“We are in need of offspring,” he spoke bluntly, startling me not only with the request, but also the forwardness where he had been so evasive before. The small nugget of information granted with a compliment somehow seemed to make this allowable to him. “Next time we should discuss this ‘science’ you spoke of, Aelia assured me it could be done. I will send word for our next meeting.”
The air shimmered briefly with the aftermath of his disappearance, not even giving me a chance to respond. I was left gawking, becoming startled by Eric‘s sudden appearance at my side. He nodded when I sought confirmation that he overheard the last of my great-grandfather’s request that sounded more like a command.
“We’ll make our own way,” he assured, sounding more confident than I could be in that moment while he held me close. “Baby steps.” I cringed, and he instantly apologised for the ill-chosen words.
It had taken Eric quite some time and effort for Godric to agree to meet us outside the palace without Tulla, and not raising suspicion in her along the way. I fell asleep on the car ride over, not caring much to the location only realising it was the secluded spot he had taken me to the first time we had taken his precious sports car out for a ride. They were already talking, or rather fighting by the upturned tree we had made out on, the anger and disappointment coursing through Eric being the thing that had jolted me awake. He was so aggravated he didn’t even speak in English anymore, reverting back to his native Swedish instead. Neither vampire had even taken notice of me in their shouting match till I clasped onto Eric’s wrist urging him to calm.
“Sookie, tell him,” he urged at me, offering me up as a referee in their argument.
“It’s true, Godric,” I offered in a whisper, mindful of the impact this could have, shattering the image of his own Maker. “The signature is the same.”
“It cannot be,” he spoke with red tears brimming his eyes. “It is unlike her. She has no appetite for power.”
“Maybe she has no choice,” Aelia’s voice chimed in from a distance away, alerting us all of her inconspicuous presence. “We all have leverage. Some more than others.”
“No,” Godric repeated firmly with continued disbelief, no one but me appearing surprised with her sudden appearance. “If she is guilty of betraying us than so am I.”
“You can accompany one another in a cell then,” Aelia spoke with a threat in her voice that I had not witnessed before, making me instantly understand the force of her power.
“If that is what it takes,” Godric returned with an equal aggression that seemed to jar with the genteel character that I was usually met with.
“No,” I pleaded, feeling the anguish inside Eric flood me at the thought of his Maker’s imprisonment. “Let me try with Staci.”
“Niall showed you how?” Aelia questioned displaying she always knew more than any of us.
“He gave new insight.”
“Very well,” she nodded before shifting her eyes to Godric with an even cooler stare. When it returned to me chills travelled down my spine. “Their fate is in your hands.”
The responsibility magnified when her words settled into me with their veiled meaning, I was too scared to ask aloud that if I were to fail to extract any truth whether they would be condemned to a final and true death, execution by kin being the number one cause of death among the Sanguine after all. In the end I didn’t need to ask, it was not uncommon knowledge that disloyalty among the Sanguine was considered the worst of crimes, instead the anguish that took hold of Eric over the fate of his Maker confirmed as much.
“Do you think she’s innocent?” Sookie whispered when it was just the two of us travelling down the highway to a confrontation that would decide the fate of my Maker.
“I don’t know, the evidence-” further words escaped me. I didn’t even want to contemplate the possibility of guilt, for my Maker to no longer exist. Her small hand came to rest against the side of my face while I swallowed a sob that never vocalised. The pain wretched deep, and she cried the tears I didn’t dare instead.
“We’ll try for the best,” she spoke softly, whatever that ‘best’ may be seemed vague to us both. My expectations ran low and for once I cursed the magnified speeds that this car could produce with a push of the pedal, now I never wanted to arrive. “I do love you, you know.”
“Sookie, I get it!” The words were instantly regretted the moment they escaped my mouth, my hand that reached out in apology causing her to flinch only further echoing the mistake of temper. She took it anyway, kissing across the knuckles tenderly as if she had something to apologise for. I hit the brakes harshly, pulling up in a barren piece of dirt and in the limited confines of the car her seatbelt unbuckled before I pulled her onto my lap, hands finding the round sides of her face.
