“Well, as hiding places go, it’s rather fitting,” Sookie said as she stared at the front of the abandoned asylum. When Eric told her he knew where Russell was, Sookie had been skeptical. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe Eric knew where he was, but rather that he had found the location so quickly. To her, it seemed as if Russell had just been dropped in their laps. Sookie had no doubt that they would eventually find and kill the deranged vampire, but not this soon.
Sookie could sense a void in the abandoned insane asylum as well as at least half a dozen snarly red minds. A hundred different scenarios played over in her mind as she ran her eyes over the building. There was no way for them to know if the void was Russell unless they were to enter the building, yet all the evidence was screaming it was so. “Do you trust the vampire who told you Russell was here?” She asked, turning her head a fraction to look at Eric. “Yeah, I know, stupid question,” she added, seeing the look on Eric’s face. “Of course you don’t. Don’t trust any vampire outside of your bloodline.”
“I don’t trust Indira, but she’s never lied to me before. She has always been loyal and never caused any trouble,” Eric replied truthfully. “I have no reason to doubt her. I can scent Weres all around the place, just as she said as well as the scent of death.”
“There’s definitely a vampire inside,” Sookie told him. “I can’t tell if it’s Russell, but the presence of so many Weres leads me to believe it is.”
“It would be the perfect place for him to hide and recover,” Eric said, assessing the building and surrounding area. “No humans live around here so there is no risk of being seen, and it is easily accessible.”
“No one to hear the screams,” Sookie murmured, thinking about the scent of death that hung in the air. “I suppose we…” She paused as she felt her phone vibrate in her pants pocket. Pulling out her phone, Sookie frowned while she read the message before quickly replying and putting her phone away.
“Problem?” Eric inquired.
“Only if you consider Sam threatening to fire me if I don’t show up to work tomorrow,” Sookie replied half-heartedly.
Eric arched a brow at her reply, knowing a lie when he heard one. The message had come from her new phone, the one she received from Molly, so there was no way in Hell the Shifter had her number.
Sookie smiled mischievously at Eric. “Just a poor, helpless fairy,” she mouthed, jerking her head toward the building. Word should not have reached Russell of who and what she was yet. He would still be in the dark when it came to Sookie’s true identity and she wanted to use that to their advantage. Sookie was still covered in Eric’s scent having deliberately not showered before leaving Fangtasia. She was hoping the Russell and the Weres would attribute the scent of vampire on her to Eric.
Eric smirked, understanding what she was saying. She was going to lure Russell in with the temptation of a fairy, and then reveal her true self. “I can always find a position for you at Fangtasia if the Shifter fires you,” Eric leered, playing along.
Sookie mocked a gasp and held a hand to her chest. “Don’t you be talking like that to me, Eric Northman! I’m a lady and will be treated like one.” She winked at Eric before storming off like a brat, imitating how she behaved when she was mortal. “Stupid, big-headed vampire,” she groused, trying hard not to laugh as she walked up the stairs that lead to the entrance of the asylum.
“Sookie!” Eric called out, falling into the role of exasperated, but besotted vampire easily. Eric had to admit, despite his earlier reservations about whether this Sookie and his Sookie was the same person; he certainly wouldn’t miss her bratty, spoiled behavior. As much as he loved the fiery blonde, her refusal to listen and storm in without thought was more than annoying.
“Don’t talk to me!” Sookie snapped as she shot Eric a look over her shoulder, letting him see her mirth before adopting a scowl.
Eric shook his head before speeding after her. He had to give it to her; she certainly knew how to put on a performance. If he hadn’t seen the sparkle in her eye, he would have really thought she was pissed. “It is not safe for you to go in there. Russell is extremely dangerous. You should go home while I take care of him…”
“You’ll find that hard without feeding me to him first,” Sookie retorted, flashing Eric an apologetic look as she faced him. “He’s older and stronger than you. I’m the only one who can hurt him,” Sookie finished before turning on her heel and walking through the front door. And they just left the door open. Yep, nothing suspicious about this.
