Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Vampire Bill Compton Feels the Love part five

Chapter Twenty

Eric woke up first because he was the oldest in terms of vampire years. He lifted himself up on one elbow and looked across the sleeping vampires. Pam was closest to him. She looked like a ghostly angel while she slept. Then there was Sookie. Her haggard pale face was still crusted with blood, especially around the mouth. She had seemed too fragile last night to clean up, except for her wounds. Last, on the opposite side from Sookie, was Bill.

When a vampire feeds and rests, he heals. That's what happened to Bill. From the skeletal nightmare he had been when Eric opened the cell door, Bill had healed and now looked like he always did. Vampires don't snore because vampires don't breathe. They don't move when they sleep, and many can't move when they sleep. They become as if they were dead. Yet every night they rise, and they are hungry.

Until synthetic blood, vampires had no choice, they had to find a human and feed. When a vampire was newly made this feeding was usually fatal to the human victim, and over the centuries vampires got the reputation for being murderous night stalkers. Their only defense was to try and keep their existence hidden in the realm of myths. It was a dysfunctional way to live, in the modern jargon, Eric thought. They had needed to steel themselves to the harsh reality of a life as a predator, there was little room for the nicer emotions.

Vampires needed to support each other, so they often lived in nests. Too many vampires in one area was bad, but in a small nest they could help each other by covering up the deaths - making them look like accidents, hunting together, and providing the emotional support and encouragement needed to be a blood drinking predator night after night, year after year. Fortunately the older vampires needed very little blood to get by and the killing stopped, usually within the first year. Even if a young vampire needed more blood, they could glamour several humans in one night and not kill anyone.

It was with great amazement that Eric had seen the change in vampires since synthetic blood had freed them from the necessity of drinking only from humans. Kindness, playfulness and tenderness, long suppressed in the vampire's psyche, was re-emerging. Of course, some of the older vampires hung on to their fierce bloodthirsty identity, scorning all things human as despicable. Soon they would be diagnosed as having Post True Blood Vampire Syndrome and be ordered into therapy, Eric thought wryly. Still, it was better now, better than the old days.

Pam stirred and opened her sky blue eyes, looking up at Eric. He bent his head and kissed her deeply. This was not a prelude to sex, or even sexual, it was an expression of all the things they had been to each other over the centuries.

"Our little Sookie had a bad time of it." Pam said quietly. She turned to look at Sookie, then she turned back to Eric. "Should we clean her up before she awakes?" Pam knew it was important to Sookie to look attractive, and right now Sookie looked like she had been through hell, as indeed she had.

"No, it's more important that she feeds. Thank you for feeding her last night, I wouldn't have thought to do that." Eric beamed his big white smile at his Child. Eric had turned Pam vampire more than two hundred years ago and neither one had any regrets.

Pam climbed over Eric and got out of bed. She was completely naked and completely unselfconscious. She went in, showered as quickly as only a vampire can and was back in a flash, dressed and ready to go find two new donors. Before she got the donors and brought them back to the room she found a human and fed, choosing a bespectacled computer programmer from Boise. Secretly Pam hoped that if she drank enough computer geek blood she might aquire computer skills by osmosis.

When Pam got back with the donors Sookie was being bathed by Bill in the huge bathtub, and Eric was getting dressed. Pam was glad she had gotten back to the room before Eric had his shirt on. It was always a treat to see the large muscular Viking naked from the waist up, with his long blond hair hanging down his sculpted back. A nice way to start the night.

Once Bill and Sookie were back in the room they helped Sookie feed from the glamoured young man Pam brought. He was very co-operative and seemed to really enjoy being a donor. Sookie didn't mention that his name was Paul and she had met him once before. Bill's nostrils flared a few times, but whether he remembered Paul's smell from the time Sookie had almost gotten carried away with Paul she couldn't tell.

Bill fed from a check out girl from the nearby Super Save A Bunch, a plump girl with lovely green eyes and a huge wad of gum in her mouth. Pam, concerned the girl might choke, made the girl spit the gum out into her hand before Bill fed. Bill placed an especially torrid detailed memory of their experience together in her mind before Pam took her away. Maybe Bill did remember Paul's smell.

At any rate they both fed and the donors were returned to the room for completed donors, where they were given coffee, cake, and sandwiches if they wanted them. The palace had an excellent kitchen and the food was wonderful. Most donors remembered the food most of all. That was probably because the food was real, while the "sexual encounter" with a vampire was just an implanted memory placed in the donor's mind by the vampire's glamour. The implanted memory of a kiss fades, but a great cannoli stays in the mind a long time.

