Title: WePlay Along
Fandom: True Blood
Pairing: Pam, Tara, pre-Pam/Tara
Summary: Pam and Tara retreat to the backroom of Fangtasia to talk after the new Sheriff, Elijah, declares a feeding frenzy.
Note: Takes place directly after the events of episode 5x09 "Everybody Wants to Rule the World".
Tara rose as Pam rose; her eyes shifting uncertainly between her maker and the vampire sitting on her throne. The look of shock that had been on Pam's face when Tara had first reached her had disappeared, replaced by her usual expression of haughty indifference, but Pam's eyes were cold and hard as she stared at the alleged new Sheriff of Area 5.
Pam rolled her head to the side to take in what was happening around her. The air was heavy with the scent of blood and terrified whimpering of humans. Those breathers who had arrived with a vampire companion were protected from the chaos, but all of the other humans in sight were being sucked.
Pam's jaw clenched and her nostrils flared in anger.
Fangtasia was a bar, not a fucking feeding trough.
"Come with me," Pam said shortly, glancing at Tara before she turned on her heel and headed toward the backroom of the bar.
By the time Tara entered the backroom and closed the door, Pam was already seated behind her pretty pink computer. Her eyes were focused on the monitor and they remained there even as Tara's heels clicked noisily on the cement floor, announcing her arrival.
Pam's expression gave away nothing, but once Tara was closer to the blonde, she could see that Pam's body was tight, every muscle tensed with the effort it took to mask whatever emotions the blonde was feeling.
"Pam," Tara began softly, hesitantly, her voice so low it was practically a whisper.
Pam's head snapped up at the sound of Tara's voice and Tara drew back slightly when eyes the colour of the sea during a storm landed on her with an intensity that made Tara feel as if she had been pierced.
It couldn't have been more than two or three seconds until Pam looked away, her shoulders slumping slightly as she leaned back in her chair with a sigh, but it seemed like an eternity to Tara.
"So it's true," Tara guessed a moment later, her voice still soft and hesitant even though she moved closer to Pam so that she could perch on the edge of the blonde's desk.
"It is," Pam rasped as her eyes trailed back over to the laptop screen and locked on it hatefully.
"It might not be that …"
"It is," Pam interjected; her voice sharp and firm. "It's bad," she stated as she reached out to roughly close the laptop.
"Eric …" Tara began.
"Would be here if he could," Pam said, cutting Tara off again though this time her tone was gentler. "The monarchs couldn't have lifted the ban on public feeding without the blessing of The Authority, and The Authority gave that Anne Rice looking motherfucker Eric's title. You were right," Pam drawled, looking pained as the words passed her lips, "the blood bath has begun," she pronounced dourly before cutting her eyes away.
"But Eric's alive … well vampire-alive anyway," Tara offered, inching just the tiniest bit closer to Pam as she spoke.
Pam was good at hiding her feelings, but she wasn't that good. There was a connection between maker and child, Tara knew that. It was how Pam had found her when she had tried to fry herself at that tanning salon and it was how she always knew where Pam was in the bar even if she couldn't see the blonde. If Eric had been staked, surely Pam would have been able to feel her maker's death and there was no way Pam would have been able to hide her reaction to that, no matter what a good actress she normally was.
Pam sucked in a deep breath upon hearing Tara's words and angled her head to the side, her eyes closing and her jaw clenching as she did, reacting to Tara's words as if they had been a physical blow.
"He …" Pam began but she paused for a moment as emotion overwhelmed her. "He released me," she breathed out a moment later, her voice so low that it was barely a whisper. "I can't … I wouldn't feel it. Not anymore," she went on, sitting stock still for a moment before she abruptly stood up and began to pace. "This isn't being demoted at Walmart. The Authority replaced him. If he's not already dead, they are most assuredly planning on ending him soon."
Almost as soon as the words were past her lips, Pam suddenly came to a stop. She blinked a few times in rapid succession and then she reached out and braced her hand on the back of her chair as if she were in actual danger of falling over. She looked dazed, and with a jolt, Tara realized that she was in shock.
