Chapter 02: Breakable
Have you ever thought about what protects our hearts?
Just a cage of rib bones and other various parts.
So it’s fairly simple to cut right through the mess,
And to stop the muscle that makes us confess.
And we are so fragile,
And our cracking bones make noise,
And we are just,
Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.
from “Breakable” by Ingrid Michaelson
“Nan Flanagan is going to be a problem,” Bill said with a sneer.
“Your problem,” Eric returned.
“Sookie’s problem. Or have you forgotten that Nan saw Sookie use her light; therefore, even if she’s not sure what Sookie is, she knows she’s something.”
Eric sighed. “Fuck Sookie,” he said bitterly.
“You cold, bastard. You’d just leave her helpless—exposed! You were never worthy of her,” Bill seethed. “You didn’t deserve her love!”
The king was against the wall in the next moment, being held by the throat by a very angry Viking.
“You will not speak of Sookie’s feelings for me,” Eric said coldly. “You know nothing of what we were to one another.”
“I know that you’d just discard her—leave her in danger!” Bill growled out.
Eric pushed Bill roughly to the floor and took his disposable phone from his pocket. Sometime between being cursed by a witch and having amnesia, he’d lost his own phone.
He dialed a number that he knew by heart, even as he zipped from Compton’s office so that the “king” couldn’t hear him.
“Hello,” a female voice answered. Eric would know that voice anywhere. She’d retained her English accent, though it had become more refined over the years.
“Are you in a secure location?” he asked.
“Sister—that favor you owe me?”
“The one about me making sure Godric turned you,” Eric said with a smirk.
“That’s the big one,” she responded.
“It must be important.”
“It is. I need you to kill Nan Flanagan for me.”
There was a pause.
“It’s not that she isn’t a bitch, brother, but are you going to tell me why you want her dead?”
“No,” Eric responded quickly.
She sighed. “It matters not. I will see this done for you,” she promised.
“Thank you,” he said, trying not to give her a hint of his relief.
“How are you?” she asked.
“Fine,” he lied. And then he told a little truth—to one of the only two beings to whom he couldn’t really lie. “I miss Godric.”
“I miss him too,” she said quietly. He could barely hear her over the phone.
“Take care of yourself, Nora,” he said, going to hang up.
“Wait,” she whispered. “There are things going on here, Eric, in the Authority. There is a group called the Sanguinistas, who wish to turn humans into cattle. One of their ranks tried to recruit me not long ago, but I told her that I had to think about it. She is stronger than I—and I am in no position to tell Roman about her. I do, however, know that the Sanguinistas have been trying to find Russell Edgington.”
“But he’s gone,” Eric asked stiffly.
“I hope so, Eric. But there are rumors that you only incapacitated him—that you left him to suffer.”
“Why would they want him?”
“They think he will make them invincible. They see him as their figurehead—their folk hero—given what he did on national news.” She sighed. “I don’t know what you did with him, and I don’t care. I know you gave his fangs to the Authority, but the leader of the Sanguinistas is not convinced that he’s gone. I think she may have a spy in Area 5. Just—watch yourself, brother.”
“I will,” Eric promised. “I always do.”
“I know,” Nora said with a chuckle.
Eric hung up and then crushed the phone in his hand.
He was just getting ready to go tell Compton that Nan wouldn’t be a problem when he felt a spike of fear: Sookie’s.
“Bill Compton—what have you fucked up this time?” came Nan’s caustic voice.
“Nothing,” Bill said defensively.
“Oh—come now,” Nan chuckled, a smirk in her voice. “You never call just to chat. I’m sure you’ve fucked something up. The witches are gone. What now, Bill? Trolls? Another Maenad? The fucking Grinch? Did he steal Christmas, Bill?” she laughed.
“You cannot talk to me like that. I am the King of Louisiana,” Bill snarled.
“Don’t forget how you are king—and who made you king. It would take me only one phone call to have that all taken away.”
Bill held in his derision. “As a matter of fact, I called you with excellent news. Not only has the leader of the coven been killed, but also the necromancer-spirt who had taken her over has been fully contained.”
“Congratulations. You’ve done your fucking job—finally. What do you want? A medal?” Nan intoned.
Again, Bill held his temper.
“Northman has become a problem,” Bill said instead.
“Why? He’s not tryin’ to take your girl—is he, Bill?” she drawled in an exaggerated Southern accent which mimicked Bill’s over-the-top intonation.
“What are you talking about?” Bill asked.
“Sookie Stackhouse. I think it’s about time you and I had a frank talk about what she is,” Nan said.
“Of course. I hold nothing back from you, Nan. You know that,” Bill vowed.
“I’m sure you don’t,” Nan said sarcastically—skeptically. “I’ll be there very soon.”
“How soon?” Bill asked, though she’d already hung up.
He looked at his phone.
