Chapter 05: Dealing with Authority
“Force does not constitute right… obedience is due only to legitimate powers.”—Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“I’ve never liked you much,” Nan said in her acerbic tone. “You’re just so goddamned arrogant.”
“I don’t care much for you either,” Eric said honestly, even as he cradled Sookie in his arms and held her close.
Nan chuckled. “And that’s why I like you. You don’t dish out any bullshit, like that insipid Compton.”
“But you just said that you didn’t like me,” Eric reminded with a smirk.
“Well—that’s where we’re different. I do dish out bullshit—all the fuckin’ time. I’m good at it.”
“Yes,” Eric agreed, “you are—good at the bullshit.”
Eric narrowed his eyes and examined Nan carefully. She’d won points in his book by making sure that Eric and Sookie (though Sookie didn’t know the difference) were comfortable in the limousine Nan had come in.
And, even better, only Nan was riding with them in the back of the limo, and only one other individual—a Were driver—was in the vehicle. Compton had been unceremoniously shoved into the back of a black van—still wrapped in silver—and he was surrounded by “storm troopers.”
Nan didn’t seem concerned by Eric’s study of her. With reluctance, he had to give her some credit: the bitch was unapologetic for her actions.
She shrugged. “To tell you the truth—I don’t want to be your enemy, Mr. Northman. I think you could be useful to the Authority—to the Guardian. And there are rumblings that he might need help sooner rather than later. You are strong and well-respected among our kind—and you don’t suffer from your maker’s guilty conscience.”
Eric growled at that.
“Don’t get your panties in a wad, Viking,” Nan sighed. “I’m not saying anything that’s not the truth. Godric had been flailing for years—and you know it.”
Eric growled again.
Nan put up her hand in a conciliatory motion. “You can’t deny anything I’ve said. And I’m sorry about that—even if you don’t believe that’s true. I’d known Godric for centuries. Hell—three decades ago, I offered him the kingship of Texas, but he turned me down. If you asked me to name the five vampires I’ve respected most in my long life, your maker would be one of them.” She scoffed. “At least, he would have been. But he stopped being a vampire. You and I both know that. He would have let those Fellowship bastards hang him on a cross and burn him in the dawn’s light! And for what purpose?”
“I don’t know,” Eric admitted with a whispered growl.
“I don’t either,” Nan said, her own voice softening. “But I’ve seen similar things happen to others—my own maker included.”
Eric’s eyebrows rose in question.
“That’s right, Sheriff. I, too, lost my maker to despair and guilt. He was twelve hundred years old when he did it.” She paused for a moment. “Nathaniel was the most important being in my existence, and, for many years, I felt like it was somehow my fault—like I should have done something to save him.” She paused again. “But he had lived his fill—and one day, he stopped finding new reasons to keep going. For a long time, I was one of his reasons, but I suppose his soul wore out—even though his body never would have.”
“He met the sun?” Eric asked.
“No. He asked me to stake him,” Nan said. “He told me that—after so long—he was too afraid of the sun to meet it.” Her tone turned almost hollow. “And I’d never known him to fear anything.” She paused again—this time for several minutes.
“So you staked him?” Eric asked.
“Of course I did,” Nan returned as if the question had been unnecessary. “I loved him. I would have done anything to make him happy—even though it tore me apart to do it.”
Eric nodded, suddenly understanding and respecting Nan a lot more than he had earlier that night. She had a job to do. And her job gave her purpose. All vampires needed one.
Perhaps, now that Sookie’s secret could no longer be contained, he would try to stop Nora from killing Nan.
“She didn’t want this life,” he said, holding Sookie’s corpse even closer to his own un-beating heart.
“I know. I heard her. And I’m sorry I had to do what I did.”
Eric studied the vampiress across from him. “I believe you. But why did you do it?”
“The Guardian, Roman, took me under his wing when I was about 300 years old—right after Nathaniel chose to leave this world. And he is being threatened by a rather insane faction.”
Eric nodded. “And you wanted to use Sookie.”
“Yes. And you—as well. When Compton called me tonight, I was already back in the area. Roman was impressed that you could handle Edgington—even if you didn’t kill him.” Her own gaze was narrow in study, but Eric gave nothing away.
“Sookie will fight against what I’ve made her,” he said, looking down at his new child. “She will attempt to kill herself.”
“You could stop her—give her something to live for. I heard her tell you that she loved you,” Nan said.
“But—once she realizes that I turned her against her will—she will no longer trust me. And love is nothing without trust.”
Nan sat forward. “You love her too; you trust her.”
“Yes,” Eric responded. “That is why I do not want to force her to stay in this life—this un-death.”
Nan sighed. “I took a great chance letting you live and allowing you to complete her turning. And I do believe that you are her maker, but I smell Compton in her too.”
“I know,” Eric admitted.
Nan sighed. “You know as well as I do that most of us weren’t given a choice when we were turned.”
“Were you?” Eric asked.
“Yes—yes, I was,” Nan responded.
“Then this must be doubly difficult for you,” Nan stated perceptively. “You love her and wanted to respect her wishes. And you believe in choice.”
Eric nodded. “But you took away my choice—and hers,” he said pointedly.
“I am no simpleton,” Nan sighed. “Miss Stackhouse is obviously a fairy—I’d say a fourth or an eighth. And I’m perceptive enough to know that she’s either a psychic or a telepath, too.”
