TITLE: Turn Up The Heat
RATING: M for language, sex and mature themes
SYNOPSIS: There was something between them, a potent, volatile mixture of heat and chemistry that threatened to rage out of control…
DISCLAIMER: True Blood and its deliciously dysfunctional characters do not belong to me.
A/N – This is sort of AU. It may or may not follow some plot points and scenes from True Blood Season 5 because I just wanted to focus on Tara and Pam exploring all the feelings they harbor for each other without getting into the whole Bilith/Authority shit storm. And not just the gooey, gives-you-a-cavity, sugary sweet kind of feelings, though those are nice. I'm talkin' the primal, intense, raw type feelings. *shrugs* Just thought I'd try on a new hat. Let me know how it goes.
Chapter 1 – Kindle
"You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you're sure they won't laugh if you trip." – Jonathan Carroll
There was something between. Tara was made known of its presence the second she had crawled out of the freshly dug grave, encased head to toe in dirt and locked her rich coffee stained eyes with Pam's electric blue gaze.
It wasn't just Pam's blood, though that had been the catalyst that had opened up many opportunistic avenues for wickedly wild and passionate dreams that had left Tara gasping for needless breaths in her coffin and a pulsating ache between her legs that refused to quell.
It wasn't just the maker/progeny bond either. The invisible string that tethered Tara to Pam and Pam to Tara revealed things that both vampires would rather keep secret but it couldn't actively manipulate them into feeling things for the other.
No. It was something else. Something heady, potent and volatile. Something that threatened to rage out of control and consume maker and progeny both…
Jessica regarded Tara with a sly smile; her eyes fairly twinkling with merry delight as she watched the vampire in question sneak yet another glance at her maker for what had to be the hundredth time that night. Curiosity finally getting the better of her, the redhead vampire finally voiced aloud her growing suspicions.
"Do you like her?"
Tara's head snapped up from behind the book she was currently (falsely) engrossed in. It was a slow night at Fangtasia, an oddity in itself but it did happen. However, the slow pace of the evening didn't bode well for Tara, who liked to keep busy. Idle hands were the devil's workshop after all and the young vampire had sought to remedy the situation by burying her head in the pages of her latest novel. That had been her initial plan but it had quickly become a ruse, a device she hid behind in order to indulge in her latest hobby: watching Pam.
"Do I like who?" Tara drawled uninterestedly, her face an impassive mask as she spared the briefest of glances at Jessica before returning her attention to the book.
Jessica traced the rim of her glass with a magnolia-white finger. "Pam," she whispered conspiratorially before casting a sidelong glance at the newly instated owner of Fangtasia.
Pam was sequestered on Eric's throne, her pose haughty and regal, and her expression unreadable as she trained an azure blue gaze around the bar and its patrons. Dressed in a deep purple corset top that laced at the back, skin tight black pants tucked inside calf-length leather boots and hair framing her face in loose waves of golden-blonde, Pam looked every bit as dangerous and as sexy as she portrayed herself to be.
"I ain't got no idea whatcha talkin' 'bout," Tara replied dryly. She thumbed to the next page, making a show of pointedly ignoring Jessica.
"Uh huh," Jessica returned, a knowing smile creeping across her face. She knocked back her Tru Blood concoction of "two parts O neg and one part B pos" then almost choked on the ruby red liquid with glee when she spotted Tara peering up at Pam from the top of her book. "You're lookin' at her again," the redhead sing-songed looking absolutely titillated at having caught Tara red handed.
"Shut it, Red," Tara snapped. She closed the book with an audible clap, tossed it onto the counter next to the cash register then pushed herself up off the wall she had been leaning against before walking to stand in front of Jessica from behind the bar, a scowl etched on her lips. "Doncha got somewhere else to be?"
Jessica shook her head, sending tendrils of ginger locks to sway gently around her youthful face. "Nope." She drained the rest of her drink, smacked her lips in pleasure and was about to say something else to Tara when a beer-bellied man lurched up to the bar and slammed his mug none to gently down onto the countertop.
"Beer," he commanded, his deep Southern drawl made more pronounced by his drunken slur. He punctuated the word with a loud belch that made Jessica wince in disgust.
Tara arched an intimidating eyebrow at the redneck's direction, her bittersweet chocolate eyes leveling an unamused look on his face.
The drunken man blinked stupidly up at Tara when she failed to freshen up his mug. When her unamused looked turned to a withering glare, he blanched and fumbled for something to say. It took a while to extract the word Tara was looking for from his alcohol soaked brain but he managed nonetheless.
