“SOOOOOKIE!” her brother cried out, making no doubt about it he was beyond intoxicated. The smell of cheap beer surrounding her with his overly friendly embrace that lifted her off the ground. “SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKIE!”
“Jase, hun, you gotta let go,” Sookie wheezed, her eyes growing wide at the prospect of the rest of his gang who had started to descend on them with embracing arms and she feared the breath would be permanently squeezed out of her. Their jumbled minds all zoomed in on her, promises of a stripper that hadn’t turned up now projected at her like a red flag as the only whiff of oestrogen available in the bar. She braced herself, fuming at her situation. This was all Eric Northman’s fault who had chosen that moment to conveniently disappear.
Too woozy to really react, she managed to get Jason to loosen his hold, but it didn’t stop all his friends from coming in to greet her all at once, and even though she had known them all since they were kids, and even though their touches were as innocent as could be, the direct and simultaneous contact mixed with their whirring drunken minds was a telepath’s personal hell.
“Stop!” she whispered with the most volume she could manage with tears pricking at her eyes, but the word was barely coherent as her shields faltered, already heavily worn down by the busy atmosphere of the city, the emotional day, and the night as she threatened to come apart till suddenly, there was relief.
Sweet relief in offer from the blank void that had forcefully whisked her out of the tangle of arms who started to punch wildly at the intruder and only managed to punch each other in the process. The commotion, however, was lost to Sookie as she suddenly found herself in the cold outside, shivering in the arms of the vampire who had been nothing but an ass all night, but now soothed her like a well-versed parent and bringing her to calm, his leather coat coming to surround her bare arms, a hand soothing down her back gently till she absorbed herself in the offered refuge.
This was new.
This, she had to admit, was nice.
Too bad he was gay.
“GET YER HANDS OFF MA SISTER!” Jason cried out with sudden sobriety while he tumbled out the bar followed by the rest of his buddies that were now being booted out by the security staff for their fight against the invisible enemy that had abducted Sookie.
Eric simply growled at his future son-in-law, admitting, begrudgingly, that at least he had decent instincts when it came to the women in his life. He soon proved himself as foolish as assumed when he attempted to attack the vampire and grasp at Sookie to release her from his arms, his merry band of drunken fools quick to follow behind.
“No, no, no,” Sookie pleaded as soon as her brother latched onto her and threatened to undo all the repairs she just managed to her shields.
“Let her go, asshole!”
“Jason,” she tried to convey as coherently as possible. “Don’t. Touch. Me.”
“Sook, you ok?” he whispered, his hands immediately up in the air in a sign of surrender, everyone coming to a sense of calm as the last few boys managed to comprehend they were beating up each other again, and concern fell over the state of Sookie.
“Too much,” she spoke lowly, curling further into Eric who cautiously held her closer.
Jason sensibly kept his distance and finally hesitated to ask, “Sis, who is that man?”
She looked up from the comfort of his embrace, “Meet your future father-in-law.”
“Oh, hey, man,” Jason replied, only managing the required curt nod with the help of Sookie’s widened eyes when it appeared he would stretch out his hand. “Nice to meet you and all that.”
“Likewise,” Eric replied with little interest, internally supremely satisfied that the other Stackhouse harboured the right amount of fear for him.
With a delay, Hoyt stumbled out last with an assortment of jackets, breathing heavily into the cold air. Carefully, he held out Sookie’s thin jacket which she managed to accept with a small smile and a word of thanks while the rest of the boys stood there awkwardly, unsure of where to go from here. A hushed argument emerged as some suggested returning to the hotel while others insisted they live up the night as intended.
“This is your town,” Sookie whispered into the hard chest that had kept her sane for a good few minutes now. “Where should we go?”
The malevolent glint in Eric’s eyes should have worried her, the same went for the ease at which he declared he knew exactly where to go, providing the party limo at their disposal with detailed instructions while they waited for Eric’s car to arrive. It was the same instinct that had told her to take the limo with her brother and her friends, but she discovered that night that she would literally sell her soul to the Nordic devil for the silence he provided her addled mind, which included suffering through his challenging driving style before pulling up in front of the darkened gentlemen’s club. It was only perceptible by a discreet awning and almost illegible lettering of black on black that promised a den of sin, and it reminded her exactly why she hated him. In no way was Jason going to stay out of trouble here!