Chapter Twenty One

While Eric was out glamouring up dinner there was a light knock on the door. Pam opened the door and saw the King Felipe de Castro and Trinity standing there. Trinity had a gift wrapped in red shiny paper, tied with a black ribbon, a card stuck under the ribbon. Pam briefly wondered what the card said. "Thank you for not draining me"? Surely all occasion cards hadn't gotten that specific. Or, maybe they had. Pam liked reading all occasion cards in the store and had recently bought one that offered condolences over the death of a parrot. She didn't know anyone with a parrot, she just liked the card.

Pam bowed more deeply than she did to Eric, and both Bill and Sookie also bowed, although Sookie's bow was from the large tufted chaise in the bed area.

"Please don't get up, Mees Ssstackhoussse" the king said grandly, although Sookie had shown no sign of trying to stand up. "I will be brief so as not to tire you. First, I am again indebted to you. I can only further emphasize that you have the full support and protection of the throne. You have saved my life in the past, and now you have saved the life of the woman I intend to make my queen." He smiled down at Trinity and she beamed back at him. On Trinity's ring finger was a huge flashing diamond, advertising to the world that she was engaged. The king was so relieved to get Trinity back that he had proposed on the night of her rescue.

The king continued. "I have also spoken to your friend Amelia and assured her you would recover fully. In that conversation Amelia told me of the many problems you have had with the Pelt family. They will not trouble you any longer."

Sookie was a little taken aback that Amelia would tell the king about the whole Debbie and Sandra Pelt incident, but she knew the witch meant no harm. She was glad Amelia had been told about her rescue and recovery. Sookie wondered if Amelia called the king, or if he called Amelia. Would wonders never cease?

Then the last part of the king's statement hit her. "Sandra is dead?" she asked, sounding weaker than she felt.

De Castro gave a sinister little chuckle. "Oh yes indeed. Very very very dead."

Sookie didn't know what to say. She was glad to be rid of Sandra for once and for all, but it seemed wrong to gloat over the little shifter's death. Finally Sookie said "Thank you, Your Majesty." Her voice was even and level.

"I have yet to deal with the werewolves involved." the king sounded undecided and Sookie decided to interrupt the king before he made a decree or did something irrevocable.

"Your Majesty, the werewolves believed they were following your orders. They didn't do anything wrong, and Todd Dawson was the one that got help and saved the situation." Sookie stopped, hoping the king would see the truth in what she said. Her arms were throbbing with pain and she felt tired. Bill noticed and went to stand by her, gently rubbing her shoulder.

The king didn't miss this signal. "Bill, please take good care of our Sookie. We will have a nice long visit when she is feeling herself."

To Pam, de Castro said. "Please thank Eric for his part in rescuing Trinity and Sookie. And of course we thank you for the invaluable role you played."

Pam inclined her head and said "Thank you, Your Majesty. I will pass your kind words on to Eric. And, with your permission, I will also thank Sam and Tara for you. Tara is the one that made a comment that jogged Eric's memory as to where the missing people might be kept."

This was extremely generous of Pam and Sookie was glad to know her Bon Temps friends would also be appreciated. Pam was a complex woman, and just when Sookie thought she understood Pam, the lovely vampire would do something amazing, and Sookie would need to broaden her understanding even more.

"Of course, and tell them that they will have special all access passes permanently here at the palace whenever they may choose to visit. I will also thank them myself when I have the opportunity." The king smiled at everyone in the room.

"Miss Stackhouse," Trinity said in her sweet voice "I can't thank you enough for .... for .... all you did to protect me. I will never forget it as long as I live." She had taken a step towards Sookie, then remembered vampires don't usually hug. But Sookie held out her bandaged aching arms and Trinity went to her, knelt by her chair, and hugged the vampire. One of them made a sound like a sob, and then they parted, both smiling through tears.

The king apologized to Bill for the horrible thing that had happened to him under his palace roof. Unlike the Mississippi Vampire King Russell Edgington that had allowed Bill to be chained and tortured in his stables, King Felipe de Castro meant his apology. Bill was one of the king's favorite people since he earned the king a fortune every year. Bill, impassive and calm as usual, accepted the apology with aplomb.

Eric came back from his dinner and suddenly the large suite seemed a little less roomy. The king thanked Eric for his speedy response once he realized where the vampires and Trinity might be, and told Eric that they would need to talk about opening up a second Fangtasia in New Orleans. Eric had mentioned that idea in passing one time and he was surprised and delighted the king had taken it seriously. When the king and Trinity left everyone was feeling better.