It wasn’t anything I wanted to admit and consequently the volume at which it was spoken was exceptionally low. “Me too,” she spoke with a slightly shaky breath and I deeply regretted the tears that were there, even if I wasn’t the sole cause. We kissed, it seemed the most natural thing to do, and then we simply held each other for longer than could be considered comfortable, but it was to us.
She smiled, that precious and rare beautiful smile, and I realised what a dick I had been upon seeing the worry resonating in her eyes. This was all on her, she would be the one in the driving seat now. “I love you too.” It was no longer a whisper while I pulled the curtain of hair from her face and briefly rested my forehead against hers, breathing together. The interior of the light blinded her momentarily, lightening up her wet orbs and caused her to quickly settle herself back in her seat, buckling herself in again, her hand, however refused to let go of me, resting comfortably on the innocent part of my thigh. If I didn’t say it before I would have said it now, I fucking loved her, and my hand loved hers, holding it whenever it didn’t require the manoeuvring of the vehicle.
We sat quietly waiting for the inevitable, silence raining in fear’s steed. “Just lie, say it’s not her.”
“You know I can’t do that, Eric,” she whispered back, squeezing my hand tightly, for comfort or for assurance it was no longer clear. Our anxieties and our nerves existed as the same.
“You know you drive really slow for a Sanguine,” Pam announced with a harsh knock to my window, startling us both out of contemplation, forgetting we had arrived at the dreaded destination. “Didn’t know you were such an old fart behind the wheel.”
“Pam, don’t,” Sookie urged when we reluctantly removed ourselves from our solitary confinement and into the crisp cool air, taking as little time as possible for our hands to find one another again, seeking borrowed strength.
“You two look like you’re attending an execution,” she snarked. It was meant in good humour, but all I could see was red and that was when I initiated the possibility of my own execution, tackling the Queen to the ground to snarl at her with an anger that was capable of ripping off her immortal head with the sheer volume of it, that is if my fangs didn’t get to her first. Her strength didn’t equal mine, but she knew a man’s weak spot like no other, and I lay writhing in pain collecting grass stains beside her while she wiped off the worst of the marks on her impeccable suit that barely sustained a wrinkle or a stain, hair sitting as it was moments before, any evidence of our scuffle lost. Her face hung in high menace above mine, “Godric is NOT going to die!”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I just am,” she returned, appearing the picture of calm. “I am sure of Tulla, and Aelia doesn’t gamble with the lives of her most valuable assets without knowing it’s a bet she’s sure to win.”
I got up, anger coursing through my veins, Sookie soon by my side, “Forgive me if I don’t share your optimism.”
“I have been around a little longer than the both of you combined,” she grinned, beckoning us to follow like nothing volatile had occurred between us. “Trust me when Aunty Pam says everything will be fine.”
No further words were exchanged, Sookie and I having a hard time taking them as truth anyhow. It didn’t take long to observe the strange assembly; Staci was a mess in a corner, Godric and Tulla obviously confined to different quarters now, and she instantly clamped onto Sookie, her face wet with sobs.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to attack him, I’m so sorry, please don’t leave me alone.”
Sookie soothed, getting her to become as calm as possible while forcing a glass of water down her and making sure she ate some of the food that had sat untouched and gone cold.
“Staci,” Sookie spoke kindly, rubbing her thumb over the frail and thin wrist of the girl. “I want to try and recover something that’s lost inside your mind. Will you let me?”
“Will it hurt?” she questioned, the method necessary uninteresting to her judging by the desperation in her voice. I couldn’t help sympathise with wanting to uncover what was taken from one’s mind.
“I don’t know, what I uncover might hurt,” Sookie offered honestly, wiping the last of her tears from her face. “You can choose to forget again, but it won’t be the same.”
