“Hope is the dream of a waking man.”—Aristotle
As Sookie tried to open her eyes, she wondered how such a simple action could be causing her so much pain. She soon realized that every single inch of her body was aching. She tried to bring her hand up to her throbbing head, but had to stop halfway and then let gravity take her hand back to the bed.
She let out a whimper as she finally got her eyes to open and tried to take in her surroundings. She was in her bedroom in the Slidell house. A hint of warm light, probably from the lamp on the other side of the room, was the only illumination. Sookie, however, didn’t dare to turn her head to confirm this theory.
“You’re awake!” said a way too cheerful voice.
Sookie managed to move her head enough to see that Amelia was sitting in the same chair that Eric had been watching her from before.
“Excellent!” Amelia said, standing up and coming over to Sookie.
The telepath cringed at the loud sounds of the witch’s voice and mind, but was happy that Amelia’s thoughts exactly matched her words. At least, she didn’t have to deal with two different voices in that moment. Sookie wasn’t sure she could have handled that!
“Octavia told me to make sure that you drink lots of water,” Amelia said. “And she made you a special tea too.”
“Not so loud,” Sookie managed to squeak out.
“Oh!” Amelia said even louder, causing a jackhammer to begin pounding in Sookie’s brain. The witch seemed to realize her mistake then and spoke in a whisper, “Sorry.”
It was a shame that her thoughts didn’t transition to a lower volume too.
Making up for the noise, Amelia gently propped Sookie up a little bit and held out a cup of water for her to drink from. Thankfully, it had a straw.
After swallowing a sip of the soothing liquid, Sookie noticed for the first time that there was an IV in her left arm.
“What time is it?” Sookie asked after she’d had a few more sips. The water felt glorious as it lubricated her dry throat.
“Noon or so,” Amelia said. “But you slept through all of yesterday and last night—and the night before last. I was starting to worry. So was he,” she gestured in the direction of the other side of the bed.
“He?” Sookie asked, not quite able to turn her head to look where Amelia was pointing. “Eric?”
“Yep,” Amelia whispered. “He must have called Octavia five times last night. But she said it was good that you were still sleeping.” She grinned. “She also told him to chill out and to stay put.”
“Stay put?” Sookie asked.
“Yep,” the witch answered again. “He was your helper during the spell, so having him close is helping you to heal a little faster.”
Sookie’s face immediately turned red as she recalled certain parts of that spell—like the part where she was rubbing her naked body all over Eric’s naked body.
Amelia giggled as she gestured for Sookie to drink again. The noise made Sookie close her eyes in pain, but she forced herself to drink.
“I wouldn’t worry about what I think you’re worrying about,” Amelia said in a low tone. “Octavia said it was normal for you to seek out comfort from your helper. Plus, it would have been almost impossible for you to resist him specifically.”
“Him specifically?” Sookie squeaked as her blush grew.
“Yeah,” Amelia whispered, though her tone was that of an old gossip. “Octavia’s done three severing spells now and she’s heard of and witnessed others, but none have been with a vampire as the human’s helper. The person getting the spell done will always crave the comfort of his or her helper’s touch, but the fever the spell brings on would have made a vampire feel even better than a human, especially since it took so much longer than usual for all the vamp blood to leave your system.”
“Eric did feel—uh—cool,” Sookie admitted as her blush lessened.
“And he’s hot too,” the witch said with a wink. “But not in temperature,” she added with another giggle. “I would rub up against him any time—if I thought he’d let me.”
Sookie’s blush was immediately back in full force.
Amelia shook her head a little as she gave Sookie another drink. “I thought that other vamp’s blood was never gonna leave you!” she exclaimed, though thankfully still in a relatively quiet tone. “Octavia thinks it was because he wove another dream, so his blood was looking to make mischief anyway. Plus, there was a lot in you. Even Eric’s blood took a long time to burn away,” Amelia shared, “and he wasn’t fighting the spell off—not for the most part, at least.”
“For the most part?” Sookie asked, feeling a little confused.
“Yeah,” Amelia confirmed as she prompted Sookie to drink more. “And what he did was so amazing! And he is so handsome!” she said with wistfulness in her voice. “You are one lucky girl,” she continued, “though he was also scary when he was mad last night. I mean really, really scary! I’m just glad that it was Octavia he was mad at and that I wasn’t here when he was calling her. But I could hear everything he said—I mean yelled—’cause she had the speaker phone on.” Amelia shivered a little. “But don’t worry. We were totally alone in her shop, and that place is warded like crazy, so no one would’ve heard him talkin’ or anything.”
Sookie latched onto one of the first things Amelia had said in her somewhat rambling speech. “What did you mean when you said that what Eric did was amazing?” she croaked out.
“Oh—that’s right. You wouldn’t have been able to tell what he was doing!” Amelia exclaimed a little louder before quieting down again when Sookie cringed. “He left some of his blood in your body.”
“What?” Sookie exclaimed, almost choking on her drink. She groaned at the pain of her own outburst.