Tara didn't know how old Pam was or how long she and Eric had walked the earth together, but she knew that it had been a while. On that first night Tara had been brought to Fangtasia by Pam, Tara had glared at her hatefully as they entered the bar. She was convinced then that Pam was composed of marble; that she was cold and hard as stone and just as unyielding. Pam's gaze was icy, freezing as arctic wind, and every terrifying interaction Tara had ever had with Pam had led her to believe that the blonde was completely without the ability to feel even a single genuine emotion.
Later that night, when Tara walked into the main part of the bar to find Pam slumped in a chair, the corners of her eyes smeared and stained with blood, she had been forced to revise her previous thoughts on Pam. To be sure, the blonde was a cold-hearted, bullying, calculating and vicious bitch, but it seemed that she wasn't completely without feeling. Seeing the evidence of the devastation Eric had wrought in Pam's red-rimmed eyes did not soften Tara's feelings toward Pam however, in fact seeing the blonde's pain had given Tara a deep feeling of satisfaction.
Presently, things had changed.
Pam could still be cutting and cruel, and Tara often felt that she put too much emphasis on the 'tough' part of 'tough love', but as much as Tara wanted to, she couldn't hate Pam the way she once had because despite her numerous personality flaws, she knew that Pam was trying to do well by her as her maker.
Before she and Jessica had turned on each other (over Hoyt 'Motherfucking' Fortenberry of all people) the talk they'd had made Tara realize that Pam had taught her more about how to use and control her vampire abilities in a matter of hours than Bill had taught Jessica in her first few weeks of undead life. And, even though it was setting the bar pretty fucking low, Pam had taken better care of Tara since bringing her to Fangtasia than Lettie Mae had ever managed in twenty-eight years.
The truth was that Tara had gotten used to the feel of Pam's eyes on her, watching over her, protecting her. They might have been forced upon each other, but they were now part of each other's lives, they were now part of each other, and dysfunctional as they were, Tara couldn't enjoy Pam`s suffering anymore, she couldn't stand by and do nothing in the face of it.
Tara moved slowly, tentatively crossing the small distance that remained between herself and Pam even as she debated the wisdom of what she planned on doing. She had offered Pam a shoulder earlier that evening and Pam had essentially spit in her face. She had no reason to believe that Pam would respond any better to another offer now, but despite her misgivings Tara continued to approach the blonde.
Pam looked up at her when Tara came to stop in front of her, and Tara paused for a moment when their eyes met. Tara suspected that her intent was written all over her face, but Pam didn't say anything as they watched each other, so after a few seconds Tara stepped forward and then leaned in until she was able to wrap her arms around Pam.
The blonde was still as stone for a moment and Tara began to worry that she had misjudged the situation, but to Tara's relief (and pleasure) after a few tense seconds, Pam drew her arms around Tara and hugged her back.
Pam didn't cling to Tara, but she did hold her. She didn't bury her face in Tara's neck or nuzzle into Tara like she wanted to hide, but she did rest their heads together as if Tara's nearness was of some comfort to her. She didn't cry; she didn't clutch at Tara and draw her closer, and afterward she didn't say thank you, but she did hold on – for longer than Tara ever could have anticipated – Pam held on.
And then it was over.
"Open rebellion is suicide," Pam breathed out as she stepped out of the circle of Tara's arms. "There isn't a douchebag in the world big enough to handle that emo little shit, but for now we say 'Yes, Sheriff' and 'Thank you, Sheriff'," Pam continued, her voice strengthening into her usual dry drawl. "We play along and act like he's not the vampire equivalent of anal leakage, because there is trouble brewing and we will not survive being unaligned when the storm hits."
Tara's back straightened and Pam saw mutiny flash in her eyes.
With vampire quickness Pam moved closer to Tara and took the younger woman's hands into her own with a surprising tenderness.
"He's older than me," Pam said, holding Tara's gaze. "I couldn't beat him in a fair fight, not that I ever fight fair," she continued smirking, her words and her smile drawing a small one from Tara in response, "but even if I could beat him, it wouldn't do us any good because he's an institution, not a man," Pam declared. "As Sheriff, he could compel every vampire in Area 5 to hunt us down like dogs. Not to mention the squads of Authority henchman that would be deployed to catch us and kill us as soon as his death was discovered."
