Scratches … The Missing Scenes

Eric was sitting at his desk at Fangtasia scanning a quarterly review, and growling in annoyance as his mind was once more consumed with thoughts of the delightful Sookie Stackhouse. From the moment he'd laid eyes on the girl when she entered his bar nearly a month ago he had been unable to get her out of his mind. Everything about the dark eyed beauty called to him, and he was determined to find out just what it was about her that was so different. 'A detailed and intimate knowledge of her body will, of course, be a part of my assessment,' he thought with a smirk.

Oh yes, there was no doubting that Sookie Stackhouse was a woman with many fine attributes. Her body being one of Eric's favorites. Unlike so many women today, Sookie had a body that would draw the eye of any man, and his was certainly always on her luscious curves anytime she was near. He fantasized often about suckling at her breasts while burying himself between those smooth, tan thighs of hers. He was certain that reality would far surpass his expectations, and he once again swore to himself he would find a way to take her from Compton. Though her body was not the only reason he was so fascinated by Sookie.

It took far more than a pretty face and nice body to capture his attention to this degree. He'd spent a thousand years sampling a never ending stream of the most beautiful, exotic, shapely, and sought after women the world had to offer. Not one of them had intrigued him half as much as Sookie Stackhouse. A fact that was wonderful for him, as he was getting so very bored, but unfortunately for poor Miss Stackhouse, it left her his prey … and his prey never escaped him. Deciding that he was not going to get anymore work done tonight, Eric sat back in his chair and let his mind contemplate the dilemma of Sookie Stackhouse.

'What she sees in that fool Compton is beyond me. She is obviously too good for him, and considering she is human and he is vampire that is saying quite a bit.' Eric wasn't ashamed to admit that he could not understand why it was that Sookie was so infatuated with Bill Compton. He prided himself on being able to understand an opponent's thought process so he could predict their moves, but Sookie seemed to be the exception to the rule. Again. Not only was she unable to be glamoured, drop dead gorgeous, bold, intelligent, resourceful, and so very useful with her delightful gift, but her spirit was as wild and free as his. The fire of her soul burned bright in her eyes and he felt scorched by the heat of her. All of these attributes should have enabled him to understand, predict, and manipulate her better, but such was not the case. Sookie's heart and courage were the anomalies that always seemed to leave him taken aback. Despite her intelligence, her insight, she was unpredictable in most situations. She was not afraid to dive in and help if she thought she could. The things she said and did not only amused him, but left him delightfully surprised.

The first night he'd met her his gaze had been drawn to her the second she walked into his bar. 'Really, what the hell was Compton thinking bringing a virgin with a scent like Sookie's into my bar dressed as she was? It's like he was begging me to take her away from him. Had it not been for that annoying raid I would have taken her as mine that first night. Her warning me about the raid and revealing her talent was helpful, but I'm sure I would have discovered her talent on my own while enjoying her. The things I would have done to her body while she screamed my name, begging me for release.'

Eric forced himself to end that line of thought. It irked him to no end that Compton had been the one to deflower Sookie and introduce her to the sexual arts. It infuriated him every time he thought about how close he'd been to ordering Bill to give him Sookie that night before they'd been forced to split up because of the raid. Had he only taken her then he wouldn't now be trying to devise a way to steal Sookie from Bill.

Currently he was working on a plan to arrange for Sookie to be alone with him while in Dallas. His maker was missing, and so far his sources reported that the prime suspects were humans. Knowing how helpful Sookie could be around humans he had approached Bill about borrowing her to go look for Godric in Dallas, but the younger vampire had refused. Now he was re-strategizing. There was no doubt in his mind that Sookie was going to be going to Dallas, he just had to figure out a way to get her there alone. He would use her to find Godric, and at the same time seduce her away from Compton's side. He was certain that once he was able to get her alone for an extended period of time she would succumb to her attraction to him and his devilish charm.

He had expected Compton to refuse his request to take Sookie to Dallas, and already had several back up plans in mind. As he was formulating his back up plans he heard the squeal of tires out front of his club. Since it was Monday, the club was closed and he, Pam and Chow were only here because he'd had a meeting with them about his idea of opening a strip club to expand upon the Fangtasia enterprise. While he didn't need the money, of course, he knew it would be a profitable business venture and offered both the chance to invest since they were building up their own financial empires.