Bill called Tara and Sam at their motel and passed on the king's gratitude and his offer of free passes to the palace. Tara was still upset by the experience and Sam was preparing to take her home. Sam needed to get back to the bar anyway. Sookie got on the phone and thanked them both too. Tara said they would get together with Sookie and Bill back in Bon Temps.

Chapter Twenty Two

The following night Sookie went to an appointment with Todd Dawson to make sure he was alright and thank him for his part in her rescue. Sookie was feeling much better and had a bought a beautiful new apricot silk pant suit to replace the beige one destroyed in the prison cell. The king insisted she put it on his account. She had needed new shoes to go with it, and those had also been a gift from the king. In fact, the king had given her an open ended account at the two high end clothing stores in the palace mall, but Sookie didn't want to take advantage of his generosity. As Sookie walked from the palace she thought about what Amelia had told her earlier on the phone.

Before her appointment to meet Todd, Sookie had spoken to Amelia on the phone and assured the worried witch that telling the king about the Pelts hadn't done any harm, but Sookie asked Amelia to not discuss her again with anyone until she had found out what Sookie wanted told. Amelia promised.

Amelia said Tray had told her about the strange phone call he received from his cousin, and once Amelia figured out what was going on she had called the palace and gotten the king himself on the phone. She knew she had said too much, but she was just so relieved to find out Sookie was alive she started babbling.

The enthusiastic little witch explained the magic the three witches had used to free the king from his confusion, and how they had protected him from any love spells. They had also tried to locate Sookie when Claudine told them Sookie was missing using a pendulum and a map of the palace, but the subterranean cells were not on the map. They were part of a much older structure that had once stood on that location. The pendulum had kept pointing off the map, now they knew why.

Sookie thanked Amelia for all her good work and told her how the king was completely back on track again. As for the king's new human love Trinity, Sookie guessed it wasn't based on enchantment but on a real connection between them. Love does happen between immortal and mortal sometimes. Sookie knew that from personal experience, she thought, as she arrived at the coffee shop.

Todd Dawson looked a lot like his cousin. He was a large, muscular man with thick nearly black hair, smile wrinkles in the corners of his calm eyes, and a sensuous mouth. Sookie had arranged to meet him a the coffee shop away from the palace. Todd was drinking from a large steaming white mug and continued looking at the door past Sookie as she approached. Sookie realized he didn't recognize her from the wretched creature she had been in the silver cell.

"Todd Dawson?" Sookie said, to get his attention. She sat down across from him in the booth.

He looked at her and his eyes widened in wonder that this lovely vampire was the same bloody bitten woman he had seen in the cell. Sookie thanked him and reassured him that none of his werewolf guard staff were in any trouble with the king for their part in Sandra Pelt's nasty little scheme. The king had seen his forged signature on the false orders and realized that Sandra had used her friendship with Trinity to get something he had signed and forge his signature.

After Sookie had exchanged more small talk with Todd, including some funny stories about Tray Dawson as a child, Sookie had one more favor to ask of the big man. After a moment of consideration he told her he would see what he could do when she returned to Bon Temps.

Sookie returned to her suite to see that she was alone with Bill. Pam and Eric had to get back to Fangtasia, so they left while Sookie was out. Bill looked at her as if from a great distance. His dark eyes glanced away from her, as if the sight of her hurt him.

"What's wrong?" Sookie asked, sitting next to him on the couch. Bill sat with his body rigid, not looking at her.

"I failed you." Bill said, his voice flat and his face expressionless. Sookie knew this meant he felt terrible. She took his hand.

"How, sweetheart? How did you fail me? You were trapped and imprisoned just as I was. I could say the same thing, I failed you." Sookie remembered only one other time Bill had felt such self loathing. It was the night she found out Bill had been sent to Bon Temps to lure her, a telepathic human waitress, into the queen's entourage. Sookie had hated Bill at that moment, and he had hated himself.

Bill had made an effort to change, to become aware of what Sookie was feeling, what she needed, and respond in a way that was meaningful to her. He had stopped trying to impose his will on her and instead let her make her own decisions, no matter if those decisions were flawed. Bill had done research, hired a psychic, written books, and completely changed his ways.

This handsome vampire had loved her enough to listen to her, even when everything in his being had told him to intervene in her decision not to become vampire. He had been there in the final seconds of her life, to take her over, only when she finally asked him to. In every way he had not failed her.

Sookie poured out her heart to him, telling him what it meant to her to have him make the effort he had made, continued to make, every night. She told him how grateful she was to have had the option to change, that he was her Maker, and that she was his companion in their undead life.

