Not Dead Yet

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Amelia and I finished our dinner as we chatted about the things that girlfriends do. It was nice just to be, and not worry about all of the troubles I’d been dealing with since falling back into my bizarre life in vampire-fairy land. It was nice and totally normal girl time, until we tried to leave.

The waiter kindly informed us that our tab had been paid and pointed to a dark haired man with his back to us at the bar. Normally, it would be about the time I began to panic, but in an instant I realized who it was. In that same moment, the gentleman turned toward us and focused his bedroom eyes on me and my friend.

Amelia gasped, “Oh my sweet Lord, Sookie! Who is that man and where can I get one? Wait, is he a vamp? Who is that?”

I couldn’t hold it anymore, and I burst out laughing. Seamus grinned as he walked over with his TrueBlood. He moved his eyes to Amelia and I could hear her rampant sex thoughts as I introduced them. I shook my head, I hadn’t really thought about how fast I’d left the house, but should have known Eric wouldn’t let me go out unchaperoned with everything going on.

Seamus pulled his eyes from Amelia’s and addressed us, “Ladies, I don’t mean to intrude on your evening, just merely making sure that two such beautiful women remain safe and sound.”

“Thanks, Seamus. I guess I knew better than to think we were really alone.”

“And I am glad to see you are not upset. Eric warned me you left in such a hurry with your friend that he could not tell you that I would be meeting you here.”

“Oh, no. It’s okay. These days I actually do feel safer knowing there’s usually a vampire in my shadow. Well, I guess it depends on whose side the vampire is on, but you know what I mean.”

“I understand. I am, as they say, at your beck and call this evening. Will you be continuing on to another venue?”

I glanced at Amelia, who was blatantly staring at Seamus, and I knew she was trying to come up something to say so he would stay with us longer. I threw her a bone, knowing full well that nothing was going to happen between them since he was pretty tight with Ellsey these days,

“Yes, actually. We’re going to the Wharf for a martini and then home.”

Amelia blinked a few times and then nodded vigorously.

“Wonderful. I shall follow you to the bar and then over to Eric’s. If you don’t mind, I may come in to see what decisions have been made about the bartender.”

“Sure. Thank you for dinner, Seamus. You didn’t need to do that.”

He grinned. “I didn’t; Eric gave me a credit card.”

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By the time we walked in to the Wharf I was regretting my decision to continue our evening and had to pull out my bitch card for a second.

“Amelia – you need to pull it together. I am blocking you as best I can but you are projecting seriously pornographic images to me about a man that I know has a, well, girlfriend, and is part fairy so he sends out sex vibes to every woman he meets.”

She was looking at me like I was insane.

“Welcome to crazy town, Amelia. This is my life. He is hot as hell, but things are not going anywhere with you and him, and I cannot listen to all of the ways you want him to take you for one more second.”

“Alrighty then,” she said with a bite. “I guess I’ll need a real martini now, not a fruity one.”

“I guess you will. Too bad Fangtasia is still closed, we could have gone there so you could hit on Pam for a while.”

“Sookie, I’m with Tray these days. I don’t know why you think I’m interested in Seamus or why I would flirt with Pam.”

I just looked at her. Did she think I was stupid?

“Well, I mean… I guess I know why you think those things, but I wouldn’t have acted on any of those thoughts.”

“I know you wouldn’t have. And I also know that hitting on Pam would probably be just foreplay ’til you got home to Tray. It’s all good, Amelia. You were just getting a little carried away. It’s the fairy in him.”

I flagged down a bartender to order two extra dirty martini’s. God knew, I needed one.

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When we got home, I entered the codes and had Amelia drive me to the house. She claimed she was tired and didn’t want to come inside. Before she left, we agreed I would come out to Merlotte’s mid-week to check out Sam’s new girlfriend. We said our good-nights and I could tell she was anxious to get home. Seamus had her all sexed up and she was heading back to Bon Temps to find Tray.

I could feel through the bond that Eric was in the house, but I didn’t see him when I walked in. Bill and David were watching Gladiator on the flat screen in the living room and Seamus had gone to join them. I heard clicking that indicated Eric was nearby using his laptop. I wanted to ask if there was any news about Gill or the plans for David but decided to wait for Eric.

