Summary: An ‘I Write the Songs’ contest entry. Set immediately after book 4. Eric is tormented by thoughts of Sookie and although he may regret taking action, he would regret not taking action even more. AU.
Disclaimer: All characters owned by C.Harris. ‘Be My Downfall’ by Justin Currie/Del Amitri (lyrics used in text wil be in bold italics)
Status: Complete. One Shot. Approx. 2,900 words.
Be My Downfall
I watch from the roof of her ramshackle house as the heap of scrap she refers to as a car, put-puts along the smooth driveway. Every night since my curse was broken I have stood here, every night I am far too tempted to make my presence known to her, every night I have to physically stop myself before I make a grave mistake and let my feelings show.
For weeks I have been plagued with thoughts of Sookie Stackhouse, she has not told me anything of what transpired during the days I spent at her home when I was cursed. My child, Pamela, has spoken of how close I was to the telepath, of how I was not myself, yet in small ways, still the same vampire I was before and am again now.
In Shreveport, she waits alone for me, for me to reconcile with the changes I have gone through. Yes, I have been forever changed by my experiences; my mind has no recollection of my time with Sookie but my body, the chemistry of my being, yearns for something. Not blood, not sex, not war … no, something deeper, a physical desire that fangbangers cannot fill, a thirst that the finest, rarest donors cannot slake, an empty rage that the hardened fighters of the underground scene cannot quench. I have been remiss in my Sheriff duties in my attempts to quell the storm brewing inside my chest, but when I try to focus on what I need to do, for my area, for those who owe me fealty, it is her face that drifts into view. What has she done to me? Is this a second curse?
I have been drawn to Sookie since I first set eyes on her; I lusted after her, I made attempts to seduce her … all for me to have no memory of when she finally yielded. When I awoke that night with my mind intact, it was obvious we had made love, often and in many places around her home. The scents of her sweat, blood and arousal, of my juices, permeated the entire house but more than that was the instinct to hold her, to feel her against me, the physical connection was still there even if my ability to recall the events was not. Her body called to me but when she realised I was no longer the addled soul she had rescued, that call was silenced.
I am aware that Sookie is under the impression I am not the same man as he was, I may be a vampire but I am very much a man, and she is partially correct, I am not the same man. I will never be the same again. Many women have captured my interest over the centuries but none have affected me like Sookie Stackhouse.
I fly down to the ground floor where I can see in her bedroom window, mindful of her seeing me and being frightened; I have no desire to see fear in her eyes when she gazes upon me. Noting that she is not in her chambers, I lower myself to the ground and slowly walk around to the stairs of her front porch. Inside the house I can hear the crackle of a fire; it sounds comfortingly familiar. We had many open fires when I was human but the familiarity I feel is not coming from my pre-vampire state. Did Sookie and I spend time in front of that very fireplace and did I comfort her, or did she comfort me? I shake my head, endeavouring to lock my emotions inside; as long as I have walked this earth I have survived by keeping my feelings in check and in another situation I could put up a fight, but my resolve weakens more with every sundown, she will be my downfall tonight.
I came here as soon as the sun had set enough for me to venture outside without being harmed. As I take these few important steps towards her door and rap my knuckles against the aged wooden frame I notice it is now full dark. I hear the lock disengage and wonder if Sookie is purposefully taking an agonisingly long time to open the door, or if it is my own perception that is making the action take far longer than it should. Rather than invite me inside, she silently steps onto the porch and closes the door behind her, the weak light of the quarter moon drowning us in blue.
“Eric. What do you need?” Her blunt approach to my visit renders me temporarily speechless. Is that what she thinks of me? That I would only visit her because I could use her? “Well?”
“The only thing I need Sookie, is for you to listen to me.”
She sniffs softly and I take in her appearance, her eyes are puffy and pink rimmed, her cheeks radiate heat from her obviously sitting a little too close to the fire. The Louisiana Tech shirt she is wearing is overly large, as if it were bought for a man my size. Six months ago, her looks and outfit would send me in the opposite direction but now, tonight, I want to gather her into my arms and console her … but then, perhaps I am the cause of her sadness.