“Oh, don’t worry. His blood’s gone now,” Amelia assured when she realized what Sookie was upset about. “But Octavia did give him the option of keeping some in you.” The witch shrugged. “It probably would have been smarter if he had.”
“But he didn’t?” Sookie asked quietly.
“Nope. But he did keep some of his blood in you long enough to help us.” Amelia smiled over at the other side of the bed where Sookie assumed Eric was dead for the day.
“What do you mean?” Sookie questioned.
“The other vampire’s blood—Bill’s blood—was really crafty in hiding from Octavia’s spell. From the way he wove your dream the other day, she figured that he’d hide inside of your fears.”
“Yeah,” Sookie said. “That’s why she had to say all of those things when the spell was starting.”
“Yep,” Amelia answered somewhat contritely before once again placing the straw at Sookie’s lips. “But she missed something.”
“Uncle Bartlett,” Sookie remembered. She began to shake a little.
“Yeah,” Amelia said quietly as she set down the almost empty glass.
The witch took and held Sookie’s hand lightly. The telepath was grateful for the comfort, even though Amelia’s touch hurt a bit.
Amelia went on excitedly. “Eric helped us to find that memory inside of you; in fact, his blood pretty much led us to the other vampire’s blood. It was incredible!” Amelia’s smiled warmly. “Not even Octavia knew that vampire blood could do that! Of course, severing spells are rare as it is! And Octavia and I couldn’t find a record of one being done where there were two vampires being severed from the human—let alone where one of those vampires did not give approval for the severing. Let alone where the other vampire was acting as the human’s helper—during the day no less!” She chuckled. “Nope, I think it’s safe to say that a spell like that one’s never happened before!”
Sookie shook her head a little as Amelia picked back up the water.
Amelia rambled on happily, though—thankfully—she continued in a quieter tone. “I mean—imagine! A severing spell that takes from dawn to almost sundown! Then, add onto that the fact that one of the vampires is a dream-weaver! And the other vampire takes on some of the pain! I mean—wow!” She prompted Sookie to take another sip.
“And then, it got really nerve-wracking! Octavia and I started to worry that we wouldn’t get done before sunset because Bill started using your own shields from your telepathy to hide behind! But then Eric’s blood started showing us the way to Bill’s blood! It was like Eric was using those glow wand thingies that airport people use to guide airplanes into gates. It was the coolest thing, Sookie!”
The witch looked down at the telepath and was immediately apologetic when she saw the pain in Sookie’s eyes. “I’m sorry,” Amelia said contritely. “I’m just goin’ on and on—aren’t I? It was just something I’m never gonna see again—probably.”
“It’s okay,” Sookie said before finishing off the water. Her conversation with Amelia had exhausted her.
“Uh,” Amelia said a bit awkwardly, “do you want me to take out your catheter now? Or do you wanna wait till tomorrow when you are stronger?”
“Catheter?” Sookie cringed. She reddened at the idea of Eric being in the same bed with her when she had one of those in.
“Yeah. I had to put it in yesterday since you hadn’t woken up. But don’t worry. I worked as a nurse for five years—before I took up the older medicinal arts fulltime.”
Sookie quickly weighed the pros and cons of keeping in the catheter. On the one hand, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to go to the bathroom without help for a while. On the other hand, she didn’t want to keep in a catheter, especially since Eric would be around. In the end, it was her vanity that made her decision for her.
“Can you take it out?” she asked in a whisper.
“Sure thing,” Amelia said as she put on a pair of gloves. Sookie looked away as Amelia did her work. “You wanna try to go to the bathroom now?” the witch asked after she’d cleaned Sookie up and disposed of the device. “We could put you in a warm bath for a bit too. It’d do good to burn off some of your fever.”
“I have a fever?” Sookie asked.
“Oh yeah,” Amelia chuckled. “Still about a hundred and two, I’m guessing. I gave you some fluids through your IV yesterday, but your temperature’s been staying pretty high.”
“Do I have to keep this in too?” Sookie asked as she raised her arm a bit.
Amelia looked at the IV. “No—as long as you are awake enough to drink water and eat a little, it will be fine to take it out.”
Sookie nodded and then looked away again as the witch took out the IV.
Getting Sookie up and into the bathroom was an adventure in pain for the telepath, but Amelia was stronger than she looked, so she was able to support much of Sookie’s weight. Amelia helped Sookie sit down on the toilet and then lean slightly against the wall before she turned on the water for the tub. Then—thankfully—she left the room so that Sookie could use the bathroom in private. Sookie was thankful to find that she wasn’t that sore from the catheter.
Once Sookie was done on the toilet and the warm bath had been drawn, the witch helped Sookie remove her nightgown and then get settled into the tub.
“You really are pretty,” Amelia sighed, not hiding her appreciation of the telepath’s body.
“Oh—uh—thanks,” Sookie said awkwardly.
“Don’t worry,” Amelia chuckled. “I get that you aren’t into girls—not that I blame you with Eric around.” She sighed wistfully.
“You—uh—like him too?” Sookie stated as much as asked. She’d already heard enough of Amelia’s thoughts to know that the witch was appreciative of Eric.