Rising from his chair he headed out into the main bar area so he could find out who it was that had arrived at his establishment in such a hurry. As he strolled through the back hallway that led to the main bar entrance he heard the front door of Fangtasia be thrown open before an intoxicating aroma filled the air causing his fangs to snap down. Using his vampire speed to exit the hallway and enter the lounge area he saw Bill standing with an unconscious and heavily bleeding Sookie in his arms.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" Eric asked as he advanced towards the duo with his fangs still distended. He saw Pam and Chow, who had both caught the heavenly scent of Sookie's blood as well, emerge from the stock room with fangs drawn and a moment of silence descended upon them all.

Bill shifted Sookie's body in his arms. He knew how tempting her blood was, and narrowed his eyes at the three vampires present before addressing Eric, "She was attacked. I need your help to heal her."

Forcing himself to take his eyes from Sookie, Eric replied, "You wish me to give her my blood? Why Billy, I would be delighted."

His own fangs popping out, Bill hissed, "NO! She is mine! I tried giving her my blood and it didn't work. I don't know what attacked her, but whatever it was, and whatever it did, vampire blood won't fix."

Bill's announcement shocked the three other vampires. There were few injuries, wounds, or illnesses that vampire blood could not cure, and it was a surprise to hear that Bill's blood could not fix Sookie. Eric, of course, had every intention of helping, he just planned to force Bill to agree to loaning Sookie out to him first. However, before he could open his mouth to offer the trade Sookie began convulsing in Bill's arms and the scent of death began to permeate her natural delicious aroma before she suddenly went very still. Then and there Eric decided he had no time for negotiations. Turning to Pam he ordered, "Call Ludwig and tell her to teleport here immediately. Tell her it is nonnegotiable."

Once his child had left to see to his bidding, though not without rolling her eyes first, Eric gestured to one of the leather ottomans and ordered Bill, "Lie her down and let's get a look at her wounds. The healer should be here momentarily."

Chow, having been given no orders, and not really caring one way or another about the girl, turned and headed back to the stock room so he could finish inventory for the evening. As he left Bill moved to gently transfer Sookie from his arms to the long ottoman Eric had indicated. When she was lying on her stomach he tore open the remains of her shirt to expose her back and the long gashes there. Sookie's only response was to whimper pitifully.

Eric moved to stand on the opposite side of Sookie. It took everything he had not to lean down and lick her wounds, but he managed to control himself. Inspecting the lacerations he observed, "These aren't from a blade. These are claw marks."

"Yes. It happened in the woods on a country road. I didn't get a look at it, but before she passed out Sookie said it looked like—"

"Well Northman, you'd better have a damn good reason for summoning me like this! And you'd better believe your bill is going to be sky high!"

Bill and Eric both turned to look at the tiny woman that had suddenly popped into the room. Their discussion was put on hold as Eric focused on the healer and replied, "Dr. Ludwig, always a pleasure. I have summoned you here to save this human. You will be paid well."

Dr. Ludwig's attention immediately went to her new patient and she waved the two vampires back with a hand as she said, "Out of the way fangers. I've got work to do."

The next hour and a half passed quickly as Dr. Ludwig worked furiously to halt the progress of the poison in Sookie's blood stream, and then used her considerable knowledge and skill to remove the toxin entirely. The ordeal was beyond painful for Sookie and the small healer had been forced to give the poor girl a high dose of her most powerful pain killer and sedative. The girl had nearly screamed them all deaf before the powerful elixir finally took effect and Sookie drifted off into dream land.

Through it all Eric had looked on and done his best to control the overwhelming urge to cover Sookie's body with his own and lick her wounds clean himself. He knew it would only provoke Bill into a fight, and while Eric knew he had nothing to fear from Bill, until Sookie was his he needed to handle Compton with a certain finesse. If he were to simply kill Bill as he wished Sookie would never accept her position as his human as he desired her too. For now he would bide his time. Sookie would be his soon enough.

By the time Dr. Ludwig was done dawn was approaching. Eric sent Pam and Chow to their respective homes and arranged for Bill to die for the day in Longshadow's old coffin in back. Only once he knew the younger vampire was indeed dead and wouldn't interfere, did Eric return to Sookie's side.

She was still lying on her stomach on the ottoman as he crouched down next to her. Bill had tried to preserve her modesty by covering her with a blanket he'd found in the store room, but Eric knew she was very much topless beneath it. Lifting the blanket he saw the last of her claw marks on her back close up and complete the healing process to leave absolutely no mark. He let his eyes trail over the soft expanse of her back before deciding he'd earned a little sneak preview of what was going to be his very shortly.

'Besides, Ludwig said that Sookie will be under the thrall of the elixir used to sedate her and it is doubtful she will wake up for hours, even then once her full awareness returns she will not remember anything after she was drugged. This is the perfect opportunity, and I will not waste it.'

