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.
Concern and practicality mixed inside of me.
Was I concerned that Bill had decided to bring Sookie into the mix? Yes.
Yet would she be helpful to us in finding Russell Edgington? Knowing her? Absolutely.
Did I want to be far, far away from her as long as I was being staked out—quite literally—by an iStake? Yup.
But was I happy to have her near? Definitely.
For the first time in days, the bond between Sookie and me wasn’t pulling on me—or on her. It was settled. She felt more settled. I felt more settled.
Yet, paradoxically, being near her was unsettling too, for I could feel that a large part of her didn’t want to be near me.
By contrast, I felt her higher level of comfort with the Were.
I felt her affection for Bill—though she tried to push that down.
For me, she felt both more and less. When she glanced my way, I felt her longing. It felt like she was missing me, even as she was looking at me. That was because she was missing the “me” from before—the “me” who’d not remembered himself. That Eric had been the one she’d bonded herself to.
I felt my sorrow acutely over that revelation as Alcide introduced Sookie to Doug, who turned out to be rather greasy looking. And smelly. Clearly, Doug lived on the premises of the facility. I’d seen him many times in the video footage. And, clearly, he didn’t feel the need to bathe very often.
Still, Sookie reached out to shake his hand as if she were meeting him at a church picnic. That was just her way.
I felt my hand elevate, and I took a step toward her, but then I consciously stopped all of my limbs from seeking her—especially the appendage in my pants. Just being near her had been enough to cause me to be at “half-mast” throughout the night. But being fully aroused in Doug’s smelly little “bedroom/office?” No—that wouldn’t do at all!
To make sure that didn’t happen, I looked back at the hairy man as he asked what he could do for us.
Was that spittle in the corner of his mouth? Gross.
Despite that sight, my efforts to stop my dick from taking a look around were undermined when Sookie asked half-apologetically and half-matter-of-factly if she could read Doug’s thoughts. From her tone, one would think she was simply asking to borrow a cup of sugar.
Of course, Doug had agreed! Who wouldn’t? She’d managed to charm him and disarm him all at once. She was good at that.
It was just her way.
“Well?” she asked, looked at Bill with impatience. “What do you want to ask him?”
“As I told you before, we need to know about the night that Russell disappeared,” Bill said.
“He doesn’t know anything about Russell!” she said, rolling her eyes. “Geez! That’s not the way to get his memories to where we need them,” she critiqued.
I smirked. Yep it was gonna be hard not to get hard around her when she was in “Fairy Sookie” mode.
“Do you remember the night you discovered that the concrete had been damaged?” I asked him.
“Um—I guess. Sort of,” he responded, looking a little ashamed. “I—uh—was taking my break. And I must have fallen asleep ’cause I didn’t hear nothin’ happening. I—uh—woke up here and decided to take a walk around the premises to wake myself up. That’s when I saw that the cement had been damaged.”
“You have cameras here?” Bill asked.
“Yep—I checked them first thing, but I—uh—must have done somethin’ wrong ’cause I erased the feeds for that whole night. Accidentally. That’s when I called Alcide.”
She glared at the king a little. “Well what? Doug believes what he’s sayin’. He thinks that he’s the one who messed up, and he’s worried that Alcide will fire him for it.”
“No one’s gettin’ fired,” the wolf assured his employee. One had to question Alcide’s choice of employees, but perhaps Doug had hidden qualities. I looked back at him.
Underneath the surface.
Doug seemed to squint. “Uh—I don’t think so. Maybe. Wait—what night again?”
Sookie nodded at me. “Bingo. He’s definitely been glamoured,” she informed.
“What?” Doug asked. “No—I’d have remembered seein’ a vamper.”
“Can you get through the glamour?” I asked, not knowing what I wanted her answer to be.
“Yeah—I think so,” she replied, almost incredulously. I was feeling her self-doubt and her pride battling in that moment.
As for myself—it was difficult for me not to be more and more impressed by her skills. I hoped that one day she would embrace them.
I nodded at her and gave her a subtle smile of confidence. “Then do your thing. This is your show, Miss Stackhouse.”
She gave me a tiny smile back before her lips straightened with determination. Could she see in my eyes that I believed in her? I hoped so.
“Nothing—I swear,” he said insistently. “I was taking my break, like always . . . .”
“Somebody’s coming up to him,” Sookie interrupted, obviously using her gift to seep through the glamour.
“What do they look like?” Bill asked.
