Chapter 2: I’ve Got You Under My Skin

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“I want to help,” Sookie said with her eyes closed. “Later on tonight, I want to help. There has to be something I can do. I have all this power and it’s stupid for me to sit on the sidelines when I can do something.”

Eric agreed with that. The biggest problem was how unpredictable her power was. She had to summon some pretty horrible emotions and images before she could will the light out of her hands. It had wounded him to know that it was Bill’s death that had been the motivation she needed to break the spell.

“Bill can’t force you to stay away if you don’t want to, Sookie. He has no power over you that way,” Eric said through clenched teeth. The silver hurt like a motherfucker.

“I wish I could be in two places at once,” she sighed and brushed some of Eric’s hair away from his eyes. She’d grown to like it sort of floppy and hanging in his face but she had missed it being gelled into place. “That way I could be here with you and still do some recon over at the emporium.”

“It’s better that you can’t. I don’t like the idea of you going alone,” Eric told her.

“And I don’t like the idea of her getting anywhere near you,” Sookie said fiercely, her love for him flowing wildly in her veins.

“I won’t be going alone later,” Eric reminded her.

“There has to be a way for you to use me, Eric. I know y’all don’t like Tara much but she’s my friend. I can’t just let her die,” Sookie said sadly.

“If she survives the night at the emporium, she’s going to have Pam to deal with,” Eric warned and Sookie gasped.

“Can’t you do something about that?” she asked in a quiet, nervous voice.

“You mean intervene when your friend should have chosen a little more wisely over whom she sided with? Correct me if I’m wrong, but this isn’t the first time she’s made a similar misstep.”

“Franklin glamoured her; it’s not like she had a choice in the matter,” Sookie argued. “Would you say the same thing about me if I wasn’t a telepath? You would have glamoured me the night we met if you could have.”

Eric smiled at that. She knew him well. “Yes, I probably would have and it would have been a mistake to do so but we’re not talking about you and me; we’re talking about your gullible friend.”

“Tara isn’t gullible,” Sookie glared at him, her frustration rising. The quirk of Eric’s brow told her he didn’t agree.

“Think about it for a minute, Sookie,” he sighed, slightly weary and annoyed with her selective memory.

She rolled onto her back and folded her arms over her chest. She didn’t want to fight with Eric but her loyalty wouldn’t allow for her to admit that Tara had fucked up. Again. First it was the so-called possession and the resulting exorcism that involved Tara ingesting Peyote out in the woods somewhere and murdering the “spirit” that had taken over her. Then Tara had fallen under MaryAnn’s control and had nearly gotten Sam killed as a result. That, of course, was to say nothing of the damage done to Gran’s house in the process. After that Tara had gone and gotten herself mixed up with Franklin, the vampire spy sent by Russell Edgington in hopes of capturing Sookie for his own purposes. It was because of Tara that Russell was able to locate her. Because of the glamour, Sookie couldn’t quite blame Tara for that but getting involved with Franklin in the first place was Tara’s own fault.

Finally, there was all this mess with the witches. Like Sookie, Tara felt she needed a break from vampires and all the insanity that had consumed Bon Temps in the last few years. Sookie didn’t quite understand why Tara had invented a new identity. Denial had never gotten her anywhere good. In fact, it was denial that had almost gotten her killed a few times in the last year. Some people just had to learn the hard way, however. But falling in line with the witches was, perhaps, the stupidest thing Tara had ever done.

In doing so, she not only aligned herself with someone who had an almost Charles Manson like outlook on vampires, but she’d succeeded in pissing off quite a few of Sookie’s friends. Sookie wasn’t sure what she could do to save her friend but she had to at least try. She couldn’t let Tara die in the Moon Goddess Emporium. There had to be a way to smooth things over.

“Tara has made a lot of mistakes,” Sookie finally relented and then turned to face Eric. “But that’s what people do; they make mistakes. You’ve made them, Bill has and Pam has, too. It’s what people do. All her life she’s been surrounded by people who claimed they loved her but gave up on her. I won’t be one of those people, Eric, I just won’t.”

Eric growled quietly and said, “She’s going to get you killed one of these days.”

“Because being with vampires has kept me so much safer?” Sookie pointed out and then felt bad for it. “Look, Eric, I don’t want to fight with you. You see things your way and I see them mine. You can try to help me figure out a solution that will make everyone happy, or I can do things my way all on my own. Your choice.”

“You are an infuriating creature, Sookie,” Eric stared up at the fluorescent lights in the ceiling.

“Back at you,” her fingers brushed against his, eliminating some of the tension that had mounted between them.

