October 16, 2003
Sookie woke, sat up with a start, and looked around for a moment before she remembered the day before. As she recalled her break-in, her trade for Jason, nearly being raped and fainting, she started to cry. ‘I lost everything, my Gran, my brother, my freedom.’ The more she thought about what happened, the more she cried uncontrollably. The sadness actually created pain in her chest. Normally she didn’t wallow as she was doing, but with everything that happened, she felt like she deserved it. She finally started to calm after a while and decided that a shower would really help. When she walked into her ensuite bath, she noticed someone had placed a change of clothes out for her and the shower and vanity were stocked with bath and beauty products. ‘I guess this is the definition of a gilded cage.‘
Eric woke earlier than his usual time, about 3:30 and the sun would not set for almost another two and a half hours. He stayed in bed as he tried to understand how he was up almost a full 30 to 60 minutes earlier than his usual time and then he felt it: Pain, real pain in his chest accompanied by a deep sorrow. Realization hit and he knew it was Sookie’s pain. Not pain like she had been wounded, but pain from her sadness. He stilled himself and he could hear loud sobs from two floors above him. ‘Jason warned me she’s a crier. FUCK, I hate crying. This isn’t worth it. I’m just going to cut her loose, maybe she’ll help with the cover story saying she escaped from the drug dealers. I’ll need to recapture Jason a little later – but I won’t spend my life soothing her every night.’ His decision made, he rose, showered and started on some work. Since it was so early, he had quite a bit of time before he could go upstairs. He monitored Sookie’s mood, and was able to register that she had gone to the kitchen to eat. ‘If I’m sending her back, no reason for me to tell her that I can monitor because she’s had my blood, it’ll only piss her off.‘ His mobile number rang; Godric was calling. “Master.” He answered.
“My child. I trust all is well in your area?”
“Yes, and you?”
“No problems in Dallas. Theresa sends her regards ….. but that is not why I am calling. Eric, I spoke to Cara early this morning. It seems you have a guest?”
“Yes, her name is Sookie Stackhouse.”
“But she is a prisoner?”
“It’s a long story.”
“Yes, well, I felt you rise early and given that you have about two hours before sunset, it would seem we have the time for you to tell the story.”
Eric launched into the story of capturing Jason Stackhouse, having his sister come to his rescue, the trade that was proposed, and the original plans Eric had for releasing Jason and dating Sookie. Godric was fascinated to hear about Sookie’s resistance to glamour and the new plan that Eric needed to create on the fly. He waited until Eric completed his tale and then asked several questions that had occurred to him. Eric held nothing back; the maker/child bond would simply not permit him to be anything but open and honest with Godric, so he worried while he waited to hear Godric’s reaction.
“My child, you have certainly had a very interesting 24 hours. You say that two of your Weres attempted to rape her?”
“They did and they are in a cell awaiting my punishment.”
“I see, and you normally punish your Weres for attacking a prisoner?”
“I don’t usually have women or even many humans in my cells to be honest. I did recently have Jason’s girlfriend, the one who killed the vampire, and the Were’s did have some fun with her during the day.”
“Yet, you are punishing them for attempting to hurt Sookie?”
“You want to protect her?”
Cursing that he could not lie he had to respond, “Yes.”
“You also pointed out your concern for her emotional state.”
“Yes, and that is why I have decided to let her go. I just can’t spend my nights providing comfort to a crying pet.”
“Have you considered that you are just afraid of the feelings she has evoked in you? Perhaps you are lying to yourself as to the reasons for letting her go? Maybe YOU do not want to explore why you care for a human?”
“I don’t care for ….” He had to stop himself from even finishing his thoughts and he quickly confirmed Godric’s conclusions. “You are right, father. I cannot explain it, but I care. I think it’s because you turned me into a pansy with all this love shit.”
