“I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed.”—Paulo Coelho
Sookie was panting.
“If I could have died in order to guarantee that you, too, could die,” Eric said softly, “I would be ash even now. But Nan was going to make sure you became a vampire—no matter what. She would have let Bill turn you on top of my remains if I had resisted her. Or she would have turned you herself.”
He sighed. “I know you despise me right now—and despise your very existence. I feel it with everything that I am through the bond that we formed both before you died and the one I forced upon you as you died. But know this, Sookie Stackhouse. I love you—love you enough to accept the hate that you feel for me right now in order to protect you from a fate I knew you would hate worse than even this one.”
He sighed and lifted his fingers to brush away the tears that disobedience had cost Sookie during her struggle.
“You are my beloved, Sookie Stackhouse. However, you are also a newborn vampire—my child—and you emotions are not fully under control. I know that—right now—you want to leave this life. And I will let you do just that, but I have given my word that I will make sure that you live through the month. You and I will discover your vampire strengths together. We will work for the Guardian, who is the head of the Vampire Authority in this country. We will both obey for one month’s time. And then—after that—you will be free to do as you wish.”
He paused and caressed her cheek. “Even if that wish is to leave me by seeking out your true death.”
She moved her face away from his hand as he went to stroke her hair.
“Sookie,” he whispered, “I am your maker and must help you learn to control yourself. I must teach you, and—to do that—there will be times when I must use a maker’s command. However, I swear that I will never command you to your knees when I am not willing to go there alongside you,” he sighed, even as he closed his eyes again. The pain in them disappeared to the newly-risen vampiress, but she still felt the conflict within her maker—the intense sorrow. The love.
“You are feeling the child-maker bond,” he whispered, as if reading her mind. “I was able to block my feelings from you as you fed, but great emotions are more difficult to conceal, especially with proximity. It hurts me gravely to command you; it has killed a part of me—just as it has very likely killed the love you once felt for me. That which I loved most about being with you was the equality I felt in our relationship. And now that is gone,” he said sadly. “I mourn it. I want to free you—to let you have your independence from me. With you, I have come to realize that I want a love based on mutuality and choice, yet that possibility has been taken from us both.” He paused. “And I must command you again.”
His eyes opened, and more tears slipped from them. “Sookie Stackhouse, as your maker, I command you to not willfully do anything that would lead to your own harm or true death for the next thirty nights. I further command you not to do anything that would lead to my harm or true death during that time. At the end of that time, you will be free, dear one. I swear it.”
She grunted as if wanting to speak.
“I lift my other commands upon you, Sookie,” he said. “You may speak and move around this room as you wish.”
Sookie was up and across the room from him in the next second. A ceramic vase and a wall hanging suffered in her retreat. Eric lingered on his knees for a moment and then rose at a human pace.
He tried to smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “I made sure that anything highly valuable was removed from the room.”
She looked at the vase she’d smashed and the tapestry she’d ripped through. A part of the textile was still in her hands, and she threw it onto the floor. “I’m a monster!” she yelled, picking up an ornate glass bowl on the small table near her. She hefted it toward her maker as hard as she could. “You made me a monster!”
“I made you a vampire,” he corrected as he easily caught the object. “Your new nature will take time to accept. It is like that for all of us—even those who choose to become undead.”
“I will never accept it!” she seethed.
“Maybe not,” he said in barely a whisper, though he knew that she could hear him very well. Deliberately, he placed the decorative bowl onto the dresser closest to him.
She glared at him for a moment before ripping a painting from the wall and tearing it in two.
“Destroy what you wish in here, but know that doing similar things outside of this room will result in your punishment—and mine.”
“By this Guardian person?” she asked.
Eric nodded. “Yes. Roman.”
“What if Roman breaks his word to you?” she asked facetiously. “After all, vampires aren’t exactly honest!”
“If he breaks his word, then I will die fighting for your freedom,” he responded.
“But what if he kills you? Where will that leave me?”
“Indeed—it is likely that I will die if I fight the Guardian. He is older than I am. However, I can arrange for you to be staked if I am turned to sludge or ash.”
“I cannot tell you,” Eric said. “But you must trust me that it will be done.”
“I don’t trust you—not anymore,” she said through narrowed eyes.
“I know; I feel that,” he said evenly, though his eyes were filled with pain. “As I have indicated, right now, your emotions are volatile because you are newly turned. All of your senses are heightened: your abilities to see, hear, taste, and smell; the sensations you will pick up through touch; and those senses that are internal—the speed of your mind, the strength of your emotions, and the firing of your nerves. I am hoping that—once you settle down—you will find your trust for me again. And your love.”
“How can I love the one who made me this?” she asked, motioning toward herself. “How can I love the one who took away my choice?”
“You cannot,” he said, a tear slipping from his eye. “You will never love me again if you don’t, first, come to love the vampire you have become. You will never love me again unless you come to choose this life. But those things will matter only to me for the foreseeable future. What should matter to you is the reality of the situation you are in. You are vampire. You must exist this way for one month. You must—during that time—learn about yourself and come to understand your gifts. You must—as I must—obey the Guardian. We have no other choice. You must obey because I have compelled you, and I must obey or die.”