"So, what? We just go around slaughtering people like we're at a Barnhill Buffet?" Tara asked irritably. She knew that Pam was talking sense, but sense was currently pissing her the fuck off.
"Somebody's sassy," Pam bit out, her eyes narrowing warningly as she frowned at Tara. "Nobody's telling you to go on a fucking murder rampage you drama queen. When the Sheriff's not around drink what you wanna drink … at least as long as the True Blood lasts," Pam continued arching her eyebrow pointedly. "But if your Sheriff gives you an order, you will follow it, because Tara, I promise you, you won't be helping the humans if you refuse," Pam went on in a deathly serious tone.
"If he tells you to feed, feed, and you'll be able to keep them alive. I know that's not what you wanna hear, but it's the option that'll offend your delicate the sensibilities the least. Open disrespect will only force his hand. He's new and not nearly old enough to automatically command respect. There's nothing more dangerous than a tiny man with something prove. If you're insolent he'll make you kill, and if you refuse he'll kill four in the place of whoever you try to save … and then he'll kill that one too," Pam went on, lifting her hand up to cup Tara's face so that the younger woman couldn't look away from her. "Like most men, Eric could rely on force," Pam breathed out, stroking Tara's cheek with her thumb. "Like most women, we'll have to be shrewd," she continued, her lips quirking up slightly which Tara matched with a rueful smile of her own. "Time is something we have in abundance. We listen, we observe, we gather information and then we figure out how to use it to our advantage. We do not act like hotheads and get ourselves staked." Pam stared at Tara intently for a moment and then her gaze softened. "I understand your anger. I've got enough anger burning inside of me right now to set Louisiana on fire, but losin' our shit won't do us any good." Pam's gaze became focused and lancing again. "We play along," she declared and her voice brooked no argument.
Tara inclined her head slightly, silently, petulantly acknowledging Pam's words.
"Say it," Pam insisted, "I wanna hear you say the words. Say 'we play along'."
Tara stared hard at Pam for a moment then cut her eyes away the blonde and muttered, "We play along."
The fact was Pam was right and Tara knew that she was right, it just vexed her. Marching out into the barroom and picking a fight with every asshole vampire that had grabbed a human would not end well, but just standing by and doing nothing galled her. She'd fought all her life, and sure it hardly ever worked out in her favor, and then she got shot in the head, but even though she hadn't managed to shield herself from the majority of the shit life had thrown at her, Tara had never been able to stop fighting. Even when she'd run away from everything she'd gotten into a cage and fought, because she'd known, she'd known that she wouldn't be able to hide forever and that when her life finally caught with her she'd need to be ready to brawl.
Pam was right about what they needed to do, Tara knew that she was right, she just hated it. She hated that she could throw an RV clear across a field and yet still felt helpless. She hated it. But as usual there was nothing she could do.
"I hate this," Tara breathed out irritably.
"I know," Pam said using her hold on Tara's face to tilt her head up a bit so that they were looking at each other again. "So do I," she breathed out. "But I love being undead and I'd prefer to remain that way, so if you'd also like to avoid becoming a pile of goo and gristle you're gonna need to trust me."
"I do," Tara muttered under her breath, her voice barely audible – even to vampire ears.
"I didn't catch that," Pam said a moment later.
"God help me, I said 'I do'," Tara grumbled stubbornly, militantly cutting her eyes away from Pam.
"Good," Pam drawled in response before she fell silent and waited for Tara to meet her eyes again. "I made you and I will take care of you," she continued when Tara finally relented and looked at her. "I give you my word."
Tara nodded and Pam gave her cheek one last quick pass with her thumb before she drew her hand away.
"So what now?" Tara asked as Pam perched herself on the edge of her desk. "Please do not tell me that we have to go back out there. I was tending bar earlier and I can tell you ain't none of those fuckers that I wanna put my mouth on."
The corner of Pam's lip twitched. "Sometime's a girl's just gotta close her eyes and think of her maker," she drawled dryly a second later.
"I can think of something I'd rather do to my maker," Tara muttered, shooting Pam an irritated look.
