Pam placed her hand on my arm, whether to calm me or keep me in place I wasn’t sure, but I was seething. How dare Bill Compton think he deserved Sookie? She was a goddess and he was a psycho plebeian. I forced myself into stillness and listened to the continuing conversation.
“You must be nine kinds of crazy Bill, so let me explain it to you in very small words that you will be sure to understand. There is one vampire in the world that I have any intention of marrying and it is not you,” Sookie spat out enunciating the last few words. I felt a surge of pride and ecstatic elation. My Valkyrie was amazing, but my mood darkened quickly when Bill replied.
“I do not think you have failed to notice that he is not here. I am, my dear, and I don’t think that I’ll be giving you a choice.” Bill’s voice was smug. I couldn’t wait to rip his heart out.
“It’s your funeral.” I could envision the proud tilt of her chin, the line of her shoulders thrown back in defiance as she stood up to her one-time beau turned stalker.
I heard Felipe’s chuckle. “Looks like your would-be bride has no interest in marital relations with you. It will be enjoyable watching you break her.”
My thoughts were furious with differing plans. I wanted to storm inside, kicking down the door and painting the walls with their blood. We didn’t know how many people were inside though, which put us at a disadvantage. However, if I got inside I could send information out to Pam and keep an eye on the situation.
My decision was made for me when I heard Sookie whimper in pain. Someone was hurting her, probably Bill. My eyes narrowed and I shoved the bloodlust down as I started to see red. I saw Pam wince and I indicated to her that I was headed in, but that she should stay put. She nodded her obedience despite the fact that I could tell she wanted to storm the house as well. Come in when you hear the fighting start, I mouthed trusting her to pass along the information to the others, and I strode towards the door, crossing the distance that separated me from my love.
The door exploded inward, splinters of wood spraying over the assembled vampires. Gloriously framed by the broken doorframe was my Viking. Relief surged through me knowing that he had survived the battle at Freyda’s mansion. I hadn’t really doubted it, but seeing him unlocked a worry I hadn’t realized I was carrying. He sped across the room to my side, ripping Bill’s hand off of my arm and I was overjoyed to see him.
“I’m sorry Bill,” Eric said icily. “Who isn’t here?” He slung his long, muscled arm over my shoulder protectively as well as possessively, rubbing the red finger marks that remained behind. Eat your heart out Bill or maybe I’ll let Eric do that. His eyes searched my body checking for other injuries and noticing the dress. His eyes widened. I knew he understood the symbolism and that I knew he’d come for me. I flashed him a huge smile letting him know that I was fine and overly happy to see him.
“Looks like my boyfriend’s back and you’re gonna be in trouble,” I sing-songed snarkily at Bill.
He looked flustered. I knew he’d expected Eric to find me, but probably thought it would take long enough that he could marry me against my will and claim his husbandly rights. I shuddered inwardly at that and felt Eric’s arm tighten around me.
“How did you find her?” He paused. “Never mind, there’s only one of you, you’ll never take all of us before we take you down. I’ll enjoy your death and fuck her in your remains.” That image made me ill, but I refused to let him see that he had rattled me. I felt Eric’s body sharpen in response.
“Two,” I replied, acid laced in my tone.
“Excuse me?” Bill asked confused.
“There are two of us, Bill, unless you’ve already forgotten that I am formidable in my own right.” I saw Eric beam down at me proudly.
Eric spoke to him his tone unconcerned. “So two of us versus eleven of you. It appears that we are still at a bit of a disadvantage. Why don’t you let me take Sookie and no one has to die?”
“Never,” Bill exclaimed. “She is mine Northman. You gave her up proving that you don’t deserve her. I have tolerated your presence in her life long enough. It’s not as if you have any intention of marrying her yourself.”
Eric raised an eyebrow, but gave the impression that he was considering this, though I could see the tick of his jaw tighten and release repeatedly. Felipe appeared unimpressed as he leaned against a wall, one foot crossed over the other, his arms crossed in displeasure. The poor priest stood in the corner, eyes glazed over and giving the impression that he wasn’t processing anything that was happening around him. The rest of the vampires’ were relaxed as if they weren’t worried one bit about the change in circumstances. You would think that Eric’s reputation would have preceded him, if not mine, but they didn’t seem to be bothered.
