Title: Learning to Feel (5/?)

Author: diggingupophelia/sapphiretragedy


Bill entered Eric's home office, astonished at the spartan feel of the place. He had expected mahogany and granite at every turn. But, instead, the room was warm and inviting. He thought privately that it was only so warm and inviting so that his meals would feel at ease.

"Hello, Bill," Eric said, not bothering to look up from his computer until he had finished composing the e mail he had been working on. "You're early."

Bill was happy to hear the annoyance in Eric's voice. He had arrived early on purpose knowing that Eric wouldn't be ready to see him. But, as he had important information for the Sherrif, he would put up with it.

However, Bill's amusement was short lived when Eric looked up from the computer. "Christ, Eric," Bill said, aghast. "You look," and as he took in the new lines around Eric's eyes, the few strands of white hair, standing out painfully in the carefully combed blond hair Bill had once envied, and the dark circles under his eyes, "human. And old." He sat down in the chair across from Eric's desk.

Eric snapped the lid of his laptop shut. "I feel old, Bill." Eric sighed. Bill was shocked that Eric would admit to feeling anything less than perfect.

"What happened?"

"Sookie. It's the defenses she has. She's finally started getting them under control; but," he shrugged, "not before she was able to do this to me." Eric smiled. "I was beautiful once."

Bill rolled his eyes. "You only need to feed from her. The longer you wait the less potent the healing ability for you in her blood."

"I am aware of that, Bill. In fact, I'm the one who told you. I understand the benefits of the Maker/Child relationship, thank you."

"I'm only trying to help. Though, God knows why," Bill replied dryly. "Where is Sookie? I haven't seen her."

"Resting. She won't wake until it's completely dark."

"Right," he said, thinking of Jessica and her habits at this point. "I thank you for the chance to see her."

"As if I wouldn't take care of her, Bill," Eric said. He reached for a bottle of TruBlood that was at the edge of his desk. He grimmaced.

"You're being stubborn. Feed from her." He recalled Sookie's enthusiasm for his bite. "She won't mind in the right conditions, I'm sure."

"I'm fine," Eric insisted. But, Bill knew he was weakened.

"Fairy magic is not something to be trifled with. And, since they've closed off their world, it's not as though we can ask for help."

"So you say," Eric said. "Do not mention this to Sookie."

Bill didn't promise one way or the other. He simply nodded his head.


Bill was astonished by how painful the exposure to Sookie's defenses were. It was a powerful shock that overpowered his entire being for what felt like an eternity, and he felt that was saying something for a vampire to make such a comparison.

He pulled, more like peeled, himself up from the ground, making dramatic groans as he pulled himself into a standing position. He looked at Eric, who was sitting on a couch, rubbing his temples. "How many times did she do this to you?"

Pam answered for Eric. "Too many. And before you got here, he wouldn't let anyone else try."

"Glad I could be of assistance," Bill replied, wryly. He rubbed his neck with one hand while steadying himself on a table with the other.

"It's not as bad as it was in the beginning," Eric said. He had moved to help Sookie's human up from the ground. The young man was moving, nowhere near drained as Eric had described Sookie's other humans. "She's learning to control it much better."

"She's right here," Sookie said, annoyed at being left out of the conversation. "It gets easier every time."

Bill thought that was fortunate, judging by the look of Eric, he wouldn't be able to take much more. When Eric got up to bring in the next human, Bill volunteered to handle it.

Eric didn't say a word, but he looked grateful.


Sookie was acting as the lady of the manor. She had warm bottles of TruBlood available for her guests, not to mention a steady supply of humans that seemed to revolve through the doors infinitely, as half the Shreveport vampires seemed to be taking up residence at Eric's house. She sat down in her chair, next to Eric's, and folded her hands in her lap. "Does anyone need anything?" she asked.

Bill sipped at his TruBlood, and set it down on the table. He glanced from Eric, who looked paler than death and old, to Sookie who was radiant and glowing. "Eric needs to feed from you," he said.

