Charlaine Harris owns almost everything. I own the rest.
This is one of the stories GabbieAnnie and I have been brainstorming for months now. I hope you enjoy! Canon is not really my highest priority in this story. You’ll figure that out pretty fast. 😉 This story is AU. All mistakes are my own.
Sookie’s grip on Bill’s hand tightened as they entered Fangtasia. She swallowed hard and willed her feet to keep moving, farther into the dangerous and dark world.
“Don’t forget to breathe, sweetheart,” Bill murmured in her ear.
She chuckled softly and took a quick breath. Everyone seemed to be staring at her. “Why do they keep looking at me?” she whispered, knowing he would hear her.
“You look like a white candle in a coal mine.”
True. Everything and everyone else was covered with shades of gray and black. Whether it was the dark gray walls, dim lighting, or black gauzy clothes, the place practically screamed: we are creatures of the night! She could pick out the handful of vampires that circulated through the room, all of them looking at her, which only made her squeeze Bill’s hand harder.
He either didn’t seem to notice, or chose to ignore her as they made their way toward the bar. The bartender stood over a small cutting board, slicing lemons and limes, her perfect brown hair swaying each time the blade cut through the fruit. Bill greeted the woman with a little too much affection and ordered one of the bottles of warmed blood and turned toward Sookie, obviously waiting for her to get a drink.
“Gin and tonic,” she told the woman behind the bar, but she might as well have been talking to a brick wall since the vamp barmaid didn’t take her eyes away from Bill.
The bartender gave him an appreciative and long look from head to toe. “I’ve missed you, Bill.” She stabbed the knife into the block of wood and then moved in a blur to mix Sookie’s drink, sloshing it onto the bar when it was ready. “Is she your meal for tonight?” she asked, her voice venomous.
“This is my friend, Sookie. She has some questions to ask,” he replied, keeping his voice even, as per usual.
The vamp rolled her ocean green eyes and finally looked at Sookie, plastering a terrifying smile on her face.
Sookie flinched, which only made the woman laugh, deep and throaty. She had to resist the urge to slap her. There had to be something written somewhere that said that slapping a vampire was a bad idea. “Have you seen these women here before?” She pulled the newspaper clippings out of her purse showing the pictures of Maudette and Dawn.
“Do you remember who they hung around with? You know, if they ever happened to get friendly with anyone in particular?”
The vamp narrowed her eyes, flashing tiny slits. “That’s not something we notice around here.” She gripped the handle of the knife and twisted it in the wood.
“Oh.” She swallowed hard. “Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to look.” Before she could even get the pictures back in her little red purse, Bill dug his fingers into her arm and dragged her into a nearby booth.
“You shouldn’t ask that,” he said, half speaking, half growling. He acted as if she’d just embarrassed him, but why he would care was beyond Sookie.
“I figured.” She wrenched free of his hand, hissing as his nails scraped her soft inner arm. “Will you please go get my drink?” she asked sweetly, wishing she’d never asked him to bring her to Fangtasia.
As soon as he walked away, a petite blonde vampire slid into the booth opposite her.
Sookie couldn’t hide her shock and had to force her mouth closed, eventually remembering her manners. “Hello. I’m—”
“I know who you are,” the vamp said, turning her attention to Bill. “Finally fulfilling orders, Bill?”
Bill looked at the ground and then to Sookie, still holding her drink in his pale hands. “Pam, I—”
“I am your Sheriff. It would serve you well to remember that.”
Bill cowered as she spoke, and didn’t attempt to join Sookie in the booth. Instead, he stood awkwardly at the edge, fidgeting with Sookie’s glass.
“Here she is, Sookie Stackhouse, at my bar,” Pam said, looking at Sookie as if she were a mythical creature. “What took so long?”
Sookie frowned and looked at Bill, trying to make sense of their bizarre and one-sided conversation. How does she know my name? What are they talking about? What orders?
“Sheriff, I… I…” he stuttered.
“Office. Now.” Pam stood faster than Sookie could follow and offered her hand. “Please, let me escort you.” Sookie scooted out of the booth and tried to quiet her mind. Pam’s hand was firm, yet gentle, leading her down a long hall, away from the noise of the bar. Bill shuffled behind them. Pam opened a heavy wooden door and led the group inside.
Pam’s office, unlike the rest of the building, had been decorated in soft pink and accented with a deep mahogany brown desk and matching bookcases. Besides the comfortable-looking couch, the majority of the space in the office was filled with books. Several stacks sat at the base of the bookcases, overflowing from the shelves.
