Summary: Having learned that there is a spell that could break the bond between her and Eric, Sookie is gung ho to do it; however, in this version of events, Amelia proves herself to be a true friend by making sure that Sookie has thought things through fully—with a little help from a certain Viking vampire. (Begins in the middle of Deadlocked; E/S story; OOC Amelia; this is a SHORT—original story prompt from ericluver)
Original Prompt from Ericluver: I’d like Amelia to question why Sookie was so keen to break the blood bond. Why was she breaking it? Did she know everything about it? Did she know Eric’s reasons for forming it in the first place? And if she didn’t, had she let Eric explain? I’ve often thought that as Sookie’s supposed “best friend” who was planning to perform a spell of this importance, that she would make sure Sookie really knew what the hell she was doing and how it might affect Eric, that all parties involved knew what was going on, etc. And then finding out that, “NO,” Sookie hadn’t let Eric explain much or talked to him about breaking it, frog-marched her to Fangtasia and told Sookie to pull up her big girl pants and stop being such a chicken shit! Then I’d like to see Sookie actually TALK to Eric about the why’s and what’s of the blood bond. Maybe if she’d understood that the bond couldn’t create feelings but rather enhanced them, she wouldn’t have broken it. (Which was the point at which my level of disgust reached such proportions I threw the book across the room and never picked up another CH book!)
“Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.”—Benjamin Disraeli
Chapter 01: Trying
MAY 29, 2006
I was determined to try to be a better friend to the best friend I’d ever had: Sookie Stackhouse.
Sookie had always stood by me—in a way that I couldn’t really say the same anymore.
Much to my shame.
Now that I was dealing with my grief over Tray’s death, rather than just being angry at Sookie, I’d realized just how much of a bad friend I’d been to her—as opposed to the good friend she’d been to me from the start.
Knowing me very little, she’d offered me a home when I wanted to escape the whole clusterfuck of the “his Bob-cat time,” as Bob and I now laughingly called that incident.
Heck, Sookie had even accepted Octavia into her home, following Hurricane Katrina.
In addition, she had helped me to find work—vouching for me in a place of business that meant the world for her, even after she’d “heard” how “flighty” I could be.
Moreover, Sookie had also always accepted me, never judging me for my “witchy” ways.
And never complaining when I used all of the counter space in the kitchen to concoct a potion or to experiment.
Even when they were smelly!
On many, many nights, she had listened to me for hours and hours at a time—in stereo, given the fact that she could hear my thoughts and my voice.
And, though I’d always been willing to listen to her too, I knew—looking back—that we’d had a lot more conversations about me than we’d had about her, especially about my relationships. I also realized that I’d rarely encouraged her regarding her own relationships—especially in regards to Eric. And I knew, now, that wasn’t fair.
Maybe I’d been jealous that she’d been the one to finally land the Viking, who’d been well-known even in New Orleans. Or maybe I’d just been a self-centered twat—as Pam might say.
In addition to indulging my long soliloquies about Pam and/or Tray, Sookie had never judged me for my real or petty complaints about my father—even though she didn’t have any parents left.
More importantly, she always had encouraging words to say to me—even when I was in the wrong. She had a way of being on my side, despite my faults.
Indeed, I now clearly recognized that I hadn’t been the “best” friend to her that I had once claimed to be, but I was determined to try harder.
I just hoped that she’d be able to forgive me because—during the time since Tray had died protecting Sookie—I’d been a fucking mess. And I’d hardly “tried” at all.
I hadn’t tried—at least not at first—to think about him. To mourn for him.
I hadn’t tried to control the thoughts with which I’d blamed Sookie for her own kidnapping and torture.
I hadn’t tried to acknowledge what even Tray had told me once: that he would consider it an honorable death to perish when he was protecting another.
I hadn’t tried to help Sookie through the guilt of four deaths that weighed on her like a tons of bricks—but that truly didn’t actually belong on her hands.
I hadn’t offered Sookie a shoulder to cry on when I’d heard her crying for Clancy, Tray, Claudine, and Claudine’s unborn child.
I hadn’t tried not to hate her.
And—worst of all—I hadn’t welcomed her when she’d tried to comfort me, and Sookie had taken that as the worst rejection—the worst indictment—of all.
My only excuse was that I had been grieving.
My only recourse was to try to do better from now on.
“What are you thinking about?” Bob asked me.
