FOUR HOURS EARLIER
Bill had been wrapped in silver too goddamned much lately—first because of the necromancer and now because of Northman!
Another day spent awake in agony!
Another day sapped of all strength!
But that was nothing compared to the fact that the Viking bastard was keeping him from his child!
Bill moaned in pain. It was so difficult to feel Sookie through his agony, but he could feel her. He chuckled darkly—almost insanely. Bill remembered Dallas, the night when Northman had tricked his blood into his Sookie. Ever since that night, Sookie’s feelings had been divided—muddled. Bill knew why. Oh—it wasn’t because Eric had tried to unduly influence Sookie with his ancient blood, though Bill knew that she’d had dreams about the Viking. No—it was because she’d begun to suspect Bill of manipulating her with his blood that night.
Bill couldn’t really blame Sookie. There had been much that he’d held back from her—first out of duty to his queen and then out of fear that he’d lose his beloved.
But now things could be healed! Sookie was his child!
And, even though he could feel that she was Eric’s child too—more Eric’s even—it didn’t matter. Just as Eric had once taunted him with the fact that he was a part of Sookie, Bill could now do the same to the Viking.
With any luck, Eric would soon be dead. After all, he was lower on the political totem pole than Bill. And, though Nan was currently angry with Bill for some reason, she would soon remember his contributions to the mainstream movement. Eric was nothing more than a liability to mainstreaming—a thug.
And, with Eric gone, Bill would certainly be able to find a way back into Sookie’s heart! She’d not be able to resist, after all, for he was her sire. Bill closed his eyes and imagined limitless possibilities. With Jessica, he’d been compelled to become a maker. He’d felt no connection to her—no pull to make her his child.
The opposite was true for Sookie. He’d wanted her from the first night he’d met her. She had been his. And—from that night on—he’d been trying to figure out how to take Sophie-Anne out of the equation. And then—even worse—Eric Northman had been introduced into it.
Bill had recently had the chance to kill Eric, but the king’s practicality had won out. He knew that killing pathetic amnesiac Northman would have made Sookie hate him. And—if that had happened—then no amount of his blood would have been able to soften her heart again.
Vampire blood was capable of amplifying only existing emotions. That’s why Bill had needed to wait to give Sookie more of his blood after she’d learned of his duplicity. But, as soon as she’d brought Northman to his home in order to offer their help with the necromancer, Bill had known that he “had” her.
It was ironic that—in sparing Eric’s life—Bill had caused Sookie’s heart to become softened toward him once more. Sadly, the price had been her further entanglement with the Viking.
A necessary evil.
Despite that, if Bill had all the money in the world, he would have bet every last penny that Sookie would have chosen him the night before—after she’d saved Eric and him from the witch’s fire.
He would have lost, for she’d chosen neither of them.
Bill had been able to feel her confusion as the generous amount of blood he’d given her amplified the affection she’d felt for him. Bill sighed through his pain. Having Sookie shot in the cemetery during the witch war had been a risk, but a necessary one. It had given him opportunity—and the chance to play hero—even as Eric had turned on them all as he’d succumbed to the necromancer’s influence.
Who knew that Sookie would have the ability to bring Eric back to “himself” with her light? Bill couldn’t help but to wonder what powers Sookie might have as a vampire. He couldn’t wait to use them—for the benefit of both Sookie and himself, of course.
Bill was certain that Sookie would come to see that all that he’d done had been to ensure that they could be together again.
Hell—he’d become a king to keep her safe! That had to count for something!
He’d contacted Nan to take care of the Sophie-Anne problem as a last-ditch effort to place himself above all of his potential enemies. Sadly, Northman hadn’t done anything to merit the true death during the year that Sookie was gone. God knows that Bill had tried to provoke his sheriff into treason! Unfortunately, making a more overt play for Eric’s life had become impossible following the night Bill pushed Eric into the cement. Bill knew that the Viking would never let down his guard again. But he had thought that the sheriff might do something that would allow Bill to get the Authority involved.
It turns out that Eric did—by getting himself cursed by the witch. But killing Eric then would have solidified Sookie’s feelings of betrayal toward Bill. And—that—the king wouldn’t have.
Had Pam just not been a meddling bitch with that rocket launcher, Bill could have killed Eric in front of the witch’s coven. But—no! Northman’s child had proven that she could be just as troublesome as her maker.
