His closing grin assured her he was most likely joking, and once he offered his arm again to link hers into, she remarked, “We don’t live together you know, you just won’t leave.”
“Semantics,” he scoffed.
Her free hand came to rest on his forearm, causing him to slow his step. “You called it home.”
“So I did,” he replied, not quite catching on to her meaning.
“You called it home,” Sookie repeated. “Our home.”
“Despite not being a native, I’ve been speaking English for longer than you have, Sookie, and I used the correct word.”
“Yes,” she replied with a smile. “You did.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Semantics,” she explained. He could only regard her with continued confusion in response. “It’s too soon and it’s messy enough as it is. A part of me thinks it’s just being pragmatic, but for now this is what I feel. I want it to be your home, our home. I want you to move in. Officially.”
“Semantics,” he grinned. “You catch on quick. What makes it official?”
“You bring over some of your stuff, we argue over home decor,” she shrugged.
He rolled his eyes, “Exciting.”
She smirked, “We have sex in every single room and on every surface imaginable.”
That managed to stop him in his already slowing track, “I think we should buy a house, a very large house with many, many, rooms. I like the sound of this ‘official’ business.”
“Thought you would,” she grinned. “Not so dismissive of semantics now, are we?”
“Point,” he conceded, caressing her cheek with his thumb lightly he added with little thought, “Love you too, too.”
“Then what happened, Auntie Pam?”
The vampiress regarded the wide eyes attached to the little teacup coolly, cocking her head slightly before venomously stating, “I’m not your Aunt,” adding with a sneer, “It makes me sound… Old.”
“But you are old!” The accompanying cackle was quickly silenced.
“Do I look old?” Pam demanded, only receiving an audible gulp and a vigorous shake of blonde hair in return. “Good, where was I?”
“Right, the party,” she yawned. “We’ll save it for the next time. Your mom will be here any moment to pick you up.”
“I don’t want to go home!” The high-pitched whine did little to sway the stoic vampiress who merely raised a single brow in response. “It smells of shifter there.”
“No kidding,” Pam agreed with a disgusted wiggle of her nose. “Now, get your things. I don’t want Sookie yelling at me that you’re not ready to go again.”
“Will Uncle Jason be here next time?”
“Yes,” Pam replied in an extended breathe, the corners of her mouth moving against gravity slightly in a vague semblance of a wistful smile, one that was quickly eradicated from her features before anyone would notice.
“Will he do the voices?”
“Of course,” Pam indulged, “Now if you hurry up and get your things, next time I’ll even bring out the socks!” She could barely comprehend the jumble of words spoken between squeals with that promise, but Pam was happy enough with the scramble that resulted in one perfectly-presented child by the front door well before Sookie was set to arrive.
A small plea carried to the vampiress’ ears, eyes firmly glued to the floor, small hands tugging at the straps of the Dora the Explorer backpack, “Will you tell me just a little bit now? About what happened next between Momma and Papa?”
Pam exhaled unnecessarily, taking pity on the small child scuffing the edges of their sneakers against the impeccably polished marble floor. “You want to know what happened next?” she questioned, forcing the little face to look up at her with a guiding hand. With an eager nod, she supplied, “What always happens between your mother and father when things are going good.”
“They fucked it all up royally, capital R.”
Before there was any time to expand, or for Pam to be called out on her use of the f-word, the doorbell rang and all further questions were silenced as Sookie looked her child over while Pam huffed demonstratively at the insinuation that she wasn’t a capable caretaker in Eric’s absence.
“Have you heard anything from him?” Sookie asked tentatively once fully assured all was well. Pam merely hummed, not expressing an indicative answer either way. “Pam, please?” she whispered, resembling very much the shy child who had just begged the vampiress for that little bit of extra information while failing to make eye contact at the fear of rejection.
“All is well,” she finally answered after the silence had stretched long enough and a drop or two of sweat had travelled down the telepath’s forehead. “They’ll be back by tomorrow.”
Pam froze when the sudden and surprisingly strong arms surrounded her while Sookie whispered a multitude of thanks.
“Momma? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Sookie assured while wiping away a few errant tears with her sleeves before adding with a big smile, “Nothing is wrong at all, Baby. Now, say goodbye to Pam and thank her for her hospitality.”
“Thank you for the hospital, Pam!”
“You’re welcome, sprout,” she snorted, before practically shoving them out onto the sidewalk, then jokingly adding, “Now go, before I remember the awful mess you always leave behind. Lucky for you I live with Jason, the only one in the world messier than you!”
With a giggle and a wave, and a firm mother’s hand, they headed on home. “Did you have a nice time?” Sookie asked with interest while carefully peering into the mind beside her, unpicking the events of the night. She didn’t like prying into her own child’s mind, but when it came to Pam and her unapologetic ways as well as her severe lack of filter, it was always sensible to check nonetheless. She was well assured that Pam had behaved very well, by Pam’s standards at least, so by the time she was tucking her little one into bed, the excited tales were struggling to be told as sleepiness set in.
“Will you tell me about the party?” came the yawned request while Sookie fiddled with the night light.
“What party?” Sookie asked, long having abandoned the interior of the tiny mind as the practicalities of their night routine had set in.
“Grangran’s book party.”
Caught unaware, a solemn look fell over her face. With reasonable coherence, she managed to sound out, “Pam told you about that?” A small negating shake was given in reply, though the energy to complete it was lacking. “Good,” Sookie sighed, kissing the mop of blonde hair that was so reminiscent of Eric. “Sleep now,” she urged, though lids had already fallen closed and tiny short breaths soon settled to something resembling a snore.
