Because my reviewers are so freaking awesome, I’ll do my best to make upcoming chapters a little longer. Maybe that’ll make up for the shorter one before this? Forgive me?
For those of you clever readers who noticed Pam had a laptop from Bill’s place- Why yes, I did take an idea from SVM to give our favorite vampires another reason to hunt down Bill. I may have added a twist to it though. You’ll find out what next chapter.
Disclaimer: True Blood and SVM are owned by Alan Ball, HBO, and Charlaine Harris. I do not own the characters or plots. I just borrowed their Viking and let him pillage my muse.
Pam and Eric’s house threw me for a loop. It wasn’t like I had expected some gloomy mansion in New Orleans or another deteriorated Southern home like Bill’s, more like I was expecting a penthouse somewhere or something only the glamourous lived in. Instead, Eric had driven us to the outskirts of Shreveport, on the way out of the city and in the direction of Monroe and Bon Temps and pulled through a pair of gates and up to an isolated cabin. It was a beautiful cabin, but still a cabin, with floor to ceiling windows, two stories, and a large garage. The driveway was also paved and there was manicured yardwork. I was pretty sure there would be a pool in back too, which had me tempted to sunbathe after everyone went to sleep.
“You’re surprised,” Eric stated, analyzing my emotions as he parked in front of the wraparound porch. I guess the garage was reserved for the Corvette. Godric glanced back at me with a smile, knowing what I expected. “Why?”
“I guess I just expected somethin’ different. This is so Viking so it makes sense,” I said carefully.
“Like a haunted mansion?” he snickered.
“More like a penthouse,” I said and sent him my mirth.
Understanding filled him while Godric chuckled and Eric said, “Oh.” His lips twitched as he shut the engine off and pulled the keys out of the ignition, passing them to me over his shoulder, and added, “We have one of those too.” He hopped out of the car, after releasing the latch to the back, and flooded me with mirth as I sat there wide-eyed.
“You do?” I asked as I slipped out after him and met up with him behind the car, pulling out a couple bags. He had piled mostly everything I brought up in his arms and Godric had gotten the rest, so I was basically holding my purse and a bag full of books and magazines (my carry-on from the plane trip).
“We have several, Sookie. There’s one in downtown Shreveport, but we usually reserve it for guests. The rest are scattered all over the world. Godric also has a bunch, and so do you, since you’re his progeny,” he explained as he walked with me to the door, stuck his hand out to type in a code on a numerical pad by the frame, turned the doorbell sideways, revealing a finger pad scanner, and scanned his thumb. Vampires were so James Bond. A little thrill of excitement shot through me any time I discovered a new hidden techy item. I made it a game with myself to try and figure out where things like that would be. Both Godric’s and Eric’s lips kicked up when they felt my thrill as Eric pushed the door open.
I didn’t follow them in though. I could feel two minds approaching and I knew Pam and Jessica were pulling up. Since Eric drove like a maniac, we had passed them quickly and arrived first. I backtracked and waited while they pulled into the garage and slipped out. Pam gave me a fangy grin as she climbed the porch and walked past me while Jessica came to a stop, she could feel that I wanted to talk to her.
“Jess, most vampires aren’t like Bill,” I said carefully. “They keep they’re restin’ places hidden from everyone and often glamour the memory of it out of anyone who comes over. Will you give me your word you won’t tell anyone where this is?” Even though it was just me and Jessica outside, I was suddenly flooded with gratitude by Eric and Pam, who were obviously listening to what we were saying.
Jessica nodded seriously, realizing that I meant it, and said, “I give you my word, Sookie. I won’t tell anyone.”
I nodded and thanked her while I smiled and patted her shoulder before we both turned to head inside. Godric sent me pride as I came to a stop next to him and took a look around. We were standing in the living room, which overlooked the porch with huge two-story floor-to-ceiling windows. The inside was loft-style, with a staircase leading up to the second floor. I assumed any offices and guestrooms were upstairs. Downstairs, there was a small kitchen (with a refrigerator and a microwave for blood), separated from a dining area by a breakfast bar, a couple of bedrooms off to the side and what looked like an art studio and a wood-carving craft room combined (if I had to take a wild guess, it’d be that Pam dug art and Eric was still the typical Viking). The décor was a combination of Eric and Pam, using dark colors and cherry wood with green and brown accents and yet had pastels and cream colors slipped in to break up any chance of it looking gloomy. It totally worked and it was gorgeous.
