A Different Path
This is Kitchycoo’s story from the Support Stacie Auction. Sookie sees the light and realizes what she means to Eric. But is she too late? Post Book 9. Rated: M – Drama/Romance – Chapters: 1 – Words: 3,188 – Published: 1-20-10
A/N: Kitchycoo generously won this story in the Support Stacie Auction, and has asked that it be shared. Thank you, Kitchy! And, Meads very kindly offered to make a banner to go with this and wow-it is really stunning!
Charlaine Harris owns these characters.
Eric and I had had another fight about his turning me. It was starting to become a regular thing for us. Shortly after my kidnapping and torture, Eric began to gently broach the subject. He had given me as much blood as he dared to help me heal, and reluctantly told me that any more may turn me, so I said, “enough.” Many of the scars had diminished and some had healed completely, but I could see that I was going to be at least somewhat disfigured. There were some bites taken from flesh that simply wouldn’t ever be normal again. And, of course, mentally, I would never be normal. I knew I’d never feel safe again and would always live in fear, even though most fairies had vanished forever through the portal.
I missed Niall, and of course, grieved for Claudine. I felt even more alone in the world without them. Having Eric in my life was the one thing that kept me going. We had finally admitted our feelings for each other. I loved him, and in spite of my fragile state of mind, I was unwavering about that fact. He said he loved me too, and I think he meant it, but deep down, I wondered if a vampire as old as Eric could really feel real love for a human like me. I wondered why he would love me, what would ever make him single me out among all the humans he had known. I certainly wasn’t the prettiest or the smartest, and definitely not the bravest. But I accepted his love and felt grateful, and kept my reservations to myself.
Eric worried that my wounds may not heal, even with more blood, and actually even if I were turned. He knew more about fairies than I did, of course, so I took his word for it. He said that I should let him turn me while I was strong because he wasn’t sure whether I would remain so. When I asked him what he meant, he would usually get very quiet and just hold me. Maybe he thought I was better off not knowing what lay ahead. Of course, neither of us really knew what the future held. But I did know that I didn’t want to be a vampire. I had made him promise never to turn me.
Yes, I loved Eric, but the thought of living beyond a normal human lifetime was simply too strange for me to comprehend. I hoped for a normal human lifespan, one that I could share with Eric, and then I’d be gone and he’d go on. That seemed reasonable and normal to me—at least as normal as we could be under the circumstances. I was committed to a life with Eric, but I just couldn’t give him more. And that is what we seemed to argue about all the time.
He’d left the night before in a huff. We’d made love and then had the usual argument and he stormed out and presumably drove back to Shreveport. I went to bed, looking forward to a day off from work so I could catch up on some sleep. Dating a vampire can take its toll on your sleep, let me tell you.
So, after I’d done my usual household chores that needed to be done on a day off, I found my lawn chair and stretched out in the sun on my back, enjoying my favorite sinful pleasure. I sipped sweet tea and read my romance novel until I got sleepy. I was dozing in the wonderful heat of a lazy sunny day when I was awakened by a voice whispering my name. It startled me out of my sleep, and when I opened my eyes, I was blinded by the whitest, brightest light I’d ever seen. I immediately felt nauseous, as if I was falling, or maybe riding a serious rollercoaster. I felt off-balance, like I couldn’t find my equilibrium. I reached out to grab something to steady myself and there was nothing around me. I was floating or flying and I was also panicking. The same voice that had whispered my name said, “Relax, dear,” and I knew it was Niall’s voice. I was so happy to hear him and I trusted him, so I tried to relax. I closed my eyes from the light and tried to steady my breathing and soon my free-fall started to feel more like a floating on air. It was certainly an improvement. “There, much better.”
I took a deep breath and opened my eyes and saw his sweet face. I said his name, but when I reached for him, I felt the drop again and stopped myself.
“Just relax, Sookie. Don’t try to move. You can’t touch me—there’s no need to. We are in the fairy realm. There is no physical touch as you know it. We can share space and feel togetherness without touch. Try to feel me.”
I kept my arms at my sides and simply tried to feel him with my heart and was overcome with a soothing, calming love. It was beautiful. “I feel you.”
“Yes, that’s it, dear. I knew you would get it quickly. Welcome.”
“I’ve missed you.”
“And I have missed you, but I have been watching. We can see everything from here. Your life with Eric is a happy one and I am glad. I knew he loved you.”
“But we’ve been arguing.”
“That will stop. He’ll give up.”
“How do you know?”
“We see your world without dimension. Here there is no linear time as you know it. It’s all visible at the same time—your entire life. I can view it as one story without beginning or end. It is a good life, Sookie. You are luckier than many. You have the love which many seek and never find.”