To his great delight, her eyes narrowed at him and he didn’t even bother to look apologetic. As at every establishment that night, staff was on hand in an instant to whisk her out of the low to the ground sports car, each and every time thanking her graces for all the decorum classes drilled into her that allowed her to step out with some sort of decency, not that there would be any of that available tonight.
As soon as they entered, she found Hoyt poised at the bar with an apologetic tumbler of Gin and Tonic ready and waiting, and Jason… well, Jason was being Jason by utilising the brief minutes they had gained by getting there ahead of them and had surrounded himself with a harem of strippers.
“Isn’t that sweet,” Eric mocked when she smiled appreciatively at Hoyt.
“Stop being such an ass,” she hissed before graciously thanking the man holding her beloved drink.
“Don’t worry, Sook,” the boy in question offered. “We’re keeping an eye on him, you don’t have to be here.”
“No, I do,” she sighed while simultaneously giving one of the amorous women a harsh glare to halt the attempt of luring him to a private room. “Case in point.”
“Shit,” Hoyt cursed uncharacteristically before hobbling towards the woman to steer her away permanently.
“Uncomfortable?” Eric posed innocently as they settled themselves in an inconspicuous booth. She didn’t like that it was set in the shadows, the habitat of those with eager hands in need of some covert settings, but at least it stopped the rest of the clientele leering her way. Not even a display of Eric’s fangs had seemed that deterrent.
“Hardly,” she snorted. “At least it’s honest.”
“How is that?” he asked with genuine curiosity while continuing to eye his future son-in-law with the eyes of the trained predator he was, simply waiting for him to trip up and put an end to this charade.
“Sex is always on somebody’s brain. This is mild compared to your average fantasy in an average moment in an average person.”
“Ah, yes,” he commented with little interest. “The telepathy. Sounds more special than it is.”
“Excuse me!” she balked, her glass coming down on the table harshly with the insult. Her lifetime struggle with her telepathy was burden enough, it became grating when everyone declared it useful, or worse, a gift, but ‘more special than it is!’
“Vampire,” he shrugged. “A hint of glamour gets me far more precise information than you ever could. Your talent is based on opportune moments making it more useless than useful for the most part. As for the human population, it’s not that hard to guess what’s occupying their silly little thoughts. I’d hire you as an interrogator, maybe.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” she scowled, her arms coming to defensively rest against her chest and remaining pointedly silent.
“Is he always this…?” Eric questioned in his continued observation of the future permanent thorn in his side.
“Charming,” he spoke with a palpable distaste.
She grinned, for the first time in her life rather proud of that quality in her brother. “Yeah,” she smiled smugly. “He’ll be the one collecting little notes with numbers on them tonight without even asking for them.”
“I doubt he’ll win over Pam that easily.”
“Why?” she demanded with a slight hiss to her voice, the relative darkness they had sat themselves in naturally required they spoke in whispers. “Is she as judgemental as her Maker?”
His eyes narrowed, the strong features of his face becoming all the more menacing with the absence of light. “Who says I’m judgemental?”
“Me,” she quipped back. “You’re determined to prove my brother is all kinds of wrong.”
“Is that so?” he questioned with a teasing lilt. “Think you have me all figured out, do you?” She simply huffed in annoyance, becoming far too tired to continue this argument all night.
“You’re not that hard to read, telepathy or not,” she muttered. “Pam’s your weakness and Niall used that to his great advantage. You gave up far more than you were willing to give.”
“I like to think I gained an important asset tonight,” he spoke evenly, leaving her slightly clueless to what he meant with that when he completely ridiculed her telepathy moments earlier. Maybe he wasn’t that easy to read after all.
“Listen,” she spoke softly when the silence that had fallen between began to border on uncomfortable. “We’re going to be family, by the sounds of it Pam is as determined about this as Jason, so we should try to get along.”
He studied her carefully, “You don’t approve of this either?”
