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.
“Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die.”
from “The Charge Of The Light Brigade” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
It turns out that I had to make the coffee when I found Bill trying to make the beverage without grinding the beans first.
Idiot. Hadn’t he ever made coffee as a human?
Of course, the Were had refused to help, though he’d been quick to pour himself a cup.
As Sookie drank her first sips, she seemed determined to dominate the ‘conversation’—actually her words were more like a rambling monologue, complete with slurring.
And—even more—I was enjoying just being near her.
“I mean—how much more am I supposed to take?” Sookie’s ramble continued. “Serial killers—check. A maenad—check. A fanatical religious group—check. Oh—and by the way—Jason told me that Steve Newlin’s a vampire now—so that should be awesome,” she added as an aside before taking another sip of coffee. “Where was I?”
“Oh—yes—thanks. Speaking of which—did you know that I was almost raped there? So that can get added to the ‘terrible tally’ too! Of course, that’s when Godric appeared. I think he appeared out of thin air—come to think of it. Hey—can y’all do that? Appear out of thin air?”
“No,” I said with a smirk.
“Sookie, we need to get down to business,” Bill said with an eye roll.
Sookie ignored him. “‘Cause fairies can—appear out of thin air.” She snapped her fingers and took another drink. “Wait—where was I?”
“Fairies—out of thin air,” I said, snapping and sitting back in my chair. I was enjoying her diatribe, though not all of her accompanying emotions. I wanted her happy.
“That’s right! Fairies—check. Witches—check. Possessed witches—check. Hey,” she said, looking at me pointedly, “you’re old!”
“Correct,” I smiled.
“Did you know that witches could be possessed by other witches?”
“Nope,” I responded. “I’d never seen that before.”
“With you around—more than one thing,” I grinned.
“Where was I?” she asked after she swallowed another sip.
“Right!” she said, taking another sip. “Hey—this coffee’s really good! Anyway. Wait. Where was I?”
“Still at witches,” I chuckled.
“Right! Demons—check. Crazy Weres—check. Sorry, Alcide, but Debbie was crazy. I mean—she did try to kill me. More than once. Why’d you take her back again?”
“I—uh . . . ,” Alcide started.
“Never mind! Doesn’t matter!” Sookie interrupted with a wave of her hand.
The Were got up from the table and moved behind Bill and me—obviously to brood.
The view was better without him at the table. And—thankfully—he’d finally decided to clean off his rank boots.
“Russell,” I supplied.
“Oh—yeah! A three-thousand-year-old vampire—check. A bomb—check. Demons—check.
“You said demons already,” Bill sighed.
“But did I say demons possessing a witch?” she asked, glaring at Bill. “Nope—I don’t think so!”
“A rocket,” I supplied when she took another drink.
“Check!” she enthused. “A car wreck—check!”
“Wait,” I said, “when was that?”
“Just today!” she said lifting up her empty coffee cup. “Is there more of this?”
“Check,” I said as I zipped into the kitchen to get the pot. I filled her cup and then zipped the carafe back to its heat source.
“Thanks.” She took a long sip. “Where was I?”
“Telling us about your car accident,” I said as I sat back down.
“Oh—that? That was nothing. My car just went crazy. Hey,” she said, looking at me pointedly again, “you’re old.”
“We’ve already covered that,” Bill said impatiently.
Again, she ignored the king. “Can cars be possessed?”
“Maybe,” I returned, contemplating the matter.
“Possessed car—check!” she said.
“Where is your vehicle?” I asked.
“Well—it was wrapped around a pole ‘like a giant banana split’! But Lafayette said he’d call Jeb Lecroy for me to have it towed! Hey—speaking of poles . . . ,” she started, before taking a gulp. “Where was I?”
“Poles!” Bill practically snarled.
Asshole. One would think that someone claiming to “love” Sookie wouldn’t be impatient in that moment. I glanced at the king. The fuckwit didn’t even seem to register that Sookie had almost died that day due to a car that “went crazy!” As for myself, I intended to look into the matter further. My renovations of Sookie’s home had also included a new engine and transmission for her car. I quickly texted Bobby to make sure that Lecroy repaired the vehicle from stem to stern. Though I knew Sookie wouldn’t accept a new vehicle from me, I could make sure that the mechanic lied his ass off to her about the cost of any repairs. And she would be getting another new engine and transmission no matter what—not that she needed to know about that!
“Secret vampire business,” I winked, “but rest assured, I am still carefully listening to you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Really? Then, what was I talkin’ about before?” she asked, her tone challenging me to provide the correct answer.
“Poles,” I grinned. “And—might I add—I have a particular image in mind. You. A pole. A private dance,” I added cheekily, even as the Were growled behind me.
Sookie ignored my suggestive remark. “Poles? Really? Poles? What was I saying about them?” she asked.
“No idea,” Bill said with another longsuffering sigh.
“Oh well!” she shrugged. “Oh—I almost forgot a vampire queen! And a fairy queen! Two queens—check and check! And three jokers!” she laughed, looking from Alcide to Bill and then to me.”
“A full house,” I smirked.
“Speak for yourself,” I intoned.
Bill glared at me. “You said the shower and the coffee would make her sober.”
“Oh, I am sober, dipshit!” she said to Bill. Since the word, ‘dipshit’ was only slightly slurred, I wasn’t about to disagree with her. I didn’t want to be a ‘dipshit’ too. “I just don’t wanna hear what you have to say,” she added emphatically.
“Well—now I don’t care,” she responded.
