Chapter 1

First published on fanfiction.net on 5th February 2010

Sookie POV

In the bathroom of the restaurant I stared at the beautiful ring held in my fingers. It was so soon, we didn’t really know each other that well. I love Bill but he frustrates me so much, we have so many things to work on and he wanted to leave tonight to make me his wife, it didn’t leave any time at all for me to get used to that idea. I could use some thinking time, marriage shouldn’t be entered into lightly and I wanted to be absolutely sure I could spend my life with the man I marry. I slid the impressive jewelled band onto my ring finger. I love Bill, I love him. There’s no doubt at all. Filled with joy I run back out to our table.

“Yes! Yes! Bill Compton I will marry you!”

Where is he? Has he flipped out that I needed a moment? Look at the mess here, oh no what have I done? How could I hurt him like this? Stupid, stupid Sookie! I take a closer look at things, Bill wouldn’t have made this much mess if he just split in a bad mood. I breathe deeply, that smell! I know it, burned vampire flesh. Oh I knew he would never leave me! He’s been taken, who would take him? Who wanted Bill out of the way? Furious I pull out my cell phone, calling information and waiting as they put me through

Fangtasia, we don’t bite unless you want us to

“Hello, may I speak with Eric Northman please?”

He doesn’t take calls from fangbangers little girl

“I’m a … business associate, my name is Sookie Stackhouse”

Fine. I’ll see if he’s available.

If Eric has taken Bill I’ll stake him myself! I can’t believe this is happening and on the night of my engagement to the man I love with all my heart!

Northman

“Ah! Eric this is Sookie Stackhouse. I want to know what you’ve done with Bill.”

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

“Don’t play dumb with me! I know you’re jealous of him and now you’ve had him kidnapped so you can get more of your blood in me!”

Don’t flatter yourself. You sound more irrational than usual, and I can feel your panic. You must be in Shreveport or close to it. Where exactly are you?

“In a fancy French restaurant, where I was very much enjoying an evening alone with Bill, I went to the ladies room and when I came back Bill was gone and I could smell burned vampire flesh.”

Stay there, I’ll come over and see what I can find. If Bill has been taken it had nothing to do with me and I want to know who’s poached a vampire in my area.

He hung up without even a goodbye! How rude! I hate him so much and his lack of manners just one of the many reasons. I pick up the box and remove the ring, placing it inside carefully; I don’t want it to be damaged before I tell Bill my answer. I shouldn’t hate Eric so much, I believe that he didn’t take Bill and he’s coming here to investigate right? He might be devious and manipulative but he has other sides to him, like everyone. I remembered his raw emotion, his love and devotion to Godric, on the roof of the Dallas hotel; I’m sure as a Sherriff he has to hide any positive feelings or emotions he has to make him more authorative.

But what’s Bill excuse? He says he loves me but he doesn’t show it often. He talks to me like a child sometimes and despite him saying he’s mainstreaming he shows off his vampire side quite often. The way he acts when other men show an interest in me is scary, I know vampires are possessive but it’s like he doesn’t trust me. That punch he threw at Eric because he tricked me into having his blood was a low blow, necessary I guess but he could have picked a better time. Why didn’t he tell me that vampire blood would create sexual attraction? He didn’t tell me that when I took his blood, he hid it from me, the same as he hid the fact he had to make a vampire child.

I put the ring back on to admire again. He probably hid those facts because he didn’t want to upset me, that was just like my Bill. Always wanting to protect me, what would I do without him? I couldn’t wait to be his little wife!

I heard a car screech to a halt outside and not a moment later Eric, the big lying a-hole, walked in like he owned the place! I felt the hatred bubble inside me; I hated Eric as much as I loved Bill. I took the ring back off and placed it in the box quickly, stowing it in my purse. Although Eric was standing there leering at my cleavage I didn’t hate him as much as I did a moment ago, hmm strange.

“You were right about the burnt vampire flesh; they must have used silver chains to restrain him. I smell vampires in here but there were Weres outside. There’s another scent though, smells like magic.”

“Magic has a smell?”

“Yes, Bill has never told you this?”

“No why would he?”

“Well he brought you into the supernatural world – he should tell you about it for your safety.”

