*SPOILERS* For those not familiar with the books Season 1 of TB was Book one of SVM with only a few exceptions. I will spoil only what is relevant to the tale. Bill did not stake Long Shadow, Eric did to save Sookie when she foolishly blabbed that the Fangtasia thief was a vampire.
As for the rest, Bill pimped her out to work for Eric, and she let him.
I hated that. I like this better…
You Are A Tourist
“So, you see, Sookie, we really have no choice but to go.” Bill looked at me with his most puppy of eyes after explaining that Eric had summoned us both to Fangtasia night after tomorrow. I had quit listening half way through and just watched his body language. As far as I could tell, it was true that Eric had summoned us and that we were going to answer that summons, but it wasn’t because he was afraid of Eric.
I had let Bill claim me as his in front of those vampires at his house to protect me, and when I had met Eric I had proclaimed myself as his, again because of fear. In Bill’s presence he made me feel like a giddy school girl, or at least how I had always imagined one to feel when I listened to their thoughts as they doodled some guys name on their notebooks at school.
Outside of Bill’s presence and in my dreams it was a very different picture. Awake he was my savior but in my sleep he was my nightmare. I needed information. Information that only another vampire could give me, and I only knew one or two other vampires.
“OK, Bill. Thank you for letting me know. You’ll pick me up around seven then?” He confirmed that and apologized again for the inconvenience of the Sheriff’s summoning. I waved him off, saying I was glad to help and I would see him then.
As soon as I felt his void move back this his side of the cemetery I dialed the number for Fangtasia in the phone book and went to look for my shoes. “Yes, hello. This is Sookie Stackhouse. I’d like to make an appointment to talk to Eric Northman this evening about some business.”
When I arrived I was ushered into his office by Pam, the female vampire I met when Bill brought me here a couple of weeks ago. Eric was seated behind his desk, his hands steepled together in front of him. He nodded at the chair in front of his desk and waited for me to put my purse on the floor and take a breath before I spoke.
“Thank you, very much for agreeing to see me this evening, Mr. Northman.” He inclined his head to me, his face a mask of stone. “Bill Compton came to see me this evening and said that you required my assistance with a matter here at the bar night after tomorrow?” Again, he nodded.
“First, I would like to know why you wouldn’t ask me directly.” This brought an eyebrow up and he looked at me with something almost like curiosity in his eyes.
“Miss Stackhouse, when last we met you declared yourself to belong to Bill Compton.” I took a deep breath.
“Yes, I did.”
“According to vampire custom when a human is declared to a vampire we would not communicate directly to them without said vampire’s permission.” I thought that over. That made sense as to why it protected me from the strange vampires that had been at Bill’s house. So, he was telling the truth about that.
“I see,” I said nodding. “Then I understand why you would call Bill like he was my pimp and ask him to bring me down for the party.” I think he actually nearly smiled at that, but in the end the stone was unmoved. I could feel his tension come down though as he sensed I was not here to refuse his request as he had perhaps first thought.
“If I were not Bill’s, would that mean that according to vampire custom others could drink from me against my will?”
“Not if I knew about it.” His tone was cold and I could feel his tension come back full force. “It is my job as Sheriff of this area to insure smooth human and vampire relations. The feeding from unwilling humans is officially not permitted.”
“I can assure you that any infractions are punished swiftly and painfully. Has something happened to you, Miss Stackhouse that I need to be aware of?” He leaned forward now and I thought that this would be a hard man to lie to. I was also at once grateful that I had no intention of doing so.
“If it had, should I report it to you? I ask because I thought perhaps you only received complaints from vampires on vampire matters.”
“It is true that I usually only address vampire transgressions, but if a vampire has transgressed against you then I would like you to tell me.” I thought that over.
“Don’t think I am being a smarty pants when I ask this because that is not my intention at all.” He nodded still looking at me intently. “How would I know that I had been ‘transgressed’ against?”
“You are not susceptible to glamour as I understand it, so your memory would be intact to recall all events with perfect clarity.”
“Yes, but, sometimes everything is not what it seems.” This time he did smile.
“Again, not being a smarty pants, but when ya’ll came out of the coffin and announced that you were real you pledged to integrate yourselves into human society. To peacefully co-exist with us, but your customs of claiming humans is a holdover from before that announcement. If you mean to co-exist peacefully, why do I need a vampire’s protection from other vampires?”
He sat back, his hands still steepled in front of him. “It will take some time to iron out the hiccups of integration. Not all equally embrace mainstreaming as your Mr. Compton. Some prefer the old ways.”
“I prefer my blood fresh from the vein, but I have never taken meal or anything else from one who was not willing.”
“You are quite handsome, Mr. Northman. I imagine it is not hard to find someone willing to care for you.”
“That is a…interesting way of putting it, Miss Stackhouse. Do you see it as ‘caring’ for Bill when you let him feed from you and take pleasure from your body?”
“That is rather personal, but I did start this thread so, I will answer. Yes, I did see it that way.”
