Things Happen/TBS1-I Don’t Want To Know/Eric & Sookie/OOC/M/*One Shot*
*SPOILERS* In the first season I wondered where was Eric when Pam puts Bill in the ground with Jessica? Season One was huge waste of our favorite vampire, though Season Two did a lot to fix it, I wanted something sooner. I wanted something right from the beginning.
I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t care. Not again, I can’t do that again. But I am here. So I knock.
“Eric?” she’s not certain why I am here either. Part of me was hoping she could tell me. “Where’s Bill?” I looked at her working hard to keep the mask in place that I had shown her since she floated into my world a few nights before. I didn’t want to be that way. I didn’t know how to stop. “What’s going on?” And now she is angry and scared. Good, we have that in common now. That’s how you do this right? Look for common ground, mine it, and share it. I’ll show you my scars, Sookie. Will you show me yours? “Damn it! What’s going on, Eric? Why are you here?” If I knew I probably wouldn’t be.
“You were…concerned for Compton tonight. It was the first real thing I have seen in…a very long time.” She frowned.
“I love Bill. Of course I was concerned when you came in and took him away for your judgement.”
“Not mine. The Magister.”
“He decides the punishment for transgressions.”
“And staking Long Shadow was a ‘transgression’?”
“Where the hell is Bill?”
“In the ground.” Her hand flew to her mouth. “No, he will rise again. Tomorrow. His punishment was to make another vampire.”
“Yes, but that’s not why I am here.”
“Then what do you want?” Her pounding heart. Like a bird’s wings. Not a little bird, but a bird of prey. That was why I wanted her. She was a predator in sheep’s clothing. I knew it when she straightened her back and looked at me in the bar. Did she know it?
“I…I want to know…do you know what you are?”
“I’m pissed off right now and very aware of it!” I nearly smiled. Why didn’t I smile for her like I came all this way to do? I felt the side of my mouth come up and heard her heart pound faster. My amusement fed her anger. She thought I was making fun of her. Was I?
“What?!” she screeched at me.
“I wish to speak to you about things. I thought that tonight would be a good opportunity to do that without Compton hovering around.”
“He said you would hurt me. He said for me to stay away from you.”
“I just told you.”
“No you said I would hurt you, and yet you don’t think that he will. He is like me, so it’s not my nature you are weary of, it’s something else. Why?”
“Because…” she stopped, looking for a reason to give me that would shut me up and send me away. I really hoped she found one. I wanted to be here less every passing second, but my feet felt nailed to her porch. I looked behind her and saw a bag she had packed. He was sending her away?
“You are leaving?” She glanced around and then flushed. “You’re running? From what? From me?” Her eyes dropped to the floor. “Why are staying away from me?” Her silence told me she couldn’t find a real reason. Only Compton’s dramatics designed to scare her. “And if I promised that I would keep you safe?”
“I wouldn’t believe you.” Her head came up again, fury burning in her eyes.
“But you believe him?” She nodded, holding my gaze. “Why?”
“Because…” she stopped again still not able to find the words. Deflecting, she brought the focus back to me.
“Why are you here?” she demanded again.
“I don’t know.” Her eyes widened. She didn’t expect those words? That honesty? Both? She let out a long shaky breath. I could feel the exhaustion rolling off her in waves. Then she surprised me.
“He told me to stay at his house tonight.”
“But you are safer here, where I can’t come in unless you invite me.”
“The killer can.”
“The killer is after you?”
“And you took my protection away for his ‘transgression’ that he committed to protect me while I was working at your command.” I stood taller and straightened my shoulders.
“I will protect you tonight.”
“Is that why you took him? So you could protect me?”
“Why would I do that?”
“Why are you doing that?”
“I don’t know.” Again, she reacted to the honesty with the same from her side.
“Will you explain to me now what the hell happened tonight?”
“I saw you kiss him and I wanted to be untouched by your pain.”
“I wanted you to feel it!” she said baring her teeth at me. “It was too big for me alone.”
