“Have you forgiven yourself for not dying by your family’s side?”
“No,” he answered honestly.
“It wasn’t your fault,” she noted accurately. “Had you not survived, your people would probably have been far worse off. You would not have stood a chance against a pack of V-charged werewolves and a vampire pack master.”
“I would have had my father’s pride,” Eric noted while staring at the flames in the fire that had not changed physically in a thousand years just as he.
“You have that regardless,” she said. “Godric told me of the man he found when you were turned. He was so impressed by you he would have let you live and aided your battles stealthily had you not succumbed to a mortal wound.”
“What stops you from forgiving yourself?”
“It is far easier to forgive others than the inabilities of ourselves,” she answered sitting up again tucking her feet under her thighs.
“I’m not noble, Sookie, I can’t simply forgive the crimes against my parents, against my baby sister. I am a vampire, everything I see is tinted red.”
“Then don’t ask me where this comes from,” she whispered when in the palm of her upturned hand his father’s crown materialised.
Eric didn’t need to know where it came from. He smelt it all over the metal artefact that he had reserved an empty space of display for in every home he ever possessed.
Nor did he need her silence to confirm what his senses had already told him. Her inability to deny the truth, through bond and words, consolidated what he knew to be true. The search was over, but the thirst for revenge had bloomed.
The darkness that coursed through his veins and into the bond was frightening, had it not been for the affection he held for her. She pleaded with kind eyes but he was lost in rage to her as the identity came confirmed.
“He said he found it in his antique dealing days,” she tried, not even convincing herself of that truth.
“His death is mine,” he growled out at her. His breath was cold with the heated fury of his words sending shivers down her spine. Eric had shown her much of himself, but never this. She feared for him when she should have been feeling that for herself. His penetrating gaze was unrelenting as the flames of the fire reflected and danced with delight among his irises that had grown dark with the rage.
“You are ready to go to war over a piece of metal?”
It had been a naïve action, but somewhere she had thought; to have this crown, to know of his father’s approval would be enough to bury a long forgotten past. She realised now Eric hadn’t simply moved along with time, no, he had sat waiting. Vengeance was his motivator for his continued existence not immortality. He had been courting death all along.
“This about the one who took it from me, not the crown,” he seethed out. Her anguish and disgust plagued him through their bond and he was incapable of shutting it out as she forced it back upon him like a torrential flood. He lashed out in anger as he pulled the dainty diamond pendant necklace roughly from her neck. The ring belonging to his mother was yanked from her hand.
The diamond was crushed in his aggressive grasp before he threw it in the fireplace in demonstration. “You think I care for metal?”
She gasped at the suddenness of it all, neck and fingers bare with riches she never wanted. Without a thought for herself she threw herself towards the fire and grabbed at the ring from the roaring flames. At the sensation of the incredible heat she knew she’d rather carry the scars that this would inflict than see that ring lost.
“What is wrong with you?” he cried as he shared her pain as his own pulling her from the fire, the hot ring tumbling into the room. “Taking on this pain for a possession.”
“It is a pittance in comparison to the pain you inflict upon yourself,” she shouted back, the bond could no longer disguise how well they knew the pain of the other far too well within themselves. “You are willing to go to war over a piece of metal. What is wrong with you?”
The epinephrine flooding through her made her incapable of feeling the damage she had sustained on her burned hand. She crumpled with the sudden assault of it when adrenaline gave way, Sookie screamed out in pain before he roughly grabbed her wrist in attempt to heal her. In her anger light crackled from the tips of her fingers stinging him momentarily as she pulled the burnt flesh back. The smell of roasting meat never managed to disgust Eric more than in that moment.
“I want to heal you,” Eric said brusquely in response to her purposeful physical and emotional distance from him. She didn’t respond as the pain finally settled into her brain, tears fleeing from her eyes. She sank to the floor in ache next to the heated metal ring that she managed to salvage. She focused on the simplicity of the circle. His tone fell soft, “Sookie, please?”
“Get me the peas from the freezer,” she sobbed through her glistened orbs. Sookie was being ridiculously stubborn by holding him at bay, she knew that as well as he. Both were aware she was about to pass out from the pain, no frozen peas would alleviate that. She also knew he would salve the wounds with his blood with her permission or not. Her pain was as much his and, in that moment, she hated him for it. The force of that hate startled him into action, unwilling to acknowledge it to be real, unwilling to be the recipient of that.
Within the blink of an eye he had returned with the requested vegetables, finding her barely conscious upon arrival. “Sookie,” he said with a slight scold to which she finally grunted her approval. He didn’t hesitate by simultaneously feeding her his blood through the grimace of her mouth and painting the skin with the healing elixir. She whimpered a little at his touch but as the restorative force took over from discomfort, she lulled into a relaxed stance with her head in his lap.
He looked pleased at the sight of the virgin skin that had regrown on her hands for the second time in two nights. It was as soft and tender as a newborn’s bottom, tinted pink. He kissed the damage gently before she yanked it away from his grasp again. She carefully got up picking up the cooled ring in the process and placing it by the matching crown.
