Chapter 21: Paradoxes

Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters in True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. So neither copyright infringement nor offense is meant. I simply want to make the characters do what I wanted them to do for a while. I am especially “unownerly” when it comes to this story. You will recognize a lot of the dialogue throughout as being quoted from Season 5 of True Blood, though I’ve tried to use Eric’s thoughts to make this story “different” from its source. That said, I claim no ownership to the quoted material and have placed it in bold so that it is set apart from my own words.


 ch21_inner

“What’s happened to you?” Pam asked with such grief in her voice that my knees threatened to buckle. She took a step toward me. I had never felt such pride in her as I did for that step. She was afraid of me, but she was not ready to run.

She was afraid for me, so she was not willing to run.

“A century together,” she said, her tone betraying her hurt, “and never once have I ever done anything to hurt you—to hurt us. How could you think I would go and dig up Russell Edgington?”

21.1Pam was right. In a century together, she’d never hurt me, and she’d always been loyal. And I did care for her—deeply. Loved her. I closed our bond down so that she couldn’t feel that truth from me.

However, I hated her too because she was also wrong—dead wrong. What she had tried to do to Sookie had shaken me. As Pam had fired that rocket at my beloved, I had felt my life slipping into oblivion. With a single pull of a trigger, Pam had betrayed a hundred years of trust. Her chief motive was—no doubt—to save me. And I couldn’t help but to agree with her action to some extent, given the fact that the witch had eventually been defeated.

Yes. Pam had been right to act as she had. My death in front of the witch’s store wouldn’t have made Sookie any better off. And I would have been dead for no real reason.

21.4Both my and Compton’s willingness to die for Sookie was ill-thought-out and idiotic. But it had been what I had needed to do at the time—because of my love for Sookie.

Yes. Pam had saved my life. But she hated Sookie too, and she failed to acknowledge that I loved Sookie more than my own life. If my actions in front of Marnie’s store had demonstrated nothing else, they’d demonstrated that fact. Yet, even now, I knew that Pam loathed Sookie and was angry at me.

The saying that there was a fine line between love and hate had become a cliché for a reason. It was fucking true!

21.2“You’re my maker, Eric, and I would die for you—gladly—a thousand times before I would ever betray you,” Pam vowed, even as tears fell from her eyes. “You know I would.”

I did know that Pam was telling the truth—as she saw it. She would die for me without question and without regret. But I also knew that she didn’t recognize that her disobedience at Marnie’s shop had been the biggest betrayal of me that she could make. That was the paradox, and it was the reason why I had needed to put Pam through all of this so that I could be sure of her. Could she have released Russell in an irrational attempt to “protect” me from Sookie?

To protect me from my own feelings?

21.0And, still, there was hesitation from Pam in our bond. There was also guilt. And I had to know why that was there.

“Well, you’d be a fool,” I said with cold cruelty. And then I uttered the words that I knew would hurt her worst of all. “I trust no one. You shouldn’t either.”

21.5

In that moment, I couldn’t help but to wonder if my words were true, and I felt broken by them right along with Pam. Just two nights before, I’d been contemplating adding Bill Compton to the short list of people I trusted, but now the entire concept of trust had so many holes in it that I could hardly believe that I’d ever believed in “trust” at all. Godric and Pam and Nora—it was those three whom I had trusted for so long.

Godric had chosen death over life—over me—and I felt the same kind of betrayal from that action that Pam must have felt when I chose to die for Sookie. I had chosen Sookie over her—and over myself—and that must have crushed my child. Had that moment irrevocably damaged all of the trust between me and my progeny?

If Nora had aligned herself with the Sanguinistas, then she had chosen to disavow herself from all of Godric’s teachings and all of her former compassion for humans. Admiring Lilith as a figurehead was one thing, but participating in a radical movement to establish vampires as feudal lords over humans was based on the same twisted notions that had ruled humans like Hitler. I was no innocent when it came to my treatment of humans, and I did feel that vampires were superior in most ways. But I had human parents. Part of me was human, and failing to see that kinship was madness.

Sookie. I sighed even as I continued to cling to her in our bond. Could it be that Sookie Stackhouse was the person that I now trusted the most—or, rather, the only being who had a hope of teaching me to trust again?

It was another fucking paradox!

21.3Sookie had left me—just like Godric. She had betrayed me by disavowing and ignoring our bond. And I fucking hated her for doing both of those things!

But—then again—she had no idea of the bond’s significance because I’d not had a chance to tell her of it.