Bill let out a sigh. “We need your help, Sookie.”
“When do you not?” she asked, taking another drink. Seeing her cup was empty, I once again refilled it.
When I sat back down, Bill launched into his explanation, telling Sookie what we wanted her to do: try to read the thoughts of a human who had likely been glamoured.
“I’m not even sure that’s possible,” Sookie said, clearly more sober now. I could feel her self-doubt. And, as she’d been sobering, I’d also felt her increasing discomfort. At least her frustration regarding Bill and my request had replaced her intense sorrow from earlier.
“You succeeded before—with Tara,” Bill said.
“That was a maenad spell,” Sookie reminded. “I’ve never tried to un-glamour someone.” She frowned a little. “Where were you guys anyway? We were worried.”
“Clearly,” I intoned before I could stop myself. I was glad to feel that she was miffed by my remark, rather than hurt by it.
Sookie gave me something of a challenging look, and I smirked a little—happy to see that her spirit was still there.
With Bill, she was always quick to forgive—too quick in my opinion. With Alcide, she was always quick to overlook his shortcomings—again—too quick in my opinion.
With me? Well—she was quick to show me her fire. It wasn’t necessarily fair, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, I loved it—loved that she challenged me at every turn. It told me that she expected more of me—even if she didn’t acknowledge that. And why shouldn’t she expect more? After all, I could give her more, goddammit!
If only she’d let me.
“Alcide’s employee is the only person who can identify whoever it was that freed Russell,” Bill explained.
I wasn’t so sure about that, but—given the fact that I wanted to make sure that Alcide wasn’t the leak—it seemed expeditious to pursue the lead.
“I don’t want Doug mixed up in this bullshit. You fangers bring nothing but trouble and death!” Alcide said unpleasantly.
I reacted to his slur as much as anything else. “Well, we don’t need your permission, wolf.”
Bill turned to face Alcide. “Russell has been under the ground for over a year, and it’ll take him a few days to recuperate, and then when he does, he will be straight out after us on the hunt!”
Alcide sneered at Bill, “‘Cause you didn’t kill him when you had the chance.”
“What did you say?” Bill asked acrimoniously.
“You heard me,” Alcide practically barked.
What followed could be—at best—described as a ‘disagreement’ between people of differing opinions. However, what was really happening was three males posturing. We were arguing about one issue—when we wanted to be fighting over a woman.
Alcide, Bill, and I all looked at her.
“I’m sorry,” she said, trying to compose herself. “I just keep thinking that if I make the right choice, all this madness will end and my life will go back to normal. But it’s not gonna end, is it? This—is it,” she commented almost hopelessly. “It’s not gonna change. We say goodbye, and—the next thing—you guys are back in my house, and a 3,000-year-old vampire wants to suck my blood.” She stood up. “Must be Thursday!” she added with a flourish.
I couldn’t remember feeling so equally amused, aroused, and angry all at the same time. The right choice? That choice was right in-fucking-front of her! It wasn’t as if I was easily ‘missed’—given my 6’4″ frame! And “normal?” Was she fucking kidding me? She was anything but normal. And—to me—that was a good thing. I sighed, knowing that Sookie would never be at peace with herself until she embraced both sides of herself. But she was continuously trying to put Fairy Sookie back in the fucking bottle!
Of course, paradoxically, it was Fairy Sookie who created the resilience in my bonded. Fairy Sookie had brought her to her feet. Fairy Sookie had laughed instead of cried. Fairy Sookie had stamped down the hopelessness and replaced it with resolution.
Both Sookies were amazing—to me.
God, I loved her. Only Sookie Stackhouse would refer to a poem by Tennyson and a song about drunken vomiting in a single breath.
As she stepped through the broken glass of the door, “thanking” Tara on the way, my amusement turned to concern. Her references were both apt. The idiom “boot and rally” literally meant to “vomit” and then to carry on—though it usually referred to a continuation of some kind of partying. Not surprisingly, I’d been forced to listen to drunken humans singing Iggy Pop’s “Let’s Boot and Rally” many a time at Fangtasia.
However, Sookie’s literary reference was just as apropos—maybe even more so. Tennyson had written his poem about the six hundred or so Light Brigade members who had fought nobly during the Battle of Balaclava—despite immeasurable odds against them. I recalled some of the more famous lines from the poem:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d ?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Despite being ordered to fight because of a “blunder” by one of their superiors, the Light Brigade had not questioned their orders. They’d marched into battle and had fought as valiantly as possible—by all accounts. Tennyson had written the poem mainly to celebrate the unquestioning soldiers—who didn’t “reason why,” even though they knew there was a strong chance that they would “do and die.”
I had mixed feelings as I thought about the poem’s connection to my current situation. In many ways, I was in a similar situation as the soldiers in the poem. Though I did “reason why,” I had to “do” and would probably “die.”
I had no choice.
I just hoped that I wasn’t following a “blundering” leader, and I wasn’t just talking about Bill either. If the Guardian’s chancellery had been infiltrated, was he still worthy of being followed? Oh—I wasn’t about to become a Sanguinista! But I also didn’t want to stay on a sinking ship.
I stood and followed Sookie through the broken door.
Boot and rally—indeed.
A/N: Okay-I have to say that I loved writing the “extended scene” you find in this chapter! Writing a drunken Sookie and an amused Eric kept me chuckling. Of course, the part we saw on the show is in bold, as always. But I really wanted to develop this already pretty poignant and funny scene. Hope you liked it!