell Eric mother fucking Northman that I can drive myself!” he growled at his elder—and better.
“Not with a broken hip and back—you can’t,” Thalia smiled, right before she body-slammed the Confederate cum-stain to the ground.
Bill wailed loudly as Thalia flipped him onto his stomach and pressed her knee into his vertebrae. “I like to make the break right here,” she emphasized, even as a crunching noise was heard.
Bill’s arms went limp—as did the rest of his body. However, he still screamed in pain.
“It is such a sweet spot,” she said calmly as she stood up—with his keys in her hand. “I found it by accident, you know. Too high and the victim can’t feel enough. Too low and he or she flails around too fucking much. Annoying really. But—if you crush just right—it robs one’s victim of movement but not pain.” She crouched down to smile at him. “Don’t worry. It should heal just enough for you to take the wheel right around the time we get to the border of the Viking’s territory.”
“You’ll pay,” Bill coughed out a threat, even as a chuckling Maria-Star lifted the broken vampire into the passenger side of his vehicle.
“Follow,” Thalia said to both the Were and the shifter. “If anything happens, kill him,” she added.
The Were nodded and ran to go get her own vehicle. She knew that Thalia would not need their help, but she respected the vampiress’s thoroughness—just as she admired her skill.
LATER THAT NIGHT
Bill had managed to make it to Baton Rouge, despite the fact that his back was still quite sore (even after a four-pack of TrueBlood) because of what Thalia had done to him.
“Bitch!” he seethed as he finished settling into his light-tight hotel room.
At least, he’d gotten his precious laptop—with the database addendum—out of Area 5.
“And right under that bitch’s nose too,” he laughed, even as he took out his phone and dialed.
He opted to call Andre, instead of Queen Sophie-Anne.
“Compton,” the vampire answered in a clipped voice after a few rings. “What do you have for me?”
Bill frowned. At the moment, he had very little on Eric but his own complaints; however, he knew that Andre was receptive to believing the worst about the Viking. So that is what Bill would tell Sophie-Anne’s eldest child.
“Northman has ordered me out of Area 5,” Bill began.
“Why? What did you do?” Andre asked accusingly.
“I saw Sookie—at her request,” Bill said. “So I was not breaking the queen’s rules,” he added bitterly. “Eric apparently took the database from her, and he will not give it back to me.”
“The queen knows of that,” Andre said disapprovingly. “She is allowing Northman to make a copy for his own study and then to present his recommendations about its being sold.”
“What?” Bill demanded. “She would let Northman talk her out of selling the database!? But it will make her a fortune! And what about all my hard work?”
“Do not question your queen!” Andre returned warningly.
Bill took a moment to calm himself. “I apologize; I did not intend to sound as if I were questioning our great queen,” he pandered. “However, I fear that Eric will now try to use the database to undermine her—maybe even sell it to another monarch. Perhaps even Russell Edgington.”
“Do you have proof of that?” Andre asked.
“Not as of yet,” the younger vampire said somewhat cautiously—somewhat suggestively. “However, my contacts have told me that King Russell made no waves over Eric’s being in Mississippi—even though he was there under an alias.”
Andre considered for a moment. “Eric and Russell may have a connection, but the recent situation and your supposition do not prove they are in collusion against the queen.”
“Not yet,” Bill reinforced, making sure to keep his tone respectful. “But it is clear that Eric was extremely anxious for me to leave Area 5 for some reason. Without me there to keep an eye on him, he could do anything he wishes! In the meantime, I am sure that he will try to talk Sophie-Anne out of using the database for the profit of Louisiana—likely to buy time as he attempts to peddle it among some of his Old-World friends,” Bill suggested provocatively.
“He is already trying to convince her not to sell it!” Andre seethed. “And now—you are of no use to me, so I must arrange for another spy!”
“Wait!” Bill yelled as he sensed that Andre was about to hang up on him. “I have already made arrangements for Eric to be watched by someone who can get even closer to him than I could have!” he informed quickly, bending the truth quite a bit in order to keep his value in Andre’s eyes. “And my spy will be reporting to me so that I can report to you.”