“This is what’s left of your parents,” she said with a strain to her usually lilting voice. “That and yourself.”
He regarded her silently, but little resonated with him beyond his thirst for revenge with the worst of her pain gone. He was still plotting how to get close to the king and rob him of his eternal life. First he would take what he loved most, his consort Talbot. Eric’s conversation with Sookie had made that clear enough. The definitive loss of your most loved ones was unmatched in pain inflicted by any other torture.
“For this metal you should care,” she continued with distance in her voice and their bond. “Yet you’ll throw away what you do possess in pursuit of something else, an empty promise.” She had held the ring in demonstration, but was truly speaking of herself in the same moment.
“I cannot simply let this pass,” he said sternly using all his efforts not to fly off immediately in the direction of Jackson, Mississippi.
“I thought I knew you,” she said with a small sigh, the disappointment unmistakeable as it poured from her. “This isn’t a fight you can stand to win. Not even you, Eric Northman.”
“He is old but not undefeatable.”
She shook her head at his misunderstanding. “Whether he dies by your hands or not, you will lose. You’ve already lost. Nothing will bring them back.”
“It will return my family’s honour.”
“It will be the loss of it,” Sookie returned before she whispered in addition, “It will be the loss of me.”
It wasn’t a threat. She spoke from her experience. Eric would not feel any remorse over the act like she did. She recognised that well enough. It was closure he sought and all he would find was the emptiness of the aftermath. A thousand-year-old ache would not be relieved just like that. It wasn’t an emptiness she was capable of filling for him. No one could. He simply looked at her coldly with the sting of her wrecking words.
“I don’t love easy and you’re not an easy man to love.” She held his cold hand to her warm and beating heart. “This will make it impossible.”
He regarded her with pain, she had just returned to him with her generous clemency only to run from him again. Not because she couldn’t love him, no, now she refused to. That was a pain he had never experienced before. He vastly preferred a physical wound that ran deep than this one. At least he could heal from that.
“You will love me,” he returned desperation tightening his voice. ”You don’t have a choice.”
“I will always have a choice,” she said firmly. “My heart is my own.”
She knew it was a lie. Everything that had occurred from the moment they met had been the circumstances of happenstance and involuntary movements. She was fiercely protecting a heart from growing cold again. It wasn’t hers that needed saving this time, it was his. There was passion between them, but he carried the flame that ignited it. Without that fire there was nothing to heat.
“I don’t want to witness you grow cold too,” Sookie whispered to his chest.
“I already am,” he tried to jest, but her continued pained expression changed little.
“Promise me something,” she requested when the silence lay thick between them. He nodded for her to continue, refusing to commit till he heard out the demand. “Speak with Godric first.”
“Ok,” he finally acquiesced. A spark emerged in her eyes with the small victory. He kissed her desperately, to the point it was almost pathetic in his attempt to ascertain she was still with him. Yet, she allowed it, however, the closer he tried to come, the further she pulled away. She was distant and cold, a future she feared would hold him in stasis like it had her.
“I’m going back to Bon Temps,” she said while pushing at his chest to establish the physical distance she had already put between them. At the pain in his eyes she supplemented, “Just for the day. I’ll return by nightfall.”
“And then?” he asked despising the anxiety in his voice.
She shrugged unapologetically, not laying out demands because she wanted him to make his own decision for what was right, not to appease her. “It’s why I need the time on my own.”
“Let me drive you,” he implored. “Make sure you are safe.”
She agreed reluctantly and they soon found themselves at her familiar family home in the dead of night without a word spoken between them. A small overnight bag rested in her hand. He sped around the perimeters of her property and slightly beyond looking for any possible disturbance or threat. She moved her things back inside in the meantime before waiting on him on the porch swing.
His eyes pleaded with her where his words no longer could. “I’ll be back before you know it,” she said gently. “Know no matter what I’ll be your partner in public. We made a deal and I will honour that.”
“My protection is yours whether you want it or not,” he reminded her of his own promise. She nodded appreciatively in return. The familiar creaks and noises of the old homestead fluttered through the air reminding her she was home again, except it no longer felt like that. She stood up to move to the door and he followed suit. She rested the palm of her hand over his heart and placed a soft kiss beside it.
“I need you,” Eric strangled out before he caged her against the worn wooden siding of the house. His lips descended on hers again begging for entrance, into her mouth, her heart and her home.
“I’m not yours right now,” she said before turning her face from him, breaking the kiss he craved. She proceeded to lock him out, of her heart and home. With a lingering look he took to the sky once more. He sped past the house he shared with Sookie and continued on flying over five states till he arrived on the steps of his Maker’s door before the rays of the sun could reach him.