“Of course not!” she exclaimed while pointing in the direction of her brother. “Does he look like someone ready to get married? Shit! Where did he go?”
She bolted out of the booth, frantically searching for him with her mind and moving with haste in the direction of the private rooms, Eric hot on her heels.
“I may have underestimated the use of that telepathy,” he admitted when he observed how efficiently she moved towards her target when all he could scent was a vague trace of him through the myriad of others.
“Don’t you forget it!” she retorted when she shoved open the door only to find Jason and Hoyt passed out with a basket of chicken wings on their bellies and a football game playing at a loud volume. “Good old Hoyt,” she whispered with a small smile while turning down the sound and nudging Eric out again.
“You and the best man an item?” he questioned when she softly closed the door on them.
“God, no,” she giggled. “He’s sweet.”
“Ah,” he grinned, seating himself across from the closed door. “The kiss of death to men everywhere.”
“You would know,” she countered with a roll of her eyes before collapsing beside him and letting her head rest on his shoulder while stifling a yawn.
He growled with the assumption she had just labelled him ‘sweet’ rather than her presumption that considering his masculine inclination he undoubtedly shared her view on the appeal of a sweet man. Whisking her out of the grasp of the filthy sweaty drunks did not make him sweet! Instead of reacting to the feral noise, it appeared she had followed her brother’s example and dozed off, and rather than brusquely wake her up demanding why she had called him sweet, he gently shoved her off him, regretting the decision instantly with the loss of borrowed warmth that she radiated. That was all it was he assured himself, warmth.
Eric sat idly refusing offer upon offer of beckoning strippers as they passed him and the sleeping Sookie in the hallway while continuing to guard the door. He didn’t want to think too much as to why he continued to sit there dutifully when he had sent them all to this place for just such an opportunity. He could easily direct the eager women into the private room for a pleasant wake up call, from the looks of it they wouldn’t even require any payment of sorts, and he would prove Jason Stackhouse would be the adulterous type he assumed him to be. Not that fidelity mattered one bit to Pam, but it did in all contracts of the Supernatural, especially to the Fae who mated like swans once they were bound, archaic as they may be it provided a guarantee of loyalty to an alliance that was difficult to consolidate otherwise.
“Hey,” Sookie whispered, interrupting his thoughts. “What time is it?”
“Late,” he shrugged.
She scowled at him, she never was at her best when just awake after all, before glancing at her phone. “Help me get them in the limo?” she requested with a fluttering of her heavy lashes.
“Do it yourself,” he replied, rather tired of being her lackey for the night, and more gratingly, complying with little thought up to now. “Or better yet, ask Hoyt,” he goaded before emphasising, “he’s sweet.”
“At least I’m trying to be nice,” she hissed and then got up with a huff.
“If this is you trying,” he scoffed while automatically following her indignant steps at close distance. “Then-”
“Then, what?” she demanded hotly with a sudden spin on her heels, staring him down with eyes that could scorch him from the inside out. “Just say it!” She poked his chest, invading his personal space for good measure, breathing heavily.
“Then I don’t want to know you when you’re actually nice,” he spoke coolly, his head lowering intimidatingly close to hers, faces at millimetres apart.
“I hate you!” she cried out, but her cry of indignance was cut off with a strong hand that wrapped around her neck and shoved her lips into his. Her legs almost buckled under the sudden assault, and she couldn’t help but whimper with confusion till she found herself returning the kiss. She always did wonder if a gay man would kiss differently.
“Ditto,” he replied when he released her. As if nothing had happened between them, he turned his back on her, walked down the dimly lit hall with the illest ease, his presence only truly noticeable by the interruption of the pattern of downlighters as he passed under each one, momentarily stealing their light.
A/N: Much thanks to msbuffy as always for sharing the laughter with me on this way ahead of everybody else 😉
…and the moral of the story is: never make a deal with the ‘sweet’ Nordic Devil… who are we kidding, that soul is going out at a heavily discounted price! Hope you enjoyed this one, thoughts welcome as always along with gasps, cries and other indignant noises as to where this is headed next, there may or may not be a hint in the chapter titles…