Andre was quiet for a moment, so silent that Bill feared that he actually had hung up the call.
“Who? Is the telepath going to be spying for you?” Andre asked incredulously.
Bill scoffed. “No. Eric has turned Sookie against me—for the moment. However, she will soon see through him—as will the queen. With our help,” he added beguilingly.
“Who is your spy then?” Andre asked with suspicion.
“A witch—Hallow,” Bill declared, deciding in that moment that it needed to seem as if Hallow’s pursuit of Eric had been his idea all along. And that it was much further along than it actually was.
“A witch—” Andre spit out, “especially that one—cannot be trusted. If she tries to interfere with one more of the queen’s interests in New Orleans, I will have Hallow and her brother burned at a fucking stake!”
Fuck! Bill had to think fast!
“Yes. I have heard that Hallow has become a problem in New Orleans,” Bill lied. “Getting Hallow out of the queen’s territory is yet another benefit of my plan.”
“And what exactly is that plan?” Andre asked skeptically.
“Hallow will approach Northman with an offer.”
“What kind of offer?”
“The kind that I imagine has you perturbed at her,” Bill guessed. “She will demand a share of Eric’s profits at Fangtasia in exchange for her protection.”
“In exchange for not ruining his business, you mean,” Andre growled.
Clearly, Hallow had become more than just a minor annoyance to the queen’s child. Bill knew that he needed to tread carefully.
“Yes,” Bill responded. “The witch also plans to require Eric’s time and body as well.”
“Oh does she?” Andre asked with a chuckle. “Well—Compton—I must hand it to you. Hallow would be quite the distraction for Northman. But I cannot see how this helps the queen’s interests.”
“Sookie is currently enamored with Eric,” Bill informed. “Once Hallow is in the picture, Sookie will lose any affection she has for him.”
“Ah—so I see how you will be helped. What of the queen?” Andre asked again.
“My interests are the queen’s interests. Once Eric shows his true colors, Sookie will turn to me again. And I will bring her to the queen,” Bill promised.
“Are you aware that Northman has already arranged for the telepath to work for the queen?” Andre asked sinisterly.
“What?” Bill could not hold in his surprise.
“Ah—so you are unaware that Northman and your Sookie plan to open a telepath-for-hire business,” he observed sarcastically.
“But—uh—they can’t! She wouldn’t!” Bill stammered.
“Clearly, you are wrong about what the telepath will do,” Andre chuckled, clearly enjoying Bill’s discomfort. “However, I believe your witch plan may have some merit—as long as Hallow finds out what Northman is up to. Hell! I would even welcome her just undermining him to the point that I can argue that he’s so longer competent enough to be Sheriff of Area 5,” he mused. “And getting Hallow out of New Orleans cleanly will be a bonus. But—tell me—how will you control the witch?”
“She is an acquaintance of mine,” Bill said simply. “She would not betray me; plus, all of our interests align in this matter. So there is little risk that her actions—no matter what they are—would affect us negatively.”
Andre was silent for a moment. “Fine. Ensure that Hallow begins her pursuit of Northman immediately, and make sure I am informed right away if she finds anything that can be held over him.”
“Of course,” Bill said. He heard a click and knew that Andre had hung up.
“You can still get all that you want—all that you deserve,” Bill assured himself, even as he dialed his phone again.
Hallow answered after the first ring.
“Are you calling with more information?” the witch asked, her tone seductive.
“Yes,” Bill responded. “Are you pleased so far?” he asked about the information he’d emailed Hallow the night before.
“More than pleased. It is a very good beginning,” Hallow emphasized.
“I am glad you are pleased,” the vampire said as seductively as he could. “I would like to arrange a meeting with you. As it turns out, I will not be needing your spell for my home—as I am relocating to New Orleans for a while.”
“Leaving Area 5 just before I get there? Moving to New Orleans right when I’m leaving?” Hallow asked with a pout. “I believe I am offended.”
