She glared up at him to check, never could be all that sure when it came to Eric after all, that he really was joking. “So, who is she? The Swedish nanny, right?” It had to be her, it was the only mind Sookie didn’t have access to as she thought exclusively in her own language and she wasn’t very visual either.
“Who is what?” he replied in confusion.
“Your new girl,” Sookie replied. “I mean, probably not so new if you’re all loved up already.”
“Interesting you’d call her a girl.”
“Well, she’s not exactly old, now is she?” Sookie frowned. “Especially compared to you.”
“What’s with you and Pam and the word ‘interesting’ today?”
“Interesting is an interesting word, is it not?”
“Stop deflecting,” she huffed. “Do you and Pam just rehash every single word you’ve exchanged each night, seeking hidden meaning?”
“Only for Sookie,” he grinned.
“Why am I not surprised?” she sighed with a roll of her eyes. “Maybe next time, discuss why you insist on holding onto me for way longer than is socially acceptable.”
“Not really something up for analysis,” he scoffed, reducing her attempt at untangling the two of them to a mere wiggle in his arms.
He scooped down, depositing a soft kiss to her lips, pouring everything he failed to articulate in it all at once, removing his arms from around her to cup her face while she stared at him with confusion, only to be informed, “Because you’re my girl.”
“Eric,” Sookie complained. “This isn’t funny.”
“I’m not being funny.”
“Then what is this?”
“Staking my claim, planting my flag, whatever you want to call it,” he shrugged. “I’m letting you know of my intentions before some other shifty bastard comes along and sweeps you away. I want you, only you. I want my wife back.”
“Eric, no,” she stated firmly. “We never worked and never will. Stop pushing this.”
“I’ll stop pushing when I know there’s absolutely no chance,” he informed coolly. “It isn’t now. In fact, now is the perfect-”
“We agreed, it isn’t fair to Leo. Parents first, remember. Nothing’s changed.”
“Yet I still feel the same-”
“Eric, don’t,” she whispered. “Please, just stop.”
“Remember when I was going out of my mind, paranoid, and convinced I was going to have to give birth to the Bug through my dick? You were so sweet to me then; we can be that again.”
“We weren’t even together then,” she pointed out. “If this is your way of hinting for a blowjo-”
“Exactly. Can’t you see that we were together?” he interjected, ignoring her last sentence. “It didn’t matter that our legal status said ‘divorced.’ You were there for me, and I like to think I’m there for you when you let me. That’s a sort of together, isn’t it?”
“It is,” she agreed, “but it’s not the same as consciously being together, being a husband and wife. I know what a commitment from you means, Eric. That was never my concern, you know that. You’re just lost in the after effects of coming out victorious in a war right now, nothing more.”
“It’s not that,” he stated, matter of fact. When she gave him that all-too-familiar face that demanded an explanation, Eric elaborated, “Leo asked about ‘the party’ right before his nap. While I could recall in vivid colour all that went on there, as appropriate to be told to a four-year-old, I couldn’t answer the question that made him want to ask about the party in the first place, why two people on the verge of such a bright future walked away further apart each other than ever. I couldn’t answer because I don’t even know what happened in there to cause it, all I know is that something changed there and, no matter how many times I look back, go through every single detail, relive every moment, I just don’t know what I did wrong.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” she admitted. “Well, not then, anyhow.”
“Did you go to war over me?” She scrutinised him at length when he seemed genuinely lost for words and unwilling to answer. “Are you schtooping the nanny? Elska?”
That he could answer easy enough, “Fuck no, she’s like twelve.”
With a nod, she moved out of his grasp towards her bedroom, assuring herself Leo was firmly asleep, knowing full well that Eric would obediently trail behind her without being told. She sat at the foot of her bed, patting the empty space beside her while he stood in the doorway, not quite sure where to position himself. He knew the bedroom well, over the years they’d found comfort in each other’s arms often enough whether it be from boredom or a bit of comfort, but more likely the result of a heated argument; however, even though the location was the same, it was different somehow now. He felt like an intruder, despite being invited. Perhaps because there had been a period of abstinence while she dated Jake, but that wasn’t quite it either.
“Eric?” Sookie whispered when he appeared to be more statue than his usual statuesque while continuing to hover by the threshold. Moving towards him, she grabbed his arm, tugging him in, “I think I’m about to give birth through my penis.”
“What?” he coughed, the word catching on his breath.
“Be sweet to me,” she whispered into his neck, knowing what the heat of her breath did to him right there. “I just want you to be sweet to me right now. Can you do that?”
“Yes,” he gulped, the sensation of it all overwhelming him temporarily before he could gather himself and revert to his usual cocky self. “I can definitely do that.”
“What is this, Sookie?” he whispered against her sated skin.