“Oh”

That was a good point. Bill, just like with the vampire blood, never told me about his world. Then when I made some social faux pas he acted like I was an idiot, but if he doesn’t tell me then how am I supposed to know? How can I spend my life with someone who doesn’t think I should know about the world he lives in? Eric is walking around sniffing; he picks up the airline tickets from the table.

“Two tickets to Vermont, for tonight. Why would he be taking you to Vermont tonight Sookie?”

I huffed at him and pulled the ring out of my bag, I poised to put it on my finger, although now I wasn’t so sure. Perhaps it was for the best he was taken, how could I tie myself to Bill for the rest of my life when I had so many questions? I pulled the ring from the box and put it on, waving it in front of Eric’s face.

“This is what it’s about”

How could I doubt my Bill? The questions didn’t matter; we would have years for him to answer anything I asked him! Eric’s nostrils flared, I hated him so goddamn much, him and his flarey nostrils!

“Sookie. Do you realise this ring is enchanted?”

“What!?”

I took it back off and, again, my hatred for Eric abated. Oh Bill. Why did you need to do this?

Eric POV
I had come to my office earlier than usual. The fact that I found payroll more enticing than watching young women dance for my attention did not escape me – and it worried me. Is this how it felt to grieve? It has been so long since I lost someone I thought was important. Just as I thought my night couldn’t get any worse, Clancy lets me know that Sookie Stackhouse is on the phone, great. I wasn’t ready to talk to her yet but I know she wouldn’t call for no reason.

“Northman”

Ah! Eric this is Sookie Stackhouse. I want to know what you’ve done with Bill. What the hell is she on about?

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Don’t play dumb with me! I know you’re jealous of him and now you’ve had him kidnapped so you can get more of your blood in me! Jealous? Of … Compton? Oh dear she’s really gone off the deep end.

“Don’t flatter yourself. You sound more irrational than usual, and I can feel your panic. You must be in Shreveport or close to it. Where exactly are you?”

In a fancy French restaurant, where I was very much enjoying an evening alone with Bill, I went to the ladies room and when I came back Bill was gone and I could smell burned vampire flesh.

“Stay there, I’ll come over and see what I can find. If Bill has been taken it had nothing to do with me and I want to know who’s poached a vampire in my area.”

I hang up before I can say anything that might damage my plan to take her from Compton. She has fire, she shows no fear of our kind, she’s smart but Compton can’t see it and when it comes to Compton Sookie is blind, unwilling to see that she has other options. It’s obvious he has told her very little of our world, what kind of man does that? Brings an innocent into a world of monsters and leaves her devoid of information? I’ve killed thousands and bathed and fucked in their blood but I’ve never led a lamb to the slaughter like he has.

Her panic and anger have lessened, thank gods! I’m getting closer to her now, and I can feel … bliss? Perhaps Bill has returned, typical! I drag my ass all the way here and he was probably out picking out a puppy for her or whatever emasculating activity he thinks will make him seem more human to her. I park behind his Geek mobile and stride in to be blasted with pure and utter hatred dressed in a hideous lavender colour, then it’s gone and Sookie is fussing with her small bag. That dress is not Sookie at all shows off her breasts nicely but the colour makes her look ill. I breathe in through my nose, testing the air

“You were right about the burnt vampire flesh; they must have used silver chains to restrain him. I smell vampires in here but there were Weres outside. There’s another scent though, smells like magic.”

“Magic has a smell?”

“Yes, Bill has never told you this?” Of course he never told her.

“No why would he?” Because you would be able to detect witchcraft and know if someone was trying to put a spell on you? Its Supernatural world 101, how to recognise different beings, and Bill neglects to tell her!

“Well he brought you into the supernatural world – he should tell you about it for your safety.”

“Oh” That’s all she has to say about that?

She’s deep in thought and frustrated, I don’t need to be able to feel her emotions to read her facial expressions. I circle the restaurant trying to pinpoint where the magical smell is emanating from when I notice two airline tickets. Leaving for Vermont tonight, oh this is too good. Vermont only announced last week that Vampire-Human marriages were legal there. He’s only known her for a few months; does he think she’s that stupid?

“Two tickets to Vermont, for tonight. Why would he be taking you to Vermont tonight Sookie?”

She went back to her bag and fished around turning her back to me. For a moment I thought she wasn’t going to answer but then she turned back and flashed a very nice and very magical diamond ring in front of me.

“This is what it’s about”

Again there was that feeling of bliss, would he? No, not even Compton is so low. Putting a spell on a ring to make her feel love?

