Chapter 29 – Weakness

Chapter 29 – Weakness

February 1, 2004

Sookie woke up in her bed at the farmhouse a little disoriented.  When she hobbled to the kitchen, she found Potts pulling fresh biscuits from the oven and her Were guards around the table.  “Who’s with Gran?”  She asked.

“Maria Starr is at the hospital.  I don’t think you’ve met her yet.  You feeling alright Sweets?  You’re not moving like yourself.”

She was not going to share that she was sore from some very energetic and wonderful sex with Eric, so she went with the shot.  “I’m fine Alcide, just a little groggy from the shot y’all gave me.  I’ll get you for that by the way.  As for Maria-Starr?  No Alcide, I haven’t met her.  She’s the photographer, right?”

“Yes.  You have a good memory.  She’s actually been with your Gran quite a bit these past weeks, since her schedule is flexible.”

“When can we head over?  It’s already 11AM.”

“As soon as you eat, missy.”  Potts ordered behind her.  “Here, I made you breakfast so you have no excuse.”  She placed a plate in front of Sookie; then loaded plates for Alcide and Peter.

“How come I have all of you this morning?”

Alcide responded.  “Pam and Eric are in the living room, he didn’t ask me to stay, but I really didn’t feel right leaving them both here.  No offense Peter.”  Peter nodded in understanding while he headed outside to eat and keep watch.  Alcide continued his conversation.  “I mean, the living room is a bit too exposed for my taste, but we couldn’t exactly get the coffins to the safe room downstairs, and it’s not like you have a secure garage or outbuilding.  Peter and I even tried to maneuver them into your or your Gran’s bedrooms, but the hall was too narrow to accommodate the 90 degree turn.”

She stared in the direction of the living room, though she couldn’t see the coffins from her current position.  “Why weren’t they brought to a safe house in Shreveport?”

“Eric’s orders.  He wanted to be on Bon Temps when he rose since he knew you’d be here or at the local hospital.”

Now Sookie understood further how she was a weakness to Eric.  It was bad enough that she could be taken as leverage but he was making decisions that risked his safety for her.  She resigned herself to have a conversation about it with him later.  If he got hurt because of her, she’d never forgive herself.  One last look of longing towards the living room and she returned herself mentally to the group in the kitchen.  “Is there an update on Gran, Jason or the killer, Rene?”

Alcide and Potts both exclaimed.  “The KILLER?”

“Geez, I guess you didn’t get the whole story from last night.”  She took a few bites of breakfast while they encouraged her to continue.  “Well, the killer showed up here to kill me last night.”

“What the hell Sookie, as if you don’t have enough going on.”

“I know Potts, I feel like part of me should be in the corner rocking and sucking my thumb.  Anyway, Ivan secured him quickly and I was listening to his thoughts from afar when Bill attacked me from the cemetery.  I started to get out the whole ‘I’m bonded’ thing but he gagged me.  Ivan tried to tell them twice but Lorena ran down and cut his head off while he was distracted with Rene.  Oh, Alcide get this; the killer, Rene Lenier, was Arlene’s fiancée, the woman from the hospital the other day.”

“She told him you were with a vampire and he came to kill you.”

“Yep, he felt it was his job to kill all the fangbangers ‘cause his sister was one.  He killed her first.  I need to talk to Bud.”

“Yes, he called early this morning to inquire about you.  He wanted to stop by and I tried to convince him otherwise but I don’t know that I was successful.  Perhaps if we call and make an appointment for him to meet you at the hospital, we can prevent his visit to the farmhouse while Pam and Eric are exposed.”  Potts suggested as she stood to clear the plates.

“Someone’s in the drive, I can hear it.”

“Sweets, I heard that with my Were hearing, just how much of Eric’s blood have you had?”

“Enough apparently.”

“I’ll go head them off before they get to the door.”

“No worries, it’s Jason.”

Sure enough a minute or so later, Jason came barreling in.  “SOOK!”

“In the kitchen.”

“Sook, where have you been?  I been callin’ since dinner last night!”

Sookie shifted uncomfortably in her seat but dove in.  “Jason, sit and I’ll tell you.  Then she looked at her friends.  “Can you give us a minute?”

