AN: Please check your suspension of disbelief here. For the purposes of this story, our southern vamps can conceive a child with a fae-blooded human, resulting in a half-vampire or dhampir.
Heavily inspired by the movie Firelight, hence the title, and by SilverShine's awesome story in the Naruto-verse, Scarlet Scroll, which deals with a similar subject but under very different circumstances. Neither of which I own or have any rights to, nor to True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. I'm just borrowing the genius ideas of others for a little while in the playground called fandom.
A bit of background: Sookie has never met Eric. Without his influence, the events of seasons one and two are longer, more drawn out, and inevitably more painful for Sookie (as if they could be more painful than they already are). She learns of Bill's betrayal on her own, and our story begins as she starts to process the consequences of her relationship with him… and everything that's happened to her as a result.
Rated M for language and future adult themes and content. It's Eric, after all.
Do you know about Firelight? It's a kind of magic. Firelight makes time stand still. When you put out the lamps and sit in the firelight's glow there aren't any rules any more.
Blasting the Queen of Louisiana with white light was a hell of a way to learn Sookie wasn't entirely human. But that exactly is how Sookie found out she was a fairy. 'A fairy. How fucking lame is that?' she had thought. After all she had been through, Sookie wanted nothing more than to be human – a plain, normal, boring old human – but if she had to be something more than human, she wished she could have at least been something more dangerous.
In the past year, a storm of supernatural catastrophes had racked her quiet town of Bon Temps. She had lost her parents years ago, now she had lost Gran, and even her cat. Her only brother Jason, her best friend Tara, and even Sam, her boss, were slowly drifting away.
It started with a murderer who targeted suspected fang-bangers. Then, the strange maenad creature almost took the lives of the whole town. If it wasn't for the flash of momentary brilliance by her on-again off-again boyfriend, Bill Compton, this place would be a ghost town. It was a genius plan that allowed them to kill the demonic creature, thanks to her beloved vampire boyfriend.
That same vampire boyfriend who betrayed her, who had been sent to procure her as a prisoner to his boss - a fact Sookie did not discover until it was almost too late.
Sookie was unlucky that the Queen caught them at Bill's house that night. In a human's home, Sophie-Anne and her guards would have required an invitation. At Bill's house, there was nothing stopping the Queen from grabbing her prize and her subject, and sporting them both back with her to New Orleans - so she did.
Actually, Sookie was lucky… in the grand scheme of things. The cousin she thought was long lost had become, by some odd stroke of Fate, the Queen's favorite pet. Hadley was about as shocked to see Sookie as Sookie was to see her alive. Her cousin's strange attraction to Sophie-Anne was strong, but as it turns out, the Stackhouse blood was stronger. Thankfully, Hadley provided the necessary distraction for Bill to make his move against his own Queen, who in turn lashed out at Sookie.
Instinct took over in that frightening moment, and a power Sookie didn't know she had was unleashed all at once. In a brilliant flash of light from Sookie's hands, Queen Sophie-Anne was across the great day room, dazed and disoriented. Bill was ready, then - he scooped up Sookie before she could blink and they ran without looking back.
After narrowly escaping the Queen's opulent palace, Sookie had no patience for Bill's assurances that he would never let Sophie-Anne have her. He reminded her of his passive role in her capture and his very active role in her escape, but the real question on Sookie's mind was how his Queen knew exactly where to find her.
Shooting some of her little white light in his direction loosened his lips.
First, he exposed the string of lies he had told her since they met in Merlotte's that fateful night. Finding out that the love she thought was genuine was in fact fabricated by blood and false pretenses was disturbing. Knowing he let the Rattray's beat her within an inch of her life on purpose was unforgivable. She let his trespasses sink in one by one. They could never go back being lovers. She wondered if they had ever really been friends. Even so, the hurt from his deceit was brief – like ripping off a band-aid – a sharp, quick sting.