"Not now, Bill," Eric warned. However, Bill garnered the intended reaction. Sookie jumped to her feet and put her hands on her hips.

"Eric, what does he mean?"

"Nothing," Eric said, waving a hand in dismissal.

She turned her gaze to Bill. "Bill?" she asked, shifting most of her weight to one foot so that her hip was jutting out.

"Just look at him, Sookie," Bill said.

And when he did, he couldn't help but focus on those deepened crow's feet around Eric's eyes that hadn't been there last time he had seen him, the silvery strands of hair along the temple that had multiplied since their visit in Eric's office and that look of human tired on his face. When he heard Sookie gasp, he knew she saw it, too.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Eric," she whispered. She went to him and fell to her knees, taking his large hands up in her small ones. Bill felt a sharp pang of jealousy at the scene. "Why didn't you say something?"

Eric was silent for a moment before he snatched his hands away. "No one should have said anything."

"It was necessary," Bill challenged, standing. He could see Eric's ire rising, sense the increase of tension in the room and he felt he needed to protect Sookie. Though, most of him knew that Eric would never hurt her. "You're losing your strenght."

Eric stood with vampire quickness, closing the gap between himself and Bill in less time than it takes a human to blink. "I can still take you in a fight," Eric challenged.

Sookie yelled, "Stop."

Neither of them made any move to acknowledge her plea.

"Sookie," Pam said, backing away from the two circling vampires, "it's really best to let them get this over with. Eric's being exceedinly stubborn. Even for him."

And so, Sookie stood by Pam, arm touching arm. "I am so sick of the macho bullshit," Sookie said, sotto voce.

"Why?" Pam asked. "This is so exciting. Eric's going to kick Bill's ass. I haven't seen this in years."

Bill growled. "This is for your own good, Eric."

Eric laughed. "Suddenly feeling charitable where I'm concerned?" And then he lunged. He didn't give Bill a chance to prepare for the advance. Sookie saw the gleam of Eric's fangs in the light of the room, and heard the unmistakable sound of fangs piercing flesh, well tearing would be a more apt description, she supposed.

Pam was excited. She jumped slightly. "This is wonderful," she said.

Eric landed a solid punch to Bill's jaw, causing Bill to groan and speckles of blood to land on the nice, white walls. But, then instead of advancing and carrying on with the onslaught, Eric recoiled, holding his left fist in his right hand.

Bill took advantage of Eric's distraction and pushed Eric to the ground, pinning his hands above his head, and then biting Eric. He didn't feed from Eric, but his fangs dug into his Sherriff's flesh over and over again.

Eric grunted with pain and struggled to get Bill off of him. He twisted his torso this way and that as he moved his legs in an attempt to gain leverage. Bill pushed him back to the ground at every turn.

"Admit defeat and drink from Sookie," Bill said, commanding his superior to action.

"Mind your own business, Compton," Eric retorted. He spit in Bill's face. Bill smiled and showed more fang to Eric.

"Feed from her."

Bill loosened his grip and let Eric up. Eric was bleeding from the fight; his eye appeared to be puffing up and blackening. "I concede," Eric said, as he pulled himself into a sitting position.

He got up and pushed passed Sookie and walked away.


When Sookie entered the bedroom, she was shocked by the sight of all the blood. There were droplets trailing from the door to the bed, and the sheets were absorping all that Eric's body could not, would not, hold. She couldn't help the gasp that fell from her lips. "You stubborn ass," she said, rushing over to the bed. "You're bleeding."

"I cannot seem to heal," he admitted. Eric lifted his head weakly. "I didn't want to hurt you," he insisted.

"Well, that'll work out great if you die," Sookie snapped, pulling off her dress, bra and panties. She was frankly sick and tired of losing her favorite dresses and undergarments to blood. She sat next to Eric on the bed. In theory, she understood that he bit her and fed. But, she wasn't sure if there was more to it in this situation or not. "What do I need to do?"

