Warnings: Probably want to beat someone with a Frying pan.
ALSO – some of you were shaking your head at Eric, others shaking your head at Sookie for their tiff. I believe they both added to the fight – but it was understandable. It was a bad time.
Chapter 6 – Rescue Me
Translation reminder – Vandræði = trouble
Barry was frantic. Just last night, he overheard a spoken conversation between Bill and another vampire. It was shameful, he knew, but he couldn’t help listening in. When the nasty vampire arrived (he learned her name was Lorena) she ordered Bill to secure her a bigger suite saying she didn’t want to rest where Bill’s pet was. She also started exclaiming how she deserved better than Sookie. After Barry had heard that, he’d damn near got himself fired by trying to stay as close to them as possible. What he learned from his eavesdropping was horrible. At one point, after they finished another round of sex, Bill was begging this woman to let him go but she continued to refuse. Bill reminded Lorena that Sookie was his job; that he’d been sent to procure the telepath and his Queen would not be happy if the girl died. Per Bill’s words, Barry heard that the vampire had gone to a great deal of effort to get his blood into Sookie and the maenad attack had reduced his hold significantly. At one point, Barry thought he was going to be ill since, at Lorena’s insistence, he told her how he arranged for Sookie to be nearly beaten to death; all for some blood tie. When Bill asked again to leave, Lorena simply said they’d go searching the next night for his pet and take her to Mississippi for training. Barry ignored all his calls for work after that and simply stayed outside their door listening to more of the story until he heard Bill suddenly bellow out that Sookie was dead, that some faint connection he had to her was gone. Barry couldn’t believe that his new friend, the only other telepath he’d ever met had been taken from him just as suddenly as she’d popped into his life. He left the hotel just before sunrise believing Bill was correct and that Sookie was gone.
When he woke later in the afternoon, he turned on the TV and couldn’t believe his eyes. A local news station was airing a story from the Fellowship of the Sun Church. The Reverend, Steve Newlin, and several of his senior church officers were being arrested for the purposeful murder of two vampires. The station anchor was introducing the footage and suggested that anyone easily upset turn away. Barry watched as the camera showed the last seconds before the sun rose and Barry was sure he saw a large blond holding someone on the church roof. While he was still puzzling over that, the sun did rise on the video and two vampires burned. The news report changed to a local reporter who had been there all day; she also mentioned seeing something on the roof in the video but nothing had been identified and nobody who attended the burning ceremony was talking.
Barry recalled the other vampire with Sookie, Eric Northman, was a tall blond. Was that him? Was he holding Sookie? If she was alive, he had to warn her about Bill. Dressing quickly, he ran from his apartment and headed to the hotel. It was just about sunset and he wanted to get there before any vampires rose.
Sookie woke with about an hour of daylight remaining. She had returned to her room in the morning and as Eric told her, Bill was not there. Some of his clothes were missing as was his coffin so she figured it was safe to sleep. She simply got in the bed and collapsed from being up for so many hours. Exhaustion took over so she didn’t have time to fret over the fight with Eric.
Showering was her first order of business after she woke since she hadn’t had been given that luxury with the Fellowship. The warm water felt so good; she lost her sense of time. She didn’t know where she was going, but she wasn’t staying at this hotel any longer than necessary.
As she dressed, Sookie thought about the fight with Eric. Eric’s words hurt but she knew that it wasn’t really ‘him’ as much as it was the circumstances. Her responses weren’t exactly nice either. Wanting to give him space though, she decided to just leave Dallas on her own and catch up with him when he was ready. Eric would need time to grieve the loss of Godric. Time, she recognized, she never gave herself after Gran was gone. ‘I went right from her death into Bill’s arms. It was the night of the funeral that I gave myself – all of me – to him. I never took the time to feel the loss of Gran. I cried that one time while eating her pie but that’s it. I wonder if he manipulated all those moods.’ Her body slumped down to the floor with the chest of drawers at her back. Realizing she was the one in control of her emotions now, she let loose and had a full blown, juicy and messy cry over her Gran. Though she eventually calmed, she knew she wasn’t truly done remembering and honoring the woman that raised her, loved her and never judged her. Bill stole her opportunity to grieve; even though time had passed, she was going to return home and deal with Gran’s death properly.
