The Cleansing

Summary: Kicks off where S3 ended and explores what might happen to Sookie in the Fae realm and how it affects the vampires she left back in Louisiana. The ‘renfield’ theory was shamelessly used from a discussion on the Sookieverseblog forum. SVM/TB
Disclaimer: All characters owned by C. Harris/A. Ball
Rating: M/16+
Status: Complete. One Shot. Approx. 4,000 words.

The Cleansing

Sookie grit her teeth as she felt another wave of magical energy begin to wash over her. She had no idea how long she had been bound and tethered to that bed, it felt like weeks but it could have been only a matter of hours. When she first entered the Fae Realm with Claudine she had been prepared to heal from the physical and emotional pain that her involvement with vampires had brought down on her. She had been prepared to dig deep into her psyche and open all of the wounds she had previously tried to ignore. She had been prepared to talk to her Fae kin about everything she had gone through. But she hadn’t been prepared for the agony of truly casting the vampires, particularly Bill Compton, from her life.

As she lay sobbing at her Grandmother’s grave, begging for answers, praying for a fresh start, wishing she had guidance, she had thought she saw everything she asked for in Claudine’s eyes when the Fairy held out her hand and asked her to go to their home world. Even the act of stepping into the light of the portal between realms had lifted a weight from her shoulders. But now she was left wondering if all of this suffering was worth it.

The young telepath squeezed her eyes closed and focussed on the conversation she had had with Claudine immediately after her first steps on Fae soil.

–**–

“You need to heal, cousin. I warned you that he would steal your light, you are lucky to still be alive.”

“I know.” Sookie sighed. “Everything was a lie. Every word out of his mouth … all lies.”

“He came here. His first instinct was to attack me. He must have taken so much of your blood, child.” Claudine turned to face Sookie and placed a hand on each of her shoulders. “For him to gain access to our world subconsciously, he must have practically drained you.”

Sookie’s face paled significantly. For reasons unknown, she couldn’t look Claudine in the eyes while she explained things. “He did. I rescued him, he was injured. I offered my wrist. It was my own stupid fault but he … Bill, he saved me from dying in the hospital afterwards. He gave me his blood to heal.”

Claudine pulled back from Sookie, contempt evident on her features. “Yes, we know. He gave you blood before, after he watched you being beaten by those disgusting humans.”

“There were other times.” It came out as a whisper but the widening of the Fairy’s eyes indicated that she had heard. “There was always a reason though. He never forced me to take his blood.”

“But he never explained the full extent of prolonged consumption from only one vampire?”

“It never came up, there was never time.”

“It makes no difference. You will be free of his influence, we will cleanse you Sookie. It will be long, arduous and painful but we will remove the taint he has inflicted on your being.”

“Influence? Taint? You mention something about prolonged consumption and then tell me it makes no difference but that isn’t true. It does make a difference, or are you planning on keeping me in the dark as much as he did?”

Claudine sighed and gestured for Sookie to follow her. “The first taste of vampire blood heightens your attraction to that vampire … usually that is enough for most the undead but some want more control. The more of a vampire’s blood you drink, the more they can influence your feelings, cloud your judgement, convince you to see their point of view.”

“But Bill would never …”

“Never what? Manipulate you into a relationship with him? Turn things around so you blame yourself for his indiscretions? Try to convince you that you can’t live without him when it is the opposite that rings true?”

Sookie thought back and looked at her time with Bill with a fresh view of things. He did manipulate her, he let her get beaten so he could give her blood and initiate a relationship with her. He blamed her for him having to turn Jessica, even though it was Bill who staked Longshadow, not her. And Sookie forgave it all. So easily. He had said he would stay away from her, give her time, but how long had that lasted? It didn’t even seem like a full day before they were back in each other’s arms and even then, he acted as if nothing had really changed.

“Do it. Get me booked in for the vamp blood removal service or whatever it is. I want my mind back.”

–**–

The tears rolled from her eyes as the Fae magic did its work. It felt like her body was being turned inside out, slowly. Through her pain, Sookie could ascertain that there were others in the room with her. She heard voices, one of them being Claudine’s, the other was definitely male, but she was so blinded by agony that should couldn’t tell what he looked like even though he was standing right next to her. She tried to focus on what they were saying but her suffering was such that it was impossible.

The two fairies stood by the bed and impassively watched the mostly-human girl convulse and pull at her restraints. Claudine had ensured that the cleansing process be performed only by her, she would have no mercy on the poison in her kin’s veins. An unrelated Fae might have been tempted to take it easy on Sookie, but Claudine knew that her cousin could endure much more. She heard her Grandfather make small noises of approval as he watched the process; he had waited until Sookie was disorientated from the cleansing before gracing her with his presence. He didn’t want to shock the girl by introducing himself during such a confusing time for her.