“You know how I live? Do you know how I die?”
“I know one path your life may take, one way in which you may die, but it is never certain until it presents on earth, in a timeline with a beginning and end. Until then, we see it as the most probable path. It’s a bit confusing, I know. For example, I see the loss of your parents and yet many things may change to make that no longer a part of your path. The choices you make, decisions, chances—they will all determine the final outcome—your fate, if you will.”
“So, I’ll go back? I won’t stay here with you?”
“No, you don’t belong here. I brought you merely to show you something. I want to help you to make your path. Most humans would never be allowed such a view, but we both know that you’re not most humans.
“Close your eyes and still your mind. When you feel no more motion, then you are ready and may open your eyes.”
I tried to breathe and calm myself, and soon I felt like I was still, so I opened my eyes. I saw Eric in front of me sitting on a red sofa and chained to the wall behind it with silver chains, staring into space. “Is this real?”
“This is one path for Eric. The most likely path. This is many years into the future on earth, but here, time has no meaning.”
“Can he hear us? See me?”
Pam came into the room and bowed. “Master.”
Eric looked up to her with a blank stare. “Please let me go.”
“You know I cannot. No command of yours will allow me to let you finally die. You know this.”
“I want the sun.”
“I can’t do it anymore.”
“I understand, but grief will pass. You’ll see.”
“Pam, it’s been over four hundred years. It never passes. How many times have you chained me? Yes, I recover, but then, eventually, I find myself right back here. I want the sun.”
Pam sat on the floor at his feet. “Her story always helps to calm you. Tell me again.”
Eric’s eyes fell to the floor between them as he began to tell the tale that he had obviously told a thousand times. Pam’s eyes never left his face but held perfectly still and she listened with the patience only a vampire child could have for her maker.
“I wanted to turn her. I saw the signs. Fairy wounds. They were deep, given with hate, unhealable. She wanted a human life, didn’t see that she wasn’t getting better. She didn’t trust that I wanted what was best for her. I knew she was declining, but I respected her wishes. I loved her.”
Eric looked at Pam and she nodded before he went on.
“For twelve years, she declined, and never lost hope. I gave her as much blood as I dared, knowing she didn’t want to be turned. I told her my fears, but she wouldn’t believe me. Humans are so hopeful. She grew weaker, the wounds and scars deeper. It wasn’t until the last night that she changed her mind. I don’t know why it was on that night. It was like any other. I fed her and held her, read to her, carried her to tend to her human needs. We were in bed, I was brushing her hair, her arms too weak to do it herself, when she said, ‘I think I was wrong.’ My heart soared. I didn’t even ask if she was sure. I knew there was no time to waste and so I set the brush down and picked her up. I stroked her face and told her I loved her before biting into her neck. Her pulse was already so weak and it didn’t take her long. I placed my bleeding wrist to her lips and begged her to come back to me. But I knew—I felt no spark.
“For three nights I waited, but of course we were too late.” A blood red tear fell from Eric’s eye, staining his shirt. “That was it. She was gone. I was too late. She was too weak.”
Pam held perfectly still.
“I want the sun.”
“Not today, Master.” She stood before him. “Perhaps tomorrow you’ll feel better.”
Eric nodded his head. They had had this exchange many times before. “Perhaps.”
I was crying when the scene before me seemed to disappear into light. I asked Niall, “Is he grieving my death?”
“That was why he wanted to turn me? He knew I was dying?”
“No, he wanted to turn you because he loved you and wanted to keep you with him. He ended your life also because he loved you. He waited for you to want the same, but you were too late.”
“Is this real?”
“It is his path, or it is not. We won’t know until the end of his journey.”
“Can I change this?”
“Of course. That is why I brought you here.”
I closed my eyes and wept. Niall didn’t say another word and soon I wondered if he was still with me. I opened my eyes again and I was alone and in my backyard. Niall was nowhere and the sun was setting. I sat straight up and touched my face. My hair was wet on both sides of my head where the tears had spilled from the corners of my eyes.
Was it a dream? Could it have been real? I tried to feel in my heart and it did feel real. I jumped up and ran into the house. I had to see Eric. I wanted to tell him what had happened. Maybe he’d know if Niall had really taken me or if I’d been dreaming. I wanted to tell him that I was sorry, that I loved him, that I was ready to be turned.
As certain as I had been before that I never wanted to be a vampire, suddenly, I was just as certain that I wanted to be one. I didn’t want Eric to mourn my death for hundreds of years, to suffer just because I was too stubborn to see the truth until it was too late. He truly did love me in a way I really hadn’t comprehended before. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him.