Godric’s chuckled while his heart soared at his son’s words. FINALLY, after almost 25 years, well really after 1000 years, his son cared about someone. He pushed down his feelings of complete joy and satisfaction, knowing those would just cause Eric to become defensive or angry, and he simply replied. “Eric, you may not have started with Sookie under the best circumstances, but I feel it’s important for you to see this through. If for no other reason than the difficulty you will have with the lack of a prisoner for the vampire draining. I will plan to meet up with both of you in a few months. In the meantime, I will check-in with you weekly to see how your Sookie is reacting to your charms.”
“I don’t want to see it through.”
“It’s not your choice; I just made it FOR you. Oh and Eric?”
“She is NOT a pet. She’s your companion, I expect her to be treated accordingly.”
He sighed but responded, “Very well Godric. I will speak with you soon.”
Upstairs, Sookie was cleaning up from a late lunch with Potts. “So you decided to call me Potts?”
“Yes, well, my best friend in Bon Temps is named Tara, and I thought it would be easier for me to not call you something to close to her name. I’m wondering now that I look around the kitchen, if this mess has something to do with your nickname.”
“You got that right. It has more to do with the number of pots I use.”
“That makes sense. I was sure your nickname didn’t have anything to do with you being a daemon. If so, you’d be like lucy for Lucifer or beezy for Beelzebub.”
“You think you’re pretty funny, dontcha?”
“Oh come on, I’m sure you’ve heard those before.”
“Maybe.” She answered but moved to another topic. “So what types of foods do you like? We can make a list.”
“I’m not so picky. How about you?”
“I eat anything.”
“Maybe we can trade off cooking, and we can just each make our favorites and family recipes and such.”
“That’s a good idea. When I cook, you clean and visa-versa.”
“Well, um, I suggest that we do the whole thing on our own when it’s our turn.”
Potts gave her a strange look and Sookie clarified. “Potts, you told me how you got your nickname, and I just helped you clean a huge mess. I clean while I cook; I just don’t think it’s fair for me to clean your messes.”
Potts snickered, “I’m hurt Sookie. I would never be unfair.”
“No, you’d just be messy and oblivious.” They both laughed for a moment. After they calmed down, Sookie glanced out the window and noticed the sun was very close to setting. She was hoping Potts stayed around when Eric rose, but she was afraid that wasn’t the case. “What do you do at night?”
“I’ve been taking some night classes, 3 nights a week. I do have a class tonight.”
“Sookie, he’s not going to hurt you.”
“It’s not just that, it’s, I mean, I just got up, it’s not like I’m going to bed anytime soon and I have no idea what I’ll do at night.”
“Well, our paths will likely only cross during the afternoon. I guard the house during the day for Eric while he rests, and my evenings are my own. I’m not sure if you’ll be going to Fangtasia with Eric or not.” When she could see Sookie’s eyes go wide, she tried another approach. “Sookie, you need to talk to him. You need to get an understanding of your place in his house and in his life.”
“I don’t want to have anything to do with his life.” She spat out, and just in time for Eric to come into the kitchen.
‘Lovely, a perfect way to start our second evening together.’ Even though he was not happy with Sookie’s moods, he tried to form a pleasant face and greeted the women. “Potts, Sookie, how are you ladies this evening.”
“Good Eric. I’ve got some studying to do for class, I’ll see you later.”
“Sookie, how are you?”
“Fine.” She gritted out.
“I’m not going into Fangtasia tonight. I thought it would be best for us to talk.”
“Whatever you feel is best.” She replied and sat at the kitchen table, hands folded on her lap, back straight, and her eyes looking down.
“The den is more comfortable.”
Sookie huffed, stood up then stomped her way to the den. Eric smiled. ‘So much better than crying.’
“Sookie, we really didn’t have time to talk about much last night. Let me first explain what happens when you take a vampire’s blood.”
“You mean when I am force-fed a vampire’s blood?” She snapped while she glared at him.
Internally he repeated his new mantra from Pam. ‘Hold my temper, keep calm, hold my temper.’ It was working for the moment because he really wanted to fight back. “Yes, well regardless of how it’s ingested, the side-effects are the same.”
“Yes, well, for starters, I can track you. My body is able to locate its own blood.”
“Huh, so all Potts’ pretty words about trusting me meant nothing. Nice. What else can your blood do?”
