“Fine! You can touch them!” Sookie finally conceded, hoping it would end this continual perusal of her, or more frustratingly, her chest, which was making her feel things she didn’t want to know she could feel, especially in the chest area. His continued silence only unnerved her further, “One squeeze, Mister. That’s it!”
“Very well,” Eric grinned excitedly, his tongue tracing his top lip hungrily, forgetting all about the clusterfuck of traffic they were stuck in and the room full of people awaiting them.
“And no kissage after!”
“I’ll hold you to that,” he smiled while releasing the buckle of his seat belt, successfully unsettling her even further while he stretched out his entwined hands before him with a crunch, as if in preparation for something far more daunting than a simple fondling of flesh. She breathed heavily, her eyes somewhere between scrunching and closing as his fingers neared, crying out with the suddenness of it all in the next moment.
“You purple-eyed piece of shit!”
Miraculously her boobs had remained untouched, if you discounted the hold the seat belt already had on her. The rest of her body was a different matter altogether. While Eric was brushing the shattered glass of the windshield from his hair and set to inspect the damage to his favourite girl, the car, her door opened while she remained in a confused haze at the sudden turn of events.
“You okay, Babe?” a deep voice asked while all she could do at this point was blink in reply.
“Do not fucking touch her or I’ll use that fugly ass hide of yours as the upholstery for my new car!” Eric roared, scaring Sookie with the intensity of it, causing her to whimper and cower towards the other man.
“Are you his, Babe?” the subdued voice asked her again, seemingly unimpressed by the testosterone display and successfully keeping Eric from access with his position at her door. There was something so gentle and kind about the shiny bald headed man, she really only was able to focus on one thing at a time as her head seemed to be ringing in a relentless echo from the impact with the dashboard. “Are you?”
She shook her head. She wasn’t even quite sure what she was answering or whom, for whatever reason she wanted to call him Mr. Clean. He seemed nice enough though. “Wanna be mine, Gorgeous?” he grinned with a wink. Oh my God, it is Mr. Clean!
Because who wouldn’t want to be Mrs. Clean?
“What’s a Sookie?” she asked in a whisper to Mr. Clean.
“Think that’s you, Babe,” he smiled, tucking a lock of hair behind her ears.
“Get your filthy paws off her!” Eric growled, shoving the were-tiger aside forcefully, warning, “You’re lucky you’re still breathing for endangering MY-”
“Hey!” Sookie protested. “Don’t hurt my boyfriend!”
“He is NOT your boyfriend!” Eric roared with perhaps a little too much vigour, scaring her in the process.
“Well, I sure hope it’s not you, Mr. Grumpy!” she yelled back, groaning in pain with the sudden strain.
“Fuck!” he growled, falling to his knees and looking her over carefully. “Sookie, what’s my name?”
Her eyes searched him warily, “I… I don’t know.”
“She needs a hospital, man.”
“Shut your face, Captain Obvious! This all your fault,” Eric growled, warning the Were to a safe distance while loosening Sookie’s safety belt. “Can you stand?” he asked in a gentle whisper, aiding her out.
“I feel dizzy,” she complained with a whimper. “All these noises, they’re only getting louder in my head. It hurts.”
“Come here,” he instructed, pulling her close, remembering the relief he had provided her during Jason’s bachelor party when she’d looked about as haggard as she did now. “Hold me tight.”
“OK,” she agreed begrudgingly, at least he seemed to be nice to her now, and the invading noises appeared to magically disappear in his embrace. Mr. Grumpy wasn’t too bad to look at either.
“I’m going to fly us out of here, okay?”
“Mmmkay,” she murmured, then a mild panic set in, “Wait, fly?”
He hovered them slowly above the ground, testing her reaction, assuring he wasn’t adding to her injuries. Instead she cried out in shock, struggling against his hold with the sudden sensation. “What are you?!”
“A vampire,” he answered with a grin, proudly flashing his fangs.
“Let me go!” she screamed, frightened by the sudden physical change, struggling against him so much he feared she’d fall to the ground if he didn’t let her go and set her back on the ground safely.
“Sookie!” he tried, chasing after her as soon as they were down again, her tiny form moving much smoother between the jam packed cars than he could, honking noisily. “You have to go to the hospital!”
“He’ll take me,” she whimpered, struggling against the pain of her resurging telepathy, yet unaware of it cause, inching herself closer to Mr. Clean who eagerly encouraged the turn of events with inviting arms.
