Oh boy, oh boy, do I have a treat for you!
It’s a whole chapter from Godric’s perspective. Let me warn you now, this is a delicacy. You will not be seeing it much so enjoy it while you can.
I’m sorry. I’m having waay too much fun in these author notes. Feel free to smack me upside the head when I start coming across as annoying.
You just have to find me first.
Disclaimer: I don’t own True Blood, SVM, the characters, the plot, or the Viking. Sadly. HBO, Alan Ball, and Charlaine Harris do. *Shakes fist at them and growls*
“Sookie, child, you need to relax,” I said and sent her calm and reassurance. Normally, when dealing with a newborn vampire I would be saying, “You need to control yourself.” The opposite was true with Sookie, she was so tightly controlled that absolutely no emotions were coming through the bond. It was like listening to HD satellite radio then being slammed with static out of nowhere. It concerned me greatly when her emotions bottomed out like this and I found it hard to offer her comfort or explain anything to her when I didn’t know what needed attention first. It was a little like operating blindly, which is something you did not want to do when around a vampire about to snap.
I needed to loosen the control she had over her emotions so that I could sense what her biggest issue was, though I knew without a doubt that all her issues had to do with Eric at the moment. I inwardly cursed him for his stupidity while I gradually increased the amount of calm, support, reassurance, and security I was sending her.
She had been doing so well tonight. Not that she hadn’t always done well. In fact, we’d had relatively few setbacks at all since she had been turned and almost all of them had to do with betrayal and manipulation. Tonight though, she had been doing exceptionally well. She was letting herself trust Eric for the first time, allowed him feel how much affection she had for him, and had even let him kiss her. It had taken a lot of work to assure her Eric was not who he pretended to be around humans, assets, and vampires he didn’t trust. Yet, Eric had just proved to her that he was. It was very aggravating to see that when Eric wanted something from Sookie his first impulse was to try to manipulate her into giving it to him.
Honestly, if he had just given her a little time to think it through, I’m sure she would’ve eventually said yes to either drinking some of his blood or exchanging with him. He should’ve realized that fact after feeling the amount of affection Sookie had for him. She didn’t love him, but it was something very close and it could go one of two ways if he wasn’t careful. She was either going to fall in love with him or decide she could trust him with her life but couldn’t trust him with her heart and he would be relegated to a true brotherly role for eternity.
Which would be a shame since Eric already loved Sookie.
He just didn’t realize it yet.
In fact, I was pretty sure, based on the emotions I had felt from Eric during the few times I had opened the bond to subtly check on him, that he had loved her for months. After Sookie had told me about their relationship and all their interactions, I was pretty sure I could pinpoint for him the exact moment he fell in love with her if he were to ask.
It happened when he summoned her and Sookie had negotiated with a thousand year old vampire for the lives of humans if she discovered they were guilty with her gift. For someone to stand up to Eric knowing what he was, how powerful he was, and honestly not be afraid of him? And then make demands of him, knowing he would have to give into her if he wanted her help? That would be intoxicating to Eric. As intoxicating to him as it was for me to see a human cry because she was afraid for me rather than afraid of me. I wasn’t in love with Sookie though. The love I had for her was that of a father, a brother, and a son.
Not knowing how else to loosen her up, I sent her that love. All three forms of it. She relaxed instantly and threw her side of the bond wide open to accept it all, greedy for it. Then, stunning me once again (as was so very common these days around Sookie Stackhouse), she sent her own love back to me.
All three forms of it.
We both kept up a steady stream of love, both receiving and sending, and basked in the unconditional acceptance and depth of emotion we felt. It was the first time I had sent her love. It was the first time I had sent love at all, or received it for that matter. I knew Nora and Eric could occasionally feel that I loved them, but I had never sent it to someone before. Sookie was so much more affectionate than either of them so I took a chance, hoping that she would be able to discern the difference between this type of love and romantic love. She did and she returned it.
She loved me like she loved a father, as someone who could support and teach her, who she relied upon to take care of her and lend her strength. It was almost like childish adoration with a touch of awe. Then there was the love she felt for me as her son. It was tender and full of concern, and in a way she felt as if I was the most precious thing in her life. It was also stern when it needed to be and I could feel a backbone to it, she was only going to bend so much and then she would take control. It was also full of the warmest praise and devotion I could ever ask for. Finally, there was the love she felt for me as her brother. That love was the most interesting because I could feel this overwhelming sense of comradery, mischief, and amusement.
