Title: Answering the Call

Length: One shot (~ 2,500 words). No sequels, folks. It is what it is.

Summary: Every Halloween, Sookie is forced to return to her Maker. This year, she wants to stay.

Notes: This is not part of the Learning to Feel universe. This is a one shot.

Comments are always appreciated, but never required.

~*~

Each and every year, I dread Halloween. It's been the same since I was a human child. But, when I was little, and Gran had to comfort me, I feared imaginary creatures - witches, ghouls and vampires.

Life was so simple before the Great Revelation, before those things became real, before I became one of those creatures my child self feared so much.

Now, I dread Halloween for a different reason: it's the only night I can't avoid his Call. On Halloween, when my Maker calls - when Eric demands my presence - I must go. He knows this night weakens my resolve, and he takes advantage of it every year. He lures me to Shreveport, to Fangtasia, the bar he holds on to despite waning business because it's a reminder of a simpler time, the only remnant of the fairy tale of the Viking and the Barmaid.

I entered the bar. There were a few of my kind sitting on display. There were a few fangbangers, teenagers, mostly, trying to get bitten - even though it's expressly against the rules. But, then there is Eric. He's sitting in his throne, looking regal and patient. But, I felt his savage lust and impatience through the bond. He didn't look up at me, instead he looked down at his phone intently.

"Eric," I said, keeping my voice neutral. Though, I knew it was pointless, he can feel my resentment through the bond. He knows I hate being called to heel; but, it was part of the agreement when he allowed me to roam free. He refused to release me; he needed to keep me on a tether. He claimed it was to keep me safe, but I knew - know - that it's to keep me in his life.

"Sookie," he said, barely looking up from his phone. "I'm glad you could make time to see me."

I shrugged and sat down next to him in my seat. I had spent many a night in that seat beside his, laughing and sharing jokes - until this life became to serious, until I lost everything I had loved as a human. And, it had been nearly thirty years since I had sat in this chair with anything but annual regularity. "As if I have a choice," this time, I don't bother to keep my emotions in check. I let the tone of my voice let him know exactly how I feel.

But, Eric's not offended. He's amused. I can tell because he smirks at me, exposing his right fang as he raised a hand to call for something from the bar. "You always have a choice, lover," he said. And as he spoke, two of the fangbangers I saw drooling over a young vampire I didn't know were standing in front of me. "And now the choice is AB-, which I know is your favorite, and O+, in case your tastes have changed."

I wanted to refuse the offer; but, I had traveled by air for a day and a night to get here with only Royalty Blend to sustain me - it's not the same as a willing human, and they smell divine. I pointed to the AB-, Eric smirked. He clearly thought he won some sort of coup.

The girl, Hannah she said, sat down on a low stool in front of my chair. She pulled her hair from her neck and offered herself to me. "Not here," I growled. I looked at Eric, and he motioned toward the back rooms of Fangtasia, and I knew that my office is still just as I left it that last night and the same way it is every year when we endure this ritual for Eric's pleasure and my torment.

I took Hannah by the hand and led her toward my old office. I sat down on the sofa and tapped the empty space next to me. "Sit here," I said. Hannah was eager to oblige. She sat next to me, stooping down so I could have easy access to her neck, and moved her hair out of the way.

"I'm ready when you are, Mrs. Northman," she said.

I pressed down the flash of anger that rose up in me. Eric would never let me forget that I was his Child and his wife. "Just Sookie," I said before sinking my fangs into the soft flesh of her neck. Her blood spurted from her body in hot waves. I ran my tongue over the sweetness, savoring her taste and recognizing a hint of something exotic in the blood. I was careful to draw only a few heavy mouthfuls before I ran my tongue over the wound, sealing it. Hannah seemed to find climax as a result of my feeding. I ran a hand through her hair. "Thank you," I said.

She straightened herself on the couch. "Is that all?" she seemed surprised. But, then, she'd been hanging around all of these new vampires with impulse control issues .

"I'm not new," I said. I wiped the remnants of blood from the corner of my mouth. "Now, go."

Hannah seemed offended, but she left in a hurry. At least she wasn't an idiot.

I sat on the couch and closed my eyes, trying to pull myself back to that simpler time when I was a barmaid in love with a Viking - before I was turned, before I had to choose and before Eric made the choice for me.

There was a knock at the door. "Stop thinking about it, lover," Eric said as he entered the office. He closed the door behind him and moved, with his graceful, unnatural speed, to sit in my chair.

"You should sell this place," I said, repeating the same line I use to start our conversations every single year.

He shrugs. "It's a historic landmark now. Plus, everyone knows the can see a vampire King once a year on Samhain. It makes enough to keep itself going." He sighed. "Plus, you're here."

"When you force me to be," I snapped. He knew I hated that I had to heel to him. But he insisted he was giving me space. "Tell me, did you call me to release me?"

I felt a pang of hurt through the bond. He would never admit that my barbed words hurt him, but I could feel the pain, and it simply encouraged me to do it more. I really wanted him to free me, release me, so I could choose to be with him. I had tried to explain this the night he let me go, but he refused to listen.

"I'll never release you, lover. I'm simply biding my time, waiting for the day when you decide to join me at my side and be my Queen."

"Eric, if you would release me, I would come to you." I sighed. I was tired of having this discussion. It was never ending. "I need to be your equal; not your lapdog."

Eric steepled his fingers in front of him and leaned on the desk, all his weight supported by his elbows. "Besides these nights, the one thing I do for myself, have I forced you to do anything you have not wanted to do? I could have forced you to stay that night, tied you to me forever; but I let you go."

"I know."

"Then, return." He made it sound so simple. It wasn't though.

