I'm sure you've noticed that AB just loooooove him his cliffhangers. This vexes me. I'm terribly vexed. This kept me busy and not working on Shakespeare for a good hour or so this morning.




The back of Eric's hand caressed the side of her face so gently and he swallowed hard, repeatedly, trying to tell her with his eyes...

"Oh for heaven's sake" Russell snatched at her arm, hauled her forward and hank his gangs into her arm.

Sookie screamed and gripped the table with her other hand, struggling violently and pleading with Bill with her eyes. Bill could only watch, and glare a warning at Eric, though the older vampire hesitated before he lent down. He couldn't whisper to her, Russell would hear. The explosion of drunken ecstasy in his mouth when his fangs pierced her neck was unbelievable, but he'd never wanted it like this. She was screaming and struggling, terrified and oh so angry. Even then, believing she was on the edge of death she was so angry.

One of Eric's hands stroked her hair gently, while the other wrapped around her to find her other hand where he tried to lace their fingers together. She resisted angrily for a moment but then slowly eased her grip on the table.

'He's tryin' to tell me somethin'... Oh Jesus Christ how did I get in this much shit? I shoulda listened to everyone. OK, think. THINK. He doesn't have to be doin' that so what's he tryin' to tell me?'

With as deep a breath as she could manage, Sookie pushed the pain and fear to the back of her mind and tried to calm down... her heart rate slowed just slightly and Eric, who had stopped drinking but kept his mouth on her neck nodded just slightly.

'OK... calm down. He wants me to calm down... You fucking calm down Eric Northman I'm bein' eaten alive here!' She struggled with it, allowing him to lace their fingers together actually seemed to help. As did the knowledge that he was no longer drinking from her, but he stayed, mouth at her neck... he must have some kind of plan. He must. She couldn't have trusted him for nothing. She couldn't be that wrong again.

"Russell." Eric said firmly, lifting his theatrically bloody mouth from her throat. "Russell you must stop. Look at her, she's losing conciousness."

Sookie quickly closed her eyes and lay as still as she could, breathing slowly and shallowly, trying desperately to calm the savage hammering in her chest. The gentle hand on her head stroked her hair one last time, and the fingers laced through her own squeezed gently and then withdrew.

Even at three thousand years old, Russell still had impulse control issues, and it was an inhuman effort to tear his mouth away from her, which he did with no concern for her flesh at all. Blood oozed from the wound on her wrist and Sookie wanted to grab it and clutch it tightly but didn't dare move. Eric's gentle licking had all but closed the wound on her neck, and she was perversely grateful to not have to worry about bleeding from two major arteries.

She couldn't open her eyes and it left her feeling terribly alone. She could hear though, what the hell were they doing? 'It didn't last! Bill had said it didn't last, what was... Oh fuck...' She heard Eric leave and wondered what it must be like for him, having not seen the sun in over a thousand years. If he'd asked, nicely, like a person, she might have let him take some of her blood, just so he could see...

Outside, Eric had already begun to steam, and he prayed quietly to himself that it wouldn't be visible on the crappy monitors they'd dug up from the basement for just this reason. 'Come on, you godless pig' he thought fiercely to himself. 'Come on!'

As the door closed behind Russell, Bill began struggling in earnest. "Let me up! Pam! Let me up, now, or she'll die!"

But Pam couldn't move... It wasn't that she wanted Sookie to die, it was just that she couldn't care. She couldn't tear he eyes away from the screen as Eric handcuffed Russell to him triumphantly and stood his ground against the sun. "Eric..." she sobbed softly.

Finally sure they were alone, Sookie's eyes popped open and she sat up. "Sookie!" Bill gasped happily, though he frowned as she tore a strip from the bottom of his shirt to wrap tightly around her wrist, the quickly untied him and hurried over to the monitors.

"How long?" She asked Pam, who didn't even seem to be blinking.

"You saw what happened to Godric... it wont take long." She said softly.

"OK... OK..." She looked around frantically and grabbed the biggest jacket she could see on the rack, a long overcoat and hurried to stand by the door. "It'll take Eric longer right? Cuz he's younger?" Pam turned and met Sookie's eyes, something profound passed between them and Pam nodded, turning back to the monitor, the blood stopped seeping from her eyes.

When Russell went up in blue flame, Pam yelled "Now! Go!"

"Sookie!" Bill cried, but she was out the door and into the sun where he couldn't follow.

Russell disappeared in the same blue fire that had consumed Godric... when Godric's face had gone, Sookie felt like she'd witnessed something holy, like the ascension of Jesus to heaven. Russell went kicking and screaming what Sookie assumed were profanities while Eric sank slowly to his knees, every inch of exposed skin blistering horrifically. Sookie hurried to him and threw the coat over his head.

"Eric! Eric... c'mon, you're too heavy! Get your feet under you! C'mon!" She hooked one of his arms over her shoulders and heaved as hard as she could but barely moved him.

"Sookie..." God, his voice sounded like it was rasping over raw flesh and his grip was so weak... Then Pam was there. Her skin blistering quickly, bubbling like wax but she grabbed Eric's other arm and helped Sookie pull him the ten feet to the open doorway through which they all collapsed through.

"Eric! Eric open your eyes. Look at me! You're gonna be OK, right? Eric!" Sookie hauled the coat off and threw it away, then cupped his ruined face gently in her hands. "Don't you dare die you big A-hole! Open your eyes!" She looked behind her frantically and saw Bill. "Get them true bloods from the bar!"

Bill did as he was told, and Sookie turned her attention back to Eric, whose eyes were fluttering open slowly.

"Russell?" He croaked.

"He's gone. You... you did it." His eyes closed again and she shook him hard. "Stay here! You have to drink, come on wake up!" Bill was back and he handed her a true blood with a straw in it then moved to Pam and helped her sit up and drink the other one. Sookie stuck the straw in Eric's mouth and his lips closed around it.

"Ungh... that stuff's awful." He rumbled softly, and Sookie knew he was going to be OK.

"You can stand in the sun for five minutes fryin', an' you're bitchin' about taking your medicine?"

"He is enjoying the attention," Pam said around the lip of her bottle.

"Pam...? You stupid bitch, what did you do that for?" Eric said, he might have been smiling but the state his face was in, it was impossible to tell. Pam seemed to know though...

"I said I'd help you... I did not say I'd let you die."

"You are gonna be OK... right?" Sookie asked gently, and behind her back Bill's heart was breaking to see the way she cradled Eric's head and looked down at him with her heart in her eyes.

One charred hand came up and wrapped around Sookie's smooth one on the bottle of fake blood and he forced his eyes open to look at her. "Will you?"

Her face was wet with tears she wasn't even aware she was crying, but she nodded strongly. "I'll be fine... I'm safe now... cuz of you."

"You're not safe" He half sat up, hissing before letting her ease him back down again. "Sophie-Anne knows what you are... As long as someone knows, you're not safe. Do you understand?" All Sookie could do was nod mutely. "But Edgeton is dead... this is good."

"Is there somewhere we can put you? You know, to get some sleep?" She asked softly.

"We have coffins in the office." Pam said, pulling herself to her feet slowly. "I will help you with him."

Bill came forward to help too but it seemed like the girls closed ranks, each taking an arm and hefting Eric up between them. His skin already looked better, not much, but better thanks to having had Sookie's blood before going outside.

"You were right," Eric rasped at Pam as they shuffled forward. When Pam looked at him with a raised, scorched eyebrow he managed to grin impishly at her. "It wasn't a very good plan."