“You should be kissed more often,” he replied cockily.
“By you, no doubt,” she smirked with equal tease, the Gone with the Wind reference not lost on her.
“Who else kisses you like this?” Eric asked as he softly pulled her down cupping her face with his all-encompassing hands. She melted into his touch and any thought she still had perished in loss.
“What the FUCK!” Pam gasped, a convulsion previously lost in her altered vampiric state.
At her distress her maker responded immediately and her phone rang incessantly.
“Pamela what is wrong?” he demanded instantly.
“I dreamed of you and Sookie,” she answered with a shock ridden voice seeking a breath she did not need. “And it didn’t even include me!” she said outraged at the most disturbing part of all.
“So everything up until Sookie handing you the stapler happened?” Pam asked Eric in shock. It was a rare sight on the female vampiress’ otherwise stoic façade.
“Yes,” Sookie supplied. “I put it back on the desk and then we continued our discussion from last night. No kisses, no blood sharing… He has yet to convince me though, I don’t get why you would call it a marriage if it’s nothing more than a glorified shark’s womb.”
“That’s because you are hung up on this romantic notion of marriage. Marriage has always been a contract. It’s nothing more than a merger of personal assets,” he replied completely ignoring Pam’s near sedate state on the couch.
“There’s nothing personal about it!” Sookie returned her temper flaring high. “It would make sense if two vampires could make a child together and he or she would be the heir apparent. No, you all won’t die so you set an alarm clock for a hundred years. Just call it a damn alliance.”
“Alliances are temporal, marriages are sealed by blood,” Eric tried to explain.
“A symbolic gesture, if it doesn’t stop them from trying to kill each other. Call it a merger. A holmgang would be more accurate,” she returned exasperated.
“What do you know of holmgang?” Eric asked intrigued at her knowledge of his people’s ancient duelling tradition.
“Two men on an island only one comes back. You have a lot of books Eric and I have a shit ton of time,” she retorted as if it was the most logical thing in the world and it was somehow evading him. “Hey did you ever end up in one?”
“No,” he sighed with deep regret. “They were outlawed in my youth.”
“I like the concept.” she said as they continued to disregard Pam. “I think it would make an interesting reality TV concept. Like Judge Judy meets American Gladiators.”
“You really do have too much time on your hands,” Eric observed with a wry smile. “That sounds awful. Especially considering how terrible humans have gotten at hand to hand combat.”
“That’s the point!” Sookie exclaimed with childlike excitement. “Reality TV is all about man’s inability to do what the show’s about.”
“Will you two shut up,” Pam hissed in annoyance. “Have your discussion without me some other time and talk about my dream. I’m freaked the fuck out.”
“Welcome to the club,” Sookie murmured as she softly held her hand in apology sitting herself beside the jumbled vampire.
Eric redirected his attention back to his distressed progeny with the anguish palpable in their shared bond. She hated being cared for especially in the presence of others but she allowed Sookie to soothe her physically. Eric concluded the situation must be really upsetting to Pam when she allowed for that.
In a move as familiar as the descending of his fangs Eric pulled out his wallet from his back pocket. Sookie gave him a scrutinizing look with the movement. The sight of the black piece of plastic however turned her eyes into full-blown daggers.
“Don’t you fucking dare,” Sookie seethed next to an already chipper looking Pam. “Retail therapy is no way to handle her distress. Or this situation.”
“Yes, it is,” Pam said utterly confused.
“You really think buying something with someone else’s money is going to take away the fear that you can’t predict when this happens again?” she accused. The scrutiny of Sookie’s eyes may as well be projecting silver to Pam as it had her shivering at her core with the thought. “That the next time you experience one of these lifelike involuntary dreams it may not be something as innocent as a kiss.”
Pam paled a little from her just nourished pink complexion at the prospect. She uncharacteristically started twitching. “So what do you suggest?” she snapped while tapping away nervously with her feet.
“Warn Godric for one. The poor fellow already got attacked by an unidentified flying stapler let’s not add to that confusion,” Sookie said thoughtfully. “If these dreams can pass down a vampire generation I assume they can go up just as well. Figure out if this is some weird fairy thing. Is there anyone you can consult on this?”