“She is strong. Her blood is diluted but her essential spark must shine brightly for her to endure this level of Magic.”

“She is of my bloodline, of course she is strong. How many times have you had to repeat this process Claudine?”

“This is the fifth wave. She was so innocent, Grandfather, she didn’t even question the vampire about why she was being given his blood so often. He was a young one, if it was indeed a life or death scenario every time he fed her, surely he could have sourced older, more potent blood to heal her?”

“It is disturbing. What did you say the vampire’s name was?”

“Bill Compton, my Lord. Sookie told me that he was under the employ of a vampire Queen – Sophie-Ann LeClerq. He had been sent to procure her for her blood and her telepathy.”

The elder growled deep in his chest. “Why was his presence in her life not investigated?”

“It was.” Claudine hissed. “But her level of trust in him made it impossible for us to protect her adequately without revealing ourselves. We had to wait for her to come to us. If we had contacted her to warn her she would have gone to him immediately and relayed the information.”

“Watch your tone Granddaughter. I do not tolerate insubordination, you know this. But I do see your point. If she confided in him about every aspect of her life then we would have been exposed. She has suffered greatly due to this, but it is preferable to us all being hunted.”

“She will want to return. She sees the humans as her family, not us. Once she has recovered from the cleansing, I doubt she will remain here for long. Will you tell her?”

“I am not entirely sure she is ready for her family tree to be unveiled. If she is adamant about returning to the human realm I will have to make an advance visit. This Bill Compton knows of the benefits of her blood, he will be waiting for her.”

“She had the blood of another vampire, very old. It was a small amount but potent enough to still be active on a basic level.”

“Interesting. Has she spoken of this?”

“She has spoken of many things.” A sly smile tugged at Claudine’s lips. “She told me of the older vampire, how he used her to exact revenge on an old foe. Although it turned out that the old foe was a threat to Sookie herself, so she saved him from burning in the sun.”

The male fairy grew impatient. He had no idea why his Granddaughter was being so ridiculously vague about the identity of the other undead mosquito that had tainted Sookie’s blood. “Claudine, you will tell me who the vampire is, right now. I grow tired of your games.”

“Eric Northman.”

“The Viking?”

“Yes, the Viking. Apparently he tricked her into taking his blood; she was very hateful and aggressive when discussing it. It was decidedly odd.”

“Possibly an effect of Bill Compton’s blood. As an elder vampire, the Viking could simply take Sookie but Northman is nothing if not an egotist. He would want Sookie to go to him of her own free will, this Compton character could have been continually feeding her his blood and manipulating her view of Northman, perhaps even influencing her feelings towards the Viking.”

Claudine snorted. “And that’s a bad thing? Bill Compton was a stain on her life, surely having an elder vampire controlling her would be even worse!”

“Claudine, I know Eric Northman and I trust him. He is honourable, for a vampire. I think I will look into this further, I will return when I have answers.”

Claudine bowed her head deeply as her Grandfather left the room and set her attention on her cousin once more. The fairy inhaled deeply and focussed on the magic, it was almost complete. Soon her kin would be free.

“Just once more Sookie, then you can relax and recover.”

Claudine’s supportive words and gentle smile went unnoticed by Sookie as she wailed and sobbed and arched her back. The telepath was so consumed by pain that she wasn’t even there anymore, not mentally anyway.

–**–

Sophie-Ann LeClerq walked around the crumpled form on the floor. She thought it had been very curious. One moment they had been fighting to the death, then the next he was wailing in agony, calling for the part-Fae she had instructed him to bring her. He was incapacitated to the point that it wouldn’t even have been fun to stake him and end his miserable existence. The vampire Queen sighed and settled on one of the only chairs that hadn’t been destroyed in the fight. She thought about his words, something about having nothing to survive for and wanting to protect the telepath. It sickened her to see a vampire she had once respected act like a complete fool, the idiot actually thought that dying by her hands would protect Sookie Stackhouse?

She giggled at that and started to reconsider sending him to final death whether it would be fun or not. Bill Compton let out a groan and started to straighten out his body, the Queen was pleased to see he was finally coming out of whatever torment was being inflicted on him. When he was lucid enough, she replaced her leather gloves and picked him up, securing him with silver chain.

“Is she dead?” Sophie-Ann sneered.

“Sookie! Oh Sookie, what have you done?”

The Queen sneered and punched him in the face. “I asked you a question Bill. Is. She. Dead?”

“I … I don’t think so but she was in so much pain. I have to find her. She will need my blood.”

Sophie-Ann quirked an eyebrow. “You feed her every time she is in pain?” Bill nodded. “Well no wonder you two were inseparable. Is that the only way you could keep her Compton? By making her a renfield?”