The clothing cart Eliane used to deliver her clothes was still in the room so she bagged up all the items she hadn’t used and packed the others. While she made one last walk through the bathroom and closet, she heard the door open. A quick look at the clock had her grimacing; her shower and cry fest had taken too much time and the sun was down.
Movement at the door to the bedroom startled her and she looked up at Bill’s angry face as he yelled, “What are you doing here? I thought you were dead.” Then after a long sniff he added. “WHAT. HAVE. YOU. DONE!?”
“Mr. Northman, can you hear me?” Barry was just walking in the parking lot close to the van. He’d come back and heard some of the Were’s thoughts right away: Sookie was alive and they were guarding Eric. “I know you’re there. I’m a friend of Sookie’s.” He still heard nothing but he could detect the vampire void so he persisted. “She’s in trouble.”
That broke Eric out of his thoughts. “What do you mean?”
“I came back to tell her about why Bill wants her. Only I thought she died cause that’s what Bill said. Then I saw the news and thought maybe you saved her. But now she really needs to know about Bill.”
Eric stepped out of the van. “You’re rambling.”
“Mr. Northman, Sookie is calling to me.” He pointed to his head and after a second of shock, Eric nodded in understanding. “Bill is in the room with her and he’s furious about something that happened to his blood. Her thoughts are a bit all over the place and I don’t understand this stuff about the blood.”
“What did you mean ‘why Bill wants her’?”
“He was sent by his Queen to procure Sookie. He’s supposed to train her and take her back to court to be the Queen’s personal telepath.”
“You heard this?”
“I heard Bill telling Lorena. She was keeping him locked in the hotel room and he was begging to be let out to find Sookie. There’s more, but I’ll tell you later.” Eric agreed. ”Anyway, then he yelled that Sookie was dead. I believed him, until I woke up this afternoon and saw the news.”
“What did you see?”
“I wasn’t sure at the time but I guess it was you on the roof of the church and you were holding someone.”
“It was; I didn’t know any footage got out.”
“Newlin and others were arrested for killing your maker and some other vampire.”
“You know an awful lot.”
“Sookie and I have talked,” He touched his head, “A few times since she’s been here.” He paused for a moment. “Look Mr. Northman, she’s really in trouble up there and scared. I can’t handle a vampire but she didn’t want me to find you because she doesn’t think you’ll help. Can you please help her though?”
“Will you stop talking so much if I do?” He started moving to the stairs.
“Give me your phone.” He grabbed Barry’s cell and turned it on to call Thalia. “Meet me at Bill’s room.” Once he’d secured his help, he threw Barry over his shoulder and raced up the stairs to the twelfth floor. As he approached the ninth floor he could hear Bill and Lorena screaming at Sookie; mostly about the fact that Sookie had taken blood from another vampire and she was not permitted to do that. He also heard Bill ranting about the texts he and Sookie had been sharing for weeks. Sookie never did anything inappropriate, but Eric remembered that he’d texted her flirts and that’s what had Bill so upset. Apparently Bill went through her phone while Sookie was at the Fellowship. When he reached the twelfth floor he put Barry behind him and moved to the door. Thalia was already waiting there. Just as he approached the door, he heard a loud slap and Sookie cried out. Without concern for the hotel’s property, he kicked in the door and had Bill pressed up to the wall. He noticed that Bill had blood on his lips and wondered if the idiot drank Sookie’s silver tainted blood. Eric thought it would serve him right. Thalia ran in behind him and grabbed Lorena. “Barry, can you please see to Sookie?”