Eric hesitated for a long moment. Then, he held out his hand and said, "Wrist," his voice was barely a whisper. Sookie bit her wrist and then pressed it to Eric's lips. He suckled genlty, at first, then with more power.

Sookie watched in rapt fascination as the silver hairs on Eric's head took on a blond hue, as the deepened crow's feet flattened as though some inviible iron had crossed his skin, as his skin took on as much color as it would get, given that he was already dead, and, finally, she watched that sparkle return to his eyes. She pulled her wrist away, beginning to feel weak. "Enough," she said. "If you need more later, you can. I feel a bit dizzy," she admitted.

He nodded in understanding. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. But, you're also too stubborn for your own good." Sookie laid down on the bed, pressing her body against Eric's.

Eric snorted. "I'm not the only one here who's stubborn."

Sookie glared. "I have a confession to make," she said, biting her bottom lip.

Eric quirked an eyebrow. "Really?"

Sookie nodded her head. "I can control it. It was purposefully throwing Bill across the room."

"Did you do the same to me?"

"I didn't realize how badly it was hurting you until Bill pointed out that you looked," she paused, "distingusihed."

Eric narrowed his eyes and bared his fangs. "That was a dangerous game you were playing."

"I know. But, I thought it would be best to keep trying."

Then Eric smiled. "It was sastisfying to watch him fly across the room." But, then Eric used his newfound strength to maneuver Sookie so that she was straddling him. "But, not nearly as satisfying as some other things we do." He lifted his hips suggestively, pressing his hardness into the soft flesh of her inner thigh, teasing her.

"Eric," Sookie calls his name as though she is praying, it's full of reverence and need and want - the same want that had driven her to nearly suck humans dry.

Eric reaches between them and positions himself so he can enter Sookie easily, in one fluid motion that makes her gasp and buck her hips toward him. He grins, "Like that, do you?"

Sookie could only muster a throaty groan, that Eric took to mean "Oh, hell yes, you great, Viking sex God," not least of all because it made him feel powerful, and in control in a moment when he felt weak and vulnerable.

Eric moved in and out of Sookie, pulling at her flesh, sinking his fangs into her neck, taking one sweet mouthful of her blood before licking the wound closed when she whimpered, "Too soon," while she gently pulled her neck away as she pushed her body downward to meet his thrust. She kissed him. It was gentle and urgent and made her feel the weight of his loss on her shoulders.

Sookie began to shed bloody tears. They dripped on to his cheek, the cool wetness absorbing into his flesh.

Eric still moved slowly, trying to bring them to a shared release, as he cupped her chin in his hand. "Don't cry," he whispered, kissing her tears, then licking his lips.

"I almost lost you," she whispered.

Eric began to thrust with purpose and urgency. "I'm not going anywhere."

Sookie lost herself in the rhythm of their bodies gliding over one another at a steady, urgent pace. There was no past or future, only the now - the now where they were closer to each other as two people could be. She was him and he was her and she wasn't sure where he ended and she began; they were part of each other forever, an infinite loop of Eric and Sookie.


Sookie did not move from the bed when they had finished with their love making. She tangled her limbs in his and ran her fingers thorough the long, tangled locks of his hair, while she listened to the silence of their bodies echo into their shared dayroom.

She missed the sound of her beating heart and labored breath in the aftermath of such a display of exuberence. Her chest still rose and fell with steady, even breaths - but, it wasn't the same.

Eric traced a hand over her hip. "What's wrong?"

Sookie shook her head. "Nothing. Things just change."

Eric pulled her closer to him and placed a whisper light kiss on her temple. He sighed. "You realize, I'm going to have to hurt Bill. He made me look a fool," he said, changing the subject.

"You could just let it go," Sookie suggested. Though, Eric could feel though the bond that there was no expectation that he would simply allow Bill Compton to best him; especially not in such a public forum.

"I could. But, I won't," Eric said, with a tone of finality. "You need to learn that lesson, lover."

