When Sookie opened her eyes, Eric's arms were wrapped around her. He squeezed her reflexively when she jerked. There was nothing unusual about that in and of itself. However, the weight pressing down on her, making everything dark and the instinctive urge to claw her way upward were unusual.

She tried to speak, to call out to Eric, but dirt filled her mouth and she started to claw. Eric's hands pushed her, helping her along, and she clawed and she clawed, and just before her hands broke the surface, and strong, female hands grabbed her writs to pull her while Eric pushed her, she understood that things had changed, that she had been turned.

And, when she got to the surface, the first thing she did after she spit out the dirt that had gotten into her mouth was to scream at Eric, "What the fuck did you do?"

"I told you she'd be ungrateful," Pam said, a smile upon her lips.

Eric glared at his eldest Child. "Get the TrueBlood, Pam." He returned his attention to Sookie. "I did what was necessary."

Sookie spit again. The taste of the dirt was making her stomach churn; which was amplified by the gnawing hunger she felt. "First thing in the morning, I'm meeting the dawn," she said, defiance heavy in her voice.

Eric laughed. "You'll do no such thing. I won't allow it, lover. And, you'll find that now, more than ever, you'll feel compelled to obey me. As your Maker, I command you to retire the second you feel the pull of dawn. You will not destroy my finest creation over your obsolete human desires. Do you understand?"

Sookie glared at him defiantly. She was surprised to feel him through the bond. They had shared many hypothetical discussions about what would happen to the bond if she were turned. And, it seemed he was right and that it was not only intact, but stronger than ever. Now, she could feel his panic, which was not showing on his face, at the thought of losing her when he'd just risked everything to keep her. "Why?" she asked.

"Because the alternative was to lose you," he whispered.

"And because I couldn't stand to watch him mope for a century over your pitiful human existence," Pam said. She held two bottles of TrueBlood in her hand. "Here," she held one out, "O negative. It's my favorite. If you don't like it, I have other varieties."

Sookie took the proffered blood, twisted off the cap and downed the entire bottle in greedy gulps. She felt the luke warm substance drip down her chin and seep into the collar of her dress, but she didn't care. It made her feel full. It was only when she stopped drinking and tossed the bottle on the ground that she tasted it. "Oh, that's awful," she said. "It's too ..." she searched for the word, unable to find it.

"Metallic," Eric supplied. "Human blood, real human blood, is better. I have fangbangers who would fall over themselves to let you drink from them."

Sookie wiped the sticky, synthetic blood from her chin. "It smells awful," she said, wrinkling her nose. "Eric, you didn't answer my question."

Eric held out a hand to help her up. "I did."

"What happened?" she asked. Sookie searched her memory. The last thing she remembered was darkness. There was nothing before she'd awakened with Eric's arms around her and the weight of dirt pressing down upon her. "I can't remember. Is that normal?" She took Eric's hand and stood up. She brushed the dirt from her clothes in an effort to look presentable. "Well?" Sookie pushed.

"Yes," he said. "It will pass soon and you will remember. It is often this way when the turn was," he paused, "traumatic."

And when he said the word traumatic, images and feelings washed over her in waves causing her to fall to her knees. Her throat constricted and she felt like she was suffocating, though instinctually, she knew it was impossible. She remembered fire, Fangtasia burning - the stench of burning flesh rising into her nostrils as she choked on smoke and ash in the air. And then, the pain - oh, the unbearable pain of her flesh sizzling and melting and ... suddenly, stepping out into the sun was the last thing she wanted to do. The memory of her burning so fresh in her mind; though, it wasn't something she'd be likely to forget. Ever.

Sookie felt her body burn. And she screamed through the pain.

She felt a cool, soothing hand on her back. In that one space, there was no pain. "Sookie," Eric's voice was calm and level. Just as it had been when he found her burned body in the middle of the rubble, barely breathing and begging, please, please, please - though, even now she wasn't sure if she was begging for life or death. "Listen to me, Sookie. You're safe now. There's no more fire. No more pain. It's all right. You're safe."

And she focused on the bond to see if he was telling the truth. He was.

"I," she turned and wrapped her arms around Eric's neck. "I can't promise I won't be mad about this as soon as I'm not in shock."

Eric laughed. "I would expect nothing less. I wouldn't have done it - but, you were begging."

There was a shred of truth in that, Sookie knew. But, he had been trying to convince her for a year and he had seen his chance and he was a creature of opportunity.

"Can I go now?" Pam asked. "This public display, while touching to some, is making me nauseous."

Eric waved her away. "Thank you for your help. Do not call me unless there is something you cannot handle on your own. Sookie and I have much to discuss."

Neither Eric nor Sookie spoke until Pam was gone and they were both alone.

"I never wanted this," Sookie said. And, when Eric looked he saw that her face was stained with bloody tears.

"I can't say I'm sorry," Eric said.

"I never wanted this," she repeated. But, this time she turned toward him, and despite her bloody tears, he could see that bright smile that he loved so much. "But, I think I am going to be grateful you did it." She paused. "When I'm finished being angry that you defied me." Anger rose in her voice with each word.

Eric gripped her by the shoulders and forced her to look into his eyes. "You begged me, Sookie." He paused. "I asked and you begged."

"A stronger man would have let me die."

"Then, for once in my life, I am grateful I have one weakness." He leaned down and kissed her. "You."