I really liked it, so I pushed that to Eric and Pam, who cracked small smiles and flooded me with gratitude all over again. Eric walked over to a big, antique looking wooden cabinet, twisted a wooden knot, pushed a hidden button, and opened it, revealing a false back that he pushed open to show us a staircase. We followed him down into a subterranean level that mirrored the upstairs in style, explaining why I didn’t see any light-tight shutters upstairs. The stairs led to a common area with comfy looking sofas, a coffee table that looked hand-made, and a large flat-screen before it broke off into two large hallways, one leading to Pam and Eric’s rooms and a large office, another leading to guest bedrooms. Off of the common area was what could only be considered a breakfast nook, or could I get away with calling it a blood nook?
“We only have two guest rooms,” Eric started, but I cut him off.
“Godric and I rest together anyways, so we’ll share,” I volunteered casually, earning me raised eyebrows from Pam, to which I shook my head (I knew what she had assumed), making Eric and Godric laugh. I think Pam’s eyebrows rose even higher when she realized I did not have sex with my maker, yet still slept in the same bed. What? I liked to cuddle. And I might have pushed that to them, earning me snickers.
“Okay, cuddle bunny, I need to lock this stuff up and then I’m changing before you tell me exactly how all this,” she pointed a finger towards me and indicated “this” meant me from head-to-toe, “all happened exactly.” Eric’s curiosity rose and Jessica wanted to know as well. I hadn’t even realized we didn’t actually tell Eric what happened at the Fellowship, just kind of glossing over it. I pushed an emotional “Okay” towards her, earning me another smile before she whipped around and sped over to the office.
Eric then led Godric over to one of the guest rooms and stuck our stuff inside before pointing Jessica to her own room. I sat down on a couch and tucked my two bags next to my feet while I waited for Pam, and was quickly joined by Eric, Jess, and Godric.
“Jess, do you need a True Blood or anything?” I asked. She’d had a drink earlier with Godric, but I didn’t know if she’d really had much after the incident at Bill’s and all the emotions she must’ve experienced would’ve negated the benefits the human blood had on her well-being. I could sense gratefulness coming from her as she nodded and I turned a questioning glance towards Eric, who just nodded and pointed at the blood nook. I stood up, with Jess trailing behind me, and went over to the fridge, pulling out my own B negative while I shot a raised eyebrow at her.
“Whatever. I don’t really like any of them and mix them all together to get something that tastes somewhat okay,” she said.
Man, I felt bad. She couldn’t even tolerate True Blood and Bill was forcing her to drink it constantly. No wonder her bloodlust got the better of her and she drained someone. I nodded at her, paused for a second to think, then grabbed a bottle of the AB positive.
“Well, AB is the universal receiver, anybody can donate to someone with an AB blood type, so it’s like it has a little part of every type of blood in it,” I said as I shut the fridge and stuck the bottles on the counter next to the microwave. I popped off the lids while I added, “Hopefully it’s a smidgeon better than the rest.”
She grimaced anyways. Feeling awful, I wished to myself I could improve the taste for her. Why couldn’t the Fae have created True Blood? That thought gave me an idea and I gave her a smile that said I was up to no good. She stared at me as she felt the mischief running through my veins and crinkled her brows. I turned my body towards her a little so she could see what I was doing and raised my finger to my mouth and dropped my fangs. Her eyes widened as I pierced it and brought my finger over to the bottle of AB and squeezed a few drops. I then screwed the lid back on, shook it all up, uncapped it again, and stuck both bottles in the microwave. Having felt my mischief and smelled my blood, Godric knew what I had done and flooded me with mirth. From Eric, I sensed jealousy. Apparently he enjoyed my blood, even if I was a vampire.
Jessica smiled when I winked at her, completely blown away that I just bit myself to spice up her nasty True blood. Our tie was full of awe and thankfulness, and hilarity at my antics.