His decision made Eric removed the blanket from Sookie entirely and set it on the floor beside him. Reaching forward he lifted Sookie's body and repositioned her on the ottoman so that she was on her back and her chest was facing upwards. Immediately his eyes zeroed in on her glorious breasts. He couldn't help himself as he took in their splendor and found his hand reaching out to her to cup the full weight of one. He actually groaned and his fangs popped out as he smoothed his thumb over Sookie's nipple, which had hardened in the cool air once he'd removed her blanket.

"You are wasted on that fool Compton, sweet Sookie, utterly wasted," Eric murmured softly as he rolled the nipple with his thumb. He desperately wanted to suckle her, but forced himself not to. While he may not be opposed to sneaking a peak or copping a feel while she was unconscious, he would not go further. He did have some honor after all. Not much, and often selective, but some. He was also determined that the first time that he and Sookie enjoyed one another's bodies, she would be awake and fully participating in the endeavor. He could wait until then.

Continuing to play with her breast as his cock hardened he took note of the blood that had dried on her skin. Some of it was hers from the attack, and some of it was Bill's from when he fed Sookie to heal her once Ludwig removed the toxins. 'It would be ungentlemanly of me to let her lie here in such a condition. As a proper host and temporary guardian while she is incapacitated, it is my duty to see to her proper care,' Eric thought with satisfaction.

With that in mind he lifted Sookie from the ottoman and tucked her against his chest. Carrying her bridal style he headed for the back of the bar. While neither he, Pam, or Chow actually lived here at the club, that did not mean it didn't have its conveniences. As the club was being built Eric had been sure that a fully functioning bedroom and bathroom were added to the back. The accommodations were not luxurious, but they were convenient. He and his staff often found themselves in situations where they needed to "clean up", and the bathroom had been used often. As had the bed … but that was another matter.

Stepping into the bedroom, Eric laid Sookie down on the bed and went into the bathroom to fill the large soaking tub the small space sported. He had, of course, made sure everything would accommodate his size. As the tub began to fill with hot water he returned to the bedroom to collect his soon to be prize. Standing there at the foot of the bed he took in the luscious form of the woman that so thoroughly captured his attention.

She was bare from the waist up, and her breast rose and fell with every breath she took. The sight was truly hypnotic. His hands moved to cup her breasts again, savoring the feel and weight of them, before sliding down her abdomen to work off her shorts and panties. Had his fangs not already been drawn from Sookie's scent, and the sight of her breasts, the vision he unearthed beneath her pesky shorts and panties certainly would have had them popping out.

"Magnificent," Eric murmured with pure awe and desire in his voice. There before him was quite possibly the most perfect specimen of the female sex he'd ever encountered … and he'd encountered many. She wasn't shaven, for which he was grateful as he preferred a woman more natural, but she was well trimmed. Her tiny curls covered the puffy lips of her sex, hiding her entrance from his gaze. Eric stroked his fingertips along her folds and whispered determinedly, "Soon … very soon." It was a promise.

Making quick work of ridding Sookie of her shoes and socks, he stood to shed all of his clothes as well. When they were both bare he stood with Sookie in his arms and headed into the bathroom. Eric moved to sit in the tub with Sookie in his lap, using his foot to turn the water off as he did so, and then settled back with Sookie against his chest. Stroking his fingers along her smooth arm as she dozed against his chest he said, "How can you prefer that fool over me? You deserve so much better."

Shaking his head at her foolishness he set about washing the blood from her body. It took only a few moments to clean her up, and once he was done he put the wash cloth on the side of the tub and settled back with her in his arms. The sun was rising, he could feel it, but he wasn't concerned. He was a thousand years old, and could stay awake for days if he needed to. He also had a hidden, impenetrable, light tight underground lair here. Even Pam didn't know where it was, and he would make use of that today. Since Ginger wasn't scheduled to arrive until noon, he had plenty of time.

Stroking his hand along Sookie's bare back, as she was lying against him with her breasts pressed against his chest, he let his mind again turn to the question of "What was Sookie Stackhouse?" She was so different from the filthy humans around her. He had never encountered a human as so thoroughly fascinating. Not even Pam had intrigued him this way, and that was saying quite a bit. Her scent was pure, clean and carried a hint of something he found familiar, but couldn't identify.

"Mmmm …."

Eric stilled. He heard Sookie's heartbeat increase as she shifted against him. Looking down he saw Sookie lift her head and look up at him with heavy lidded eyes. Her gaze was cloudy and unfocused from the drugs, and he tested, "Sookie?"

Sookie's mind was in a fog. She couldn't seem to think clearly. She knew that something important was happening, but she couldn't understand what. Her body felt heavy and warm, and she couldn't seem to get her limbs to work. Hearing her name she forced her eyes to blink to clear her vision and whispered, "E … Eric?"