Before we formed the bond, Sookie had stopped on a roadside at night because she recognized me walking there. Not a minute later, I’d threatened her because she smelled so goddamned good that I could hardly control myself in my amnesic state. I’d chased her, planning to devour her blood during the whole pursuit. I’d been aroused by the hunt. Her blood had thudded in her veins. I’d wanted to fuck her as I drained her. Yet a simple hit from her—one that hardly hurt, despite my whining to the contrary—had stopped me.

I now recognized that two things had kept me from draining her that night: my gut and her eyes. My gut told me that I shouldn’t hurt her, that she was important to me. And I trusted it. Her eyes told me that she wanted to believe that I wouldn’t hurt her—to believe in me. She trusted me.

“Trust me,” I’d told her in Dallas as we’d stood in the Fellowship Church. Even then, her eyes had told me that she did—despite a preponderance of evidence that she shouldn’t. Hell—if I had been her, I wouldn’t have trusted me.

I broke her trust later that same night by tricking her into taking my blood. Yet she still trusted me. She came to me for help when she and Jessica found the car of Bill’s kidnappers. She trusted me enough to go to Jackson with a Were just because I’d sent him to her. She trusted me enough to be crushed when I told her I felt nothing for her in Russell’s mansion. She trusted me enough to come to Fangtasia to ask me why she shouldn’t trust Bill. She trusted me enough to drag me inside from the burning sun after I had once again betrayed her trust by locking her in my basement and then taking her blood without her permission. She trusted me not to hurt her when I couldn’t even remember my own fucking name! She trusted that I was not going to harm her the night she found me at the foot of her bed―with my fangs out—after I’d had that fucked up vision of Godric.

She even trusted the amnesic me with her already-assaulted heart. She just didn’t trust herself enough to know that I had given her my own dead heart in return. Yes. Maybe I could trust again.

Maybe the greatest paradox of them all was the hope and the hopelessness that love could engender—at the same fucking time!

I sighed. It was undeniable that love made people do fucked up things. Love had caused Sookie to run from me—from both Bill and me—because of the idiotic notion that we’d all be hurt less if she did. Love had caused Godric to make sure I was safe by ordering me away even as he prepared to meet the sun. Love had caused Nora to risk her position—and likely her fucked up cause—in order to try to save my life. Love had caused Pam to disobey me and fire a rocket at the woman I loved.

Maybe love was so fucked up because it required trust in order to be real, and “trust” had a lot of fucking holes in it.

I sighed internally. I was the “fool” that I’d just accused Pam of being. And I was a liar. I did trust. I still did. And that’s why I was hurting right now, even as I was hurting my child.

Pam’s desolate tone once more broke me out of my thoughts. “If I mean so little to you,” she cried, “then why keep me around?”

Her voice bared her bitterness and anger. Once more, pride for her surged through me as I turned around slowly to look at her, even as I hated myself for the pain I was inflicting upon her. From her words and from the feeling I was getting from her end of the bond, I knew that she was about to say what I needed to hear. But her words would also sever something between us that we would never get back. They would dissolve the blind trust that we had always had in each other before.

I slowly turned to face her.

21.6Yes. I did still trust, and I hoped that Pam and I could trust each other again, but it was time for both of us to learn that to trust blindly was folly.

If you can’t trust me more than Bill Compton or—or—a Werewolf for Christ’s sake, then release me and get it over with,” she said, her voice stronger now.

21.7I looked her in the eyes, every single bit of my energy focusing on them. Godric had taught me that when torture was used—and make no mistake, I knew that’s exactly what I’d been subjecting my child to—there was a moment of crisis right before the one being tortured gave up the last shred of information. There was a resolution in the tortured person in that moment, and it was a sign that he or she was going to admit that which would hurt him or her the most.

For Pam, that moment was here, and I knew that after it, I would be absolutely certain that my progeny had had nothing to do with Russell’s release. It needed to happen, but after it did, nothing would ever be the same.

21.8Just say the words,” she begged, even as her voice betrayed the hope that I never would, “‘As your maker,'” she said, pausing after every word as if it hurt her physically, “‘I release you.’ Say it, and we’re done!”

I said nothing as I studied her and waited.

Say it!” she yelled.

21.9I sighed. She had broken. And she was innocent.

Yes—Pam hated Sookie. Yes—part of her wanted to kill her. Yes—part of her wanted Russell to kill her now that he was out of the ground. But I knew in that moment that Pamela had not betrayed me. She was willing to suffer that which she feared the most: my abandonment of her. And she was willing to suffer it in order to prove herself to me.

