A/N: When I first posted this as a one-shot back in February 2009, my very first fan fic ever, I was shocked by some flaming reviews I received. The positive reviews, however, encouraged me to continue, so I added a second, final chapter a few weeks later. The motivation behind this story came from my frustration at Sookie's immature behavior at times in the books. I do NOT condone abuse in any way and am appalled that readers would think that I do. Remember that this is a work of fiction, meant to provide diversion and romantic fantasy. Please try to enjoy this story simply for what it is. Thank you. VL1

Eric and Sookie were squaring off in the middle of Fangtasia, the two of them the center of attention yet again. The beautiful 6'4" blonde vampire was snarling, acutely aware of the watchful crowd. He was absolutely fed up with Sookie's shameful public behavior this evening and had finally reached his breaking point. Across from him stood the attractive blonde telepath that was the root cause of his rage; she was equally angry with him but dangerously unaware of the attention she had been drawing tonight.

Nothing had gone as he had planned -- a fact that troubled him deeply. He had summoned her to the bar this evening, determined to finally address the things they had been avoiding. True, he had practically ignored her these past few months, ever since his forgotten memories of their time together had returned. However, things had calmed down considerably since the political takeover of Louisiana by King Felipe de Castro. Eric was in a 'good place' right now to come to terms with his feelings for Sookie and to further explore their blood bond. His plan, however, was to have this important discussion in private and in his office, certainly not in the middle of Fangtasia. However, Sookie was being quite recalcitrant, for lack of a better word.

In a futile attempt to avoid facing the Viking and his need to "come to an understanding" about their relationship, she had drunk way too many gin and tonics this evening. With her new liquid courage, she behaved in ways quite immodest and atypical of her, including practically throwing herself at a stranger and doing some serious "dirty dancing" with him in an attempt to make Eric jealous. She felt justified in her anger tonight: she wanted to protest Eric's long avoidance of her, to renounce his possessive claim on her, to show she couldn't be beckoned to do what he wanted, whenever he wanted. She had saved his life, dammit, and he should show her some respect! (Of course, he had saved her life on numerous occasions but she was choosing not to think about that right now.)

"You are refusing me this simple request? You will not come back to my office and talk to me?" he asked incredulously. His cold, steel-blue eyes were piercing, and the anger rolling off of him was palpable to everyone in the bar, vampire and human alike.

She tried to stand her ground but the buzz from the alcohol was making her unsteady, both physically and mentally. It was always advisable to be on top of your game when dealing with vampires, so Sookie hoped she wouldn't come to regret her actions tonight.

"That's right, Eric. I am not yours, and I am not obliged to go anywhere with you. So I will be leaving now." She even stamped her feet, tantrum-style, to emphasize her point more clearly.

Of course she was in no condition to drive anywhere, but she hadn't thought that far ahead. She only wanted to be outside of Fangtasia, away from Eric's menacing glare and the suffocating blood bond between them.

She did not have the chance to get very far, however. As she headed for the door, he grabbed her arm with lightning speed and started leading her back, away from the crowd.

"Sookie, stop this. You're causing a scene," he said in a low voice, although any vamp in the bar would have been able to pick up on it.

"Let go of me, Northman!" she protested loudly, causing Eric to growl in frustration. Determined to promptly end this spectacle, he hoisted her over his left shoulder, in a fireman's carry, and proceeded to carry a kicking and screaming Sookie through the bar and back to his office.

"HOW DARE YOU, ERIC NORTHMAN! PUT ME DOWN THIS INSTANT!!" she yelled, feeling dizzy, helpless and embarrassed about the position he was putting her in, in front of a full bar of very interested onlookers nonetheless. Eric had the decency to make sure the bottom of her short skirt was kept in place while she thrashed about, but Sookie was certainly too worked up to feel appreciative to Eric in any way.

Desperate to avoid being alone with him in his office and realizing their rapid trek across the bar was quickly coming to an end, she tried in vain to kick Eric with all she had… not a smart move. He simply grabbed her legs tightly to him, and snapped, "You will stop fighting me this instant, or your punishment will be even worse when we get into my office."