Bill hunched over in pain as another wave of burning washed over him, then sat up straight. “No. No. I … I can’t feel her but … I don’t think she’s dead. Quite the opposite, she felt strong before our connection faded.”

“Good. If she’s still alive I can still get my yacht.” Sophie-Ann rubbed her hands together. “You must be an awful boyfriend if you had to keep her under your influence through blood.”

Bill snarled and fought at his restraints. “She cannot be glamoured.”

The Queens eyes widened and her hand flew to her mouth before she started giggling mercilessly. “Oh … oh dear!” She wiped away a bloody tear from her eye. “I stand by my original statement. You must be an awful boyfriend!”

“Every time I wronged her, every time I had to use the influence of my blood to make her forgive, it was all for you! You and your damned obsession with day walking!”

“Really? So … nothing was your fault? You have no obsession with the telepath at all. You did everything so I could have her?”

Bill at least had the grace to look sheepish. “I love her.”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” The Queen snapped. “You don’t love her. You hardly even knew her, not in the sense that would lead to real, true, love. You love her blood. You love the way she made you feel almost human again. You have no idea what it feels like to truly love a person, not what that person is. If you truly loved her you would have put her above your project. If you truly loved her you would have told her everything she needed to protect herself in the supernatural world. But you didn’t. You fed her blood and lies. You kept her in the dark so she would be dependent on you and you alone. Geez, Bill, you really fucked up.”

“Mark my words your majesty. I will end you if you so much as lay a finger …”

“Blah, blah, blah.” Sophie-Ann interrupted with a bored expression. “Who else knows of her value?”

“Northman and his child. I attempted to end them to protect her but … they were harder to kill than I thought.”

“Really Bill?” The Queen mocked a surprised gasp. “What on earth made you think that a vampire who has survived for a millennium would be hard to kill?” Bill hung his head, humiliated by the Queen’s simple act of pointing out the obvious. “You’re a failure on so many levels its unbelievable. I want you gone, out of my states. I don’t give a shit where you go. Wyoming has the least vampires, I’m sure you’d find that you’re superior to at least one of them. I’ve also heard Nevada always welcomes young, impulsive vampires into the fold.”

Bill watched as the Queen stalked out of his home, waiting until she was far enough away that she wouldn’t hear him. He let out a horrific cry in mourning for the loss of his Sookie.

–**–

Eric paced the dirty concrete of the sidewalk. He had chosen this place for the meeting as he knew it would be secluded. Most of the buildings were abandoned and those that were occupied were empty after their days labour had concluded. The call he received was one he hadn’t expected but welcomed whole heartedly. He hadn’t seen Niall in a couple of centuries, and although the Fairy prince didn’t tell him what business he wanted to discuss, Eric hoped that he might have some information on the whereabouts of Sookie Stackhouse and what her physical condition was.

The vampire’s head snapped up to watch a Rolls Royce coast towards him and stop behind his shiny red sports car. When the Fairy Elder stepped out of the rear of the vehicle they nodded to one another. Their races may have been at war and may be mortal enemies but Eric was never one for refusing someone his respect simply because of genetics.

“Vampire.”

“Fairy.”

“I understand you are familiar with a member of my family.”

Realisation dawned on the Viking. “You have claimed her?”

“No. We are cleansing her but she will wish to return to her life in the human world. You gave her your blood, what is your connection to her?”

“She interests me. I gave her my blood in an attempt to find out why a young vampire such as Bill Compton was interested in her.”

“Did you?”

“Unfortunately, yes. His motivations and actions were even more suspect than I had thought.”

“Does Sookie know?”

“Yes. I told her everything. She was in great emotional pain when I left her home, then I lost our connection. I knew she was still alive and was most likely with your kind.”

“How many know of her heritage?”

“Me, my child, Bill Compton, Sophie-Ann LeClerq and, Sookie’s cousin, Hadley. She was brought to the attention of Russell Edgington due to Bill’s idiocy but I have taken care of him.”

Niall nodded. “The foe she saved you from burning with.”

“Yes.”

“I will ward her and her property as much as I can and we will train her in her gifts to protect her but it will not be enough. When she is rid of the poison in her system, she will also be more adept at making decisions.”

“Good. How far gone was she?”

“If he had fed her any more she would have been completely under his control. That is another reason you gave her your blood isn’t it? To try and counteract the effects of Compton’s influence.” Eric nodded. “Perhaps it was for the best then. She will need a protector.”

The Viking raised an eyebrow. “She doesn’t trust me.”

“But you want her to.” Niall cocked his head to the side and gazed at Eric with interest. “She will be given a Fae guardian, but it would be … beneficial if there were someone who could keep her guardian apprised of the vampire situation.”