Indeed, I felt great pride in my progeny, and I opened our bond again in order to let her feel it too. She looked up at me with confused eyes.

21.10Yes. I loved my child. But I also knew that I would have to release her—not in anger and not because I thought she had betrayed me. The last thing I would do if I really thought she had betrayed me was to release her. I would kill her or at least keep her under my power so that I could order her to do as I bid.

No. I would release her so that we could begin rebuilding the trust between us. I knew that we would now have to be on more equal footing to do that.

However, in releasing her, I was going to lose a great deal of my connection to her. I would no longer feel her emotions as I did now. And I would no longer be an immediate presence inside of her either. I would be able to sense that she was alive, and I would still be able to “call” her if I wanted to, but she would not have to answer my call.

As I waited for Pam to calm down and to accept the affection that I was now sending her through our bond, I recalled standing outside of the Fellowship of the Sun church in Dallas with Isobel. I couldn’t even feel Godric’s presence there. It had taken Sookie’s message through a fucking bellboy to confirm that Godric was inside, for he had chosen to shut himself off fully from me by that time. I hadn’t even known if he was alive or dead. I had promised myself that I would never do that to Pam. But—in releasing her—I would be breaking that vow. I would be making it impossible for her to feel me at all—unless I chose to “call” her.

“What the fuck, Eric?” Pam squeaked a little.

Slowly, I eliminated the few steps between us. With my thumb, I gently brushed away some of her tears, bent down, and kissed her on the forehead.

Her expression showed her confusion at my gesture.

“I hope that you and I will always be connected, Pamela,” I said in a soft voice, meant to start the healing that would have to occur between us now. “I am sorry that I had to hurt you, but I had to be sure.”

She gasped. “That was an act?” she asked, her voice sounding almost as betrayed as before.

“A necessary one,” I responded, even as I wondered how my voice could sound both stern and contrite in the same moment.

“I understand,” she said shakily even though I knew that she didn’t.

“Go clean your beautiful face before your child comes.” I smiled a little. “We—none of us—like seeing our makers in pain, dotter. We will talk more later,” I promised.

Though still obviously a little confused, she nodded before turning to walk to the employee washroom as I went to my office to speak with Bill.

I was bolstered by only one fact. I may have tortured Pam in order to find out for sure that she hadn’t betrayed me, but—unless I saw no other way out of a situation—I would not abandon her as Godric had abandoned me when he’d walked into that Fellowship church.

I sighed deeply.

I would abandon neither my child nor the woman I loved―even if I had to let them both go.

Fucking paradoxes!


 

I don’t say this enough, but many, many thanks to Kleannhouse for the extra set of eyes and Sephrenia for the amazing visuals.  You gals rock!


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Eric Notman

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13 thoughts on “Chapter 21: Paradoxes

  1. Ugh. I love these two so much. I actually shipped their bond more than Sookie and Eric in the show(not as a couple though). Well, I actually never cared who Eric was with in the show, I just loved Askars lol. anyway, off track, really enjoying this but this scene killed me in the show. off track again….but I don’t suppose the muse for “Who’s your Daddy” will be showing up anytime soon? I REALLY miss that story! thank you so much for all the time you spend writing and sharing with us!

    1. Funny you mentioned Who’s Your Daddy! I was working on it earlier. The problem is that the next section I’ve written is too long for one chapter and too short for two chapters. LOL. Currently, I’m trying to think about how either make it longer or shorter.

      🙂
      kat

  2. So glad I just read these two chapters back to back. I actually am finding it hard to remember all the details from the show while I read this so it’s almost like a new story for me. The one thing I do know is that getting your version is better than what happened on tb. (Even though the events are the same, it’s good to know erics thoughts) I am very interested to see how you spin the fact that they use sookie to find Russell and where you are gonna stop the cannon. Just to the last scene from season 5 or a little into season 6. Either way I’m loving this and looking forward to more and those chapters (😉) from Whose Your Daddy?.

  3. I feel bad for both of them in this chapter.

    As for “Who’s Your Daddy” ,there is absolutely nothing wrong with a really long chapter.