Eric blew out an unneeded breath before following her into the building. Maybe it is good that she is not completely the same as mortal Sookie, he thought with a snort. “Are you planning on just walking around aimlessly?” He asked as he fell into step beside her.
“No, I was gonna ask for directions at the front desk!” Sookie retorted before she could stop herself. She feigned a shiver while she stepped into the corridor off the entrance. “It’s seriously creepy in here. What is that awful smell?”
“Piss and rotting meat,” Eric replied, identifying it easily.
“Eww,” Sookie said, wrinkling her nose, pretending she had never smelled it before. She could hear people scurrying about in another part of the building, and she flicked her gaze to Eric, silently asking him if he heard it.
Eric inclined his head a fraction, telling Sookie he heard it as well. He jerked his head in the direction the noise, suggesting they head that way. He took her silence as agreement, and led them in that direction. As they moved deeper into the building, the scent of Were grew stronger, and Eric fought the need to drop his fangs when he picked up the scent of vampire blood as well. He couldn’t say for sure if the scent of blood came from the Weres, but he wouldn’t bet against it.
Sookie clenched her hands into fists, digging her nails into her palms as she picked up the same scent. The mere thought of giving Weres the sacred blood disgusted her. It was beyond stupid, and she had to wonder what the hell Russell was thinking. A Were on V had no loyalty, and only served a master as long as they supplied the blood. Russell may have been able to keep his Weres close for over a thousand years, but loyalty had nothing to do with it. It was about power and age. The Weres would turn on Russell in an instant if an older vampire offered them their blood.
Unclenching her hand, Sookie reached for Eric and grabbed his wrist to get his attention. “One vampire and six Weres,” she mouthed, alerting him to what they faced.
Eric nodded and stepped in front of her, still maintaining the ruse of vampire and fairy. His fangs snapped down when the unmistakable scent of Russell Edgington invaded his senses. There was no doubt now that Russell was present. Eric wondered why he hadn’t been able to identify him before. He knew the scent well after all. As he scented the air again, he realized there was another vampire’s scent there. It wasn’t as fresh as the three-thousand-year-old’s, but then Russell’s scent was hidden beneath the smell of decay and death.
“Took you long enough. What an infernal racket you two have been making! Not that it wasn’t amusing…”
Sookie’s eyes widened in surprise when they landed on a fully-healed Russell Edgington lazing on a makeshift throne. He shouldn’t be healed yet. One look at Eric told her he realized the same. Russell should have still been at half strength at the most, not lounging around as if he was King of the Manor.
“Ahh, Miss Stackhouse! I have been expecting you,” Russell greeted cordially as if they were old friends. A dark smile spread across his face as he eyed the blonde. “I have to say you’re looking well, my dear. Although, I do believe there is something different about you.”
Sookie said nothing while she stared at Russell. His healthy appearance was troubling her. She didn’t care how many humans he drained, or if another vampire was feeding him blood, he shouldn’t have been healed. He spent a year chained in silver encased in cement six feet under, after being nearly burned to death by the sun.
“Nothing to say, I see,” Russell continued once he realized Sookie wasn’t going to speak. “I guess I will just have to be satisfied with being graced by the presence of The Child of Lilith…” he chuckled sinisterly when he saw the shocked looks on both Eric and Sookie’s faces. “It’s remarkable how quickly gossip spreads. I must admit that I was both impressed and vexed upon hearing the news. To know the fabled Eve was once within my grasp was most troubling; realizing that I could have killed the daughter of the Mother of our race and not even been aware of it? I could have been a hero to thousands, Miss Stack… Mmm, I guess that isn’t your name. What is your preference? Sookie or Eve? What should I call you?”
“My Lady,” Sookie retorted, smirking as she let her true visage show. A year ago she might have been afraid of Russell, but no longer. She was older, stronger, and a helluva lot more ruthless. Russell had nothing on her when she was at her worst. “So who told you I was back?”