“I can sense your feelings. For example, your sadness this afternoon actually roused me from my daydeath. If you have more of my blood, normally, I would be able to control you. But since I can’t glamour you, I have no idea if that would happen or not.”
“Tough shit about my waking you. So you have low-jack on me and I get no privacy from my own fucking feelings. Anything else?”
“ARE YOU GOING TO LET HER TALK TO YOU LIKE THAT?”
Both Sookie and Eric had been so wrapped up in their discussion that neither heard Pam enter the house. Sookie gasped in shock at the sudden yelling, since she thought they were alone. Eric glared then told her to wait for him in his office. When Pam resisted, he grew even angrier and warned her, “Pamela, you are already in enough trouble, do not add to my anger.”
When she walked away, Sookie turned to Eric and asked. “How is it that you seem to have some kind of power over her? Is it because you are Sheriff? Can all vampires just walk into your home?”
Talking about his relationship with Pam was not what he wanted to discuss with Sookie, but she asked him something, she looked at him while doing it, and there was no bite or sarcasm in her voice. He believed this was good progress so he responded.
“Pam is my vampire child and all makers can control their children.”
“So you murdered her?”
“Sookie, don’t speak of things you don’t understand. I won’t tolerate such words about my relationship with Pam. You would do well to remember that.” Sookie absorbed his words and the fierce look on his face; then nodded in understanding. “As for my role as Sheriff, I can make demands and punish vampires in this area. Pam disobeyed me as her maker, not as her Sheriff, and I need to deal with that. And you don’t need to worry; most vampires don’t even know where I live, so we won’t have any just walking in.”
“What did Pam do, what do you mean you need to deal with it?”
“I will explain later, she can hear us, so I don’t want her knowing her fate before I go in there.” He looked at Sookie for a moment trying to discern her feelings. “Why do you feel pity? I presume for Pam. You don’t even know her.”
“Nobody deserves one of your punishments.”
“You have no idea what I’m going to do. You have never experienced one of my punishments. You have no right to make such a statement. How I deal with MY CHILD is none of your concern.”
“YOU asked ME why I feel pity, I answered. I wasn’t planning to tell you anything about my feelings you ass! You told me before to be careful what I asked if I don’t want to hear the answer; I guess you should do the same.”
He glared at Sookie for a few moments but she did not back down. Finally he excused himself and left to see to Pam in the study but stopped when he heard Sookie yell wait. “Yes, Sookie.”
“Can I go outside or something, I don’t want to hear you, you know I can’t stand the idea of anyone being hurt. Please.”
With those words, Eric questioned again, the wisdom of trying to build anything with Sookie. If she was so tenderhearted, how would she ever fit into the supernatural world? He resigned himself to discuss it again with Godric. That he already admitted to caring for her just could not be enough of a reason to keep trying for a relationship. “Sookie, it won’t be anything that will bother you. Likely it will amuse you, so why don’t you join me. Pam’s punishment has to do with you, so it’s only right that you be there.”
“Come, she needs to get to Fangtasia soon, so I need to get this done.”
Reluctantly, Sookie stood and followed Eric to his office. She vowed to herself that if he hurt Pam in front of her, she would stake him. Not wanting to waste precious strategy time, she used the walk to the office to scan her surroundings for anything that could be used as a stake. The coffee table legs were way too sturdy for her to break off from the table and even if she could break one off, she was afraid that without an actual point on the end, she would never be able to drive the leg through is goddamn chest. The picture frames were dismissed since they looked too heavy for her to remove from the wall. As they passed through the kitchen she saw it: A spurdle in the utensil jar on the counter. She took a moment to wonder why Eric would even allow Potts to keep something so dangerous to him right there on the counter but guessed that if anyone broke into his house and made it that far; they likely had packed their own weapon anyway.
Eric’s chuckling took her from her thoughts. “Sookie, I can’t even imagine what you have been thinking to give off the range of emotions you’ve had since we left the den. Doubt, determination, frustration, curiosity, something I would say was an ‘aha’ moment, curiosity again… you are going to be so much fun Sookie.”