“I have questions now.”
“Clearly.” I saw something in him then. I don’t know how or why. Maybe it was the slight upturn of disgust as he said ‘take pleasure’ or maybe it was just one of those moments of grace and insight that sometimes you have when you need it most. Whatever it was I knew that Eric wasn’t a pleasure taker, he was a pleasure giver. I knew beyond a doubt that he gave pleasure in return for feeding and that he prided himself on his prowess to provide that pleasure. He was a different sort of creature from Bill entirely.
This vampire liked himself and his nature. He embraced it fully and in doing so never doubted his desires or his capabilities. I had a moment of regret that I was not one to just go to bed with someone I was attracted to, that I required some kind of feeling to be involved to enhance the physical act itself.
If that is true then how did I wind up in bed with Bill Compton?
I covered my face in my hands, feeling sick to my stomach. I had no answer to that.
“Miss Stackhouse, are you well?” He sounded almost concerned.
“I don’t think so.”
“Tell me from the beginning, let me help if I can.” I looked at him, measuring and wondering if trusting him would be the same mistake I had made in trusting Bill. In the end I decided that it wouldn’t be. It might turn out to be a different kind of mistake, but it wouldn’t be the same. So I told him. Meeting Bill, the silver, the draining, the beating, and the murder of the Rattrays and cover up that Bill had created.
I told him that I had nearly died and that Bill had given me his blood to save my life and that since then I had no idea what was going on with me most of the time. I told him that I had entered into my friendship with Bill because I couldn’t stand to see someone be ostracized because they were different. I told him that I had saved him from the drainers because what they were doing was wrong. A question bloomed in brain.
“Mr. Northman, if I had saved you from being drained, would you have offered your blood to me?”
“Doubtful. I have not shared my blood with anyone but my child and my maker.”
“So, your family then. Blood is family?” He nodded his mind racing. “Then why would a stranger want to make me family?”
“How can I get his blood out of me?”
“Why do you want to?”
“I don’t trust Bill anymore.”
“His blood will fade in time.”
“Unless I am hurt again and he has to give me more.”
“Do you think you will be hurt again?” I just looked at him. I had no idea one way or the other but the odds had increased immeasurably since I had met Bill Compton. “Miss Stackhouse, do you think that Bill will hurt you to get more of his blood into you?” Like he did before. It wasn’t spoken but I heard it all the same.
“I don’t know you, Mr. Northman, but I have trusted you a lot in coming here and in telling you this. So, I am going to trust you further now. What is my recourse here? What do I do?”
“Explain that, what are you asking me?”
“I said I was his, but I don’t want to be considered his anymore. If I break ties with Bill does that mean you will leap across the desk and bite me? Or that the lady vampire will when I go out to leave?”
“Only if you wish it. There is no forced feeding at Fangtasia or in my area that I am aware of.”
“This thing you want me to do night after tomorrow. Do you think you will need that kind of thing often?”
“So, if I agree to work for you, without the pimp, when you need me, then can you guarantee my safety?”
“Are you asking if the job comes with health insurance?”
“I suppose I am.”
“I am sure that something can be arranged.”
“Then please call Bill and tell him that I don’t need him to bring me. I will come on my own.”
“And your personal relationship with Compton?”
“I will inform him that I am no longer his when I return home.” I stood then and picked up my purse. “Thank your time this evening, Sheriff Northman. I will see you night after tomorrow.” He rose as I left, perhaps the truest indicator that something had indeed changed from the time I entered his office.
I had read his accountant and his bar staff and so far no one knew who had taken the money from his bar. I was disappointed at not being able to help him find the thief. There was only one human left. I was jumpy as hell, half expecting Bill to show up at any moment despite what I had been told when I arrived.
“I explained to Compton that his services would no longer be required this evening.” The way he said it told me that he had left no room for doubt in Bill’s mind. I had not heard from Bill since my phone call to him the night before when I ended our association. He had been talking when I hung up, but I had no interest in hearing anything he had to say. The decision was made now and I would not be going back. Just taking the action made me feel better than I had felt in weeks.
With that done I had let my mind play over my conversation with Eric. I kept coming back to my thought that he was a pleasure giver and to my everlasting shame I had spent too much time thinking what that could mean to a girl like me. Having worked all that out before I arrived I was all business from that moment on.
When they brought the last one and sat her down at the table I looked at the fang marks on her neck and the skimpy tube top and short skirt she was wearing. My eyes went immediately to Eric, I couldn’t help but think that he had left those marks on her.
Seeing my gaze he shook his head slightly telling me that he was not the one who had done this to her. I was relieved to know that. I took her hand and soon found out that she wished he had been the one to do that to her. She worshipped him, the ground he stood on and had from the moment she saw him. She dressed this way hoping to entice him and couldn’t understand why he never chose her when he took women back to his office.
For one horrible moment I saw that I had nearly been this woman. If I had followed blindly behind Bill this would have very likely been my future. A complete loss of my identity, of who I was and what I wanted from my life given over to the single pursuit of the attentions of one individual. In that moment I felt such pity for her that it overcame my listening to her and I had to close my eyes to shut out the things this woman had allowed to happen to her.