“Always so eager to learn the answers,” Russell said, the cadence of his tone changing as he spoke. “I thought we could catch up first. I’m sure much has changed in the year since The Viking buried me in cement.”
Eric flicked his gaze between Sookie and Russell. He ached to drive a stake into his cold, black heart and send the crazy vampire to his True Death. It was something he should have done a year before. He had been foolish back then, but he swore he wouldn’t be again. If the opportunity presented itself, he would kill Russell Edgington.
“It seems I’m not the only one who is eager for answers,” Sookie replied, recognizing a fishing expedition when she saw one. Russell may have known who she was, but he had no idea how. It still begged the question as to who the informant was though.
“Still as annoyingly stubborn as always, I see,” Russell whined, realizing he wasn’t going to get an answer. He was beyond curious to know how The Child of Lilith had been mortal just a year before, without her memories. “I was hoping that had been a human trait.”
“Sorry…” Sookie started before trailing off. A frown marred her beautiful face and she turned slightly, looking over her shoulder. She let out a sigh as she realized what was about to happen.
“Sookie, what is it?” Eric asked, seeing the unhappy look on her face.
“Vampires,” Sookie groaned and combed a hand through her hair. “An entire swarm of them, plus Weres. It’s a…”
“Trap,” Eric finished.
“As I said, I was expecting you,” Russell chuckled while he rose from his makeshift throne. He smirked while he held out his arm as if he was showing something or someone off.
A growl tore from Sookie’s lips, her fangs snapped down when the door to her left opened and a smug-looking Salome waltzed in. She wanted nothing more than to tackle the biblical whore and rip off her head. She always knew the woman was a Judas, and Sookie now wished she would have killed Salome when she killed her Maker. The only thing that had stopped Sookie from acting on her desire was the knowledge that she knew Salome wasn’t alone.
“So the Child of Lilith was reduced to nothing but a lowly human,” Salome sneered as she moved to Russell’s side. “How the mighty have fallen.”
Sookie’s eyes blazed with anger when Kibwe, Alexander, and Rosalyn stepped through the door after Salome. It seemed The Authority had more than one traitor in its midst. Rosalyn and Alexander were hardly a surprise. The redhead would latch onto anyone who had power, while Alexander was just a little shit. He would do whatever Salome said. Kibwe, however, was a surprise. He had always been the gentlest of vampires, always searching for a peaceful solution instead of relying on violence. Him being swayed onto the path of The Sanguinista Movement was a real blow.
Sookie had to clench her hands into fists to keep herself from ripping off heads as more vampires poured into the room and stood with Russell and Salome. She felt a pang in her heart as she noticed Isabel Beaumont, Godric’s former second, amongst them.
Eric’s eyes snapped around the room and he took note of all the vampires there. He was surprised to see Isabel there, but then he realized he didn’t really know her. She had been a nestmate of Godric’s and that was all. As he ran his eyes over the vampires, Eric noted the Kings of Arkansas, Indiana, and Nevada as well as the Queen of Oklahoma. He growled when his eyes landed on a small Indian vampire to the left of Peter Threadgill.
It seemed as if it wasn’t only The Authority that had traitors; Eric’s own Area housed some. In addition to Indira, Eric noticed more vampires from Louisiana, and a few more from his own Area. Making a quick tally on the vampires and Weres there, Eric deduced that there were almost fifty of them in total. The ages of the vampires varied, but Eric doubted any of them were under five hundred, and some of them he knew for a fact were older than him. On the plus side, none of them were older than Russell, but Eric doubted that would make much difference. Sookie may have been the oldest and most powerful vampire in the room, but not even she could fight them all and survive.
Sookie smirked as her gaze landed on the King of Nevada. “I see you got my message,” she said.
Felipe sneered at Sookie. “Louisiana is yours,” he repeated, contempt dripping from his tongue. “No, perra, Louisiana is mine! I will claim it for The Sanguinista Movement.”
“Never going to happen,” Sookie replied.
“You think you can stop us?” Felipe questioned.