“He’s a fucking tiger!” Eric spat, her face only scrunching up in confusion.
“No, he’s not!” she protested, reaching for the clearly human arm, only to be confronted with a whir of growls and snarls in her mind with the barest touch, forcing her to cry out in shock and jump back into the safety of Eric’s arms instead.
“Believe me now?” he chuckled, enjoying her eager scramble onto his body, latching on like a leach. “Ready to go?”
“You won’t bite me?”
“No,” he said with a shake of his head. “Unless you ask.”
A small giggle escaped her, “Maybe another time.”
Fuck where was this Sookie hiding all along? He briefly wondered how much Dr. Ludwig would charge for a personality transplant, because, well, the Tits of Terror were fabulous after all and those were the type of implants money couldn’t buy.
He shifted her, careful not to harm her further and keep her head steady in his hold. Frustratingly, he knew vampire blood was too much of a gamble with brain injuries, more likely to make it worse than better, the legend of Bubba all too fresh in his mind. Not to mention the wrath of Niall, along with the extortionate cost the faery prince would demand for another transgression.
He didn’t waste time flying her to the Emergency Room where Dr. Ludwig stood ready and waiting with an eager set of dollar signs in her eyes. “She has no memories,” Eric explained with worry while the little doctor examined her.
“She’ll need a scan or two,” she concluded. “Call her great-grandfather.”
“I’ll pay,” he insisted. “Get it done NOW!”
“This isn’t about money, fanger,” she scowled. “She’s his favourite and I’d like to live another day.”
“Fine,” he growled. “Make sure she gets in there before anyone else.”
She hopped down off her stool and with a nod, wandered off with more haste than he’d ever seen in the little doctor’s step.
“Northman? Has your Pamela been munching on my great-grandson again?”
“You almost sound pleased to hear that,” Eric noted suspiciously. “It’s Sookie.”
“What!” he cried out. “If you laid your fangs on her again I’ll-”
“Calm down!” Eric growled, continuing in a clipped tone, “We were in a car accident, not my fault, she doesn’t know who she is. Or who I am for that matter. She needs some scans, Ludwig won’t do them without your permission.”
“She’s lucid?” he asked with worry, popping into the room and causing Sookie to cry out with sudden fright again, scrambling into Eric’s side.
“Yes,” Eric replied tersely, a soothing arm moving over her back, fucking hell she was naked under that frumpy hospital gown, stupid gown was supposed to be his friend covering all her best bits and keep his mind clear, there wasn’t supposed to be nudity involved, damn it, “Give Ludwig the go ahead.”
He nodded immediately, “I’ll find her! How dare she make my great-granddaughter wait!”
“What is he?” Sookie asked Eric with wide eyes.
“A faery,” Eric smiled indulgently. “He’s harmless.”
“Unless you’re a tiny doctor?” she posed mischievously. Eric really, really, liked this Sookie.
“Time to go, Princess,” the doctor in question spat out brusquely. “Fanger, stay here.”
“NO!” Sookie cried out. “Mr. Grumpy stays with me.”
The doctor shrugged in reply, addressing Eric with amusement over the nickname, “Well, it’s not like the radiation will kill you, I think?”
“You think?” he posed dubiously.
“Pretty sure, but there’s a first for everything.”
“Fine,” Eric replied tersely, Sookie’s worried look making him comply instantly and wonder what was left of his otherwise impeccable survival skills. Death by radiation for a pair of tits, it is.
With a big grin, her bed was rolled to the scanning room, and while helping Sookie into the machine, once more at her insistence after being exposed to the attending nurse’s thoughts, he managed to catch a glimpse of her bare behind that he would have to add to his mental map of Sookieland. Well, that was almost worth bursting into a million pieces for from the radiation. Almost. He was beginning to like those hospital gowns more and more.
“Stay still,” Dr. Ludwig instructed, “That goes for both of you. My Prince, please follow me.”
With a grave face he followed her into the control room. Eric couldn’t quite hear their conversation, but he noted with some amusement the nervous sweat present on Ludwig’s brow while watching Niall lose his shit. First time I ever heard the word ‘please’ come from that tiny mouth. He couldn’t wait until Niall sunk his claws in the oversized, purple-eyed pussy next.
“Eric?” Sookie whispered. “I’m scared.”
“You’ll be fine,” he replied with assurance while the machine started to whir around her. “You’ll be a pain in my ass again before you know it.”