When I delved into that love and analyzed it, I could feel she was my best friend and wanted me to be happy. She also wanted to get into trouble with me and joke with me and be my wing-man. She invited me to do the same, wrapping me up in a hug emotionally and slipping her hand into mine in the real world. There was also this sense of good-natured rivalry and when I felt it, I knew she was comparing us at times because she wanted to improve herself, she looked up to me and I was her idol. Very much like how a younger sister idolizes her older brother.
I was still sending and receiving a stream of love with Sookie when I felt Nora and Eric’s reactions, which were varying degrees of entertaining and worrisome. At first, both felt awe and were overwhelmed by the amount of love I was sending Sookie. Nora could feel what Sookie was sending me in return, but Eric was still blocked. He could feel my reaction to what she was sending me though and sensed my pleasure and the different types of affection I felt for her in return. He could feel my stern love as father, teacher, and provider as well as the tender part that idolized my daughter. He could also feel my reaction to her motherly love and how at that point I loved her as a son would and how I looked up to her, how I felt supported by her, and how I would do anything for her. Then he felt my love for her in the role of an older brother. He felt how much I wanted her to be happy, how much I enjoyed her being in my life, my need to get up to antics with her, our sense of comradery and mischief, how much I supported her, and, finally, the extreme brotherly protectiveness and possessiveness I had towards her and how I very much wanted to kick his ass for trying to manipulate her and hurting her.
Eric quickly moved on from awe and incredulity and flooded me with remorse, guilt, and how idiotic he felt. After that, he felt envy. An all-encompassing sort of envy.
I was concerned at first that he envied Sookie since I had never before sent love to Eric but I realized pretty quickly the envy wasn’t directed at Sookie, it was directed at me. He envied how much she loved me. In fact, he was outright jealous of the amount of love she was sending me. He was right to be jealous in a way, it was the most beautiful and purest emotion she had ever sent me and completely unconditional. As was mine. On the other hand, it wasn’t romantic love, and if he gave her time (which she didn’t need much of based on the level of affection she had for him in her blood), eventually he would get to experience that from her. With emotions as deep and pure as Sookie experienced, feeling that from her would be earth-shattering for him.
Concerned Eric was getting the wrong impression from our exchange, I sent him reassurance and affection and an emotional push that very strongly told him he had misunderstood. He responded back with disagreement and then sent a tidal wave of understanding as well as fatherly and brotherly affection with the devotion of a son. Well then, maybe he did understand. He then sent me his craving for all things Sookie and my lips kicked up. I sent him back my mirth and my own understanding.
He was envious because he craved all things Sookie.
Nora, on the other hand, had me seriously worried. Her awe had quickly morphed into shock, then rejection, and then anger. She was currently working herself towards rage and was also experiencing jealousy instead of envy. It was closely related but not the same thing. Envy would mean she wanted the love Sookie was experiencing. That wasn’t what she wanted. She just didn’t want Sookie to have it. I couldn’t understand the reaction she was having so I reached out to soothe her, but she slapped me away. I sent her a scolding and irritation which she immediately responded to with remorse. I then sent her a gentle wave of the love I had for her to see how she would react.
She was completely flabbergasted. Slowly, I dialed back the emotion I had sent her, then pushed a stronger wave of love towards her and smiled when she basked in the emotion washing over her. I tugged on our bond and sent her curiosity, obviously wanting to know if everything was all right and how she felt about being sent love. She sent me back happiness and a kiss on the cheek before directing her attention elsewhere. She was still experiencing jealousy but it was more of an irritation now and she no longer felt anger, rage, and rejection. She had realized Sookie wasn’t the only one I loved, just the first one I had sent the emotion too. Eric didn’t need that reassurance. Well, he did, just not from me. He needed it from Sookie.
I slowly dialed back the depth of the emotion I was sending to Sookie and she followed my lead. By the time we had stopped transmitting we both realized we were purring and we both had leaked a blood tear or two. Immediately the purrs were replaced by laughter and we both swept each other’s tears up and popped them in our mouths. The bond shimmered and grew infinitesimally with the ingestion of blood.
“I thought that was an Eric sound, but I guess it’s a vampire sound, huh?” she asked with a grin.
“I guess so. I’m not sure I’ve ever made that noise before, Sookie. I truly doubt I will ever get tired of the surprises that come my way with you,” I confessed. She felt genuine pleasure when I spoke which made me happy in return.