“I do,” Sookie answered, deadly serious as she flicked her eyes over the vampires. “Louisiana as well as Arkansas, Nevada, Indiana, and Oklahoma,” she continued, singling out each monarch’s presence, “will be mine.”
Laughter filled the room as the members of The Sanguinista Movement mocked Sookie. Insults were tossed at the blonde as they celebrated their victory. When The Child of Lilith had returned they never believed it would be so easy to dispose of her, but the perfect opening had presented itself and they were determined to take it.
“I think your time as a human has caused you brain damage, My Lady,” Salome said, deriding Sookie’s title. From the moment she met her, Salome had hated having to be subservient. All that was about to change though. Soon it would be her at the top of the vampire world. “The Supernatural world belongs to The Sanguinista Movement now. We will rule over humans the way we should have all along. With your death, The Authority and Mainstreaming Movement will die!”
“Huh,” Sookie said as a thoughtful expression spread across her face. “You know, I never thought it was possible, but… You are even more stupid than your Maker.” She chuckled at the affronted look on Salome’s face. “Is that the master plan? Kill me and hope for the best? You should really let someone else do the planning, Salome, cause you suck at it.”
“Your death will destroy Roman,” Salome hissed. Her eyes burned with hatred as she glared at the blonde. How dare Sookie mock her? She was now the one who held all the power. “Killing Roman and Dieter will now be so much easier.”
“You dug up Russell,” Eric said, injecting himself back into the conversation. He had been content to sit back and let Sookie take the lead. He knew his fiery blonde well enough to know she could piss anyone off sufficiently so they would slip up, and that was what Salome had done. “You dug him up so he could kill Roman.”
“Very impressive, Viking,” Russell said with mock appreciation. “If you hadn’t killed my beloved Talbot, I might have been willing to let you live and take you on as a consort.”
“I’ll have him if you don’t want him,” Freyda purred as she eyefucked Eric. “I’m sure I could find a position for him in Oklahoma.” She could think of a hundred different positions she would love to have the Viking in, all of them pleasurable for her.
“Mine!” Sookie growled, baring her fangs at Freyda. No one was taking Eric from her, especially not some little slip of a Queen.
“I’m almost tempted to let you have him as a whore, Freyda,” Russell said, enjoying seeing Sookie show some real emotion. “I’m sure he is very talented. Unfortunately, his death was the price I demanded for my assistance.”
“Oh God,” Sookie groaned as all the pieces fell into place. “You dug Russell up to kill Roman, and he agreed on the condition he could kill Eric. I stand by my earlier statement. You are more stupid than your Maker.” Sookie shook her head and let out a snort of laughter. “You dug up a deranged vampire to kill someone two thousand years older than him… Am I the only one who sees the problem with that? You didn’t really think that would work, did you?”
“It was a risky plan, but we would have pulled it off,” Salome replied stiffly, hating Sookie’s questioning. The plan was not without risks, but then no plan was foolproof. If all had gone as planned they would have been able to catch Roman off guard and stake him. “However, none of that matters anymore. Your return caused us to rethink our plans, and develop a much better one,” Salome preened, giving herself a mental pat on the back for devising the new plan. “One that won’t fail.”
“Not only are you more stupid than your Maker, you are also dumber than you look,” Sookie snorted. “I do admire the confidence though, even if it’s misplaced.”
“Enough of this!” Russell snapped, interrupting them. It was obvious to him that Salome was out of her depths when it came to Sookie. He doubted the biblical whore would have even been able to handle the mortal Sookie. The blonde was definitely a spitfire. He was actually going to miss her a little. “Let’s just kill them already.”
“I think you’ll find that easier said than done,” Sookie replied. “People have been trying to kill me since the day I was born and I’m still here. If you think you’re going to kill me, you really are stupid.”
“It’s not we who are stupid,” Salome retorted, her fangs snapping down into place in anticipation. “There is an army of us, and just two of you.”
“Yeah, about that…” A smile lit up Sookie’s face as almost two dozen vampires blurred into the room and took up places around her. She basked in the feeling of having her blood so close. “You need to recheck your math.”