“How many know your theory?” Eric asked.
“I’m loyal to Roman, and I told him, so everyone he trusts is aware or will soon be made aware.”
Eric nodded with understanding. “So it was already too late to keep Sookie’s nature a secret—even before tonight,” he whispered.
“Yes,” Nan responded. “Bill called me earlier, and I figured that you and/or Compton might try to kill me in order to protect the girl. That’s why I came with such a large force. And there was additional back-up available to me too. If I had been killed, another team would have been right behind me.”
“Sookie is a telepath—or at least she was,” Eric said after a few moments.
Nan nodded in acknowledgement. “A rare gift.”
“Sookie always thought of her telepathy as a curse,” Eric said, tenderly soothing his child’s matted and bloody hair. It was still soft and beautiful to his fingers.
“If she had no guidance as she grew up, I’m not surprised,” Nan said. “Look—Eric—I’m not a heartless bitch.”
The Viking looked at her skeptically.
She smirked. “Okay. Maybe I am, but not in situations like this. With your cooperation, we’ll see what she can do once she rises. Perhaps, she will be free of her curse. Or—perhaps—it will be stronger. It is hard to know.” Nan paused. “There have been other especially gifted vampires. And they are treated very well—and protected. Roman is not cruel. He’s an asshole, but he’s not cruel.”
“She’s going to hate me,” Eric sighed.
“Yes,” Nan agreed. “And—if my instincts are right—you are going to let her hate you. And, because of that, I’ll bet that she will come to love you again sooner rather than later. Bill, on the other hand, will try to make her love him. He might even try to compel her to do so—if he is, indeed, a co-maker to her. And she will end up despising him for it.”
Eric narrowed his eyes as the van screeched to a halt in front of a warehouse on the waterfront in Port Arthur, Texas, which was—ironically—closer to Shreveport than New Orleans. However, it was well out of Louisiana territory.
Because of Nora, Eric knew it was one of the headquarters of the Authority, which rotated its location intermittently.
Nan leaned forward. “Give me one month,” she said. “In that time, your new child might come to embrace being one of us, and she might find a place well-suited for her in the employ of the Authority. You, too, might find a place with us.”
“What of my duties as sheriff?”
Nan smirked. “You and I are both well-aware that you never wanted to be a sheriff. But—it was either that, or the Yakuza were going to kill you.”
Eric growled a little. “I should have killed you back then—after the Yakuza killed Sylvie.”
Nan sighed. “I tried to warn you—as soon as I heard the rumblings against you among those developing synthetic blood. It is not my fault that you were too arrogant to listen!” the vampiress said defiantly. “You can blame me all you want for ‘your’ Sylvie’s death, but I didn’t have to come to you in France. I was under no obligation to warn you or to give you a chance to change your behavior.”
“Why did you? I’d stayed out of the power structure until then. You had no vested interested in me. Why did you come?”
“I already told you,” Nan said.
Eric paused and then nodded with understanding. “Godric.”
Nan nodded back. “Yes. Listen. From what I’ve picked up on, your new child is a hundred times more worthy than the French girl was—though she was very beautiful.” The vampiress nodded toward Sookie. “In the Fellowship church and in Godric’s nest, Miss Stackhouse helped to save lives.”
“I thought you cared only for vampires’ image,” Eric intoned.
“That is my top priority. It has to be. I tread a fine line every day, Sheriff. I have to be human enough to take on the likes of Steve Newlin on national television and vampire enough to keep those of our kind from going on bloody rampages a la Russell Edgington. But—make no mistake—Miss Stackhouse impressed me when she was mostly human, and I have a feeling I’ll be even more impressed with her as a vampire.”
“Me too,” Eric said.
“One month,” Nan reiterated. “Convince Sookie to give this life a try for that long. After that, if she wants to go outside for a suntan, we won’t stop her. And I know that you would let her. But I want to see what she might do—what she might be. Don’t’ you want to see that as well?”
“One month,” Eric whispered. “Are you sure your ‘boss’ will agree to what you are proposing?”
“Yes,” Nan said confidently. “Roman is, as I said, pretty reasonable.”
“The kind of asshole I will like?” Eric asked with a smirk.
“Exactly that kind,” Nan chuckled, as she opened the limo door and stepped out.
A/N: Hello all! Thanks for the continued response to this story! Many of you have had strong reactions to it, and I love eliciting those! Most of you like the avenue that I’m exploring. However, many of you have expressed wishes that Bill won’t be Sookie’s maker and others are a little wary of the co-maker idea—and that’s okay because even if you don’t like everything I’m doing, 99.9% of you are expressing your opinions and reactions constructively, respectfully, and NOT anonymously.
Please remember that I’m not a paid author, but—even if I was—no author writes a story that everyone likes. If this isn’t your particular flavor of story, please be so kind as to “call it a day” and don’t misuse the “guest” review option on ff. net just to insult me, my intellect, or my stories. It is your right to dislike my stories and to stop reading them. Should you choose to make that dislike known, you should sign in and offer your critique in a respectful manner. (Sorry for the little rant, but I woke up to a very long and rambling performance of idiocy–anonymous, of course. Apparently, I’m a “hack” and a “rotted c+nt.” Who knew? I hope I can keep at least the latter piece of information from the hubby. LOL! Of course, the message went into the trash–where it belongs!)
Until next time,