She smiled back nervously, exhaling a deep breath and doing her best to stay as still as possible per the doctor’s repeated instructions over the speaker. It went quicker than she expected and before she knew it, Eric was helping her up again, the second sighting of her ass leaving him in pain, indeed. “Thank you,” she spoke softly, placing a soft kiss to his cheek, barely reaching him on her tippy toes.
An orderly returned her to the hospital’s best suite available, filled with several bouquets of her favoured daisies where they awaited the news from Niall and Dr. Ludwig.
“Don’t worry,” he said when it appeared she’d be chewing her lips off. “They wouldn’t take their time like this if it was really bad.”
“What if it’s so bad they don’t know how to tell me?”
“Then you don’t know Ludwig,” he grinned with an assurance that, thankfully, seemed to ease the worst of her worry.
She shifted to her side, facing him and pulling the hand that rested on the bed towards her, “You have nice hands,” she noted as if seeing them for the first time. “Strong, but gentle.”
“Don’t tell anyone,” he winked, a small snort escaping her.
“Will you lay with me?” Sookie asked shyly, the nerves escaping her to look him in the eyes, adding lamely, “It doesn’t hurt my head so much when you’re close.”
“Very well,” he agreed, toeing off his shoes, taking up the narrow space left on the bed, and repositioning them both carefully, her head cradled against his chest.
“So he was really a tiger?” she asked, her tone still incredulous.
“Yes,” he answered. “And a shitty excuse for one at that.”
“And I’m here snuggling with a vampire?”
“Yeah,” he grinned looking down at her. “Scared?”
“No,” she giggled. “Are you really my boyfriend?”
“’Fraid not,” he replied. “Never been anyone’s boyfriend, hardly a boy now, am I?”
“But you want to be?” she whispered, her lips suddenly very close to his, her breath heavy and warm.
“Wouldn’t object to the thought,” he smiled back. “You’re not really yourself though, are you?”
“I don’t care,” Sookie replied, tentatively pressing her lips against his and letting out a whimper of relief when he kissed her back ever so gently, an altogether different sensation to the frantic ones previously shared. Lost in the other for a moment, she couldn’t help but smile when they disengaged.
“You can stop pretending now.”
“What?” she gasped, her eyes narrowing. “How did you know?”
“Got it back just before the scan, didn’t you?” he hazarded correctly. “Knew my name out of nowhere. I believe I was a ‘Mr. Grumpy’ earlier.”
“Damn,” she huffed.
“Like you like this though, wouldn’t have minded pretending a little longer,” he grinned, caressing her cheek for emphasis. “I won’t stop you if you want to carry on for a few more days. I can be your nurse, give you a sponge bath or two.”
“Pervert,” she replied with a poorly contained smile. “Besides, as I recall, you were passed over for Mr. Clean when my brain checked out.”
“Captain Obvious,” she explained, remembering his nickname for the were-tiger. “If you ever cleaned a thing in your life you’d know exactly who Mr. Clean is.”
“In that case,” he grinned, making a mental note to research this Mr. Clean, “it’s good to have you back.”
“Ms. Stackhouse,” Dr. Ludwig interrupted with a gruff tone, “You should be fine in a few hours, no haemorrhage, no bleeds, just a bump to the head. Your memories should recover soon enough. Your great-grandfather however, is insisting on ten different second opinions, but you have mine.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” she smiled. “My memories are back already, though the accident is a little woozy, but I remember everything else.” Dr. Ludwig eyed her curiously, then proceeded to run a series of tests to assess the scope of her brain function. “Can I go home?” Sookie asked impatiently, no matter how nice her hospital room was, she wanted out of there as soon as possible. It was only bearable now due to Eric’s presence.
“Ask the Prince,” she huffed. “It’s not like my medical opinion seems to matter to him.”
“I’ll tell him you did a good job,” Sookie offered, softening Ludwig’s scowl with a minute increment.
“How’s the telepathy?” she asked, resuming her task.
“Scrambled, it helps when he’s near.”
“Figured as much, all those dead brainwaves, must be a delight,” she mused while making the last of her notes. “The dead have their uses now and then.”
“I have to go,” Eric interrupted suddenly, the hurt look on Sookie’s face quickly hidden before he caught sight of it, explaining, “The board meeting.”
“Of course,” she replied evenly, wondering if people would wait that long on him, hours had passed since the accident. “Tell them I’m sorry I couldn’t make it.”
He nodded, opening the door only to be replaced by a worried Gran, Godric, Jason, and Pam piling in, not giving her a chance to carry the look of disappointment on her face for long as she put on her best smile to alleviate the worry of her grandmother.
