Eric and Pam looked suitably impressed by their predecessors as they turned the pages until they stumbled upon a page that made them both stop. Staring back at them next to the brightly shining Adele stood Godric smiling with equal vigour. Eric looked disbelievingly at the picture had he not witnessed the smiling faces on previous pages he would be certain it was a doctored image. Never had he witnessed his maker with such an expression of genuine joy even in their most private of moments.
Never in a thousand years.
The silence in the house was only interjected by the cicadas surrounding the Stackhouse property and the raindrops on the tin roof. Eric continually stared at the picture of his maker with an equally befuddled Pam by his side. Sookie greatly enjoyed silence and usually appreciated the silence offered by vampires to her telepathic brain. This silence however was one riddled with tension and confusion. She chose to bite the bullet and suffer the brunt if necessary.
“You know Godric?” she asked tentatively at the absent minded vampires.
She was met with a set of confused eyes as they moved their stares towards her. Where she had considered the engulfing silence as tense, the set of gazes sitting upon her now were downright unnerving.
“He is my maker.”
The words had tumbled out of Eric’s mouth before he had realised what he had spoken. Another first, never in his thousand years had he relinquished words coming from his mouth without a thought of what he was to speak first. To do so carelessly with information he did not reveal to other vampires let alone to mere mortals was uncharacteristic of him.
Pam would use said slip up later on in the evening before they fell to their day rest as proof that they had fallen into the twilight zone and discovered a unicorn as they lay disbelievingly staring up at the cracks in the ceiling.
There had been little conversation after that reveal and Sookie had retreated to rest her weary eyes. She bid them goodnight leaving them behind to their daze. Neither vampire had thought to broach the subject of their young forged deal.
The following day Sookie spent her time cleaning up after her nightly guests and checking the expiration dates on the True Bloods she had residing in her fridge. It had been quite some time since the last vampire guest had departed.
She thought back to Godric’s visit, she remembered him as a kind soul with a certain amount of gloom surrounding him. Gran had really lifted his spirits for she remembered the despondency had somewhat dissipated when he checked out and his gleaming smile was a sign of that. Albeit a brief appearance.
Gran had been very fond of Godric and they had continued to exchange letters after his visit. He had even come to attend the night time service prior to her funeral. Her contact with Godric was limited beyond that, he had been polite and kind and therefore she was equally kind and polite in return. They exchanged Christmas cards.
The thought of the timid small vampire taking charge of the giant that was Eric Northman amused her somewhat. Said giant who was upstairs in the only light tight bedroom in Bon Temps with most likely his feet hanging off the bed.
She heard some shuffling on the floor upstairs alerting her at least one of the vampires was up and moving about. The sun had begun its descent towards the horizon but was far from fully dissipated. Used to the varying ages of previous guests she reckoned Eric must be quite old to be up so early. Sookie listened to the movement in the tired pipes and droplets of water coming from the adjoining bathroom as she continued to read her latest novel.
She was interrupted by some cursing in what she assumed was Eric’s native language. The bathroom while small and perfectly formed was probably proving a bit of a challenge for a man of his size. She giggled with a good amount of schadenfreude when she heard him collide with the shower head for the second time with a now familiar accompanying string of curse words.
“I am glad the misfortune of others amuses you so much Ms. Stackhouse,” he bellowed down loud enough for her to hear which only further fuelled her laughter but resulted in a small chuckle of his own.
She heard the airtight lock disengage and close again indicating Eric had moved onto the small light tight lounge on the landing which her Gran had used to entertain her guests before sundown. Sookie popped a pair of Tru Bloods into the microwave in preparation.
“My apologies Mr. Northman we’re not exactly Viking proof around here,” she mock apologised when she reached the landing with the warmed bottles of blood in her hand.
“None needed Ms. Stackhouse it is not as if you were expecting me.” He smiled at her, now donned in a track suit and flip flops. Sookie observed that Eric even made that look good so she decided her appreciation of a man in a suit was a fluke and must be relegated to the occupier of said suit. After all she never considered a man in a track suit attractive or flip flops for that matter.
“Well my Gran was always expecting you to check in to the room upstairs after hearing Godric speak so much about his prodigal son. She was planning on putting in a Viking sized tub until she figured it would never fit.”
The earlier jovialness had somewhat dissipated from Eric’s demeanour and Sookie was worried she had done something wrong.
“I’m sorry,” she spoke genuinely apologetic. “I won’t speak of your maker anymore.”
She had become somewhat meek and Eric observed it did not suit her at all. He sought to remedy it immediately.