As she talked Bill's face relaxed, his jaw unclenched, and his body turned towards her. He finally said "I could not have done what you did. I could not have stopped myself from draining that girl." He looked in her eyes and she knew he was speaking the truth. Sookie had some inner well of strength she had drawn from that Bill might not have. Bill had taken human lives, but Sookie hadn't. Maybe she never would, maybe that was her strength.

"Well," Sookie said after a moment, "Let's hope you're never in that position." Then she smiled at him with her wicked little fangy smile. "But I can think of a few positions I hope to have you in." She held out her healed arms to him, and he opened his healed heart to her. The fit was perfect.

Chapter Twenty Three

"Hurry up, Bill." Sookie called into the study. Bill was downloading research material for her book on fashion and the pictures were taking forever to come in. He might have to leave the thing running and see what he got when they got back. Sookie went through the house turning off the extra lights, buttoning her denim jacket as she went.

Tonight they were going to Clayton Reynold's first Full Moon Howling. When Sookie had talked to Todd Dawson in the coffee shop she had asked him to see if the Shreveport werewolves, led by Alcide Herveaux, would consider taking Clayton into their pack. Sookie was hoping the change to werewolf would cure Clayton's leukemia, as it did so many other human ills.

Of course Clayton would only be considered half-were, because he was bitten, not born, into the pack, but the auxiliary part of the pack still went out howling on the full moon and had fun. Alcide had agreed and now Clayton's leukemia was in full remission. As an added bonus Clayton threw up if he drank more than a half a beer so he was now sober as a werewolf.

Bill came out of the study wearing his pressed jeans and his vintage "An American Werewolf in London" tee shirt under a denim jacket. The wolves were blue collar kind of folks so an event with them often meant just the newest jeans you owned.

On the way to Shreveport Sookie and Bill picked up the three witches. Amelia was going to meet her boyfriend Tray at the Howling. The three witches, Amelia, Heather, and Octavia talked up a storm. Tonight Sookie was in a talkative mood too so all four women talked non-stop all the way to Shreveport. Bill didn't say a word, but he smiled as he drove. He was feeling the love.

The end.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Vampire Bill Compton Feels the Love part four

Chapter Fifteen

The next night Sookie was trying on several outfits, trying to find just the right look for the book signing. After Bill changed from his black suit (too funereal) to his blue suit Sookie had to change out of her green suit to her beige pant suit. Bill didn't understand why she needed to change, but he also knew better than to question her decision. In the end they made a striking couple and they walked into the huge conference room confidently.

A table had been set up for them with a tall stack of their books waiting to be signed. There were people with video cameras and people with flash cameras. They were stopped twice by well known news broadcasters and interviewed, being asked almost the same questions. When they smiled all the flash cameras popped, and Sookie realized the news people were hoping to see them with their fangs out. Maybe later, depending on how the book signing went, she thought, amused.

Already a line was forming of vampires, humans, and other supernaturals that wanted to buy the book and have it signed. Only Bill's name was on the book as the author, with Sookie being given mention for her contribution. The real author, a famous and brilliant man, did not want the world to know he was still alive, (or undead). Bill had provided the research and the source material, Sookie had provided the story of her difficult change from human to vampire, and the first book written by a vampire about turning a human into one of the undead was now officially for sale. The response was way beyond anything they might have imagined.

The king was beaming at the success of his book. He owned a publishing empire and this was a tremendous financial boost to his other lucrative businesses like his casinos in Las Vegas. Trinity was simply gorgeous tonight in a green sequined dress that showed off her pale skin and delicate coloring. The signing was quite a gala event with champagne and hors d'oeuvres for the humans and synthetic blood for the vampires. There was no live game for the were-animals Sookie observed gladly. Besides, some of the were-animals were things like owls or camels, and it would have been impossible to cater to them all without turning the lovely conference room into a zoo.

Bill and Sookie were seated and soon Bill fell into a pattern greeting the book buyer, asking who to sign the book to, and then Sookie asking if they wanted her to sign the book too. After an hour they took a break and drank some True Blood, standing with the king. The king was giving Victor such detailed instructions that Victor had out a little notebook and was writing them down.

The king stopped and told the vampire couple how pleased he was with this event. It not only was good advertising for his books, it was open to the public so the mainstreaming vampires could be seen to be ordinary citizens doing something any human might do. Victor gave Bill a meaningful look and then looked at his notebook. The king seemed large and in charge, not confused at all. And he seemed more like his vampire self instead of his human personality. You would not want to cross King Felipe de Castro tonight.

