“Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish.”—Nhat Hanh
“Okay. I’m ready to learn,” Sookie said, understanding immediately that she and Eric were now being overheard by whomever was listening—friend or foe.
“Right now,” he explained calmly, “the scents of the humans are being muffled because they are outside of the door, but you can still smell them—can you not?”
“What do they smell like?” he asked.
“Like steak,” she responded quickly, licking her lips, “only better.”
Eric chuckled. “That is why some vampires see humans as cattle; many believe they smell of beef steak. When I first encountered a human after my turning, I compared his scent to deer meat—venison.”
“I don’t wanna be that way,” Sookie said, ashamed of her craving for fresh blood. “I don’t want to think of people as only food.”
“Then you won’t,” her maker assured. “You can choose to think of humans as providing you with nourishment—just like you used to provide your customers at Merlotte’s with food. You can choose the humans you wish to feed upon, and you can learn to separate those who are your friends from those who are—in a sense—,” he paused for a long moment, “your employees. These human donors have chosen to be here, and they will be compensated—compensated well—for their blood. It is a job to them; however, most of them also find it pleasurable. Thus, they might hope for sex with you, in addition to being fed on by you; however, you don’t have to provide them with sex. You must feed, Sookie, but how you feed will be your choice. And—until you have control—I will help you to stick with the choices you make when you are calm.”
“I don’t want to have sex with them,” Sookie said, mostly for the benefit of whoever was listening—since she’d already made her feelings on the matter clear to Eric.
“That is fine,” he nodded. “I will make sure that you don’t give into your lust with them. But—to gain control of yourself so that you no longer need me there as a safeguard—you must learn to separate bloodlust from sexual lust.”
Sookie nodded to signal that she understood.
Eric walked toward the door. “Once I let them in, their scent will be amplified. But there is more. You are now a vampire, and—by nature—a vampire is a predator. Primordial humans were predators too, of course. But over time, humans evolved to hunt and cultivate food in more,” he paused, “civilized ways.”
“So—uh—vampires are like prehistoric people?” Sookie asked.
“Something like that,” Eric smiled a little. “You will feel the desire to hunt. You will feel new instincts arise within you. One instinct will be to capture your prey quickly and violently—so that he or she cannot get away. And you will not want to share. I want you to try to stifle those two instincts. These donors will not try to get away from you, so there is no need to be the predator in this case. They want to feed you, Sookie, and—because of this—there is no need to hurry. No need to kill. Do you understand?”
She nodded nervously. “Yes.”
“I will also be feeding from one of them,” Eric said casually.
Sookie growled a little.
Eric smirked. “That growl is a sign of your new instincts. You will feel selfish when it comes to meals for a while, yet you need not worry. The blood from just one of the donors will satisfy your needs.”
“Okay,” Sookie said, panting a little. “But what if it doesn’t?”
Eric chuckled. “Then I’ll call down for another human for you to feed on. There are plenty, Sookie. There is no need to feed from them all.”
She nodded, looking a little calmer.
“In addition to their scent, you will also be drawn to their pulses, which indicate the movement of their blood. Each pulse will be like a symphony to you, and you will find that—like a maestro—you can control the music. Do not let that music control you. Listen to the pulse beat. It will be excited by your presence. It will thrum with your donor’s anxiety and arousal. You will hear it—feel it—beating into your mouth like the most beautiful song imaginable. You will want to hear more of the song, but you must learn to stop drinking before the music stops.”
“How will I know when?” Sookie asked.
“Easy,” Eric said. “The beat of the song will become irregular. That is the signal that the human body has given you all it can safely give and has become taxed. As long as the beat is steady—whether fast or slow—you can drink. When the rhythm changes—becomes sluggish—you must stop.”
“Are you ready?” Eric asked.
Sookie nodded. “Yeah. Please,” she added, looking at the door with longing and anticipation.
“Remember, you need not hunt them.”
She nodded again. “I remember.”
Eric slowly opened the door and let in the humans. Both were attractive as he imagined all of the Authority’s donors would be. Both had Type A-positive blood—not Eric’s favorite. Generally—unless he was in need—he would have avoided them.
He looked at the donors. “You will be silent—understand?”
Both of them nodded.