“It’s blurry. I can’t make it out,” Sookie responded, even as I felt her determination and concentration through our fledgling bond. And then I felt revelation. “It’s a woman,” she said with a mixture of surprise and certainty.
I decided that the ‘bromance’ was now officially over! Oh—Bill was justified in being suspicious of Nora. After all, evidence was evidence. And I was fucking suspicious too! But he wasn’t justified in looking so fucking triumphant about the possibility that Nora had betrayed us—me.
“Wait. She has a necklace. A pendant—like a spider. Or a bat?” Sookie relayed uncertainly, even as she was obviously still trying to decipher the image she was getting from Doug’s brain.
“No,” I said evenly, trying to maintain my calm. It wouldn’t do to conflate the situation—not when we needed to continue getting information from Doug.
“I don’t believe you!” Bill charged.
Yep—bromance definitely over.
“You said you and Nora share everything,” Bill ‘reminded’.
I’d never said that. I’d told him that Nora and I had shared much over the years. But it wasn’t the time to remind him of semantics.
“Not that,” I responded instead.
“You couldn’t keep your mouth shut and now she’s using Russell against us!” Bill indicted angrily.
“That’s absurd,” I responded, my tone steely. In truth, I wanted to rip off his fucking head in that moment! Not only was he accusing me of lying and helping a fanatic, but also he was accusing me was being stupid! As if. I continued, “Nora risked her life to free me. And you, too,” I reminded.
Bill walked past me, his eyes full of victory. I intuited that a big part of him wanted to prove that I was the bad guy—especially in front of Sookie. Gods know, he’d always tried to make me out to be the villain in her eyes.
He’d assigned himself my prosecutor from the very first time he’d come into Fangtasia with Sookie. According to him, I was dangerous and violent. I was one of the “bad” vampires, while Bill painted himself as “good” because he pretended to hate his nature.
Indeed, he’d hated it so much that the first time I’d see him he’d been draining one of Pam’s girls at her brothel! In 1905! The Civil War had ended in 1865! That’s 45 years to have gained some fucking civility! Gods know, I’d had control as a forty-year-old. No doubt, Lorena had been influencing Bill, but I’d seen no resistance or angst in his eyes regarding his actions.
I couldn’t help but to wonder where the fuck Bill got off in judging me! He’d never seen nor heard of me participating in slaughter against innocents.
Because I never had!
That was Bill’s fucking department!
Still—I did consider some of Bill’s words. Though I’d not told Nora about Russell, she could very well be the vampiress in Doug’s mind.
In that moment, my eyes caught Sookie’s. They were such an enigma: bright as the sun and brown as the earth.
Suspicious and caring.
She was looking at me as if I might very well be the villain. She was looking at me as if she didn’t want me to be. And, paradoxically, her eyes held trust.
And her feelings—slingshotting through our bond erratically—were just as hard to read as her eyes were.
Still, she grounded me—helped me to stay calm.
“Godric’s second child. My vampire sister,” I said honestly.
“Godric had another—uh—kid?” Sookie asked.
“Yes. She was a Chancellor in the Authority,” I informed, having no reason to protect Nora’s secrets anymore. “Bill believes that she’s working with a group of fanatic vampires who want to treat humans like animals. He believes her to be the woman in Doug’s memories.”
“Do you think she is?” she asked, her eyes showing compassion for me.
As much as her feelings might have been mixed regarding me, I could tell that she still cared for me deeply.
It was her way.
Sookie nodded, even as Alcide grunted in impatience. “We don’t need to hear about your dysfunctional family, Northman. Let’s get this show on the road!”
Sookie gave the Were a disapproving look—which he totally missed—and then turned back to Doug. “What did the woman do?” she asked him.
Sookie took a deep breath. “She asked Doug to carry Russell out of there. I can see Russell in his thoughts!” Her nose screwed up in distaste. “He looked awful!”
“Yes—he would have been very weak,” I confirmed.
“I think I can figure out where they went,” Sookie informed, her eyes shutting tightly again. “I can see Doug walking—following the female vampire.”
I nodded. “Lead the way, Sookie.”
She gave me a smile and did just that.
It was her way.
A/N: It was odd to me just how little Eric and Sookie were interacting, despite the fact that they were in scenes together. I felt that, even then, we were getting Bill shoved down our faces as he seemed to be taking the lead. I wanted to extend this scene to show more Sookie and Eric interaction. I think it fits their personalities, and I hope you agree.