“So? If you want me to listen, pal, you should start talkin’!”
“May I come in?” I try to be annoyed by her comment but fail, I am not stupid, I am fully able to understand why she would be impatient and irritated by my presence after everything she has been through in her short time as part of the supernatural world.
“If you want to come inside then it must be bad.” She sighed and turned back to the door, opening it wide and dramatically throwing her arms out. “Come on in Sheriff.”
I cannot suppress the smirk gracing my lips at her actions but it is quickly dampened as soon as I cross the threshold and the smell of her tears fills my nostrils. I nod and thank her for her invitation before moving through to her living room; my being inside this house again brings my previous thoughts to the forefront of my mind, everything I feel, it all points towards the things I know I shouldn’t do. I shouldn’t have come here, I shouldn’t have come to her door, I shouldn’t be in her living room.
“Do you want a Trueblood? I still have some; I think they’re in date.”
“No … thank you, it won’t be necessary.”
“You’ve already fed?” I can see the merest hint of pain in her eyes as she asks me that question. She isn’t asking if I have drunk from a human; she is asking if I have fucked anyone.
“No, I haven’t, my appetite isn’t the same since …” Since the 9th day after the curse was broken. “May I sit?”
She nods and gestures to the worn sofa with an ugly afghan folded over the back, it does not escape my notice that she takes the chair opposite. Does she not want to be close to me? Or is it that she is trying to hide that she does want to be close to me? I can feel her yearning through her blood. It sends an unfamiliar pain through my chest knowing that the yearning is not for me; it is for the lost soul she harboured at the beginning of the year.
“You said you needed me to listen, what, exactly, is it you need me to listen to?”
“I wish to speak with you about my time here.” I hold up a hand to silence her as she gears up to tell me that nothing happened, that she had nothing of importance to tell me, that we did nothing. “I have no questions, I simply wish to share the knowledge I have and then I will be on my way.”
She snorts and shakes her head. “So what do you know Eric?”
Sookie crosses her arms under her chest, making her breasts more obvious; I wonder if she realises that her actions draw attention to them? Images of her naked torso after the maenad attack, of the outfit she wore to that poor excuse for an orgy and of her lacy lingerie in Russell’s mansion flood my mind. I close my eyes and try to focus on what I need to say.
“I know that we were close, physically and emotionally. When I arose that evening, I could smell myself and our activities all over your home but more importantly, I felt connected to you, not just through the blood.”
Sookie’s hand flies to her chest, resting over her heart. I can hear the blood being pumped through her veins faster and the feeling of trepidation creep into the weak tie I had formed through the few exchanges we had had.
“I also know that Pam observed our interactions on a few occasions while I was cursed, she has spoken of our affection for one another, our mutual trust and respect; she finds it quite … humorous. Apparently I almost seemed human.”
“The fact that vampires think they’re above having trust and respect for humans is funny? That Pam always did have a skewed sense of humour.”
“She has only ever known me as a vampire, an old vampire at that, with very few people to trust and even fewer that I respect. May I continue?”
She nods and apologises; I can see her beginning to relax in my presence. This pleases me. Her tension had been fuelling my own discomfort, and her stiff posture prevented her from seeming like herself. Sookie is stubborn and can snipe verbally with the best of them, but she has never been physically rigid or terse, it’s part of her charm. Most humans I am in contact with are either too relaxed, especially with their sexual favours, or extremely tense as a result of working with beings that can kill you with a well timed wrist action.
“I know that I have become obsessed with regaining my memories of my time staying here and that even if you somehow became amenable to telling me what went on, it wouldn’t be the same as having my own account.”
“I already told you …”
“Stop. I am not blind and although I am technically dead, I am not without feelings. Whatever, or whoever, the brain matter on your coat belonged to is inconsequential.”
“Chicken … you helped me kill a chicken for dinner.”
