A/N- This story follows 'Alliance' and those that precede it, as noted on my Profile page. This is my one and only story about Sookie being turned, something that Charlaine Harris has said will not happen in her Sookie Stackhouse Series. As I had Claudine suggest in 'Alliance', there is much to be said about the potential for unkindness in asking someone to love you and know they will lose you within a short (to them) span of time. This story contemplates potential outcomes of Sookie making a different choice from the one Charlaine Harris suggests.
Sookie and the myriad characters of the Sookieverse are creations of Charlaine Harris. I hope she doesn't mind my borrowing them and embroidering on them.
On a field of battle in a heavily forested area somewhere well south of Kitzbühel, Austria, the fairy Prince, Niall Brigant, appeared with her. She was a beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed vampire dressed all in black. The Fae and their leader Hans immediately noticed the locket around her neck, bearing the Brigant 'B'. She was Niall's family. Releasing his hand, she walked forward toward the two sides, moving silently, at a casual speed. All the vampires had noticed was that she was one of them, which inclined them to trusting her a bit more. Her eyes, though, sparkled yet did not glow in the manner usual for a vampire. The Fae and vampire forces stared at Brigant and the woman. It was odd to see a Fae of any sort in the company of a vampire, let alone a fairy with one. As she approached the leaders of the two opposing forces, the Raedself suddenly appeared and her eyes widened as she smiled. She nodded graciously toward the woman and then spoke softly to the leader of the Fae. The German vampires' leader, Georg, nodded solemnly to the vampire woman. Who was she? And why on earth would the Prince of the Fae travel with a vampire? Perhaps it was really that woman… but here? In Austria? It couldn't be.
After consulting quietly with Niall Brigant, the vampire moved gracefully and silently through the ranks of both sides. There were hundreds of them amassed but she moved deftly among them, as if looking for something. The waning full moon illuminated the clearing fully. The only sounds audible were now the nighttime sounds of crickets, frogs and the occasional owl or bat. She came to a stop at the vampire leader's second and leaned toward him slightly. Her eyes illuminated with coppery sparks as she met his glowing eyes. She stood before him and seemed to take something in, nodding. Then she turned her eyes back toward the Fae, seeming to search for something or someone. She moved across the neutral ground and walked among the Fae. They parted the path she walked with fear. Her nostrils did not even flare as she walked among them, however, which was odd for a vampire among the Fae, especially the fairies. She finally came to a stop before a very tall, thin old man and her eyes narrowed as she seemed to take something in. Then she walked back out to the neutral space between the two forces and motioned to Niall Brigant, the Raedself, Hans, and Georg. They moved toward her to listen.
"Okay, there is fault on both sides. The vampire's leader Georg's second, Ricard is his name? He struck against the Fae village in revenge because Siebold's granddaughter, who is only part fae, rejected an offer of a business alliance that was shaded with other implications which she did not feel comfortable accepting. Siebold meanwhile has been rather inaccurate to Hans, his chief, about the nature of the dispute because Heike, his granddaughter, had a prior relationship with another vampire, which they keep secret. Ricard knew this other vampire. Ricard thought he could just parlay the situation into a little business and pleasure for himself but Heike doesn't like Ricard and rejected him. Ricard has overtly lied to Georg Herdt about the nature of any 'offense' from the Fae. He was basically offended that Heike said 'No.' Siebold was offended that Ricard lied about why he burned down Siebold's businesses in revenge for Heike spurning him. This is really a personal matter between the two men and should not affect either population beyond that. Each has misled his leader about aspects of what has really taken place. Both should be censured but if you want my opinion, there's a lot more blame to lay at Ricard's feet. He tried to destroyed their livelihood because he was angry to be rejected. There is no war here. Just a woman who does not wish to be involved with Ricard, for reasons that now appear very obvious. Heike's a smart woman."