“Must,” Sookie sighed in a defeated tone, as she leaned against the joining walls in the corner of the room and then let herself slide down them. Red tears fell from her eyes too, creating pathways though the blood that had already streaked her newly alabaster cheeks.
Eric zipped into the bathroom and quickly wet two washcloths. He wiped the blood from his own cheeks as he walked back into the bedroom, and then tossed the other washcloth to Sookie.
“Thanks,” she said automatically as she began to wipe her face.
Eric took the glass of blood he’d been sipping and filled it up before warming it and taking it to her.
Despite her scowl at him, she drank eagerly.
“You do not trust me right now. I know that. But I will show you that I still trust you, Sookie,” he said, sitting down onto the floor next to her. “I will put my life into your hands. I will give you your choice back—at least, as much as I can.”
“If you ask it of me, I will kill you myself—now. I will break apart that chair,” he said, pointing to the object, “and I will stab one of the legs through your heart. I could do it in mere moments. You would feel very little before you became sludge in my arms.”
“But then you would be killed by this Roman—wouldn’t you?” she asked.
“Yes,” he sighed, “likely.”
“You said earlier that even if you died, you could make sure that I was staked. You have someone you trust in the Authority—don’t you? Could you have that person kill me—when you—uh—had an alibi?” she asked.
He smiled a little. “You have always had the ability to strategize well. I could ask the person I trust here to do it, but there are no guarantees, and that individual would then be put into danger. I’d like to avoid that—if possible. If I were to die and you were to live, there is a further complication that you would have to deal with. You would be free of me, but I believe that another would be waiting to compel you.”
“What are you talking about?” Sookie asked.
Eric sighed. “Concentrate on our connection for a moment. Can you feel my emotions?”
Sookie closed her eyes. “Yes. I feel you. You are pensive right now—worried. It feels like I’m attached to you with some kind of rope.”
“Yes,” he said. “That is the maker-child bond. Do you sense any other attachments?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, suddenly frightened.
“I gave you more blood than Bill did last night. But some of his blood was used to limit the speed of your own blood loss. And—before that—only days ago, he gave you a lot of blood after you were shot. In fact, what he gave was almost enough to turn you that night. And—last night—before Debbie’s attack, both of us took your blood after we’d been burning on the witch’s pyre.”
“What are you saying?” Sookie asked.
“Bill is your maker too—at least to a certain extent. I feel my dominance—both because of my age and strength and because I was the last to feed you at the time of your human death. But I can feel your connection to another—to Bill. There is another bond there, and if I die, it will become dominant.”
“Oh God!” Sookie cried with realization. “I feel it too—though it’s weak! Does this mean he could command me too?”
“I don’t know,” Eric said thoughtfully. “I think he could influence you, but you might be able to resist him more than you could me, but it would be painful—as it was when you resisted me.”
“Well—uh—if you are my,” she paused, looking for a word, “main maker, couldn’t you just order me never to obey him?”
“Only if I was willing to let my commands and his commands counteract each other. But—if I did that—it could very well tear you apart as you tried to obey us both.”
“Fuck!” she gasped.
“Fuck—indeed,” he chuckled mirthlessly. “I would kill him, but there would be repercussions—not the least of which would be your anger.” The vampire sighed. “You love him—at least a part of you does. I can feel that too. And—if I killed him, even to protect you from him—a part of you would resent me.”
Sookie put down her empty glass and put her face into her hands. Eric could smell the blood of her tears, and he longed to reach out to hold her, but he didn’t. “You’re right. I do feel love for Bill, even though I know that he wanted to turn me against my wishes last night. You were the one to stop him. So why am I so pissed at you?”
“You heard us?” Eric asked.
“Yes,” she responded. “I heard what was happening up to the point that I looked at you for the last time.”
Not being able to help himself, Eric reached out for her and smoothed a piece of hair behind her ear.
When she pulled away, he did too, grabbing her glass and getting her a refill. When he returned, he handed it to her gingerly. Then he moved into the bathroom to wet her another washrag. He set it on the table next to where she was sitting before he sat on the bed.
She looked up at him with sorrow-filled eyes. “How is it that I can still love him, despite all that he did, yet hate you for being the one who actually turned me?” she asked. “I mean—that’s not logical! I believe what you said about Nan—that she would have made sure I was a vampire one way or another.” She paused. “But I’m still so mad at you, even though I know here,” she added, pointing to her head, “that it’s not your fault—that you tried to do right by me—that you were in an impossible situation too.”
Eric chuckled ruefully. “As I said before, a new vampire’s emotions are often volatile, and—frankly—they don’t make a lot of sense sometimes. But—if you give yourself time—you will figure them out.”
“If I give myself time,” Sookie whispered. “Or I could ask you to kill me now.”