Bill screeched, “I don’t know who you are, but you’re not permitted to touch her. Sookeh is mine!” Eric just squeezed his throat tighter and nodded for Barry to proceed.
Barry ran to his friend and helped her sit up on the couch. Bill had backhanded her across the left side of her face and she was bleeding from her mouth a bit. “Let me get you cleaned up.” She moved to stand with him and he gently sat her back down and said, “I’ll come back with a cloth.”
Eric started explaining the situation to Bill. “Your blood is gone from Sookie, Bill. ERASED. You don’t own her any longer. Isn’t that correct Sookie?”
Though Eric hadn’t looked at her, she responded to him. “Yes Eric, that’s correct. I don’t choose to be owned by Bill.”
Bill practically whined, “I will not give her up.”
“You don’t have a choice Billy Boy. She’s not yours.”
“She’s not yours either. She belongs to no vampire now. That means she’s up for grabs.”
If possible, Eric’s face became more dangerous as he responded. “You listen to me Compton. Sookie does not belong to anyone, that’s true. If you try to give her blood by force, you will meet your final death at my hands.” He turned to glare at Lorena, still in Thalia’s grip. “Anyone who tries to harm her will be killed.”
“You don’t have that authority.”
“I do. When Sookie agreed to work for me, she became part of my retinue; I have every right to protect her.” He kept his focus on Bill but spoke to Sookie; Barry had finished cleaning her face. “Sookie, can you walk?”
“Barry.” He grabbed his room key from his pocket and held it out. “Take Sookie back to my room please.”
“Certainly.” Sookie left with Barry but her heart hurt. Yes, Eric had come in and helped with Bill and Lorena, but he hadn’t looked at her once. Thoughts that he was still mad haunted her as they walked out.
Eric waited patiently until he heard the door to his room shut across the hall. “We’ll start with this: You’re banished from Area 5. Do not set foot in my part of the state or you will staked. Both of you.”
“You don’t . . .”
“I do; my area, my authority.”
“Fine, I’ll just head back and collect my . . .”
“I don’t think you heard me correctly. You aren’t ever returning to my area. If you need something from your home, hire someone to collect it.”
“You STOLE her. I have proof right in her phone. You’ve been sending her texts for weeks.”
“She works for me. Anyone who knows me is well aware that flirt is my standard language.” Using more of his strength, Eric squeezed Bill’s throat a bit tighter. “Those texts did nothing to break through the blood hold you had on her. I guess pumping someone with your blood and influencing their emotions is the only way you can obtain a mate. I repeat: get out of my area. Both of you.”
Bill backed off seeing Eric was very serious and very angry. He and Lorena would agree, only so they could leave and regroup. Since Sookie didn’t have any vampire blood now – well a vampire still among the undead – he still had an opportunity to procure her. He wasn’t sure why Sookie took Godric’s blood and not Eric’s; Sookie wouldn’t answer that question. This gave him hope that she didn’t want Eric’s blood for some reason. Since Eric still had his throat, he squeaked out his response. “We’ll leave.”
“Thalia will ensure that.” In full Sheriff mode, he looked to the loyal vampire who still held Lorena against the wall and she nodded.
With the business done, he dropped Bill to the floor and headed to his room. Before he knocked, he took some time to compose himself: dealing with Bill and Lorena had him so angry, he was bordering on bloodlust. Even just looking at Sookie while he was in the room with Bill wasn’t an option. He was afraid he would scare her or worse be unable to control himself. It took him a full fifteen minutes to calm down. Barry came to the door when he knocked but he was confused when he saw it was Eric. “Barry, I gave you my key.”
“How is she?”
“When she fell from being slapped, her dress ripped badly and we didn’t want to go back to the room for her clothes. I rooted through your things for something. She’s bathing and changing now.”
“That’s fine.” The answer seemed like Eric was distracted and it drew Barry’s curiosity to the large vampire. Barry saw Eric pull something from under his shirt, sniff it and place it reverently on the table in the room. Whatever that was, he decided, wasn’t his business and he decided to forget what he’d seen.
