A/N: Um. Hi? :P I figured that I just wasn't Sookiewhumping hard enough. Better start another story. :P SE will be the priority (and chapter 13 is about 2/3 done! And chapter 2 of this bad boy is halfish).
Eric Northman, Vampire Sheriff of Louisiana's Area Five, had finally caught the ringleader of the largest and most profitable V-selling operation in the South. She had been on the run for nearly a month when he finally tracked her down in Dallas. Stan Davis was more than happy to lend him a hand; she had been the biggest vampire blood supplier from Albuquerque to Augusta.
She had been a beautiful woman, and looked closer to 29 than her actual 49. She must have been a heavy user as well as a seller. Or had extraordinary genes. Under glamour, she had revealed the remainder of her accomplices and downstream sellers, as well as the location of her headquarters on the outskirts of Bon Temps. The torture had been for justice. And what happened after? He was sure that she would have called it mercy. It was more than she deserved.
It wasn't a long drive, and he and Pam, his child and second, arrived at the dilapidated farm house in less than half an hour. The place was a shambles, with particle board nailed over all the windows, peeling paint, and a metal roof that had warped and separated. It surely leaked terribly whenever it rained. The yard was overgrown with weeds, and a porch swing hung dangling lopsided from one chain.
After he broke down the door, he sensed no barrier. The owner's dead body was still at Fangtasia. They entered carefully, wary of any traps. He expected a similar mess inside, but while much was in disrepair, the house was tidy, at least. Or as tidy as it could be, considering.
There were two refrigerators in the kitchen, as well as another in the enclosed back porch. The two inside contained racks and racks of vials of vampire blood. Each rack held eighty vials, and each tube was numbered and dated. There were two racks per day, every day for almost two weeks. The most recent was from last month, the day before the chase had begun. There hadn't been any missing vampires in the area. Where had it all come from? He checked the fridge outside, and he was surprised to find two cases of Red Stuff with one bottle missing. He wrinkled his nose. That synthetic blood was the worst of a bad lot - gritty and viscous and metallic. You definitely got what you paid for. There were also a couple of bags of donor blood, three months past their expiration dates. Curiouser and curiouser. None of the fridges contained any human food.
"Eric? Come here for a minute." Pam was exploring the rest of the house. He found her in a small room that had been a bedroom, once upon a time. There was an embalming table where a bed should have been, with silver manacles at each corner. The table itself was smeared with dried blood, and had obviously just been wiped out and not really cleaned. The manacles held scraps of burned flesh.
Pam scowled, "Fucking barbarians. And they think we're the evil ones."
"Have you found anything else?"
"Not so far. There isn't much here, other than this shit. There's electricity, but no running water, and no personal items to speak of. Just tools for harvesting the blood. You?"
"Close to two thousand vials of vampire blood, two cases of Red Stuff, and some expired human blood."
"Jesus fucking Christ, Eric. How long do you think they were holding them? And how many at a time?"
"The ring has been around for years. It is really hard to say. At 6 cups a day, every day, and replenishment with just Red Stuff and the occasional bit of real blood? If it was just one vampire at a time, output would start decreasing immediately, and would probably be close to nil in a week or two. There should be missing vampires all across the South."
They went through the house from top to bottom, but found nothing else, other than some buckets full of rainwater in the ensuite in the bedroom across the hall from the draining room. Eric found himself standing in front of the embalming table again, a frown on his face. Pam came up behind him.
"Do you think she ended the vampire they were holding? Did she know we were on to her?"
"I don't know. Moving him seems risky. But I don't think she was tipped off; she would have run sooner. I know she left Louisiana for good that night we nearly caught her. Well, until we brought her back."
"So where is the vampire?"
"I don't know. If anyone came, they would have taken the blood as well. What is in that fridge is worth close to $150,000. Maybe he just wasn't producing any longer, and she was still looking for a replacement."
Pam snooped in the closet again, but it was empty except for some bloody aprons hanging up and latex gloves, empty vials, trocar needles, rubber tubing, and other implements of draining on the shelf above. She shuddered and lowered her head. Vampires suffered here. Terribly.
"What in the mummified fuck…?"
She leaned over and really looked at the floor of the closet. It was raised a few inches from the rest of the room. And was that a hinge? Tentatively, she lifted up the trap door in the closet floor.
"Holy fuck. Eric!"
He had no idea how she was conscious, let alone not finally dead. Her grey skin hung loose over her bones. There were bruises and punctures that looked old but hadn't healed in the crooks of her elbows and on her neck, and unhealed burns on her wrists and ankles from the cuffs. She was naked and filthy. And terrified. She tried to hiss and scramble away, but she barely had the energy to move.
She could have been anywhere between twelve and sixty when she'd been turned. She was so dried out and emaciated and dirty it was impossible to tell much of anything except that she was female, caucasian, and had gone through puberty.
"Shhh. We will not harm you. You are safe now. Your torturer is dead."
She stopped struggling to get away from them and stared, her eyes almost startlingly blue. Somehow, she squeezed out a single bloody tear, and rasped, "Mama?"