I was feeling her emotions now, which was a relief. Sookie was very angry with Eric and very hurt. She felt a smaller sense of the betrayal that she felt after Bill, but she felt betrayal nonetheless. She had slowly been gaining more trust and faith in Eric and he had destroyed that. Sookie now had faith that Eric would keep her safe but trusted him with little else, especially her heart.
This saddened me greatly. Honestly, I was rooting for Eric. I’d known of Sookie’s attraction to Eric since the night she rose and I knew Eric loved her. He just doubted she could love him back so he hid the desire and need he felt for her and was trying to manipulate her into giving him a piece of herself. He didn’t dare hope for her heart because he didn’t think his own was worth having and therefore thought he had nothing to offer her. Sure, he could offer clothing, money, and every material thing in the world, but she couldn’t care less about material things and he knew it. On one level, he felt he was more than worthy of her. On a deeper level, he doubted she could ever love him and, operating on that misguided notion, was screwing it up. He was so desperate for all things Sookie that he would settle for anything she gave him as long as it brought him closer to her, and because he doubted she would willingly give him anything, he plotted ways to take it.
“We must talk about what happened with Eric,” I stated quietly, braced for her reaction. She didn’t feel negative emotions much, but when she did and actually allowed herself to feel them, she reacted strongly.
“You said I could trust him,” she hissed with accusation. My eyebrows soared. Hissing was new for Sookie. It also meant she was livid. Though she threw that at me in an accusing tone, she didn’t blame me for anything that had happened and trusted me just as much as she had before.
I placed my hands on either side of her face and forced her to turn to look at me while I spoke with conviction, “You absolutely can, Sookie. You can trust Eric with anything.” I sent her my complete confidence in Eric as I spoke. She sent me her doubt in return. Eric on the other hand was sending me his worry and his shame. He felt me send my confidence in him out and was worried that I had to do even that. He was just now realizing that he had jeopardized her trust in him and since we already told him we were going to be telling him things he couldn’t repeat to his progeny, Sookie’s trust was very important.
“I really don’t think so, Godric. We had barely begun to tell him anythin’ and he took that one piece of information and started schemin’ with it,” she argued, agitation swelling with every word. “If he’s already plannin’ to manipulate me when we gave him a crumb, what is he going to do with whole pecan?”
I simply sent her confusion. I didn’t understand when she started talking human food or used southern sayings. I was slowly learning not to take everything so literally and she was learning not to use southern metaphors.
“It’s a pie,” she explained, exasperated. “I meant that Eric obviously believes knowledge is power. He even kept your role as his maker from me. He utilizes every piece of information he has and that’s great when it comes to protection and strategy, but he can’t use it AGAINST ME!” She finally lost her incredible control at the idea that Eric could use everything we’re about to tell him against her and her fangs dropped.
Honestly, she had lasted ten minutes longer than I would have.
The bond was in an uproar. She was full of rage, suspicion, and pure exasperation. She felt like she had to pull teeth to learn anything from Eric and was so incredibly frustrated over the thought that anything she confided in him was used to entrap her in some way. Plus, a very small part of her felt Eric was responsible for her death by keeping things from her. It was an incredibly small part but it was there. It helped me put her reaction to manipulation, especially by Eric, into perspective and I could see why she had shut down earlier. If she opened that door there was the potential that many negative thoughts and feelings would come barging in, and that would’ve been several steps backwards. So far she had never regretted her choice and I never wanted her to, in all honesty. She had already reached a level of acceptance that usually took the span of a mortal life to reach and I didn’t want to jeopardize that by bringing Eric into this.
We needed Eric’s help, but not at the cost of her emotional well-being. I would give her a choice, just like I did the night I turned her, and we would decide together if the future involved Eric in it.
I sent her as much acceptance and understanding as I could as well as a little regret and remorse while I said in a subdued tone, “All right, Sookie. If you don’t trust Eric not to use this information to manipulate you, then we won’t tell him. I would like his assistance, but not if it makes your emotional state unstable. You can’t control yourself so much all the time and if you’re afraid Eric will use what he learns against you, you will be on edge constantly. And if you’re always on edge, you will-“
“Make mistakes,” she finished for me in a whisper. I nodded. “That’s what I’m afraid of, Godric. I need to trust him implicitly in order to relax around him and I’m not sure I can.” A tear slipped down her cheek as she said this and it nearly broke my heart. She wanted to trust Eric, badly, but he was making it hard for her.