Amelia grinned. “I don’t discriminate when it comes to picking lovers,” she said proudly. “I just go with what feels good at the moment.”
Sookie blushed a little, her somewhat conservative upbringing rearing its head. However, the telepath had also been taught by Gran not to judge others based on their race, religion, or sexual orientation, and she wasn’t about to start with the woman who was helping to nurse her back to health. “Well,” Sookie said, even as she enjoyed the feeling of the warm water against her sore muscles, “I’m sure that helps you to have more options.”
“Exactly!” Amelia giggled, forgetting her inside voice for a moment. Sookie cringed a little. “Sorry,” the witch said contritely.
With the help of Amelia, who kept a supporting hand on Sookie’s arm, the telepath was able to soak in the tub for almost ten minutes before exhaustion set in.
“You should do this again once Eric is up,” Amelia commented as she lifted the drain of the tub. The witch had decided that it would be easier to begin drying Sookie while she was still sitting in the empty bathtub.
Sookie immediately blushed. “Uh—I don’t think so.”
“But you took a bath with him the other night—after the spell. He got into the tub with you, and he was able to support you. I’m sure he would be willing to do that again.”
By the end of Amelia’s comment, Sookie was flaming red.
Amelia looked at Sookie with confusion and then realization. “Oh! I had assumed that you two were together—a couple.”
Sookie shook her head. “No,” she whispered.
“Really? You’re not?” Amelia asked with disbelief.
“Really,” Sookie said. “We’re not.”
“That’s weird then,” Amelia commented, almost as an aside.
“Yeah—weird that he’s been so worried about you and all. I figured that y’all were a couple from the way he was acting.”
“We’re friends—I think,” Sookie said as Amelia helped her out of the tub.
The witch just shrugged. “Okay then.” Amelia quickly finished drying Sookie off before helping her into a fresh nightgown.
The two didn’t say anything else for a while as Sookie leaned into Amelia’s side, and they slowly made their way back to the bed. Amelia was still contemplating the unlikelihood of a vampire behaving like Eric had been, especially given the fact that he was not Sookie’s lover. Meanwhile, Sookie was looking at the lump on the other side of the bed. All that she could see of the Viking was a bit of blond hair above the blanket. She still couldn’t fathom why he’d agreed to stay with her during the day, especially since there was someone else there. Of course, she knew that Amelia had likely been glamoured to within an inch of her life not to harm him. And Eric obviously trusted Octavia. But—still—Sookie had never seen him so vulnerable.
As soon as Amelia had gotten her settled back into bed, Sookie stretched out her telepathy as far as she could—even though it hurt like hell to do so. She breathed a sigh of relief when she was certain that no threatening minds were close to them.
“You should drink a little more water before you go back to sleep, and then when you wake up again, you can try some broth and Octavia’s tea,” Amelia said as she filled the glass from a pitcher beside the bed.
Sookie nodded and accepted the water gratefully. The trip from the bathroom, as well as the stretching out of her telepathy, had been very tiring. However, after about half the glass was gone, Sookie indicated that she’d had enough.
Amelia tucked the blankets around Sookie, who suddenly felt very hot even though she was shaking a bit.
“Too hot,” the telepath whimpered, as she tried to un-tuck herself.
“Uh—you should stay under the covers; it’ll help your fever break. Why don’t you snuggle up next to the built-in air conditioner in your bed?”
Sookie moved her head slightly and looked at where Eric was resting. She still couldn’t see most of him.
Amelia continued, “I—uh—know you said that you’re not together, but Octavia said that the closer you are to him, the better. I—uh—think he’s been holding you pretty much all night long. But he knew I was planning to feed you through the IV again and to give you a sponge bath if you didn’t wake up today. I think that’s why he put himself a little further away from you before he—uh—died for the day.” She bit her lip nervously. “Yesterday, he was holding you while he was sleeping. But—again—Octavia said that was for the best.”
Sookie sighed. “But what if he’s—uh—naked?”
Amelia grinned and winked. “I could look for you, but from what I could tell, he was wearing boxer-briefs when he settled into bed.”
Sookie sighed even louder and then groaned. Even making noise hurt as her fever suddenly made her want to sleep in a bathtub full of ice.
“Fine,” she relented, “but I need help moving over to him.”
Without a word—but with some pretty loud thoughts related to how she would like to be the one cozying up to Eric—Amelia helped Sookie move over in the large bed.
The telepath breathed a sigh of relief as her warm body touched the cool back of the vampire. Slowly, she worked to burrow herself against Eric’s body as much as she could and was glad when she felt a waistband. However, when her legs moved against his, she was extremely happy to find them bare. She turned her cheek so that it was flush with Eric’s smooth cool back.
She sighed at the soothing sensation.
Finally, she felt like the fever inside of her had subsided a little.
And she slept.
I hope that you liked this little scene as Sookie wakes up. I wanted to give Sookie this time before Eric wakes up in order to process what has happened and get some information from Amelia.
Click to see the story timeline so far if you need to be reminded of what’s happened so far–and when it happened.