I peeled off my bathing suit and grabbed some clothes, frantically pulling them on. I looked closely at my wounds and yes, it was so obvious suddenly that they were not healing. I was not any better than I had been weeks ago. Some of them were actually worse. Why hadn’t I seen that before? Humans are so hopeful. That’s what Eric had said. I hoped I was getting better, but I wasn’t really.
I stepped into my shoes and grabbed my keys and drove like a bat out of hell to Shreveport. Halfway there, I thought to call Eric, but realized I’d left without my phone. When I got off the interstate, I got lucky with the traffic lights and flew through them as they turned green. I was so close, almost there when I turned into the parking lot. I was going too fast and swerved to miss the car coming out and saw the huge Fangtasia sign just before I hit it. I felt a wave of calm and thought, well, I almost made it. And then there was nothing.
I felt Sookie getting close to me, but wasn’t expecting her. We’d had our usual fight the previous night and I assumed she’d be mad at me again, but I felt her and she was anxious, frantic. I worried for a second and sent her calm before I heard the crash. I knew, of course, that she was dead right away. The bond was severed and felt like a violent tear had ripped through my heart. I clutched my chest and ran out the front door. I don’t know why. I knew she was gone and I knew I couldn’t turn her, but I still felt compelled to see her one last time-to hold her in my arms even though she was dead. I was sitting on the ground among the shards of glass, brushing her hair back from her eyes, taking a final look at her beautiful face. I knew that people were standing around me, but I didn’t care. I touched her lips, fighting the overwhelming urge to bite my wrist, remembering my promise to her. I knew that this would take all my strength.
I was broken from my thoughts by Pam’s harsh tone. “What are you doing?”
“I can’t, Pam.” I didn’t even look up, but I knew she was standing over me.
“What do you mean? Turn her!”
“I promised. It was her wish.”
“Well, fuck, I didn’t promise her anything. Get out of my way.”
Pam shoved me aside and knelt down to take Sookie from me. I was so surprised that it took me a second to react and in that second, Pam’s bloody wrist was at Sookie’s lips. I was shocked, livid, struck by the fact that Sookie’s wishes weren’t being honored. I was speechless for a brief instant before it dawned on me that I was still in control of the situation. “Stop!”
Pam pulled her hand away and she looked at me in horror as I watched her wound close. She knew she couldn’t defy me. She stared at me, wide-eyed.
So many thoughts flashed through my mind. I was confused, horrified, grief-stricken and then finally, certain of what was next. I pushed Pam away and took Sookie back into my arms. I growled at Pam, “She is mine,” before sinking my fangs into my wrist and bleeding into Sookie’s already bloody mouth. In that moment, all rational thought flew out of my head and I responded like the possessive animal I am. I claimed her, stole her from my own child and felt the agony that came with knowing my monstrous side had won over honor. Sookie would never forgive me. I would never forgive myself, and yet even as I knew that, I couldn’t stop myself. I looked across Sookie’s limp and broken body to find Pam’s eyes glistening with excitement. She just nodded, confident that I had made the right decision.
I felt the spark, the connection begin between maker and child. I nodded at Pam and she took a deep unnecessary breath and sat back on her heels. I carried Sookie into the bar and back to my office, leaving the mess outside for someone else to care about. Pam followed me and opened Sookie’s blouse to examine her wounds while I stepped back. The new, bloody gashes closed magically, but her fairy scars remained of course. Pam stood and faced me.
“Sometimes there is honor in breaking a promise, Master.”
Three nights later, my newest child woke and I was there, holding her hand, looking into her eyes, eager for forgiveness.
She looked around the room and back to me and then her lips curled into a soft smile. “Thank you, Eric.”
I fought back emotions that threatened to overwhelm me. “Can you forgive me?”
“There’s nothing to forgive. I was on my way to you to tell you that I had changed my heart. You’ve given me what I wanted, Eric. Now I’m yours.”
I could hardly believe what I was hearing. “What happened? You were so certain.”
“I saw what could happen to you if I died. I finally realized that you do really love me, and I didn’t want you to suffer my death. I wanted you to turn me so we could always be together.”
“You have no idea how I’ve hoped to hear those words from you, lover.”
She smiled sweetly. “You said that humans are so hopeful.”
“Well, in a way. But you’re wrong, Eric. Vampires are hopeful too. And now we can both hope for many years together.”
I kissed her lips softly and we felt the swell of our hearts and yes, we were both hopeful and both happy to face whatever path lay ahead for us to walk together. We finally truly belonged to each other.