When Sookie and Bill went back to their table and began signing books again Sookie noticed a hesitation in the next customer. She looked up to see a woman in dark glasses with a guide dog. The woman was very familiar to Sookie and Bill. She was Tara, Sookie's long time friend. Tara was not blind, so Sookie looked around the side of the table at the dog.

"Sam?" she whispered, astonished. The beautiful German Shepherd winked at her and panted, his large pink tongue lolling to one side. "What are you two doing here?" Sookie whispered.

"Just make it out to Tara please." Tara said in a loud voice. The line behind her was getting a little impatient with the momentary delay. Sookie saw that she was not going to be able to have a private conversation with Tara right now, so they signed the book and Tara went on her way.

The next customer was even more startling. A tall blond vampire with horn rimmed glasses, long hair slicked back into a neat pony tail at the nape of his neck, and wearing a conservative green suit was standing there.

"Can you make this out to Leif?" he asked blandly, looking around the room. "And can you both sign it. Please?" he raised his brows inquiringly. When Sookie looked at him he wiggled his eyebrows comically. "Leif" was the name Eric used when he was trying to go somewhere undercover. Sookie would have recognized the dashing Viking vampire anywhere. She wondered if anyone was actually fooled by this lame disguise. She and Bill made the book out to "Eric" on the chance that he actually wanted a copy for himself.

Sookie didn't say anything except "Certainly sir." But she wondered why Tara, Sam and Eric had all made the trip to New Orleans for this book signing. Surely they weren't so eager to get a first copy of the book "Change to Night - Maker and Child." Bill's face remained impassive, if he was startled by the parade of their friends in weird disguises he didn't show it.

When Pam showed up in line a few minutes later Sookie took it in stride. Obviously someone had told them all to be here, maybe it was Amelia. Sookie hoped this didn't mean there was going to be trouble. The night was going so well. What could go wrong?

Chapter Sixteen

At three in the morning the book signing was over and the crowds dispersing. Service personel were cleaning up and the books that didn't sell were being signed by Sookie and Bill to be auctioned on eBay and sold on Amazon. After they had signed the books with vampiric speed they were almost alone in the big room. A maid turned on a vacuum cleaner in the corner and began her rhythmic task, while two young men stacked up the last of the chairs against the wall.

"That went well." Sookie said, rising to leave. She would be glad to get back in their room where it was quiet. She could tune out minds very effectively now that she was vampire, but she had tuned in occasionally just to check for anything "untoward" (as her Gran would have said). Sookie wondered where Pam, Eric, Tara and Sam had gone. Maybe they had rooms in a vampire hotel nearby.

"Yes." Bill said, a vampire of few words. He was actually on the alert, feeling that there was still a strong possibility they could be attacked. As they walked out of the conference room and entered the elevator he looked up and down the empty corridors, checking for anything out of the ordinary.

Bill and Sookie got on the elevator and pushed the button for their floor. But instead of going up, the elevator descended. Had someone pushed the button on a lower floor before them? It didn't make sense. As they went down below ground level into the basement the couple began to get a bad feeling. This was not normal, something was wrong.

When the elevator doors opened the vampire couple could both smell werewolves. The corridor in front of them was empty and they silently decided to leave the elevator, seeing the confined space as more like a trap than a refuge. Bill stepped off first, looked around, then motioned slightly for Sookie to follow him.

As soon as Sookie was through the elevator door two silver nets dropped on them from above. Six huge werewolves in SWAT gear swarmed from a fire door and enclosed the vampires in the nets like two fish in net bags. They drew the tops of the bag closed with silver wire. Sookie and Bill dropped to their knees, immediately weakened by the effects of the silver. Bill still fought savagely, but Sookie, the younger vampire, lost her strength and sank to the ground.

"Bill ... Bill" Sookie called out weakly. Then the pain of the silver touching her skin made her briefly lose consciousness. While she was out the werewolves dragged her into a cell especially made for vampires. The cell was made of silver except for a six foot circle in the middle.

As long as the vampire stayed in the middle she or he would not be harmed by the silver, but the closer the vampire got to the walls and door the thicker the silver got and the worse it would be for the vampire. The werewolves arranged the net so it could be lifted off Sookie once the door closed. The net was raised and soon Sookie woke up.

She soon figured out the nature of her captivity. If she stayed in the center of the floor she did not suffer the effects of the silver. Bill and Eric were her telepathic targets because she had a blood bond with them both. She tried to receive thoughts too, but only got a fuzzy poorly tuned cacaphony of sounds. The cell was buried deep in the earth and prevented her thoughts from getting out to those who would help her.