“No,” she whispered earning Sookie’s generous approval with that tough decision. “I want to remember, I want to be me again, no matter the cost.”
“You can always change your mind when you know all. Tell me whenever you want to stop,” Sookie smiled kindly before taking both her hands in her own. Her eyes closed and she urged Staci to do the same, falling into a deep concentration. I felt her slip from me, physically and through the bond as if she tumbled into a hibernation, existing in the distance of a periphery. An impenetrable dome fell around them, much like the one the Fae had erected around Sookie’s property. Aelia looked pleased while my worry only sought to increase with her so far removed from me now.
Despite her best efforts, the assault on Staci’s mind wasn’t pleasant and after the longest minutes of my existence passed by, even Aelia sat with worry and it was only because Pam had beaten her to summoning the troll-like doctor that she hadn’t done so herself. I felt Sookie’s energy draining, sweat glistened her brow with effort and concentration. Her eyes opened, fiercely seeking out Staci asking for confirmation to continue. Despite our supernatural hearing none of us could perceive what was spoken between them.
“Where is that doctor?” I demanded, the worry getting the better of me while no one was able to provide any answer I was willing to hear. “Get her here now!”
My back was only momentarily turned, but I was too late, screaming and pleading Sookie to stop as I felt her entire system collapse with the strain, only to watch the blood escape from her nostrils before she started coughing it up. That sweet and delectable life essence that could have any vampire enthralled with her was everywhere where I couldn’t reach her.
I loathed the sight of it staining her and witnessing the life-blood leave her body behind. The dome remained impenetrable while I desperately screamed at her to let it up and let me in, my maker be damned, but she stubbornly persisted. Dr Ludwig flew in the door, too late by any estimation as the dome now sat shattered and Sookie lay almost lifeless in a deep comatose state, her muscles twitching in the aftermath. I held her to me, and despite the heat and heartbeat she felt lost to me while Ludwig attended to Staci. Later Godric had told me I had become so menacing to all around, no one dared come near the two of us, even the doctor who was fearless and withstood the threat of five powerful Sanguines who demanded instant medical attention be given to Sookie then and there.
I didn’t remember screaming at everyone to leave but they did while I held her, hoping the cold of my body would bring her to the temperature of the living again. We were in a cocoon of our own now, no necessity for lights. Kisses were trailed, begs, prayers, and promises were expelled to little effect; she stayed away from me. Where to, I never got to know, I held her body in a feeble attempt to be closer to her, but she only felt further away in the limp hold.
Time passed, I’d never be able to recount the hours and I didn’t dare close my eyes or take a rest. Countless efforts for her to ingest my blood were made to no avail. In the end Godric intervened where he had been unable to reach me before, forcing me to a day rest after which Sookie had been carefully checked over and washed clean of the sweat she had been drenched in. She was still by my side when I awoke, but she had grown colder yet fit perfectly in my side regardless. Medical equipment hung from her veins, small beeps kept track of her every movement, but there still was none.
“I’ll leave you,” the little doctor spoke carefully before hopping down and out of the room.
I whispered and pleaded Sookie’s name again but it was to no use, she was the same as when sleep forced me from her. I looked and felt like a wreck, I didn’t remember the tears, but they were shed regardless by the evidence of red that stained my face and clothes. Sookie’s hair was clean now but I was sure by the last remnants of smell it had soaked there too. Without contemplation I showered, taking more time than necessary, preoccupied with thoughts rather than movements. Someone had seen to necessities, probably Pam by the discerning tastes. Everything I had noticed in Sookie’s or rather our bathroom at home was there for her, ready and waiting alongside mine, shampoo bottles married off side by side. I couldn’t stand the sight of it and with one fell swoop bottles were strewn in chaos across the floor. At least that still made sense to me.
My name was spoken with soft familiarity by the door, but since it didn’t belong to Sookie I couldn’t find it in me to care.