"Ah…please?" he blurted out, shrinking slightly under the weight of Tara's glare.
"Good boy," Tara praised sarcastically, a completely insincere smile tugging at the corner of her lips. It vanished completely as she set about refilling the man's glass. "Fuckin' hillbilly rednecks," she grumbled under her breath as she poured the drunken man a new mug of Bud. As she waited for the glass to fill, she couldn't help but cast another inconspicuous glance at her maker's direction. What harm could it do? She had been playing this game for weeks and trusted that her ogling would remain under the radar.
Tara managed to prove herself wrong when she was caught.
Pam's eyes, a startling shade of glacial blue, bore into Tara's liquid brown ones with an intensity that could be felt by the young vampire even with the small distance between them. A pale eyebrow rose at Tara's scrutiny and if she could have blushed, the ebony skinned vampire's cheeks would have been stained crimson. Instead, she quickly ducked her head then proceeded to curse under her breath as the mug she was holding overfilled and sloshed beer all over her hand.
"Fuck," she hissed as she pulled the stopper on the beer tap. Across the room, Pam let loose a quiet raspy laugh that sent a scowl crawling across Tara's lips. Grabbing the cloth she always tucked into the back pocket of her jeans, she wiped up the mess, wiped down the mug and slammed it down in front of the drunken man.
"Thanks, babe," he slurred, sliding a ten over to Tara. "Keep the change."
"I'm not your babe," Tara hissed insolently, swiping the money from the countertop and dropping it into the till. She tensed slightly when Pam emitted another low chuckle that floated over to tickle her ears. Scowl deepening, Tara straightened her back and squared her shoulders. She purposely turned her back on her maker, adopted an air of indifference and began stacking the highball glasses on the counter space by the sink.
Throughout the commotion, Jessica observed Tara with a growing smirk but it quickly faltered when Tara glowered menacingly at her. Holding up her hands in the universal gesture of surrender, Jessica pushed back her bar stool and stood. "Okay, okay, I'll stop," she said. She glanced at the clock behind Tara. "I gotta go anyway. Bill expects me home by 4." She pulled a face at the thought of being on a curfew but knew better than to disobey her maker.
"Yes. Run on home to your daddy now," Tara said mock sweetly. She gestured towards the exit. "G'wan. Get."
Jessica rolled her cornflower blue eyes before bracing both hands flat on the bar and leaning her weight on them so that she could lift herself up and drape the top half of her body over the bar to peck Tara on the cheek. "Just think about it," she whispered softly into Tara's ear. Straightening back up, she smiled at Tara, turned and offered Pam a cheery wave (Pam merely arched that infamous brow) then bounced happily out of the bar.
Tara shook her head, both in exasperation and amusement. "Fuckin' baby vamps," she groused affectionately, borrowing the well-used phrase from Pam before turning her attention back to closing up the bar.
Across the room, Pam watched her progeny with an indiscernible look in her eye and a barely there smile dancing across her lips.
Tara was in the office, which doubled as the bar's stockroom, counting the inventory when she heard the outer door open. She exhaled silently but kept her head down low as her maker breezed into the room, bringing with her the unmistakable scent of apples and vanilla.
When Tara had first been turned, she had experienced a sensory overload. Everything was in hyper drive, from her all too acute hearing to her pin-sharp vision to a nose that was as keen as a bloodhound's. As she had learned to control her newfound vampire abilities, she came to realize that each vampire had their own unique scent.
Eric smelled like the winter sea, his scent carrying a bite of salt and ice. Jessica ironically smelled like strawberries and cream. A vampire regular who Tara had come to know and befriend smelt like malt whisky and butterscotch. And Pam, Pam smelt like apples and vanilla, which Tara thought suited her maker's personality to a T. Crisp, tart and just a little bit sweet; that was Pam in a nutshell. It was an intoxicating combination, one that never failed to send Tara's newborn vampire hormones into a frenzy.
Pam's scent invaded the office now and Tara had to bite down hard on her lower lip in order to contain a moan that was itching to crawl up her throat. The small confines of the office was magnifying her maker's scent to almost unbearable levels and Tara just wanted to just stop what she was doing and inhale every iota of Pam's aroma. Instead, she focused hard on the inventory list in her hands.
"Are you almost done for the night?" Pam asked by way of greeting. She received a noncommittal grunt in reply and hiked up a regal eyebrow. "Something wrong with your tongue there, Tara?"
