Title: Never Easy
Summary: During and after the events of "Fresh Blood", Sookie is torn between her attraction to Eric, and her love for Bill.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. If I did, Sookie and Bill would've broken up a long time ago and she would be falling in love with a certain blond, 6"4 Viking!
A/N: I'm a True Blood newbie, just started watching the show a couple weeks ago and became pretty addicted to it right away! I used to really be into writing fanfiction, but this is my first one in awhile, and my first TB story. Reviews are VERY appreciated, be gentle, but please be honest! If you don't like it, tell me so maybe I can get better :)
Thanks for reading!
Sookie awoke slowly, to the sounds of Pam's quiet sobs and Bill's pleading. At first, none of it made any sense, it was all just a jumble of noises she couldn't understand; but gradually, the voices became clearer and she was able to hear. Pam kept whispering "No, no . . . " under her breath, hardly loud enough for anyone to hear; Bill was speaking loudly, his voice filled with desperation: "Please, Pam! You have to let me go! . . . She'll die!"
Who's dying? Sookie wondered to herself, blinkingrapidly, trying to bring herself back to consciousness. As the world around her came into focus, so did her memory, and flashes of what took place only minutes before came flooding back to her in an instant; she gasped as she remembered the agony of Russell gnawing on her wrist, Eric biting her neck as his long fingers stroked her hair gently. She could have sworn that just before he took his first taste, he had whispered a broken "I'm sorry" into her ear . . . but that didn't make any sense, so it wasn't possible.
"Eric . . . " she muttered, feeling angrier by the second as she became more and more aware. She sighed, pained and exhausted, as she sat up slowly; across from her, still chained to a chair, Bill's eyes widened and his mouth fell open slightly.
"Sookie!" he gasped, and struggled more against the silver chains restraining him.
"What's going on?" Sookie questioned aloud, reaching up to touch her neck and whimpering softly.
Pam whirled on her, tears of blood running down her pale cheeks, her hands trembling at her sides; Sookie sat a little straighter, suddenly tense and afraid, even more unsure of herself than she was just seconds ago as she woke up. She swallowed, determined not to cower to the vampire: "Pam? Where's Eric? He's got- " she winced as her wrist throbbed painfully "- a lot of explainin' to do," she finished.
Pam hissed as she pointed to the monitors in the corner of the room. "He's outside!" her voice was sharp and high-pitched, verging on hysterical. She took a deep, unnecessary breath before adding: "With Russell."
"Oh yeah . . . " Sookie said, "my blood. Protection from the sun. Well, I hope he enjoys himself."
"Idiot!" Pam cried, "he's dying. He used you so he could finally kill Russell."
Before Sookie had time to register Pam's words, she saw Eric lash out and slap handcuffs on Russell's wrist, moving so fast she almost missed the action; then they sank to the ground together, Eric on his knees with his face turned upright, Russell on all fours. Ignoring Bill's protests, Sookie pushed herself off the table and staggered over to the bar, standing next to Pam and watching in horror as blisters bubbled onto Eric's face and he grimaced in agony while Russell screamed on the ground beside him.
"My blood . . . " Sookie began.
"It only lasts a few minutes," Bill cut her off suddenly, then looked away, unable to meet her eyes.
"He lured Russell outside, knowing that," Pam said, "he didn't want to have to use you . . . but it was the only way to kill Russell." Another red tear welled up in her eye and ran down her cheek, and- despite what she'd been through -Sookie's heart went out to her as she remembered Eric's pain after Godric's death. The bond between a Maker and Child.
"It was all a trick," she whispered.
Then suddenly, it came to her.
"I can save him."
Hope lit Pam's eyes for a moment. "How?" she demanded, tearing her gaze away from the monitor and to Sookie.
"I'll go out there and bring him back in," Sookie said, as if it was the easiest task anyone could do; she didn't care if that damn Viking weight two hundred pounds, she wasn't going to let him fry in the sun.
"Sookie," Bill spoke, "you're too weak. Russell almost drained you."