I glared at him. "I do miss you, you know." And it was true. My nights were empty. I hadn't taken a lover since him. What was the point? When I tried to sleep with someone I only saw Eric, I only wanted Eric. I didn't ask him what he did. I didn't care.

"I'm here," he said. "Waiting. In every way, Sookie." He licked his lips, sat back in the chair and parted his legs. "Come here," he said, patting his legs to let me know I should sit on his lap.

I got up and went to him. I couldn't hide the fact that I wanted this more than he did, not with the connections between us. I hiked up my skirt and straddled his lap.

He ran his hand up my thigh and quirked an eyebrow. "No panties?" he asked, surprised. It had been years since I had made things so simple. His hand moved around my thigh to graze at my center. "And wet." His fangs extended and a sparkle of lust blazed in his brilliant blue eyes.

He reached in between us and pulled down the zipper of his trousers. It was only then that I noticed he had chosen to wear my favorite grey trousers, the ones that were silky soft and hugged the contours of his hot ass in all the right places. I stood up for a moment, coaxed him to raise his hips and pulled his trousers away, I tossed them over the desk and then returned to my position over his lap.

Eric pulled me close to him, taking in my scent, as he licked the smooth flesh of my neck. He pulled away. "Sometimes, I miss your pulse," he said.

"Sometimes, I do, too." But I leaned down and caught his mouth in a kiss. I brushed my tongue over his and sucked on his bottom lip. I felt his hardness swell and press against the fleshy part of my thigh. I reached down to stroke him and he nipped by neck in response. "It's fine to bite me," I said, my voice was husky with desire. I had missed the way we make love on these nights, slow and soft, to make the memory last the whole year long.

"I won't last if I do," he said. That meant that things would move from slow and sensual to heavy and fast. We'd cross that line between making love and fucking, and that was fine with me. I hadn't fucked him since I left, and it was high time to make him stop worshipping me.

"Bite me," I barked the words as I lowered my hands down his shaft to the swell of his balls, giving them a hard squeeze. He moaned and then sunk his fangs into the flesh of my neck. He sucked at the wound, getting one mouthful before I healed, but the traces of fairy blood were still there and he grew impossibly hard and needy.

He picked me up in a fluid motion and laid me on the desk, right on top of his discarded pants. He positioned himself in between my legs and pulled me by the backs of my knees so that most of my lower half was hanging off of the desk. He pulled my legs over his shoulders and then he pressed his length into me. Hard. I couldn't help but gasp.

I was overpowered by the sense of fullness, no completeness, I felt when he entered me. He looked down at me, leaned down and kissed me, all the while not moving at all. He just filled me. It was utter torture.

I tried to move my hips to coax him into moving. But, he pressed a hand over my pelvis, stopping me from moving. Even though I wasn't a new vampire any longer, he was still stronger than me. "Please," I begged. I was trying to sound sexy, but it came off as whiny even to me.

Eric laughed. "Stay with me," he said, pulling back slowly. He pushed back in slowly.

"Release me," I repeated.

He narrowed his eyes at me. He opened his mouth, and I thought he was going to speak, but then I saw his fangs extend and I knew he was going to bite me again. He clearly wanted a frenzy. This time, he bit my breast. He sucked greedily until a wound closed and then bit again. After the second bite, his hips started to move quickly.

"Stay," he barked.

I couldn't respond to him with words. A grunt, that was supposed to mean, 'If you let me go,' escaped by throat. He moved faster, and I tried to move with him. It seemed to go on forever. Eric would bite me and drink from me and move himself in and out of my body, fangs and his gracious plenty working together to bring me to the brink of release before he would ... stop.

I growled in frustration and scratched his back. "Let me come."

He moved his length in and out slowly, teasing me. "When you agree to stay."

I rocked my hips forward, getting little sensation and not enough pleasure. "I already told you my terms."

He put his hands under my shoulders and pulled me toward him so that my chest was flush against his chest. He kissed me tenderly on the neck, then scraped his fangs along my flesh. I couldn't help but moan. My own fangs extended. I leaned over and bit his neck. And we suddenly became a tangle of fangs and limbs that were clinging and grabbing and pumping and rocking until we both came with an almost electric energy. I rested my head against his chest. "Shit," I said. And my chest was heaving, raising and falling, as though I had run a marathon, in a way it hadn't done since I was human all those years ago.

"Amazing," he said. His chest was still, but he was smiling, and the happiness reached his eyes. I hadn't seen his eyes reflect anything but lust and resentment for our situation since he let me go. He brushed his hand through my hair, which was a ruined tangled mess, and then kissed me softly on my forehead.

He pulled out and sat in the chair. He pulled me into his lap. "We should get dressed. Go to the Ruston house." He suddenly went still. I turned and looked at him. "Did you sell it?" We had gone back to the Ruston house, the place he bought for us, every year. It was part of the tradition.

"No, I didn't sell it."

"Then what?"

Eric looked down at me, then wrapped his arms around me. His chin rested on top of my head. "I release you, Sookie Stackhouse." He squeezed me tighter. "I release you."

I felt something inside me snap loose. It hurt. I hadn't thought that to be released would hurt; but, then I also felt a freedom I hadn't felt since I'd discovered what Bill Compton had in store for me. I sighed with relief.

Eric had released me, but he didn't let me go. "Will you stay now?"

I smiled. "That depends," I said.

He tensed. I felt panic and rage through the bond. "You promised me."

I shrugged. "If that hideous wallpaper is still in the dayroom, I'll have to insist that we see about your New Orleans house."

"That was a low blow," he said.

I relaxed into Eric's embrace. Things would be just as they should now. We might actually get our happily ever after.

~*~

-Fin-