The last person Eric expected to see that night was Sookie. His blood tie to her was fading already, but the experience of being inside her, if only in her veins, was enough to tell him all he needed to know. No wonder Bill had been so quick to claim her as his own. Eric had known by the scent of her blood the night she was attacked by the Maenad that she was exquisite, but then he had suspected as much long before that.
He didn’t regret his trickery in Dallas for a moment, mostly because of the look on Compton’s face when he realized that there wasn’t just one vampire’s blood moving through Sookie’s veins any longer. Her demeanor toward him had changed after that. At first she had been angry, but then Sookie had voluntarily stayed behind with Godric when he couldn’t. That was a kindness he could never repay her for, and one he didn’t quite understand.
She had told him that no one should die alone, and the fact that Godric hadn’t insisted she leave him be made him wonder what was said between them in the final moments of his maker’s long life. He had strained to hear the conversation, but there was simply too much space between them for him to be sure he had heard it all correctly. Someday, perhaps, he would ask.
At the moment he was more concerned with the ring on her finger, which signified that she was most definitely a taken woman, but that seemed to directly conflict with the hints of shock and jealousy that flashed in her blood when Pam threw open the door to reveal that he was in the midst of having sex with another woman. He supposed it didn’t occur to Sookie that he wasn’t looking into Yvetta’s face for a reason. With his eyes closed he could almost convince himself that it wasn’t Yvetta he was with, but that didn’t quite work.
He Yvetta treated like the whore she was. He knew what she wanted, money and prestige. With Sookie, he knew, he would be different. Sookie didn’t care about money or what being associated with him could do for her. In fact, she seemed turned off by the flashier, more opulent things in life. The woman sitting before him wasn’t interested in sitting pretty and not having a purpose. She didn’t want things to simply be handed to her and he respected that quite a bit. More than she would probably ever know, in fact.
While Eric wasn’t ashamed of who he was there was a small part of him that regretted her seeing what she had just witnessed. He couldn’t live like a boy scout in the hopes that Sookie would some day come to her senses and realize that he was the better vampire for her to align herself with, but he didn’t need to flaunt his exploits in front of her either. Pam would pay for this. She had known precisely what Eric was doing when she had thrown that door open. Progress with Sookie was slow and steady, and it was a good thing Eric was a patient vampire or he would have gone insane already.
“Can I trust you, Eric? If I ask you questions can you promise me that you’ll tell me the truth and not just say whatever it is that will further your own agenda?” Sookie asked, breaking his reverie.
“With the exception of Dallas, I have never lied to you in the past, Sookie. I have no intention of starting to do so now,” he told her. “And to prove it, I give you my word that chair is clean. The couch, however…” he smirked as he trailed off and Sookie made a face that let him know she was disgusted with him.
“Pretty big exception, wouldn’t you say?” She sat down all the same and unfolded her arms, putting that ring back on display. Eric didn’t let his eyes wander down to it. There would be time to discuss that later. For the moment, there were more important matters at hand.
“Before we begin, why, may I ask are you coming to me when you have Bill at home whom, I’m sure, would be more than forthcoming with any information you might need?” Eric asked, and latched on tightly to the faint hint of a tie he still had with Sookie.
Her emotions were key here because it was obvious by her face that she wasn’t going to give away very much. He had experienced Sookie’s poker face firsthand in the past. Years of being able to read the disturbing thoughts of others had trained her in the art of locking down her features. What she couldn’t do, however, was hide her reactions from her blood. Whether she liked it or not, her blood would always tell him the truth.
“Because, as I said, I need answers,” Sookie told him, but he knew she was holding back. He lifted an eyebrow at her, hoping it would spur her to continue, but she seemed content to leave it that way.
“You’re avoiding giving me a real answer, but we’ll come back to that,” Eric told her. Sookie opened her mouth to respond, but then closed it again. “So, Sookie, what answers can I provide you with that Bill cannot?”
Sookie took a deep breath, presumably to get control of her temper because Eric could feel her annoyance and anger flaring in her blood. While he enjoyed seeing her riled up, it was obvious there was something troubling her and he didn’t want her to feel like she had nowhere to go. Just the fact that she had come to him when not so long ago she had said she would prefer cancer to being around him was a big step.
He determined the initial idea to use this situation to his advantage would be a poor one. What Sookie clearly needed was information and reassurance, something she obviously couldn’t get from Bill. That suggested troubles in paradise, and maybe that ring wouldn’t be sitting on Sookie’s finger for much longer. It would all depend on whether or not Eric played his cards right and answered her questions without bias.
“I need to know what a Procurer would do for the queen,” Sookie stated simply, and with no preamble.
Her request was a curious one, but not without a fairly simple answer.
“I assume you know what it means for something to be procured, yes?” Eric asked her and Sookie nodded. “That’s pretty much what a Procurer does. A regent selects a vampire that shows strengths in manipulation, persuasion and the like to be assigned to the task of securing whatever it is a regent requires.”
Sookie’s face didn’t change, but Eric felt the disappointment and sadness in her blood as she asked, “And what sort of things might a regent want a Procurer to secure for him or her?”
“Any number of things,” Eric sat forward in his seat. “It could be a valuable antique, a deal with another regent, or even a human they are unable to get on their own.”
All of a sudden it all made sense in Eric’s mind. Bill’s sudden return to Bon Temps and Sophie-Anne’s odd protection of the toddler vampire made sense to him. On more than on occasion Bill had said or done something that would warrant punishment from any other vampire. When he had moved to Area Five, Eric had been made aware that Bill was on assignment, but hadn’t been made privy to what, exactly, that assignment was. Now, he was fairly certain he knew.