Sookie let her guard down for a minute as she scanned the shelves, finding classics and contemporary novels all mixed together. She had forgotten that Pam still held her hand until Pam let it go and closed the door. “Sorry, I was just…” she began apologizing for snooping in the office, but Pam didn’t seem to notice her. Bill was in her sights again.
“What took you so long?” Pam propped her hand on her hip and raised an eyebrow. “You’ve had this assignment for a month.”
“I…” Bill shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “We only met recently.”
“Procurement shouldn’t take so long. It’s simple. She wants someone, you get them for her.”
Sookie frowned. “I’m sorry to interrupt, Sheriff Pam, but I don’t know what’s going on. I’m sorry I asked the bartender too many questions. I’m just trying to help find out what happened to my friend. That’s all. Please don’t be angry with Bill.”
“I have no issue with you.” Pam turned to face her and smiled, making her round face more beautiful. “Bill had a job to do, and he didn’t do it. For some reason.” Her smile fell and she stepped closer to Sookie. She closed her eyes and inhaled. She spun toward Bill. “How much has she had?”
“How much what?” Sookie asked, more confused than ever.
“Blood. How much of your blood has she had, Bill?” Her words had gained a sharp edge, making Sookie’s skin crawl and her heart pound. Despite her sweet smile, Pam radiated power and it was impossible to ignore.
Bill swallowed hard. “She was badly injured. I had to save her, or they would’ve killed her. I—”
Pam made a gesture that silenced him. “Sookie, why don’t you tell me what happened the night you were injured.” She sat on the couch and patted the spot next to her.
Sookie took a deep breath and tried to quiet her rabbit heart. “Well, it all happened so fast.” She shook her head and forced herself to start from the beginning. “The night started out like any other. I took orders, cleared tables, and cleaned up. I was walking to my car when the Rattray’s got me.” She paused. “They hit me. Kicked me.” She took a long shuddering breath as she remembered the pain: the blunt force of Mack’s boot against her spine, the sickening crunch of her bones as they broke, and the heaviness in her belly as it filled with blood. “I heard a growling sound and then they stopped hurting me. Bill saved me.” She looked at him with an appreciative smile, but he didn’t see it. He was looking at the floor. “I was dying. I knew it. I could feel all the broken parts and knew if I sat there for much longer, I wouldn’t make it. Bill told me he could cure me, and he did.”
“Rattray’s?” Pam asked, cocking her head to the side.
Sookie shook her head in disgust. “Trash, through and through. Just a few days before, they’d attacked Bill and were planning on killing him.”
“The Rattray’s went after Bill and then you the next time?” Pam asked.
“Yeah. Bill came into the bar where I work, Merlotte’s. He was the first vampire I’d ever seen. Bon Temps is a small town, you know? Anyway, he was sitting there, minding his own business when the Rat’s came up and started whispering who knows what, next thing I know, all three of them were gone. That didn’t sit right with me, so I went out looking for Bill. I found them draining him by the side of the road, so I used my brother’s chain to scare them away. That made them real mad, so they got revenge.” She rubbed the arm that had been broken, because despite Bill’s healing blood, it still ached.
“You saved him. How sweet.”
“I was just lending a hand, that’s all.”
Pam let out a short laugh.
“When he came in again, I was glad. I feel relaxed around him,” she added, feeling the muscles in her face unwind the longer the three of them sat in Pam’s office, separated from the cacophony of thoughts in the other room.
“He came to thank you, I assume?” Pam asked, looking at Bill like a child.
“No, but I asked him for a favor. For my gran. He was supposed to meet me after work. Imagine my surprise when the Rat’s turned up instead of him.”
Pam tensed and got up from the couch. She stalked toward Bill like a predator about to take down prey. “Were you waiting?”
Sookie frowned. “He got there, just a little late.”
“Giving them just enough time to beat you within an inch of your life,” Pam explained to her before turning back to Bill. “Here comes Bill, the hero, swooping in to save the day.”
That’s exactly how it felt to Sookie and she would never be able to thank him enough. “He didn’t give them time to do anything, he just got there a little late,” she said, coming to his defense. Bill remained silent. “Right, Bill?”
“Is that how it was, Bill? Or did you wait until she needed you so you could force your blood into her body? Forcing her to start a bond so you could claim her?”
“He didn’t force me to do anything!” Sookie stood and walked over to Bill, putting her hand on his chest. “He saved me!”
Bill remained frozen in the same spot and didn’t move when Pam left the room and returned with the vampire bartender, who guarded the door while Pam picked up the phone on her desk.
“Sheriff, please,” he begged, finally speaking.
“Bill? What’s going on?” Sookie whispered, feeling her heart pound against her chest.