She deadpanned, “I’m glad you are so entertained, truly, my night is complete.”
He leered at her. “But Sookie, our night has only just started, it’s way too early for you to feel complete.”
“Just get to the office you jerk.”
He laughed out loud at his little spitfire, wondering how far she would take the freedom he gave her to speak openly. Other humans would have been severely punished or even killed by now. “Here we are.” He gestured for Sookie to enter first.
When Eric entered, Pam stood and greeted him. “Master.”
“Pamela, please tell Sookie why you are being punished.”
“Eric, inte detta fortfarande?” (Eric, not this still?)
“Ja Pamela, jag sa ju igår att du skulle bli straffad för olydnad mig.” (Yes Pamela, I told you last night you would be punished for disobeying me.)
“För en människa, och nu framför en människa?” (For a human, and now IN FRONT of a human?)
“Yes, in front of the human that you did not serve last night when I had ordered it. Now tell her.”
Pam turned to Sookie and through gritted teeth she informed her that she was being punished for not delivering drinks to her and Jason the night before.
Sookie was aghast. “That’s it? She didn’t get me a drink? That’s what all this is about?”
“It’s not the drink Sookie; it was the dismissal of an order.” He turned to Pam. “Pamela, for the next month, when you are not in your Fangtasia outfits, you will wear only clothing from Wal-Mart. I will check the tags, so don’t even try to sneak anything else in. And to be clear, this includes underthings.”
“But I will break out in a rash Eric! I am allergic to cheap clothing.” Pam glared when Sookie laughed out loud.
Eric had been ready to respond to Pam when Sookie stepped in. “What. A. Snob! Do you even hear yourself?”
“Stay out of this human.”
“I don’t know Pam; I may be the only one who can help you with shopping at Wal-Mart. You might want to be nice to me.”
“I don’t need your help because I’m not doing this.” She turned to Eric.” “I’m sorry I didn’t give your blood bags a drink, but this punishment does not fit the crime.”
Sookie winced at the reference to being a blood bag, but remained silent since Eric’s look had turned murderous. “Enough Pamela. Stop complaining or I will make it two months. As it is, I have now decided you will stay here for the month so I can monitor the clothing.”
Pam’s eyes grew wide and she replied, “You just need to get laid. You’re grumpy from blue balls. Don’t take it out on me. Din frustration över denna Sookie röran gör dig oberäkneligt. Du har att få ett grepp Eric.” (Your frustration over this Sookie mess is making you erratic. You’ve got to get a grip Eric).
“Pamela, vill du att jag ska lägga till mer till detta straff? Sookie vill inte se dig sårad, men jag kommer att ta dig någonstans och göra just det om det behövs.” (Do you want me to add more to this punishment? Sookie does not want to see you hurt, but I will take you somewhere and do just that if needed.)
Pam had not been punished by Eric in such a way since she was a newborn, and then only for severe disobedience. She had no doubts he would do it, and she did not want a physical punishment. Having decided her fate to Wal-Mart clothing, she bowed her head and accepted the punishment. Pam’s natural nosiness poked at her to ask further about the comments he made about Sookie being so upset at anyone being hurt, but she refrained for the moment. She had heard the conversation while she waited for them in the den, but really did not understand. To Pam, that kind of empathy was a foreign concept. ‘I will explore this later when I return.’ She turned to leave for Fangtasia and Eric stopped her.
“Pam, when you are done at Fangtasia, return here to pick up Sookie. She’ll help you pick your Wal-Mart clothes for the month. Oh, pick up your bath and beauty products while you are there. Then you can just return here with Sookie, as there is no need for you to go back to your home to get anything. It’ll all come from Wal-Mart.” He smiled proudly at himself for creating such a complete punishment. “And Pam, Du måste dölja henne (You will need to disguise her.) She nodded in reply.
Pam’s eyes grew wide at the thought of doing the shopping with the blood bag responsible for her punishment, but decided it would be fun to torment Sookie while they were out together. Eric’s next words put a stop to that. “Oh and Pamela, Sookie’s had my blood. If you upset her while you’re out, I’ll know it and I’ll be adding to the punishment.”