“Which one do you want?” he asked his new progeny, even as he looked on proudly as Sookie stayed where she was standing. Her fangs had immediately snapped into place and she was leaning forward, her nose twitching and her body vibrating slightly, but he could see that she was in control. That was better than Pam had been. Hell—that was better than he’d done those many years before.
“The woman,” she whispered. “I want the woman.”
Eric nodded. “Then I will show you how to feed by feeding on the man. Watch me. And learn.”
“Okay,” she said, her voice squeaking a little.
“Stay there,” Eric ordered the female, before looking at the male donor. “Come here.”
Without argument, the male donor obeyed and approached Eric.
“Turn around with your back to me,” Eric instructed him.
The donor leered at Eric and then did as he’d been told.
Eric moved behind him and tipped his head to the side. “This is the jugular vein,” he said to Sookie, using his fingers to trace the vessel. “This is where you should take your bite. The carotid artery is close to the jugular, but you want the vein, or the blood flow will be too fast. The only main arteries that you can safely drink from—if you want to leave your donor alive—are the femoral and radial arteries. The blood in them will taste a little different to you, for that blood contains more oxygen than the blood on its way back to a heart. This is why vampires enjoy drinking from a variety of places. The flavor alters a bit with the site of taking. That is also a reason for us accidentally killing. If we take from arteries too close to the heart, we can cause unintended harm.”
“But I know nothing about veins and arteries,” Sookie said, even as she began panting a little as her desire to feed from the live humans grew. Still, she held her place.
Eric knew that he was pushing Sookie with his “lecture,” but he wanted her to understand that she did have the ability to be patient—to have control. It was a lesson that Godric had helped him to understand early on too. Pam hadn’t given a fuck about protecting human life, so Eric had allowed her to go her own way and to learn mostly by trial and error. But Eric—similar to Sookie—hadn’t wanted to kill indiscriminately. After his first “mistake,” Godric had taught him to demonstrate control, even though Godric himself—at the time—didn’t give a damn about humanity either.
However, a good maker always adapted to his or her progeny—at least to a certain extent. Otherwise, enmity would grow between maker and child, and Eric didn’t want that—especially not with Sookie.
Eric continued his explanation. “You will instinctively know what you are biting into by ‘listening’ to the beat from that spot. Closer to the heart, the blood moves faster than in other places.” His fangs clicked into place, and Sookie licked her lips.
“Here,” he said, moving his fangs lightly over the carotid artery, “the pulse is very strong. I can also tell that the flow is upward—moving away from the heart. I could bite here, and it would be tasty, but—if I did—I might kill this man.”
Aroused, the donor shivered.
“He wants to die,” Sookie said, hearing his thoughts. “He wants you to fuck him—hard,” she said, wantonly grasping her breast over her nightgown. “He wants to be like you.”
“Like us, Sookie,” Eric whispered against the man’s flesh as he slid his fangs toward the man’s jugular, drawing two thin trails of blood as his went.
Sookie growled with want, but she stayed in place.
“I can tell that this is a vein because it is moving slower than its complement. It is also flowing downward. This is where I want to bite. I actually prefer the blood I will find here to the blood of the carotid; I speculate you will too.”
“Why?” Sookie panted, her nipples now taunt from her absent-minded attentions to her own body.
“The blood from the carotid is almost too oxygenated for my taste, though the blood of the femoral is lovely, almost bubbly.”
“God—you’re making me so fuckin’ hungry,” Sookie said, her body quivering. “And so horny.”
“I know,” Eric said as he gently bit into the man’s neck. Sookie heard the donor moan shamelessly, even as a wet patch showed that he’d orgasmed just from Eric’s bite.
She listened to the donor’s thoughts. “He really wants you to fuck him, and then he wants to fuck me,” she said, not caring in that moment that she was being vulgar.
Eric moaned and then licked the small wound he’d caused. “My impulse is to give him the first part of his wish,” he admitted even as he dragged his erection against the donor’s ass. “If I did, I know that his blood would become even more flavored by adrenaline and hormones. And that would taste so good,” he moaned, grinding again, “but I can choose not to give in to this urge. I can be satisfied with just the drink I took. I can think about my actions and realize that I don’t really want to fuck this man. I’m not particularly attracted to him, and I prefer women to men—and you above all others,” he emphasized. “I can make the rational choice not to fuck him—because I want to fuck no others but you.”