“Sure Sweets.  I’ll help Peter check the area before I leave to take Sookie to the hospital.”

“Yeah Sookie, you best get over there, Gran’s worried about where you are.”

“YOU TOLD HER YOU COULDN’T REACH ME?”

“Well sure.”

“Dammit Jason, the woman just had a stroke.  You’ll need to listen to me through my bedroom door while I change real quick, I need to get over there.”

Jason was stunned at the story and asked for clarifications and confirmations along the way.  “Rene is the killer?  Does Bud know?”

“Yes, I called him before I was kidnapped.  SHOOT!”  She opened the door and yelled for Potts to call Bud and ask him to meet her at the hospital.

“19 times, they bitcha 19 times.  Are you like, gonna turn into a vamper?”

“No Jason, that’s not how it works.  Look, I really want to see Gran, we can finish this later.  You coming with me?”  She left her room and headed to the living room.

“Nah, I just left there.  Are you leaving Eric and Pam in the living room?”

She ran her hand over Eric’s coffin.  “I don’t have an option.  He didn’t want to be in Shreveport when he rose tonight, so he stayed here, unprotected to be close to me.”  She started tearing up.

“I’ll stay here, just let me get my shot gun.”

“Jason?”

“I know you got guards, but they’re kinda vulnerable here.”

She sobbed and hugged her brother.  “Thank you, I was worried to leave.”

“If ya really wanna thank me, stop crying, ya know I hate it.”

OOOoooOOOooo

“Sookie, you get your butt over here and explain what happened.”  Her Gran scolded from her bed.  Gran nodded to Dr. Ludwig.  “Amy tried to ensure me you were OK, but I just need to hear it from you.”

Sookie’s eyes narrowed in Ludwig’s direction.  “What else did Dr. Ludwig tell you?”

“She knows the details Sookie.  I wasn’t sure you’d be up to telling her the story, or even if you’d be here today.”

“Yes baby girl.  You should come here for a hug then go back home.”

“We flew back to be with you Gran, not sit at the house.”

“I can see the circles under your eyes.  You didn’t sleep much did you?”

“Let me stay through lunch and help you, then we’ll see if I’m tired.”

“Stubborn child.   Now you tell me about last night.”

“Before you start girly, let me check you out; then I have to head out to see some other patients.  I’ll be back tonight to meet with you and Eric.”

“I’m fine; you don’t need to check me out.”

“Do you honestly think your giant would be happy with me accepting your ‘I’m fine’ assessment?”  Sookie sighed and accepted her fate at the doctor’s hands.  Dr. Ludwig completed her exam and found Sookie to be fine; vampire blood will definitely do that.  She left just as a food tray arrived.

While she helped Gran with lunch, Sookie filled her in on the Bon Temps killer, the kidnapping, court at Sophie-Anne’s, and finally Hadley.

“Hadley is alive?”

“Yes Gran.  I didn’t see her, I guess with everything going on, but I’ve been assured she’s alive and off drugs.”

“Well, Halleluiah!  I’ll talk to Eric about seeing her tonight.  He’s coming, right?”

“Yes.”  Sookie continued to feed her and Gran watched her closely.

“Something’s wrong baby girl.  What is it?”

“Gran.  You know Eric’s lived over a thousand years?”

“Yes, though I hate when he refers to himself as 1000 years dead.  I want to swat his head when he says that.”

Sookie spit out a laugh.  “I do the same thing when he says he dying for the day.  To me, he’s not dead.”

“Me either, but we got off track.”

“Oh right . . . Gran; I think I’m bad for him.”

“How could you possibly say that?”

“Well like today.  He’s purposely putting himself at risk so he can be closer to me when he rises.”

“All the more reason for you to get home so you can be there when he rises.”

“Gran, that’s not the point.  I’m a weakness for him.  I could be kidnapped to be used as leverage, to get Eric or to coerce him to do something.”

“And you are suggesting what?  That you leave him?”

“I don’t know.”

“Sookie Adele Stackhouse.  If I had the strength I’d put you over my knee right now.  Guess what; even if you left him, the damage is done.  He LOVES you.  I’d be afraid of the rampage he’d go on without you.  He might even consider meeting the sun.”