Bill was also in a silver lined cell, frantic to get out and find Sookie. He sent his thoughts out strongly, suspecting that he might be able to contact her if they were near each other. Not wanting to use up his strength in futile struggle he calmed down and opened his mind up to Sookie. Silence was all he heard.

Chapter Seventeen

Darkness was all Sookie could see, even with her enhanced vampire vision. She slept the sleep of the dead, then she woke, hungry. Hunger was just a nudge in her insides at first, but it kept growing insistently. By the end of the first night she was nearly as hungry as she had been when she first became vampire, then mercifully, she slept.

The next time she awoke her hunger had become painful. A vampire's hunger can't be compared to a human's hunger. It would be closer to the desperation for air a human feels when they are being held under water. It is a powerful compelling drive to feed immediately. It took a few seconds for her to become aware that someone else was in the cell with her.

"Who's there?" Sookie asked. She could smell it was a human, a blood filled human. Her fangs ran out a little.

"Trinity." came the wavering answer. She had been crying. "Miss Stackhouse, is that you?" Trinity was still wearing her sequined dress and she was chilly, thirsty and scared. She had been sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around her knees trying to keep warm. She didn't know how long she had been in the pitch black cell.

Sookie heard Trinity stand up and start to move. Vampire hearing was so acute Sookie could also hear a few sequins fall from Trinity's dress, and the heart beating inside Trinity's chest. Sookie's telepathic powers picked up on the girl's fright and confusion.

"Stay back Trinity! Stay near the wall!" Sookie said urgently. "Don't come near me. I am very hungry and I might lose control. How did you get here?" The pain of her hunger caused her to curl in a ball on the floor.

"Someone threw a hood over my head and brought me here. I don't know who they were. I don't know why I'm here. I don't know where I am. When Felipe finds out about this somebody's going to be in big trouble." Trinity started to cry again, the smell of her tears reached Sookie and causing her stomach to clench.

"Please stop crying Trinity." Sookie spoke quickly, not knowing how much time she would have before the pain of her hunger made her incoherent. "They put you in here so I would bite you, drain you. This is to get the king so angry he would kill me, a plan cooked up by my enemy. Please stay back against the wall, I can't reach you there because the cell is lined with silver except in the middle where I am. Whatever I say, whatever I do, don't come near me. Don't come near me." Sookie almost sobbed the last words.

"Oh Miss Stackhouse." Trinity said with kindness and sympathy in her voice, "I could let you have a little of my blood. I could give you my wrist. Felipe would understand."

If Sookie could get the girl to hold her wrist out Sookie could grab her, pull her in and feed. "NO!" Sookie shouted, as much to herself as to Trinity. "I'm too hungry, I'll kill you. Stay back, stay back."

Pain and fear kept Sookie clutching herself tightly in a ball, so tightly she left bruises on herself. Trinity cried on and off, and then slept. Finally, Sookie slept too.

Meanwhile a frantic search was going on in the palace and surrounding city for Sookie and Bill. Eric, Pam, Tara and Sam had been called by Claudine, Sookie's fairy godmother, and told that Sookie was going to be in great danger. Claudine was unable to help because Sookie was a vampire, and was surrounded by vampires. Vampires are insanely attracted to fairies and can't control their urge to drink them dry. Claudine wouldn't survive an attempt to help Sookie in person.

Eric, Sam, Tara and Sam were helping with the search, but the scent trail Sam followed just led them to the elevator and ended. Eric tried to use his blood bond to locate Sookie but couldn't. While Eric and Pam slept during the day Sam and Tara continued the search. They came up with nothing.

Claudine had called Sookie's friends to come and help her. The witches were also helping from their kitchen in Bon Temps. The king was infuriated that someone had taken his lovely Trinity. Everyone knew the two kidnappings must be related, but couldn't figure out how.

Every light was on in the palace as it was searched. Deep deep below the palace the two imprisoned women and the one imprisoned man slept in the dark.

Chapter Eighteen

When Sookie awoke the next time she heard Trinity screaming and pounding on the door. Inch by inch Sookie dragged herself towards the human. She had to feed. She would feed. Even the silver couldn't completely stop her forward motion. Then Sookie realized what she was doing. She was going to kill the girl.

With every ounce of strength in her body Sookie dragged herself back to the center. She sank her fangs in her own arm and drank. Over and over she did this, but her hunger only slightly decreased, a little less each time. She fell asleep with her fangs buried in her arm, and woke up the next night with her mouth stuck to her arm with the dried blood.