“What the fuck do you mean? Have you never been in love?”
“Once a long while ago.”
“So long you can’t remember how scary it is to have the person you care about in danger and not be able to do anything but stand there and watch? Powerless?”
“I have tried to forget. Until tonight, I thought I had.” Her mouth came open slightly this time in her surprise at my words. “The Magister, the judge, if you will, decides the punishment for the crime. I only reported Compton’s…behavior. Put in a good word if you will.”
“What did you say?”
“That he listens to me when it matters.”
“It probably saved his wretched life.”
“Why would you do that?”
“So that you would not feel what I felt…once.”
“Why do you care?” My fangs came down as the rage boiled in me at her useless question.
“I don’t know!” She stepped back from me, further behind the threshold. I closed my eyes, retracted my fangs and tried to calm myself. “I thought perhaps if we spoke I could find out why I would do such a thing.” She walked away then and I would have thought our conversation over except that she left the door open. She reappeared a moment later with a chair that she sat well inside the door and then fell more than sat down. Ignoring me she removed her shoes and started rubbing her feet, sighing in pleasure as she flexed and rubbed them.
She took her time, and then she opened her eyes and looked at me. “I’ve been on my feet for hours, my stomach is still tied in knots and I am just plain wore the hell out. If you want to talk, talk.” I shifted from foot to foot and reached again for the words that would not come. Sensing my discomfort she sighed and started rubbing her foot again. “You asked me if I knew what I was. What did you mean?”
“Did you ever see a lion mate with a gazelle?”
“No. That wouldn’t work.” She frowned and thought that over. “Are you saying that I am a gazelle and Bill’s a lion?”
“No. I am saying that when everything is stripped away and you dig into the heart of yourself, you are the lion. He is not worthy of you.” She opened her mouth letting her breath out slowly. I could almost see the images in her mind as she turned them over and over and tried to make them work. She came up empty.
“Think back to the night you came to my bar. You were scared, because you are not stupid, but you were brave. I saw you look at me and you saw something in me that you have not seen in Bill. Something you recognized.”
“And what would that be?” she asked, her lips pursing together in a sarcastic expression.
“That I am a lion. Like you.” Her heart did a double beat. She understood my words, even partially believed them. That surprised me.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“You accuse me of deception as you sit there lying to me? You are better than that.” She skin went flush. I had shamed her. Again we had that in common. “Why are you with Bill?”
“Because…I can’t hear vampires. It is peaceful to be with him.”
“It would peaceful with any vampire.”
“I don’t trust any other vampires!”
“Why do you trust him?”
“Because he helped me. He saved me!” she hissed at me now showing that she either didn’t want to be saved or want me to know that she had needed to be saved.
“Saved you from what?”
“I was attacked, beaten by drainers. He gave me his blood to heal me. I would have died otherwise.”
“Why would drainers beat you? To get to him?”
“No, because I had beaten them the night before to save him.” I raised an eyebrow.
“If you had already defeated them, how did they best you?”
“Sneak attack. Two on one.”
“Where was Bill when this happened?”
“He was late. He supposed to be there…” she stopped then and shivered as the memory of the pain took her.
“But he wasn’t,” I finished for her. She looked up at me sharply.
“You probably kept him doing something for you.”
“This was before you came to the bar?” She nodded. “Then no, it wasn’t me. When you came to ask about the women, that was the first time I knew Compton was in my area.”
“He’d been here for weeks then! Surely you knew already? He told me that you kept track of all vampires in your area.”
“I do. He told me he had been here only a few days.” She frowned again.
“Why would he lie to you?”
“That is the best question we have come up with so far tonight.” She sighed then, hunching her shoulders and looking very small in her chair. I felt…remorse at her causing her more pain. I was here to ease her pain.
Ah, so that was why I was here. The realization was a revelation to me, which was foolish. I knew these things. My mind had been in the vineyard since I had stood like stone and watched her kiss him goodbye with tears on her face. Sylvie. She had awakened my own powerlessness and fear in the face of choice that was no choice at all. I had once known love. I felt my heart crack open a little despite my better judgement.