She nodded to the two leaders, Hans Krentzmer and Georg Herdt. They nodded to her in return and each looked back their men involved in the dispute. Niall Brigant and the Raedself smiled faintly to each other. Georg Herdt turned back to the female vampire and said simply,
"Who are you?"
"What is your name?"
"Sookie. You may call me Sookie," she said, her eyes meeting his as she scanned him.
"You are Sookie Northman?" his eyes widened and then he clicked his heels together bowing his head.
She bowed her head in return acknowledgment. She really just wanted to get back home and go back to resting. Niall had awakened her in the late afternoon from a dead rest. It took every ounce of energy to get here looking alert and presentable. She was too young to be up so early. And this wasn't the first time, either.
With a quick nod to Niall Brigant, and the Raedself, she simply disappeared.
I was delighted with the score. A 90 was pretty darn high, considering the passing score on the Louisiana Bar Exam was a 70. I smiled and my heart swelled. I was a lawyer! A real actual lawyer! Sookie Stackhouse Northman, former barmaid, was a lawyer! It was one of those moments in life that you savored. While I'd waited for the results of the mid-July Bar Exam, I'd been on pins and needles even though I knew that I must have passed. There was just this feeling of apprehension at times that overruled my common sense. I had sailed through major portions of the exam, completely confident in my responses. I didn't like the torts section, though and had stressed about it. Liability was not my area. I liked things that were nice and well defined like contracts and written laws. Constitutional law was my particular favorite.
In the months that followed the Bar exam I'd been incredibly busy with my work as a liaison for the Alliance. We were now up to twenty-two states, with another six planning to join on January 1st. Sometimes I'd thought that Eric had come up with the idea of a liaison for supernatural relations merely in order to keep me busy in Louisiana and provide me with a job and salary without my complaining too much. He had denied it vehemently and said that creating such a position for me was so obviously a sensible thing to do in our state. But it had quickly evolved into a serious position, with a fair amount of power and responsibility. State after state had lined up and wanted me to work as their liaison. I was now effectively a troubleshooter for any problems between vampires and other races- the Fae, demons, Weres, weres witches and regular humans of twenty-two states. People took my analyses of things, and even my recommendations, quite seriously. Stan, Roberto, Eric and Joseph basically acted as if my word was law on the issues in which I became involved in their states. Some of the other states had started to follow suit. On a typical Monday morning I might have well over a hundred emails in my Inbox dealing with just liaison business. Sheriffs from the four principal states would send me weekly updates of any issues in their Areas, just to keep me posted about even potential problems. It was really more than a full time job and if Liesel hadn't had my back in my last year of law school and while I studied for the Bar, I would have quit. Liesel was older than I was, a former Were, and I thought she had much more experience than I did, but for whatever reason, everyone seemed to want me. I was so tied to every group (vampires, the Fae, Weres, weres, witches, even some demons) that I guess it made it seem unlikely I'd be very biased toward vampires. And I guess being a telepath had also helped. I could read humans, Weres, weres, sometimes the Fae and occasionally, vampire minds. But that last bit was kind of dicey, both a well kept secret and an erratic occurrence. I could even read a bit in the mind of my half-demon friend, Rico. I tried to stay out of his mind, though. It was a bit scary in there at times.
So I had finally arrived at a point in my life where things looked like they were going smoothly, where I had achieved a number of my goals. I was a lawyer. I had a position of respect in the supernatural community. I had family and good friends. And yet, rather than enjoy it as I should, somehow I felt the fragility of it all. As Claudine said, when I talked about it with her, I was getting a healthy dose of my own mortality. I was about a decade older than most of my law school peers, and while I'd actually felt that gave me an immense advantage in terms of focus and even insight, what I felt was mostly that time was just flying by. Lately, I'd glance over at Eric, who obviously hadn't changed even a bit in appearance since the day I'd met him, and I'd feel this odd tug. It wasn't as if I thought that Eric was going to leave me anytime soon because I was getting old. I had gotten past that one years ago. But rather I felt more keenly that perhaps I was leaving him behind. Every once in a while in the past few months there was a slight catch in his voice whenever he mentioned anything about the long term. My mortality was the third person in every one of our conversations about the future. He maintained his steadfast position of never bringing up the subject of turning me. But if I brought up the subject of being turned, it was a different story. Several times in recent months, I'd been asking questions about what happened when a vampire turned a partner. I'd kept tabs on some couples I knew out of curiosity to see just how the partnerships turned out. Of course there were friends, like Roberto and Liesel, but there were also others like the dancers Sean O'Rourke and his partner Layla. They were still together as a real couple after more than a decade. Of course, I could remind myself that Bill and Lorena had been together for fifty years and look how that turned out. But I'd never mention Bill and Lorena to Eric, though, because his eyes flashed with anger at the mere suggestion that any relationship we had should ever be compared to theirs.
