Hey! How about an all Eric chapter of Absolution for some light reading? As I said when this started it’s a slow burn because…it still scares the be-Jesus out of me – writing canon – so slow as she goes. I do hope it’s enjoyable though, and that it does make sense with the realms of possible possibility! Let me know what you think, all feedback is adored you know that by now 😉
I stood there, taking her in with my eyes as she stood before me, her stance clearly uncomfortable – awkward even. I hated that it was back to what it was …before. I hated now that I had known her in such ways, such free and loving ways and having that revert back to ‘before’ seemed cruel almost.
“Sookie, I’ve never lied to you about what I am, or how I am. I don’t intend to start now.” I said as we got back to my office. “Despite what you think of me and how I’ve conducted myself before, you know that at least, yes?”
“I do.” she said. “Even when there were times when it’s been jarring…” she huffed.
“Would you rather I lie to you? Cushion the truth with convenient lies to make you feel a false sense of safety? I’m not Bill, as I’m also sure you’re aware.”
She folded her arms and leaned against my doorway, “No, I’m well aware, thank you.”
I nodded, sitting behind my desk and fishing through my drawer.
“Then these are yours.” I said pushing the envelope that contained the papers towards her, the papers that I had intended to give her when she first returned. I had wanted to of course, but, things – witches, shifters, ghosts and memory loss got in the way.
“What is …oh.” She said as she opened and read what I’d given her. She looked from me to the papers and back again.
“Sign them, and the house is yours again.” I said turning off my computer that I’d previously left on standby.
“I… thank you?” She looked over the papers once and slid them back inside the brown envelope, then she fixed her beautiful gaze on me.
“Thank you. Not for just giving it back to me, but for …doing what you did in the first place. You saved my Gran’s home, whether or not your intentions were pure at the time… you still did that. Without you, someone else would be living in that house now, and all memory of her would be erased…”
“Hm.” I ignored that, I didn’t want her to know that I’d given this as much thought as I had.
“I honestly didn’t think you’d want to give this back to me, before… well before everything that happened, happened.”
“You mean before you grew to love me and I you? Yes, everything did happen, didn’t it?” I said, knowing that my declaration was still ringing in my ears that’s for sure. She’d been the first woman I’d said those words to in a very long time, not including Pam of course. But, the love I held for Sookie and the love I held for my child were very different, I’d come to realize there wasn’t just one kind of love, though all of them filled me with worry and anxiety they felt different over all. Of course my love was rejected in spectacular style that night, and while the logical part of my brain understood why she was doing what she did, the newly unleashed emotional part hated it completely.
“Is this part of your plan, to protect me?” She asked as her finger slid from one end of the closed envelope to the other absent-mindedly.
“To start, yes. There are other ways but I’m not so sure you’d want to -”
“I want to look after myself, and I know that it’s damn near impossible around vampires with all the rules and ways that you all have to follow. I want to do whatever it takes.” she said with conviction, and I believed her. She was a fighter, that much I had seen for myself. She had in her a heart willing to fight for what she believed in, fight for survival. It was applying that belief that she seemed to fail at, that level of disconnect inside herself. One I wanted very much to help connect, she had the pieces of the puzzle – so to speak – now it was a matter of putting those pieces together.
“Good. Follow me.”
I took her through the doors, out of the office, and to the basement. She came down the stairs wearily. She looked around confused, as well she should have been.
“She’s just not here, she is elsewhere.”
Tara was gone now, moved, and in her place stood workout and strength training equipment that I had in storage. It served me little use other than to exert pent-up energy on occasion, but now I knew it would come into play with what I wanted for Sookie.
“What’s all this? Where’s Tara? Oh, God…she didn’t meet the -”
“No she’s still very much undead. She’s just not here.” I wasn’t there to keep her abreast of Tara’s status, not really, I was there to keep this one from meeting the same fate.
“Oh… is she… um… any better?”
“At what? Being bitter? Being rude, being close minded? It’s hard to say.” I said, fixing the boxing bag from the rafters.
“I meant on the whole… not trying to kill herself, area.” She added looking around the room some more.