“I have loved a gazelle in my time.” I said as much to myself as her.
“I was not born of stone, Sookie.” Her name tasted good to me. I liked saying it. “Sookie,” I said again, liking the way the air pressed out between my teeth. My fangs ached to come down and dip into it as well. To tap it and see if the blood ran between the letters of her name.
“What?” she asked me, thinking I was trying to get her attention. Wasn’t I? Wasn’t that why I was here?
“Why can’t you trust me?”
“What happened to your gazelle?”
“I was foolish, reckless and I made a mistake that cost her life.” My heart cracked again, but she was being too smug to hear it.
“And these are reasons to trust you?”
“The best ones. I learned.”
“How to be less foolish, less reckless.” She chuckled at me.
“Less is not a full stop.”
“Things happen,” I said, acknowledging that even the best lessons can’t teach you to plan for everything.
“I think I love him.”
“I think you might, but I also think it might be the influence of his blood in your veins.”
“What do you mean?”
“The blood we share it keeps our humans close so that we may feed. It is old magic that we no longer need now that we have come out of the coffin, as humans say.”
“You think Bill is manipulating me?”
“Can you say for sure that he isn’t?” She shook her head.
“Doesn’t make sense. Why would he bother to go to all the trouble? He could have whoever he wanted. Why go to all the trouble to manipulate me. I am nothing.” I growled.
“You are a lion, Sookie.”
“No, it sounds pretty, but a lion is the king of all he surveys. I’m just… me.”
“You are young and the world doesn’t seem to have been kind to you.” She looked up sharply cut by what she thought was my pity. “There, that feeling. Lions feel that rage. Let it out.”
“If I do you might get a stake in the chest.”
“If you can stake me, I would deserve it.”
“Because you are a lion, too?” I smiled then and let her see the sexy beast inside me for just a moment.
“If you were…mine, I would nurture the lion in you, Sookie Stackhouse. I would teach her to stand up and be proud of what she was. This idea that you need to be protected and shielded, is that what you want?”
“No! I hate it, but ya’ll are so strong and the killer he…” I smelled her tears then. Something had happened that I didn’t know about.
“What is it?”
“He killed my Gran, here in this house. He can get in. That’s why Bill wanted me to go to his house for the night.” I growled again.
“His house is no safer, and if the killer is after women who have vampire relations the first place he would look is that rat trap next door. He could burn it to the ground with a match and you would go up with it, hiding because you let someone convince you that you are just a gazelle.” I was spitting in anger and contempt now, my fangs back down demanding that I make her see, make her show her own. My words had the opposite effect. She looked at me small again, rivers of tears on cheeks.
“I’m so tired,” she said and looked it. I wanted to hold her but through the barrier that was not an option, so I slapped her with words to make her rise up and be who she truly was.
“Then perhaps I was wrong. It has been known to happen. Perhaps you just a weak little nothing after all.” She was out of the chair like it burned her.
“I AM NOT WEAK!” she screamed at me. I looked her, cold mask in place, daring her to prove me wrong. Caught up in her anger she marched through the door and out onto the porch to put her finger in my chest. “I am not weak!” she said again, poking the words into my cold hard flesh. “I have been through so much that most people would be curled up crying like a baby! I have lost everything! I didn’t have that much in the first place and now it’s all gone and I am still right fucking here! I will be staying right fucking here!” she screamed at me.
I looked at her, seeing now very clearly what I had believed to be true. Sookie was like me, foolish and reckless and filled with strength that she didn’t even know she had. A woman like this might be able to withstand my love. A woman like this might be strong enough to awaken that in me again. If I wanted it.
Did I want that?
When her finger pressed into me again I knew that I did. I wanted this woman for myself and that is why I came here tonight.
“You got anything to say to that, buster?” she yelled at me again.
“I could love a woman such as you.”