“Thanks, Sookie,” she said sweetly and I flashed her another smile in response. We fell into silence for about five seconds before Jessica asked, randomly, “Did you really mean it, Sookie?” I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about at this point so I gave her a quizzical look. “What you said to Pam, tonight? About family? About kin?” she clarified.
I should’ve known Jessica would’ve been listening when I spoke to Pam. She was worried about Pam and Eric, still afraid of punishment from the sheriff and how Pam would react to Jessica’s earlier insult. I nodded vehemently. I had meant every word.
“I want to be your family. I want to be your kin,” Jessica said intently. I could literally feel how much she wanted it in her blood. She wanted nothing more in the entire world. My heart squeezed with love for this baby vamp, flowing through my ties and stunning my bloodline with the pure emotion. Nora was shocked, as she had been for much of the night, and both Pam and Eric reached out to stroke it, making me shiver. I slapped their mental hands away and mirth erupted, sprinkling laughter across all of our connections.
While this was happening, I registered Eric shooting Godric a look and how he felt in the tie. He felt vindicated, like Jessica had stated something he had been considering and just confirmed it for him. It confused me, but I focused on Jessica, my priority at the moment.
“You’re already in the process, Jess. Everythin’ I said to Pam, applies to you. Since Pam’s sponsoring you, you’re about to be trained on the same principles and ideas that Godric is training me, that he trained Eric with, who trained Pam, who will train you. Jess, you’ll be a fundamental part of my life for as long as you wanna be part of it. Just like I told Pam, we’ll share the same challenges, face the same threats, and share the same joys in our nightlife. The only difference right now is the blood, but that will also change if you and Pam so wish it. In my mind, we’re already kin,” I said. I removed the blood from the microwave, capped and shook them to distribute the heat, and handed her the AB bottle as I pushed that same belief through our miniscule tie. It was really, really hard to do with so little of my blood in her.
But what she felt, she relished.
“I want that blood connection. I want to be more connected to you,” she said firmly, with absolutely no doubts. Eric shot Godric another look with that damned raised eyebrow and tugged on their bond a little too. I suddenly found that eyebrow extremely irritating and sent it to him. He chuckled, then smirked, and sent me a push that felt like a pat on the cheek.
He smirked wider. Damn it. Sometimes my blood could be too vocal.
“I really think you should spend more time with Pam before you make that decision,” I said while I glared at Eric. The fact that Jessica wanted to be part of my bloodline was great and truly pleased me, but she needed to see if being Pam’s progeny fit well first. I turned back to look at Jess and added, rationally, “You’ve had an extremely emotional night, everythin’ in your life has changed, and I think you need more time to adjust. I want you to do what’s best for you, and that means takin’ the time to consider everything takin’ Pam as a maker means. Give it time, okay?”
Jess nodded and walked back to the couches, thinking. Now Godric’s eyebrow had shot up. Urgh! I may have sent them an emotional growl and shook a mental fist at their eyebrows instead of scaring the ever-loving shit out of Jessica. Both sets of eyebrows flew up and laughter erupted all around.
“What the hell was that?” Pam asked as she walked back in to the room sans dominatrix outfit and dressed up in pastels, looking more like a nanny. “It felt like all my connections just vibrated. It was kinda hot.”
I situated myself between Eric and Godric, resting my head on my maker’s shoulder as he snatched up my hand while Eric explained, “Not really sure. I think Sookie just growled at me and Godric with her blood. Apparently our… eyebrows… irritated her.”
Hilarity wrapped around me from all sides as I nodded. Pam actually broke into true laughter, the most I’d heard before was a chuckle, and Jessica giggled. “Both your all eyebrows pissed me off. Jess and I were talkin’ about something serious,” I stated with a shrug. “I also shook a mental fist at them, but since none of ya can read minds, you must’ve missed it.”
Mirth exploded like confetti in my veins all over again with this comment, but everyone quickly settled down when Pam dropped down next to Jessica and asked, “Can you still read minds, Sookie?”
I shielded everything my blood had to say as I shook my head no. Eric was the only vampire in the world cleared to know that. I then proceeded to sprinkle my order of lie on a bun with a topping of truth, “Just feel emotions sometimes. I guess I’m more empathic now than telepathic. Though, I sometimes feel vampire emotions too, which is new.”
