AN: Thanks to everyone who left reviews last chapter. 99% seemed to enjoy it, with the exception of one “guest” who was offended by the lemon and called it “silly” and “perverted.” I tend to just delete/forget guest flames now, I thought I’d comment since I found the review to be incredibly naïve. I don’t consider physical love by two consenting adults who are “into each other” (as my husband called it) to be “perverted.” The two lovers are drawn to each other, and despite Sookie’s ambivalence about Eric, feels a strong physical attraction to him (duh). The reviewer felt it was “silly” because she thought it seemed pointless and did not further the plot. Since I am the author and at the helm of this ship, I know how things are going to unfold. Thus, although I was hesitant a couple of chapters back to delve into lemon territory, turns out that scene was necessary to further the plot and Eric and Sookie needed to take their relationship to the next level. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I decided to delete the anon comment because she ignored my AN, which warned readers to avoid the chapter if a lemon would be offensive or if there was disagreement about that plot direction. As a courtesy to readers, I often post warnings about potentially controversial content and expect the reader to heed them. That way, the reader is not offended and can go read a K rated story about rainbows and unicorns or some shit. I mean, my God, at the beginning of the story I warn out the wazoo that this Eric is an unapologetic stalker. So yeah, there’s going to be some kink inherent to his character…
Now, about this chapter. I am taking canon characters and changing them, making them OOC to fit my story. In this story, Octavia is uneducated and her dialogue reflects that but I am aware that just because someone is uneducated does not mean he/she is stupid. I wear it as a badge of honor, much as others do monetary privilege, that most of my maternal kin were all dirt poor, “cedar choppin’, cotton pickin'” Texans. My mother only completed the 5th grade (though amazingly went back in her 30’s to finish her GED), so there is no disrespect intended towards Octavia’s background. If this offends you, do yourself a favor and skip this chapter. Better yet, do me a favor and just stop reading my story, because I can almost guarantee that there will be future plot developments that are even more “offensive.”
Thanks as always to my incredible beta, VAlady, for her help and feedback.
Disclaimer: SVM belongs to Charlaine Harris.
After Sam left Selah’s office, he was ready to move on to phase two of his plan. He had gotten directions to the home of Octavia Fant, the old voodoo priestess, from Lafayette. He was initially reluctant to divulge her whereabouts but caved after Sam gave him the entire weekend off with pay. Lafayette also instructed him on how to interact with her, as well as the cost of “conducting business.”
As he drove down the back roads that bordered the bayou, he couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt. With effort, he suppressed it, trying to look at the big picture, which was saving Sookie from a fate worse than death with the Area Five Sheriff.
Deep in thought, Sam accidentally drove past the poorly marked driveway and actually had to turn his truck around and backtrack for a couple of miles.
Finally, he found it: a subtle dirt path, barely wide enough for a vehicle to traverse and overgrown with weeds. As his truck bumped along the path, he rehearsed the spiel he would present to “Madame O,” hoping she would not order him immediately off her property…or worse.
As he wound his truck down the muddy drive, he began to feel more nervous. He parked his truck several yards back from the ramshackle wooden house that was barely better than a shanty.
He tucked his bank deposit bag under his arm and hopped out of his truck. Glancing over at the house, he saw a skinny girl standing on the sagging porch. She looked to be no older than twelve, and had multiple beaded braids falling about her shoulders.
He slowly approached with a smile on his face and was about to speak to her when he was interrupted.
“Gramma don’t get visitors out here too much.”
Sam nodded and stood rooted in place a few feet away from her.
“Uh…yeah. Can you let your Gramma know that I’d like to talk to her about something? It’s uh, business related.”
The little girl cocked her head and was about to answer him when a low voice called out to her. She turned and ran into the house and then emerged after a few seconds holding an old wicker basket.
The little girl sighed and gestured for Sam to approach.
“Gramma told me to go collect eggs and feed the chickens round back. She said for you to come in, but mind you wipe your feet before.” With this announcement, the girl nimbly skipped off the porch and headed towards the back of the property, down a dark and heavily wooded path.
Sam suppressed a shudder.
He wiped the mud off his boots to the best of his ability on an old weather beaten welcome mat and knocked on the screen door.
A voice, smooth and rich as blackstrap molasses, flowed out of the house. “Amelia told you to get on in here. Now you best be stating your business.”
Sam ducked in the low doorway, making sure not to slam the rickety screen door. When he entered, his eyes were immediately drawn to a thin, wrinkled woman sitting in a rocking chair, holding a cup in her gnarled hand. Her skin was dark ebony, shocking in contrast to the snow white, wiry hair that was pulled back into a severe bun. She was wizened with age but her eyes were clear and sharp as a hawk. Although Lafayette had mentioned that she was uneducated and poor, a piercingly keen intelligence peered out of those eyes.