"No, m'am," Tara bit out, sarcasm dripping from every syllable. She flinched when Pam vamp sped up to her and reached out to grip her jaw.
"Don't you get uppity with me, ya hear?" Pam's dry drawl was anything but impressed and she waited until Tara nodded reluctantly, petulance flashing in her dark eyes, before releasing her hold on her progeny. A finger lingered though and before Pam pulled away completely, she stroked an imaginary line down that strong, proud jaw. It was a barely there gesture, but it was there.
Maker and progeny stared at each other, scant seconds ticking by completely ignored as the air around them grew preternaturally still. The spell then broke when Pam stepped away from Tara and dropped her eyes to the ground.
"Ginger's closing up outside so you can go to ground when you're done here," Pam stated crisply as she situated herself behind the desk and booted up her pink laptop.
Tara offered Pam a curt nod, then went back to counting the inventory, marking down numbers on the spreadsheet in her hand as she went.
As Pam perused the webpages she pulled from the internet browser, she couldn't help but sweep her eyes over to Tara. Having been forced upon each other due to dire circumstances, the pair didn't often communicate past barking orders and wisecrack comebacks. However, there were moments when Pam was alone with Tara that allowed the blonde herself to introspectively contemplate the reluctantly growing bond between them.
Pam wasn't stupid. Far from it. As a human, she learned how to be shrewd, having grown up in an era where men dominated. As a vampire, she had developed a keen intellect that kept people on their toes. No. Pam definitely wasn't stupid. But whatever it was that was slowly but surely transpiring between Tara and herself was definitely foreign territory.
There were echoes of emotions regarding this thing between them, from both parties. As neither was yet willing to admit it out loud, these echoes manifested themselves in different ways. For Tara, it was sidelong glances and wistful looks. For Pam it was the surge of near primal protectiveness that pounded through her veins whenever she felt Tara had gotten herself into a tight spot. That along with stolen glances whenever she was in close vicinity of her progeny.
Unbeknownst to Pam, these odd feelings were about to make an appearance in a new way. She was startled out of her reverie when her cell phone chirped, signaling a new text message. Glancing at the screen, Pam heaved a sigh before snapping the phone shut.
"I'm going out," the flaxen haired vampire announced. "Try not to destroy my bar while I'm gone," she added wryly as she edged round the desk.
"Whatever," Tara muttered. She made a note on the bottom of the spreadsheet then turned and handed it to Pam. "Here."
Pam didn't move. "Put it on the desk," she said gesturing to the furniture in question.
"You're standing right next to the goddamn desk," Tara huffed in irritation. She shook the finished spreadsheet in front of Pam who simply arched a blonde eyebrow. "Jesus Christ, just take it would ya?" Tara growled.
Pam's raised eyebrow threatened to disappear into her hairline but she took the proffered item and tossed in onto the desk. "There," she drawled, her eyes electric with thinly veiled amusement at Tara's outburst. "Happy?"
"Deliriously so," Tara shot back, her voice coated with infuriation. She shook her head in annoyance, turned on her heel and stalked out of the office, muttering nonsensically as she went.
Pam watched her go, a smirk playing about her lips. "Sometimes, you just make it too easy," she murmured at Tara's retreating back before blurring out of the office and into the balmy Louisiana night.
It was minutes to dawn. Pam felt the pull of Sleep as she walked into the office and sat on the couch to pull off her boots. She was just about to change into a simple pink track suit when a pulse of terror shrieked down the maker/progeny bond, momentarily stealing her (metaphorical) breath away.
The blonde was off the couch, out of the office and down in the basement quicker than one could say "go!"
Tara was found sitting up in her coffin, tears of deep crimson red streaking down her cheeks. Her body quaked under the intensity of her sobs and she gripped the side of her coffin so hard that the polished wood began to splinter.
"Hey." Pam was at her progeny's side in an instant. Kneeling next to the coffin, she reached out and gently cupped Tara's cheek, the gesture a far cry from the firm grip she had on Tara's jaw earlier that night. "Hey," she repeated, her voice a soothing burr.
Tara turned fear laden eyes onto Pam, her terror so palpable that Pam couldn't help but scan a wary eye around the basement for threats. But there was nothing down there save for maker and progeny.
"What's wrong?" Pam found herself asking softly. She thumbed away a ruby red droplet of blood that clung to the skin of Tara's cheek.
"Nothin'," Tara managed to rasp, her voice rough with emotion. "Bad dream," she explained quietly when Pam turned incredulous eyes onto her.