She nodded in acknowledgement but cursed in her head, ‘FUCK! He’s always a step ahead of me.’
“Well my Sookie, let’s continue our discussion while we wait for my next appointment.”
“We can just stay here if you like.”
“I need to tell you something right away; something I think will alleviate one of your concerns.” THAT got her attention and when he paused; she motioned for him to continue. “Sookie, I know you and your brother discussed that I would want to have sex with you.” Sookie stiffened, but remained quiet. “I just want you to realize that while I do want to have sex with you, whether we have sex or not will be YOUR decision.”
“If that is true, then my decision is NOT.”
He chuckled, “forever is a long time Sookie, and while I won’t force you to have sex with me, I will also not permit you to have sex with anyone else either.”
She mumbled under her breath, “I’ve gone this long without it anyway.”
He’d heard he perfectly, but still asked, “What was that?”
“Nothing. Just don’t plan on sex with me in your future.”
“I thought you would be more relieved to hear this.”
“You mean I should be on my knees thanking you for not raping me? For not allowing me to be raped by your guards like they did to Amy?”
“How did you know the guards raped Amy?”
‘SHIT, I got that from the Jason’s mind. Did Jason ever say it out loud? I don’t think so. Keep your mouth shut Sookie.‘ She steeled her features, as she long ago learned to do from being a mind reader and said, “Just a guess since the guards seemed so surprised that you were mad at them for attacking me.”
“Your guesses and deductions are quite impressive considering I’ve spent time with your brother.”
Almost ready to start a chat about her brother, Sookie reeled herself in, she really didn’t want to entertain a conversation with Eric. “Is there anything else business related we needed to discuss?”
Eric suspected she was hiding something. Her response took a few seconds and she panicked a bit. He wanted to press the issue, but one thing they had was time, so he moved onto the next topic. “Yes, I need to discuss what you learned from Jason about how to behave. Everything Jason told you was correct, I do expect to be called Master; I do expect respect – meaning no talking back.” She went to interrupt him but he cut her off. “Let me finish, I know I probably just confused you.” She nodded. “I expect those behaviors when we are in the company of other vampires. When we are at home, or if we were out shopping, like we’ll do in a bit, then I am just Eric. Though you must not talk back to me whenever we are outside the house, or in front of anyone other than Pam and Potts. You can politely express an opinion, but I don’t want anyone to overhear one of our spats and have it get around that I cannot control you.”
“Yes Sookie, that’s what this is all about – control over a human. Over my human.”
“Calm down and let me explain.”
Just as he was about to continue, one of the Were guards called and announced the arrival of Octavia Fant. “I guess we’ll continue this later.” Eric went to greet her and escorted her to his office. “Sookie, this is Octavia Fant. She is a witch from New Orleans who I hire for wards on occasion. Octavia, this is Sookie Stackhouse.”
They exchanged greetings and Octavia launched into business. “So for the ward you requested I need a lock of Sookie’s hair.”
“Sookie?” He said expectantly.
She huffed and pulled out a hair. “What’s a ward?”
Octavia, knowing full well that the ward was being created to KEEP Sookie on the property, turned to Eric to indicate he needed to reply.
“It’s a protection ward around the house for you.”
“Liar, it doesn’t really protect me, it’s gonna keep me in, isn’t it?”
“Too clever for your own good Sookie. Yes, it’s to keep you in.”
“So, I will never leave the property?”
“You can, you will just need an escort. Once the ward is in place, it will allow me, Pamela and Potts to take you across.”
He smirked, “Yes, very My Sookie.”
“Stop calling me that.” She spat out.
He glared at her. He just told her to not talk back in front of others, and here she was doing it again. He knew he would have to punish her some way; Octavia was too well connected in the supernatural world. While he didn’t expect she was a gossip, he couldn’t take the chance. “Sookie, what did we just discuss about talking back? Go stand in the corner and wait for your punishment.” He pointed to the corner behind his desk. When she did not move, he added, “NOW!” Sookie stood, her fists and jaw clenched, but she walked to the corner as she was told.