After a few minutes, I felt him come stand behind me and put his arms around my waist. He breathed in the scent of my hair and sighed so quietly I wouldn’t have heard it if he wasn’t right next to my ear. Lover, he thought. We need to strategize. I have an idea about helping David now that Gordy is coming, and I’ve decided how we shall deal with Gill.

Do you want me to go?

No, Lover. You are a part of all of this whether I want you to be or not.

I turned and kissed him gently, mouthing thank you before sitting at the table.

“Gentlemen,” he said over the sound of the movie and everyone seemed to know to join us in the kitchen. We sat at the table and Eric updated us all on the bar, that repairs would be finished the following day so they could reopen at dusk. Seamus and Bill asked a few questions about security upgrades and video surveillance that I didn’t follow and then it was quiet again.

Eric let out a breath he really didn’t need and told David that Gordy was on his way. His head cocked at Eric’s words as if he didn’t understand. I was surprised by the slight changes of emotion I saw playing across his face.

He furrowed his brow and started to speak but stopped himself. Finally he cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, Eric. You mean he’s not dead?”

Bill answered, “No, he’s not met his final death. I spoke to him last night in Manistique. He’s headed down and he is not happy with Gill.”

David shook his head a couple of times. “I called out to him, and I tried to get messages to him. I figured if anyone could help me, it would have been him, but I gave up. I saved money and figured I had to save myself.”

“He thought you were dead as well,” Eric supplied, and it touched me that he knew that David needed to hear that. Eric continued though, all business, “Why did you think he would be able to help you? No other maker has been able to help an employee of Gill’s.”

A faint smile appeared on David’s face as if he was remembering better times. “Well, Gordy is part of this kind of mid-west alliance. They used to trade businesses and homes every fifteen or twenty years and kind of rotate around. Now they still do it when they feel like it, but with the Reveal, they’ve all sort of found a permanent place for now.”

“I’ve heard of them,” Bill said quietly. “I didn’t know Gordy was part of that group.”

“Well, they were kind of secretive even among other vampires. There’s about twenty of them up there. They own everything from doughnut shops in the UP, to clubs in downtown Chicago. Anyway, I figured somewhere in that group they could find someone to trade for me, someone valuable enough, they could work for Gill some other way, not by being whored out. I thought if Gordy knew what was going on he would get me back. He’s just that kind of guy; you don’t mess with him or his children.”

“I believe you underestimate your trade value,” Eric said, shaking his head.

Seamus was shaking his head as well, “Bill’s research indicates you’re about 200 years old. Is that correct?”

“Yes. I was turned in Hungary and then made the trip to America with a group of stowaway vampires including Gordy. He was truly a father figure to me; I was only eighteen when I was turned. In the old country I should have been married and had children, but I was living hand to mouth in the capitol. It would be Budapest, now. ” He looked at me and then continued. “The country had been at war for so long, I knew nothing but soldiering and stealing, and then I was starving during the long winter. Gordy found me in an alley on death’s door.

“I think I wanted to die then, but he turned me and taught me over the next few centuries that life was so much more than I had seen. Sorry, I just never really lived when I was actually alive…” He looked sheepishly at Eric. “Anyway, I’ve worked in restaurants and bars since we came to America. It suits my hours and I made good tips from humans and vampires alike. I found I liked the larger cities, while Gordy wanted solitude. After a while, when he started his connection with the other vamps in the mid-west, I worked for the people he knew and we kept in touch.”

“How did you end up working for Gill?” I heard myself ask.

“Hmmph,” he shrugged. “It’s a story that replays itself over and over in history, Miss Sookie. I wanted to get rich quick, and he promised me the moon. Like I said, I didn’t know much of people except for killing them and stealing from them before I was turned. When I came to America, I learned that people aren’t always honest, but I’d never really been scammed the way I was with Gill. He gave me assignments that seemed like promotions, but they were really just to introduce me to future clients. I worked VIP sections and private parties and had no idea what I was setting myself up for. ”

I nodded at him, understanding. “So what’s the plan?” I asked looking Eric.