She placed her cup on a TV tray on the side of her chair and made a “go ahead” motion with her hand.
Sam cleared his throat and began. “Uh, yes, I’m sorry to disturb you ma’am. I’m-”
“Sam Merlotte. Shifter.” She answered for him, her face expressionless.
Sam’s eyebrows shot up in shock but he quickly recovered.
“Yes’m. It seems you know who and what I am, but I’m not sure you know why I’m here.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Don’t toy with me, boy. I know why you here and know good and well that you be playing with fire. You got death’s head hovering right behind you.”
Octavia stared at him for several minutes. Sam forced himself to meet her gaze despite his intense desire to drop his eyes and run out of her house. With his supe senses, he could feel the power emanating from this tiny, physically unassuming woman. She was a power to be reckoned with and proof positive that looks could be deceiving.
After what seemed like forever to Sam, she shifted in her seat and gestured for him to pull up a chair from her two-seater dinette. Sam reached over, scooting the seat over and sat down. She settled back in her chair and looked at him expectantly.
Sam took a deep breath and then began. “Ma’am. I…I love a woman. Sookie Stackhouse. You’ve probably heard about her.”
She gave a barely perceptible nod of her head.
Sam continued, “Well, She’s got a vampire that’s trailing her, and he wants her. He wants her bad.”
Octavia narrowed her eyes. “Mmmm. I got a feeling who that vampire might be but I got to hear you say it.”
“Eric Northman. Area Five Sheriff,” he whispered.
She nodded her head again and did not seem surprised.
He grimaced and clenched his eyes shut. “I…I can’t let him take her. He’s already sinking his fangs into her and I know if I don’t do something soon I’m gonna lose her forever.” He opened his eyes and gave her a level stare. “I’m willing to die for her.”
She leaned toward him, steepling her hands and pursing her lips. “What exactly are you wanting me to do, Mr. Merlotte? The vampire who pursue this woman is extremely powerful. He see you as a rival, and that, boy, is bad news for you. Someone strong and ancient as him don’t lose often, and when they do, they be sore losers.”
Sam’s mouth dried up and when he spoke, his words came out hoarse. “Can…can you protect her, make her reject him? Isn’t there a spell or something that can protect her from evil spirits…hell-I don’t know!” He groaned and held his head in his hands.
Octavia snorted. “Well, first of all, she won’t get no better protection than she will from being with the Sheriff.”
Sam jerked his head up in shock. “I want to protect her from him. That’s the whole goddamn point. He’s an evil, ruthless bastard. If he has his way, he’s gonna turn my Sookie into a vampire.”
“Your Sookie? Mayhap that’s true, mayhap it’s not. But the Northman ain’t evil. Ruthless, yes, but he ain’t evil,” she scoffed.
She eyed him for several minutes. “Mr. Merlotte, you have trouble written all over you. You want to do business with me, I’m afraid I got to raise my rate. $5000. Up front, to start. Anything special or above and beyond gonna cost you mo’.”
Based on his earlier conversation with Lafayette, Sam had drained his savings. Given the danger involved with his request (namely, pissing off Northman), he had anticipated that she would likely want to charge him much more than she would for more typical visits by locals, such as for healing or love spells. He pulled out the bank bag, stoically counted out money, and handed it to her.
She nodded her head and tucked the money into her apron pocket.
“Now, I’m guessing you brought what I be needing from you. This magic need somethin’ personal from both the woman and the vampire. Don’t matter what it is, just have to be theirs.”
Sam reached into his jean jacket pocket and handed her Sookie’s small hairbrush (that he took from her locker at the bar) and a bill he had pilfered from Northman’s mailbox that had his name on it.
She stood up and hobbled over to her kitchen and started pulling out different jars. Sam watched her as she put some of Sookie’s hairs and the envelope into a stone bowl. She then sprinkled the contents of the various jars into the container. She also reached into an old cedar chest that sat in the corner of the room and walked up to Sam, placing something around his neck.
He looked down and saw a necklace that was made of bones and what looked like crocodile teeth. She handed the bowl to him, which he held in both hands. She struck a match and burned the contents, and soon the acrid scent of smoke permeated the small house. She began chanting as the fire burned and then took the bowl from him after it smoldered out. Using a wooden spoon in her hand, she ground up the contents of the bowl. She continued chanting under her breath and walked around him while encircling the chair with the powder.
After she completed the circle, she closed her eyes as she continued to soundlessly mouth words. Sam sat silent, mesmerized. Finally, her eyes opened and she swayed, clutching at the small table to gain her balance.
Sam got up to reach for her but she stopped him.
“No! Don’t break the circle!” she panted. With trembling hands, she pulled out the other dinette chair and down heavily. “Just…just let me rest a spell.”