"I hope it's something dirty," Pam replied, smiling suggestively as she turned her head to the side so that her eyes could leisurely trail over Tara's body.
A wave of desire slammed into Tara at the sound of Pam's words and the look of naughty contemplation on her face. Fuckin' vampire hormones, Tara thought viciously as her eyelashes fluttered as her eyes drifted down to look at Pam's lips.
"A time and a place, Pam," Tara muttered, cutting her eyes over to glance at the blonde when she felt she was in control of her bodily reactions once again. "I thought we were supposed to be concentratin' on not dying … again."
"I can multi-task," Pam purred as she extended her hand, reaching out to touch Tara.
Tara slapped her hand away indignantly and Pam laughed.
"Focus," Tara said when Pam's laughter began to abate. "On something besides my tits," she added when Pam's eyes moved to her chest. "Seriously? Do you have any idea what to do or are you just going to sexually harass me until the war starts and the humans bomb this place with UV grenades."
"We'll have moved on to sexual debauchery way before it comes to that," Pam breathed out wickedly as she slipped off the edge of the desk and onto her feet. "Fact is," Pam said, switching from seductress to school teacher in the blink of an eye, "you made a good point earlier … or you would've if I'd let you finish."
Tara felt she had made so many good points that evening that she didn't know where to begin.
"Which was?" she asked.
"Eric's still alive," Pam replied.
"You think," Tara interjected as gently as she could though the dubiousness she felt showed some in her voice.
"I know," Pam replied firmly, straightening her back and rising to her full height as she spoke. "He's a fucking Viking. Vampires and men and have trembled before him for over a millennium. It'll take more than a round table of pompous windbags in fancy suits to end him," she continued resolutely, ashamed of her early weakness, of her earlier doubt.
"So we're gonna what? Take a little road trip to The Authority and ask nicely if they'll give you your half-giant Norseman back?" Tara asked doubtfully.
Pam stared at Tara long and hard for a moment and then in the driest, most unimpressed tone she was capable of summoning, she muttered, "We're going to Sookie's," and then headed toward the back door.
"Fuck no!" Tara exclaimed automatically. "I'm not going anywhere near that …"
"Yes, you are," Pam declared loudly, cutting Tara off.
"Why?" Tara complained though not as brashly or emphatically as before.
"Because everything always comes back to Sookie Stackhouse and her magical fucking vagina," Pam replied irritably. "I don't know who Eric's contact in The Authority was, I don't know what the fuck is going on with Russell Edgington, and I have no clue why The Authority would completely reverse its stance on feeding on humans, but I bet your tight ass Sookie knows the answer to at least one of those things and I mean to find out what the fuck it is."
"Fucking Sookie," Tara muttered because Pam was right.
Whenever there was supernatural bullshit happening in Bon Temps or any surrounding areas, Sookie was always in the middle of it, fucking vampires or reading people's mind or shooting blasts of light out of her hands or some other messed up shit that ended up getting innocent bystanders killed while her blonde, fairy ass walked away unscathed.
"Fucking Sookie," Pam muttered, in total agreement with Tara's words.
"Fine, let's get this over with," Tara said, walking towards the backdoor until she was standing beside Pam. "I can only deal with so much fuckery a day, and between the bombings, that shit-stain turning this place into a buffet and still being fucking dead, I'm almost at my limit. So we need to make this quick or you're gonna have to hold me back."
Pam opened the backdoor and slipped through it into the cool night air.
"I'd rather hold you down," Pam murmured as Tara joined her outside and the door closed behind them.
"I bet you would," Tara drawled glancing over at Pam, "BDSM Barbie."
Pam rolled her eyes dramatically and Tara's lips curved up slightly.
"You get one more of those before the fangs come out," Pam said warningly a second later, "So use it well," she continued and Tara's slight smile turned into a full one. "I'll meet you at Sookie's," Pam stated and then there was a blur of movement and Pam was gone.
Tara gazed out into the darkness for a moment and then sighed. Seeing Sookie was the last goddamn thing she wanted to do so it was completely in line with her existence that she would end up spending her night doing just that.
Fuck my life, Tara thought as she angled her head to the side, staring in the direction of Bon Temps, and then, in the blink of an eye, she was gone too.