“Do you need me during the day tomorrow? I’m probably already fired for ignoring my job.”
“I do need you. I’m also calling another person to help Sookie personally and some guards. Can you return before the sun rises?” Barry nodded. “Don’t worry about this job. We’ll talk tomorrow night when I rise.” Eric grabbed his phone. “Let me make a few calls.” Barry waited while Eric called someone named Pam first then another woman called Eliane. When he was done he confirmed. “We’re set. Eliane Charleston will be here before sunrise; I’ll leave you both a detailed list of information for the day. Two guards will be here as well. I don’t know if Bill will try anything so one guard can go with Sookie if she chooses to leave the room. We have more to discuss but I need to check on Sookie soon.”
“Yes, she’s quite upset.” He hesitated but continued – for his friend. “Eric, I’ve been reading her thoughts, just to be sure she is alright. She’s grateful that you came but . . . well the way you left things this morning . . .”
Eric put a hand up to stop him. “I’m aware. I have some apologizing to do. I know this.”
“OK then, she does too. She knows this and hopes she’ll get the chance.”
Eric’s opinion of Barry rose during the chat. He’d been nervous approaching the topic but he obviously liked Sookie enough already to bring it up. One thing he was still curious about was whether Barry had told Sookie anything about Bill’s true goal. “Did you discuss what you learned about Bill?”
“No. That seemed like something that should come from a vampire. I’ve been keeping my thoughts shielded so I don’t think she read it either. I have more to tell you on that.” Eric nodded and Barry proceeded to share everything he’d heard. At some points Eric couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but he had no reason to doubt Barry.
When Barry was finished, Eric rubbed his face and then ran his fingers through his hair. “I can’t believe I need to tell her this after the day she’s had already.”
“I’ll stay and tell her. I mean, it’s not like you had a great day either.”
“No, you were right; this is a vampire matter.”
“Very well then. I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Thank you for your help. I just met Sookie; I’d like to think we both found a friend and I’d hate to lose that so quickly.”
“Of course I helped. Sookie and I had a difficult morning but she’s my friend too.”
Eric saw Barry out then wasn’t really sure what to do next. Slumping against the wall, he berated himself for his behavior in the van. He really hadn’t meant what he said, and he knew she didn’t mean her words either. Hopefully they could resolve that quickly. Needing to do something while he waited, he booted his PC and checked his email for a few minutes and read that Stan had already planned a memorial gathering of sorts for Godric the next night. That email stopped him cold and he was deep in thought when he heard it: Sookie was crying. That had him moving to check on her. He hated her tears.
“Sookie, it’s me. Are you feeling alright? Do you need help?”
He heard a few sniffles then she responded. “I’ll be out in a minute.”
“Did you find something to wear?”
“Barry did.” He heard the water slosh as she got out. “It’s another one of your shirts; I keep needing them it seems.” She chuckled a moment later and he smiled. “Now I know why Barry laughed when he picked my shirt – but he told me to stay out of his mind. ”
“I can’t wait to see what one he picked.”
“Well, I don’t think I’ll be going out of the room in this shirt.” She came out and Eric laughed at her.
“That’s a more tame one for me.”
“I mostly see you in black tee shirts.”
“My uniform for work. I have quite a collection of graphic tees. I enjoy finding funny and naughty shirts.” They were both talking about basically nothing and a sense of unease was in the room. With the shirt discussion over, they were quiet until Eric spoke. “Sookie, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean what I said this morning.”
She turned to him with tears in her eyes. “I didn’t either. But . . .”
His heart sank. What could the ‘but’ be. “But what?”
“You are or at least were still mad at me.” He tried to stop her but she kept going. “You can’t deny it Eric. When you were taking care of Bill just now, you couldn’t even look at me.”