Sookie opened her mouth to protest, but before she could, Pam had bitten into her own wrist and now held it to Sookie. "Drink," the vampire ordered, "you need the strength." She risked a glance at the monitor and Eric's writhing figure, beside him, Russell had completely burnt up. "Hurry!"
Sookie latched onto Pam's wrist and drank greedily, not stopping to savor the feeling of strength rushing back into her and the wounds on her body healing; she drank as much as she could, as fast as she could, then broke away, blood covering her chin but hardly even noticing as she looked around for something large and dark. She spotted a coat hanging on a rack and decided that was good enough, so she grabbed it before running out the door . . .
She went through the door as fast as she could and spotted Eric immediately, crumpled on the ground and now screaming in agony as the sun burned away the flesh on his face; Sookie rushed to his side and draped the coat over him, hoping it provided at least some comfort. He didn't seem to notice her, his eyes were far away, gazing at something over her shoulder; she called his name desperately, then shook his shoulders, wincing as he cried out and the skin beneath his coat peeled away under her touch.
"Eric, you have to get up!" Sookie pleaded, "I can't carry you!"
Eric moaned, turning his head and finally seeing her, when he spoke, his voice was a harsh whisper, like sandpaper on wood: "Sookie?"
"Yes!" Sookie grasped his shoulders and pulled him up 'til he was almost sitting. "I'm here . . . we've gotta get you back inside. Now." She took a deep breath and heaved, pulling so hard she thought her arms might be yanked from their sockets; somehow, Eric got to his feet, though he nearly toppled right back over as his knees buckled and he leaned heavily on Sookie.
"Come on," she murmured, "it's only a few feet . . . you can make it."
They took three steps before Eric let out a strangled cry and fell to his knees again, pitching forward and barely managing to catch himself before landing face first on the asphalt; Sookie cried and fell with him, his weight taking her down as well. She recovered quickly and knelt by his face, cupping it as gently as she could between her hands and trying to meet his pain-filled eyes; to her own surprise, she felt hot tears well up as she realized they weren't going to make it. Eric was going to die in the parking lot, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
"We're so close," she pleaded, her voice breaking. "Only a couple more steps." His head lolled forward in her hands, but she held on, forcing him to look up at her again. "Please, Eric."
"I can't . . . sorry," he whispered.
"Damn you, Eric Northman!" Sookie cried just as the door to Fangtasia flew open and Pam came rushing outside, ignoring the blistering rays of the sun as she ran to her Maker and gripped his arm, pulling him to his feet again. Together, she and Sookie dragged Eric inside as his legs gave out from under him and he collapsed; Pam laid him down on the floor as gently as she could, while Sookie slammed the door shut.
Pam had apparently untied Bill, as he was now rushing behind the bar and searching through the refrigerator; his face was calm, but he moved quickly. "Don't you have any True Blood in this place?" he demanded, exasperated.
Pam groaned, standing up and stumbling over to the bar. "In there- " she pointed to a smaller fridge. "Just a few."
Bill opened the door and scanned the contents quickly before spotting the crimson bottles, he tossed Pam one before hurrying over to Sookie as he spoke: "No time to heat it up. Just drink." Pam grimaced, putting the bottle to her lips and gulping down the chilly liquid, trying not to gag.
Sookie was sitting on the floor and rolling Eric onto his back, looking for some kind of life in the vampire; she cradled his head in her lap, ignoring the charred flesh and burned hair in favor of trying to rouse him. She slapped his face hard once, then again, but still he made no move, and not even the smallest sound.
"Here." Bill handed her a bottle. "Pour it into his mouth. It might wake him."
Sookie parted what was left of Eric's lips and poured the True Blood into his mouth, sending up silent prayers to whatever God there might be, and hoping that the Higher Power might care about a vampire. As she tipped the bottle more, Eric began to choke and his eyes fluttered open, blazing with agony for a second and then hunger as he tasted the liquid in his mouth, running down his throat. He began to drink, gulping as fast as he could 'til the bottle was dry and Bill came back over with another.
