Summary: Set at the end of True Blood, Season 4, what if it wasn’t Tara whom Debbie Pelt killed? What if it was Sookie? (A vampire-Sookie story & a re-imagining of Season 5)
Context: Sookie has just left Eric and Bill at the end of Season 4, telling them that she can’t be with either one of them. But she doesn’t linger at Bill’s door very long. Instead, she visits Gran’s grave. Instead of the fairies coming for her, an old foe shows up.
Beta: Kleannhouse (“the magnificent”)
Inspiration: Recently, I snagged one of Sephrenia’s banners for adoption.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, images, lines of dialogue, and plot lines are the sole property of their creators. I own only my own imagination as it involves the characters I love; however, even my imaginary constructions would be impossible without True Blood and the Southern Vampire Mystery series. My work is not-for-profit and intended only for the enjoyment of the writer and readers. No copyright infringement is intended.
You know I can’t can’t eat a bite
And I can’t sleep at night
‘Cause you got me doin’ things
That you know ain’t right
Don’t criticize me, save me
‘Cause whatever I am you made me
Whatever I got you gave me
Whatever I am you made me
Whatever I got you gave me
—from Nina Simone’s “Whatever I Am (You Made Me)”
Chapter 01: Talking to the Dead
“Gran, why do I keep messin’ things up? No matter what I do, I hurt people,” Sookie Stackhouse said as she sank to her knees next to Adele Stackhouse’s grave. “I didn’t want to hurt either of them; I love them both!” She buried her face into her hands. “I’m just so fuckin’ confused,” she cried.
Sookie’s mind felt more chaotic than it had ever been before—even more than when her parents had taken her to a huge New Orleans hospital when she was only five years old. She cringed as she recalled the assault of so many brains upon hers that day. She’d ended up in a corner—crying and rocking back and forth—in the doctor’s office.
She’d been trying to process the thoughts of hundreds of sick, hurt, and dying people—even as she’d been bombarded by the worry and the grief of their loved ones. And—of course—the members of the hospital staff had a variety of thoughts too—some mundane and some incredibly anxiety-inducing. Sookie saw blood in their thoughts, wounds so angry-looking that they crept into her nightmares for many years.
At that age, Sookie had built no defenses—no shields.
She was unprotected, and her five-year-old mind was unarmed against things that most adults would have found harrowing.
And, of course, the doctor had pronounced her mentally disabled. That particular doctor had diagnosed her as autistic.
Sookie sighed and pushed away the nightmarish memory of that day. At least her parents hadn’t left her at the hospital. They’d had their faults, but they’d not abandoned her to the care of the doctor whose thoughts had screamed out that he wanted to “study her” since her case was so “unique.”
Though her mind wasn’t being inundated this time—due to the fact that her shields were tightly in place—the rest of her felt a multitude of assaults.
Her very soul felt battered; with all the people who’d tried to kill her—beings belonging to five species by her count, actually six if witches were counted as a different kind of being—she no longer believed that “safe” was a possibility for her.
And her heart felt so tight—so suffocated—as it tried to keep itself from shattering into a million pieces.
She’d rejected Bill, her first love, the vampire who’d given her an opportunity to experience love—when she’d never had that chance before. So many things about him had been wonderful. He was handsome and possessed “old-world” manners that had made Sookie feel special to be noticed by him. Best of all, he was a mystery.
But that mystery had cost her so much! Because of not being able to hear his thoughts, she’d been such easy prey to him. Even as she’d defended him so staunchly—loved him so completely—he’d been manipulating her.
Sookie hated Bill so much for all of his lies. And part of her hated him even more for actually falling in love with her—which made it so difficult for her maintain that animosity. And she hated herself—hated herself for still loving him too.
The old saying was wrong. There wasn’t a thin line between love and hate. There was no line at all.
Pulling from the other side of her heart was Eric Northman: one-thousand-year-old Viking and vampire sheriff. He was, perhaps, even more manipulative than Bill. Bill’s motives, at least, had belonged to his “boss.” Eric had manipulated her into taking his blood because of his own selfish wants.
He’d wanted her—that had been clear from the start. So, at least, he’d been “honest” about that. He’d wanted her body and her blood and the use of her telepathy.
He’d wanted an asset—with benefits. A piece of ass that came with the added bonuses of tasty blood and a useful ability.
Plus, Sookie was convinced that Eric secretly liked being slapped on occasion.
Or—maybe it wasn’t so secret.
She laughed hysterically at the absurdity of her train of thought—laughed so that she could stop crying for just a moment.
Eric had become good at helping her feel a little “lighter.” She’d give him that.
The odd thing was that her feelings for Eric—and her opinion of him—had begun to shift in Dallas, even before she’d had his blood.
But mostly they’d altered after he’d manipulated her into—quite literally—”biting the bullet,” and that’s why she wondered if she could trust those feelings.
Despite what he’d done to Lafayette, she’d recognized his loyalty to his maker. Moreover, as he’d interacted with Godric, Sookie had seen the love that he’d denied being capable of so vehemently.
Also, she’d witnessed him put his own safety below hers multiple times now: in the Fellowship church, in Godric’s nest as the bomb had gone off, handcuffed to Russell Edgington, from his knees in front of Marnie’s coven.
And many times in between, Eric had kept his eye on her in a way she’d failed to notice at first. Of course, all of these ‘sacrificial’ moments—except for maybe the latest of them—were not simply acts of sacrifice. No—Eric tended to have multiple motives for his actions, and her safety had just been one of them. But that didn’t change the fact that he’d saved her multiple times—and in multiple ways.