Surprise shot through Pam and Eric, but for two very different reasons while Godric pushed me support. Pam was surprised I’d lost my ability but could pick up emotions from vampires. Eric was surprised we had told her I could do anything at all, but this was the cover story Godric and I had decided upon and I’d been using it since the night I rose. I was sure Godric was sending Eric some shielded emotions right now, but I wasn’t worried. Godric turned and kissed my forehead, I was still resting on him so he barely moved, squeezed my hand, and said, “You wanted to know what happened at the Fellowship?”
When everyone nodded, Godric and I alternated telling them everything that happened since I had left the hotel. We had to take a brief moment when Eric dropped fang at the news Hugo was a traitor, which didn’t matter anymore since the Fellowship had him.
“I still have to tell Isabel, simply for the fact Hugo could get free or they could send him back in for more information,” Eric pointed out.
“No, you don’t,” I said, choosing my words carefully, “When Godric was teaching me to track, we used Fellowship members as my prey. Hugo was killed by the Fellowship. They took him out back and killed him, pissed Godric made it free and Gabe died. Let it rest, she doesn’t need to feel the sting of being betrayed by the one she loved.”
The truth was, I dug that out of one of their minds while practicing tracking, so I was very vague on everything I told them about how I came to know that. Eric sent me understanding, so he got it, and we quickly continued summarizing the rest.
“You chose this?” Pam asked, surprised. “You chose to be turned, Sookie?”
I nodded and smiled as I said, “I did. I’m glad I did, too. I’ll get to see my family again because of my choice. I also get to add even more to my family. It’s just been Jason and me since Gran died, now I get to add my bloodline to my family tree.”
Tenderness and affection caressed me from all sides with my answer. I was purring before I could stop myself. Godric lifted his arm, tucked me against him with a squeeze, and added to it all by sending me familial love.
“How’s the True Blood, Jess?” I asked. Throughout the talk, I had been slowly gaining more feeling from her. The blood retained some emotional magic if it was ingested within 24 hours of leaving the body of a vampire, though it was only a drop or two so it was still an incredibly small tie. Amusement danced around my ties when I asked.
“Much better than normal,” she confessed. Pam’s eyebrow shot up so Jess added, “Sookie added a drop or two to it, since it’s so nasty.” Pam nodded, not showing how much her amusement had grown with the comment. Jessica yawned after she spoke, which concerned me, so I delved into the tie we had and realized she was already feeling the pull of the sun. There was only about an hour and fifteen minutes until sunrise and most baby vamps crashed out well before then.
“Jess, why don’t you go to bed? You’re feeling the sun’s pull,” I asked.
“How are you not feeling it, Sookie? I thought you were younger than Jessica. You should be exhausted,” Pam pointed out with her eyebrows furrowed.
Blood shields went up left and right around the room and Godric was quick to answer for me, “One of Sookie’s gifts is being able to stay awake until after sunrise.”
Pam’s mouth dropped open and jealousy flared high in the tie. She was still too young to do that without the bleeds. Jessica felt envious and curious, but too tired to ask about anything. She stood up, gave us a tired wave, and trudged off to bed. Pam was outright glaring at me and asked in a low and dangerous voice, “Can you fly too?”
I shrugged. We hadn’t gotten around to testing that yet because I had so many, many other gifts to fiddle around with. Her eyes just narrowed at me so I said, “I dunno, we haven’t tested for it yet.”
“Well, you’re stronger than Jessica and you can stay up later than most vampires, so I guess it’s probably not likely,” she reasoned. Normally she’d be right, most vampires would only have one or two gifts, but I was not like most vampires.
I could feel Godric deliberating the pros and cons of telling Pam about my early rising. It would help explain things some. Finally, he came to a decision and pushed a request towards Eric who immediately started thrumming with anticipation and sent back a yes. He then pushed his own request and got the same answer. Glee joined his anticipation when he got it.
“Pam, as your maker I command you never to speak about what I’m going to tell you with anyone not in this room,” Eric threw out there in one breath. The command settled and Pam tensed, wide-eyed. He then smiled wickedly and said, “Sookie rose a night early.”