“I’m aware of a small group of fairies in my area,” Eric mused out loud. “I don’t feel comfortable exposing you to them without knowledge of your specific lineage.”
“A fairy can’t just be a fairy?” Sookie asked confused.
“No,” Eric responded leaning his long body against the wall behind him. “They all belong to one elemental clan; sky, water, fire or earth. Tensions have been running high in faerum for centuries.”
“They’re at war?”
“Not yet,” he sighed. “Which makes it more dangerous for you. The attacks are now on directed targets rather than engaging in overt hostilities.”
“You won’t introduce me to some local fairies but you’ll happily dangle me in front of a whole group of them at some summit?” she asked incensed. “It’s good to know you’re happy to risk my safety as soon as your obligations to your Queen are fulfilled.”
“Do not think so lowly of me,” Eric growled out as he moved in front of her within an imperceptible blink of her eyes. “Just because our contract will be up does not mean I will not look after you. You are a supernatural in my area, you have my maker’s protection and you will have mine. Scot-free. I daresay you may even have Pam’s.”
Pam nodded in accordance with her maker’s presumption. Sookie’s ire cooled a little with his words as he continued, “At the summit we would, and will still, pass you off as a lesser faeling breed. They are like cannon fodder to the fae,” at her horrified look he quickly added, “only sacrificed in battle not outside of it. Their allegiance is never as distinct as with the elementals so they aren’t targeted as such.”
“I’m sorry,” Sookie said with a noticeable amount of shame at her presumptions. “Thank you for your continued protection.”
Eric simply nodded his head minutely as it remained eerily quiet in the room, as it always was with vampires for company, until he announced he would be calling Godric.
“I don’t need to tell you the significance of Eric’s continued protection,” Pam stated to Sookie as her maker retreated to the privacy of his office. Sookie nodded, she understood it fully well. Her lessons with Eric had mostly focused on vampire politics and customs so far. Protection wasn’t given lightly or without securities.
“Has Eric ever…” Sookie trailed off when she lost her nerve.
“He gives his protection all the time to those who owe him fealty. With no strings attached? No he doesn’t do that often,” Pam supplied. With Sookie’s unchanged pensive look she stated, “Though that wasn’t what you were asking.”
She blushed slightly pulling her bottom lip inwards with her blunt teeth. Knowing Pam would be relentless till she spoke the unspoken Sookie sighed before asking, “Has Eric ever shared his blood with someone?”
“He told me I was the first. That was only to turn me and he hasn’t offered his blood to anyone since,” Pam answered. “It was part of your dream too then.”
“Yes,” Sookie replied simply willing the rush of heat inside her to go down with the surfacing memories. “Have you ever shared your blood?”
“Don’t tell Eric, but I tried to turn a bunny once,” Pam said conspiratorially. Sookie only just managed to swallow the lump in her throat that emerged with this particular confession. She tried desperately not to think of an innocent and white fluffy bunny streaked with crimson.
“The critter didn’t swallow too well,” she shrugged. “Never with a human though.”
“How about other vampires who have given their blood to a human?”
“I’ve seen some humans tied to vampires. Mostly for skill or safety,” Pam recalled with her restless fingers tapping away at the armrest of her seat. The nerves of her waking yet to leave the tremors of her body. “There are the rare occasions where it’s out of affection, mostly it’s about control.”
“You wouldn’t want that?” Sookie asked before clarifying, “With a human?”
“No,” Pam answered decisively. “It’s bad enough being tied to Eric all the time. Ask me in a couple of hundred years maybe it’s different then.”
“You don’t like your bond with Eric?” Sookie asked confused. Pam seemed to be perfectly content alongside her maker as far as she had observed. They had a unique relationship; where the burden of care interchanged in catering to the moment. Sometimes she was like his mother other times a daughter or sister. It was unusual for Sookie to understand at first but it made perfect sense between them.
“No. It’s difficult to explain,” Pam said trying to put it to words. “He’s everything to me but sometimes I wonder what is still of me. I was born to be a vampire of that I’m sure. As far as makers go I have yet to see one better than Eric. I would say that even when he wasn’t mine.”