“You have a visitor,” Claudine announced cheerfully.
“Let them in,” she sighed, the forced enthusiasm with the prospect long lost on her. There wasn’t much variation in her visitors, and they either worried too much about her, Gran, Godric, and Niall, or were completely obsessed with their own lives, Pam, Jason, Claude and Claudette. Eric had been noticeably absent. The grumpy bastard.
“Hey,” interrupted her thoughts, forcing her to look up quite high into the room at the man carrying a large bouquet of her beloved daisies. Speaking of bastards.
“Hi,” she returned shyly.
“I wanted to apologise for what happened,” he said gently, his free hand scratching the back of his neck. “Should probably have come sooner.”
“You came now,” she said, sitting upright in her sickbed that Niall had insisted on while she insisted, like Dr. Ludwig and the ten other doctors, that she was perfectly fine. “That’s something right?”
“Something’s better than nothing, I guess,” he shrugged, taking the seat she gestured at. “How’ve you been?”
“Okay, I guess. How’s your car?”
“A wreck,” he replied unaffected. “I’ll get a new one.”
“I heal quick.”
“Was it the boyfriend stuff?” she asked with a hint of insecurity, eyes peeking out seductively from beneath her lashes. “Is that what made you stay away? I probably shouldn’t have said anything.”
He laughed, easing her nerves, “Hardly, wouldn’t mind being that at all to you. Needed to get my act together first, that’s all. I’m sorry for what happened, that you got hurt.”
She smiled, “Well, Mr. Clean, that’s awfully nice of you, but I never did catch your name.”
“OUT!” Eric roared in interruption, Claudine hot on his tail, and unsuccessfully deterring him from reaching Sookie’s bedroom in a fit of rage, fangs out, and his hands already around the were-tiger’s throat.
“Eric!” Sookie cried out angrily. “LET HIM GO!”
“Fine,” he growled, dropping the large hunk of flesh to the floor where it wheezed pathetically. A well-aimed kick to the behind was accompanied with an enunciated, “Now out!”
Sookie was out of the bed, face flushed full of anger ready to deliver an aggravated set of pokes to his chest to punctuate her sentences, “Listen to me, Eric Northman! You don’t get to barge in here and commandeer MY guests, especially when I’ve heard hide nor hair from you in days! Then you conveniently show up when someone else comes over here to apologise?!”
“Shhh! I wasn’t done yet,” she replied angrily, turning to Claudine, “Is he OK?” her cousin nodded, easing the were-tiger’s ability to breathe with a soothing touch to his back.
“You better have something of importance to tell me because your face is the last one I want to see right now!”
“Do not be fooled by Mr. Clean over there,” he growled. “He’s anything but clean. The tiger’s always working an angle, he’s not to be trusted!”
“I said, leave,” she warned. “Don’t make me repeat it a third time.”
“I’m sorry, okay,” he whispered, trying desperately to make her follow him to a secluded spot away from her bedroom and out of the were-tiger’s hearing range, which thankfully, she did. “I suddenly smelt him and lost it with the stench, I meant what I said. He’s not to be trusted.”
“I’m not an idiot,” she scowled, her voice equally low. “I know he works for de Castro and I know he’s been trying for a hostile takeover here for years.” He could only stare back dumbfounded. “You really have to stop undermining my telepathy.”
“You’re helping me? Why?”
“We’re family,” she shrugged. “We take care of our own. You were there for me in the hospital, I owe you.”
He grinned, “So we’re good?”
“Define good?” she returned sceptically, really not in the mood to be felt up in that moment. Her boobs were rather black and blue from the accident and she knew he’d bring it up eventually. Eric Northman never seemed to forget a debt or a promise.
“This good,” he whispered, taking her hand in his and brushing her knuckles with his lips, depositing a soft kiss.
“Yeah,” Sookie smiled back, failing miserably at staying mad, “We’re good. Now get out of here.”
A/N: Feel free to wipe that nervous sweat from your brow, that ‘Oh no, not *bleep*’ moment wasn’t what it appeared to be. I detest the were-tiger so much I a.) won’t even contemplate anyone who says Babe as even a pathetic potential side interest for anyone let alone Sookie and b.) sully my writing with the man’s name, Mr. Clean suits him much better, though Purple-Eyed Pussy has a certain ring to it too…
Much thanks to msbuffy as ever!
Happy New Year to those just joining back, now I did the writing bit you all do the comment bit!