“Eric,” Godric spoke up firmly and I couldn’t help but obey. Sookie was the cost of him still being a version of alive. It was the first time I ever loathed my Maker, I couldn’t even feel guilt for the anguish that marred his eyes.
“Staci has acquitted you and Tulla then?” I couldn’t remember ever speaking to him with such disrespect or coldness, and despite that, he hardly flinched.
“In a sense,” he offered carefully, understanding the cost of that particular freedom. “Sookie took all her memories for her, she remembers some of the earlier things. Tulla is innocent.”
“Just like that?”
He shrugged, “Just like that.”
I moved past him with little thought, settling in behind Sookie again. I was tired already, the sun was high in the sky and I lacked the stamina of someone older during the day.
“Jason would like to see her.”
I gave a nod before agreeing, “He can come.”
“We have sent word to her faery kin, perhaps they know better than us.”
“I want to speak to the doctor, I want to take her to our home at full dark.”
“Eric,” my Maker sighed as if he were carrying the weight of the world. “It is safer here.”
“I don’t care anymore, when she wakes I want her to be in the comfort of home.”
“You must live with the possibility-”
“No!” I didn’t want to hear it, much less consider it. She was mine to have and to hold, and she wouldn’t leave me now that I had her. She was going to wake up. We were promised eternity and I would have it. “Just make it happen.”
“I shall talk to the doctor,” he agreed while putting a bottle of warmed blood on the bedside table.
I was filled with joy when I next opened my eyes. She sat by the window, nude bar from a white sheet that hung loosely off her back exposing the curve of her neck sweeping down with cascades of white, dipping low enough so I could just discern the two dimples above her ass. I’d always wanted to bite someone there, it seemed the twin spots were made especially for it from the moment I knew had fangs. In reality it was an awkward spot to reach so I would have had to ask and that had pulled all the fun out of it. Perhaps with Sookie it would occur, perhaps now.
She didn’t startle when I came behind her, my fingers tracing the bare skin of her spine.
“You’re back,” I barely realised I had spoken the words but her head turned around regardless, a beaming smile greeted me and the weight of worry that had worn me down to my smallest lifted from my shoulders. She barely got a word out because my lips were already on hers feeling her alive and vibrating beneath me while my fingers traced every inch of her skin feeling it respond like no other, not like it had been for days where nothing registered and she had lain limply against me. Now she carried her own weight, moved with and against me. She was present and all around me shining brightly.
“I love you,” she whispered. “Always remember that.”
I remembered. I remembered all too well because it had been a fucking dream, and it was beyond cruel to wake up without her again, my cock that had happily stirred with excitement and poked into her soft behind fell flat instantly with the realisation she was still gone.
A soft knock on the door didn’t cause Pam to stop for a second while gliding in effortlessly. She had hovered around Sookie’s sickbed more than any other, despite her Queenly duties and, accordingly, set up camp in one of the guest bedrooms of our home. I never asked who saw to the daily grind at the palace but assumed others had picked up the slack. “Someone here to see her,” Pam informed without ceremony. I eyed her warily, she knew how I felt about visitors. I hated the well-wishers who came to stand witness to my grief. The only one allowed in was her brother; however, he couldn’t take looking at her after the first visit and had since only called, always asking the same question.
The answer remained as ever the same.
Today the answer would be no different.
“No visitors today,” I decided and closed my eyes again. It would be torture to wake up again with the realisation of loss, but to be with her even if it wasn’t real was preferable to this perpetual holding state.
“You don’t have a choice,” she announced with a clap of her hands. “Get up and get dressed.”
“Fuck off!” The growl that accompanied that statement was not as menacing as I had hoped, she simply stared at me with her arms crossed daring me to defy her. I didn’t really want to count the number of times she could demand my death for my insubordination by now, cats and their nine lives had nothing on me.
“You’ll want to get up,” she spoke pointedly with a dismissive flick of her fingers. “Aelia is coming over. With a guest.”