Her pain was so terrible she couldn't even moan. She was frozen in place, pinned like an insect to the spear of her hunger. Trinity was pounding on the door again. The sound shot through Sookie's head like a sledgehammer. Trinity's delicious smell filled the cell, making it impossible for Sookie to think of anything else.

Suddenly the door opened. The dim light that entered the room was like a blinding flash to the vampire's sensitive eyes.

"I need to use the bathroom again." Trinity said. Sookie saw she was still in her green sequin dress. Crazily she noticed the glint of green sequins scattered on the floor that must have fallen off the dress. She saw Trinity was barefoot.

"You just went to the bathroom." A deep werewolf voice rumbled.

Sookie knew that voice. It took her a few tries but she finally managed to whisper "Tray? Tray Dawson?"

The werewolf looked at her, squinting into the dark interior of the cell. "No, I'm his cousin, Todd. Who are you?"

Trinity answered "She's Sookie Stackhouse and I'm the kings girlfriend Trinity. You better let us go."

Todd seemed to consider this. "I'll go ask my cousin about this and be right back." Werewolves were not friendly with the vampires, but Todd knew that the king had a girlfriend and would be beyond furious if this really was his girl. Besides, what kind of crazy situation was this, a girl in a sequined dress and a hunger crazed vampire with her arms bitten to shreds? It just didn't add up.

The door closed locking them in the dark. Sookie bit her arm again, this time just to keep from shrieking. Todd went to the guard's office at the end of the stone lined hall and made a phone call to his cousin Tray.

Eric and Pam were discussing where Sookie could be when Tara and Sam joined them. Eric and Pam had stayed at the vampire hotel nearby, while Sam and Tara stayed at a motel. The palace was virtually shut down to tourists as the entire staff was employed in the search for the missing girlfriend and the missing vampires.

They had just taken their seats at the diner that catered to both humans and vampires when a frustrated Tara said "It's like the earth just opened up and swallowed them."

Suddenly Eric's blue eyes blazed. "I know where they must be." he said, and was gone so fast that only Pam saw him leave. Pam led Tara and Sam and they followed in Eric's path. When they left the diner Eric was no where in sight. But Pam knew where he was going too, now that he had the idea in his mind. There was often a slight telepathy between Maker, in this case Eric, and the human he turned. Pam was sensitive to Eric's moods, and picked up on some of his stronger thoughts.

Eric charged into the palace and went to the kitchen. He grabbed two six packs of Blue Blood, the most expensive brand of True Blood and headed for the service stairs. Eric was very familiar with the palace from the time he spent there with the previous ruler, Queen Sophie Ann LeClerq. The queen had lost her throne and her life, and now Eric served the new ruler, the king. The layout of the palace hadn't changed. Eric remembered the queen mentioning vampire cells in the sub-basement, and he had a vague idea where they were.

Since the staff was all engaged in looking for the missing people no one challenged Eric's movements through the palace. Eric found the service stairs and was down them in a flash. He entered the dim hall with the cells on either side by the same fire door the werewolves had lain in wait behind before dropping the silver nets on Sookie and Bill.

Eric moved down the hall in a blur and came to a door. He touched the doorknob and felt the silver in the door, but his ancient strength was equal to the painful task. He ripped the door off the hinges and saw Bill, gaunt and weak, sitting in the middle of the room.

"They have Sookie." Bill croaked "Find her, leave me." Bills face looked like a talking skull, his dark eyes like pools of pain and fear.

Eric knew that if there was a fight Bill would be weak, but he would be better than nothing. Still, he thought about leaving Bill. He rolled a bottle of blood in to Bill since Eric couldn't enter the silver cell.

Just then Pam, Tara and Sam joined Eric. Only Tara could go in the silver lined cell without any bad effects because only Tara was human. Tara had been Sookie's friend back when Sookie was human, and had stayed friends with her once she had turned vampire.

Tara was still a little afraid a starving Bill might drain her. Eric rolled a second bottle of blood into the cell and Bill drank it quickly. Eric rolled in a third bottle, finally Bill could stand and with Tara shoving him from behind he was able to make it out of the cell.

They went down the hall calling for Sookie. They heard a woman's voice, but it wasn't Sookie's voice. It was a faint voice from the cell at the other end of the hall.

"Let me out!" Trinity called. She was startled when the door was ripped off the hinges right in front of her. She saw a tall male vampire with long blond hair in a Fangtasia tee shirt and jeans, a lovely blond female vampire in a Donna Karin dress, a dark haired human woman in designer jeans and a red sweater, a stocky red haired man in a flannel shirt and khaki pants and a dark haired vampire so starved he looked like a walking corpse. They were all staring past her towards the curled bloody figure on the floor in the middle of the cell.