“No it is not painful to speak of him…” he said to assure her she had not misspoken. “It is surprising to see him so…”
“Happy?” she asked completing his thought.
“Yes. Happy,” he replied as if the word was a strange taste in his mouth.
“Well that’s not the person who showed up on our doorstep,” she said whilst pointing at the unnerving photograph. “He came in with such a cloud of darkness. Gran nicknamed him Atlas, you know carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
Eric released a breath from his nose as he moved his hand and placing it underneath his chin as he leaned his elbow unto his knee. Lost in thought he looked very much the ‘Thinker’ by Rodin. It didn’t help that he was frighteningly still.
“How long was he here?” he finally asked.
“He was only supposed to stay the night. He had come out of curiosity, he had never spent the night in a human’s home as a guest. He was intrigued I guess. Gran latched onto him instantly. Had she been able to she would have stuffed him up with her home cooking. She tried to fatten him up with True Blood instead.” She laughed in memory of her Gran’s antics. “She wasn’t very successful. He stayed though regardless of her mothering. He’d extend the stay a night then a couple more in the end I think he stayed well over a month’s time.”
“How much do you know about me?” he asked with an air of self-consciousness he had never previously expressed in his existence. Only his maker could make him feel that.
“Not much, he spoke with Gran mostly. Mighty Viking and all that and an extreme dislike of wolves or something or the other. At least that’s all I remember.” He nodded at her in affirmation.
“Are you not in contact with him or somethin’?” she pondered aloud without realising she had voiced her thought.
“Our relationship…” he started but then continued to sigh.
“Enough said.” She smiled encouragingly. “Bobby dropped off another car and some clothes for Pam.” She motioned towards the bag that had lain next to the door but had apparently already been brought into the bedroom already. The tell-tale sign of running pipes alerted her that Pam was now up an about.
“Do you do this often?” Eric questioned after supressing his grimace upon downing another gulp of the vile tasting artificial blood. He could only drink it out of politeness beyond that it was an affront to his senses.
“Pick up stray vampires?” Her question was answered with a minute nod.
“No after Gran’s death I closed down the B&B business, I don’t have the time for it with my shifts at Merlotte’s and it was never really financially viable,” Sookie explained as she reset his bottle on the lace doily her grandmother had made. “My brother Jason and I indulged it as Gran’s hobby. I’ve helped out Bill in the past accommodating his guests as he lives across the cemetery. Not everyone shares his philosophy of ‘organic’ vampirism.”
“Organic vampirism?” Eric had heard a lot of strange terms come and go but this one was new to him.
“That’s what my Gran called it. A lot of humans are now eating foods that haven’t been artificially enhanced or sprayed with pesticides for their health. It’s called the organic movement. It encompasses an appreciation of a simpler approach towards food so Gran thought Bill’s conviction to spend his day rest in the dirt mirrored that conviction.”
Eric was amused by Adele’s observation and understood Godric’s fascination with the cheerful breather. It was rare for a human to possess sight beyond their own existence one really had to live longer than an average human lifespan for that. Although Eric was decidedly more intrigued by the young mortal flurrying in front of him as she fidgeted with her shoe laces.
“All your guests behave?” he wondered how no vampire had decided to snack on the defenceless women before him. It was only because he enjoyed a willing conquest that his gallant behaviour was in full effect.
“All of Gran’s guests were model citizens… Well you’ve seen my interactions with the courteous Lorena. Let’s just say she prefers to go organic than spend the night here.”
She received a knowing smirk at that information. It was a favour to Sophie Anne that had them dropping of Lorena and her children. He and Pam couldn’t stand the social climbing female vampire.
“I had to rescind the invitation to Bill’s friends Liam, Malcom and Diane,” Sookie said groaning at the memory of that particular stay. “They were ready to tear the place apart. I’ve cooled off a bit for Bill’s friends for a while.”
“So we were only allowed in because we were acquaintances?”
“Well that certainly worked in your favour,” she returned with a wink.
“The Disco triplets were here?” a freshly fluffed Pam in pastels asked with a note of disgust as she entered the landing space.
“They didn’t survive the night,” Eric responded much to Pam’s amusement as she perched herself daintily on the arm of Eric’s chair facing Sookie.
“We have business to discuss,” Pam reminded of the previous evening’s forgotten conversation.
“Don’t worry friends stay for free,” Sookie responded.
“We’re your friends?” Pam asked with an unnatural amount of glee to her new disposition.
“Well any non-friend of Lorena is a friend of mine,” she smirked at the set of vampires.
“We will pay the going rate regardless of whether we are friends or not,” Eric responded succinctly not leaving any room for argument.