Then he started to reveal the truths about what she was and what exactly that meant to vampires. To them - to him - she was nothing more than a delicious snack, a supernatural sunscreen, and, apparently, a potential mother. The stab of these truths was painful and lasting. It stayed with her, not only because it called into doubt their entire relationship, but because it colored the way she saw herself, her family, and her entire past. Bill was only a temporary fixture, but knowing what she was, her true identity had been forever changed. She counted herself lucky Bill hadn't gotten her pregnant, further altering her life.
Bill told her just because they escaped this time didn't mean she was safe. Far from it; Sophie-Anne would redouble her efforts now that she had seen a display of Sookie's power. He offered her his protection, guiltily, almost as though it were some kind of penance. She refused outright, not wanting to be indebted to this man for whom she had once cared so deeply. He left her with a warning – to find protection with another vampire lest her identity as a fairy get out – and a wish for her safety and happiness. Sookie simply nodded, her face betraying no emotion, and in a flash of movement only a vampire could achieve, he was gone.
She had not heard from him since that night. At Merlotte's, with some disdain Jessica told her that he was punished for his failure to deliver her to his Queen. He was, as far as Jessica could tell, banished to Central America. The baby vampire was torn between the powerful bond with her maker and the sympathy she felt for Sookie, both as a woman and one of her few friends in the afterlife. Jessica chose to deal with this stress by avoiding the blond waitress as best she could in the small town, even though they worked at the same bar.
Sookie returned home and tried to settle back into her normal routine, but for at least a week she walked around in a fog. When she started to awaken from her daze, she found that Bon Temps had moved on without her. Scarred and broken after Eggs' death, Tara had left town with barely a word. Maybe it was better that way. In her heart, she knew Tara still felt Sookie was responsible for Eggs' death. She rarely heard from her best friend beyond the occasional text message or postcard. Jason had become a cop - a cop, Sookie was still coming to terms with this. Not only that, but he'd gotten over Amy and fallen in love "for real this time" with a girl named Crystal. These days he spent most of his time off-duty in Hot Shot, which, as it turns out, wasn't half as bad as its reputation made it out.
As for Sam, well, between running Merlotte's, finding his biological family, and dating a new shifter named Luna, Sam more than had his hands full. Even Lafayette had found a mate in Jesus, the dreamy nurse and oh-by-the-way brujo, some kind of Latin witch.
With Bill's betrayal still fresh in her mind, you would think she would be done with vampires. With all Supes for that matter! But the combined disasters over the last year had left her physically exhausted and pretty much broke. She was so behind on payments that by the end of the month she'd lose the house. By the end of the week, Sam could change his mind - as he did so often recently - and she could lose her job. And if she didn't get protection, she would undoubtedly be hunted by the vampire Queen, who wanted nothing more than to put her in a cage, use her powers like a remote control, and worse things Sookie didn't want to think about.
Sookie was out of money and out of options.
Sookie knew what this was. It came from a place of utter desperation. A lease on her life and nothing more. A Faustian bargain to save what was left of her once-happy life.
She went over all these reasons again in her mind on the long drive to Shreveport, but it didn't make what she was about to do any easier. She was going to give her body to a stranger - a vampire - and bear him a half-dead baby. Because only a child of the fae could do it, because the reward was enough to save her family home, and because maybe, just maybe, if she did this for him he would protect her and she could go on living.
Ever since vampires came out of the coffin, the night had been different. It wasn't just the time in between sunset and sunrise anymore. Now it was a time when forbidden things were permitted. When rules disappeared and the whispers in the shadows and bumps in the night came out to play. What happened at night stayed in the night. When the sun rose, vampires died for the day, and for humans, time started again.
Sookie had long since given up on the dream of being a mother. When she was serious about Bill, staying with him meant having a child was not an option - or so she thought. And well before she ever met a vampire, she had already decided that any relationship with a human guy was doomed from the start, thanks to her "gift." She had made her peace with a childless life. She guessed it was that detachment that allowed her to consider the contract in the first place. She wasn't using her oven anyway, so why not rent it out?
But then there was the obvious hang-up of how that bun was going to get into her oven. This was a fact Sookie preferred to overlook as though it was a minor detail.