“Understood. You say she’s being cleansed of all of the vampire blood in her system?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

“Good? I would have thought you would be unhappy at your miniscule influence being removed.”

Eric grinned at the old Fairy. “I hardly used my influence over her but she seemed to think I was continually invading her dreams. When she realises that it isn’t the blood, she’ll come to me.”

“I warn you now, Viking, disrespect of my kin will not be viewed lightly. I know your reputation. Tread carefully Northman.”

“Always, Niall, always.”

–**–

Sookie woke feeling refreshed and full of vitality. Her skin slid against the satin sheets luxuriously as she moved to take in her surroundings. She mused that this was a far cry from the simple wooden cot she had been bound to before Claudine started her magic mojo on her. Noticing a mirror on the back of the door, Sookie got out of bed and walked towards it. For the first time since waking, she was aware of her lack of clothing and had a brief flush of embarrassment knowing that perhaps more than one person had seen her naked in the process of her being placed in the bed she had risen from.

She had expected her body to show some sign of physical stress from the trials it had been through but the only blemishes she could see were some scarring on her neck from where Bill had fed and the faint silvery lines left from where she had been attacked by the Maenad. At the mere thought of her ex-boyfriend she became overwhelmed with rage and humiliation, as her feelings increased she felt a burning in her hands and saw a glowing ball of energy in each palm. Shocked at the discovery, she immediately started to think about the magic, rather than her problems and the orbs of white light dissipated.

Just as Sookie was contemplating this new discovery, she heard a rapping at the door. She spun around, looking for something to cover her nudity, and set her eyes on an ivory silk robe.

“Uh … just a minute!”

“Sookie, are you okay?” Claudine’s muffled voice came through the door.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m just making myself decent!” Sookie threw the robe on and tied it at the waist quickly. “Okay, you can come in now!”

Claudine opened the door and smiled at Sookie. “Modest are we? No need, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before!”

A blush rose in Sookie’s cheeks. “Well, I like to be fully clothed when I speak to members of my family.” The telepath’s eyes widened as she remembered why she was there in the first place. “Did it work?”

“Completely. All traces of vampire blood have been removed. You, my cousin, are fresh as a daisy! But there is still much to do.”

“Like what?”

“Well, I assume you will want to return to the human world. You will need to hone your gifts to protect yourself better.”

“About that … earlier I got my flashy hand thing but it went away when I calmed down.”

“I will teach you to control it. I will also be returning to the human world with you, for protection.”

“Seriously? Wow … I mean it’s great that you’re coming back with me. Will you be living in Bon Temps?”

“No, I have an apartment in a larger town nearby but I will be able to transport myself instantly to your side when I feel you’re in danger. Now, about these flashy hands, you would be referring to your ability to blast pure energy from your palms, yes?”

“If that’s what you call it, then sure. It happens when I’m angry.”

Claudine nodded. “That’s how it always starts. There are clothes that should fit you in the closet and there is a meal prepared for you in the dining room.”

Sookie listened as her cousin gave her directions to where she could find something to eat and shared a hug with the Fairy before she was left alone with her thoughts once again. She realised that she hadn’t thought to ask Claudine how long she had been in the Fae realm.

–**–

The telepath rolled around on the, still, unfamiliar bed trying to drop off to sleep. She had been in Fae for two weeks now and was planning on returning to the human world through the portal in the morning. Claudine had explained that time moved differently in each realm but couldn’t give Sookie a straight answer as how to how she’d been away from Bon Temps in human time. She stared at the intricate patterns on the ceiling and wondered if it would be day or night when she got home. She hoped it would be day. Many nights she had woken from nightmares of stepping from the portal into the path of a vampire who wanted her Fairy blood.

A fat tear rolled down her cheek when Sookie considered that vampire might just be Bill. She had been so blind, she was willing to run off and marry a vampire after only knowing him for eight weeks simply because the first time she met him his mind was blank to her. Sookie chastised herself at being so stupid, she thought that after so many years of hearing everyone she should be more wary of someone she couldn’t hear. It didn’t matter how many times Claudine told her not to confuse naïveté and innocence with stupidity – she would always feel like an idiot. Somewhere between berating herself and calling Bill every name under the sun, she drifted into a fitful slumber.

Sookie rolled over to face her bed partner, tucking a stray strand of blonde behind his ear. “Your hair is growing out; did you get bored of having it so short?”

Eric ran his fangs lightly over the knuckles of her hand. “I like it when you pull my hair when we kiss … and other things; having longer hair makes it even hotter.”

“Like this?” Sookie threaded her fingers through his hair and pulled his mouth towards hers.

“Son of a bitch!” Sookie sat bolt upright in bed, aroused and angry at the same time after her dream and cursing Claudine for not getting all of the blood out after all. That was the only reason she would be dreaming about Eric Northman … wasn’t it?

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