"Indeed. Can you move?"

Sookie tried to do so, but couldn't get anything accomplished other than a slight twitch of her fingers from where her hand rested against Eric's chest. She let out a soft whimper and replied, "No."

"Do you know where you are?"

"With you."

"How very astute. Let me be more specific, do you know why you are with me?"

She thought about. She thought really hard about it … and the best she could come up with was that this was a dream. Lying her head back down on his chest she mumbled, "Dreaming?"

He smiled at that. Rolling the situation over in his mind he decided that this was a perfect opportunity that he just couldn't let up. Sookie was in such a state that she'd be likely to answer any and all questions he had, and truthfully. Even better, she wouldn't remember any of this once the drugs wore off. No, he couldn't let this opportunity pass him by.

Stroking his hand along her back as she rested against him he said, "Yes, Sookie, you are dreaming. You are dreaming of me."

Her mind still in a drug induced haze, Sookie replied, "When do we get to the good part? If I'm going to dream of you, there should be no talking and more touching."

Eric laughed at that. A deep rumble in his chest that actually shook Sookie's body. He wouldn't say he wasn't tempted, because he most certainly was, but he wanted his and Sookie's first mating to be remembered by the both of them. "Those dreams will come later, little one, but for now we shall talk."

Sookie pouted, and tried to argue the point, but she couldn't get her mind to clear enough for her to come up with any good points. For some reason she couldn't think, and finally decided to let it go. "Fine, meanie."

"Meanie? In a thousand years I don't think I have ever been described thus."

"A thousand? Really?" Sookie looked up at Eric, managing to keep her cheek pillowed on his chest as she did so, and continued, "You don't look a day over thirty."

"Immortality does that."

"I think you're very pretty."

Arching a brow, Eric countered, "Handsome, Sookie, you think I'm handsome."

"No. I think you're pretty."

"Women are pretty, Sookie, men are handsome."

Getting upset, Sookie argued, "It's my dream! And I said you're pretty!"

Not wanting to distress her and perhaps pull her out of her drug induced haze, Eric relented, "Very well, I will allow 'pretty' as a description for now."

Snuggling against his chest, Sookie giggled, "I win!"

"Yes, you did. What would you like for your prize?"

Even through the fog of her mind Sookie knew exactly what she wanted. "A kiss."

"As you wish." Eric fisted his hand in Sookie's hair and tilted her head back. She had asked after all, so his honor would remain intact. He stroked his thumb over her plump bottom lip before lowering his head to hers, brushing his cooler lips against her warm ones. Once. Twice. Her lips parted with a breathless plea, and he slipped his tongue inside to stroke lazily along hers. He kissed her with more passion than he'd given anyone other than his beloved Maker. He'd never even kissed Pam with such want and tenderness. His arm tightened around her back to keep her pressed against him as his tongue explored her thoroughly. Learning the taste of her mouth.

Sookie never wanted the kiss to end. She didn't understand how he did it, but somehow Eric was managing to be both aggressive and gentle with his kiss. She felt consumed by him. She was focused solely on the feel of his hand in her hair, his arm banded around her back, and the wonderful, masculine taste of him. When Eric finally pulled away her head fell back against his chest as she panted, "Wow … Bill never kissed me like that."

A soft growl escaped him. "Nor will he. Bill will never be half the man or lover I am."

Stroking her fingers over his chest, toying with his nipple, Sookie argued, "Maybe, but at least he's nice to me."

"And I am not?"

"Nope."

"How so?"

"You pick on me."

Now Eric was lost. "I have never picked at you. Before tonight I have never even touched you."

Finding humor at his misunderstanding, Sookie giggled, "Not pick at me, silly, pick on me."

Realizing she meant his intimidation tactics, he responded, "You didn't seem to mind at the time."

"Well I can't show you it affects me, can I? I can't let the real you win. My Gran taught me to never back down. She taught me to stand my ground."

"Your Gran taught you well, whoever that is, and I promise to try and not pick on you anymore." He was silent for a moment before he asked softly, "Sookie, can you hear vampires?" He wouldn't kill her if she could, but he'd need to start planning how to make sure that fact was never discovered if the answer was yes.

"Nope. That's why I like you guys so much. You're so quiet. It's comforting."

"Comforting? I don't think I've ever heard of vampires described in such a way."

Sookie didn't respond, but she didn't really need to. Instead she blurted, "You have pretty eyes, and I really like your mouth."