“You need to know you can stand to be without him too,” Sookie supplied knowing the feeling well. Her Gran had been her lifeline from the moment her parents died. Probably before that even. With her grandmother’s sudden death she found herself unprepared to deal with a life without her. Sometimes an awful thought took hold of her during her period of gried, that perhaps she would have been better if Sookie and Adele had not been as tightly bound as they were.
“I suggest you stop taking his credit cards as your own,” Sookie proposed. “Heels might inspire confidence but your own money inspires worth. Those cowboy boots were special to me because they were the first large purchase I made with my first pay check.”
“It’s how he shows his affection,” Pam explained before continuing, “Who am I to take that away from him.”
“If you don’t he’ll never learn to show it in another way. He’ll respect you for it,” Sookie said in return.
“This is why you refuse him,” Pam observed. “You demand to be treated different.”
Sookie shrugged a little not denying or confirming it since it was in that moment Eric returned to the room.
“Godric has been warned,” Eric announced matter of factly. “I now also know you are of the sky fae but I am under no circumstances to introduce you to any other fairy.”
“Oh,” Sookie said with a hint of disappointment. She had felt different her entire life and bit back at anyone who attacked her on it. The telepath in her had accepted her solitary state in life but the possibility that there was family out there that shared her quirks had given her a sense of belonging.
“You still owe me a lesson in heels,” Pam announced hoping to distract Sookie from her downturned mood. It only made Sookie scowl a little at the thought of the painful assault to her feet.
“Perhaps for tonight we just stick to our dancing lesson,” Eric offered sensing her disquiet.
“If it’s okay with you both I’ll just dance in heels and Pam can observe,” Sookie said. A quick nod between them settled it and they set off to Fangtasia without pause.
The building didn’t look like much to Sookie from the outside, it was such a stark contrast to Eric’s precisely and thoughtfully created home. Grey concrete rendering, blacked out windows and a customary red awning. They entered through the back opening up to a myriad of hallways and bar related items not dissimilar to the back end of Merlotte’s.
Pam switched on the lights over the deserted dance floor allowing Sookie to take in the club in its full effect for the first time. Chairs and stools were pushed aside or upturned by the cleaning crew. Despite the industrial odour fuming from the cleaning products the smell of alcohol and sweat was one that was difficult to eradicate from the premises.
The walls were lined with random vampire paraphernalia, Sookie barely recognised half of it. She concluded it was pretty much what any regular human would expect a vampire themed club to look like. “It’s very nice,” Sookie said politely. “Interesting.”
The two blonde vampires carried identical upturned brows at her comments. They wouldn’t be insulted if Sookie proclaimed it to be the most horrible thing she’d seen in her life. It was a business to them, it needed to look the part, approachable with a hint of danger. It was carefully engineered to look that way. It served a purpose, beyond that it could burn down for all they cared for its decor.
“This feels a little bit like what a vampire bar would look like if it were a…a ride at Disney World,” Sookie said a little more honestly which earned her a smirk from Eric.
Pam cackled as she sauntered over to the sound booth. “Sookie get your heels on,” she instructed while sorting through and loading up the appropriate music. Sookie sat down on the corner of a booth her legs turned out to the dance floor. She slipped out of her own comfortable pair of flip-flops and exchanged them for the high heeled strappy sandals.
Eric observed her struggling with the thin leather bands of the ankle straps. He swooped in kneeling in front of her helping her get the slim piece of metal into the tiny hole. Eric finished strapping her in by pushing his thumb over the raised bump of leather. His hand lingered a little longer than appropriate as he looked up to her while she thanked him for the help. His fingers trailed up the side of her calve as he intently stared at her before standing up to his full height again. Eric’s cool touch had felt like a series of electrical charges igniting her and it didn’t fade when he helped her up with both hands as his unrelenting eyes were yet to depart from hers.
Sookie stood up, wobbling on her stilts like a new born giraffe before managing to steady herself using Eric’s out turned arms for balance. She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet and followed him out to the middle of the dance floor.
“May I have this dance milady?” he asked with a half bow in an old world voice that accompanied the archaic words he spoke. Eric held her fingers in his hands delicately as a small snort escaped her with his display of theatrics. Sookie wondered if it was an authentic accent or just an acquired persona for the night or one of his past.