Sookie laughed. "How to win a pissing contest? I don't really think it's necessary for a lady to learn those lessons, Eric. Vampire or not, I'm still a darling."

"No," he said, seriously, "the lesson of protecting your pride at all costs. If you ever manage to look weak, it could spell your final death."


When Eric awakened, he was surprised to see Sookie staring at him from the foot of the bed. It wasn't something new, per se, but it was something new for her vampire existence. "You rose before me" he said, perplexed.

Sookie nodded. "I think I was up before the sun fully set. But, I'm not sure, since there aren't any windows in here."

He thought it was strange; but, it could have been an after effect of the blood sharing they had engaged in since she had transformed. He would surely keep an eye on it; but, they had worse things to worry about than Sookie gaining strength. In fact, gaining strength was good for her. "Pam will be here soon. She has more information about the bombing."

Sookie headed for the bathroom with lightening speed, turned out the shower and returned before Eric had finished stretching. "Oh?" she asked. "Does that mean a visit with Victor will happen sooner rather than later?"

Eric nodded. "Unfortunately."

Sookie shrugged. "Well, he won't be able to work his voodoo," she said, smiling. "I can take him."

"Let's hope for both our sakes, you don't have to. Those two plotted with the Fellowship in order to ruin my bar and most likely kill us all. They're not to be trifled with."

"I know." Sookie sighed. "I had always imagined that if I was ever turned, it would mean that I would get a rest from this."

Eric snorted. "A rest? Now that you need no rest, there is nothing in your future but vampire politics."


Sookie was surprised to see that Pam had dragged Elliot into Eric's study by the scruff of his neck. The young vampire was a bleeding mess, and he looked to be in a world of pain. His legs could barely move in time with Pam's fierce dragging motion. And he sighed with relief, all though Sookie imagined that relieve would be very short lived, indeed, when Pam dumped her child at her maker's feet. "Eric," she said, smiling.

Eric looked from the crumbled heap of vampire at his feet to his child, a question dancing in his eyes.

Pam kicked her child. "He's working with them."

Eric growled. There was no need to ask who she meant by them, it was clear that it was Felipe, Victor and the Fellowship. "You're sure?"

Pam glared at her maker. "Do you think I would have brought this," she kicked Elliot again, "lump to you if I wasn't sure, Eric?" Eric glared at her and Pam rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm sure."

Eric beckoned for Sookie to come closer. "Even though, I am certain that Pam is telling the truth," he said, looking at Pam and not Sookie. "I want you to read his mind, see what you can get. I don't want to cause him anymore harm if he managed to successfully lie to Pam."

Elliot looked up at Eric and muttered something that resembled, "Thank you." But, Eric's response was to push him over onto his back with his foot and rest a heavy, booted foot on Elliot's throat. "Do not think for a second that I doubt my child. I simply have no desire to be punished by the Magister for whatever I decided to do with you when Sookie confirms you're lying."

"I don't even know who those two guys she keeps talking about are," Elliot protested.

Eric gestured for Sookie to get to work. "I can't read him if he's like that. Either put him in a chair or hold him up. I need him relaxed."

Pam walked over to her child. "Stand," she said, pulling him up by his hair before he had a chance to make his legs work. She surveyed the room. "He's too disgusting to allow to sit on any of this furniture Eric. I think we should take him downstairs; there are so many other bloodstains that we won't notice his. Plus," she shrugged, "it's a real bitch to get vampire out of upholstery."

"Take him downstairs, then."


Sookie waited the specified amount of time before daring to descend into the basement. It seemed that Eric and Pam wanted to have a little bit of fun with Elliot before they let her have a crack at him. Part of Sookie was very disappointed, she wanted to see what it meant for a vampire to torture another vampire. She'd been reading about effective torture techniques in the dusty books Eric had given her to read, and while most if it was admittedly, gross, she couldn't help but be curious. Then, there was a larger part of her that was glad that she wouldn't actually have to witness Eric as a savage monster. She knew the day would come, but she wasn't sure she was ready to fully accept this new part of her nature, the savage side that demanded blood in the heat of battle.