  4. I have loved these last few chapters but I must admit I was greedy and saved them up to read together . Eric’s pondering and self analysis puts such a different slant on canon that it not only makes it palatable but absolutely addicting . Pam I truly think that she believes she has done nothing wrong but when you think back to her making it was on her terms and her timing , I think this set the precedence for their relationship she had forced his hand , she had set the terms over a thousand ( give or take at the time ) year old vampire. Yes he could have let her die but in choosing to turn her he ultimately he gave her that sense of power over him . So discovering that another has managed an illicit emotional reaction like one she has never received from him has prompted her to try forcing his hand yet again but with not receiving what she wanted when she wanted has made this confrontation between them inevitable . While I think this may be an explanation for her behaviours I still think Pam is spoiled , jealous and manipulative with a sense of self entitlement ( her TB character traits ) , she may believe Sookie is toxic for Eric but I believe that is true to a degree about her relationship with Eric . I don’t believe Eric is blameless he has enabled her from that first decision to turn her . So musings over lol , your writing always makes me want to dig deeper and dissect and muse .
    Looking forward to your continuing spin . Thanks for the continuing commitment to these stories .

  5. This chapter was so devastating for Eric…
    so hard for him to do that gesture to Pam!
    and Pam still thinks she hasn’t did nothing wrong…
    I hate how TB didn’t do justice to Pam’s character…
    Jackie69

  6. COMMENTS ON THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE STORY:
    Duckbutt says:
    November 11, 2012 at 11:44 am
    And….then we’re off to see Sookie –hopefully Eric will see the funny part of Sookie throwing up on Alcide’s shoes…..that what he “feels” in her is in direct contradiction to what she’s doing with Alcide. I find that folks who get upset with Sookie and Alicde getting together waving the double standard flag after what Bill and Eric did at the Authority. Some would sya they did their funcking out of the need to survivie; well —Sookie and Alicde would be the need to reconnect, to feel “human” after the losses they both suffered –I can’t blame them –even if it’s something that wouldn’t have lasted….would Eric understand ‘survivors fuck”?
    pat

    theladykt says:
    November 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    I kinda worried that it was Pam during the season, just a smidge though.

    tyesmamaw says:
    February 2, 2013 at 8:48 am
    Just got all caught up and can’t wait to see where you take this. Season 5 was a big disappointment for me so hopefully this will be a better outcome.

    gwynwyvar says:
    January 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm
    Absolutely brilliant take.
    Wow! I am very much enjoying this story. I might not be reviewing much, but thats mainly because i am so excited and anxious to click ‘next’ 🙂
    Reply
    gwynwyvar says:
    January 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm
    Doh! No next button… Is there a ‘next’ … Must hunt
    Reply
    californiakat1564 says:
    January 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm
    sorry. I left his one in hiatus as I work on other stuff. I hope to return one day. It’s the only one I’ve ever left like this….. 😦
    Kat
    Reply
    gwynwyvar says:
    January 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm
    Ahh 🙂 thus explains the no ‘next’ button !
    All good, hope you can come back to it too. I really like your take on Eric’s thoughts. And yeah ASkars eyes… Mmm, so pretty and just, everything! I love watching eyes too.. And his hands.. Shoulders.. Mouth.. Butt… Sigh..
    *starts chanting something that seems well repeated*
    “He is not a piece of meat, he is not a piece of meat, he is not a piece of meat…”
    But dang, he is cut quite nicely!

    morggys says:
    January 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm
    I remember reading this on Fanfiction.Net and eagerly awaiting for more. I hope you can cotinue someday! I love it!

    gail blonder says:
    February 19, 2014 at 6:16 pm
    I love the drama of this story. Hope you continue it soon! I just can’t remember who dug Russell up

    georgiasuzy says:
    March 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm
    Wow, I just found this story and it’s great! You had quite a challenge working with THAT particular season. I can’t remember the last episode of season 5, so I don’t know how much you had left on this story. So far you managed to make me feel better about the whole Nora crap even tho I still hate her. that Eric was unable to climax with her helped me a lot. I hope you do pick this one up again and finish it however you want (as long as I get my ES HEA). You did a great job so far!

    kinnik says:
    May 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm
    Do you think you will come to this one? I know we’ve all seen the episodes and the whole season after it…for all the good THAT did…but, this is such a great story from EPOV. I am following all of your stories (and voted for you for many of them as well as favorite author), but hopefully someday you will return to what should have happened. 🙂 while keeping the confines of what did. I read this before, but just had a feeling that I needed to go and read it again. It really is great. Thanks for writing it!

    Claire says:
    August 12, 2014 at 8:36 pm
    Awesome 🙂 will u be writting more on this story ? 🙂

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