“Of course, milord,” she answered with a small curtsy as if they were re-enacting as scene from one of her Gran’s romance novels. He pulled her closer to his body with a respectable distance still between them. His right arm stretched out to the side where his left rested chastely on her back. Sookie placed her other arm firmly atop his shoulder. With the acquired height of her heels they fit quite well despite his taller stature.
Pam started up the music for a traditional Viennese waltz and Eric expertly led her round the room picking up his left foot before dragging in his right leg to close the step again. His movements were calm, controlled and calculated, much like the man himself. Sookie followed with ease, the heels not impending her footwork which was light and dainty.
They were scrutinised at length by Pam whose feet had been shaped by dances just like these in her human days. She closely corrected where necessary as they moved from one formal dance to the next. To her assessment they were perfectly prepared for whatever dancing was required at the summit with a few more practice sessions. Sookie lacked the stiff rigidity in her body for the required formality of it all so Pam adjusted her accordingly until she started to hold the tension in her muscles properly whereas Eric appeared too stiff in compensation at times.
Fatigue started to set in on Sookie after the second hour and her body was becoming sticky with sweat from the effort of it all. To her annoyance Eric was unchanged and didn’t seem to tire a bit in the process. When he twirled her once more she sidestepped and tripped over her other ankle. He caught her before she managed to hit the floor holding her in his arms firmly like a true damsel in distress with their faces closely held in proximity. Her warm breaths exhaling at a heightened pace as if grazing tender caresses over his bristled skin.
“If this was some horrible chick flick this is where you two would kiss,” Pam said snapping them out of their collective stupor. “Get back on your feet Tinkerbelle. It’s not like we’ve got all night. Actually… we do.”
Sookie did as instructed but Eric interrupted her movement, “I think this is enough for one night Pam. This little fairy needs to rest.”
Sookie nodded in agreement as she drank greedily from her water bottle, downing it in one go. “Is there somewhere I can clean up?” she asked wiping away her damp hands at her t-shirt.
Eric directed her to the staff bathrooms while Pam shut down the music system. Leaving her to take care of her human needs Eric retreated to his office across the hall to pick up some outstanding work documents. He overheard Sookie cursing as he waited outside the door for her patiently.
“Anything I can do to help?” he asked through the door when she was absent for longer than he expected.
“I’m fine,” Sookie yelled as she continued to grumble, “It’s these damn straps.”
“Let me help you,” Eric said sternly as he suddenly appeared in front of her. She let out a small shriek at the sudden sight of him in the female changing room.
“I can do it,” she returned irritated while continuing to fumble with the thin leather strap her head going red with effort. Sookie let out a frustrated groan with her tenth attempt and dropped her upper back onto the soft padded bench she was sitting on.
“Can you help me?” she asked meekly in defeat. It helped that her gaze was directed at the ceiling far out of reach from his undoubtedly triumphing blue eyes.
“I thought you were convinced of your own capabilities,” he smirked.
“Yes well apparently my unending fairy skills are stumped by tiny leather straps.”
“I’d love to help,” he said with a hint of malevolence. “But what’s in it. For. Me.”
“Forget it,” she huffed out in annoyance. “I’ll call for Pam.”
“Pam already left,” Eric lied quickly.
“No ‘goodbye Sookie’ or anything,” she said with furrowed brows. “For all your decorum and etiquette it seems to fizzle out as soon as it comes to farewells.”
“Well we vampires don’t like to dwell on that aspect of life too much.”
“I guess it’s always see you soon with you guys,” she remarked looking up at the ceiling her feet still dangling over the side of the bench. “Now will you please free me from these torture devices?”
“Why don’t you tell me about your dream?” Eric proposed slyly. He received a full glare of the stink eye with that suggestion. Drawing on his expertise, he was after all an excellent negotiator even in his human days, Eric got up brushing his hands needlessly on his jeans. “I’ll leave you to it then.”
A slight panic set in at the thought of having to walk any further in these shoes and have to struggle to get them off once there.
“Fine,” she whispered.
“Fine what?” he asked gleefully not expecting her to give in so easily.