“Son of a bitch!” she cursed and Eric’s glee doubled. “It’s entirely possible you can fly then, isn’t it?” I didn’t need to answer, my blood did for me. “I have to say, Sookie, I never thought you’d be that accepting of being turned.”
I shrugged and said, “I probably wouldn’t have been if I weren’t dying. Once I said yes though, I threw myself open to all the possibilities.” Godric squeezed my shoulder as I spoke. “Ya know, now would be a better time to go through the stuff you found at Bill’s. Jessica’s dead for the day.”
She nodded and vamped out to get the laptop and discs, gone for all of a second. She then settled at the counter in the blood nook and began plugging things in. As she loaded the laptop, Eric pulled on our tie. I looked over at him to see he was scratching his head, pointlessly since vampires didn’t itch. Realizing he wanted me to read him, I opened up my shields.
Can you show me the jackets and patches while she does this? he thought at me. I nodded and pushed my mind towards him. Telepathy was already a type of pulling, as in pulling of information, and when I added the push to it, I could use them together to transmit thoughts or completely immerse myself in their memories. I then ran through everything Jess had seen at the car wreck. When I finished, I pushed my own thought at him, Do you recognize where the patches originate from?
He nodded slightly, not drawing any attention to himself, and sent back, It looks like the “Fuck You Crew” from Jackson.
I desperately wanted to snicker at the name.
Why is this important to you? You didn’t feel this curious about Compton’s disappearance and the Queen said to “let him rot,” I asked.
I got an answer but it wasn’t the one I was expecting. He shut down completely on me. All of his emotions completely disappeared. He didn’t cut off our tie, but he shielded himself. I didn’t know if he was doing it to Godric and Pam too, but they hadn’t noticed if he did. My eyes narrowed and I twitched. I didn’t like it when information was kept from me on purpose. It felt too much like manipulation.
Don’t, Eric. Let me feel it.
We stared at each other for a tense moment, evaluating each other. Eric could tell I felt resolute about this, I wanted to know. I could tell he really didn’t want to tell me. He was keeping the pain, and that was the only reason I could think of that would cause him to shut down on me like that, to himself. That wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t going to let him get away with it. He could keep me out of his emotions, but he couldn’t keep me out of his memories, which was something he must’ve realized because he bit his lip, like this was also physically painful, and opened the tie.
Grief. Pure grief poured in. He kept his eyes on mine as he opened it wider, letting me feel it all. And it was a lot, like he’d kept this pain since he was human, harboring it for a thousand years. It was too much grief for one person to carry, so I did the only thing I could think of.
I helped him carry it.
I threw up a shield around my connection with him, so he and I would be the only ones aware of what I was doing and opened my tie as wide as I could, reached out through it and embraced all of the grief he was feeling and sent the only emotion back that would help him, acceptance. No pity, no sympathy, just pure acceptance.
His eyes widened but he showed no other reaction, on the outside anyways. On the inside, he was a shocked mess. He couldn’t believe I was willingly taking on his grief. He hadn’t sent it to me, I reached out and opened that floodgate myself. He was bewildered, stunned, touched, panicked, full of affection, and feeling overwhelmed. I just held open our connection in response, embraced that grief, and maintained the amount of acceptance I was pushing at him until the grief began to level out. He was full of so much acceptance by the end that he was able to relax. He then used one of my own moves on me and gave me an affectionate caress. It was torture because I couldn’t purr since everything I had done before was shielded. Eventually, I shivered.
Godric immediately looked down at me in surprise and I just gave him a crazy smile, which had Eric’s mirth exploding across all of his connections and drawing Godric’s attention from me to him. Eric gave him another crazy smile and my mirth exploded. Godric looked back and forth between us and finally shook his head and sent a push to the both of us that said I give up.
Somehow, I seriously doubted that.
“Godric, do you recognize any of this?” Pam asked, waving a hand at the screen. Godric stood up and walked over to peek at the screen while I asked Eric a different question, Why?
He knew what I was asking. Why do the werewolves cause you to feel grief? Why do you feel so much grief? Why?
You can do searches with filters, right? he asked. I nodded. Search for everything that has to do with branded werewolves.