“Well, she’s still around, that has to mean there’s a inch of sense in her, somewhere.”
She nodded, stepping back again as if she was digesting the information as she looked around the formerly dank room.
“Is this the magical room of requirement? This place changes a lot.” She asked and the reference was lost on me.
“I … don’t get what that is?”
She half smiled sitting on the step in front of me, crossing her denim covered legs and sighing.
“Oh, the wizard boy books. Pam likes those, she says they’re much better reading than those Twilight books, I feel she felt angry at glittering vampires – she says the only way a real vampire sparkles is in her diamonds.”
That made her laugh and she nodded, “she had every right to be mad at that.” She shook her head.
“Sookie, as I said I want to teach you a few things.” I said checking the hooks on the bags hanging from the ceiling, and she blushed. I saw it, but more to the point, I felt it within myself. I loved making her blush, the natural coral flush in her skin reminded me of how her temperature would rise when we would make love. And judging by the blood tie feelings I was getting, she was recalling the same things.
“I don’t mean like that.” I said pointedly, only making her blush harder. “Although, if you really wanted to -” I added as playfully as I could without spooking her.
“Finish what you were going to say before your dirty mind took over, Mister.” She said, standing up, fixing her shirt. I bit back my smile and continued my thought process before, as she said, my dirty mind took over. I always enjoyed her way with words, it was refreshingly adorable.
“Sookie, we all have an instinct within us, instinct tells you everything, if you’d just listen to it. For example, on instinct alone what did you feel when you and I first met?”
“Fear.” She said without hesitation. I like that she was sure, and that our first meeting had been as memorable for her as it had for me.
“Good. And what else?”
“Curiosity.” She mused.
“And what else?”
I saw her ponder it internally and she fixed her eyes on me again, this time with slight amusement as she began to say one thing but settled on another.
“See? You have good instincts. You just don’t always follow them as you should.”
“You sayin’ I should still be afraid of you?”
It was my turn to ponder, and I was as I always was – as honest with her as I could be.
That seemed to take her a-back.
“Well…gee…” she sighed sitting in the chair in front of my desk, as if in shock.
“Don’t misunderstand me, Sookie, I mean you no harm – ever. But… I am still Vampire, and even if I am as old as I am with as much self-control as I have acquired over my millennia…Not even I…”
“Can promise me you won’t turn on me like a snappy dog.” She said and that seemed to anger her, as it should, since it angered me.
“I would prefer a better selected metaphor, but, in a sense, yes. Take for example – Bill.”
“What about Bill?”
Other than the fact that he himself turned on her like a snappy dog, as she put it.
“What were your first feelings around him?”
She shifted in her seat, she was uncomfortable.
“Awe… I was in awe of him. He was the first vampire I’d ever met… He was the first man who’d looked at me in a way… in that way. And he was the first man I could be around and not want to go stark raving nuts.”
“Because his mind was silent to yours?”
“Yes.” She nodded.
“Other than that?”
She looked up to the wall behind me, seeing my sword hang there, and then she looked back to me.
“I don’t… I don’t know.”
I just looked at her, waiting for her to elaborate.
She sighed, and began again.
“I can’t remember because everything is tainted now, with what I know… with what you told me.”
Ah, that. I was beginning to think she had pushed that reveal out of her mind completely. Confessing to me that she still loved this man, after all he had done to her, seemed wrong on so many levels. It seemed wrong that I was put in the proverbial naughty corner for the lies I had told in comparison to Bill and his kingdom sized lies and deceit. I was still confused on her rationalizing of that one, but I knew it wasn’t my place to feed her, her opinions – Bill had certainly done enough of that for a lifetime. I wanted her to think and act on her own agenda, even if she didn’t believe so, yet.
“I don’t pretend to know what that betrayal felt like, and I did hate to be the …bearer of such news, but would you rather still be in the dark? Still cloaked to what kind a man… what kind of Vampire, Compton really is?”
She merely shrugged.
“Sometimes ignorance is bliss.” She sighed, a sad tone to her voice.