“I’ll tell you about my dream,” Sookie said evenly. “At no point are we to talk of it again.”
“Agreed,” he said with a little bit too much self-satisfaction for Sookie’s liking.
“You were very upset,” Sookie started as Eric started fumbling with the first metal clasp. Even with his dextrous fingers and vampire skills they were proving to be a worthy adversary. “You couldn’t feel Pam or Godric anymore. You felt empty and alone.”
His hands stilled on her ankle as in that instant he regretted asking Sookie about her dream as she voiced his greatest fear aloud, an eternity of loneliness. Not wanting to be caught in that public admission he quickly managed to release the band of leather from the metal clasp as she sighed in relief with the loss of pressure. That noise made the whole endeavour worth it for him again.
“I don’t know why but I offered you my blood,” Sookie said before moaning as he set to massage her aching foot. Only because it felt so soothing did she allow for it to happen without protest. Her voice lowered a little at his attentions, “You said it wouldn’t change anything, just nourish you.”
“I refused your blood?” Eric asked dumbfounded at his other self’s actions.
“Yes. So I offered to take yours as well,” she continued with her softened voice. “You asked me if I was aware what I was offering. I said it would allow you to feel me, be connected to something again. Then…” She trailed off as his massaging hands moved further up her strained calve. She didn’t realise the effort she had exerted with all the dancing until he began to loosen that particularly aching muscle.
“Sookie?” Eric asked waiting for her to continue as she drifted off into relaxation with the soothing his hands brought.
“Mmmm,” she simply replied as her muscles sang with relief. He pulled his hands off her releasing an annoyed mewl from her before realising their bargain required she continue with her story. “Then you kissed me.”
“How?” Eric asked while his hands reasserted their labour
“Needy,” she said after some contemplation. “Desperate almost. It was nice though, it took me by surprise.”
“I don’t think I have ever kissed someone out of need or desperation.”
“Well you were still good at it, if that helps,” she offered at which he chuckled with amusement. “You were good at everything,” Sookie whispered to herself though it did not fail for Eric to overhear. He was quite pleased that his prowess even extended into Sookie’s subconscious without a sampling of the wares. His hands moved to her left leg fumbling with the next offending clasp.
“Then some other stuff happened,” she said rushing through the storyline.
“What other stuff?” he asked pointedly while retracting his hands from her again in warning.
“Sexual stuff,” Sookie huffed out. “That’s all you’re going to get.”
“Fine,” he said a little disappointed as he freed her from the shoe’s hold. “Please continue,” he asked as he set to work on massaging her foot with extra care hoping to coax more out of her than she was willing to share.
“I asked you if you just wanted to feel anybody,” Sookie said. She hissed a little when he moved over a sore spot. “Shit that’s going to blister.”
“I can heel it with my blood,” Eric offered surprising himself with the offer. She shook her head no at the ceiling not daring to voice the rejection callously out loud. “I’ve worked on my feet for years. I’ll handle them fine.” She shivered a little in relief as he moved his cool hands up her pulsing calve again.
“You said you only wanted to feel me. No one else in the world,” she continued. “I said it was sweet and all. Of course you denied owning an ounce of sweetness.”
“What did I say?” he wondered aloud requesting the specific phrase.
“You said the only time you were ever sweet was when you had gorged yourself on fairy blood.”
“That sounds like me,” Eric chuckled. “I take it you didn’t respond to kindly to that.”
“No,” she said with a soft smile. “I reconsidered my offer but I didn’t tell you. You told me the truth then.”
“You wanted to feel what I felt for you,” Sookie said as another involuntary moan escaped her lips. “I was an anomaly to you. Couldn’t figure me out.”
“Continue,” he said as his hands moved past her knees. Each hand now resting and caressing the soft flesh of her lower thighs while his body loomed over hers.
“I hesitated and then you struck,” she said before lowering the volume of her voice to just above a whisper. “With your fangs.”
“Did it hurt?” Eric asked huskily as he continued his ministrations inching his thumbs higher up her thighs albeit it still within relatively innocent territory. It had always been a point of pride that he had a tender bite unless engaged in battle.