Chapter Nineteen

Trinity and Tara were able to drag the rigid form of Sookie to the door. Eric reached in and pulled her out into the hall. Bill sat on the floor and took Sookie's fangs out of her arm and put an open bottle of Blue Blood to her lips, letting a few drops in her lips at a time. Soon Sookie began to shake violently. Trinity was crying at the sight of Sookie's damaged arms and terrible thinness. For the first time Trinity understood what Sookie had gone through to avoid hurting her.

Just then the king, Felipe de Castro and Todd Dawson came rushing down the hall. Todd had told the king what was going on and the king had moved like he was shot from a cannon when he heard Trinity had been locked in a cell for days with a starving vampire. He had prepared himself to find the worst.

The king put his arm around Trinity and said "Did she hurt you?" He looked Trinity over for signs of harm.

"No, no." Trinity sobbed."Look what she did to herself to keep from biting me." The king saw Sookie's terribly bitten arms and realized what an effort of will it had taken for the young vampire to have been locked in a room with a human, starved for days, and yet not fed from Trinity. The king was grateful to Sookie, though she was in no shape to hear about his gratitude now.

"How did this happen?" Eric was angry and wanted to know who to direct his anger at. He glowered down at all of them from his imposing height. The tips of his fangs glinted in the dim light. You didn't want Eric angry at you.

Todd Dawson finally spoke. "I was told by the king's shifter liason to keep this cell locked and not let anyone near it. The WereGuards were deployed to capture these two vampires" he indicated Sookie and Bill "and lock them in separate cells at either end of the hall. I don't know how the human woman got in the cell with Sookie."

As Todd spoke Bill continued to give his love, his dear Child, little drinks of blood. She was still shaking but had uncurled enough for him to sit her up and lean her against him. He held the bottle to her cracked lips and soothed her matted hair with his other hand. Bill's fangs were out, whether from hunger or anger he couldn't tell.

"I sent no liason with orders to imprison these vampires." the king said. "Who is this liason?"

"Sandra Pelt." Todd said. "She had papers signed by you to lock them up awaiting trial. I have no idea how this woman got locked in with Sookie."

Trinity gasped and said "I was put in a hood and shoved in the cell, but I thought the person that did it was a woman. Could Sandra have done this to me? I thought she was my friend." The king picked Trinity up so she wouldn't have to walk on the cold stone floor in her bare feet. Trinity snuggled against her handsome vampire king, happy to be safely in his arms.

"I signed no papers." the king said. "But let us get upstairs, take care of the injured, and then sort this out."

The group went up in the elevator, with Eric carrying Sookie because Bill was still too weak. Pam excused herself from the group. Once Sookie and Bill were back in their suite Pam came back with two donors. She had glamoured them in the waiting room for donors so the sight of the starved vampires wouldn't send them running. It was forbidden to have donors in the private rooms, but Pam figured the king would allow them to make an exception this one time. A vampire doctor was on the way, but in the meantime Bill and Sookie could feed.

Bill was able to feed from his donor, but Sookie was still too weak. Sookie had allowed herself to become starved almost to the point of no return. She couldn't return without the help and care of other vampires. Pam fed from the second donor, then slowly fed the blood from her mouth into Sookie's mouth. Bill and Eric had heard of this, but none of them had ever seen it done. Tara had to leave, she couldn't watch, so Sam took Tara back to the motel.

The vampire doctor washed Sookie's wounds with a slightly salty water solution, then lightly bandaged her arms, which were bitten to the bone. The doctor left, saying she would be back the following night to see how Sookie was doing. Vampires didn't really need doctors, but it helped to see the wounds were being seen to, especially for a younger vampire that remembered medical care as a human. An untreated wound for a young vampire was still a shocking sight.

Vampires healed much faster than humans. They healed completely from injuries that would scar a human. But Sookie was still a new vampire so her healing would take longer than an older vampire. Sookie still hadn't said anything, but she was becoming more aware of her surroundings. Her blue eyes blinked as moisture returned to them, and soon she could focus.

"Thank you." she whispered to Pam. "Thank you for feeding me. How is Bill?" she asked. Bill stepped in front of her so she could see him. He didn't look nearly as bad as had. He laid down on the bed next to her and held her.

"You need to sleep now, darling." he said to her. Bill knew she would heal and daylight was coming. Pam and Eric would not have time to get back to their hotel. Eric called the hotel to tell them they would not be in tonight. Then Bill told Eric how to lock down the room so no one could get in. Pam and Eric got into the bed with Bill and Sookie. They all snuggled together and were dead until dark.

more to come