Eric sensed my emotional upheaval from the other room and tensed.
I ignored him for the moment and focused on my youngest progeny. She was my priority and she needed my full attention. I then did something I didn’t want to have to do again after I had reopened the bond, at least not for many years, I shut it down. Now all I could feel was Eric’s life-force and his location.
“Oh, Sookie, love. It’s all right,” I reassured her and swept up her tear before I paused to think and decided to try changing tactics. “Do you remember the night you rose vampire?” I asked conversationally after pressing a gentle kiss to her forehead and dropping my hands from her face to her arms. She nodded and met my eyes. Sookie knew what I was saying was important, so she settled herself down and opened herself up to new information. It was amazing how she literally prepared herself to be open-minded instead of using a false promise and leaving it at that. “Do you remember telling me you felt so ambivalent about Eric because you felt he was using you for your ability?”
I was paraphrasing, but she still nodded in agreement.
“I could tell from your blood that you felt you judged him prematurely and you gave serious consideration to the idea that Eric wanted you as an asset more for your own protection than for the use of your ability, correct?” I questioned. She nodded again. “What was it specifically about that conversation that changed your mind?”
“His motives. Nothing you said changed what he did, but his motives put it into a different perspective,” she admitted honestly.
Good girl, Sookie.
“And tonight? What was he trying to do, Sookie? And what do you think his motivations were?” I asked her. If she was going to change her mind about Eric, now was the moment. If she couldn’t, Sookie and I couldn’t stay in Louisiana. All three of us would be on edge if we did and right now we couldn’t afford to make mistakes.
“He wanted to manipulate me,” she said with confusion. She didn’t quite understand what I was asking.
“Eric wanted to manipulate you to do what, Sookie?” I tried again.
“Oh, he wanted to strengthen the tie, which I don’t understand. Why would he want to feel me even more? We can already feel each other really well through you,” she said contemplatively.
With this I shot her a sly smile and mischief mounted in my blood, but ultimately I decided to use a little more logic instead of teasing her. She needed to figure this out herself or she was constantly going to doubt it. I cleared my throat needlessly to bring her out of her thoughts and asked, “What would strengthening the tie do?”
“Make us more connected,” she replied instantly. “I’m vampire now though, he can’t control me with blood anymore, so what would be the point?” I silently agreed with her but feeling it just seemed to puzzle her more, so I took another approach.
I leaned back against the couch, wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and picked her right hand up with mine. Gently, I stroked the back of it with my thumb, taking my time and acting like I was trying to figure it out as well.
“You examined his blood,” I stated finally, pretending to be contemplative. “What was he feeling? What emotions did he experience as he was plotting to strengthen your tie?”
“Possessiveness. I thought he was feeling possessive over his emotions and his privacy, but when I took a closer look, he was feelin’ possessive over mine. And he felt hope, he was hopin’ he could manipulate me into makin’ us more connected. He also felt shame when you called him out on it,” she whispered. Now that she had finally said it, comprehension was beginning to flit across the bond. “But none of that explains why he wants to strengthen the connection between us.”
“What would happen to the tie between the two of you if I ever had to close the bond down?” I asked her. What she really wanted to know was how Eric felt about her. Then she would understand why he wanted to feel closer to her, but she would never know how he felt about her unless she opened that connection back up and used it to analyze his feelings for her.
“It would disappear,” she replied instantly and paused. “Oh.” Apparently that was enough for her because she then retracted her fangs.
I smiled at her and sent her my amusement while I chuckled out, “Yes, ‘oh.'”
“But why not just ask me if it would be okay to strengthen the tie? I mean, I’m not gonna be willin’ to share blood with him until I trust him more, but I wouldn’t have said no to strengthening it through emotional exchange. Why even plan to manipulate me?” she asked, thinking like any rational person would. Eric was not rational tonight.
“Because he is a high-handed asshole,” I said soberly. I meant it. She laughed, which is what I was hoping for. “Plus I think he was afraid you wouldn’t want to and was trying to avoid possible rejection, like he was the night he attempted glamouring you. Instead he lost all the ground he had gained tonight.”
“If that’s really true, then Eric’s an idiot,” she retorted while sending me a wave of exasperation.