Bob had reentered my life unexpectedly a little more than a month before—on the three month anniversary of Tray’s death. I’d sat crying over beignets and chicory coffee when he’d seen me.
Coincidentally, our places of business were just three blocks away, and I’d been at a café almost exactly in between them.
I didn’t even like chicory. But it had been Tray’s favorite treat.
Not unexpectedly, Bob had been bitter after “his Bob-cat time,” but—showing immense forgiveness—he’d sat with me as I’d drunk cup after cup of a coffee that I didn’t like and spewed my feelings about Tray and Sookie and everything about my time in Bon Temps.
“Ames? Are you okay?” he asked.
I turned to look at him. Bob had a strong profile and dimples that were noticeable even when he wasn’t smiling. And I’d come to love him—for the first time—during the past weeks.
I worried that our “thing” was a rebound experience, but I didn’t feel any less love for Tray because of Bob. In fact, I felt more love for Tray—and more love in general.
And I took that as a positive sign.
Bob had matured after his time as a “Bob-cat.” And his bitterness had evaporated quickly as he told me about what he could remember of that time. Sunning himself. Lounging around all day. Being spoiled with can after can of tuna.
Licking his balls.
The wistful smile he got on his face when reporting that last item never failed to amuse me.
I’d also been upfront with Bob—telling him about pretty much everything which had happened while I’d been staying in Bon Temps.
It turned out that—even as a cat—he’d taken in some of those “serious” things too.
In between the ball licking sessions.
Unsurprisingly, it turned out that a part of him missed being a cat.
But he insisted that wasn’t just because of his limberness.
In fact, he listed tummy rubs and sprawling as his favorite activities.
Whatever! I knew that he missed the ball licking the most.
Needless to say, we were taking things slowly in our relationship for several reasons. But I was happy with him and with where we seemed headed.
“I’m thinking about Sookie,” I said, finally answering his question. “I’m worried about her.”
Bob glanced over at me. “I can’t say I blame you.” He reached over to capture my hand, which I gladly gave up to him. I would never tell Bob this, but—since he’d been a cat—his grip felt warmer and more comforting than before.
I closed my eyed and leaned against the passenger-side window.
I knew that my leaving back in March had caused Sookie a lot of pain. But I just couldn’t stay in Bon Temps. I just couldn’t control my thoughts back then.
And—honestly—without Tray there to make a future with, I felt as if the time was right for me to return to New Orleans.
And I’d not regretted that decision—for myself.
But who had I left behind?
She’d been so immersed in grief and guilt that she’d accepted Claude as a roommate, even though he had always been an asshole to her. And then she’d taken in Dermot, who’d been a “bad guy” until recently.
But they were family, and Sookie couldn’t deny family.
Of course, for Sookie, no “family” relationship had ever stood the test of time or her “nature.” I’m sure that she had a stopwatch on Claude and Dermot too.
Jason—to a great extent.
We’d all left her life by violence or choice.
And she was left behind—to grieve and to wait for the next person to go.
Thus, it had been with acceptance and inevitability that she’d seen me off from Bon Temps two months before.
In typical Sookie fashion, she’d promised that my room would be waiting for me—even though we both knew that I wouldn’t be moving back in.
I realized now that Sookie had likely been waiting for the other shoe to drop when it came to our friendship all along—anticipating the inevitable mechanism which would cause me to leave her life.
Just like everyone else—except for her ex-beaus (or hopeful ones in the case of Sam Merlotte), who seemed to haunt her like the fucking plague—anyone she counted as family eventually exited her life.
Examining everything I knew about Sookie, I realized that expecting the worst was the logical—even the healthy—thing for her to do.
I suppose that—as long as she expected people to leave her—it wouldn’t hurt so much when they did. I squeezed my eyes shut.
“Don’t punish yourself,” Bob said perceptively.
“I have been a bad friend,” I sighed.
“No—you haven’t been.”
I looked at him skeptically. “Yes. I have. I just left her.”
“You’d lost the person you thought you were going to marry,” he said compassionately. How he managed that—despite our growing feelings for one another—was beyond me.
“Sookie had been brutalized,” I whispered. “But that wasn’t the worst of it. I could tell that she would have gladly allowed those sadistic fairies to keep having their way with her if she could have only saved Tray and Claudine and her child—or even Clancy.”
Bob squeezed my hand even more, though the pressure didn’t hurt. It just reminded me that I was still alive.
I took a deep breath. “Sookie blamed herself for Claudine’s death so much that she took in Claude, and I’ve told you all about him.”