Eric chuckled. "You surprise me yet again, little one. I don't think anyone has ever told me I had pretty eyes. Many have told me they like my mouth though. Still, I appreciate your words."

"Your eyes remind me of the ocean you see in pictures. I've never actually seen the ocean, but I'd imagine it looks like your eyes. And your mouth reminds me of sex, and the things good girls aren't supposed to do."

It was if she was trying to seduce him! Damn the things this woman said seemed to have a direct line to his cock! He could feel himself swell with need for her as each word caused him to throb. "I'm glad you like my mouth. I will use it on you often, and you will see my eyes every time I lay claim to you. You may look into them and see the ocean as often as you like."

"Are you going to eat me with it?"

"Now?"

"Ever?"

"Not in the way you are afraid of. I promise you, Sookie, when I 'eat you' you'll only enjoy the experience."

Snuggling against his chest, enjoying the feel of the hard muscle beneath her, Sookie complained, "Bill doesn't like oral sex. I wish he was more like you."

Scoffing at Bill's continued inadequacy, Eric agreed, "It is shameful of him, but that just proves again I will be a better lover for you than him."

"Will you do it now? Bill is my first boyfriend and I've never done anything like that."

Eric was thoroughly delighted by Sookie's words. He knew she was drugged out of her mind and completely unaware of the fact she was actually asking this of him, but her request proved yet again, that despite their previous encounters, Sookie desired him just as much as he desired her. She believed this to be a dream and thus her true desires were making themselves known. Cupping her cheek he tilted her head up to bring her gaze to his. "No, little one, not in this dream. That will come later, and we will both enjoy the experience."

"Promise?"

"Promise."

"So you're not going to kill me?"

He laughed. She was very amusing this way. Perhaps he should have her drugged more often. "No."

"You act like you are sometimes."

Kissing the top of her head he replied, "Most of my behavior towards you thus far has been for Compton's benefit. I must uphold appearances after all."

"Oh. So you're not really mean?"

As she settled back against him, Eric answered, "I can be, but it is not my intention to be mean to you. The vampire world is dangerous and we must make sure our enemies do not perceive us as weak. As long as you belong to Bill I must act a certain way towards you. Even when you are mine I will have to act a certain way towards you when among other vampires."

Sookie seemed to ponder that for a second, as best she could, before asking, "Do you like me?"

"Very much. Do you like me?"

"No."

He laughed again.

Sookie grinned in bemusement. The drugs were wrecking havoc on her mind, and she was lost to the delusion this was a dream. Her inhibitions went right out the window. "Doesn't mean I don't want you. Because I do. A bunch. You are very pretty after all."

"So you are attracted to me?"

Letting out an inelegant snort, Sookie replied, "That's putting it mildly. If my Gran hadn't raised me up right I would have thrown myself at you that first night. Bill be damned. You're a walking sex god, and you know it. It's your personality that gets on my nerves."

Eric grinned. He'd heard such words before, but coming from Sookie they meant all the more. He decided to ignore her opinions on his personality. She knew him only as the domineering sheriff he'd portrayed himself to her as. Soon enough she would know Eric the man. Then she would feel differently. "I'm glad you find me attractive. You seemed oblivious before."

"I didn't want you to know. You were all dark and scary looking, and you made Bill nervous. I figured that getting your attention any more than I already had would be like zapping a tiger in the ass with a cattle prod. Just an all around bad idea."

He laughed so hard Sookie was actually shaking on his chest. "Oh Sookie! How you delight me! I have not met a human that interests me the way you do in all my long life."

"Is that good or bad?"

"Good. Very good."

"Oh … so do you think I'm pretty?"

Leaning down to graze his fangs along the tip of her ear, Eric purred, "Pretty does not even begin to describe you, Sookie. Beautiful, magnificent, seductive, luscious, stunning, gorgeous, all of these pale in comparison to you."

Giggling at his words, Sookie teased, "You're really smooth, aren't you?"

"Indeed." Stroking his fingers tips along her hip, he asked, "So what kind of man are you attracted to?"

"A nice one."

"How very descriptive."

"Yep."

He found her responses so utterly delightful. It was not often a vampire as old as him was so thoroughly entertained. Deciding to pursue a different avenue of questioning, Eric pressed, "How did you and Bill meet?"

"He came into my work."

"And?"

"And then he got attacked by drainers."

That drew his attention. Anger rose inside him at the thought that not only were there drainers in his area that had gone unpunished this long, but more importantly, Bill knew about it and didn't notify him. He was the sheriff! "What did Bill do?"

"Nearly died."

Now he was very confused. "I do not understand."

Smiling up at him, Sookie boasted, "I saved him!"