The donor groaned with disappointment, even as Eric moved to the other side of his neck and bit again, this time harder—and once more demonstrating a “technique” to Sookie. He took only a sip before licking the wound. His eyes—blue fire—stayed locked onto Sookie’s earthy orbs.
“You are so goddamned sexy right now,” Sookie moaned out, feeling impossibly aroused. Her hand drifted toward her center, though she kept her attentions over her nightgown.
“You are feeling a mixture of bloodlust and regular lust,” Eric said. “Tell me what you want to do—what your instincts want to do.”
“I want to feed from him. I want him to touch me everywhere while you fuck me—hard,” she said quivering. “Then, I want to fuck him.
Eric looked at his donor, taking him under his control. “You should go—now.”
Sookie could tell that the man had been glamoured to leave, for he left without complaint.
Still—Sookie remained in her place. But, with the man gone, her interest immediately shifted toward the woman, who’d been standing near the door where Eric had left her.
“Do you still want to fuck the donor who just left?” Eric asked.
“No,” Sookie said with a little surprise, “now I want her, and I’m not even a lesbian!” she added with shock.
The vampire chuckled. “Remember this feeling,” he instructed. “It will help you to understand the difference between impulse and preference. It is not wrong to give into impulse—if that is what you want—but you told me earlier that it was not; now you must tell yourself the same thing.”
“But I’m hungry,” she said sounding like she was halfway between a pout and desperation.
“I know. But you are not starving.”
“But you’ve made me wait—so long—to feed,” she growled, feeling her emotions slingshot toward aggression.
“I know. But you have waited—successfully. You chose to do that, Sookie. I guided but did not command. You are in control. Now, keep that control as you come here,” he whispered.
She took air into her lungs unnecessarily and approached him, even as he gestured for the female donor to approach as well.
“What do I do?” Sookie asked.
“You know already,” Eric stated. “Do as I did. Follow your teaching.”
Sookie nodded. “Turn around,” she rasped out to the female donor.
The donor complied, and Sookie slowly walked up behind her. She looked at Eric as she moved the donor’s hair to the side. Both women closed their eyes—the donor out of arousal and Sookie in order to remain in control.
“She wants me to bite her and then use my mouth and hands to fuck her,” Sookie said.
“Of course she does,” Eric returned. “You are beautiful and alluring.”
Sookie opened her eyes. “I smell how much she wants me.”
“So do I,” Eric said. “I smell your arousal as well,” he added with a pant of his own.
“I want her,” Sookie said.
“What do you really want?” Eric asked.
“To feed,” Sookie said after a moment of contemplation.
“Do you hear the music of her blood?”
“Yes. It’s beautiful. I want to bite into it.”
“Do you hear the difference between the artery and the vein?”
Sookie positioned her hands onto the donor’s shoulders. The woman was slightly shorter than the new vampiress, so Sookie leaned down a bit and ran her tongue over where the carotid artery was. “This is the one I don’t want to take from—unless it’s my goal to kill.”
“Correct,” Eric said, his own fangs down and his own arousal filling the air as he watched his progeny getting ready to take her first “live” meal from a human. He had to stop himself from lowering his jeans and pleasuring himself as he wanted to do.
Sookie inhaled deeply. “You smell so good.”
“Thank you,” the donor moaned, though Sookie hadn’t been talking about her in that moment. She had been talking to her maker.
“Bite! I want to see it—need to see it,” Eric half-instructed and half-begged, now panting harder.
Sookie moved to the donor’s jugular and bit down. There was no hesitation—no apology.
Eric moaned, his release hitting him and staining his pants. “Beautiful,” he whispered.
Sookie sucked in her first drink from the donor. The sensation was so different from drinking from a glass. She felt both natural and feral. She felt both animal and god.
She felt alive.
She closed her eyes before the feelings of pleasure overtook her mind, and she listened to the melody she found in the donor’s blood as she took another draw. She instinctively knew that her meal was excited to be feeding her—and a little afraid. She instinctively knew that the human’s arousal and that tiny burst of fear made her taste better. She instinctively knew that the blood in the glass had tasted better to her, but that she preferred this experience because the blood was fresh from the vein. She instinctively knew that this had something to do with blood type and she couldn’t wait to try them all. She instinctively knew that she could cause the donor pain or pleasure with her bite. She instinctively knew that she could drain the human in her arms, and a part of her wanted to.