Sam stared her with concern. After several minutes, she opened her eyes and spoke to him.
“That woman you both want…she ain’t all human.”
Sam’s mouth dropped open in shock. “What…what the hell do you mean she ain’t human?”
Octavia shook her head. “Weres and shifters usually have red, orange auras, vampires often indigo or black. Humans yellow, green, sometime blue. She be bright white, not human. Or not completely human.”
Sam frowned. “Well, okay…she’s something else, then.” He thought about how sweet Sookie smelled as well as her otherworldly beauty but shook his head when he thought about her normal heartbeat, her warm skin. If she wasn’t human, then just what the hell was she? Her Gran had seemed human enough. Could she be…fae? It was possible now that he thought about it.
Octavia hesitated before continuing. “There be something else…but you ain’t gonna like hearing it.”
“What?” Sam whispered.
“They energy…they auras be intertwined. Her white be woven with his black and his black with her white. It look like…they be bound together.”
Sam jumped up, knocking over the chair. “What the hell do you mean, “bound”? They just met each other. They hardly know each other. It’s…impossible!”
He began to pace but she warned him again about leaving the circle with a stern look and her outstretched hand.
Sam stopped, forcing his feet to still although his fists continued to clench and unclench.
Octavia answered him slowly. “I don’ know exactly what it mean, but it look like you too late, shifter. They together.”
Sam exploded. “Well, that’s bullshit! I know you’re strong in magic. Ain’t there something you can do to pull them apart? That’s why I came to you!”
Octavia glared at him, insulted. “I knew you be trouble. Shoulda sent you on your way when I had the chance!”
Sam backtracked quickly. “Wait, wait. I’m sorry! I just…well if you can’t do something to separate them directly, can you make Northman love another woman? Lose interest in Sookie?”
Octavia shook her head. “Possible…but not likely. They auras be too tightly bound.”
Sam’s thoughts raced furiously. “How about…Laf-my employee said you can actually glamour someone, a human, like change their memories so they believe something is true when it isn’t. Kinda like what the vamps can do?”
Octavia eyed him skeptically and shrugged. “Mayhap. What do that matter?”
Sam licked his lips excitedly, a plan starting to click in his head. “There’s this woman. A real estate agent who recently sold Northman a house. She’s real interested in him, wants to date him. Could you…make it so that she thinks they’ve been having a romantic relationship? Like plant false memories?”
“I s’pose I can cast a spell that could do something like that, but what good would it do? It won’t pull those two away from each other.”
Sam spoke fast, the words tumbling out of his mouth in his haste. “I know you’ve heard of Sookie and what she can do. If she sees “memories” in the other woman’s mind, she’ll think it’s true. I know Sookie. If she thinks he’s unfaithful or lying to her, she’ll reject him.”
Octavia raised an eyebrow and appraised him with skepticism.
Sam cleared his throat. “Uh, and I’ll be needing something else from you. Can you also shield my mind? Put a wall up around my thoughts so Sookie can’t read ’em?” He seemed sheepish as he continued. “My employee said you can do that and all this ain’t gonna work if Sookie can see what I’ve been up to. It’d all backfire on me and push her right into that damned fanger’s arms.”
Octavia slowly nodded her head. “Hmm…seems like you be wanting an awful lot, Mr. Merlotte, but I reckon I can do what you be asking.” She eyed him shrewdly. “But…I’m ‘fraid gonna cost you more though….I be risking my life if that Sheriff catch wind I be trying to keep him from that woman.”
She didn’t mention it to Sam, but she was in her late eighties and had terminal cancer. She wanted desperately to save up some money to leave to her great-granddaughter after she was gone. Had she been younger and in good health, there was no way, no how she would have agreed to cross Eric Northman. She felt bad for the shifter, knowing that the vampire was cunning and would figure things out sooner or later, but…Sam was a man on a mission, and she could tell that there was nothing she could say or do to change his mind. He’d have found some other witch to aid him if she hadn’t agreed to help him. Without his knowledge, she’d try to surround him with a protection spell, but she seriously doubted it would be enough to save his ass when it came time for the Sheriff to come for him…
Sam nodded and reached into the bag to dole out more money to the old voodoo priestess. He then stood up and opened his wallet, pulling out Selah’s business card.
Octavia sighed and took the card from his hand. “Okay. I see what I can do for you.”
Under her breath, Sam thought it sounded like she was reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
AN: Yeah, I know, Sam’s a devious, conniving SOB. My beta, who is usually pretty even keeled said she hated Sam in this chapter, which coming from her is pretty strong. Have a little faith, though chickies…I’m a big believer in an Eric/Sookie HEA. It’s just Sam is the fly in the ointment here. He really cares for Sookie and believes he is trying to protect her. Makes things interesting. ; )