“Asshole,” Bob said in support, showing me that he was listening.
One great thing about Bob: he always listened.
I sighed. “And now Dermot’s living with Sookie too.” I sighed loudly. “By this point in time, I had thought that she would be with Eric—really with him—full-time.”
“Why do you say that?” Bob asked.
“Before Neave and Lochlan got to her, Eric and Sookie were fumbling—but, at least, they were fumbling toward each other. Sookie seemed to always doubt whether she’d be enough for Eric, and he . . . .” I paused.
“He what?” Bob asked.
“Eric always seemed to doubt that he’d be enough for her,” I sighed. “I swear to God that 99 percent of the time those two communicated like two mimes who were across the country from each other!”
“And the other 1 percent?” Bob asked.
“They communicated like soul mates,” I sighed. “That’s why they stay together—I think.”
“It sounds like they might be better apart then,” Bob ventured.
I shrugged. “Maybe. But I thought—before the fairies took her—that they were finally working their shit out. But maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part. After all, I think it’s been a thousand years since Eric has tried to be in a romantic relationship. To say he’s rusty would be an understatement. And—as for Sookie—well she’s been so indoctrinated to hate what she is that she cannot trust a man who loves her wholeheartedly.”
“You think that Eric loves her?” Bob asked. “You think vampires can love?”
“If you’d have asked me that before I saw Eric and Sookie together, I would have said ‘no.’ Hell,” I admitted, “I wasn’t even sure that he loved her until the last time I saw him.”
“When was that?” Bob asked.
“My last night in Bon Temps—back in early March. I’d gone to Tray’s grave to say goodbye. Eric was there. He’d dug a small hole near Tray’s headstone, and he was burying something.”
Bob looked at me with curiosity. “What?”
“He’d brought what he called a ‘grave gift’ for Tray. I think it was a Viking tradition to inter people with gifts for the afterlife. He apologized that it had taken a while to have the gift made.”
“What was it?” Bob asked.
“Unsurprisingly, it was a weapon. Actually, it was like a leather glove with a small dagger at the end of each finger. It looked like something out of a Wolverine movie,” I relayed.
“Why’d Eric choose that?”
I wiped a tear away. “He had said that Tray had broken a hand in his final battle, so he was bringing the gift in case Tray needed claws in his afterlife. He explained that it was the least he could do, given the protection Tray had given to his beloved.”
“That’s pretty fucking heavy,” Bob said, squeezing my hand again.
“Yeah. I know,” I sighed. “I think that—until that moment—I thought of Eric as some creature who didn’t have feelings. At least—not real ones. But—then again—I got most of my information about Eric from Sookie, and she was always questioning whether or not he could love.”
“Do you know where Eric and Sookie stand now?” Bob asked.
I shook my head. “Not really. I’ve gotten only hints from Sookie on the few occasions that we’ve spoken on the phone. Eric’s maker showed up and confused matters even more than before. But Appius is gone now, killed by a fairy who had intended to kill Sookie. And—now—I think that Sookie feels guilty for Appius’s death, too.”
“What death doesn’t she feel guilty for?” Bob asked.
It was a rhetorical question, but I spoke the obvious answer nonetheless.
“None of them,” I whispered.
A/N: So we begin another SHORT! I hope that you liked the start! Ericluver’s prompt cries out for an OOC Amelia. Honestly, by Deadlocked, I wasn’t liking Amelia anymore (especially after she basically invites Alcide to Sookie’s bed). Anyway, this story picks up before that and before the breaking of the bond, and Amelia is going to be a lot more mature, having dealt with her grief-rather than just being embittered by it. I hope that you will like this Amelia. However, be patient with Eric and (especially) Sookie. By Deadlocked, they were pretty dysfunctional as a couple. He was hiding the Freyda situation, and they still weren’t “acting” like a couple despite telling one another they’d loved each other. I remember being frustrated with them both as I was reading Deadlocked. So there is A LOT to fix.
Anyway, you can expect one chapter per week (usually on Saturdays) for the time being, since this is still being drafted on my end.
Many thanks to the team, Sephrenia and Kleannhouse. Kleannhouse, as always, has beta’ed the piece. And Seph has done the artwork, including the wonderful story banner! Remember that she “takes” the challenge with me when it comes to the SHORTS. She works with the same prompt that I do. The only extra I told her was the actress who was my Amelia in this piece. She also is doing banners for new or recast characters!