At the end of the second bottle, Eric paused, his blue eyes flicking up to Sookie. "Thank you," he gasped.
"Oh don't thank me yet," Sookie said, "I've still got one hell of a bone to pick with you." She smiled broadly at the twinkle that appeared in the ancient Viking's eyes when he heard her words; then the eyes glazed back over and she felt her stomach clench in fear. "Eric?" she said, worriedly, shaking him.
"He's still weak," Pam said, coming over with another bottle. "It'll take a lot of True Blood to bring him back from this." She knelt on the other side of Eric's head, stroking his hair tenderly.
"But he'll be okay, right?" Sookie asked, unable to keep the fear out of her voice.
Pam pressed her lips together, now gently brushing Eric's cheek with her thumb. Sookie watched her closely, she'd never seen the vampire show so much care for another; most of the time, when she saw the two of them together, Pam and Eric were arguing about something. But now Pam looked at her Maker with eyes full of love, and touched him as tenderly as a mother would a child . . . Sookie cleared her throat, and tried again: "Pam? He's gonna be okay?"
Pam nodded. "Yes," she stated, firmly. "He'll be fine."
Sookie wished she believed her as Eric drank more, but his wounds didn't seem to be healing and his eyes, while at least open now, were still distant and unaware. He stopped drinking abruptly, wheezing painfully and blinking as he tried to lift his head and looked around the room, his eyebrows pulling together in confusion.
"Eric, what's wrong?" Pam asked, softly.
Eric made a little noise and let his head fall back onto Sookie's lap, closing his eyes for a second, as if to regain his strength, and then focusing on Pam. He spoke, but it was so low that even Pam to lean in to hear him: " . . . Godric?" Pam sat straight and looked at Sookie, but she could only shrug, just as confused.
"No, Eric," Sookie said, gently. "Godric . . . he's not here."
Eric didn't accept that, he shook his head slowly, grimacing before speaking again. "He was," he insisted, " . . . outside. I saw him."
"I didn't see- " Sookie started.
Pam held up her hand to interrupt, then placed it down on top of one of Eric's. "He was there," she told him. "He's okay."
Eric relaxed, his eyes drifting closed again, but before he could lose consciousness Pam was up and dragging him with her; Sookie jumped back to get out of the way, doing what she could to help as Bill came over and supported Eric's other side. "He needs to rest," he said to Sookie, "by nightfall he should have his strength back."
Sookie kept her hand on Eric's sleeve, and he looked over his shoulder down at her, his eyes finally clearing, and the blisters on his face gradually healing. Feeling cold all over, she watched as his eyes traveled down to her neck, and then back up, before he asked: "Are you all right?"
Sookie smiled, not sure why but for some reason unable to release her hold on him. "I've been better," she admitted, "but I'll be fine."
"I gave her my blood," Pam said.
Eric's face twisted into a ghost of a smile for just a second before he turned back and allowed Pam and Bill to guide him into the other room, leaving Sookie alone in the bar, her fingertips burning from where she'd been touching him and now longer felt him. "Uggh!" she grunted, spinning away and throwing her hands in the air, disgusted with herself.
That bastard let Russell feed on me. They almost killed me! Why the hell should I care if he's in pain? The thoughts were in her mind but they carried no meaning. In spite of herself, she wondered if Eric was feeling any better, if he would fall asleep quickly, if he would really be recovered by dusk. And, most of all, what she would say to him when he woke up.
Sookie flipped through channels, uninterested in the hundreds of infomercials of reality TV shows that passed by her; she sat at the bar, her chin resting on the palm of her and, anxiously awaiting sunset. Pam and Bill had gone to sleep not long after Eric, and while Sookie had managed a few hours of rest, she found herself wide awake with hours to spare, and ended up bored and lonely as the minutes dragged on.
Eric's voice startled her out of her mindless boredom, she jumped off the bar stool and faced him; . Eric was standing in the doorway to his office, leaning heavily on the jamb, and Sookie was relieved to see the burns on his face had disappeared and his hair was back its cool blond color, although a bit disheveled. He looked exhausted.