“Fine,” she huffed disgruntled but not in the mood to argue over the acceptance of gift horses once more.
“Fascinating as this little exchange is,” Pam interjected as she pointed between their host and her maker. “It is not the business I was regarding to.”
Sookie looked somewhat lost at where the conversation had headed towards whilst Eric finally caught on.
“I would like for you to escort me to a Supernatural Summit as my companion,” he said with a tone of business not unlike the one he carried moments earlier.
“Like a date?” she asked somewhat confused finding unfathomable what he would be wanting with her at some fancy summit before a horrible thought entered her mind. “I’m not the main course or something right?”
“What?” Pam said with a look of confusion. Like they’d ever ask if that was the case. “No. It’s all very amicable at these summits best behaviour, p’s and q’s and all that. It’s an interspecies event,” she assured the worried looking blonde.
“So what you need human pet to traipse around with? Not really interested,” Sookie said with a contorted face.
“You’re hardly human,” Eric replied disregarding her pet remark and lack of enthusiasm. He enjoyed riling her up although he was careful not to push her towards her full ire. That had been far too scary place to be.
“Certainly more than you,” she scoffed back. “I’m as human as they come.”
Eric sniffed the air surrounding her intently. “You are most definitely other. If I have to guess there’s a whiff of Fae about you. I can sample your blood to confirm,” he leered far too delighted at the prospect for Sookie’s comfort. She inched back into the soft embrace of the armchair to gain any matter of distance between them. Her rescinding of an invitation ready to fall of her tongue.
“Sure that’s how little Red Riding Hood got eaten. Thank you but no thank you,” she replied curtly whilst remembering her p’s and q’s.
“Sookie your shifter boss comes to your defences without question. The people of this town are more scared to be on the receiving end of your temper than of a vampire even if it is Bill,” Pam replied with a grimace at the mention of the vampire next door whilst continuing to check off her list with a display of upturning fingers. “The most impressive array of vampires has flocked to your doorstep. There is something about this town that is other and you are as well.” Pam hoped Sookie would just accept she was some form of other so they could move on to the more laborious end of the conversation. Patience had never been a virtue she possessed willingly.
“Sam’s just a loyal friend and maybe he likes me a little more than he should. Vampire Bill’s just a big softie, people round here are plenty scared of Lorena. And those vampires came to see Gran, not me,” Sookie tried to rationalise failing to even convince herself.
Her telepathy was certainly not a human trait. She had developed quite the defences to shield her mind and herself of her secret including an impressive bite to go with her bark. As much as she liked the two vampires in front of her she wasn’t about to let them in on that secret so easily even if it had piqued her curiosity to the origin of her ability.
“Sookie,” Pam began exasperated. “Eric here is the leading authority on all things other. If he hasn’t tasted it or smelled it doesn’t exist. If he says you’re other than you my little fairy princess are other.”
“So you just go round the world sampling from sweet innocent little necks to satisfy your exotic tastes?” she asked Eric pointedly in an attempt to deflect the looming status of her otherness.
“Seek them out like some wine connoisseur? No, but if something happens to cross my path who am I to say no? A thousand years is a long time to come across many paths,” he replied wistful at the memories of the outlandish bloods that had graced his tongue.
“You’re a thousand years old?” she exclaimed with eyes wide. The two vampires exchanged a confused look.
“You are aware that in comparison to most of your former guests I’m considered young?” Eric replied.
“Well Gran never thought it polite to ask so we always hazarded a guess but we never thought any of y’all were that old.”
“You knew I was a Viking in my human days,” Eric observed.
“We thought it was a nickname due to your size,” she said and as if in demonstration her neck strained a little to reach his eyes.
“Can we get to the gist of it already?” Pam drawled hoping to speed things along to get to her personal morning breakfast by the name of Dawn. She had carefully avoided the offending bottle after the obligatory first sip.
“Please continue,” Sookie gestured her hands in accordance.
“Are you aware of the vampire political hierarchy?” Sookie nodded. “Well the Queen of Louisiana has demanded I am to be accompanied by an ‘other’ companion at the summit. It’s a false display of power. As her Sheriff I must come and prove her agenda to suit her political ambitions.”
“I still don’t understand what you need from me in all this?”
“Considering Eric’s voracious tastes he has somewhat of a reputation among suitable candidates for the job. Broken one to many hearts and/or necks,” Pam spoke accusingly at Eric who responded with a suitably innocent expression and a small shrug.
“So your queen is setting you up to fail and you need to pass me off as a doting companion?” Sookie summarised.