They were quiet for a while and Sookie ended up falling asleep. Eric went into downtime so he didn’t feel as much pain from the silver that was melting his skin. He wasn’t down for long before Godric’s familiar voice beckoned him from his semi-conscious state. It was a dream, Eric knew that, but he listened to his maker anyway.

Are you really going to die for her?” Godric demanded, his young, beautiful face was full of anger. “She has love in her heart for another vampire and yet you would risk everything to save her?”

She risked everything for me,” Eric pointed out. “She trusted me to keep her safe when I could have killed her. She has given me her heart. The rest is just the blood.”

You’re a fool,” Godric spat at him in Old Swedish.

And you are a ghost,” Eric glared at his maker, responding in the same dead language. “Where was this fierce hatred for humans when you were being held by that fucking cult in Dallas? You left me, Godric. You lost your fight. I haven’t lost mine. Why did you give up?”

“Who are you talking to?” Sookie’s quiet voice pulled him from his dream-like state, her fingers brushing against his.

“It was just a dream,” Eric mumbled, trying to make sense of the small exchange that had happened between him and his maker.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Sookie turned on her side to face him and Eric turned his head a little in response.

“Godric was here,” Eric closed his eyes, trying to battle back the pain that was in his chest.

“I dream of my Gran sometimes,” Sookie offered, and traced little patterns on the back of Eric’s hand. “I know it’s not the same, but she meant as much to me as Godric did to you. I’m sorry you’ll never get to meet her but I am glad I got to meet Godric. I wish I could have known him better.”

“He was a very different vampire in the end,” Eric said quietly.

“Time changes us all, Eric. I’m sure you’re not the same vampire you were when you were first made. You learn and grow and experience things that shape the person you become, and when I look at you, I can see the influence Godric has had on your life. I can see it in Pam, too,” she leaned over and kissed his shoulder below the silver. She was careful not to get any of his blood on her lips.

A short time later Eric sensed Sookie’s hunger said, “You should eat something, especially if I’m going to take your blood when you remove the silver. You need your strength if you’re going to fight with us later. I’ll be fine down here by myself.”

Sookie smiled, pushed herself up on her elbow and leaned over to kiss him. “You’re sure you’ll be okay?”

“I’ll go into downtime. The pain will be less then,” he told her and closed his eyes.

Sookie pressed a kiss to each lid and then got out of bed. She slipped her robe and slippers on before climbing the ladder to go upstairs. She was in the kitchen getting things out to make breakfast when she heard a car coming up the driveway. A quick cast of her mental feelers later and she knew it was Jason. That meant going back to the fridge and pulling out way more food than she had initially planned on cooking. Sookie added True Blood to her grocery list since she was pretty sure Eric would be spending more time at her place than he had in the past.

“Sook, you here?” Jason called from the entryway.

“In the kitchen!” she called back while turning on the stove.

“Oh hey, you’re cooking,” Jason clapped his hands together. “I’m starvin’.”

Of course he was. Sookie put a bunch of sausage links into the cast iron skillet Gran had cooked with for as long as Sookie could remember. The pan was well seasoned and heated up about as quickly as any cast iron skillet did. She started a pot of coffee while Jason went to the fridge and grabbed a beer.

“Jason it’s not even lunchtime!” Sookie took the bottle from his hand. “No beer with breakfast.”

“Sook, you don’t understand. I been up all night listening to Hoyt yakkin’ on and on about Jessica. I love that boy like he’s my brother but I couldn’t take no more,” Jason grabbed the pitcher of orange juice instead when Sookie wouldn’t give him the beer back.

“What happened with Hoyt and Jessica?” Sookie asked, hoping she wouldn’t regret it.

“Well, after you told me about that spell with the vampires meetin’ the sun, I went over to Vampire Bill’s to check on Jess. Some guard tried to tackle me in the yard and I ended up shootin’ him in the shoulder. Just as I was getting’ on to the front door, Jessica was throwin’ ’em open. I knocked her back into the house and kicked the doors shut. She got a little burned but it wasn’t as bad as it coulda been,” Jason trailed off, looking deep in thought. “She ended up kissin’ on me in the entryway.”

“Jason!” Sookie shook her head in disappointment.

“She’s a vampire, Sook! It’s not like I could push her offa me! You know how strong vamps are,” Jason said defensively.

“Yeah, I do, but I also know you,” Sookie furrowed her brows.

“This time it wasn’t my fault! She was on toppa me and it just happened. As soon as she realized what she done, she hopped offa me. Sook, I feel terrible about it. I know I ain’t got the greatest track record when it comes to girls but I would never hurt Hoyt like that.” Jason said and a skim of his brain showed her he was telling the truth.