Godric took in his downtrodden Childe without words of explanation. Their faint tie allowed some insight, but not enough to warrant the expression on Eric’s normally composed face. He wordlessly followed his Maker to his private quarters, not bothering to take in the faces and voices of the people that littered the halls of Godric’s spiritual retreat.
“What ails you my child?” Godric asked as they sat looking out over the flat landscape and the snowy mountains beyond from his private balcony.
“I gained everything and lost it all in one night.”
“What is going on between you and my Maker?” the incessant voice demanded that had Sookie convinced the blonde vampiress had tampered with the volume control on her phone from a distance.
“It really isn’t any of your concern,” she replied. Sookie had no idea how much Eric shared with her but she recognised Pam’s undying loyalty for what it was. She’d side with him imminently and foolishly follow him into his death.
“It must be really bad then,” Pam mused. “What has he done to you now?”
“I’m not discussing this with you, Pam,” she replied tetchily.
“Where are you?” she asked with some surprise. Sookie heard from the echoes of her clicking heels that she was standing in Eric’s now empty home.
“Where’s Eric?” Pam demanded, her amusement at the situation disintegrating quickly. “Where are your normal clothes?”
“You’ll be able to track him easier than me,” Sookie exhaled not bothering on informing her of the location of her clothes.
“Why haven’t you forgiven him?” she commanded with more insistence. By the sounds of her pacing feet she was heading to her car again. If Sookie didn’t grant her some satisfying answers soon she’d be gracing her doors instead of allowing her to sleep early as intended. “You forgive him for the craziest shit.”
“Not this time.”
“You can’t be this upset about your new Faery Princess status,” she said revving up the engine. “There was no predicting Russell. It was in the interest of your safety not to know.”
“It’s not about that,” Sookie said wincing at the mention of the man that was causing so much strife in her life.
“Well, what is it about?” she insisted once more. Her dainty foot already thrashing the gas pedal to its limit in the direction of Bon Temps.
“Stay in Shreveport, Pam,” Sookie warned. “I’m here because I need some time on my own.”
“This isn’t like you,” Pam returned. “This isn’t like my Maker. You two were happy, I felt it.”
“Not good enough,” she scolded.
“It’s all you’re going to get,” Sookie said as exasperation was sidling in.
“I’m coming over,” Pam informed.
“No!” Sookie returned vehemently. “You’ll side with him anyway so it doesn’t matter to you.”
“It matters,” she said sincerely. “My Maker matters to me and now you matter. I’ll side with who I like.”
“That’s sweet, Pam,” Sookie sighed. “Eric just doesn’t see it the same way. Just let us figure this out on our own.”
“Fine,” she agreed and hung up the phone without an adequate goodbye.
Pam turned her car around in the direction of her own home again. She silently contemplated what could possibly have gone wrong, then right, and then have it all go to shit again. Sookie Stackhouse, or rather Brigant, was a conundrum from the moment she bounced into their lives.
She was a walking cloud of emotions that made no sense to the female vampire. It didn’t take long for her to realise the Faery and her Maker were circling around each other denying what lay between them. A little prodding and a carefully placed dig had sped things along. Those insane dreams alone were a clear sign as far as she was concerned. Through it all, little had phased the part Faery, and, in turn, she’d faced things head on. Yes, she retreated, but never away from Eric. She ran to him like a moth to a flame even when Sookie knew she could end up badly burned.
She didn’t know what her Maker had done to her Mistress, but she knew the blame lay squarely with him. As she poked at him through their bond he firmly shut her out only further cementing his guilt. He was purposefully ruining this for her. She was sure of it, he had complied far too easily with her demand for independence throughout this whole deal. He was indulging them both for his own benefit, greedily wanting the Faery and eating her too.
Sookie was right, he held no respect for her so long as he expressed affection through things rather than actions. It had kept her dependant like a spoiled child. This action was speaking loud and clear to her. He took their bond for granted in expressing anything to her and the bastard kept it hidden most of the time. She couldn’t tell whether the anger coursing through her veins right now was her own, her Maker’s or maybe even Sookie’s. Pam was guessing all of the above.
She wanted out. As fun as it was to live through the Faery courtship vicariously she wanted to truly stand on her own. The next time her eyes would meet those of her Maker there would be hell to pay.
A/N: So I’m back at it again after the holiday break, I’ll be updating two stories per week (of the four) for now so there will be a maximum of two weeks between updates excluding the holidays. I’m finishing up a couple of stories on my end which this is one of. I don’t know what’s next yet but I’ll be taking my time contemplating.
So this was a stressful chapter for our loveable but difficult twosome and Pam really doesn’t like it when Mommy and Daddy fight so Eric will be attacked from all sides and that’s even before striking Russell… poor sod… Next time we’ll hear Godric’s opinion on it all as this story unravels itself further towards its end stretch. I hope you all enjoyed and please don’t be too hard on Sookie, she’s a stubborn one and sticks to her guns but that’s the part Eric normally likes about her… thoughts welcome as always 🙂
Thanks to MsBuffy for all the pretty finishes 😀