"Better?" was all Sookie managed to say.
A tired smile was her answer as Eric pushed himself away from the door and walked up to the bar, he stopped in front of her, his expression unreadable as always. It felt like the silence lasted an eternity, but Sookie found that she didn't mind, she could stand still all day and gaze into his blue eyes and not even notice the world passing her by.
"Much better," Eric finally said.
His voice was deep and strong, back to normal, and another layer of fear that had so tightly coiled itself around Sookie's heart fell away. She nodded, sitting back down and watching Eric as he made his way around the bar, retrieving a True Blood from the fridge; he glared at it distastefully as he popped the lid, but put it to his mouth and began to drink anyway. After a few sips, he brought the bottle down and looked to Sookie again. "Are you all right?" he asked again. "Pam said she fed you . . . was it enough?"
"It was enough," Sookie answered, "I feel good." Then she caught the sly smirk on Eric's face and rolled her eyes. "Don't even think about it! If I needed more, which I don't, I'd just wake up Bill."
"You are still so trusting of him," Eric said, thoughtfully.
"Well, you know . . . he didn't kiss me, and then throw me in a dungeon."
"You're an asshole."
Eric chuckled. "I suppose I am," he admitted, "but what I did was necessary. It was the only way to kill Russell." His eyes hardened, taking on a dangerous glint. "He could not be allowed to continue existing."
"If you'd just told me," Sookie said, "I would've helped. You didn't have to lock me up and treat me like I was prisoner! I thought . . . " she stopped, biting her lower lip to keep it from trembling as she remembered the fear that had overwhelmed her in that dark dungeon. "I thought you were gonna kill me."
Eric raised an eyebrow. "You would have willingly let Russell feed on you?" he said, incredulously.
"It wouldn't be the first time I've put my life on the line for somethin'," Sookie pointed out, "remember Dallas? You didn't feel like you had to drag me over there."
"That was different," Eric replied. "Russell very well could have drained you, I wouldn't have had the strength to stop him. Why would you . . . why would you be willing to go through that?"
"Why were you willin' to burn in the sun?" Sookie tilted her head slightly. "What did you have against Russell anyway? The only time I'd ever seen you ready to accept the true death was . . . in Dallas." A flash of memory: Eric's tear-streaked face, his voice breaking as he pleaded with Godric pitifully, on his knees.
Eric sighed, leaning forward and putting his hands on the bar. "Russell . . . " he gritted his teeth. "He had it coming for a thousand years."
"You said somethin' like that," Sookie recalled, "you said you were close to getting somethin' you wanted for a thousand years. Russell?"
"Killed my family," Eric said, and when she looked confused, he added: "My human family. My father, my mother. My baby sister." He took another sip of the True Blood. "He sent his pack of wolves in and they tore them to shreds . . . my father and I tried to fight them off, but of course, no use. Russell wanted my father's crown. A souvenir."
Sookie couldn't reply, her mind was racing but no words would come. Then finally: "And you've held onto that . . . after all these years?"
Eric looked at her sharply. "You think I would forget?"
"I didn't know," Sookie admitted, "I thought maybe you would stop . . . caring, once you became a vampire."
"Another myth," Eric dismissed the thought. "Vampires don't forget what it was like to be human. We don't turn into demons with no regard for who we once were. I was human, just like you . . . only, when I died, I didn't move onto some afterlife like Heaven or Hell. I became what I am now." He paused. "I am still the man I was, although not in many ways anymore."
Sookie hesitated, then a small smile graced her lips. "Your father had a crown?"
Eric smiled briefly. "Yes, he had a crown. My father was the King of our tribe."
"So you were a Prince?"
"Well, once he died . . . I was King."
"Wow." Sookie smiled wider now. "Somehow that doesn't surprise me at all."
Eric leaned over the bar even further, 'til their faces were only inches apart, so close that if he had breath, Sookie would feel it on her face; his voice was soft, and he spoke slowly: "You think I exude royalty, do you, Miss Stackhouse?"