“There’s no way I will allow you to marry Sookie and I do have every intention of marrying her again, if she’ll have me,” his eyes flicked down to me before he continued, “which isn’t something you apparently felt was important enough to ask her. I did it the wrong way the first time. It’s not a mistake I intend to make twice. There’s just the matter of our little situation here.” Despite the situation I felt my insides flutter at his pronunciation.
“GIVE HER TO ME,” Bill roared at Eric, whose hand moved slightly toward the broadsword attached to his back. I noticed then that he had my katana with him and I smiled knowing that he had known I would want it.
“I don’t suppose you’d consider fighting me one on one?” Eric asked caustically. A smile quickly crossed and disappeared from Felipe’s face. Bill looked like he was going to shatter into pieces he was so edgy. “No, I didn’t think so.”
Felipe finally joined the conversation. “Here’s my offer Northman. You stay here with me in Las Vegas and I won’t kill your pretty little princess. And to you, Sookie, I say, you will also stay and work for me and I won’t make you watch while we dismember your boyfriend,” he said, disdain heavy in his ridiculously accented voice. “Oh! And I get to keep Oklahoma. I have no care one way or the other what happens to Compton, but I have waited a long time to have the two of you under my thumb. You did, after all, kill Victor. I will have my retribution, but I am not without a heart. You may eventually be allowed to pursue your relationship.” His face gave the look like he didn’t expect us to turn down the deal. He took a few steps closer to us, standing next to Bill, whose face showed his shock that Felipe had turned on him. Sheesh, did he really think De Castro was trustworthy?
My eyes turned to Eric who gazed lovingly back down at me and I asked, “What do you think my Viking? Should we go play slave to the Caped Crusader here, or die fighting for our freedom?” I knew what his answer would be and though I didn’t want to die, I would never again let my love go without a fight.
Something flashed through his eyes. “Oh Lover, I will never give you up again,” his words echoing my thoughts. “Not for even the smallest instant. I would rather die than live without you. By the way, I brought you a present,” he said ignoring the rest of the group. They weren’t worried about us apparently and gave us the space to say our goodbyes. He pulled my katana that was strapped to his waist and handed it to me reverentially. His eyes flared with love and tinged with lust as he bent down to kiss me passionately.
Bill moved to attack and Felipe held him back. “Let them have their moment. We will kill them soon enough.”
I took the sword from him and, despite the danger, I swooned. I kissed him back with everything I had. If it was the last time, I would put every ounce of love that I had held back from him before. I clutched at him, unwilling to let him go, but his hands gently grasped my upper arms and put some distance between us.
“I realize that this isn’t the best time for this, and it is not where I would have preferred to do so, but if we are to die I refuse to go to Valhalla without asking you one thing,” he paused falling to his knees. “You are the best and purest thing that has ever come into my life. I have come to know you, first as a feisty human who refused to fear me, then as a woman and warrior equal in every way to me. I have waited a thousand years to find someone to love as exquisitely as I do you. Miss Sookie Stackhouse, will you do me the honor of becoming my lifelong companion, my partner, my wife?” His eyes showed that he wasn’t sure of my response and my heart thumped heavily in response.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and though I saw the rest of the vampires gathering preparing for battle, I said simply. “Yes. Absolutely yes. We have both made mistakes and there will be issues to overcome in the future, but I won’t live another moment without letting you know how happy I would be with you at my side as my husband.” He soared upwards and his lips met mine fervently pressing his muscled frame into my body. If we were going to die, this was definitely the way to go.
Evidently the romantic interlude the group had allowed us, thinking that we would be dead shortly anyway, was over and Bill screamed as he launched himself at me. I broke off the kiss, unsheathing my katana in the same moment and sliced down before he grabbed me again. Eric drew his sword, swinging it into action and grinning broadly. He always did enjoy a battle.
She said yes, I exclaimed inwardly, and my undead heart leapt in my chest. I kissed her with everything I was worth. We would not die tonight and she would be my wife. I was alive again and absolutely ready to kill anyone who would come between me and my beloved. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Bill surge into movement, worrying momentarily for Sookie, but I shouldn’t have. She was prepared. And so was I.
Pam and the rest of my allies rushed into action. The room itself was too small to fit all of us and I flung several of the enemy out the door into the night, creating a larger hole than I had initially created. Pam flew into the room followed by Win and Mac. Felipe attempted to flee, again, fucking coward, and I soared over blocking his exit. Our swords met and clashed against one another. Sookie was locked in combat with Bill across the room and she pressed forward, forcing him to taking steps backwards to keep his distance from her. She was viciously slashing at him and blood rose to the surface of his skin.