In her memory I saw his looks of pity and disgust as she begged him, all recorded there in her mind even if she was not able to process them and realize her mistake. He didn’t want a sycophant. He required something more. I opened my eyes and looked at him anew and with some wonder.
I had been right to trust him as much as I had. In her mind I saw that more clearly than I ever could in anything that he could have said or done.
One of her thoughts cut into my reverie and pulled me back to her. She knew who was stealing and it was a vampire! “She doesn’t know anything,” I said out loud. Thank God! He would kill me if he thought I betrayed him! And just like that I knew which vampire. I turned to Eric and saw that he was scowling. I guess if I had sixty thousand dollars and someone had stolen it from me and gotten away with it I would be scowling, too.
Pam took Ginger away and I moved over to Eric, keeping Long Shadow in my peripherals. “Mr. Northman, I am so very sorry I couldn’t help you tonight.” He looked at me sharply. I smiled slightly and tried to not feel so good about the fact that he got me so well. First with my unasked question and now with my unspoken truths.
“I will see you home, Miss Stackhouse.” I picked up my purse and moved to the door his arm around my back, keeping himself between me and Long Shadow seemingly by circumstance. He climbed into the passenger seat and did not speak until we were over half way to Bon Temps.
“It’s a vampire, isn’t it?”
“Yes, a male one from what I got out of Ginger’s mind.” I felt his relief. I suppose being robbed by family would really be the worst and I was glad that I could remove that concern from him. He did not speak again until we were in my drive way. I turned off the car and sat there, trying to find the way to ask what I wanted to know now.
“The answer is yes, Miss Stackhouse.” I jumped and looked at him sideways.
“I didn’t even ask you anything yet.” He laughed then, out loud like I thought he had wanted to when I saw him night before last.
“Whatever you are going to ask me, I am sure the answer is yes.” I bit my lip and tried not to smile at his boyish good looks when he let himself smile and relax. I took a breath and got out of the car moving around to his side as he got out and shut the door quietly. I didn’t want to go in yet. I leaned against the car and was relieved when he did the same.
“Your world is very strange, Eric.” I said looking out into the night. I saw him shrug and heard him shuffle his feet.
“It’s all in what you’re used to. Your world is strange to me as well.” I thought about that and then I shrugged, too. We were both more than the parts we played each day and each night.
“But you don’t think I am a tourist in your world anymore after tonight, do you?”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, the first night we met you were on display for all the people who come to your bar. You greeted me as you would any other gawker who passed by your throne on their way to somewhere else. There was only something real in your eyes when you looked at me.”
“And did that scare you?”
“No, not really. It made me want to stay and see what else I could find inside you.” His lips curled up and I could hear his wheels turning. I groaned. “Don’t say it, please. You’re like a thousand years old, please tell me you have grown beyond the humor of a twelve year old!” He was laughing again.
“Why, Miss Stackhouse, whatever could you mean?”
I took a breath and did a passable impression of my brother, “Oh, I know what I would find inside you, if you give me half a chance!” He was guffawing now and I had to admit that it was kind of funny. “Do men ever grow up?” I asked trying to sound indignant and failing utterly.
Quick like a snake he moved then, pinning me to the car as his lips crashed into mine. I gasped in shock and when my mouth opened he attacked me with his tongue in the most delicious way possible. When his arms came around me I felt completely sheltered and safe. My arms moved around his neck and I just let myself enjoy his kiss. I had been so right. He was a pleasure giver. When the kiss ended he pulled back rubbing his chilly nose to mine. “They do when they find something worth growing up for.”
He walked me to my door and kissed me again, softly, sweetly. His hands on my back to steady me as I rose up on my toes to keep the contact with him as long as possible.
“I will call you tomorrow night and we will make plans for that date you asked me on,” he said as he placed a soft kiss on my neck right under my jaw line.
“I didn’t ask you out, Eric Northman!” I said my hands coming up to his shoulders.
“Yes, you did,” he insisted still kissing my neck. I closed my eyes and tilted my head to give him better access.
“No, I mean, I might have before you told me that the answer was yes and I never got around to asking the question.”
“MMMM,” he said against my neck.
“So, if you are asking me out, Mr. Northman, then yes, I will go.” He chuckled again in my neck giving me one last kiss before stepping back and bowing to me at the waist.
“Let’s argue about it when I call you.”
“I’ll win. I am the most stubborn Stackhouse of the bunch so bring it on!” It took him another fifteen minutes to leave as we bickered about who was more stubborn and who asked who out for a date. Finally, he had to go and deal with Long Shadow, but he stopped at the bottom of my steps and looked up at me. “Thank you, Miss Stackhouse,” he said his deep voice filled with sincerity and warmth.
“For what?” I asked, moving over to stand on the edge of the steps looking down at him. He smiled at me.
“For not being a tourist.”