“Does it have to be anything?” she whimpered, his attachment to her suddenly becoming uncomfortable and stifling. “Move, please? Leo will be up any second and I don’t want him barging in here assuming things.”
“In other words, you don’t want me assuming anything,” he replied testily, while complying with her request regardless, slipping back into his clothes with his back turned to her. “Distract me with your tits, and I’ll stop asking the hard questions and leave you alone for long enough to do it all over again.”
With an unexpected amount of regret lacing her tone and her hand on his shoulder, she spoke softly, “Eric. I didn’t mean it like that, you have to know that.” A small nod was granted, but he lacked the conviction to put it into words, allowing her to breathe out a long withheld breath.
“You and I,” he finally replied, looking up into her rather vulnerable eyes, not all too dissimilar to his own, the worst of his anger now dissipated, “We’ll always be unfinished business, won’t we?”
Silence fell between them, unsure what that really meant, but Sookie found herself unable to outright deny or confirm the statement. “I should start dinner,” she finally said, the faint signature of her son regaining consciousness alerting her further.
“Sure,” Sookie replied, though not exactly sure to what she was agreeing. “Stay as long as you like.”
“I might never leave then,” he joked, but it didn’t receive the laugh from her he’d hoped for.
“Speaking of unfinished business,” Sookie deviated smoothly, while silently requesting that he zip up the back of her dress. “There’s some company things that came up during your absence I’d like to go through with you, maybe after Leo is down for the night? It should only be a couple of hours.”
“Yeah, sure,” he replied, falling into business mode with the same ease as she, his hand only lingering on the small of her back momentarily before she moved away. For whatever reason, that dynamic between them always worked and while they’d fight each other on many decisions in the boardroom, they always managed to come together exceptionally well. Eric loathed to admit it, though he’d acknowledged it on a few occasions, but Sookie had become a great asset to the business, which made him repeatedly question Niall’s insistence in manoeuvring her into it, as ever the Prince’s long game left much to be guessed at.
A high pitched squeal interrupted Eric’s thoughts, accompanied by the not-all-too-unusual disgruntled voice of Sookie, “Jason, he can’t eat pizza every night!”
“It’s the breakfast of champions, and we’re fucking champions, coming to celebrate!” Jason retorted hotly.
“But it’s not breakfast time,” Leo whined.
“Dinner of champions then!” Jason amended quickly. “Or breakfast for dinner…or somethin’. I mean, pizza, Sis!”
“I thought you changed the locks,” Eric grinned while exchanging a small nod with Pam as Leo eagerly wrapped himself around his legs in an attempt to climb his tall frame. Sookie’s exasperated look informed him this had done little to deter his Childe and her husband from entering her home without an invitation.
“I guess you two did some celebrating of your own,” Pam grinned while taking a dramatic whiff of the air.
“You celebrated without me!” the little boy protested indignantly. “No fair!”
“And that’s why we have pizza,” Jason interjected chirpily, grinning widely at his thoroughly annoyed sister. “Duh!”
Sookie heaved a big sigh before gesturing everyone in the direction of the dining table. “I’ll take my blood in a pink cup today, I think,” Pam instructed an already testy Sookie, “and one of those crazy straws!”
“I’ll get it,” Eric offered, earning him a grateful look from Sookie, only for Pam to dramatically huff with the knowledge it surely wouldn’t be her specially curated blend while seating herself beside Leo, her impending cry of protest silenced with a mere menacing glance from Eric.
“Ooh, Pammy got told,” Leo giggled, not failing to miss one bit of the silent exchange.
“Shut it, you!” she growled in warning while peeking in the back of his shirt, prompting the vampiress to gleefully inform, “Just for that we’re waxing your back again.”
“NOOOOOO! It hurts!”
“Not as much as it hurts my eyes to see that furry pelt of kitten hair!” Pam countered, sticking out her tongue for good measure and faking gagging noises, only to shriek out in pain when a small set of fingers and thumbs caught the muscular tongue in his rather strong grasp.
“Cat got your tongue there, Pam?” Sookie goaded, enjoying the sight a little too much while divvying up the pizza. The vampiress’ attempt at a retort was stifled, which only added to the ridicule of the far from frightening sight. Leo dissolved into more giggles, Sookie and Jason laughing along at his antics. Eric merely raised his brow in amusement while setting down his and Pam’s dinner on the table, in a very normal glass with no straw.
“For all I do for this family,” Pam grumbled when she finally regained autonomy of her tongue, “and this is the thanks I get.”
“Sorry,” Leo whispered, genuinely contrite while depositing a kiss to her cheek as small arms tried to clumsily simulate a hug. Sookie couldn’t help but grin as it appeared the ice queen melted a few degrees with the sudden gesture. “Love you, Pammy.”