“You haven’t told him about it, have you?” Sookie sighed.

“There’s more,” Jason sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Jess decided she don’t want to be with Hoyt no more so she broke up with him. She showed up at my house, thinkin’ maybe we’d… I don’t know what she was thinkin’, but I told her she couldn’t stay with me.”

“But you still like her, don’t you?” Sookie asked even though she knew he did.

“Sook, you can read my mind,” Jason fixed his eyes on her.

“I’d prefer not to. God knows what I’ll see that I’ll wish I hadn’t.” Sookie turned the sausages.

“Hoyt asked me to bring Jess a box of her stuff and I did. I took it over to Vampire Bill’s and I just went there to give her the box…” Jason trailed off and Sookie knew there was more.

“But?” Sookie turned to face her brother.

“We ended up havin’ sex in the back of my truck,” Jason admitted sheepishly. Sookie just stared at him, unsure of what to say.

She started cracking eggs instead and popped a few slices of bread into the toaster. “Are you gonna tell Hoyt about this?”

“It’ll kill him if I do. He keeps goin’ on and on ’bout how he can’t live without her, how he’s miserable with her gone. She’s the first girl he ever loved… I didn’t mean for this to happen, Sook. I tried to keep away from her, but it ain’t that easy,” Jason ran his hand back and forth through his hair. “I don’t know what to do. I have all these feelings where Jess is concerned but I can’t hurt Hoyt like that. He’s my best friend. What would you do?”

“Sounds to me like you had a choice to make and you made it. Look, Jason, I’m not gonna judge you for this. Some things you just can’t control and who you fall in love with is one of those things. Believe me when I tell you, I understand how that feels. If you tell Hoyt the truth, it’s gonna hurt him. He’s gonna be angry and probably not talk to you for a while. Are you the reason Jessica broke up with him?” Sookie asked while whisking the eggs.

“She said it was because she didn’t love him enough anymore,” Jason shrugged and refilled his juice.

Sookie dipped into his mind and found he was telling the truth about that, but she also saw an image of her brother and Jessica sprawled out on the grass together during the last full moon. They were fully clothed—thank God- but it was obvious that night meant a lot to Jason.

“What about you and that vampire that’s been stayin’ here? Are y’all two like, a couple, or something?” Jason asked.

“I’m not sure what we are,” Sookie said honestly. “I care about him a great deal and he feels the same. He got his memories back last night… he’s dealing with it better than I am, I think.”

“Was he really that different without them?”

“Like night and day,” Sookie smiled.

“But you took a likin’ to him before he went and got cursed, right?” Jason asked and Sookie was surprised he remembered. It must have shown on her face because Jason said, “I listen a lot more than you think I do. I just don’t look like I am.”

“It’s complicated,” Sookie shrugged.

“Oh no! You made me spill my guts about Jessica. Now it’s your turn.” Jason insisted and waited with his arms folded in that stubborn Stackhouse manner for his sister to start talking. “I got all day, Sook.”

Sookie considered her words carefully before she started explaining her relationship with Eric. It really was complicated but Jason kept quiet while she talked. She wasn’t really confused about her feelings for Eric anymore. She loved him; she was sure of it. She didn’t know when it happened but she knew it all hinged on the night Godric died. Seeing Eric so vulnerable had shown her he was capable of feeling things just as deeply as she had thought in her dream. Contrary to what he might tell her, she also knew he cared for Pam a great deal.

“Don’t sound that complicated to me,” Jason said after taking a drink of his juice. “You love Eric, then that’s who you should be with.”

“But then there’s Bill…” Sookie sighed.

“You mean the vampire that almost killed you in the back of a van?” Jason’s eyes widened. “Sook, I know love don’t just disappear overnight when it’s the real thing but like you told me, you gotta choice to make. And if it counts for something, I never really saw you smile when you talked about Vampire Bill, at least not like you do when you talk about Eric.”

Sookie took that under advisement as she poured the beaten eggs into the skillet to cook them. “Do you ever wish we could go back to being kids, just for a little while?”

“I don’t think it was any easier then, to tell the truth. We just didn’t take as much responsibility as we do now,” Jason suggested and Sookie smiled at that.

When all the cylinders fired at the same time in Jason’s brain, he could say some pretty amazing things. Unfortunately, it was usually more like squirrels were calling the shots. She loved him dearly, but he wasn’t ever going to be the first person she’d turn to for advice. Still, she made a note to start spending more time with him. It was a promise she’d made herself before but she was really going to follow up on it this time.