“Sookie. Do you realise this ring is enchanted?”

“What!?”

She took the ring off and put it back in the box, setting it on the table like it was highly explosive. I could feel many things from her, disappointment, anger, betrayal. I imagine that would be the way many young women would feel to find their marriage proposal wasn’t quite on the level.

“Sookie, would you mind if I took the ring. I would like to see if I can find out more about the enchantment.”

“Take it. Get it out of my sight. I know what it does.”

“You do?”

“It makes me blind to faults and dismiss things I wish to question. It takes away my free will.”

Oh dear Billy boy, you have made a mess. Why would he do this? Why now? Is it because I tricked her into taking my blood? Does he not trust his human? Why marry her under human law? Fully bonding through blood would be far more efficient.

“Sookie do you need a ride home?”

“Yes, well, I’m staying at Bill’s; my house got trashed by a maenad.”

“I heard, Bill will take care of it.”

“What? No. I’m not a kept woman.”

“But you are Bill’s. You feed him, nourish him and satisfy him, he should ensure you have every comfort in return. That is our way.”

“Yes, well, me and Bill are different.”

“Indeed.” He takes her life force but won’t offer to make right her home? “I shall take you to Bill’s. I will have to ensure his child is behaving herself, if her master is gone then she may have to come with me until he returns, she is still newborn and can’t be left to her own devices.”

She opens her mouth to say something but stops. The journey to the Compton house is silent; I can tell Sookie is full of questions that she does not want to ask me. She is sad and it bothers me, I had enough of my own negative thoughts and feelings since returning from Dallas, I don’t need hers too. Walking inside the house is like travelling back in time, with the exception of some new wiring, a new bathroom and a light tight space; Compton has done nothing with this place. Sookie calls out for the brat but there is no answer

“She’s probably with Hoyt, that’s her boyfriend; I’ll let her know to call you when I see her.”

“Sookie I have you cheque for the Dallas job here but I would like to alter it.”

“Alter it?”

“If I had not asked you to go then your house would not be … trashed. Add to that your … compassion towards my maker. This cheque is for the $10,000 we agreed upon, I would like to make it $20,000. I believe this would be some help towards your housing dilemma.”

“Eric, thank you.” Is that a tear? “That would be wonderful. If you don’t mind it’s been a stressful night. Thank you for coming for me and bringing me here, even though I spoke to you horribly on the phone.”

“I’ve been treated worse. Of course I drained the ones who did it as soon as I could.” A smile, at least she knew I was joking with her. I think that may be the first time I’ve really saw her smile. I return to my vehicle and mentally compile a list of things to do. The vampires that I smelled in the restaurant were Lorena and two others, Lorena is his maker, not much I can do there. I’ll call her and find out what she plans to do with him; no doubt whatever it is will have Sookie in tears.

I also need to call Fenella, I do not keep company with witches but she is an exception. 50 years ago she was incredibly beautiful and lithe, there were very few of my past lovers I remained in contact with but Fenella’s usefulness could not be denied. I return to Fangtasia in a lighter mood than I have been in days, perhaps it’s the prospect of a mystery. Sophie-Ann kept me out of the Maenad action but this ring enchantment would keep me busy.

I was even starting to feel a little peckish; I called Pam and told her to bring me something brunette.

Fenella POV
These old bones ain’t what they used to be, getting old is depressing as hell. Nothing makes you feel older than finding a voicemail from a man who fucked you half crazy 50 years ago. Was it that long ago? It’s sickening, here I am 75 years old, tucking my tits into the waistband of my pants and trying to pull the wrinkles from my face with the tightest bun on earth at the back of my skull and he’s eternally young. And hot. And firm. And a reminder of why I never stayed married. After being screwed by Eric Northman, no man can compare, not for me anyway.

Maybe I should have asked him to turn me; maybe I should have given up on my dreams of 2.4 kids and a white picket fence. All that dreamin’ and what good did it do? My husband couldn’t stand me being a witch and I couldn’t bear to bring up a child with those arguments, I had to cast an illusion spell to make them think I had died when the girl was young, I was old when I had her, it wasn’t hard to fabricate a physical compilication of being pregnant so late in life. I sometimes wondered if Amelia had found her way to the magic arts. It was in her blood after all.