“Love you, too, little fucker,” she replied back in a more familiar version of herself, a single glance daring anyone else at the table to pull her up on her ‘inappropriate’ language.
“Do you want my straw?” he offered, the item already out of his drink, dripping on the table and well on its way to her drink, a drop of milk staining the deep red liquid as she stifled her shriek of horror.
Eric watched on in amusement while Pam wearily nodded and carefully drank from her own drink, hiding her disgust at the saliva-laden straw with a fraudulent smile. He caught Sookie’s eyes, sharing a secret smile at the interaction of the two ‘children’, only for her to quickly look away again.
“Was there a dragon when you fought, Papa?” Leo asked in between his bites of pizza. Eric merely shook his head with a chuckle while his son pouted in disappointment. “I thought all evil queens had dragons.”
“Maybe next time,” he offered consolingly.
Perking up instantly, he proclaimed, “So I get to come next time? Sweet!”
A warning glance from Sookie had Eric regretfully informing that that would most definitely not be happening.
“Maybe you’ll see a dragon in Faerum, they have them there, no evil queens required,” Sookie tried to cheer up the disappointed boy.
“You’re taking him to Faerum?” Eric asked rather surprised.
“No,” Sookie replied. “Niall wants to show him around, and I thought we’d discuss it later.”
Eric nodded amiably, feeling anything but, and trying desperately to temper the possessive instinct of binding his son physically to his body and never letting him go anywhere ever again. Especially to other dimensions.
“Doesn’t sound like much of a discussion, if the sprout here already thinks he’s going,” Pam noted dryly while simultaneously nudging her drink towards Eric in a silent demand he finish it off in exchange for voicing that.
Eric’s heated gaze locked onto Sookie, causing her to defensively ground out, “Niall didn’t ask, he informed.”
“Commanded, you mean,” Eric retorted, barely containing his rage.
“Hey, Sprout! Wanna go out to get ice cream?” Jason addressed the little boy who suddenly looked very concerned while observing the glances between his parents. The offer of dessert thankfully was tempting enough for Leo to jump into Pam’s arms, waving at his parents while being escorted out.
“He’s going,” Sookie informed while slamming the plates on top of each other. “It’s not up for discussion.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Eric volleyed back sardonically.
“They’re my family, Eric!”
“And heaven forbid if you ever say no, or, I don’t know, decide something for yourself?”
“It’s not like that!” she cried out furiously, the stack of plates in her hands crashing to the table with a loud clang. “It’ll broaden his horizons.”
“This is not about broadening Leo’s horizons,” Eric pointed out coolly. “This is about you answering any of their requests with ‘how high?’ Is that how it happened, they told you to break it off with me and you did?”
“What! No! Why would you even think that?”
“Bullshit, Sookie! You always complain about their demands of you, how you can’t not do something, and you do it all with a smile anyway. You’re allowing them to do the same thing with Leo. You might as well just hand him over and if we’re lucky, he’ll come visit us some time when he’s old and grown.”
“It’s not like that at all!” Sookie protested. “They’re not taking him from us!”
“No,” Eric agreed, “that would imply it hasn’t happened already. You’ve given in and sold us out! Very cheaply at that.”
She gasped in shock, “You can’t expect me to go against my family!”
“I’m not expecting you to! I’m just asking you to say no sometimes, to object to a command that comes in the disguise of a request. It shouldn’t be that hard, you seem to manage to shut me down just fine. Leo has two parents, they decide where he goes and doesn’t go, and nobody else. If you give them this much leeway now, imagine what it will be like the rest of his life. It’s his life to live, not theirs.” He managed a deep breathe, restoring some calm. “You know I’m right.”
Sookie remained painfully silent before finally agreeing with a nod. “I said no to Niall once, you know,” she whispered in a tone that wouldn’t be audible to an ordinary human. Eric regarded her with confusion, forcing her to elaborate, “I was to remain married to you, whether I liked it or not. I wanted the divorce, not him.”
Eric didn’t dare ask more, he knew it had cost her something, and he wasn’t quite prepared to know what. “I’ll talk to him,” he promised. “We’ll make it work somehow. Leo’s not going anywhere without us.”
She let out a sigh of relief, mouthing a word of thanks while wiping away at a few errant tears. His hands shooed her erratic ones away to delicately move the tears aside with his thumbs before cupping her face and latching his lips onto hers. “You’re lucky I love you, Sookie Stackhouse.”
A/N: Alright some cryptic references to the past in there that hints at Sookie’s motivations without explaining a thing, you know how I love to wind you all up in an appropriate manner 😉 , the full story is yet to be told and there’s only one more chapter of this left… Hope you enjoyed Pam and her interaction with little Leo 😀 Oh yeah, Eric declared something rather casually, must not forget that…
Much thanks to msbuffy!