That threat effectively shut her up as she gulped and tried to imagine what he had in store for her. Punish her? Certainly he wouldn't harm her… they were blood bonded after all. Was he just trying to scare her? Well, it was working. As she tried to swim above her swirling fears and intoxicated thoughts, she concentrated through their bond to gauge how Eric was feeling.

Anger, definitely anger, first and foremost. Disappointment, frustration, and even jealousy (she now regretted her provocative dancing and flirting with the dark stranger she met earlier).

They reached the office entrance and once inside, he kicked the door closed behind them. Still holding Sookie firmly in place with his left arm, Eric used his right one to brush everything off of his desk. Papers, files, and desk accessories all scattered to the floor as the desktop was cleared in one giant sweep.

His words had an ominous sound. "Since you continue to act like a spoiled child, Sookie, I am finally going to treat you like one."

In a quick motion, she was off of Eric's shoulder and standing, then swiftly turned around to face the desk and bent over the desk's edge so that her chest and head were down on the desk top. Eric tightly clamped down both of her wrists with just one of his large hands as he loomed over her.

She was shaking now with fear and disbelief as he used his free hand to begin firmly swatting her backside with a few well-placed hits. She gasped with the shock of it and immediately tried to reason with her Viking.

"Eric, NO! You have no right to do this to me!! STOP this instant!!" she cried out as she struggled to break free from his iron grip but with no success. Rage and indignation coursed through her veins; frustration and exasperation ran through his.

"I will be glad to stop so we can talk as adults, but only when you can stop your whining and tantrums," he hissed, sending more stinging slaps to her squirming ass.

Although Eric generally preferred other, more "persuasive" and painful methods when dealing with humans, he was not willing to punish Sookie too harshly or publicly humiliate her. Eric was really restraining himself with her, in fact. He certainly had the strength to inflict serious damage and pain to his bonded if he wished to. Bare-bottomed and over his knee, she would have been begging for mercy in no time. But he cared for and loved her more than he had been willing to admit; he realized this now.

Yet, her immature behavior tonight seemed to warrant a very human solution. Knowing how headstrong and independent she was, however, he feared that this whole 'experience' would only further complicate their ability to come to terms with their relationship.

By taking the action he was taking now, Eric was simply trying to catch her attention and let her know he had put up with enough of her public defiance. What happened between them, privately, was another matter. But she had blatantly flirted with another man then refused her bonded in front of the bar patrons. By causing a scene in front of his underlings, she essentially called his authority into question. His hand was forced; action had to be taken. Sookie knew vamp politics well enough by now and certainly should have realized the tricky position she was putting him in. But her willful and stubborn nature got in the way of prudence yet again.

Sookie was mortified by what was happening to her. She had never been spanked as a child and certainly had no intention of letting Eric continue his assault on her. But aside from the sheer humiliation of it, he wasn't really hurting her at this point. In fact, a small part of her, (a part which she didn't want to readily admit), was getting a little turned on by his spanks and domination. In another setting, this might even be erotic and exciting. She tried to quickly suppress the tingly feelings coming from her center before Eric could pick up on it through their bond. No such luck.

Eric was momentarily distracted by the lust he started to feel from her, which, of course, in turn aroused him. Fangs extended, he leaned in close to her face and whispered, "Lover, do you LIKE what I am doing to you? I assure you we can arrange something on a more regular basis if you continue to be a naughty girl…"

Could this get any more uncomfortable and kinky? What was wrong with her? She had never felt so confused about pain and pleasure before tonight. And did Eric enjoy doing this to her, too? No, no, no… she was going to set things straight and get control of her emotions. NOW.

"NO, Eric. I do NOT like what you are doing to me, and I have no intention of there being any kind of a 'regular basis' between us since I never want to see you again!" She paused to catch her breath. "I am not yours, Eric, and never will be! Now let me up!" she said defiantly.

He really wasn't surprised by her hostile and emotional reply; she was human, after all. But he was certainly not pleased about it.

"No, my lover. I will not let you up. You have behaved badly and need to learn a lesson tonight." He straightened up again and delivered a few harder spanks, gauging her reaction and hoping to quickly diminish the 'lust factor' in the situation. It worked; he felt his fangs retract when Sookie's arousal lessened.