"I didn't say that," Sookie said, stepping backward, nearly tripping over the stool. "And I'm still angry with you, damn it. You're not getting off that easily."
"Oh believe me, when that finally happens . . . it will not have been easy."
"Nothing is ever easy with you." Then Sookie's eyes widened. "And that's disgusting!" Huffing, she folded her arms, trying to set her jaw and appear as angry as she felt like she should be. "I liked you better when you were delirious."
"But when I was delirious- " in the blink of an eye (no faster, Sookie thought) Eric was on the other side of the bar and standing skin-to-skin with her. " -I couldn't do this," he finished, and dipped his head so his mouth was at her neck. His cool lips caressed her skin and sent chills down her spine, his hand was on her lower back, pulling her closer to him as he brought his lips to her's and kissed her tenderly, so very differently than he had just the night before.
Sookie whimpered a protest, but found her body was betraying her as she enthusiastically responded to his kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing against him, as close as she could be. Eric's fingers danced up her back and into her hair, stroking it before going down and playing with her earlobe while his mouth continued to hold her captive; his lips parted, the kiss went deeper, and Sookie gasped as she tasted him and her body began to ache with longing. Finally, she had to break away for air, she pushed against him and stepped back, panting and red-faced as he stared her down, his fangs extended and his eyes dark with desire.
"Goddamnit!" Sookie muttered, trying in vain to regain her composure.
Eric smirked, and was about to speak when the doors opened and Bill and Pam emerged; Sookie felt her face burn and was sure she looked like a tomato, but neither vampire seemed to notice. Pam was visibly relieved to see Eric recovered, while Bill only had eyes for Sookie as he spoke: "We should go. You must be hungry and tired."
They were all silent, Pam watching Eric as he watched Sookie, and Sookie looking anywhere but Bill, avoiding his eyes. "Yes," Sookie said, at last. "I wanna go." She looked at Bill as a thought popped into her mind, and she knew what she had to do. "But I'm going home alone."
Bill blinked. "Sookie, I- "
"I need to be by myself, Bill," Sookie insisted. "There are things . . . I need to figure out."
"It's not safe," Bill protested.
"You'll know if I'm in danger," Sookie pointed out, "you'll be able to sense it."
Bill pressed his lips together, reaching out and taking Sookie's hand. "What is this?" he asked, quietly. "What are you doing?"
"I . . . I don't know what to think right now," Sookie said, "and I'm sure as hell not gonna figure it out as long as you're around." She touched Bill's face, then kissed him on the cheek; swallowing, and hoping that none of them could see how she was shaking, or hear the tremor in her voice, she looked back at Eric. She wanted to cry aloud when his lust-filled face was still there for her to see, plain as day. "I'm glad you're all right," she said, "and thanks, Pam. Now g'night, all of you."
None of them tried to stop her as she turned and walked out of Fangtasia, and for that she was grateful, as she wasn't sure she could maintain her resolve otherwise. Her car was parked outside, where it had been left last night, and without giving herself a moment's hesitation, she climbed in and started it up; as she pressed down on the gas pedal, the door opened and Eric stepped outside into the moonlight. Sookie groaned, taking off faster than necessary, wanting to make him disappear from her reaview mirror as quickly as she could.
I just need time to think, that's all. Sookie gripped the steering wheel tighter as a flash of Eric's face appeared before her eyes, his glinting eyes and cocky little smile. Her lips practically ached to feel him again, and the tightness in her stomach had not lessened since she had left Fangtasia; she groaned and smacked the wheel in frustration.
She had hoped to keep things with Eric simple, she hated him, but was willing to help when he needed it . . . because he was the Sheriff of Area 5. That was it. Nothing more, nothing else. But that had all changed the day Godric died, when she saw Eric on the roof crying like a little child, broken and vulnerable; he had saved her life in Dallas, took a bullet for her, then again from that werewolf in her house. She wanted to hate him for what he was, for what he did to Lafayette, for what he'd done to her. But she just couldn't.
Time to think. That sounded like a good idea.