So I did. I searched, learned, and experienced a thousand years’ worth of information about branded werewolves through his eyes, reaching back across time from moments where Eric and Godric had joined the S. S., hunting the master of the wolves, to the moment Eric was a Viking adolescent who lost his entire family to them. I had to watch the moment he lost everything as if I were there, felt his grief as if it were my own, and touched his dying father’s hair when Eric held him as he died. And damn it if a tear didn’t slip out.
Eric reached forward with vampire reflexes to snatch it up and pop it in his mouth before anyone could notice. I was sure we fooled Pam, but I didn’t think we’d fooled Godric for a second. He had kept an eye on us since the second I shivered and there was no way he didn’t just see all that. I had a feeling Eric knew that too.
Eric was sitting on pins and needles while I read him. He wasn’t sure what my reaction to that would be. I wasn’t sure myself. What I wanted to do? Send him empathy, an ocean of it. Eric didn’t want empathy though. I had just seen him at his most desperate, before and after he was turned, and he wanted to know that what I saw hadn’t changed my mind about him, that I didn’t see him as weak. So for the second time tonight, I did the only thing I could think of.
I evened the playing field.
I started out by pushing acceptance, to which his eyebrows rose a smidgeon, but not much. Then I started filtering in memories of my own life. I sent him the images of the night my parents died, finding out they had drowned, and the thoughts I read from them about how they had gone out for a night to get a break from me.
Eric felt it was his fault he lost his family, like he would’ve been able to take on all those wolves and a vampire (the wolves were enslaved with blood, it had to be a vampire) by himself if he’d just been with them when the attack began. Well, there were times when I blamed myself for my parents’ death and there were definitely times when I blamed myself for Gran’s death, which I transitioned the thoughts into next. I showed him how I’d found Dawn (not showing her body, but the moments before I entered her place and afterwards when I spoke to Jason) and how my brother was blamed and accused of being a serial killer, then I went onto how I turned the light on and found my cat Tina, showed him Gran and how I cleaned up her blood, before I finally moved onto Rene and him blaming me for how he “had to” murder Gran because of me, because I wasn’t there for him to murder in her place. I showed him I was the one who caught the eye of a serial killer and she died for it. I showed him I could easily blame myself for the deaths of my family, too.
In the process I showed him my weakest and most desperate moments as well.
While I was replaying cleaning up the blood in the kitchen, a tear slid down his cheek, which I quickly scooped up at vampire speed, evening our tie out again. I felt loved in that moment. He wasn’t pushing love towards me, but I felt loved. He saw my weakest moment, a moment when my heart was literally crying out, and he cried with me. You only do that for people you love.
I didn’t even realize until that tear fell that he was also experiencing my memories as if he were me.
Slowly, I faded out the memories. He didn’t need to see the first life I took, so I petered them out after everything Rene said about killing Gran and me being a fangbanger. He was speechless, so we watched each other for a tense moment. Yeah, we really didn’t want anything to change after people saw us at our weakest, but it’s the type of thing that changes something for us all. For me, what I saw in Eric’s memories definitely changed me- it made me love him even more. He was trying to right a wrong, to stop more deaths, and put his family to rest. He was keeping a vow he made a thousand years ago. All of that just made my love for him grow, but now wasn’t the time and place to share that with him.
Finally, Eric pushed me acceptance. My lips twitched and I stroked him, forcing him to shiver just as I did. He tugged on our tie again and I opened my shield.
None of that was your fault, Sookie.
I immediately and forcefully responded with, And none of that was yours.
He smiled slowly and gently shook his head in disbelief, blown away by our memory exchange. Finally, I felt a level acceptance coming from him that was aimed at himself. Eric accepted it wasn’t his fault. Thank the stars.
We both turned back to look at Pam and Godric, only to realize they were staring at us. Pam looked incredibly confused and Godric was wearing a shit-eating grin. Unfortunately, both Eric and I confirmed we had been up to something when they felt the “Oh shit moment” in our blood simultaneously.
“Decided to join us again, then?” Godric asked with twinkling eyes. I knew we would be discussing this later.
Eric and I both just answered by giving him crazy smiles.
“Okay…” Pam drawled out then muttered to herself, “This family is ass-backwards.”