“Yes,” Eric said, his eyes moving to look at the floor. “Anytime during the next month, all you need to do is tell me that you’ve had enough, and I will end you—or try to end you. And—as you have already guessed—there will be a back-up plan if I fail.”
“But I risk being controlled by Bill without you as a buffer if you fail—and if Plan B fails.”
“Yes,” he confirmed, “though failure on both fronts would be unlikely, it would be possible.”
She was silent for a few minutes. “I don’t want you to die, Eric,” she whispered. “I can’t ask you to kill me—even though I want to—because I don’t want you to die,” she repeated.
He sighed. “Then that is a beginning,” he said, standing up from the bed.
“A month?” she asked, getting to her feet as well. “And then I can die and you can live on?”
He nodded, though his eyes flashed to the other side of the room for a moment. “That is the deal.”
“Okay,” Sookie said cautiously. “I will give you a month. But I need you to make me a deal too.”
“Anything,” he said.
“I don’t want to kill any humans that I feed from. The way I feel right now—I don’t even know if I’d feel bad if I killed people. However, I don’t want to carry that guilt into the afterlife when I meet the sun. I don’t want to be like Godric,” she finished quietly.
“I promise. You will kill no one unless it is to protect yourself,” Eric vowed. “But to make sure you don’t have any accidents, I need to teach you how to feed from a human.”
Sookie nodded. “Okay.”
“Anything else?” he asked.
“Earlier—I felt such overwhelming lust. Was that bloodlust?”
“Yes,” he responded.
“Will I—uh—want to have sex when I feed?” she asked.
“Yes. You will become very aroused. The impulse to give into that arousal is difficult to control when you have a live donor.”
“Make sure I control it?” she asked. “I don’t want to do something I would have hated doing as a human. And—uh—I don’t—uh—want to have sex with someone I can hear. After it was over—it would hurt when I remembered his thoughts.”
“Can you hear? Is your telepathy still intact?” he asked.
She nodded. “I wasn’t sure at first. The hunger was so great. But—yes. I think I have better control over my shields now, but my emotions have always made my shields weaker, and I’m feeling things so much stronger now! And I’m really scared what touching someone might do,” she whispered. “But I hear about twenty humans, some close and some far away. I’m trying to keep them blocked out now.”
“Can you hear me?” Eric asked.
“I think I could—if I tried,” she whispered. “But—please—don’t make me try. I’m afraid that—if I let it happen once—I wouldn’t be able to stop it.”
Her eyes were begging him—beseeching him to allow her one avenue of peace. He could not deny her.
He never really could.
He nodded. “Okay—then. Let us make this a nonissue for the time-being. As your maker, I command you to tell anyone who asks, including Bill, that you cannot read vampire minds. And—as you say it—I command you to believe it to be true. Moreover, unless I say otherwise, I command you not even to attempt to read vampire minds.”
“Thank you,” she whispered.
There was a knock on the door; Sookie looked at it with worry.
“What’s wrong?” Eric asked.
“I can hear that the two humans at the door are donors for me,” she whispered. “I’m afraid—afraid I might hurt one.”
He nodded. “I will command you to stop feeding if your actions could injure one of them. And I will not let you have sex with anyone—unless you desire it when you are not compelled by bloodlust,” he added. His eyes mirrored the relief in her eyes. He’d been prepared to let her satisfy any urge she’d had as a newly-risen vampire. After all, he’d done all that he’d desired sexually when he’d been a newly arisen vampire. But he was happy that she was choosing not to do so; watching her have sex with another would not have been pleasant for him.
Sookie nodded. “Thanks.”
“Will you sit on the bed?” he asked, making a point not to command her.
“I think I’d rather stay standing,” she said.
“Okay.” He took the device that allowed them privacy out of his pocket and then showed Sookie as he turned it off. Then, he put it back into a drawer in the dresser.
“Sookie,” he said, obviously performing for any listeners as well as speaking to her, “it is time for you to learn to feed.”
A/N: Thanks so much for everyone who is continuing to read and comment on this story!
Here’s some rambling about some of my thoughts on this story; feel free to skip. Many of you gave Sookie a little bit of a hard time after her rising, and you might be even more pissed off at her for saying that she loves Bill and hates Eric. First of all, I’m of the opinion that Sookie’s love for Bill was created by naivety and his blood in her. And I am NOT going to have Sookie just run off to him and reunite with him. She doesn’t trust Bill.
As for Eric? Well—there’s that thin line between love and hate. Would she “hate” him and feel so betrayed by him if she didn’t love him? Plus, I am of the opinion that any newly-risen vampire would have strong and seemingly-contradictory emotions. She’d trusted Eric to let her die, and she finds herself as a vampire, hungry and lacking in control. I sort of think she’s doing a good job considering everything. She’s also dealing with the fact that she is being subjected to her maker—and I kind of think I would react “poorly” to that too—even if it were the Viking. Anyway, that’s just some of my thoughts. I hope you’ll give this Sookie a little time to adjust. Like any “child,” she will likely “act out.”