He was amused by her innocence and delight at her achievement. "Do tell?"

Nodding her head against his chest, Sookie explained, "They had him trapped out back with a silver chain. I had heard them in the bar and warned him, but he went out there with them anyway. By the time I got out there they had taken a lot of his blood. I surprised them, and managed to take one down. They ran away."

Eric was even more disgusted by Bill. 'Two drainers can take him unawares? Pitiful.' Keeping his tone calm, he continued, "What happened after that?"

"Not much. I had to go back to work."

"Why are you so attached to him then?"

"He saved my life too."

"How?"

"A few nights later the Rattray's att—"

"Rattrays?"

Annoyed he'd interrupted her, Sookie grumbled, "The drainers, and no interrupting!"

Smirking, Eric agreed, "Very well. No interrupting. Continue."

"Well the Rattrays attacked me a few nights later and nearly beat me to death. Bill was supposed to meet me that night. He was a little late, and when he got there he stopped them, and then gave me his blood to heal me."

Eric went very still. The stillness only a vampire could achieve. 'Of course! He has his blood inside her! That is why she is so attached to him. Good. I prefer false affection over true affection. It is much easier to break down.' His mind quickly processed Sookie's words and he realized, 'A vampire as uptight as Bill is never late. He was there. No doubt he let the drainers hurt Sookie just so he could get his blood inside her.'

The idea did not sit well with him. While he was not above trickery and deceit to get his way, he would never have repaid Sookie's heroism with such a betrayal. Even if she was human. Courage and honor such as hers deserved recognition. His regard for Bill continued to drop more and more. Stroking his hand along her back in a soothing gesture, Eric offered, "That was nice of him."

"Yep. It was. I liked him a lot more after that night."

Since she had tucked herself back against his chest again, Sookie didn't see the sneer on Eric's face as he replied, "I'll just bet you did." Letting the silence stretch out between them, Eric thought, 'Why would he be so intent of getting his blood inside her so soon? It's almost as if he was driven to get her under his control as fast as he could. Hmm … this is most strange. Compton's behavior towards Sookie is volatile and unpredictable. I think there is more to their relationship than even Sookie knows. I will have to investigate this further. I was suspicious of Compton moving back to his ancestral home from the beginning. The fact it is right across the cemetery from Sookie's house, and the fact he pursued her so diligently so quickly are circumstances that could be chalked up to coincidence, but I doubt it. Yes, this will require much more thought, but for now I shall focus on the task at hand.'

Cupping Sookie's cheek to bring her gaze back to his, Eric said, "We haven't much time, little Sookie, so I'd like to learn as much of you as I can."

"Why?"

"So I can better seduce you."

She smiled at that. "That's a good answer. I like your answers in this dream. So what do you want to know?"

"What is your favorite color?"

That was easy. Sookie answered quickly. "Red."

He was slightly surprised. He had expected her to say pink, or baby blue, or some other nonsense. "Red? That is certainly a daring color."

"Small town girl has to get her kicks somehow."

He chuckled. "I liked your dress with the red flowers."

"Really? Bill didn't. He said I looked like vampire bait."

"I maintain that Bill is a fool. You looked wonderful. You will wear it for me many times. I have had many fantasies of you in that dress. We will live out them all."

Giggling, Sookie teased, "So I did look like vampire bait?"

A smile forming on his face, Eric agreed, "I guess you did. You certainly caught my attention."

"Goody for me."

"Goody for both of us. You'll enjoy being mine as much as I'll enjoy owning you."

Glaring up at him, Sookie grumbled, "No one will own me!"

He didn't want to rile her, and soothed, "We'll see. No need to get upset, little one."

Appeased by his answer, Sookie asked, "So what else do you want to know?"

"What do you like to do?"

Another easy question. "I love to sunbathe. I like the feel of the sun on my skin."

He had known that about her already. "I could tell. You smell strongly of sunlight. It is obvious you spend a good deal of time in the sun. It is intoxicating. What else?"

She shrugged as best she could. It was getting easier to move her body, but the drugs were still impairing her mind and movement. "Not really sure. Never had the time or money to find out."

"I'll have to change that once you are mine. You will cultivate many hobbies."

"Why can't the real you be this good?"

"The real me is this good, you'll come to see that."

Shaking her head, Sookie argued, "No I won't. I wouldn't be sitting in a tub naked with the real you if you paid me a million dollars. Even if you don't want to eat me and aren't going to kill me, you're still insufferable. And you're too tall. You make my neck hurt."

He grinned. "What if I sit down?"

Sookie thought about it as best she could with the drugs affecting her brain. "That might help."

"You could wear high heels."