Sookie was the assignment. But what was so special about her, outside of her telepathy, that the queen was so interested in getting her hands on? Telepathy wasn’t a common trait among humans, and Eric was aware of the queen’s penchant for rarities, but there had to be something else for her to send a Procurer to get her.
“What can you tell me about fairies?” Sookie asked, and her nervousness spiked off the charts even though her face betrayed nothing.
“Ah, fairies,” Eric smiled like the Cheshire Cat. “Fairies are delectable, vile creatures. To vampires they are irresistible. Their blood appeals to us in ways you cannot imagine. There is such sweetness and light… they are addictive but almost impossible to catch. Since our creation, fairies and vampires have been natural enemies. They are sneaky beings with a far more volatile way of living than children’s cartoons would have you believe.
“Centuries ago there was a great war between my kind and theirs. It was a horrible, bloody battle that took many lives on both sides. The war only ceased when the fairies retreated to their own realm and the portals between worlds were sealed. By that time, however, the fairies had already procreated with humans of this world, leaving behind hybrid kin. Many of their ways are unknown to my kind because, as I said, we are enemies. They will never reveal themselves to this world if it can be helped.”
By her blood, Eric knew that he wasn’t delivering the best news to Sookie on either front. It was obvious she had been hoping he would tell her that Procurers were harmless, and fairies didn’t exist. Finally the expression on her face changed and it became obvious that she was confused and worried about what she had learned.
“So if a vampire was to locate a human/fairy hybrid, this is something that a vampire would find desirable?” Sookie asked cautiously.
Eric considered his next words very carefully. He didn’t want to scare her, but he wouldn’t lie either.
“If a vampire knew precisely what it was they were experiencing, then yes, a vampire would find that very desirable. More likely than not, however, the average vampire hasn’t had a taste of pure fae, therefore they would only recognize that a hybrid’s blood is sweeter than most. That alone could make a hybrid more desirable than the average human,” Eric explained.
“So if I were to let you taste my blood, you would know if there was fairy in it?” Sookie asked and that definitely got Eric’s attention.
It also explained why the queen was so anxious to get Sookie under her control.
“I’ve had fae blood before,” Eric recalled and forced himself not to smile or get starry eyed. “It is… quite intoxicating. To answer your question, it’s possible I might be able to detect fae presence in your blood. Do you suspect that it’s there?”
Sookie’s eyes filled with tears, which made Eric far more uncomfortable than he was willing to admit. Crying women generally got on his nerves, but to see Sookie distraught made him want to comfort her instead of send her packing. With Sookie, on the other hand, Eric had to restrain himself from getting up and going to her. It was troubling to have that urge at all, much less to be able to do nothing about it.
“There’s a possibility,” Sookie said so quietly he wouldn’t have heard it if he wasn’t a vampire.
If that was true, and Sookie really was part fairy, this was information that needed to go no further than the room she was currently sitting in. Any vampire worth its fangs would want her if they knew the truth about her lineage. But then she hadn’t said for absolute certain there was fae in her blood, she only suspected it.
“Do you want to know for sure?” Eric asked her.
Sookie lifted her eyes to his and he could tell the decision was a difficult one for her to make. Once she knew it would change her world. Whatever it was she was trying to figure out, or come to grips with, may very well rest on the answer to his question.
“I need to know the truth,” Sookie said softly. “I can’t protect myself or make good choices if I don’t know the truth.”
She was right about that, and he was glad to hear her say it. Blindly following Compton was obviously not a good idea no matter who a person was, but in Sookie’s case it had deadly implications. Eric stood and walked around his desk. He knelt down in front of her and gently lifted her hand. Sookie gasped when he touched her, and their eyes locked again.
“I wasn’t expecting the cold,” she said, enough though he knew that was a lie. Her blood told him the truth.
“Do you want me to taste you, Sookie?” he asked, and felt slightly cheated that this was such a clinical moment. He was essentially acting as a ‘human’ blood typer.
She nodded and watched as his fangs came down. To his surprise she reached out and touched them one at a time. Eric’s eyes rolled into the back of his head, and groaned rather loudly when he felt Sookie prick her finger on the tip of one of his razor sharp teeth. In a flash his lips closed around her finger and drank what he could of her blood.
Sookie gasped again when his eyes opened, and Eric took quick notice to of the curiosity and arousal in her blood. He licked the tip of her finger to seal the wound, even though his instincts screamed at him to take her in his arms and drink deeply from her lovely neck. Now wasn’t the time for that, however. If he did everything right she would offer herself to him, but he would have to be patient.
Eric savored the sweetness of Sookie’s blood, and instantly knew that her supposition that she might be part fae was actually fact. There was most definitely fae in her blood. When he closed his eyes he could feel sunlight on his face and wind in his hair. Memories of weeks and months at sea in his human years flooded him, and when his eyes opened he was surprised to find Sookie’s finger was still resting on his lips.
“So?” she asked nervously.
“Don’t panic,” Eric started, and removed her finger from his lips after kissing the tip of it gently. “It isn’t very strong, but there is certainly fairy in your blood.”
Sookie nodded as if he confirmed something she already knew, but didn’t want to admit. He suspected that this knowledge had changed something in her way of thinking. He wanted to ask, but then he didn’t need to.
Sookie pulled the ring off her finger and dropped it in her purse as she said, “That sneaky, lying, son of a bitch.”