“Well, I could never love a man like you!” she spat me, but again her heart beat speeding up betrayed her.
“You don’t know that. You don’t know me.”
“Oh, I know enough!”
“Tell me then, these things that make less worthy than Bill Compton.”
“You…you…you’re cold and hard and you will do anything to get what you want.”
“True, but don’t pull back from it. Speak the truth of your heart.” I readied for the blow I felt coming.
“If you are like me, then what is there to love?” she asked me quietly, but so coldly that I was chilled.
“How can you love anything or anyone if you have no love for yourself? You offer nothing because you believe yourself to be nothing.”
“I like myself just fine, thank you very much!” she sneered at me.
“I speak of love, not like. The kind of love where you look at a thing and know that it is acceptable because it is you, yours and you earned it. You own it, and when you give yourself it is a gift like no other. There is worth and value to be cherished.”
“How is you wanting me to be like you different from Bill wanting me to be his perfect Southern Belle?” she mocked me.
“Because I only want you to be you, Sookie. Love yourself.”
“So I can love you?” she poked me again. I looked at her, consciously opening my gaze to her that she might see more than just a vampire or a man. She gasped at the heart of me as if she had read my mind.
“I have much to offer,” but that was my pride, as she had met my honesty with more of the same she now flashed her own pride to me.
“I have no need of material things,” she said dismissively, as if that is what I had offered. She was still a child in so many ways. I should leave her to be that for another decade or so and then return to her, but I feared what might befall her in that time, especially if she went on pretending she was weak and hating herself for it.
I could turn her tonight. As Bill rose with his progeny I could rise with mine and take all the time that the world remained to teach her about her true self. I thought it over for a long moment and then decided not tonight. Perhaps soon, but not tonight. I had lured her out here, and to take her now would leave a taste in my mouth that I didn’t like.
It would be too much like what Pam had done to me. I had forgiven her for forcing my hand but I had never forgotten the feeling. It was one more thing that I wanted to protect her from, at least for now.
“I speak of things more valuable than money or goods.”
“Yeah, try choosing between the phone and the electricity one month and then tell me that money is not important.”
“Stop playing at talking to me and talk to me, Sookie.”
“I don’t know what you want me to say, goddamnit!”
“Why don’t you love yourself?”
“Oh, for God’s sake!” She took a deep breath and then let it out slumping again as she had before on the chair. “Just tell me what you want me to say and let me go to bed, please.”
“Invite me in.”
“Invite me in, please.” She looked up at me, the porch light catching the dark circles under her eyes.
“You won’t hurt me?”
“If that were my plan, I would have done it by now.” She looked down and sighed, realizing perhaps for the first time that she was no longer behind her protective barrier.
“Fuck,” she said to the porch. “Mr. Northman, won’t you please come in?” I smiled that time, a real one. The first one I had smiled in so long my face creaked. She missed it. I stepped closer to her, one last thing to do before I tucked her in and watched over her until the sun rose. I put my finger under her chin and pulled her head up to look her in the eye.
“There is much to love in you, Sookie. I would like to help you find it.” I kissed her then, slowly, softly and chastely for all that I wanted more even I wasn’t ready for it. She let me kiss her, her eyes going shut as she focused on the sensation of our lips together. “Let me take you to bed now. I will watch until dawn and tomorrow your lover will return to your side. If that is what you wish?”
She just looked at me, which was more than I expected. When I tucked her in her hand came up to touch my face resting there a moment. “Was he really wrong about you, Eric?”
“He has to be. He doesn’t know me either.” She nodded then and was asleep before she even took another breath. I watched all night but no one came near. No one would dare approach a house where lions rested in the moonlight.
A/N- And so gang we begin a new series of one shots! These will TB one shots, probably all Eric POV as SVM was all Sookie’s. It feels better that way. As before these are meant to illustrate only points in time where things might have gone differently than the show that we got. They will not be a connected story, rather little peeks into what might have been. I really missed doing these. It’s good to be back! 🙂