"They hurt my feet. Besides I hardly ever go anywhere nice enough. The night Bill brought me here to look for the killer was the first time I'd had a chance to wear something nice in over a year. Outside of church on Sunday mornings that is."

"I'll take you nice places."

"Will you take me to Paris?"

"On a private jet."

"Will you kiss me on the Eiffel Tower?"

"I'll make love to you there."

"Even better."

"Much."

Sookie kissed Eric's chest and pressed against him again. "My boss says that I'm just going to end up getting hurt by involving myself with Vampires. He's a shifter and he says you all can't be trusted. That you're all out for yourselves. Is he right?"

Eric thought it over for a second before replying, "In a way, but humans are just the same. They can betray and hurt you just as much. You are a telepath and should know how often humans lie. Opening yourself to anyone at any time can lead to pain and heartache. It is a natural part of life. As for being in danger from vampires? Yes. They will all want you, and want to use you. Many will try to force you through violence, but you needn't worry about that."

"Why?"

"Because I've decided you are going to be mine, and no one fucks with what's mine."

"I'm Bill's."

"Not for long."

"You certainly sound sure of that."

Fisting his hand in her hair to tilt her head back, Eric growled, "I am certain. Once I decide I want something I don't stop until I have it. I want you, Sookie Stackhouse, and I mean to have you."

Something about his words and tone pulled at Sookie's mind, causing it to clear for a moment. Her dark, midnight eyes met his arctic blue. She held his gaze for long moments before finally whispering, "Is this really a dream? It seems awfully real." To demonstrate her point she leaned forward a bit to put pressure on her scalp from where he held her hair. She could feel the pain.

"You will not remember any of this when you wake. I promise you."

"So it's not a dream?"

"Does that really matter if you won't remember?"

Sookie thought about it as best she could, and finally decided it didn't. "I guess not."

Eric could tell that the drugs were affecting her less and less, and if he wanted to ensure she remembered none of this he would have to draw their conversation to a close soon. Leaning around Sookie he reached forward to drain the tub. Standing with her in his arms he moved to the sink and set her atop it so he could grab the towel and begin drying them both. He forced himself to ignore the sight of Sookie's gloriously tan, curvy and wet body before him as he dried them both off. He wanted her so much he literally hurt, but he was determined their first time not be hurried, or when she was so clearly out of her mind.

When Eric picked her back up and carried her towards the front after stopping to grab her shorts, panties, socks, and shoes, Sookie waited for him to set her down on the ottoman. She watched as he moved, still completely naked, to the souvenir stand Fangtasia had. When he retrieved a large t-shirt for her to wear and turned back towards her she gasped.

"You're huge!"

Seeing her gaze drawn to his cock, Eric let out a laugh. "That I am. You will enjoy my size once you experience the sensation of me inside you."

"Can I touch it?"

"But of course, but only for a moment. I must get you dressed soon, and then you need to truly sleep. Time runs short." He watched as Sookie reached out a shaky hand. He couldn't tell if it was the drugs still affecting her, or if it was because she was shy. He quickly decided it wasn't because she was shy. The drugs had stripped her of such petty emotions, and right now she was acting on pure want. He damn near snarled the moment her soft fingers brushed against the swollen and sensitive head of his arousal. "Sookie," he groaned harshly.

Sookie marveled at the sight and feel of Eric's hard length in her hand as she took hold of him firmly. Well, as firmly as she could. For some reason she couldn't get her body to work correctly, and was actually swaying a bit, but she wanted this! Wanted this badly. Completely captivated by the feel of him she stroked her hand up and down his long, hard length. Looking intently at the head of his cock she watched with growing fascination as a stream of precum emerged from his slit and dripped down. She used the moisture to lube the rest of his manhood as she stroked him with more assurance. She couldn't get over how different he looked from Bill. Bill wasn't small, but he was nowhere near this size. Eric had a good three inches on Bill. Not to mention she couldn't even get her hand all the way around Eric! "I never thought anything about you could be so soft."

Eric was damn near shaking as Sookie continued to pet and fondle him. The beast was strong inside him, roaring to life, and demanding the right to claim the small, oh so innocent woman before him … but he wouldn't. Not yet. Not now. But soon. When he saw her lean forward, intent on taking him into her mouth, he finally interfered. While he very much wanted her to give him a blow job, he did not want it to be like this. As enticing as the idea was, he would not take such advantage of Sookie. Some light petting was one thing, but oral sex while she was so inhibited? No. Absolutely not. He was not Bill Compton. "No."

Sookie gave her own little feminine growl as she whined, "But you said I could!"