‘How embarrassing. I was never even put in a corner when I was young, though I guess maybe I would have preferred that to Mama’s belt treatment. I wonder what the rest of the punishment will be. At least I’m not over his knee in front of this woman. I’m never going to figure out the rules. I will just stop talking to him unless absolutely necessary.’
Feeling Sookie’s embarrassment, he hoped it would be enough punishment for her to learn. He couldn’t nor did he want to turn her into a slave like he did with Theresa, but he couldn’t allow her to misbehave in public. ‘Maybe the shopping trip for her clothes I had planned for the night was premature. I will see how she is after I let her out of the corner.’ As if nothing happened, he started talking with Octavia again. “How long will it take for you to complete the ward?”
Octavia had watched the scene, but kept quiet knowing how the relationship between a claimed human and vampire worked. She was thankful that he did not physically punish her right then. She would never intervene, but she did hate that part of the supe world. Instead, she just kept her professional face on and answered him. “I should be done in about 4 hours. I need quite a bit of set-up time and to help, I have an assistant waiting for me outside. We’ll be staying in your hotel as you arranged and can check on the ward tomorrow if that is OK with you?”
“Yes, I will have Potts go out with Sookie tomorrow to check the perimeter with you and your assistant. Though Sookie does not wake until about 3-4 in the afternoon.”
He chuckled to himself as he heard Sookie grunt, probably at her displeasure of someone speaking for her or the ward testing, he wasn’t sure.
He showed Octavia out and returned to the office. Once seated in his chair he called to Sookie. He wanted her standing in front of him like a naughty school girl so she would continue to feel scolded. “Sookie, do you understand what happened.”
“I spoke back and there was someone other than Potts or Pam here.”
“Exactly. Octavia is very well connected in the supe world. I can’t afford to have anyone think I have gone soft.”
“Supe – S-U-P-E short for supernatural. We have quite a bit to go over in the next few days.” He gestured to the chair in front of his desk she had occupied before. “Have a seat.”
Now she was confused, he said to stand in the corner to wait for her punishment, but he was letting her sit? Eric registered the confusion in Sookie and explained. “I won’t punish you more severely this time, but Octavia doesn’t need to know that.”
“Oh, OK, so most of it is appearances.”
“Exactly….I wanted to take you shopping for clothes tonight, but now I am concerned that you are not ready.”
“I don’t need anything from you. If you give me my purse, I can pick up a few necessities at Wal-Mart tonight with Pam.”
“I won’t have you dressing in Wal-Mart clothing.”
“Pam is being punished. You will be dressed to reflect my position as Sheriff, not as trailer trash.”
“YOU SON OF A BITCH! I don’t dress like trailer trash, I dress within my means. I work hard for my money, and most of it goes into household expenses, or rather it went to household expenses. I don’t know what my Gran is going to do without my income. She is too old to work, and her Social Security income doesn’t cover all the bills. I can only pray that Jason will fill the gap – but now, now…” Sookie’s angry rant dissolved into a crying fit at this point. “Now that he’s got a baby coming, he won’t have any extra. Just another fucking thing I can blame you for. So, take whatever money you were going to spend on my clothes and send it to Gran you jerk! I’ll plan to stay in the house so nobody can see that I don’t dress to your fucking position.”
Her crying ripped at him. He wanted the tears to stop; he wanted to help her calm down but he knew she would reject it. Instead, he turned his concern for her into anger and bellowed out, “IF YOU’RE JUST GOINGT TO CRY, GO DO IT IN YOUR ROOM!”
“Gladly.” With that, she ran out of the room and stomped up the stairs, slamming the door to the bedroom when she entered it.
His phone rang: Pam. “What.”
“Is this the part where I remind you that you aren’t doing so good at keeping your temper?”
He hung up her. “FUCK!” He screamed to his now empty office. ‘I should have just gone to Fangtasia for all the progress we made so far tonight. This woman is impossible.‘