“Don’t kill him,” I yelled across the din. She cocked her head questioningly, but then it occurred to her what I was thinking and she smiled dangerously.
“Only if I get to help,” she shouted back.
I was shocked, but I quickly agreed and we both continued our fights. Felipe pushed at me and I laughed heartily shoving him off and forcing him to retreat into the kitchen. I threw him against the cabinets and they flew open, dishes crashing to the ground around him. He lost his footing on the broken pieces and I took the opportunity to rip the cape from his shoulders as he fell. I flung it away from me and he looked smaller without the prop. I grabbed his hair, pulling him up and smashing his face into the edge of the countertop, blood spraying over the surface. When I brought his head back up, he glared at me and I slammed his face down again, enjoying the sensation and sound of breaking bones. I pulled back and tossed him across the room, his back crashed into the corner of the refrigerator, and I heard his spine snap.
I prowled over to him, slowly, enjoying the fear that crept over his features. I stopped in front of him, brought down my foot on each of his kneecaps, and then stepped onto his chest. I sliced off his hands and shoving my sword into his chest, pinned him to the linoleum. Another vampire tried to sneak up on me and I reached behind without looking, my hand gripped his neck and I turned and ripped his head off. I laid it atop Felipe’s chest, his blood draining from the stumps of his arms, and strode out to the main battle.
The priest cowered in the corner though he was still glamoured. Survival was innate and he had the instinct to at least to try to be afraid. I barked at him to get into one of the bedrooms. He shouldn’t have to pay for being forced into this situation. The glamour broke with my command and he ran. I surveyed the circumstances of the battle. Outside the rest of my allies were moving in a flurry of vengeance. I watched as Thalia kicked a vampire in the chest and into the waiting weapon of Ritchie, who decapitated him easily, the head arcing across the desert before landing as a splatter of blood. Quinn had one clutched in the fierce teeth of his jaws, worrying at the neck of his vanquished, muzzle covered with the gore of his prize. Harrison ripped out the heart of the vampire in front of him and spun punching the one that had come up behind him, covering the enemy’s face with the remnants of the heart still clutched in his fist. Karin, I blinked and laughed, was using her sword like a bridle, riding the vampire she had been fighting around like a bucking bronco, a battle cry echoing through the night as she lead him directly into Palomino’s waiting weapon.
Sookie had gotten the better of Bill and had him on the floor. Her katana skewered through his throat and she was forming small fireballs and flinging them at him, small bursts of flames burning his skin and clothing. She was covered in his blood, but obviously didn’t need any help. Pam and Win were taking turns slicing up the vampire between them as Mac fought the vampire in front of him. Another looked to join in an attempt to overpower Mac. I pulled at his collar jerking him back to me and sank my fangs into him neck, draining him before ripping out his spine and tossing it away. I threw his body to the wolf form of Mustapha who proceeded to drag it through the sand to Warren who put the mangled vampire out of his misery.
The house was trashed and debris scattered everywhere. I shuddered with the knowledge that it was the mirror image of Sookie’s house. I wanted the battle over now so that we could gather everyone and head back home. I had torturing to do, quickly amending mentally, we had torturing to do. Me and my future wife, I smiled inwardly.
I walked outside to the porch and bellowed to my allies, “End it now!” I turned and headed towards Sookie who was now using her katana to poke holes in several places on Bill’s body, carefully avoiding his heart. I came up behind her and her head whipped around, bloodlust plain on her face. I took the katana gently from her hand, kicked Bill to the ground, knocked him unconscious, and pinned him to the floor like I had done with Felipe. I pulled her up, checking for injuries. She was covered in blood, but unharmed. She had taken down Bill without taking any damage herself. My heart swelled and I wrapped my arms around her.
Her hands wound up around my neck and her fingers gripped my hair forcing my head down. She crushed her lips against mine, forcing my mouth open, and our tongues tangled against each other. Her mouth insistent, I reveled in the taste of her. Her breath came heavy and she jumped up, wrapping her legs around me, her body undulating in pleasure. Her body ground into mine, rubbing her breasts against my bare chest, my gracious plenty rocking against her. Desire overwhelmed me and I slammed her against the shelf, causing several books to come crashing down on top of Bill. I worried that I had hurt her, but she groaned into my mouth, the heat of her making me wish we were alone. She threw her head back, baring her neck, her hands pressing my fangs to her throat. I hesitated, a question in my eyes, hers pleading with need.