It was with this thought in mind, that Sookie descended the stairs, one cement step at a time. She could hear, very clearly, the sounds of the interrogation below. Right now, if Sookie had to guess, she would say that Pam and Eric and progressed from simple questions and drawing blood to sizzling vampire skin with silver, if the stench was any indication. The feral growl coming from Elliot only confirmed her suspicions.

"Eric, is that really necessary?" she asked as she stepped into the dark room. She could see perfectly, though, which weirded her out, for a second. Eric was wearing heavy, leather gloves and pressing a large piece of silver, which looked to be a piece of cutlery, into Elliot's cheek.

"Sookie," Pam said, "it may not be entirely necessary, but it's fun."

"Pam," Eric snapped. He looked up from his task of inflicting pain and turned toward Sookie. "He grabbed the chain and hit me with it. This, will teach him to respect his betters." He then looked pointedly at Elliot, "Who knows, learning this lesson quickly might even save his life."

Sookie arched an eyebrow. "I think its worse that you're letting him think there is a chance he's actually going to live through this." She walked up to Eric and placed her hand on top of his gloved hand. "I'm not going to be able to hear anything but yelling if you don't pull your hand away. He needs to heal. He needs to be calm. Otherwise, this won't work."

Eric pressed the spoon into Elliot's face with great force, eliciting a strangled cry that seemed to be ripped from the vampire's body, before he pulled the metal away from the melting flesh. There was a gooey string of skin and mucous membrane and stuff Sookie was sure she learned the names for in high school biology class. She wrinkled her nose at the sight. Eric tossed the spoon to the ground with a clattering sound. "He's yours, lover."

Sookie surveyed Elliot. His face wasn't healing. "He needs some blood. Just enough to take the edge of pain off, Eric."

Pam produced a bottle of cold TrueBlood from somewhere and put it into Sookie's hands. Sookie figured she must have been wearing a perplexed expression because Pam explained: "We're not savages, Sookie. There is a delicate art to torture. Let this be your first lesson."

Sookie nodded. She twisted the cap from the bottle and pressed it to Elliot's lips. She tipped it up until the blood poured out. Elliot kept his lips pressed closed at first, but, then his hunger seemed to get the better of him and he started to swallow back the synthetic blood. While he was drinking, Sookie turned to Eric, "I need a chair." She was going to ask if the silver chains were necessary, but then she remembered how Elliot had attacked Eric and she really had no desire to experience burning flesh again, and especially so soon after her ordeal. And to think that Elliot might be responsible.

Eric brought a folding chair over to Sookie, opened it and set it down. He tapped her behind the knees with it and she sat down. "Thanks," she said. Then, she turned all of her attention to Elliot. She grabbed his blood sticky hands in her own. "Look at me," she said. Her voice was level. "We all know that you're not walking out of here alive. The only choice you get now is whether your death is slow and painful or quick and merciful."

"I didn't do anything," Elliot said. "I don't even know a Felipe or a Victor."

She can't read my mind. They said so. The only reason she can read Eric's mind is because he's her Maker and they have a blood bond.

Sookie smiled. "Who are they, Elliot? I can only help you die without pain."

She can't know they sent me here, planted me as a spy. I willingly volunteered to be changed; there's nothing for me now, and there wasn't then.

"They sent him when you were looking for humans to feed me," Sookie said. "He volunteered."

"Pam, command him to tell the truth," Eric said.

"I already tried that, Eric. He just keeps repeating that he doesn't know Felipe or Victor."

"Try again," Eric commanded.

"As you maker, I command you to tell the truth, Elliot," Pam said. She crossed her arms over her chest and stared at her child.

Sookie could feel some sort of force wash over Elliot; it was strange to feel the bond between another pair that felt so similar to the one she shared with Eric. It was then, that she assumed Pam had been asking the wrong questions; but then, she had her mind made up as to who the culprits were.