Sookie gasped.  “GRAN!  Don’t say that.”

“Then you stop thinking that you need to go all ‘martyr’ on us and leave him for his own good.”  Sookie started to open her mouth.  “Sookie, I mean it.  I’ll never forgive you if you leave him because you think you’re bad for him.  Actually, I’ve come to care for him, so I’m not sure I’d forgive you for leaving him for any reason.  Unless he hurt you, then I’d stake him.”

Sookie laughed at the image of Gran going after Eric with a stake.  “I think you’d be in line behind Pam if that happened.”

“I knew I liked that girl.”  She giggled at herself.

Their giggling stopped when Bud knocked on the door to get the details from Sookie about Rene.  Sookie spent time with Bud, answering his questions and providing her special insight.  Bud knew he couldn’t use her mindreading as evidence, but he could use it to guide his investigation.  Before he left, he also asked about what Andy saw:  Sookie being taken unwillingly.  She quickly explained that her capture was being addressed between the vampires involved and her fiancé.  “I don’t want to know anymore, do I Sookie?”

“No Bud, you don’t.”

“Well, as long as you’re safe and satisfied I’ll leave it be.”

As soon as he left, Gran resumed their talk.  “Now, you told me the details of last night, but tell me . . .  what did the palace look like?  How was the Queen dressed?”

Sookie and Gran continued their girl talk until they were both yawning.  “Well baby girl, it’s time for you to go so you can have a nap.”  She started to protest and Gran stopped her.  “Sookie, I need one too.  You come back tonight with Eric and Pam.  Go on.”  When Sookie didn’t move she yelled.  “Alcide, I know you’re outside the door.  Come get Sookie and take her home, please.”

“Yes, Gran.”  Alcide replied, grinning because he loved seeing Gran order Sookie around.

Sookie stomped her feet but complied.  Alcide chuckled to himself when she fell asleep in the car about 5 minutes out of the parking lot.  He carried her to her bed and Potts took care of her shoes and tucking her in.  She rose after a 2 hour nap and went to the living room to sit by Eric.  Jason was still there sitting as sentry by the door, shotgun on his lap.  She laughed to herself thinking that if Jason remembered his first weeks with Eric, he wouldn’t be sitting here as a protector.

“Sook, how ya feel after your nap?”

“Good Jason.”

“Sookie, I been thinking.”

That’s always scary.’  She thought.  “What’s up?”

“I know ya love Eric and all, but I think you should reconsider a life with a vamper.”  Jason’s words made Sookie feel like she’d been stabbed in the gut and Eric roused from his rest.  Sookie was so caught up in Jason’s words she didn’t feel Eric rise.

“I know Jason, I think I’m dangerous for him, but Gran talked me down from the ledge.”

“Dangerous to HIM?  I think your being with him is dangerous to YOU.  You need to leave him Sookie.”

“I’m not leaving him, Jason.  Where is this coming from?”

“Sookie, two vampers just kidnapped you.  They’re dangerous.”

“And a HUMAN tried to kill me, should I avoid humans then?  Jesus, you’re dense Jason.”

“Sookie, what about kids, I heard you can’t have babies with a vampire.”

Eric felt another pang of sadness and he knew he would need to explore this with Sookie.  Probably, Theresa’s decision to have a baby had awakened feelings that Sookie didn’t even know she had.  He was planning to listen to her reply but decided he’d better alert her that he was awake.  He didn’t want any reason for her to mistrust him.  They’d come way too far for that.  “Sookie.”

She jumped at his voice, clearly not expecting it.  “Eric?”

“I’m awake, but obviously stuck in here.”

“I can wheel you into the hallway and hang blankets on my bedroom window and the ends of the hall if you want.”  When he hesitated she added.  “You’ll be right next to the door to my bedroom; can you move fast enough to get down to your bedchamber before anything happens?  It’s only 3:30, that’s a long time to stare at the coffin lid.”

“Go ahead.”  He could hear her scurry to gather the materials she needed followed by hammers being pounded.  He was surprised when he heard her saying that she was moving him to the hallway so quickly; then she told him to come out.  When he opened the lid, he was shocked at the level of darkness in the hall.  “You did an impressive job min kära.”