“Please,” she moaned, desire pouring from every inch of her.
My fangs slid home and I drank in her blissful essence. Her mouth found a wound just above my collarbone and her tongue flicked to it. My eyes widened when she used to her teeth to open it so that she could take my blood into her and I could feel the beginnings of the bond reopen within us. We stayed that way for several moments, our hips moving as one, lost in the ecstasy of each other until our mutual pleasure swelled and crashed over us. I screamed in an ancient forgotten language and her voice raw cried out my name. I clutched her to me, ripples of our shared orgasm pulsing between us.
I lowered her gently to the floor, licking her delicious blood from my lips, and then covered her face with dozens of kisses, rejoicing that she was back with me. I pressed her head against my chest speaking in a soft lover’s tone. “I have missed you my beloved. I love you more than words can express.”
Her eyes lifted to mine, still clouded with desire, her mouth swollen from our fervent kisses. “I love you too.” She chuckled softly adjusting her torn and bloody dress, “Though that was unexpected. I feel kind of like a teenager, but since I’m not we need to find someplace private, sooner rather than later. I need to feel you inside me. I need to twine our love and our bodies and reaffirm our bond. Don’t think just because we survived that you aren’t going to marry me.”
“Never my love. I have wanted you to willingly be mine for far too long.” I could hardly believe that she was saying the words to me. It wasn’t a dream I had to remind myself. The priest crept into the living room, silent and still terrified. He eyed me warily, but seemed to realize the danger had passed. He scurried toward the door.
Sookie’s eyes lit up when she saw him. “He could marry us now.”
“No, my love. Not like this. When we join as one I want it to be sacred, as sacred as my love is for you. Not standing amidst the debris of this imitation home.” She sighed and agreed, pressing her lips again to mine. “Now, what shall we do with our prisoners?”
She looked down at Bill. “Prisoners?” She asked me.
“Yes, I have Felipe pinned down in the kitchen as well. What would you like to do with them?”
“Well…Leave Felipe where he is, but have some of your unexpected allies,” her eyes laughed up into mine, “guard the back door. I know what I would like to do with him. But Bill comes with us. I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted in. He’s hurt me too many times and I feel like repaying him in kind.”
“Are you sure dearest? It’s not your usual…style,” I said gently.
“And look at where my style has gotten us? No. I want to cause him pain. I want Bill to scream for mercy before I kill him. I want to send a warning to anyone who might dare to interfere with us again.”
My eyes sparkled in anticipation. “Anything for you.”
“Good. Now, is Felipe secure?” She asked and I wondered where she was going with this.
I guided her toward the kitchen where Felipe whimpered in pain, my broadsword sticking out of his chest, a pile of blood where the vampire’s decapitated head had been.
“Do you want your sword back?” I shook my head. “Then leave him, grab Bill, and drag his body outside. Hmmmm. Prop him up against one of the vehicles so he can watch, if possible.”
I sped over removing Sookie’s katana from Bill’s prone but conscious body. I did as she asked and watched her unmoving and glaring at the house Bill had built to cage my beautiful warrior. She moved to hold her hands out before her.
“Everyone out?” I glanced around checking to make sure everyone was accounted for.
“Yes. What are you going to…” But I stopped mid-sentence. She began to fling fireballs through the door of the house. I could see Felipe still lying immobile in the kitchen. The detritus of the battle allowed the fire to catch and blaze to life. She threw a few more at the porch which began burning the outside. She watched with a fierce look on her face as the rest of our allies ringed around us, except the few I had sent to keep an eye on the back door. My chest pressed up against her back and I wrapped my arms around her waist, adding my strength to her own and offering her comfort. This was something she needed to do and I would support her. We all would.
There were still decisions to be made. I somehow had found four separate states under my control when I hadn’t even wanted one, but that could wait for tomorrow. I stood there, the reflection of the flames flickering across my face. I turned to watch the faces of the people who had gathered to help me. I felt a rush of gratitude and promised that I would take care of all of them, for as long they wanted. They would meet us back at Fangtasia tomorrow, I felt a swell of happiness at returning to my home, and we would work out the details. But right now, I thought, turning back to the blaze, I wanted to savor the victory with the people who made it happen. The people who had helped me reclaim my love.