He shrugged, “Believe it or not, I think I’m going to let this go through the chain of command.”

Bill and Seamus looked shocked and I was just confused. Eric didn’t usually need an excuse for shedding blood, even vampire blood, so I had been sure he was getting ready to fight.

“I’m sorry, what?” I asked.

He laughed. “I think it is time that Gill was handed over to the authorities properly. Nothing like this has happened since the Reveal, or at least that we know of. What he is doing to David is akin to slavery and that is between Gill and Gordy.” He paused and looked around the table at us. “But attacking my bar…that happened in my territory. Times have changed since the Reveal and we are held to a higher standard. His issue with me was business related. It didn’t warrant violence in the least.”

He sat a little straighter and his voice dropped just slightly, making me shiver. “I am the Sheriff and the second in Command for the State of Louisiana. Whether he realizes it or not, Gill has just stepped on a hornet’s nest. I think going to tribunal in Louisiana or Georgia will have consequences for him that he’s not ready to deal with. It will be the beginning of the end of how he has run his business.” He paused and smirked. “Mind you, if he shows his face anywhere near me outside of a tribunal I will send him to his final death.” Leave it to Eric to smile about killing someone.

Then Seamus said it. He’s the only one who could have gotten away with it. “Are you getting soft Eric?”

Eric’s eyes hardened and his stare bored into the Irish vampire across the table. “I would gut you, but I know you are being facetious. I do not hesitate to raise my sword.” He shook his head and sighed. “In my new role, I will have to balance my authority, to show my strength and my understanding of the politics. I have thought long and hard and I think that in this instance, the politics outweigh my desire to spill blood. Understand, I do not come to this conclusion easily.”

“What about me?” David asked. “You said that’s between Gill and Gordy?”

“I don’t believe the Yooper would come here without a plan. And if he didn’t have one before he left, he’s working it out on the trip down. He may choose the same route I have, given enough people to substantiate his claim that Gill blocked you from him and he came to believe you were dead.” He shrugged. “Or he might just kill the bastard and save us all a lot of trouble.”

Honestly, that was the option I was hoping for.

Slowly the house cleared out. David went back to his resting place on the property while Eric finished talking with Seamus and Bill. I checked my email in Eric’s office and then went to get ready for bed. Eric joined me after awhile and I set aside my magazine as he undressed and put his clothes in the hamper.

He climbed into bed and rolled on his side to face me. His hand slid up my side and his hand tangled in my hair, his eyes focused on his fingers as they rubbed some strands together. I reached forward and put a hand on his cheek.

“I think you made a wise choice. I’m surprised by your decision, but I think you’re right.”

Our eyes met and he sighed. “It is not how I would like to deal with this situation. You know that, correct?”

“Yes.” I leaned forward and kissed him gently. “You want to go completely Viking on Gill’s ass.”

The corner of his mouth lifted and he moved in a flash, trapping me beneath him. “I’ll go completely Viking on your ass, Lover.”

“As you wish.” I giggled. And he did.

Gordy made quite an entrance when he arrived at Fangtasia around 9 p.m. the following night. Pam went to make sure things were under control, and I was staying tucked behind the bar, considering finding somewhere to hide.

The tirade I heard from the entrance hall sounded something like this, “Listen you motherfuckin’ Rusky, I don’t care if you have a dress code, ‘eh? I’m here ta see Eric and you’ll let me in if you know what’s good for you’n. Don’t fuckin tell me I can’t come inta dis bar dressed like dis. Dis Lou-fucking-isiana. You swampy rednecks ain’t no better than me.”

Eric was coming out of his office and heading for the entrance when I heard Pam burst out laughing.

“Ivan,” she said dryly when she recovered. “This is Mr. Gordy. Eric is expecting him. And for the record, there is nothing in the dress code for customers preventing him from entering the establishment. The rule against ripped clothing applies to staff.”

Ivan responded quickly in Russian and Pam cut him off, “Nyet.”

I didn’t understand a word of what she said after that, but from the look on both Ivan and his brother’s face, I knew it wasn’t good.

