Armed with a trusty set of questions Eric goes to confront Sookie and insist they talk out whatever seems to be between them. Could be considered canon (except I’m not much of a canon-fetishist so it won’t be accurate) and can be inserted anywhere from the moment Eric is aware of what happened during his period of amnesia. E/S – HEA – and all that other jazz…
Prologue – Questions
Her brows furrowed as she took in the sight of the exceptionally tall vampire through the dusty screen door. Frustratingly, he was even handsome through the soft-focus haze provided by the mesh in the moonlight.
”Eric? What are you doing here?”
”I came to see you.”
Sookie rolled her eyes, naturally he wouldn’t offer her much insight as usual, and with a harrumph, she opened the screen door to take a better look at what seemed to be sticking out from under his armpit.
”What’s with the newspaper?” she laughed with her discovery of the unidentified object. For whatever reason it did, however, make perfect sense to see two relics of the past standing side by side at her door.
”It’s why I’m here,” he replied with a grin before gesturing his free hand to move a lock of hair off her face. She instantly stepped back with a jitter before there was a meeting of skin, the brief moment of levity dissipating instantly as they both fell into a contemplated silence, each feeling guilty for presumption and subsequent rejection.
”Come in, I guess,” she whispered with a wave of her arm, eyes still evading his when it seemed neither of them were set on moving from their impasse otherwise.
Rather than positioning himself leisurely on her floral sofa, he pulled out a chair at her kitchen table. ”That serious, huh?” she questioned in regard to his choice of seating while popping in the obligatory-proffered bottle of O-neg. He’d take one polite sip in her presence and dumped the rest while she wasn’t looking. Well, he assumed Sookie knew full well that the contents of the bottle ended up in the bottom of the sink each and every time, but the continued pretence of civility and manners gave her a point of comfort around the man who usually kept her on her toes.
”I suppose,” he replied tersely while unfolding the newspaper and finding the page ornamentally decorated in pink highlighter. Sookie didn’t really want to question whether it was meant to be decoration or a parade of fangs on a string. She’d preferred to think it was the former, but knowing Pam it was most likely the latter.
”Pam want you to buy her something again?” she asked, noting it was part of the Fashion & Style section of the newspaper.
”No. She suggested we take this quiz and I’m inclined to agree.”
”You came here so we could take some Cosmo quiz?” she balked.
”This is the New York Times!” he protested, his voice rising in volume with supposed indignation. ”It’s based on scientific evidence. Just do it already!”
Hurt travelled across her eyes, forcing him to rein back the temper she always threatened to unleash around him with her obstinate behaviour that seemed to be custom only to him. ”I’m sorry,” he spoke in a softer tone. ”Give it a chance, read the article at least.”
She continued to stare at him sceptically and he wondered if she’d ever regard him with any other stance. Well, when he wasn’t unintentionally hurting her feelings. With a sigh of relief, his, her eyes finally fell obligingly to the article in question.
‘36 Questions That Lead to Love,’ she snorted, wearing her identical mask of scepticism once again. At least he could pride himself on the fact that it wasn’t directly aimed at him for a change. Take that, New York Times!
”Eric, taking some quiz isn’t going to make me fall in love with you,” Sookie continued, moving her hands to close the newspaper and send him on his merry way. She had things to do, after all. Like cleaning. Like laundry. Like… Even she had to admit her life was an utter bore if it wasn’t being overhauled by the psychotic chaos the Supernatural element brought to it.
”Sookie,” Eric pleaded, stalling her hands’ intended movement of ending his plans for the night to leave the paper spread open between them. ”This isn’t about falling in love with me. It’s about knowing what you want.”
”I already know what I want,” she bit back, pulling her hands from underneath his and finding them annoyingly smudged with black ink, and immediately set to washing them. She was about to ask him for the third time that night to leave already. Manners had, however, inhibited her before, but she really felt like doing that laundry and cleaning now, and hoped the third time would be the charm. Instead it was his charm that axed attempt number three of banishing him as he stood holding a towel for her to dry her hands. His talented fingers, and oh, how she loathed to admit that, especially now when they so diligently massaged down each and every individual digit of her own, relieving her of aches she hadn’t even been aware were there.