I was out sooner than I could think, growling at Pam why she didn’t say so sooner while she stared on in amusement. She smoothed Sookie’s hair and wiped away the small amount of drool that had gathered at the corner of her mouth tenderly. There was a rotation of nurses around but none were allowed to bathe her, that was my job, but Pam insisted on styling her hair and keeping her lips in full gloss. Her argument that Sookie would have wanted it was weak, she simply wanted to continue a long-standing ritual of grooming, it relaxed her and Sookie’s comatose state unnerved her, making for a bizarre pendulum. Sookie had been a live doll to her for long and Pam was as unwilling as I to give in that she may be gone, so I allowed it because she understood the pain of losing her. I had, however, drawn a line with Pam’s insistence on eye makeup.
“When?” I demanded while fumbling with the button fly on my jeans.
“Any moment now.”
She wasn’t wrong in her assessment, I had stopped focusing on any of my heightened senses since Sookie fell ill, concerning myself solely on any minor change inside her, so for the first time since being turned a noise startled me that announced a visit of the Prince of the Fae realm.
“I came as soon as I heard,” he offered with apology.
It was a sincere gratitude uttered by me when my eyes locked on his and a shot of pain travelled through me as it was the exact same sympathetic stance Sookie’s would take. I knew it was a great risk for him to travel here to our home, we were being observed despite countermeasures and his visit would undoubtedly cause something, but the order as it had always stood had already begun to fall apart.
He sat by her bed and ran his fingers through her hair and released a small sob, barely stifling the cry. His two forefingers lit up and traced her form till he paused midway. “Why did you not tell me, sweet child?” he whispered.
I regarded him in question and he appeared as perceptive as Aelia in all things unspoken. “You are aware, are you not?”
“She is carrying a light,” he smiled softly.
It gave me hope, taking the flowery words as a token of life inside her. I, however, failed to produce the twin gasps that came from Aelia and Pam.
“How?” Pam whispered. “They said it didn’t take.”
Niall scoffed while I desperately tried to catch what I seemed to be missing in translation.
“I have been looking into your advances in science since we last visited, it does not surprise me they missed it. We Fae are different, even you with all your keen senses did not observe this.”
“It’s been long now,” Pam noted, “she must have known.” She leaned in close to her head, tucking a few stray strands to the side. “Why didn’t you tell me, Sookie?”
“Tell you what?” I demanded, becoming only more aggravated with being left out of the conversation. Pam’s eyes looked up at me with guilt, for the first time displaying a sign of vulnerability there. “She’s pregnant, Eric.”
I nearly fell to the floor in pain, our interactions finally coming to make sense. Her continued hesitance to commit completely to me came to stand in a different light. She clammed up every time the subject of children was raised because she feared this pain that was encompassing me now, causing me to gasp for breaths unneeded. It felt like betrayal when it was not and it hurt far worse. There was a light inside her beyond her own. It wasn’t mine.
My eyes narrowed on the messenger, channelling my pain into rage, and thrusting the Queen up against the wall with unparalleled strength. Surely this would be my end and I would be sent to a guillotine for this final assault. I didn’t care anymore, what I had taken for life inside her was another man’s child. Not mine, I had nothing left. She was gone, I was wholly convinced of that now.
Pam seemed genuinely frightened when I pushed harshly on her throat, demanding her confession when I seethed, “Whose is it?”
A/N: It’s…. time to be evil and disappear without another word! Yes, I’m knowingly cruel. The only thing I can offer is that it’s not Bill’s and no worries this is not turning into a baby fic, I heavily protested at the thought when musey pants intervened with this news having had enough of pregnant Sookies in the Thanksgiving Fixin’s Series but it was something in the original one-shot that I had to see through, so here we are…
Thanks to msbuffy who managed to do a great job editing this despite the tears that flowed because of it.
So… thoughts of the non yelling variety?