Sookie squeezed Elliot's hand. "Who sent you?"

Elliot clamped his mouth shut. Don't think about the Fellowship. Steve won't be happy if you betray that he's been working with vampires - scary vampires. Sookie saw a flash of Felipe feeding from Elliot; Elliot had screamed with the agonizing pain for the duration of the feeding. Then, Sookie felt the tell-tale wall of a glamour.

Sookie released Elliot's hands and turned to Eric. "He was part of the Fellowship. He was sent to make an example. Newlin's still pissed that I got away, and about Jason. And, well, Felipe and Victor want you out of the way. Felipe fed from him, then glamored him."

Eric gave a slight nod. "You should leave, Sookie," he said. His voice brooked no argument.

Sookie gave Elliot one last look; she found it difficult to feel sorry for him. She had wasted all of that time feeling sorry for him because of what she had been forced to do -- and, in the end, he was responsible for making her live a life she never wanted. There had been a time when she would have begged for Elliot. But, that was when she was human and she could see the end of the vampire bullshit in her life.

Now, it was her eternity, and she couldn't afford to allow any wounds to fester. The only way to rid herself of the problems that would be born of this in the future was to let Eric and Pam do what they must.

"All right. I'll be upstairs," she said. She could feel Eric's bloodlust rising through the bond, and it made her want to leap on Elliot herself.

But, Sookie pushed past the feelings of desire and made herself trudge up the stairs, one foot at a time. It wasn't until she closed the door that she heard Elliot's pleas. But, they were useless.


When Sookie went upstaris, she found Bill sitting in the living room with a bottle of Royalty on the coffee table and four empty glasses. "Hi Bill," she said.

He gestured to the empty seat across from his. "Sit down. Eric and Pam will be a while."

Pam nodded and sat down next to Bill. He split the bottle of Royalty between the four glasses he had on the table. "I've had this for quite some time. I was saving it for ," his voice hitched and he stopped speaking. "I was saving it for a special occasion. And it seems to me your turning is a special occasion."

Sookie took the proffered blood. She could feel the warmth of the liquid through the glass. The scent of it reached her nose and she started to salivate. Her fangs extended on their own, and she bowed her head sheepishly. "Will I ever be able to control them?" she asked, speaking around the protrusions in her mouth.

Bill laughed gently. "In time," he said, taking a sip of his own blood. "This is very rich blood; English royalty - the major ones. This blood is from Princes William and Harry themselves. They gave enough for six bottles over the course of as many months. It cost me a great deal of money; but, it was all worth it."

Sookie sipped her blood as well. "It's delicious," she said. "But, any blood is delicious to me. I think this may have been wasted on me."

Bill shook his head. "No, it's not wasted. Nothing is ever wasted on you."

Sookie wasn't sure what to say, so she sipped at her blood to fill the silence. "Eric's very upset that you beat him. There's going to be retaliation."

Bill shrugged. "I expected nothing less. When he's ready, I'll allow him to do what he feels needs doing."

Sookie was ready to make a comment about the stupid antics of men when Eric arrived. "Bill," he said, shortly. "I thought you would have left by now."

Bill shook his head. "I brought a peace offering of sorts," Bill said, picking up a glass of Royalty and handing it to Eric.

Eric sniffed at it. "Young royals," he said, smiling. "I have three bottles of this myself."

Sookie wasn't sure if he was lying or not, but it pleased Eric to see Bill's feathers ruffled at the admission.

Eric sat down on the arm of Sookie's chair and drank his blood slowly, savoring every drop. The room remained silent as Pam entered and took her glass from Bill.

No one mentioned Elliot, or the trouble he had caused. Instead, they focused on the silence, every vampire mind trying to sort out the value of the knowledge they had gathered and just what it was they would have to do to secure their safety.

TBC ....

A.N. Feedback/Reviews/Comments are never required; but, they are always appreciated. Thanks for reading.