But hadn’t Bill behaved similarly—even more recklessly willing to sacrifice himself for her? Hadn’t he faced the sun in order to try to save her from Rene—as useless as that had ended up being? Hadn’t he protected her from Longshadow? Hadn’t he also tried to protect her many other times—even going so far as to kill his queen and to try to kill Eric in order to protect her secrets?
Like a pesky weed whose root system hadn’t been completely pulled from the ground, her affection for Bill had reemerged. And that reemergence begged a question that Sookie couldn’t and wouldn’t ignore: How much of the recent softening of her heart towards Bill—her desire to forgive him—been motivated by the fresh infusion of his blood in her? The last time she’d spoken privately with Eric, she’d not been exaggerating her fears. She truly did wonder if all of her affection for the vampires in her life had come from their blood being in her.
She couldn’t help but to feel that she had very little control over her life.
In so many ways, her life had always been about gaining control. And each gain had been so difficult—or had come at such a high price.
It had been Sookie who’d begged her parents to take her to Gran’s house on that Friday afternoon that would mark the final day of their lives. Jason had been spending the night with a friend, and Sookie had desperately wanted to be alone with Gran, whose mind was so much easier for Sookie to be around. Moreover, Sookie had been slowly learning how to construct shields, but she could do it only when it was just Gran around. And she’d wanted to practice.
She’d gained a little more control over her shields that day. It had cost her two parents.
Gains and losses.
Gaining love. Losing trust.
Perhaps most pathetic of all, feeling love from Bill and then from Eric had given Sookie a self-confidence she’d never owned before. To have someone want her? It had felt so nice!
Of course, that self-confidence was crushed along with the rest of the lies she’d been living.
The truth was simple: she couldn’t really trust Bill or Eric because she couldn’t trust herself.
Why had they wanted her? Why did they still want her?
Sookie sighed. Despite all of her mixed and over-taxed feelings, there were certain things she knew as truths.
She loved Bill.
She loved Eric.
She didn’t fully trust Bill and likely never would.
She wanted to trust Eric, but she had run from him instead.
In fact, she’d walked away from both vampires, even as she’d recognized that she’d likely just sentenced herself to a life of being alone.
THREE HOURS EARLIER
Debbie Pelt stood by the graveside of Cooter, the Were she’d been supposed to marry. Unlike Alcide, Coot had accepted her wild-side without asking her to apologize for having it! Hell—he’d encouraged that side of her.
He’d given Debbie her first taste of V and had shown her how to live without inhibitions.
After she’d gotten back together with Alcide, Debbie had denied herself in so many ways. One of those ways was that she didn’t let herself visit Coot’s grave, which was located in the little town of Vicksburg near the border of Louisiana and Mississippi. Coot had grown up in Vicksburg, but none of his family was left, so it had been Debbie who’d made sure he had a gravestone, though she’d kept that a secret from Alcide.
She was now looking at that simple stone for only the second time. She’d asked for it to give his full name and the years of his life. And she’d paid a little extra for it to say, “Beloved Husband,” even though she and Coot had not yet had a chance to get married when Alcide had shot him. Debbie cringed a little, thinking of one of the men she’d loved killing the other.
But she didn’t blame Alcide—not really. The fault lay elsewhere.
Debbie opened the second vial of vampire blood she’d bought earlier that evening. The V was potent; it had either been taken from an old vampire or it had been “on the shelf” for a while, for V only grew in its potency if it wasn’t used immediately.
Taken directly from the source, the blood would give only a short high. When allowed to age, it was like a fine wine.
The Were downed the vial and threw it onto the ground next to the one she’d taken a few minutes before.
She felt the drug surge through her; it warmed her. It made her stronger. And—best of all—it stopped her from feeling.
Cooter’s death no longer mattered.
Alcide’s rejection no longer mattered.
Her failure to stay off of V didn’t matter.
In fact, she had nothing left that could matter, and only one person was to blame: Sookie’s Stackhouse.
And pay she would.
A/N: Y’all are probably out there saying, “What the hell is Kat doing starting yet ANOTHER story? I know—I know. But I swear, there is no abandoning happening. Burn out the Pain will keep coming (you got a chapter earlier today—right?), and Uncharted will continue too, but it won’t be coming quite as fast b/c I’m still working on the tail end of the third part of the UN-iverse trilogy. I have only 30,000 words written for that one, and it will need to get to about 100,000 before the story is over. But I’m still working on it. Don’t worry. And the next part of the Gift Horse series is still in the queue.
If you really want to know who to blame about the new story—it’s Sephrenia. She made a banner for adoption that I coveted for many hours before I snatched it up. And—from that banner—Who’s Your Daddy? is arising.
I’m going to do this story a little differently from my others, however. I’m going to post chapters as I go, using this story as a “break” when I’m feeling writer’s block with the others—or just “going with it” when the muse takes me there. I am counting on beta-magic being worked by Kleannhouse to help the continuity, and there will likely be more typos in this one than my usual since I might not be as meticulous about its revising and editing, but I think it will be a fun “release.” I hope you like it too! Inner is still my Season 5 “canon work” (which I hope to go back to pretty soon), but this story is going to be my Season 5 rewrite that I’ve been contemplating doing for a long time. Who else thinks that the whole Authority thing could have been SO MUCH BETTER? Whole else thinks that it was wasted potential? Do I see other hands raising? I hope so! I am going to offer you my vision of Season 5 in this work. I hope that you will like it. Stay tuned for more of this and more of my other stuff!
Thanks to everyone who continues to read and follow my work. Y’all are the BEST!
Until chapter 2,
P.S. Not enough thanks can be given to the “muse” for this story, Sephrenia, who spurred me with her banner, and Kleannhouse, who is always so generous with her time. You two are lovely and giving human beings, and—though we operate together in a “virtual world”—you are treasured in my everyday world.
The character banners for the story have been done by Seph too!