Sookie didn’t know for how long she had sat on the couch, staring at the TV she had never managed to turn on, or perhaps it had and switched itself off again, her mind so lost to that party and its aftermath. “How did it all go so wrong?” she asked no one in particular.
With a startle, she cried out in fear after a voice suddenly answered in a house where she expected to be the only inhabitant aside from her child. “How did what go so wrong?”
“Eric!” she cried out angrily, her hand holding steady over her racing heart. “What are you doing here?”
“You closed the curtains,” he stated matter of fact, disappointed that she didn’t seem to be expressing any relief or excitement at his safe return, adding pointedly, “Again.”
She wiped her sweaty hands on her sides, regaining her composure and replying with elevated hostility, “Pam told me you’d be back tomorrow, and it’s not as if she was exactly volunteering that information.”
“That’s between you and her,” he shrugged, his face just as stony. “Now if you don’t mind…”
“Don’t mind what?” she demanded hotly. Then scoffing, “If you think you can go in there and leave me with an overexcited four-year-old all night while you fly away to God knows where-”
“I just want to see the Bug tucked up safe and sound in its little rug.”
“We agreed you could look in through the window after hours, but I’m not letting you in there now. Tomorrow will be a nightmare and I’ll be the one having to deal with it!”
“Well, you should have just left the curtains open!” Eric retorted before losing his temper completely at the sight of Sookie’s narrowing eyes that only promised an escalation. “Fucking hell, Sookie! I fought to the bloody death, I want to know what I was fighting for is exactly where I left him.”
“Fighting for?” Sookie mumbled under her breath. “That’s not what I heard.”
“What did you hear?” Eric demanded in a hiss.
“Nothing,” she threw back. “I hear absolutely NOTHING!”
“Momma?” a sleepy voice interrupted, tiny rubbed eyes instantly expanding at the sight of Eric, without hesitance the little boy jumped into the offered embrace with a squeal and a barrage of questions of where he’d been while Sookie looked on disapprovingly.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it. This little Bug is going straight back to bed!” Eric retorted with faux cheer toward Sookie, “You don’t have to do a thing, and this little one will be the best behaved little boy when you see him come morning. Isn’t that right, son?”
Sookie refrained from replying her disbelief at his rather rosy perspective, arms firmly crossed while she watched him take a protesting child back to its bed. She tried to listen in that Leo was, in fact, being settled in and, with a reluctant sigh, headed to her own bedroom, only managing to overhear Eric softly whisper a favoured bedtime story. By the time she’d finished her own night-time routine, she hoped to find Eric gone, leaving behind a firmly asleep child. While said child was firmly asleep, he was, unfortunately for Sookie, firmly attached to Eric. The vampire himself merely shrugged in feigned helplessness at Sookie while setting the book he’d been reading from away carefully, albeit somewhat carelessly. With a held breath, she only just managed to catch it before it crashed to the floor from the overcrowded bedside table that was chiefly populated by dinosaurs, receiving a genuine look of gratitude from Eric and a softness in his eyes she hadn’t seen in quite some time.
“I’ll take him,” she whispered in offering, gesturing a quick reversal of positions. “You must want your rest, too.”
“It’s okay,” he shrugged. “Don’t need it.”
“You do,” she pointed out knowingly. He could hide his injuries pretty well from the excited toddler who had climbed him like a tree, but Sookie had seen the wince and the slight discoloration of his shirt. “Have you fed?”
He nodded while she nervously shifted her feet, unsure where to stand in what were usually such familiar surroundings, whether she should stay or go. Sensing her indecision, he patted the small empty space beside him and, to his utter surprise, she took him up on his offer, and lying by his side, her hands coming to finger the hair of the softly snoring child on his chest. Carefully, he shifted to give her more space, only to find her head suddenly on his bicep. They regarded each other questioningly and when neither one commented on it, she whispered, “It’s good to see you back safe and sound.”
“It’s good to be back,” he nodded in agreement. “This,” he said, resting his hand atop hers that was still fingering unruly hair, “was worth it.”
“I know,” she smiled, a smile he was unsure of how to interpret anymore; however, her next words made it clear enough, “I know you’ll do anything for our little Bug.”
He hummed in agreement, letting go of her hand in the process, and swallowing the sigh of annoyance in her failure to understand what he’d just declared. “I should get some rest, too,” he announced, closing his eyes.
“Sure,” Sookie nodded, momentarily distracted by the twin set of contented smiles before her as sleep set in. Carefully, she tried to disentangle herself from her constricted position, only to find the arm around her banding her in tighter. A hissed name went ‘unheard’ by a very ‘asleep’ vampire. Her attempt at pushing off against his ribs halted when she came into contact with the crusted blood and visible bruising she could faintly make out through a tear in his shirt. With a sigh, she pulled up the blanket, assured he really was very much asleep now, and snuggled up into his side, allowing her own tired eyes to fall closed. “I missed you,” she whispered right on the brink of consciousness.
Only when he was sure she was asleep did he reply, “Not as much as I miss you.”
A/N: Oh sob… the marriage never lasted and they’re no longer together and Jason and Pam still are. The world’s gone mad! 😀 You’ll have to forgive me but as much fun as they were having it never really made for a solid foundation of anything lasting. Not all is lost, of course, these two can never be too far apart after all… and look at the cute kid! Those who know their Latin will surely pick up on the rather apt name 😉 More to come soon, let me all know you’re still out there and stuff…
Much thanks to msbuffy as ever for her work on this.