There were lots of questions I had about vampire couples. A long time ago, Eric had told me that vampires rarely mate with each other because of the resultant power over one another, which was a forever kind of deal. But I knew of at least several real couples, including most notably Roberto and Liesel. And Roberto was pretty old. About 600 years old. I didn't know if they continued to share blood after Liesel had been turned. It seemed like a very personal question that I had no plans on asking. But for instance, the dancer couple I knew, Sean and Layla, shared blood regularly as part of their dance routine. Sean was about 300 years old according to the database. Of course, they weren't political figures. Layla, who Sean had turned near death, wasn't going to have a lot of power over Sean on a dance floor. Vampires in the arts seemed to have much more easy going lives. But it made me wonder seriously about what happened when there was real imbalance between the ages of a vampire couple. One night when out of the blue I asked Eric about what happened with vampire couples, using Roberto and Liesel as an example, he seemed as if he was trying very hard not to give too much enthusiasm away about my choosing to even bring up the topic.
"Well, obviously a lot would be based on trust, right? By the time she was turned, they'd known each other twelve, maybe fifteen years. And I guess she'd had enough of his blood by then so he should really be able to read her very well, and know how far to trust her as to whether they continue to swap blood."
I nodded thoughtfully while trying to repair a nail polish smudge on my left thumbnail. I was twisted enough to quite like being bitten myself, but I hadn't bitten Eric in a long time, not since we had become lovers again eight years before. I'd stopped because I'd been afraid I'd end up turning. But the urge… sometimes I still had to fight the urge to bite Eric. I wondered what would happen with that urge if I was turned. Do partners just naturally have the urge to bite one another? How easy is it to control it? Was it still as pleasurable to be bitten after you've been turned? I had so many questions but wasn't ready to verbalize them.
Eric had hesitated a moment, as if not wanting to press his luck, but then said, "Of course, you know how much I trust you."
A few weeks after that he came in on a conversation I was having with Pam about whether or not a new vampire could really survive on True Blood alone, which was the official party line of the American Vampire League. Pam was typically sarcastic about that idea.
"Why would anyone want to? Ugh! Hardly worth being turned at all if you can't have real blood, Sookie." She immediately stiffened when she realized that Eric had come into the room.
Over the past eight years I had become very aware of the fact that Eric did not want Pam deviating from some framework that he established. It was like Thalia being clearly prohibited from saying anything in my presence about any serious violence she'd wrought as a result of her position as head of security. I felt like they all had a copy of some position paper he'd drafted and that they were to stick to some official Eric-defined statements when answering any of my questions about being turned, or about vampire topics that might be off-putting to me. Really, I got the feeling from Pam and Thalia, who were the only ones I'd ever really be in a position to ask, that Eric would prefer that I only talk to him about any questions I had. Thalia almost invariably told me to ask Eric if I asked her anything she thought she should be cautious answering. Pam I could get information out of, but I knew she risked crossing Eric if I got information I didn't like.