Eric met Gordy in the bar area with a grin. He would never admit it, but he had a thing for characters. Look at the motley crew in our lives, me, Sam, Amelia, Seamus, Bran. Eric didn’t like boring people, the more unpredictable the person, human or vamp, the better. The fact that Gordy had shown up in a plain black t-shirt with a flannel shirt that had its sleeves ripped off over the top was laughable.

“Gordy, “he said, “Glad you could make it to, what did you say?” He cocked his head and smiled, “Lou-fucking-isiana.”

“Damn, Viking, I don’t mean offense. It’s been a long trip down here, eh?”

“I understand. Come into my office for a blood and we will talk. David should be here shortly.”

I pulled a couple of bloods from the new water bath and headed back to the office area. He probably didn’t realize the microwave back there was broken, again. Vampires could not understand that you couldn’t put metal objects in there. I could hear them talking through the door and gave a polite knock as I projected my reason for interrupting to Eric before entering.

“Ah, Sookie. I’d like you to meet Gordy,” he said when I came in. The introductions were made, and I was thinking I should head back to the bar when Eric stood and held out his desk chair for me. He looked to Gordy and told him he would go check on David’s whereabouts while I waited with him.

“So, Gordy,” I started, “Have you been to Louisiana before?”

He gave me a toothy, not fangy, grin. “Sweet girl, I was in Louisiana before dere was a Shreveport.”

I chuckled a little. “Well, then it’s changed quite a bit since then.”

He grinned back. “Human? Hmm. But you don’ seem too scairt. Are you da Viking’s?”

“I don’t like to think of myself as his, but yes, we’re together.”

“Well, now, don’t dat make life interesting?”

I simply smiled. Not sure how long Eric would be gone, I wasn’t sure how deep of a conversation I wanted to get into with him. Just then I heard footsteps in the hall and Eric came in with Bill and David. Gordy stood quickly and went to his child. David knelt in front of him and in a flash put his arms around Gordy’s knees.

He put his hand on David’s head, “Child, I thought you met da final death, eh?”

David shook his head. “I knew you would help if you could, but I couldn’t get away.”

I felt like it was a lover’s reunion and really didn’t think we all needed to be in there to watch.

Eric read my thoughts and instead of ushering us into the hall, he interrupted the pair, “Gentlemen, I believe we have things to discuss.”

Before I could even react could Eric’s voice was in my head. Sookie, we are not human. There is business to be done.

I nodded. He was right, there was little room for emotion in these vampire’s lives. What Eric and I shared was not common.

Eric explained to Gordy how he planned to have the tribunal system deal with Gill based on the attack on Fangtasia. Gordy was pretty vocal about the fact he wasn’t sure the tribunal would enforce a heinous enough punishment on Gill. He wanted to see him killed. It took some persuasion, but Eric convinced him that as a Sheriff, he couldn’t be party to a murder, at least this murder.

I laughed a little in my head and got an evil look from Eric as he continued. He suggested Gordy meet with Gill, whom Gordy referred to as a slave trader, at Fangtasia with the Atlanta Sheriff. Eric would have some local vamps on guard and the two men could try to reach an agreement in terms of both David’s worth to Gill and the infractions Gill had committed by keeping him from his maker. It all sounded very civilized, and a little too good to be true, but finally Gordy agreed, and Eric ordered Pam to make the arrangements.

Eric and I went out into the bar and left David with Gordy to catch up, or just talk, whatever they really needed to do. Eric took his place in his throne and I sat beside him, just watching the show that was Fangtasia. I was thinking about how nice it would actually be to go back to Bon Temps for my reading of Sam’s new girlfriend. Amelia and Octavia were renting my house and Sam had replaced me at the bar. I missed the small town and was looking forward to seeing it and my old friends. It was going to be a great week. I was planning to work a little at Ellsey’s store and helping at Fangtasia a bit. Things with David should be winding down, I had a Fae lesson coming up, and I was heading home for a visit.

Your home is with me now, Lover.

I smirked. I know, Viking. It’s just a word. Gran’s house will always be home, my heart is here with you.

He nodded and reached for my hand. I had never really imagined what life with Eric would be like, but now that we were together he continued to surprise me. He was kind and gentle with me, and, though it no longer beat, I knew that I held his heart.

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