”You’ve made yourself pretty clear,” he continued with her hands locked in his, the thinly worn hand towel between them. ”I just want to know why. Some couples found it was best to break up after, but at least they knew why.”
”We’re not a couple,” she stated acerbically, her previously relaxed stance stiffening with the collective bile that rose with her statement.
”Pairs of participants, then?” he amended, which somehow seemed to please her greatly. She glanced upwards once more expecting to see that annoying triumphant grin he always seemed intent on wearing around her, but found no evidence of it this time.
He hid it well, but she knew him well enough now to spot the deep-seated hurt behind the mask he wore. ”Read it, and then make up your mind?” Eric requested once more. She nodded with some reluctance and with that, her hands were released and she sat down to read the actual article.
It wasn’t a Cosmo quiz, far from it. In fact, the premise seemed simple enough. Thirty-six questions that they would both answer honestly to and they would end with four minutes of silence where they would just stare into each other’s eyes. Eric hadn’t lied, the title was indeed misleading, it wasn’t a guarantee that led to love, and though the introduction did allude, it was possible with a complete stranger. She was a little surprised that Eric actually wanted to do this, to be this frank and open with her when his responses had always to her been so measured.
”Wait!” she protested with a flash of anger. ”This isn’t fair! You’re just springing this on me when you’ve already seen these questions and probably prepared your “for humans appropriate” answers!”
This time the sigh that escaped him was laden with utter exhaustion, something Eric was unaware of a vampire being able to experience until he met her. He waited for the red in her face to deflate, however enticing it always was, determined to do this in a cool, calm, and collected manner. Much like himself after all.
”Pam was of similar thought,” he answered only moments before she started with that incessant foot tapping. ”I haven’t read the questions so that it would be fair to us both. I’ll dampen down the bond the entire time.”
The scepticism was back again, his shoulders sagging with the sighting. ”Call Pam,” Eric tried with something akin to a congenial tone while thrusting his phone in front of her with the force of his true annoyance, the number already dialling. ”You seem to trust her more than me.”
She shook her head, ”No, it’s okay.” With earnest eyes she dared look at him again and whispered, ”I trust you.”
Pride surged through him, but it was quickly overruled by Pam’s demanding tone on the phone, Sookie apologising profusely for disturbing her meal, and Eric firmly placed at blame by both women.
”Just do it, Sookie,” Pam insisted while muffling the whining tone of her dinner.
”Have you become a spokesperson for that athletic brand now?” Sookie joked, the thought of taking the quiz, and doing so earnestly, making her more nervous by the minute with the potential impact. Unlike Eric, she had taken a quick glance at the list of questions.
”Not pink enough,” Pam drawled back with a scoff. ”Give him a chance, Sookie, he’s really trying. The least you could do is to offer the same.”
”Okay,” Sookie conceded and without further ado, the line was disconnected. She handed the phone back to its owner, her hand resting longer in his than necessary. ”Where do we start?”
A/N: This is a four part short story that I wrote over the summer holidays, it sparked my interest after reading an article about the questionnaire in The New York Times that came forth from research done by psychologist Arthur Aron who succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory, though it’s used as an exercise for existing relationships too for various reasons. There’s theory to back it all up and in my mind the rational part of Eric would be attracted to that along with eliciting some responses from an unruly Sookie that weren’t coerced from him for a change. I did always feel a lot could be solved in CH’s world if these two just had a good chat now and then.
In the next three chapters Sookie and Eric will be working their way through them and I wrote their answers as I read through them. This was part detour, part writing exercise while working on my other on-going stories so it’s a little different than my usual fare. The prologue is a bit of a tease of what’s to come but I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts as always!
Much love to the beloved msbuffy for editing, and not even blinking when I overloaded her with a shit ton of stuff post vacations.