“Yes, and sometimes ignorance gets you killed.” I snapped back, harsher than I had intended. But, her constant defense of Bill was starting to irk. She looked chastised and sat back in her seat.
“I know, I just mean… it was easier before I knew what I know…about him… and about you…” she added me as if by accident, so quietly you would have needed vampire hearing just to hear it. I must have let my poker face slip for a time, as she felt the need to comfort me.
“Look, Eric about what I said at Bill’s…I didn’t mean to hurt yo-”
“You said you wanted to do whatever it took to protect yourself? Yes?”
I had cut her off mid sentence, but I just knew I couldn’t stand to look into her big beautiful emotional eyes and hear her say that she didn’t meant to break my ancient cold heart into a million little pieces, I couldn’t hear that, not now.
“I… Yes.” She nodded, a resolve there at least.
“Would you permit me to …assist you?”
“Since I don’t have the first clue, I’d say that was an option, yes.”
I threw her two boxing gloves wordlessly, she looked confused.
“Give it your best shot.” I nodded to the bag hanging from the ceiling now.
She looked from me, to the bag and back again for a second before she shed her jacket and slid on the gloves. She whacked the bag once, then twice, then she gave it a good one – two – three shot, it wasn’t bad, then she hit it with the wrong side of her hand and she hissed.
“Boxing? Boxing is going to protect me against vampires?”
“No. It won’t, but it’s a …metaphor of sorts.”
“Your Fae powers.”
She sighed and rolled her eyes, “Eric you know I have no real control over when that happens…”
“So… you want me to learn to control my… powers?” She asked, the tone in her voice told me she thought the idea was crazy, well, that and the feelings I got from her blood inside me. It was an interesting development, feeling a human – or percentage human’s feelings floating around in me after so long.
“I want you to embrace them, control them, tone them like the muscles that are starting to hurt in your arms right now.”
“But… I don’t know how!”
“Yes, we know, so that is why we learn what we know little about, so we then know more, you see?” I said pushing back the bed that Tara had been sleeping in. All pillows and blankets went when she did, it was just a mattress and the base now, and it was in the way. It was also serving as an annoying reminder of just how much time I had spent alone in a room with Sookie in a bed no bigger than that one, and I didn’t need reminding.
“Like you learned to be a Vampire?”
“And like how you learned to be a Viking before that?”
I turned to face her then and she had a somewhat playful look on her face. I wasn’t so used to that Sookie, not really. I took the bait.
“I suppose you could say that, yes.”
“Did you rape and pillage?” She asked, hitting the bag again, in a one-two swift motion as I stood and watched.
I folded my arms in protest almost, that stereotype always annoyed me.
“Do I look like I ever, ever needed to force myself on anyone, Sookie?”
With that she stopped punching the bag, and looked at me, a blush tinting her cheeks.
“No, you don’t…”
“No, and I never have, not even in my human life, when others would take…Pleasure in such pain and fear, it never turned me on. Why have an unwilling victim over a more than willing and happy lover?”
“Oh…But Yvetta…” she began and I stopped her in her misguided tracks.
At that I felt a moment of anger coursed through me, after everything she still thought me capable of such depravity.
“Yvetta,” I raised my voice a touch making her jump, “was here by her own free will. Some women like pain, physical pain… while others like yourself seem to be a martyr for emotional pain and suffering.”
“You’re excused, it’s really not your fault you’re so emotionally stunted that -”
“Excuse me! I am not ‘emotionally stunted’. I’ve just been through a hell of a lot these last few months, that’s all. I’d like to see you deal with havin’ your whole damn world turned upside down in a matter of months, have the only person you had left as family murdered, then get thrown into this whole other world of fucked up creatures and things…then to be told you’re one of them!” Her anger was acceptable, her rage and pain, little did she know but I understood it all too well.
“No, of course I could never understand what it is to stand by and see the last of your family butchered, not by a human man who I could have bested and killed, no but by wolves and a crazed vampire… I could not know?”
With that she seemed to get it, but I continued.