After everything she'd been through, the questionable immorality of it all seemed worth it… to live. She'd suffered from her uncle's abuse as a child and given herself to her low-life two-timing vampire ex-boyfriend. What was left that was so sacred about her body now? It was just nine months. Nine months and she could be free of it all - put vampires and fairies and maenads – all of the supernatural craziness – behind her. Forever.
The interview felt more like an interrogation. A female vampire, who introduced herself simply as "Pam", sat her down in the middle of the bar, which was a strange combination of gaudy florescent lights and dark corners. Empty of vampires, it was somehow blatant and unthreatening, like a Disneyland attraction. Pam herself was a bit of a contradiction, in fact, somehow still managing to look like a dominatrix even as she wore a pretty pink pencil skirt with a tailored little suit jacket and matching pumps. Sookie had never seen such a wolf in sheep's clothing before. She sat directly across from Sookie holding a clipboard and twirling a pen in her hand as though this moment was the most boring experience she'd ever been forced to endure.
Sookie had already provided the extensive documentation requested on her health records and background, as well as her reasons for needing the money. She wasn't sure if this face-to-face interview was just a formality or a cattle call to get a look at her haunches and teeth before choosing her as a breeding partner.
"How did you find out about this arrangement?" Pam asked, startling Sookie as her disinterested voice broke the awkward silence.
"From a girl who was a regular here. But," Sookie paused, trying to get past the sudden dryness in her throat, "she's dead now."
The vampire flashed a toothy smile and purred, "Good."
There was very little good about Amy's time in Bon Temps and nothing good about her death. But Sookie wisely kept her mouth shut.
"You haven't done anything like this before, have you?"
"No!" Sookie replied emphatically. Did this kind of thing happen often? She couldn't imagine so.
"And what do you know about my employer?" Pam stared unblinking at the waitress intently for signs of deceit.
"Nothing," Sookie answered quickly, her voice slightly higher than usual. Pam looked skeptical. "Well, I know he's a vampire," Sookie offered, "And I know he's rich. And he wants a child for some reason."
Pam rolled her eyes, and her face resumed its bored-as-ever expressionless expression. "Well, you look healthy. And you're plush in all the right places."
"Um… thank you?" Sookie responded, allowing her Southern Manners to assist her in this awkward situation.
"And I assume since you're here you possess the… other qualification?" Pam raised an eyebrow and looked Sookie up and down as though she would like to lick her all over, or should it be bite? Probably both.
"Yes." Sookie said in a small voice, averting her eyes from the vampire's hungry gaze before straightening her spine and meeting Pam's eyes intently, "And that's part of my condition. I need protection."
"From whom, exactly?" It wasn't hard for Pam to imagine this girl would need protecting, given what she was. However, Pam wondered who exactly knew she was a fairy.
"The Queen of Louisiana. She - " Sookie hedged, looking away again, "suspects that I am… what I am."
Pam wasn't quite sure whether she should be suspicious or impressed. How this little hick fairy got on Sophie-Anne's radar was beyond her. Taking her off would be risky, but was possible. Her maker was nothing if not resourceful. "Protection in the vampire world comes at a price. This may reduce your fee."
"I just need enough to keep my home," Sookie replied quietly. Her once proud, do-it-yourself demeanor had fallen away. If she could at least keep Gran's home, she felt she could muster the strength to stand on her own two feet again.
The vampire gave a veiled smile, as if she knew a juicy secret, "Don't you worry about your little house. That's not going anywhere." Sookie relaxed a fraction with a sigh and tried not to look too relieved.
Pam continued, "Given the changes to the nature of the agreement, my Master would be willing to offer you a contract for the protection you seek, whatever is required to keep your house from foreclosure, and $100,000 in exchange for your… services."
Sookie's eyes went wide. On her waitress's wages, it was hard to imagine that much money all at once. A ridiculous pile of one dollar bills popped into her head, or maybe a rain of fives, and Sookie was barely able to suppress a hysterical giggle.
