Chapter 26-The Playground
Chapter 26-The Playground
When faced with any situation there are two choices, act or react. Sookie had just lost the man she loved with every fiber of her soul, the one who had held her together with gentleness and love before she could not hold herself. The man she owed as much if not more than he owed her. The man she had spent every day and night with for the last month.
In the split second realization of loss, she could act. She could take Eric’s pragmatic approach, hold her cards close and play for time and information, or she could react, guns blazing, destroying anything and anyone who stood between her and Eric.
Perhaps it was her passion, her need to be with him, close to him. Perhaps it was her age and lack of experience. Perhaps it was just that it was the only thing she could do in that situation.
An angry cry of denial pushed from her chest and her hands lit up, firing light at The Pretender in front of her. Savage joy flooded her chest as she heard his cry of pain and moved across the room at near vampiric speed to grab him by the collar, pulling him up close to her face.
“WHO. THE. FUCK. ARE. YOU?” The Pretender’s face was a mask of pain and hurt, exactly how her Eric would look if she attacked him for no reason. He’s not my Eric! She screamed to herself. When he didn’t speak she ripped into his mind, demanding the truths his lips refused to speak. He screamed and jerked from her grasp falling back to floor while she jacked his mind.
Silence, broken only by the sound of his screams as blood began to pour from his nose. She was definitely inflicting damage, but there was no information to be had, only the calm silence of a vampire brain that did not belong to her beloved. Allowing her rage to lead she pressed harder into The Pretender’s mind and demanded he answer her again.
“WHO. THE. FUCK. ARE. YOU?” He turned and tried to crawl away from her, trying to get the door, as if he could escape. She reached out and touched his leg, engulfing him in her light, and calling for pain. He screamed so loud she thought he might have ruptured his voice box. She jerked him back, straddled his chest, pinning him, her hand at his throat. She looked down into his eyes, reaching inside herself, pulling out all the times she had seen Eric face down an enemy, using his cold stare, and applying a layer of his confidence that the words she spoke next were absolute truth. She was convinced, and therefore so was The Pretender.
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” she whispered softly leaning closer. “If you don’t tell me what I want to know, I will make you beg for death. I will make you beg for a very long time, and I will enjoy…every…second…of…it.” She smiled now and felt him shiver beneath her. She upped the voltage in her hand around his throat and she felt him twitch and jerk beneath her. “Tell me!”
“Sookie, please, it’s me! It’s Eric! What’s wrong?” He reached toward her now, attempting to touch her face and for a moment her rage wavered. Could this be Eric? Am I about the kill the man I love? Again, she pushed into the Bond, calling to him. Emptiness. Rage filled her again, and instinctively her hand lit up. She watched his face, Eric’s face, twist in pain, his beautiful blue eyes showing fear and pain, and then she crossed the line and the body beneath her exploded covering her in blood and goop.
“ERIC!” she screamed, calling out telepathically and in the Bond, and then from a great distance she heard him.
Please, help me, lover. I need you! She sobbed in relief to hear him and to feel him no matter how faint. Immediately, she sent him everything she had, all her strength, all her love, all the calm she had saved and not used here. Every advantage she could think to protect him, and she laughed tears streaming down her face when she felt him latch on tight to her gifts and their connection. He was so far away she could barely hear him, barely feel him. She rose to her feet seeking to move closer, not sure how to get there.
She turned back to the mirror she had just passed through and took a step toward it listening intently to the whisper of her lover’s voice, homing in. Then she felt his love, his hope his reassurance surge through the Bond and heard him in her soul, “I will find you, beloved. I swear it. Hold on, I am coming.” Not if I get to your first, Viking, she thought taking another step toward the mirror. Waving her hand in front of it, she called to him, trying to locate him, to get back to him. When the basement of Fangtasia appeared before her again, she did a double take, looking over her shoulder. Exploded Pretender still coated the walls behind her, but there was none in the mirror before her. She smiled and stepped through the mirror into the basement of Fangtasia.
Once she was through the mirror Eric turned to face her, reaching for her hand, and it was in that moment that she realized what was missing.
She could no longer feel him in the Bond.
He looked down at her smiling, waiting for her to take his hand while she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this was not Eric Northman standing before her.
Somehow, in the moment, she had lost him.
The Master watched the time loop begin again. He had watched it now so many times that he had memorized every look on her face, every savage action and passionate plea. The stasis was the perfect place to keep her, letting her fight herself, letting her burn herself up, killing the image of the man she loved over and over. Once she was weak, once she was unable to face the moment again, then she would be ready to begin with him.
So long he had waited. So long, and now he was so close. Freedom, in a pretty blonde bottle, that is what stood before him, and when he opened the bottle he planned to drink long and deep until nothing was left.
It was disturbing that she had reached the Viking from here, and doubly so that he had been able to reach back. This sharing of gifts was unforeseen. When he had watched the Viking destroy Russell he had been nearly surprised, something that hadn’t happened, ever.
Not that it had mattered, Russell was just a horse, a vessel and those were a dime a dozen, but it was the unforeseen nature of the act itself. Jones had been stacking the deck again. The Master sighed, thinking of how tricky Jones could be despite his rules and regulations. How tiresome all that must be, he thought, and then he smiled. Except of course when it works out to my advantage.
Sookie was definitely to his advantage, and he had to do was wait for her to toddle into his arms. She would welcome him before this was over, and he would let her.
Yes, soon freedom would be his, and nothing else mattered. He smiled as he watched Sookie destroy ‘Eric’ again, knowing that soon it would be happening for real and not just in the playground of his mind.
He could hardly wait.