“I had help; Alcide grabbed some plywood from his truck bed and covered the window in my bedroom.  That blocked the most direct light source.  We can even roll Pam here now and you can move her to the safe room.  We’ve all been a bit freaked out at how exposed you guys have been all day.  Jason sat at the door with a shotgun.”  He raised his eyebrows in surprise.  “I know I was shocked at first too.”

“Let me go in your closet, you situate Pam’s coffin in the hallway, then I’ll come out for her.”

Once Pam was settled in the bedchamber, he came back up to Sookie’s surprise.  “Oh, I was heading down.”

“This room is completely blocked, I can stay in here.  Besides, I’ve wanted you in this bed for a while now.”  She bit her lip nervously at his request.  “What’s wrong?”

“Um, can you, I mean I . . .” she fidgeted on her feet and looked down.

He focused on their bond and detected the problem.  “You’re sore.”

“A little.”  She felt his guilt immediately and put her hands up to him.  “Don’t do that.  I enjoyed what we did this morning and you know it.”

“Sookie, I was too rough.  Show me what hurts.”

“Eric, you’re making too much of this.  We just need to take advantage of your healing blood.”  She started to unbutton her dress.  “Are you joining me?”  She slid her dress off and he winced when he saw some bruises on her hips.  They were fading since she had her blood in his system – but that only made him feel worse; the bruises must have been pretty bad to still have any remaining evidence.  “Don’t start with the guilt again.  You can heal this, right?”

“Yes, but I shouldn’t have . . .”

“And next time I’ll take blood right after any vigorous sex.”  He nodded his head.  “Then come on, let’s get busy.”  He smiled at her logic and enthusiasm.

“Yes dear.”

OOOoooOOOooo

They were both sated and happy on Sookie’s tiny childhood bed.  Eric didn’t care; it gave Sookie nowhere to go but his arms.  He was still upset about the kidnapping and Bill’s biting but he was keeping his anger down as much as possible.  Now he was using Sookie as a source of comfort as she lay sprawled on top of him and he was stroking up and down her back.

“Eric.”

“Sookie.”

They laughed, both having started a conversation at the same time.  “Ladies first.”

“Ok.  Eric, I’m concerned about what happened today.”

“What do you mean?  What happened today?”

“You and Pam rested here, exposed.”

“It was necessary.”

“It wasn’t, it was sweet and I love you for it, but we could have survived waiting to see each other until the sun set and you know it.”

“Min kära, the events from the last 24 hours have left me raw.  I didn’t want to wait until the sun set.”  He recalled some her and Jason’s argument.  “When you were discussing us with Jason, you mentioned being dangerous to me, but your Gran talked you off the ledge.  Is this the same topic?”

“Yes.  I distract you.  I could be used as leverage.  I could be the end of your thousand years of life.”

“That’s true.  I won’t deny it.  But Sookie, that’s actually been true since October.”

She raised her head in shock.  “October?”

“Yes.  Do you remember the night Pam and I told you about the sheriffs attending the Halloween party?”

“Yes.”

“I told you then that if it got out that I care for a human, you could be kidnapped and used as leverage.”

“I remember that.”

“You also guessed correctly that very night.  It was too late at that point.  Even back in October, anyone would have me as a puppet to get you back.”  Her eyes were wide and her feelings were a mixture of love, fear and some doubt.  “I feel the doubt, but you can ask Pam when she’s up.  We discussed it after you stomped off to bed.  She even vowed to stand with me for you.”  He chuckled.  “She also told me she wouldn’t tolerate it if I hurt you.”

“She said that to you?”

“Yes she did.  Then she complained that you had evoked such feelings FROM us, but you didn’t have them FOR us.”

“That sounds like Pam.”

“You want to know what I told her?”  She nodded.  “I told her not to be so sure about that.”

“What do you mean?  I hated you.”

“No Sookie, you didn’t.  Not by then.”  She shook her head no, but he persisted.  “Admit it.”

She smirked.  “Never.”

“Admit it, or tickle bear is going to get you.”

“I only acknowledge that I might have liked Pam by then, but not you.”

“Prepare to be conquered.”  She squealed as he flipped her under him so he could pin her down then he was ruthless with getting her sides, the insides of her thighs, and her mercy spot just under her chin.  She was crying uncle when Pam emerged from the bedchamber.