I settle in my armchair, hearing the familiar pop of my joints, and replay his message. I was too busy reminiscing about his tight ass to actually listen to what he was saying first time around.

Fenella, its Eric. I want to ask you about something. You know when to call.

Yep, I know to wait until dark big guy. I wonder what he wants; he hasn’t been in touch since I warded his newest home 6 years ago. I don’t usually keep company with vampires except him, not only is he an old flame he’s also one of my most regular customers. He trusts me not only to ward his properties but never glamours me afterwards. The only other vampire I done business with was last week, would have been in his 30’s when he was turned, very handsome too. He didn’t catch my attention though, the two vampires that flanked him did.

One was a female, red-head and bitchy with it, the other was a young blonde male, quiet but in a creepy way not a shy way. The enchantment they asked me to put on that sparkler was a doozy, the only thing that made me do it was the fact I might not live if I refused, but I felt for whoever was going to be wearing it so I added a little something subtle to make me feel better. I’ve done a lot of spells, enchantments and curses but I hated hurting innocents. I busied myself until sunset then made the call

Northman

“Eric, its Fenella, what can I do you for sexy?” Mmmm… Damn his laugh still got me tingly

I’ve come across an enchanted object; I’d like your input

“Of course, I’m free right now if you’re close”

I’ll be there in 30 minutes

I didn’t wait for him to say goodbye, he never does, just hangs up. That’s always been his way. I’m happy that he has something more complex than a ward for me. Enchanting an object is like building a bomb – you leave a signature and, in the hands of the right witch, it can be traced back to the spell caster. I have a quick tidy round and open the window a crack to let the smell of magic out, Eric always disliked the smell. I stop in front of my bathroom mirror and survey the damage, if only there was a human spell to go back in time, only the Fae could do that though and they had to be very old and very powerful to accomplish it.

I heard a tapping at my door and shuffled over to open up. Sure enough, there he was, he made me far too excited for an old woman. I doubt he wanted my saggy ass coming onto him so I kept it formal.

“Come in Eric and show me what you’ve found.”

He nodded and strode into my small living room, perching on the edge of an overstuffed sofa and fishing around in his pocket. I settled across from him and watched as he brought out a box. Oh no, it’s the same box, please tell me it’s not … shit, it is!

“Fuck Eric, where did you find this?”

“With a young lady I’m … acquainted with. Is there any way you can find out what kind of enchantment is on this?”

“I don’t have to find out.” I sighed and hoped for a miracle “I weaved the magic on this ring.”

“You?” I could see he was holding back his anger, his fangs were down, and it still looked sexy “Tell me who ordered it and exactly what the spell entailed.”

“It was a dark haired vamp, male, turned in his 30’s with a red-haired bitchlady and a blonde creepazoid.” I gripped the arms of my chair and prayed to the goddess that he wouldn’t rip me apart “The enchantment was geared towards choice. The woman it was intended for had taken the blood of two vampires and they wanted her to choose the one who bled for her first, to love him unconditionally. Not only that but they wanted her to despise the other vampire who donated.”

“Did they pay you enough?” he spat at me “I hope you spent it well.”

“Eric hold on there.” I put my hands palm out “I knew the spell was wrong, but I also want to live. I threw in a little back up plan for the girl who wore it.”

“Back up plan?”

“The longer she wore the ring the more she would be aware of its effects. I’m guessing it was engagement ring?” he nodded “Well, by the time the wedding was planned she would notice how her feelings had changed and question things.”

“Not if she was being flown to Vermont to get married that very night.”

“What? Oh no! Please tell me…”

“It didn’t happen, but only because the vampire who proposed was kidnapped.” He put the ring back in the box and stuffed it in his pocket forcefully. “Thank you for your time Fenella, I understand your position when you were approached to partake in this unpleasantness. I prefer you alive, there are not many humans I enjoy speaking to but you are one of them.”

He picked up my hand and kissed the back. I swear he could charm the panties off a nun. He probably has. Lots of times.

“Who is she Eric? Why are you so concerned who she marries?” I’m old and a little slow these days but things come to me eventually “You! You’re the other vampire!”

“Yes. I find this woman very interesting, I would hate for anything to happen to her before I find out why that is.”

With his trademark smirk and a quick peck on my cheek, he’s gone. Just like always. I think I would like to meet this woman who has Eric wanting to keep her safe. Maybe when all this has blown over I’ll ask him to introduce us.

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