“Damn it smells good in here. If I close my eyes, it’s like Gran’s back,” Jason said quietly. He didn’t know it but that was the nicest thing he could have said to Sookie.

oOo ~ oOo ~ oOo

When daylight was just about gone, Eric told Sookie to remove the silver. Sookie stood at the foot of the bed unsure of whether or not that was a good idea. “Are you sure it’s safe?”

“If I take your blood and the spell hits I’ll have protection until the sun sets. I’ll be fine, Sookie,” Eric said with confidence in his voice and his eyes.

Sookie took a deep breath and went to the chains at Eric’s feet. He’d told her to yank it all off at once and she braced herself for the screams she knew would follow. She could feel his eyes on her, watching her every move. He wasn’t watching because he didn’t trust her but because it was more pleasant to look at her than it was the gory, bloody gaps in his flesh that were about to reveal themselves.

“Are you ready?” Sookie asked, taking hold of the silver.

Eric nodded and said, “Just pull it off quickly.”

“I love you,” she gave him a sad smile and then ripped the silver away.

Eric screamed in agony as his skin was ripped from his body. It hurt like a motherfucker for a good ten seconds and then the relief of the silver being gone began to set in. He was definitely going to need to feed when Sookie was finished with him. She moved around, ripping away one length of silver at a time until it was all gone, sitting in a gory pile in the corner of the room. The predator in him roared to life when he caught her scent.

She turned her back to take off her robe and before it even hit the floor, Eric was behind her, pulling her hair away from her neck. She tensed a little, still a little leery of whether or not he could control himself. He had yet to bite her when he wasn’t in need, and she worried he might take too much. Sensing her tension, Eric stroked her hair gently as he pulled her back toward the bed.

“You can trust me, Sookie. I promised you would I never betray you and I won’t,” Eric whispered in her ear.

“I trust you,” Sookie remained still, sitting at the edge of the bed between Eric’s legs. His chest was against her back and he kissed her neck softly, breathing her in.

Sookie heard the click of his fangs and then the gentle nuzzling of them against her skin. She sucked in a deep breath, waiting for Eric to bite her. His hand found hers and their fingers laced, pressing their palms together. There was a quiet growl that rumbled in his chest and then she felt the sting of his fangs sinking into her neck, followed by the rhythmic sucking on the little wounds he’d made.

Sookie’s eyes closed and she whimpered quietly, pressing herself a little more firmly against his chest. His arm around her tightened a little before his hand slid up and into the front of her nightgown, his fingers gently rolling and pinching her nipple. She gasped at the combination of sensations she was feeling. Her hips rolled and her thighs rubbed against one another. Feeding Bill had never been that big of a turn on, but then Bill had always just taken her blood. He had never done anything like this and when he was injured, he was almost clinical about taking from her.

Sookie kept her eyes closed and allowed herself to get lost in the gentle pulling sensation at her throat, all the while imagining Eric thrusting inside her at the same time. Jesus that would feel amazing. When he was finished, Eric sealed and healed her wounds, making sure to kiss the spot where he had bitten her. He didn’t remove his hand from inside her nightgown, however. Instead, he released her hand and turned her face toward his. He kissed her passionately and he was thrilled when she opened her mouth without hesitation so he could explore her.

“Will you bond with me?” Eric asked her after he broke the kiss.

Sookie looked deep into his eyes and let the course of their relationship play out in her mind one more time. She vaguely remembered something someone had said about how if you love two people it was wise to choose the second because if you really loved the first, you wouldn’t fall in love with someone new. Had she ever loved Bill all on her own, or was it just the blood? She was never going to know the answer to that question.

With Eric, on the other hand, she knew. Those few drops she’d taken in Dallas weren’t anywhere near enough to sway her favor for more than a year. His blood may have sparked something in her but it had grown all on its own, and in spite of all the blood she had taken from Bill. With her decision made, Sookie nodded and kept her eyes on Eric’s.

He growled in satisfaction and then claimed her lips again. His hand moved from inside her nightgown and he repositioned them up against the headboard of the bed. Sookie pulled away to turn around.

“I want to see your eyes,” she explained to him and he had no problem with that. “I want to see you.”

Eric growled again and lifted his hand to bite it for her. His neck was already starting to heal itself but it would be a while before it would be back to normal. As awkward a spot as it was for her to feed from, the regular places she would have picked were currently a mess on account of the silver.

“There is no going back, Sookie. You will be mine after this,” Eric’s eyes were intense as he held his bleeding palm out to her.

She still didn’t like that particular possessive pronoun but then that was because she was used to hearing it in such a derogatory context. By bonding with Eric, yes, she would be his, but he would be hers as well. She knew this without having to ask. He’d told her just the night before that he had given all of himself to her and she knew that was true. He trusted her with his heart, his life… with everything.