I snort and raise an eyebrow at her claims, the so called chicken smelled a lot like Were to me, why was she hiding it? Did she think I would blackmail her? If Sookie or I killed a Were, it would have been because our lives were threatened and from how cagey she is, I would hazard a guess that she was the one who did the killing. Did she kill a Were to protect me? No matter. I bring my train of thought back to the issue at hand.
“As I was saying.” Sookie casts her eyes downward, but did not apologise for interrupting me … again. “I do have feelings and they distract me from my duties; if there was any way for me not to have feelings, I would be doing that but instead I am here … with you … hoping that sharing my knowledge of events will somehow make my feelings make sense.”
Sookie barks out a laugh and shakes her head in disbelief. “So, mighty Sheriff, what exactly do you feel?”
I didn’t expect that question, I expected her to deny that I was capable of feelings, not be asked to put labels on them. Truth be told, I wasn’t entirely sure I could name all of them; they swirled within me, blending into one another.
“I feel affection … for you and I miss your company, the past few weeks I have been despondent and easily angered. I feel frustrated, confused … abandoned … and then I look at you and I fall under your spell, you feel like home Sookie.”
I want to look at her, I want to know if my words have affected her but I can’t look into her eyes. Instead I focus on the blood; there is no fear, no hate but something … warm, not lust completely, although it is similar. Not for the first time I find myself wishing we were fully bonded so I would be able to sense all of her emotions rather than the stronger, more distinct ones. I can see her moving in my peripheral vision and listen as her footsteps echo around the room. As usual Sookie has turned away from an intense situation. I put my head in my hands, I should have known better than to lay my cards on the table in such a fashion; Sookie has a history of running and refusing to face things.
“Eric?” I turn towards Sookie’s voice to find her standing in front of the fireplace holding the afghan. “We need to talk, sit with me … please?”
I nod and slowly make my way to the rug, kneeling before stretching my legs out away from the furnace.
“You can take your jacket off y’know; I’m not gonna kick you out or somethin’.” After I’ve removed my jacket, I drape it over the arm of the closest chair while Sookie settles next to me and throws the visually offensive blanket over our legs. “We sat like this a couple of times, I told you about my life and you listened to me. Seems as good a place to talk as any.”
“What did you tell me about?”
“How we met, how we know each other, how I got my scars.” She shrugs. “We did a lot of talkin’ here and … actually everywhere but this is where I feel more comfortable right now. You liked to tell me things too but seein’ as you didn’t know who you were … well, your side of things was pretty limited.”
Now I see her reluctance; not long ago she had a man in her home, a man who listened to her every word and spent time with her at the end of each day, he needed her as much as she needed him and he had no responsibilities to leave her for. He was hers, and only hers, and in turn she was his. Sookie was mourning in a way, perhaps it would have been easier for her if I had met the final death in the witch war than be returned to my full capacity.
“If you could go back in time, would you still take me in?”
“Yes! If I hadn’t then the witches would have found you eventually. If I had passed you without stopping that night and I heard about something happening to you … I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.”
“But you are in pain … right here.” I reached over and touched my fingers to her breastbone. “I can feel it. You would subject yourself to the same pain again to save me from meeting my end?”
“I … yes I would.”
“You have no regrets?”
“Umm … well … no, now that I think about it … not at all.”
I want her to be mine. I have always wanted her to be mine but I realise now, I am … afraid, afraid of how she makes me feel. She weakens me.
“Sookie.” I cup her chin with my hand and stroke my thumb across her cheek. “There are so many reasons for me to end my pursuit of you, to end you even. I am torn, when I am with you I feel strong and weak at the same time.”
“I know that feeling!”
“Please.” I beg her with my eyes not to make light of this situation. I pull her into my lap and smooth the wisps of hair away from her face. “You could be my great regret, be the one girl that I’ll never forget.”
“Eric, I … we shouldn’t.”
“Be my undoing, Sookie, be my slow road to ruin … tonight.”
I place my lips upon hers, her softly at first; it’s only a moment before she starts to reciprocate. As our kiss becomes more passionate, I can’t imagine kissing another woman … oh yes; Sookie Stackhouse will be my downfall.