"I said you could touch, not suck. That we'll save for another dream." Crouching down in front of her Eric picked up her panties and ordered, "Lie back."

"Eric, I want—"

"And one day you will," he interrupted. "We will both enjoy the taste of each other, but now it is time for your dream to end. We'll dream together again later. Wonderful dreams that leave us both fulfilled."

"And in my next dream I can touch you all I want? You won't stop me?"

"You will do everything you want to me, just as I will to you."

"Promise?"

Leaning forward to press a soft kiss to her lips, Eric promised, "I swear, my Sookie."

Satisfied with his answer, Sookie flopped back on the ottoman and relented. As Eric began slipping white lace panties back up her legs she whispered, "I always thought I'd be screaming at you if you tried to take my clothes off, and right now I want to scream at you for putting them back on. You confuse me."

He couldn't help but chuckle at that. She was correct. All the times he'd envisioned them in a situation like this he was never putting her clothes on. More like ripping them off. "Lift." When she raised her hips so he could slide her panties the rest of the way up he replied, "You confuse me more. You are a puzzle I'm determined to figure out."

Sookie moved her legs and hips when necessary so Eric could slide her shorts on. As he was putting her socks and shoes back on she responded, "Just be nice to me. That pretty much solves everything when it comes to me."

Tying her shoe, Eric asked, "Is it really so easy?"

"Yep. Hardly anyone is ever nice to me, so when someone is I tend to give them more chances than I probably should. Tara says it's going to get me in trouble one day."

Finished with her shoes Eric said, "Sit up so I can put your shirt on." When she had done so he slipped the shirt over her head and asked, "Why is no one nice to you?"

"Because I'm a freak. Not many people like to associate, or be associated, with a freak."

Clearly shocked, Eric watched as Sookie slipped her arms through the sleeves of the shirt and asked, "You think yourself a freak?"

"I know I'm a freak. I hear voices, Eric. What else would you call me?"

"Talented. Gifted. Useful. Powerful."

Shaking her head, Sookie countered, "I'm none of those things. I'm a freak of nature, and no pretty words will change that."

As Sookie lied back on the ottoman Eric picked up the blanket and covered her with it again. "It is strange you speak so poorly of yourself. Every time I have been in your presence you have always exuded confidence. You have always seemed to carry yourself with pride."

Snuggling under the blanket and releasing a yawn as Eric sat down on the floor beside her, totally at ease with his nudity, Sookie replied, "Of course I do. I may be a freak, but that doesn't mean I'm less than anyone else because of it. I may not be right, but none of them are either. No one is perfect. They don't hear thoughts and I do. I'm not normal, but it doesn't make me a lesser person. I don't lie. I don't cheat. I don't steal. I work hard, and I try to be a good person. Most people don't do that. I figure that makes us even."

"There is no even in life. There are winners and there are losers. You are a winner, Sookie, and those you speak of are losers. Never forget that."

Sookie released a jaw popping yawn, and mumbled, "I like being even better. Then we all win."

"You have an idealistic view of life. I shall endeavor to protect you from the harsh realities of the world once you are mine."

"I can take care of myself!"

Reaching forward to brush a lock of hair back from where it had fallen to cover face as she laid before him, Eric assured, "I'm sure you can. Time to sleep, Sookie."

Feeling the heaviness of her body threatening to overtake her again, Sookie forced her eyes to stay open. She had one question that she had to ask. Even if it was a dream and she wouldn't remember it. "Bill says you can't feel things. He says you're incapable of true emotion. Is that true?"

Secure with the knowledge that Sookie would not remember this discussion tomorrow, and if she did he could play it off as a dream she'd had, Eric decided to tell her the truth. "No. It's not true. I feel everything you feel. I feel desire. I feel joy. I feel happiness. I feel want, need, fear, anger, sadness, and all the other emotions there are to feel. The difference is that I do not show others my true emotions."

"Why?"

"Because in my world, and in all of my millennia of experience, I've learned that allowing others to know how things affect you emotionally, allowing others to know what you feel for or are passionate about, allows them to manipulate you or hurt you. I enjoy neither of those things happening to me. Thus I always hide my true emotions."

"So you never act yourself around anyone?"

"I am myself around two individuals. My maker and my child."

Sookie's eyes began to flutter closed. She could no longer ignore the call of sleep. Her body had suffered serious trauma and the drugs were still making her lethargic. With the last bit of her conscious mind she asked, "Will I ever see the real you?"

She was asleep before he could answer. Standing fluidly Eric leaned over her body and pressed a kiss to her cheek. "You will see the real me many times, sweet Sookie. As soon as you are mine … and you will be mine. Soon. Very soon."