“You are what I want,” Sookie held his eyes and slowly brought his palm closer to her.

When he felt her breath on his hand, his body began to shake a little. The urge to tackle her backward and rip her open was threatening to overwhelm him. He wanted to tear through the thin material of that little nightgown she was wearing, and any other material that might be underneath it. He wanted to bury himself inside her and stay that way for eternity. Valhalla had nothing on the heaven he found between Sookie’s thighs and in her blood. She was perfect for him, as frustrating as she could be at times.

The instant his blood entered her body he could feel the paths opening both ways. He was flowing into her quickly, her hot little mouth sucking more and more of him into her. He growled with pleasure as the connection between them got stronger and stronger until finally he couldn’t wait any longer. He pulled his hand away from her mouth and replaced it with his lips. Her arms went around his neck, having completely forgotten that it wasn’t quite healed yet.

She landed on her back with Eric right on top of her. His tongue battled hers while his hands moved down her body and yanked up the skirt of her little gown. The little cotton panties she was wearing were no match for him and he tore them away without hesitation. Little hands moved down his body to get his jeans open and push them down just far enough.

“We are one,” Eric said and then thrust inside her.

She cried out at the sudden fullness, her hands reaching around to grab at his ass. Her nails dug into the firm muscle she found and she pulled him deeper inside her. His lips crashed down on hers as he began to thrust, slowly at first, to give her time to adjust. He pushed the cups of her gown out of the way and abandoned her mouth to worship her breasts instead. Her hips rocked to meet his and it wasn’t long before she was right on the edge.

“Eric,” she gasped and caught his eyes again.

He braced his weight on his elbows and shifted the angle of his hips just a little, knowing exactly how to move to make her scream. The slight adjustment was all it took and Sookie shouted his name with her release, her hands grasping the blanket underneath her and her eyes squeezed shut. The convulsing of her tight, inner muscles milked Eric’s orgasm from him and he collapsed on top of her, breathing in the sweet smell of sunshine that was trapped in her skin.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much time to snuggle, although Sookie found it adorable that Eric was disappointed by it. Instead, they climbed out of the cubby together and headed for her bathroom. Sookie sat on the vanity, smiling like a goon, while she watched Eric start the shower. When he turned around her smile became a grin.

“I can feel you,” she couldn’t stop smiling. “Every single thing you’re feeling, I can feel it.”

“It doesn’t scare you,” Eric was surprised by the lack of anxiety or fear in Sookie’s blood.

“You’re surprised by this,” Sookie gasped but kept on grinning.

She felt that same lightheaded, giddy feeling she’d had the last time she had taken Eric’s blood. It caused a euphoria she hadn’t anticipated since she hadn’t felt that same buzz the first time she’d swallowed his blood back in Dallas. Perhaps that was because Eric’s feelings for her were still muddled then. Maybe her reaction was a reflection of his own feelings. That would certainly explain why she reacted the way she did to Bill’s blood. So many questions to ask and it was going to have to wait until later.

They showered together, each of them fighting the urge to tell Bill to fuck off and spend the rest of the night ravaging one another on every flat surface of the house. There would be time for that later. For now they had a mission and it was one that couldn’t be ignored unless they wanted to spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulder for some whackadoo witch with an epic grudge against vampires. They experimented with the bond a little, playing guessing games with each other’s feelings. In those moments the best of both Erics combined and Sookie found herself wondering why she had denied him for as long as she did.

When they stepped out of the shower Sookie said, “I wonder if I can read your mind now.”

Still a little bit buzzed himself, Eric said, “Give it a try.”

He let his mind open to her and Sookie made sure she wasn’t touching him. Touching vampires always blocked out everything for her. It was like she fell into their silence right along with them. She brushed against his mind and felt nothing but the same black void she’d always felt where vampires were concerned. She put her hands on his torso and listened again. Still nothing.

“Nope, quiet as a church mouse in there,” she grinned at him and it was actually a relief to them both. “Try thinking something at me.”

“Thinking something at you?” Eric arched an eyebrow.

“Yes. Think something at me,” she insisted and waited to hear his voice in her mind. Eric grinned and the thought that seeped into her head made her blush. “I most certainly will not let you fu-”

He cut her off with a kiss that made her toes curl and he said, “We’ll see about that.”

“Good thing you don’t need to hold your breath or you’d be a dead undead man,” Sookie retorted. No way in hell was she going to let him fuck her in the basement of Bill’s house. No way, no how. He could just keep dreaming.

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