“Bitch,” he sneered out, just before he felt a surge of fear.
Sookie had her shields up, but that didn’t stop her from picking up danger. Call it instinct.
Call it experience.
She dropped her shields and heard the gnarled thoughts of a transformed Were, though the thoughts were even more mangled than usual for the beasts. The mind was probably twenty feet from her, and—though Sookie knew it was futile—she ran in the direction of home.
She recognized that the Were brain belonged to Debbie Pelt even as paws pounded into the dirt behind her. She screamed as loud as she could, but was thrown to the ground a moment later. She tried to turn toward the body of the wolf now hovering over her—tried to shoot her with her light. But it was as if Debbie anticipated what Sookie would try to do and avoided her attempts.
The Were bit into Sookie’s neck savagely, severing the telepath’s carotid artery.
Blood spewed out.
Sookie felt warm—feverish—and then she felt cold.
Very, very cold.
And then she knew. She was going to die—and die soon.
“Don’t!” Eric yelled as Bill went to peel the dying wolf’s locked jaws from Sookie’s neck. If Debbie hadn’t obviously been high on V, she would have likely felt her pain and transformed back into a human as she died. But Eric doubted that Debbie was feeling anything.
The Viking had severed her spine.
Bill looked up at Eric incredulously.
“The bitch has bitten into Sookie’s carotid artery,” Eric said calmly, clearly in battle mode, though his eyes betrayed his sorrow. “If you unlock the Were’s jaws or finish her off and cause her to shift, Sookie will bleed out.”
“I’ll give her my blood,” Bill said.
“You couldn’t do it fast enough,” Eric sighed.
“Then you could do it,” Bill insisted. “Your blood is stronger than mine.”
Eric sighed, and—though his countenance remained steady—a single red tear streaked down his cheek.
“You know it wouldn’t be enough.”
“Both of us then,” Bill said. “We could both give her blood.”
“We’d buy her only a few minutes,” Eric sighed. “She wouldn’t heal before she bled out.”
Bill was on his knees next to Sookie. The Were bitch was lying on Sookie’s other side, attached to the telepath’s neck, her mouth a seal over the wound she’d inflicted.
“Then I’ll turn her,” Bill said.
“No!” Eric returned. “Sookie wouldn’t want that.”
“I don’t care what she wants!” Bill cried out. “She has to live! I need her.”
“I need her too,” Eric said evenly. “But not at the sacrifice of her choice. She told me that she didn’t want to be a vampire—not ever. And I know she told you the same! I hate it, but we have to respect her wishes.”
“I don’t care!” Bill said again, even as he went to move the Were again.
“I won’t let you do this,” Eric said.
Bill growled. “Then—uh—we will ask her. Sookie may change her mind knowing that she is near death.”
Eric sighed. “She is unconscious.”
“I will take away the Were’s mouth and then begin applying blood to Sookie’s wound topically,” Bill said. “You can give her blood orally at the same time. That might buy us enough time to get her to wake up!”
“But—if we do that—she will likely have already lost enough of her own blood and had enough of ours to make her a vampire—no matter what,” Eric cautioned.
“I know that!” Bill said with affront. “I’m not an imbecile! But if she can become conscious enough to give permission, I’ll complete her turning. And you can have your clear conscience,” Bill spit out.
“And if she refuses?” Eric asked.
“Then we stop giving her blood, and I will stake her—just to be sure.”
Eric looked at the younger vampire warily. “And if she doesn’t revive enough to tell us one way or another?”
“The stake,” Bill said desperately. “I swear it!”
Eric frowned, but nodded.
He’d been given a choice moments away from his death that he’d never regretted making, even though his choice might have been very different if Godric had offered it to him when he was healthy.
The Viking quickly dropped to his knees. He brought his wrist to his mouth and bit before placing it over Sookie’s mouth. At first she didn’t take in anything, but then he massaged her throat a little. He felt her swallow. However, the bond they’d started was weakening, despite the fact that she was now taking in some of his blood.
He looked at Bill and nodded.
“Be quick,” Eric said. “Snap the bitch’s jaw and get your blood onto Sookie’s wound as fast as you can.”
Bill glared at Eric. “I know what to do,” he said petulantly.
Eric sighed and looked down at Sookie’s pale face. For once, he didn’t have any idea what to do. The woman he loved was going to die. And he felt within his soul that she didn’t want to be a vampire—didn’t want to be like him.
But he wouldn’t let her die alone—wouldn’t let her die without another moment of life. Without another look into her eyes.
Maybe he was selfish for that, but he’d never denied his selfishness.
The heart he’d tried to deny for a millennium would no longer be denied.
It broke as he prayed to long-forgotten gods that her eyes would open one last time.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who’s “favorited” and “followed” this story on ff. net! And thanks to all the commenters! Your words and well-wishes are so appreciated.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter!
Until the next one,