“Sookie.” Before continuing he reached for her hand and moved them to sit on the bed; angled so they were facing each other. “I wasn’t mad at you; I was pissed but at the situation. Seeing Bill hurt you evoked something else too.” He paused and decided Sookie really needed lessons about vampires and supernaturals in general. “Have you ever heard of blood lust?”
“I’ve heard the word mentioned . . . but I don’t really know what it means.”
“Sookie, fighting and other things . . . well they bring out blood lust in me. I was afraid if I looked at you I would be ah . . . distracted.”
“Distracted by . . . oh.”
“Yes, oh.” He chuckled at the pink starting to cover her cheeks. “You’re cute when you blush.”
“Ah, now I know why you like making me blush so much.”
He grinned. “The secret is out. But you know it’s really easy to make you blush Miss Stackhouse.”
“The result of being raised as a proper lady Mr. Northman.” They laughed with each other, and just like that, their ease with each other was back.
He reached up and touched her face. “Having Godric’s blood has the added benefit of healing you already from Bill’s handy work.”
“Yes, there’s only a quickly fading bruise left.”
“That’s good; I don’t want any reminders.” Sookie opened her mouth to say something else and they were stopped by the growling in her stomach. “Oh, excuse me.”
“Nothing to excuse vandræði, I take it we’re ordering in since you probably don’t want to go to the restaurant in a tee-shirt.”
“Eric, you are truly brilliant.” The comment was said in her sarcastic tone and he called her on it.
“Smart ass. Too bad there isn’t a translation in Old Norse for such a phrase. I’d call you that all the time.”
“I’m sure you had something to describe the buttocks so was it smart? Did you not even bother to have a word for smart in the Viking age?”
That sexy eyebrow rose up and he tried to look angry but his lips couldn’t help but turn up. “What are you saying?”
“Well, if you didn’t have word for it . . . “
“You’re asking for it vandræði. We had vit for intelligence. We just didn’t have the slang of calling someone a smart ass.”
“I’d love to learn more about your human life. That is if you’d be willing.”
“I’d be willing.” He found the room service menu and handed it to her.
“Thank you.” She looked at the menu for a moment then offered, “Do I need to order something for you? A donor?”
“I don’t. I had so much of your blood that I doubt I’ll need a donor for a week. You can get me a True Blood in O positive though. I’ll have something with you.”
“You don’t need to go out tonight?”
“I’m staying with you as long as I can. We have much to discuss. I do have an e-mail from Nan Flanagan; she’ll be here for a meeting at 3:00 AM. I’m keeping you out of that though. Thalia will stay with you. Order your dinner Sookie; we’ll talk more.”
“O . . . OK.” He couldn’t’ figure out why she was hesitating.
“Is there something wrong?”
“You’ll laugh at me.”
“If it’s funny . . .”
She slapped his chest and added. “Not helping. I hate to call for food. I hate calling for pizza or Chinese . . . you know.”
“I don’t know, I just don’t like it.”
“But you work in the food service industry.”
She could only shrug at him. “I don’t mind if I’m in a restaurant.”
“I think you’re so accustomed to listening people’s thoughts in person it must be the phone that puts you off.” Clearly not interested in discussing anything, she shrugged at his comments. “Tell me what you want, I’ll call.”
“I like taking care of you.” She gave him a weak smile for that. “With one exception; I won’t order for you is Chinese.”
“Smells that bad ey?”
Eric showered while they waited for Sookie’s dinner. When he came out he was shocked to hear that Sookie had seen them on the news. “Barry told me, but I watched while you were in there. I know I can clearly see it’s us on the roof.”
“Nan is going to ask about that.”
“How I survived. The sun rose before I got to shelter.”
“I don’t know if they can ‘prove’ that from the video though. Let’s watch.”