“Do not be. I would rather stay in Area 5 to watch you,” he paused, “work your magic. However, I have been recalled to the capital by the queen,” Bill lied. “However, I hope that you will keep me abreast of your handwork, and—in return—I will happily offer you more information,” he added. “For instance, I can give you some information about Eric’s maker right now.”
“Oh? Is he as delectable as the Viking?” Hallow inquired with interest.
“I do not know,” Bill answered honestly. “However, he could be of use in controlling his child.”
“Wouldn’t a maker wish to protect his child—especially from someone like me?” Hallow laughed wickedly.
“Not Eric’s,” Bill said. “From what I know of Appius, he quite enjoys toying with Eric and might make your fun with the Viking even more,” he paused, “profound.”
“And are you in contact with this maker?” Hallow asked.
“That is another reason why I am calling,” Bill said. “Appius is likely in the Old World, but he moves around quite a bit. Thus, his location is not easy to pinpoint. However, I believe that you have the ability to find individuals—through scrying?”
“Yes—but I could not find this Appius without his blood,” Hallow informed.
“What about his child’s blood?” Bill asked, even as he pulled a plastic bag from his suitcase. In it was a fragment of silver with Eric’s blood on it—a fragment Sookie had taken with her from Dallas and kept for some fucking reason! Of course, Bill had smelled the silver and blood. He removed it from where Sookie had hidden it not long after she’d stowed it away.
Initially, he’d thought to throw it away, but had decided to hang onto it, putting it in the same hiding place as his laptop.
He was glad he had it now.
“Now—Eric’s blood is something I could use,” Hallow purred.
“You can have it,” Bill promised, “in exchange for that locator spell.”
Hallow was silent for a moment. “You must promise me that the maker will not prevent me from having Eric.”
“Oh—I am certain that Appius’s presence would only increase your pleasure,” Bill assured, though he had no idea of whether or not he was being truthful.
“Fine. Come to the warehouse where I am staying tomorrow evening,” she said. “And—perhaps—we could have a little more than just a meeting of the minds?”
Bill frowned momentarily, but then wondered why he shouldn’t indulge in the witch. That way, Eric would be getting his “sloppy seconds.”
He frowned again, deeper this time, as he wondered if Sookie had already given Eric that which was always meant to be only Bill’s. He shook off that thought, however, knowing that Sookie would not get physically involved with Eric for at least a while.
No—he could not think about Sookie and Eric having sex. He would stop it before it even happened!
“So?” Hallow asked impatiently.
“I was just anticipating our encounter,” Bill said, trying to cover up his delay in response, as well as his lack of enthusiasm. “However, I must ask that you not take my blood during our,” he paused, “time together.”
“Fine,” Hallow pouted. “I hope to have free access to a much older vintage soon anyway.”
Bill’s lips twisted in disgust. The fact that Hallow took and trafficked in vampire blood was one of the many things he’d learned about her. However, he now had no choice but to work with her.
“In that case, I greatly anticipate seeing you soon,” Bill said before hanging up.
“The things I do for you,” he sighed, looking at a picture of Sookie he’d brought with him. “The things I do for us.”
A/N: Well—Thalia did get to have a little “fun” with Bill. Of course, I know that many of you want him dead (and not in that vampire daytime kind of way). Me too; I assure you. But Bill is—at least in this story—characterized as a “bringer of woes.” And he has more to bring to our couple.
Anyway, I know I promised an installment of Gift Horse; I should have it ready within the week. And, for those of you worried that the installment will derail the posting schedule for this story—don’t be. There shouldn’t be delays in posting a chapter of this story each weekend.
I hope that you will leave a comment if you have the time and the inclination.
Have a good week!
P.S. I think I forgot to ask Seph to do a banner for my Hallow in this piece. I had thought that I had one of the same actress from a different story, but I didn’t. I am including (with Seph’s character banners) a character plate as a placeholder until I can get Seph on it.