Pam nodded silently. She knew about Tara's less than ideal childhood, knew about the raging alcoholic that called herself Tara's mother. More importantly, Pam knew that she had featured in some of Tara's nightmares, having tried to kill her more than once in the past. Her jaw cinched at the thought of Tara being afraid of her and the notion caused the blonde to look away lest her progeny see the shame in her eyes.
Tara frowned when her maker cut her eyes away from her though Pam made it a point to keep her hand on her cheek, her thumb absentmindedly stroking imaginary circles along the soft skin it found. Knowing that Pam would be less than willing to divulge her musings, the young vampire tapped into the bond they shared. Sorting through the torrent of emotions, Tara found shame and regret to be pinging the loudest. Instantly, she knew where Pam's thoughts had wandered.
"I ain't afraid of you," Tara offered quietly. She smothered a tired laugh when Pam turned back to look at her, blue eyes widening in shock. "We're connected remember?" the ebony skinned vampire reminded her maker. "I can feel what your feelin'."
"Fuckin' bond," Pam muttered derisively. Dropping her hand from her progeny's cheek, she turned to fully face Tara. "Do you still need me to hold your hand or can I get some beauty sleep now?"
When Tara failed to reply with words but stared up at Pam instead with beseeching eyes, the flaxen haired vampire sighed in resignation.
"C'mon," she muttered, reaching out to grab Tara's hand. She had to steady her progeny when Tara clambered clumsily out of the coffin, caught her foot on the side and almost fell into Pam's arms. Her maker caught her deftly, deceptively strong arms winding around Tara in a loose but firm embrace.
Tara stared into Pam's eyes. Being in such close proximity to her maker's face, Tara could make out flecks of ice-blue chips dotted haphazardly around a turbulent sea of steel-blue and winter-gray in Pam's eyes.
"Beautiful," Tara whispered reverently, a dreamy look clouding the brown of her eyes. Before she could even register what she was doing, she leaned in and ghosted a kiss across Pam's slightly parted ones.
Pam went rigid the minute Tara's lips pressed against her own. The young vampire's scent, a bold mix of oranges and dark chocolate seeped between her lips and draped itself across her taste buds, lingering like fine wine.
Tara was sent crashing back to reality the second she felt Pam tense. Drawing back, she started to scoot out of the cradle of Pam's arms, an apology poised and waiting on the tip of her tongue when Pam's arms relaxed then tightened around Tara, disallowing her any further movement.
"Pam?" Tara's voice was uncertain and there was a child-like quality to tentativeness painted on her face as she waited for her maker's judgment.
Pam swallowed around the lump in her throat. "Come," she instructed quietly. She wrapped an arm around Tara's waist, anchoring her to her side. Dawn had broken outside and Tara's movements were sluggish with exhaustion, her body unable to withstand being up past the morning sun.
"Where are we going?"
"The office," came Pam's quiet reply. When Tara nearly tripped on the first step of the stairs, Pam simply swept her up into her arms bridal style and vamp sped back to the office. She paused at the entrance only to flick off the lights with a nudge of her elbow then made her way to the couch where she lay Tara gently down before joining her.
Tara immediately snuggled into Pam, the pull of Sleep making her bold enough to physically act on her impulses. She breathed a sigh of utter contentment as Pam enclosed her arms around her and pressed a kiss to her temple.
"Sleep, schätzlein," Pam murmured, the German term of endearment falling easily past her lips. Sleep, my little treasure.
Yes, there was something between them. There was no use, no point in denying it. With that almost absentminded kiss, Tara had set the ball rolling for an inevitable series of chain reactions that would carve deep grooves into their future. The very thought both petrified and calmed Pam. It was by far the oddest combination of emotions Pam had experienced in her hundred and forty odd years on Earth.
Knowing that she couldn't currently spare any more time pondering the sudden development between her and Tara, Pam tucked the issue away in the corner of her mind, far enough to grant her a good day's sleep but not far enough that she would dismiss it altogether.
Settling further into the couch, Pam held Tara as she allowed the pull of Sleep to bring her under.
A/N 2 – Beyond knowing how to say, Good morning/afternoon/night, hello, thank you and goodbye, my knowledge of German is nil. So I turned to the power of Google, found a list of endearments and picked out a few of my favorites. Hopefully, the term I used wasn't taken out of context.
Schätzlein – literally "my little treasure" though it can also mean "honey", "sweetheart" (according to Google)