Sookie stayed silent for a while, trying to process it all. When she came into the bar, a part of her thought she'd never get everything she wanted out of this bargain. That idea had given her a way out, an escape from the frightening decision she thought she had already made when she got into her car and drove to Fangtasia. Until now, that small part of her still had hoped that this was not really going to happen. But here she was. It was both horrifying and too good to be true.
"You will ask nothing about my employer and you will be given no information about his identity," Pam continued, "You will be available to him for three nights to complete the agreement. While under the contract you are to remain within contact of my Master at all times. When the contract is completed, the product will be turned over to my employer and all contact will be severed immediately. You will go back to your sad little life and you will not look for him or it."
The product. It all sounded more humane when you made it seem like it was an object and not a living thing. Half-living, Sookie reminded herself. A thing that probably shouldn't be. A little monster muffin that she had to bake and then give away. This was surrogacy, really. If all parties involved were human, this would be almost legal - with the addition of a laboratory and a team of adoption lawyers. But the law hadn't caught up to vampire children yet. Hell, most people probably thought this whole situation was impossible, she did until a few weeks ago.
Pam waited what she thought was long enough for the human to think it over (thirty seconds to her, but an eternity to Sookie) before asking, "Do we have a deal?"
The blond waitress from Bon Temps closed her eyes, and swallowed, breathing deeply as though it was her last moment on Earth. When she spoke it was barely a whisper, the last of her pride and dignity giving out against the irresistible offer to win back everything she was so close to losing, "Yes."
"Great," the vampire drawled indifferently. She flipped some papers around on the clipboard at a vampire's speed and handed it to Sookie with the pen, "Sign here, please."
Sookie stared at the contract, not really reading the small, typed print but just taking in her new, harsh reality before her in black-and-white. Somehow, she felt this moment would've been more dramatic, though she wasn't sure what she had expected exactly. A heated argument, a physical fight, herself breaking down into tears? She looked up at the woman - no, the vampire - before her, who was now smiling tightly with her hands folded in her lap, demurely waiting. On the human's side of the bargain, she was signing her life away for a chance to live it. But for the vampires, this was all business. Just words and paper. With no ceremony or flourish, Sookie Stackhouse signed her name to the paper, and reality silently shifted.
Pam stood from her seat and took the clipboard. "It's done, Miss Stackhouse," she clipped, drawing out Sookie's name like a curse. "The agreement is official."
"So… um." Sookie tried to swallow the lump that had suddenly grown into her throat. The easy part was over. Now it was time to pay the piper. "Do we get started now?"
Pam scoffed at the girl's naïvety, "It's nearly dawn, princess. Go home. And rest up." Her mouth twitched slightly at the corner in some semblance of a smile.
Sookie didn't like the suggestive tone in the vampire's voice when she said that last part. But she just nodded stiffly and made a beeline for the exit before Vampire Pam changed her mind.
"You found a candidate?" Eric asked inquisitively, his hands still clasped together tensely as Pam sauntered into the office. He didn't look up, even as she stopped in front of his desk.
"Yes." She dropped the clipboard heavily on the desk in front of him, allowing herself this small measure of defiance.
"How does she measure up?" He wanted to know, and looked up to meet her eyes for the first time. He seemed genuinely interested in this girl, and Pam couldn't help that her jealous feathers were ruffled.
Pam smirked, "I'd hit that." Her assessment seemed to please her maker, but only slightly. His face still held the same firm lines as it had for the past month. Seeing this, she continued, "But I still don't understand why you want a disgusting little thing like that."
"My reasons do not concern you," he muttered darkly, "Just make it happen."
Pam frowned, turning and leaving Eric alone to brood. She didn't like it. The secrets started when the name Russell Edgington started blowing on the wind. And now this ridiculous arrangement, paying a fairy to bear him an awful little half-human baby.
Pam could only hope he meant to eat it.
AN: No infringement intended, just a teaser into my wildly rabid imagination, if you please. Hopefully the upcoming season may inspire more.
Major, major shout-out to my amazing beta juniperjuniper2. More than a beta, they should be called co-writers and coconspirators. I couldn't have done it without you, and we're only on chapter one!
Thanks for stopping by.