But that was nothing compared to what was happening now! Because of Northman, Bill was trapped in silver. The King of Louisiana moaned.
“Hurts—doesn’t it?” Nigel asked.
Bill glared at the monster in the cell next to him. Not only had he been chained all night and all day, but he’d also had to listen to the twisted thoughts of a child eater, and—because of those thoughts—both of them had been subjected to some kind of ultraviolet light many times. The light wasn’t quite as damaging as sunlight would have been, but it was fucking close—especially when compounded with the silver!
“Shut up!” Bill grunted.
“I remember when they used to use silver on me,” Nigel continued almost nostalgically, even as he wiped the evidence of the bleeds from his ears. “But I started to like it, so they stopped,” he pouted a little. “Maybe you can start to like it too!”
Bill shook his head. The sick individual seemed to like to force himself to stay awake—in order, probably, to extend his pain.
“I said shut up!” Bill seethed. “Fucking masochist.”
But Nigel didn’t stay silent. For hours he droned on and on about how he’d come to like various kinds of torture, including having his skin peeled off before being forced into a vat of lye.
He told Bill that—as far as he knew—he was the only vampire ever to change in appearance because of torture. And he seemed quite proud of that fact.
But—the more Bill let himself listen to Nigel’s words, the less pain he felt. And—eventually—Bill felt nightfall approaching. Moments after sundown, he felt something else: his child rising. Sookie seemed so far away, but the connection was there. He didn’t have the strength to call her to him, but he could feel her much more than before.
During the first hours of her rising, she felt so much: wonder, shame, guilt, anger, elation, horror, lust, revulsion.
But, most of all, she felt hunger.
Despite his silver, Bill grew hard—impossibly hard. He wanted her hunger to be for him. He wanted to fuck her as a vampire—to teach her that “soft” loving was no longer needed.
But there was nothing he could do about his “problem,” except wait. Eventually, Sookie would come to him. He knew it.
Or he would get out from the silver and call her to him.
“Why would Nan bring them here?” Salome asked her confederate.
“Compton is explained easily enough,” Hyun-Ae commented. “Clearly, Compton has failed as King of Louisiana. And it seems likely that he planned Nan’s demise. Pity he didn’t succeed.”
“Yes,” Salome agreed. “Quite the pity. But what of Northman? Why bring him here—and with a new child no less? If he were Compton’s accomplice, he would be in silver too.”
“The Viking is strong, and Roman is no fool. He will try to recruit Northman as an ally,” Hyun-Ae mused.
“Then I will just have to recruit him better,” Salome responded suggestively.
“Or, perhaps, Compton would be a better target,” Hyun-Ae proposed. “It is rumored that he is pliable—easily manipulated. And my spy on Nan’s boot-squad told me that there were some peculiarities in the making of Northman’s child.”
“What peculiarities?” Salome asked.
“Well—for one thing—she might not be the Viking’s child. At least not fully. My spy picked up two scents from the child—Northman’s and Compton’s.”
“Intriguing,” Salome commented. “Perhaps I should speak with William Compton, but—first—you and I should make an appearance in the lounge. It would not do for us to seem to be separating ourselves.”
Hyun-Ae nodded. “You go. I will follow after I have fed.”
Salome leaned forward and gave her fellow Sanguinista a passionate kiss. “Our cause is true—and just. And we will not fail.”
“You have my loyalty,” Hyun-Ae responded somewhat stiffly as she stood up.
“You do not believe in Lilith,” Salome said matter-of-factly.
“I believe in her enough,” Hyun-Ae responded.
Salome frowned, but then nodded. “I understand.”
A/N: Sorry it’s been a while since I had a chapter of this one ready. In addition to finals and the holidays taking my time, one of my cats also passed away. He had cancer, so we knew it was coming, but it’s been a difficult time for me and my hubby.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of drafting work on Inner, and that one’s going well.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. This was out first glimpse into Bill’s psyche (sorry Bill fans). And I wanted you to catch a glimpse of Salome too.
On a side note: did anyone else begin the series with ambivalent feelings about Bill, but then start to really, really dislike him around the time that the show’s creators attempted to redeem him in such overt ways? It was just-sigh-annoying.
Until the next time,
Thanks to Kleannhouse for always being willing to lend me your eyes and your feedback!
Thanks to Seph, who’s made all the banners for this work. The chapter banner is gorgeous. And–since I’m changing the casting of many of the Authority members, she’s really helping me to bring them to life!