“I couldn’t possibly know, could I? What it’s like to then attempt to avenge them, only to be murdered by death and awaken a whole other animal… one that doesn’t need to breathe or eat or sleep, one that can never step into the sunlight again, never age, never…” I tapered off as I saw tears forming in her eyes. I wanted so desperately to reach out and wipe them from her eyes, to embrace her like I was able to, all those nights we shared in peace.
“Eric… I’m sorry.”
“For what? You didn’t do it.”
“No, but… I never thought about it. What it all must’ve been like for you…and how much we have in common.”
“We’re a lot more alike than you realize.”
She smiled, a sad smile, her eyes still brimming with unshed tears.
“Oh? How do you figure that one out?”
“We both do what we have to do, to survive. Now, hit the bag until your arms feel like they’re going to fall off.”
“Eric, I’m tired. I haven’t been sleeping well… and…”
“Missing me?” I flirted in the hopes of at the very least, lightening the atmosphere. She merely rolled her eyes, and yet I felt the spike of arousal run through her at the thoughts she must have been having. Ah, if only I had her gift in that moment, I thought.
We were both silent for a time, and then she spoke.
“Are you in trouble again?” She asked and when I didn’t answer her right away, she continued.
“I heard some things about … what you and Bill did getting back to the Authority, is that a really bad thing?”
“It can be. But, we’re working on it. We won’t be summoned until all founding members can assemble, which will be soon. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to give you, the …basics? Is that what we should call this? The basics.”
“Eric, even punching a bag and working out… I’m not match for a vampire -”
“Sookie this isn’t simply about toning up your physical muscles as I’ve said. This is about toning up those powers of yours. So, let’s start shall we? Something small?”
She nodded, still unsure, but I would soon put her at ease. I shed my suit jacket, leaving me in my black jeans and typical black t-shirt. I didn’t wear black in the way others did, to be intentionally ‘brooding’ or ‘badass’ (as I once heard a patron call my choice of style) I wore it because it was simple and wore well with time. That’s all I needed from my things, despite Pamela’s insistence that I ‘mix things up’. Mixing things up would only serve to both annoy me, and perpetuate the Vampire stereotype that I sometimes fought against. Yes I liked black leather, no I did not sit around my crypt all day pondering the reason for my existence. The fact that I did that from time to time in my well furnished home or office was neither here nor there though.
I wanted to see if what I thought was her trigger was correct, and so I began a list of everything bad that I knew had happened to her, from Bill’s betrayal, his mission, his lies, her own stupidity, her every move that I knew she’d view as a fuck up and I used it against her. I saw in her face, the confusion at first, then the anger.
“I mean he was using you right from that first night, the silly naive little virginal backwater girl…ripe for his picking. And he did pick, didn’t he Sookie? I know he did, because I could smell it, the first time we met, you know? How pure you were?” The anger in her eyes rose, “of course,” I smirked, “I could also smell the absence of such purity the next time we met too…such a shame that you let a man who was basically being paid to get you into bed, actually do so…And if it wasn’t for Bill my guess is that your Grandmother would still be al-” Before I could finish that sentence there was a flash of light, and I found myself on my ass across my basement floor.
Her eyes were full of hurt, and tears, I hated seeing tears in her eyes, but if it served a greater purpose for her in the end, I could look past them this once. I stood in front of her once more only to be slapped hard right across the face.
“You’re a cold-hearted bastard.” She spat as angry as she looked.
“So I’ve been told.” I answered calmly.
“You think this is some sort of fucking game? Is that what this is? Is my life and my … is it all just a silly game to you? You have no idea what you’re talking about!” She said, her voice getting louder with every other word, she was now fuming, and I noticed – though I’m not sure in her rage that she herself did – her fingers were starting to spark again. Interesting.
“I’ve had enough of this shit, and you. Fucking asshole!!!” She said turning on her heel and making her way up the concrete steps, slamming the basement door for effect. Well, sure, she was mad at me, but being mad at me wasn’t the worse thing in the world – at least it meant she cared enough to still be mad, it would be when she lost that spark then I would start to worry. But, with my Sookie, I knew I’d never have to worry about that, if it was one thing she wasn’t short of, it was spark. And soon it would be a fully formed flame, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for it.