They only needed to wait a few minutes before the story came back on CNN and Sookie quickly turned off the TV before they could see Godric’s death. Sure enough, there was no sun while Eric was on the screen. To any vampire, they would easily make out that Eric was on the roof and he was holding a woman. Desperate to keep Sookie out of the investigation, he spent a few minutes formulating a plan. If he could convince the Packmaster to say the van was on the other side of the roof, he’d be fine. Sookie’s dinner arrived and he asked her to eat while he made his calls. At one point, she heard him negotiating for keeping the secret and she agreed to the use of her telepathy with a nod. He joined her while she was about half way through. “Well?”
“Stan and Isabel weren’t there this morning, so I don’t need to worry about them. I had to make a deal as you heard with the Packmaster.”
“Did you decide specifics on my telepathy?”
“Yes. He can use you for no more than forty hours of work over the next year. How will be decided on need and he will work around your schedule unless he has an issue that’s life or death.”
“And he’ll say the van was right at the front?”
“Yes, easily close enough for me to have made it. Your telepathy will also remain a secret.” She nodded. “Now on to the important thing.”
“Your Vodka sauce.”
She laughed out loud, “My what?”
“Your Vodka sauce; what does it taste like?”
As Sookie ate her meal, Eric moved to start the conversation they needed to have. He was not looking forward to it but it had to be done. “Sookie, how are you feeling now that Bill is not longer able to send you emotions? I don’t know if he even tried the past few days; we’ve all been distracted.”
“When I first returned to my hotel room here, I had a huge epiphany about my Gran.” He nodded for her to continue. “I never grieved for her. Well, that first day after the funeral when everyone finally left the house I did. I cried while I ate an entire pecan pie – the last one of hers I’ll ever have.” Raising her head from looking at the table she smirked at Eric. “Don’t worry about all those calories – I got sick after I finished it so it never even stayed.”
He reached his hand across the small dining table in his suite to cover hers but she raised hers so they could intertwine their fingers. “The amount of calories in the pie isn’t my concern. What happened after that?”
“I was in my room at sunset, already in bed for the night since it was an exhausting day, when I was filled with . . . ah.” Her blush rose before she could get the word out.
She nodded while she continued. “My desire to get to Bill was almost overwhelming. Now that I look back at that I know there’s no way that’s really how I would have been feeling.” The memory saddened Sookie as she realized just how much he’d taken. With Eric, she somehow felt comfortable enough to share everything. “I gave myself to him that night.”
“Your first time with Bill was the day of your Gran’s funeral?” Eric was disgusted that Bill would actually be that uncaring. This just gave him even more reasons to want to kill him.
“Eric. It wasn’t my first time with Bill.” Relief started to flood Eric. It was still heartless to send lust after the poor girl had buried her Gran, but at least it wasn’t their first time. Sookie paused for a few seconds and her next words brought him near blood lust again. “It was my first time ever.”
Eric was so enraged he stood from his chair and it fell back landing on the floor with a bang. Startled, Sookie dropped the fork in her hand. She was speechless as she watched Eric pace back and forth in the sitting room of his suite; he looked like a caged animal. “Eric, are you alright?” No response, well except the words he was muttering – but they weren’t English. “Eric, you’re scaring me.”
That stopped him and he moved to kneel in front of her chair. “I’m not trying to scare you Sookie. All I can think about now is how to kill him.”
“No, Eric no. Don’t kill anyone for me.” Since Eric was still clenching his fists and had a downright dangerous look on his face she tried something else to pull him back. “Maybe he sent me other emotions to help me through her death – you know, maybe he was being kind. I’m going to choose to think that . . .”
His look had her stopping mid-sentence. “You won’t think that way when I tell you what I’ve learned Sookie.” After standing, he took her hands and tugged her to stand as well. “Let’s sit on the couch.” Once she was seated, he refilled her wine glass before handing it to her. “You’ll want this. I need to tell you some things about Bill.”
A/N: Barry stepping way up and helping? Whoda thunk? You know me – I love playing with characters. I love this Barry – there’s more to come. Played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.