So that night Eric stared at Pam with arms crossed. She made some excuse after a minute or two about needing to go check on something. Eric looked at me intently and then changed the subject, asking when I was going to Dallas to see Stan's crew about a problem with a group of Fae who were definitely not nice sweet fairies and who, in a real turnabout, were causing problems for some vampires in Ft. Worth. Stan wanted me to go as soon as possible. Evidently it was becoming a serious problem. Eric thought I should take Rico with me for added protection.
It was getting to be a habit to go places with Rico when I had to deal with anything other than fairies. With the revelation about the Fae three years before and the liberal laws in the US protecting them, more and more Fae were emigrating to the US. It had become a serious problem in some areas. Unfortunately, not only fairies were moving to the US. There were many Fae who are, shall we say, less appealing and far less controlled than your average fairy. The public didn't know about those Fae. They only knew about beautiful and charming fairies. I probably knew more about the Fae than anyone else not substantially Fae on the entire continent. In the past year more than a third of my liaison issues were Fae related. I had even resolved an issue in a non-Alliance state back in June, heading up to Idaho with Rico and Hubert, our other part-Fae, part demon security person. The King of Idaho had a serious problem with an afanc, a monstrous variety of Fae that lived in lakes and consumed people and livestock. The vampires of his state were getting blamed for the deaths and several of them had been eaten while trying to get the creature to leave. (Afancs were not even above eating the dead, unlike some Fae. Really they were more like demons than the Fae.) Afancs were meaner and more voracious than kelpies. Trying to get the afanc to leave and not go to a more densely populated area had not been an easy task. I frequently told Rico I thought he and Hubert were the reason I wasn't being presently being digested after that encounter. We finally had to set fire to the lake he was inhabiting to get him to leave. He was not happy and departed. Of course, there was the issue of the lake cleanup but the vampires dealt with that happily. Idaho was joining the Alliance in January. A lot of states really liked having the liaison services as part of the benefit of being an Alliance state.
As we lay in bed close to dawn that night, Eric asked me why I was asking Pam anything about being turned instead of asking him.
"She's more inclined to be upfront with me. She has no agenda. She doesn't give me sharply edited information, either." Eric had never lied but was certainly more inclined to give me the expurgated version of anything that had to do with becoming a vampire.
"Pam also doesn't know as much. She's never turned anyone."
"Okay, what about True Blood if you've been newly turned? Can a vampire really live on True Blood the way the AVL says they can."
"I'd be inclined to agree with what Pam told you. There are plenty of donors and willing partners for any new vampire. There's no need to rely on bottled blood as anything other than a supplement or a way to get by in between or in social settings where feeding on a human is inappropriate."
I struggled with my real questions, which were harder for me to ask. "What if a person didn't want to be with other people. I mean for most vampires blood and sex go together, right?"
"Well, then I guess you just don't have sex with your donors, Sookie," he said with a chuckle. "It's a personal choice, is it not? But after a few centuries of fidelity, even you might have a different take on things."
"What if a person didn't. Have a different take, I mean." He was already using that 'you' I noticed, as if sure this was 'me'.
"When you were a child and you envisioned your future, did you think it would be what it is now?"
"Morally, yes. Yes, you bet I did. Did I think I'd be married to some wily vampire? No, I didn't. I also didn't think I'd ever go to college or be a lawyer. In fact, I guess I didn't think I was going to be anything other than a barmaid until about the time we got married. But did I think I'd get married and be faithful, of course I did. And I promised it, too."
"Well, be that as it may, after several hundred years, anyone can get bored, no matter how well-intentioned they are. But I believe that some people do mate for life, even long life, so I guess again, a lot depends on personal choice. I think it's possible to really love your partner but desire others and even be with others, but I also think it's possible to be completely faithful. It's a choice. And a lot depends on the relationship. Vampires are by nature very sexual, Sookie. It would take great resolve not to indulge in any sexual relationships with donors at all. But it's definitely possible."
Eric knew fidelity was a big thing with me. He'd managed it so far, but I guess when you're 1100 or so, managing to be with one person for eight years probably seems like the blink of an eye. But what about centuries? I started thinking about how to ask him more but he said,
"Shall we cut to the chase because I'm going to be dead in about another five minutes."