“If there’s that much laughing, you’re not doing it right.”  Sookie gasped at the intrusion and covered her exposed breasts, but Pam pressed on.  “Move over tickle bear, I’ll show you how it’s done.”

He knew he was never going to live down the fact that Pam heard him call himself tickle bear.  Centuries, he was going to be subjected to centuries of teasing now.  “Pamela!  You should have alerted us somehow!”

“And miss this scene?  Never.”  He reached behind himself to hit her on the ass, a loud cracking swat that she needed to rub from the sting.  “Still worth it to witness you two.”  Then she escaped out the bedroom door before he could reach her again.

After the door shut, Eric turned to Sookie, “Now where were we?”  She braced for more tickling.  “Actually, I wanted to get back to our conversation.”  She looked at him blankly.  “Where you think you are a danger to me.”

“Ah, I had forgotten we were even talking.  But we should really dress and head to the hospital, we can talk on the way.”

“Actually, it’s short discussion so we can talk while we dress.”

“You think so?”

“I know so.”  He pulled on his pants.  “I can’t live without you now Sookie, so end of discussion.”

She stared at him for a moment before she tried to speak.  “You mean, I’m, if I . . . what?”

“Did you ever notice that when you are surprised you can’t seem to put a sentence together?”

She huffed at his comment.  “Don’t get off topic.”

“I’m trying to get off the topic, I meant what I just said, and you shouldn’t ask the details of me, you won’t like the answer.”  Stunned, Sookie could only nod at his statement.  Her mind, though, was spinning with his declaration.

“Eric.”

“Yes min älskade?”

“You’ve mentioned other times that a blood offense against a bonded is punishable by death.  Why do Bill and Lorena still live?  I guess Andre?”  He groaned.  The Queen had informed him before Sookie was roused from the chloroform that a death sentence wasn’t an option and he had hoped this wouldn’t come up.  He was still very pissed about it.  “Whoa, I just got a barrage of anger.”

“Bill Compton is working on a project for the Queen.  She needs him alive as it will be a great source of revenue once it’s complete, or so she says.  Once we knew Bill, who was actually the one who bit you, was going to live the others couldn’t be killed as they were only accessories to the blood offense.”

“Money, that decision was based on money?”  She shook her head in disbelief.  “That’s just great.  This weak punishment means others will think they can get away with something like this again.”

“I hope it never comes to this, but Sophie-Anne knows this was a one-time deal.  I’ll kill anyone – even her precious Andre – with my bare hands for touching you or conspiring to harm you.  I told her as much.”  He took her face in his hands.  “I’m sorry you don’t feel vindicated or protected by their sentencing.  I . . . I had no choice.”

To Sookie, Eric looked almost defeated at the words and she knew given that they were at the palace surrounded by Sookie’s guards when the kidnappers were being sentenced, he really had no choice.  “I believe you Eric.  Just ensure they really do pay when you make your visits.”  They moved apart to finish dressing for the evening.  Sookie was deep in thought for a moment and finally shared her opinion.  “There should be some overriding council across the states.  Some appeals group or rules group.  Like when you planned for the reveal.  That should have stayed in place.”

“I think some monarchs would be open to that, others would declare war before answering to anyone.”

“It’s the ones that would declare war that need the group.”

“Indeed my little strategist.”

Once they were both ready, they headed to the Corvette.  They were able to take the two-seater since Pam had already left for the hospital in Adele’s car.  Sookie brought up another topic that had been bothering her.  “Eric, could you not give me a shot every time you want me to sleep?”

“You’ve had two shots, and I wasn’t even around for the first one.”

“Let me rephrase.  Could you tell Ludwig to stop with the shots?  And I know you didn’t plan it, but you were happy to be knocking me out this morning.”

“I don’t know if you noticed but I actually have no control over her so you’re out of luck there.  I was happy this morning.  I know how nervous you were.  Why should you suffer through a flight without your fabulous bonded to help you?”

“I can’t win.”

“Nope, just give up now.”  She pouted and he was laughing at her.  “Poor Sookie, so many people caring for her wellbeing.”

“Just watch the road.”