“Yes. I have her. She’s with Compton. He’s claimed her,” Pam said into the phone. “She won’t go quietly.” She nodded. “Of course. I’ll wait for him. Tonight? What should I do with Compton?” As Pam listened, a smile spread across her face. “Of course, my queen. Thank you.” She nodded to the bartender who stepped forward and restrained Bill, ripping him away from Sookie.
“Bill!” she cried, but the vampire bartender bared her fangs, reminding Sookie that she was in over her head.
Pam put her hand on Sookie’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about Bill. Sabine is going to take care of him.”
Sookie pulled away from her, tears streaming down her face. “Tell me what’s going on!” she demanded. “Where are you taking him?”
The next moment, Sabine dragged Bill out of Pam’s office.
Sookie lunged after them, but Pam stopped her and swept a cloth-covered hand over her mouth. “You can’t do this! I won’t—” Her words were cut short as Sookie’s world went black.
* * * *
“She’s coming around,” someone said.
Sookie tried to blink but couldn’t see. Something covered her eyes. Panic gripped her. She tried to sit up, but couldn’t, nothing in her body seemed to work right. “Hello?” she called out.
“Don’t fight it,” the voice said again.
“Where am I? Where’s Bill?” Fresh tears spilled out of her eyes, rolling down the sides of her face and into her ears.
“Bill,” Pam said with disdain.
“You can’t do this to me! I’m an American citizen! People know where I am and they’ll come looking for me,” she added, hoping her lie sounded more believable than it was. Something pricked her arm and then her head swam, making her forget about being held prisoner and about Bill’s plight. Nothing mattered but sleep.
* * * *
Sookie moaned as soon as consciousness sifted through her brain. She blinked and that time, she could see. Her limbs were too heavy to move, so she remained on her back. She stared up at the ceiling, warped with water damage and yellowed from cigarette smoke. Her vision blurred as her head reeled, forcing her eyes closed for a minute. She groaned and tried to clear her dry throat.
A shuffling noise made her eyes snap open. It took tremendous effort to focus, bringing the room into sharp details: one bed with an ornate metal headboard, one chair, one small table, and one massive vampire looming over her, holding a glass of water.
“You must be thirsty,” he said, his long blond hair hiding half of his face.
She tried to nod and will her body to move to an upright position, but nothing worked right. The vampire moved quickly, gently pulling her shoulders up and off the bed, his cool hand pressed against her bare upper back. “Don’t touch me!” she shouted, making her throat ache.
“Suit yourself,” he said, letting her fall back onto the bed. He put the water on the table and stormed out of the room, slamming the hollow wooden door behind him.
A few seconds later, she could hear half of his muffled phone conversation. “She’s awake … and stubborn. Yes, you can count on me. How much longer before the witch begins her work?” He took a long, deep breath. “No. I’d just hoped that… It doesn’t matter. Keep me posted.” His footsteps retreated.
Sookie couldn’t guess how much time had passed before her arms and legs worked properly. She held her head as she sat up. What did they give me? It’s like the worst hangover of my life! When she finally inched over to the table and drank, she felt the urge to thank the vampire that had given it to her. She also wanted him to tell her what was going on. “Thank you for the water,” she said through the door. It was the best tasting water she’d ever had. She tried the knob. It was locked. So she knocked on the door. “Did you hear me? I said thank you.”
Without warning, he opened the door. “You’re welcome.” He didn’t seem happy to be there.
She tried to peek around him, but he filled most of the doorway. “Where am I? What’s going on? Who are you?”
“You’re at a safe house for detox. I’m your … warden, Eric.”
“Detox of what?” she asked, propping both hands on her hips.
“You ask too many questions,” he stated letting out a low growl of frustration.
She frowned. “I demand answers!”
“I agree … you’re very demanding.” He crossed his arms over his chest and looked at her straight in the eyes, seemingly boring into her brain. “You need to be quiet.”
“Listen, buddy, you can’t keep me prisoner here. You can’t do this to me!” she whined. A smile crept into the corner of his eyes only fueling her anger. “Don’t laugh at me! You have no right!” She poked him in the chest, hard.
The mirth dissolved from his face. He took one step backward and slammed the door in her face. The lock clicked and he muttered, “Fucking humans.”
Let the detox begin!
Voting begins TODAY for the You Want Blood Awards. Go on over and nominate Stay, Third Time’s The Charm, Worth It, The After Party, and Up All Night (they were all published within the time frame of May1, 2014-April 15, 2015). I’d love to win an award!! Pretty please! 🙂
On to Detox: Chapter 2