"You got bored with Pam." How's that for cutting to the chase?
"I did not get bored with Pam, first of all. And I did not love Pam. I am very attached to Pam, I care about her a great deal. But when I turned Pam, I was turning her to have someone attractive to fuck and to be a companion. I was lonely. I was already bored. In the end, I really do not like having a succession of partners in whom I have no interest, even if it is just for food. It gets old. In those times it was considerably riskier to have a human partner for any length of time, unless it was a prostitute or someone about whom society did not care. And they were not very attractive partners. You couldn't expect to glamour a succession of women for sex in one place unless it was a very large population and no one was keeping tabs on the number of people being 'attacked'. Given the era, it was a very obvious thing if these women had been having sex and it would also create problems for them in terms of the social mores. Of course, there's the option of having sex and killing your partner but, in addition to attracting perhaps more even attention, killing a succession of partners is really rather unappealing. I really only enjoy killing people who have offended my sensibilities. So moving from place to place becomes an important consideration. A tiresome consideration. Pam was a companion. I have never loved Pam in a romantic sense."
"You killed Pam, Eric. To have a 'companion', you killed her." I said. As soon as I said it I realized it would tick him off. This was no different from what his sire had done to him and part of me had never gotten past the fact that he had done the same to Pam.
"No, I made her immortal," he said with his jaw slightly clenched. "I did not kill her and then say, hmmm, maybe I should turn her instead. I selected her with the intent to turn her. I treated her carefully, gently. I was kind to her. I was careful not to hurt her. Remember how I, myself, was treated by my sire. I was very kind to Pam. You can feel free to ask her. We were together for a long time and her interests clearly expanded. I was not offended. We did not love each other."
"But you shared blood with her?"
"No. No, I did not let her have my blood after she was turned. I didn't know her. I would never have risked such a thing. Pam is a great success in terms of someone I chose to turn Sookie. But when we were together there was no way I could have known enough about her to have trusted sharing my blood with her."
"Well, I really don't get what the point is of turning a partner if you don't think you'll stay together. It seems that so many couples end up splitting up or going wrong or not really being couples that then I really don't get what the point would be of a vampire turning a partner or spouse. I mean, you might even get tired of the person faster than if they were human and useful as food."
He propped himself up on his elbow and looked at me even though we were in the dark. "Lover, first of all those relationships you're considering were not previously defined from the standpoint of an real romantic relationship. They were not based on love or any kind of partnership. They were arbitrary relationships that became attachments, much like my relationship with Pam. There is no comparison to a romantic relationship that is then redefined as a vampire couple. That is something rare and unique. What Roberto and Liesel have is a real relationship. The point, if you really love your partner, is staying with them. It's definitely not the kind of choice one makes without very careful consideration. But like anything else, even if you really care for the person, it's no guarantee it's still going to work in the long term. How is that any different from any committed relationship or human marriage? There is always the risk things won't work out. But there are good risks and bad risks. Look, I'm going to conk out. When you want to talk again, ask me. But you go ahead and ask Pam about who got bored with whom, alright? Just ask her."
I already knew the answer to that question. Pam had told me almost a decade before.
More than a month later, the night I got my Bar exam score, we had an informal celebration. Very impromptu, with about 30 people who worked at the compound, all of whom were used to my studying incessantly. Thalia and Anne teased me about having to get used to my going about naked, without my books. Pam and Tan were having fun telling lawyer jokes and calling me JD. I was so happy, laughing and all smiles that night. Once during the evening I glanced over at Eric and saw that he was just watching me. The way he looked at me and smiled just warmed my heart. That night in bed, after a different kind of celebration in which I was repeatedly called 'Sookie Northman, Esquire' at rather outrageous moments and to much laughter on my part, Eric looked over at me and said,
"You're the only person I have ever met with whom I could happily spend eternity."
I couldn't reply. He simply took my breath away.