OOOoooOOOooo

“So Eric, I hear we’ve found another of my grandbabies.”

“Yes, though none of us got to see her, Sophie-Anne has informed me that Hadley lives at the palace as her bonded companion.  The even better news is: Sophie-Anne assures me she is drug free.”

“Can you inquire about her visiting us?  I’d go down, but I’m not in good enough shape for that.”

“Certainly.  I will be back down within the next week.”

“Back to New Orleans again?”

Sookie interjected.  “Eric is participating in the punishment of the vampires that kidnapped me.  One of them is going to be staying in Shreveport for a while, and Eric will be transporting him personally.”

“Why is he coming here?”

Eric explained since he was so proud of his child’s idea.  “Pam had a fantastic idea.  The vampire that had the idea to kidnap me, Andre, is the Queen’s child so corporal punishment would cause her pain.  We’re going to punish him by humiliation.  He will be working as my slave.”

“Hey, you mentioned something about losing Bobby at the palace, but you didn’t say anything to me.”

“After what you told me, I couldn’t keep him around.  Indira handled his glamour for me while we’ve been otherwise occupied.”

“He lives?”

“Unfortunately.  I understand he’s moved to New York to pursue his dream to become a professional ballet dancer.”

“YOU DID NOT!”

“You’d have to ask Indira, I only requested that his memories of me be removed and that he leave the state.”

Adele’s chuckling didn’t stop when the door opened and Dr. Ludwig came in.  “I see you have quite a crowd here Adele.”

“Yes Amy, and according to Eric, my third grandbaby has been found.”

Pam mumbled shock that Ludwig actually had a first name and Sookie and Eric chuckled at her.

“That’s wonderful Adele.  I didn’t know you had a missing grandchild.”

“Yes, Hadley was my daughter’s girl.”

Amy’s head whipped to Eric’s face and she asked.  “Sophie-Anne’s pet?”

“Yes, well now bonded companion.”

“That’s quite a coinci. . . this has something to do with Sookie’s kidnapping.”

“Indeed, Andre recognized Sookie’s scent as similar to Hadley’s.  He only knew Sookie was my landscaper but after speaking with Hadley he started to believe that my landscaper and Hadley’s cousin were one in the same.  Hadley sweetened the pot with stories of Sookie’s mind reading.  Andre acted hastily and set out to capture Sookie for the Queen without realizing that she was my companion.  You see, Andre is supposed to process the pet and companion contracts, but he turned that over to Rasul.  He truly didn’t know about the contract, but Sookie’s kidnappers also ignored her and Ivan’s attempts to tell them she was my bonded.  Andre was pretty pissed at his minions for not listening or smelling the bond, but he’s taking his punishment well.”

“So Eric, if Sookie wasn’t bonded to you and Hadley had told Sophie-Anne and Andre about her gift?”

“She would be a slave in the palace.  Given Sophie-Anne’s personality, she would have been a well treated slave, but a slave.”

“Thank goodness you found her.”

“Actually, she literally found me.”  They all laughed at the truth.

“So Gran,” Eric said trying out the name and feeling pride from Sookie and amusement from Pam.  “What are the next steps for you?”

Gran smirked at her name.  “Well, I’m going to be moved to a rehab center for further work.  I don’t need the full medical services of a hospital right now.”

Eric signaled to Ludwig to join him in the hall while the others chatted.  “What would be needed for Adele to rehab at home?”

“Well, she does need at least a week at a rehab facility to get started and to prep the house.  What house did you mean by home?”

“The farmhouse.”  She looked back with surprise.  “Who are you expecting to stay with her?”

“Sookie.”

“I don’t understand.  She’s your bonded.”

“Just get me the details for the house and resource requirements, leave my personal life to me.”

She nodded and promised him a list by the next day.

He walked back into the hospital room while Gran and Sookie were having a bit of a spat about her leaving.  “Sookie, I’m fine.  Go with Pam and Eric to Fangtasia, do some homework, eat.”  She looked up at the doorway.  “Ah Eric, come take my grandbaby from this hospital.  Just promise me she won’t be out too late.”

“Of course Gran.”

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9 thoughts on “Chapter 29 – Weakness

  1. Pingback: Take a break from the heat. . . | magsmacdonald

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