She took another draw.
She listened to the beat.
Such a beautiful song.
Rap, rap, rap, tap. Rap, rap, rap, tap. Rap, rap, rap, tap.
Rap, rap, rap, tap. Rap, rap, rap, tap. Rap, rap, rap, tap.
Now more rapid again.
Rap, rap, rap, tap.
Rap, tap, tap, rap.
Sookie’s eyes popped open. Eric had been right. The beat had changed. She wanted to keep feeding, but she knew she’d harm the human if she did. And did she really want to do that?
So she made a choice: She pulled her fangs from the donor and licked her wound closed, just as her maker had done with the other donor.
She felt proud for learning—proud for stopping. She looked up at Eric, and he was looking at her with pride. Of course, he was also looking at her like she was the steak now. She was so aroused. But it wasn’t the woman in her grasp that she wanted anymore, so she let her go.
Sookie caught the woman’s eye and tried out her ability to glamour for the first time. “Thank you. You will go,” she said.
The woman nodded and quickly left.
For a long moment, Eric and Sookie stood staring at each other. Fangs were down and blood-stained. Eyes were dilated and dark. Growls were low and needy.
“I want you,” Sookie said.
“Do you?” Eric asked, panting. “You told me you hated me—hated what I have done to you.”
“That doesn’t change that I want to fuck you.”
Eric growled louder. “And I want you to fuck me—more than almost anything. But I will not let you do it while you are like this.”
Sookie growled back, trying to assert a dominance she knew instinctively that she could never have over him—no matter what. Still—she wanted it.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because the one thing I want more than your body is your love.”
“I am vampire now!” Sookie snarled. “Isn’t it my nature to fuck and feed?”
“Yes,” he said, his voice steely cool.
“Isn’t it in my nature not to understand love,” she growled, reminding them both of the moment they’d shared in the Fellowship church. Trust between them had been fledgling then too.
“Take a shower,” Eric ordered with that tone which told her it was a command.
Immediately, she wanted to comply and to resist—as she did with all of his commands so far. She glared at him, but obeyed, taking off her clothing as she went toward the bathroom. She looked at him over her shoulder, and it was all he could do not to answer her own call of him: a siren’s call.
In that moment, she was all vampire. She smelled of blood and arousal.
And him. His child. His beloved.
He wanted her more than he’d ever wanted anything.
He’d thought her to be magnificent as a human. Now he found her beyond words, so he compared her to the only thing he could think of that would come close: a Valkyrie.
And like the mythological being of old, she would likely be the harbinger of his death.
“But what a way to go,” he whispered as he turned around and tried not to imagine her wet body.
Her singing—badly—in the shower didn’t make it easy for him to imagine her not there.
But it did make him laugh.
And it gave him hope. Sookie might be vampire—all vampire—but she was still all Sookie too.
“Thank the gods,” Eric muttered.
A/N: Well? What did you think of Sookie’s first feeding? I wanted to make it as much of a training session as anything else. I hated how True Blood just sent “new” vampires out into the world (like Tara & Willa) and never really showed how they learned to feed correctly and establish control. The only newborn vampire who made a mistake was Jessica, and that was an interesting moral dilemma for her (and us). (BTW: I loved the scenes between Pam and Jessica back then.) Generally speaking, I think TB dropped the ball when it came to dealing with newborn vamps, and I hated how TIIC made Bill the “maker of the year” by the end. He wasn’t. He never was.
Anyway, soap-box put away. I hope that you liked my version of a first feeding. Kleannhouse thought that I should let Eric and Sookie have passionate, primal sex at the end of the chapter, and I almost wrote it that way. I was a paragraph into “vampire acrobatics” before I stopped myself. This Eric is a lot about giving Sookie choices and allowing her to learn the differences between desire and impulse. He loves her, and—frankly—after Sookie left both him and Bill at the end of Season 4, I don’t blame him for wanting Sookie to choose him. Ironically, here, he’s the one protecting his heart. I kind of like the thought of that.
Until the next chapter (which will likely be at least a week—sorry),
As always, thank you Seph for all the art for this story! XOXOXOXO!