The Road Out of Perdition
Disclaimer: No copyright intended. All characters are property of Charlaine Harris, and the Southern Vampire Mysteries.
A/N: Hope you enjoy! Please review.
Over the past few months, after the faery war, one thing had become absolutely certain: Bill Compton would meet his final death unless a blood relative would agree to a transfusion. Feeling responsible for his condition, Sookie would stop at nothing to make this happen--to save him. After all, it had been his "heroic" efforts that had saved her.
As you can imagine, Sookie crossing the country on a road trip--fueled by the need to find this mystery blood donor-- would be utterly inconceivable under normal circumstances. In fact, when first suggested, the idea was all but laughed at. Had anyone else come up with the plan, it wouldn't have even merited a second thought. Of course, being the stubborn one that she was, the lovely Ms. Stackhouse would not back down. And, let's face it, "normal" just didn't exist for the telepath.
Even before her own recovery permitted it, Sookie had packed her things. She was more than ready to hit the road and her resolve was unwavering. The more difficult part would undoubtedly be getting past, or rather convincing, her highly protective vampire lover/husband: Eric Northman.
To attempt such a feat, without consulting him first, would have been futile. Scratch that, it would have been dangerous, foolish, and all together something that she had desperately wanted to avoid.
The trick, then, was in how she presented the proposal. She knew that neither Eric, nor Pam, were particularly fond of the mainstreaming vamp in question. If it hadn't been for Sookie, Bill's predicament and final death would have most likely occurred with very little reaction on either of their parts. Still, Eric would know better than to outright deny her pleas. To appease the situation, Sookie suggested they make a deal. Unfortunately, for the Viking, he had failed to anticipate just how perverse his 2nd truly was.
What a wicked little one that Sookie Stackhouse is, Pam had thought, laughing to herself, upon hearing Sookie's loaded request. I cannot wait to call her out on the "high-handedness" and "gall" of this obviously contrived maneuver! How could I--in the name of everything I stand for--pass up this fabulous opportunity to teach them both a lesson?
Without a second thought, Pam had volunteered to join Sookie--fulfilling Eric's final stipulation for an appropriate chaperone. Her disgust for Compton was irrelevant. As far as she was concerned, it was a win-win. Mess with Eric, knock some sense into Sookie and get the flying fuck out of Louisiana. Does it get better than that?
Why Sookie had insisted on taking her piece of crap car was beyond me. Just being in it made me uneasy. Hell, it made me itch just thinking about it! If I had had any say, we would have been cruising in a vehicle far more congruent with my caliber. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren would have been my first choice, but any convertible roadster would have done the trick. But no, humble and non-opposing Sookie couldn't bear the thought of inconveniencing Eric for the extra cash. Not to mention, direct quote: "asking Bill, in his vulnerable state, would have just been indecent." I nearly lost my shit when I heard that one. "Indecent?" What does that even mean? The human is truly ridiculous in that sense.
Needless to say, it wasn't my fault we were stranded in poe-dunk Arkansas, waiting for the only mechanic around who would agree to work on a Sunday.
While we waited, Sookie did her best to explain the reason for the town's "closed on Sunday" policy. Apparently it is quite common--to "respect" the day during which God rested after having completed the Creation in six days. If you ask me, I hardly think laziness is a proper way to show respect. But what do I know?
"Oh for peat's sake, you've got to be kidding me...$300 and you won't be able to get the part until tomorrow?" I could hear Sookie repeating the bald man's words. "Fine," she huffed, handing the keys over and dismissing him, before walking in my direction.
This had ought to be good! I chuckled to myself.
"Did you hear that?" Sookie questioned, when she reached my side.
I couldn't tell if she meant literally, or if she was implying some sort of irony. I answered both. "Of course." Her reaction was classic: a defeated toddler mixed with defiant teen. As much as I loved her dubious attitude, we had more important matters to tend to. "You do realize how totally fucked we are right?" I pointed out. Her reaction this time was more appropriate.
As it was, we had only driven three and a half hours. The nearest vampire friendly hotel--the one we were supposed to be checking into at this very moment--was in Memphis. That was nearly two hours away by car.
"We should call Eric..." She started to say, whipping out her bright red cell phone.
"Are you mental?" I caught her hand before she could dial. "Eric is the last person we are calling! I'd rather die by sunrise a million times over before incurring his wrath. He obviously hasn't figured out I allowed this madness of taking such an unreliable car, yet. Otherwise, I swear he'd have already flown here and ripped me a new asshole! You really don't appreciate the depths of leniency he allows you." I scoffed off, angrily, knowing I'd soon be forced to sleep in the filthy dirt of this shit bag town.
Before I knew it, Sookie had meandered over to me. Her appearance suggested two things: 1) she was sorry and 2) she was worried. Her reasoning I didn't not know, but I was sure to find out soon, whether I wanted to or not.
"I'm sorry," she said. Yep I figured that. "I'm just worried..." Yep, and that too. "...about Bill." Wasn't expecting that! "It's just, he saved me...he's dying right now because of me... and I know Eric would rather him be that way."
What was this woman going on about? I was more than baffled by her logic. Was she serious? My master had sworn to protect Bill, with his own life, while he was rendered incapable. I tried to argue against it, the idea was simply ludicrous to me, but he was extremely firm in that decision-- something I could attribute only to his inappropriate feelings for Sookie. I didn't have to ask for further explanation.
Her following words came out like a thrashing blade. "Eric would have let him rot had I been irreparable! He told me himself." She looked up at me with tears in her eyes. "I guess you wouldn't understand..."
No, she was right, I didn't. I had wished for Compton's end many of times, but what she was assuming of my maker was just cruel.
"Did you expect him to congratulate Bill on his failure?" I sneered. "Because that is exactly what it would have been...had he found you 'irreparable' as you say. Do you think it was easy for Eric to let Bill accompany Niall in your rescue? To let Bill be your hero? No. You're a fool if you think this way! Human men...vampire men, they are all the same, they all want to be the hero. Letting pride dictate their actions. Don't you get it? It's not some romantic gesture. It's Bill's pride in himself--in his ability or inability to protect you--that compels him to sacrifice his life for yours."
I stopped for a moment, giving her a chance to respond, but she didn't.
"Eric is different." I told her, though that wasn't entirely true. "That's not to say he wouldn't risk his life for you. Trust me, that is a compulsion I've reluctantly learned to deal with."
At least that got a slight laugh out of her, which momentarily halted the leakage.
"You know, Eric could have insisted on being the one to rescue you, but he would have never forgiven himself for being so selfish."
"What do you mean? I prayed that he would come..." She drifted off into her own self-pity.
"And he did come, Sookie. Did he not?"
"Did it ever occur to you that doing so, when Bill was already there--on your scent, could have meant your life? Every second counted . As it happened, you were practically destroyed. Regardless of who came to your aide first, had you been 'irreparable' when Eric found you, all purpose would have been lost. There would have been no fight and ultimately, he would have perished right along with Bill."
"So you're saying, I missed the bigger picture?"
"Let me put it to you this way: that night Eric risked everything...everything he's worked and lived for during the past 1000 years --his position as sheriff, his reputation--and for what? You. He risked all of that for you. You are more important to Eric than anything else. In layman's terms, he lives for you."
As for her response, "umm," was all that came out of Sookie's mouth. My revelation had clearly rendered her speechless. "I don't know what to say..."
"It's not something that requires as much." I decided to leave it at that.