“Yes, he is,” I agreed, as did my blood and she giggled in response. “After taking this step by step, do you feel like you can trust him with more information? If you aren’t willing to take that small leap of faith, then we will have to leave Louisiana. He already knows we were here to tell him something important and it will literally drive him crazy not knowing and then all three of us will be on edge around each other and prone to making mistakes. If we cannot tell him, you cannot live in Bon temps.”
She grew serious and contemplative. Sookie wanted to live here. She wanted to see her family and friends again and she wanted to trust Eric, but she was still doubtful of him.
“What if I give you permission to read his mind again until he gains your trust back?” I asked. It really would be best for us, and for her emotionally, if we could stay in the area. Earlier, she had read Eric’s thoughts and had emotionally blushed in the blood and it caught his attention. I had sent her a tug, which she knew meant “Was it something you read?” and she had answered in the affirmative. I then requested she not read anything more until he knew, or we would keep confusing him. I was building us up to that conversation and had already confused him once about her rising when he had started scheming and I had to halt the conversation.
She thought about it for a moment more and finally came to a decision. She took a breath and nodded, “Yes, I think if I could read his mind until I trusted him more, then I’d be okay with confidin’ in him. And I do really wanna stay here, Godric. I can’t read everything, because he thinks in another language like you do, but I would be able to sense if he were plottin’ somethin’ again and point it out to you. Or kick his ass myself.”
Now I secretly hoped he’d try it. It would be amusing as hell. Because I had no doubt she could.
“Good. I’m sorry he lost your confidence, but I’m sure he’ll gain it back quickly. I could simply command him not to manipulate you,” I grinned when I felt her immediate protest, “but then you would never trust him on your own. I do think you should reopen your tie though, that way you both will get a better understanding of each other.”
She nodded in agreement and I quickly opened up my bond again with Eric. I felt my own eyes widen when I sensed his emotions and quickly tugged on my bond with Sookie so she could experience them as well. He was in a full-blown panic. He was full of anxiety, worried we would leave again, afraid he had hurt Sookie, full of remorse, regret, and shame for trying to manipulate her, concerned she would snap, and just plain desperate to feel her again. Sookie had opened her tie and was shocked.
She really had no idea how much she meant to Eric and was overwhelmed by his reaction to being cut off from her. When he lost his connection to me, he thought we had made a decision to leave the area. He wasn’t far off, but his emotions had escalated in a very short amount of time. Sookie only had a second to analyze his emotions before they quickly morphed into one giant mountain of relief when he realized I had reopened the bond. He did a quick search and focused on his re-established tie to Sookie. A very deep emotion briefly flickered in his blood (much too quickly for Sookie to recognize) before he sent her a stream of affection, concern, remorse, sorrow, and shame. Hesitantly, she squeezed my hand, swallowed, and sent him forgiveness. He felt relief once again and sent her another small burst of affection. In return, she tugged on his connection to let him know it was okay to re-enter the room.
Eric returned to us at vamp speed, holding a small cooler. He crouched down in front of her and reached a hand out to brush a piece of hair behind her ear, quietly stating, “I’m sorry. I should have just asked you if you would mind strengthening the tie instead of trying to manipulate you like that. It’s very hard for me to trust people, but you are a part of my bloodline now and I need to show you more trust. I truly regret it and I am sorry.”
She nodded in agreement and he gave her a sheepish smile in response.
“I’m fine with the strengthening the tie, Eric. I need more time when it comes to exchanging blood but I don’t mind havin’ a stronger emotional connection with you. I just hate being manipulated. It’s probably the one thing besides actin’ aggressively towards me that will bring out the predator in me,” she admitted weakly.
He nodded quickly and pushed understanding and gratitude towards her, but we both could feel how shocked he was about her being willing to strengthen the tie. He was even more stunned that she hadn’t outright refused to share blood, just asked for more time. Not only that, but she had mentioned exchanging, which she knew was the first level of bonding. I’d made certain to explain everything bonding entailed, along with all the effects of our blood, after I brought her back to the safe house the night she rose. They could both strengthen the tie by drinking from each other separately, but she was willing to consider a first level bond in the future. By asking Sookie to reopen her side of the tie so she could feel his panic, I had allowed her a small glimpse into his true motivations and it seemed doing so had definitely been the right move. She hadn’t said yes, but she hadn’t said no, and was open to the possibility, so Eric was now feeling hope. I showered Sookie in pride for not immediately rejecting the idea and for still being willing to strengthen the tie. She sent me gratitude back and smiled at Eric, who gave her a genuine smile in response.