“No,” she said softly. “You were gentle, attentive despite the sudden nature of it. Then I drank from you.”
“Where did I drink from you,” he demanded his touch a little harsher than before. Eric was already having difficulty restraining the bulge in his pants the scent of a slow trickle of her arousal that surfaced with her retelling didn’t aid his cause in his nearness. She bit her bottom lip refusing him an answer.
He trailed his torturous thumb up her right thigh forcing an answer from her without demanding words till his finger rested with tension against the throbbing of her femoral artery mere inches away from her sex.
“There,” Sookie returned breathily only then realising how far he had journeyed from the soles of her feet. She sat up again pushing his hand down while looking him straight in the eye, a fire resounded beyond her gaze but it wasn’t filled with anger like he had witnessed before.
“Where did you drink from me?” he asked intensely staring into her darkened orbs.
“There,” she said drawing a line to above where his heart would have once beat.
“You drank from me even though you changed your mind?” Eric questioned while moving his hands over hers on either side of her legs.
“I reconsidered, I contemplated, I hesitated,” she answered. “I didn’t say I changed my mind.”
“Yield to me, Sookie,” he strangled out with the desperation and need of her described kiss. His face hung closely to hers but never close enough for their skins to touch. He was half expecting Pam to burst into the room in that moment to ruin another chance of making Sookie his as he awaited her physical or verbal response.
She shook her head. “I’m just a puzzle to you Eric. Once you figure me out it’ll pass.”
“What if I don’t want it to pass?”
“Everything passes whether we want it to or not,” Sookie sighed. “As old as you are, this shouldn’t surprise you.”
“You do,” he said while running the tips of his fingers through her matted hair. The scent of her exertion calling to him as strongly as every other bodily fluid she seemed to express. She smiled softly at his admission. It was an amicable smile. They regarded each other silently for a few of her soft breaths retaining the silence she so enjoyed. “Why did you scream in fear when you woke?”
Sookie looked down towards her offending hands. “The sensation of the blood it overtook me in the dream,” she said as her eyes started to glisten at the memory of it. “I hit you with my light. It was different to when I attacked you or healed you. You lit up and I woke and all of a sudden you weren’t there beneath me.” A small tear trailed down Sookie’s cheek, her voice lowered considerably as she continued, “I thought I killed you in my sleep.”
He lifted the tear off her face with his thumb. “I remember,” Eric said before licking the tear from his finger. His eyes dilated at the taste of it and he groaned a little internally. He was lucky that Pam chose that moment to barge in distracting Sookie from realising he was about to come in his pants from the taste of her tears alone.
“I thought you left,” Sookie said to Pam with the confusion clearly written all over her face.
“Leave without saying goodbye to my favourite breather?” Pam returned with mock hurt.
“I’m your favourite breather?”
“You’re the only breathing thing she talks to beyond a required thirty seconds,” Eric remarked dryly having quickly regained his stature. “It’s hardly a compliment considering the competition.”
“Don’t care,” she smiled. “I’ll take what I can get.”
“Don’t cum down all over her parade,” Pam returned to Eric pointedly glaring at his crotch. He may have been able to hide it from Sookie but Pam knew exactly what kind of bomb had detonated inside his pants.
“It’s rain on your parade,” Sookie corrected.
Pam merely shrugged with feigned innocence as Eric’s death glare descended on her. It was probably only because of her abrupt waking earlier that she was spared her maker’s verbal berating in that moment. “I’ll see you at the house tomorrow with the tailor. Good night.”
“Bye Pam,” Sookie waved as she got up. “Hope you don’t have any more dreams about me.”
“I have no objections to those dreams,” Pam purred. “As long as he’s out of the picture.”
“I know what you mean,” Sookie giggled humouring the female vampire who departed with a fangy smile.
Eric looked less than pleased.
A/N: Thanks to whoever made sacrifices to the WiFi gods, it is still holding strong. I hope it was Bill or even Sookie at this point and not cute fluffy bunnies.
I am still officially on holidays so updates will come when they come. I am sticking to the order in which I usually release them so 6 Months to Live will be the next to receive an update just don’t ask me when… It’s Already Gone will be updated on Sunday as usual.