The alcohol was finally wearing off, and she felt her head clearing. She would NOT let him control her, she had to somehow reason with him, without begging. She tried to turn her head back to him as he continued to hold her down.

"Eric, I can't believe that after almost three months of ignoring me, you feel you are entitled to do ANYTHING to me!" She tried to send waves of calm across the bond to him, just as he had done to her on many occasions, but he simply deflected them.

"Stop and LISTEN to me, Eric… please!"

"NO!" he roared. "You listen to me!"

And then he smacked her on each cheek, much harder this time, to emphasize his point. She gasped with the pain of it. There was nothing sexy or stimulating about what he just did to her, and she was effectively silenced.

"How dare you come into my bar, get drunk and throw yourself at a stranger, then dance like you're ready to have sex with him on the dance floor!" he bellowed, his inner caveman surfacing as thoughts of 'MINE' filled his head.

He decided to really drive home his point, while knowing he would likely regret the pain his words would cause her. "Are you nothing more than a pathetic fangbanger? I am ashamed to be bonded to you!"

Now she was crying, from both the sting of his hand and the even harsher sting of his words. Eric had never spoken so cruelly to her before. She was stunned by the ache of it all.

He continued, "You refuse to talk to me to settle our differences in private. Instead, you choose to continually disrespect me, your bonded, in front of the entire bar, practically throwing a tantrum to get your way! Do you think you have not behaved badly tonight?" He paused for effect. "Answer me!"

Sookie was unable to respond to his question. She could feel the growing shame and remorse building inside of her, fighting with her fury at what he was doing to her. During Eric's tirade, he had been sure to accentuate each point with a stinging swat, trying to get his message through to her. He quickly let up, though, when he finally felt her regret coming through the bond. He knew that she was sorry, but she was too stubborn to admit it. So he would try to make this easier on her.

He let go of her wrists and rubbed her back, brushing her hair away from her face as she quietly sobbed. She stiffened at his touch, not wanting to be comforted by him, her emotions still a tangled mess.

"Do you have something you want to say to me, lover?" he gently asked her.

"Yes. I hate you," she replied quietly and without conviction.

She wanted to hate him after what he had just put her through. It would take a lot for her to forgive him, she told herself. He lightly laughed at her remark, a reaction which caught her off-guard and immediately calmed her down.

"Come now, lover. You may lie to yourself about your feelings for me, but you cannot fool me. We are bonded now, and I know what you are feeling, lover. And 'hate' is certainly not the emotion that describes our feelings for one another, is it? Hmm?"

Sookie gradually stood up, her back still to Eric as she sniffled and tried to compose herself while she gained control of her lingering indignation. She slowly turned around to face him.

"So what would be the emotion to describe our feelings for each other, then?" she asked shakily. Her heart was racing now as she anticipated his answer.

"Must you ask?" he replied with his trademark grin. He paused before confronting what finally needed to be said aloud.

"It is simply… love."

Her eyes opened wide and she swallowed hard, unable at first to respond to his open declaration of emotion. It seemed very unlike Eric to confess to this.

"There is nothing simple about what is between us," she stated.

Eric continued, "True, but we both know it is love, Sookie… and we have both been too stubborn to admit it." He hesitated for a moment before he continued. "Honestly, lover, I am tired of playing these games with you."

Not waiting to hear her response, he pulled her into his arms, gently kissing the top of her head. But he knew from how she clung to him that she was tired of playing games as well. His spoken feelings overwhelmed her, as did the emotional roller coaster she had just endured. She knew she would have to come to terms with what happened between them tonight, but that it would have to be when she had a clearer head.

They embraced for a very long time. Eric quietly comforted her, smoothing her hair; he was intoxicated by her very essence. Sookie finally accepted his comfort, too exhausted to keep fighting him or fighting her feelings tonight.

"I'm sorry, Eric," she eventually whispered and raised her face to meet his warm gaze. "I love you."

"I am sorry, too, my lover" he whispered back. Then he bent down to kiss her, a tender gentle kiss that spoke only of hope, forgiveness, and most importantly, love.