Chapter Three: Doctor’s Visit
“Sookie, your son wants you,” Eric called from down the hall. “You might want to dress.”
Sookie grunted from where she was still lying on the floor, properly fucked, and physically exhausted. “What did you do to me?” she groaned, reaching for her dress that was crumbled a few inches away from where her legs had given out.
“I loved you into a heap of flesh and bone,” Eric called back, having heard her.
Sookie grabbed the garment, slipped it over her head, and rolled half-heartedly on the floor to make it cover the rest of her body. She had just shimmied into the dress when Eric came through the archway, holding Lukas in his arm, and lobbing a bottle of hand sanitizer her way.
Lukas cooed when he saw Sookie, and she propped herself against the bottom of the couch while she quickly cleaned her hands and held open her arms for him. The baby nuzzled into her neck affectionately, and his little arms tried their best to hold onto her.
“Hi, sleepyhead. You’re up again!” Sookie said in surprise.
“We do not know what sort of sleep schedule, if any, Hadley had him on,” Eric pointed out.
“Ah, good point,” Sookie grimaced. “Well, I suppose if he’s up, now’s as good a time as any to call Ludwig.”
Eric nodded in agreement, grabbing his cell phone from his pocket, and dialing the doctor.
“Vampire,” Ludwig greeted in her usual manner.
“Doctor, we have a rather unforeseen set of circumstances. Would you be able to come to our home at your soonest availability?” Eric asked cordially.
There was a brief pause before the doctor replied, “I can be by in fifteen minutes. Is there any urgency or chance it will be long? I have to meet with you between appointments unless you can wait until Thursday.”
“I doubt it will take too long, and fifteen minutes is just fine,” Eric assured the doctor.
“I will see you then.”
Sookie watched while Eric snapped his phone shut and re-pocketed it. He looked down to her and smiled warmly, “She will be here in fifteen minutes.”
“So I heard,” Sookie laughed.
Eric folded his legs to sit across from Sookie on the floor. His arms rested loosely on his knees, and he contemplated the gentle way her eyes closed, and the softest smile he had ever seen graced her lips while she held Lukas close to her. The Bond was singing with contentment and satiation. The first half came from the infant in her arms, and the latter came from Eric himself. It was strange for the vampire, needing to reconcile an awkward jealousy toward a baby, but Eric had always been forthcoming about his resentment toward others pleasing his Bonded. Over the years, he had acclimated himself to the presence of others, such as Jason, Angie, and Sam. Now, he would need to do the same for Lukas.
“You’re in a rare mood,” Sookie said quietly.
“I am currently repressing my territorial nature.”
Sookie leered at him from hooded eyes, her gaze knowing, “Jealous of a baby?”
“Very…apparently,” he admitted.
The telepath tilted the small boy to sit on one of her thighs, then patted the other one invitingly for Eric to rest his head on. “This is me learning to drive all over again, you know.” Eric nodded before placing his head in Sookie’s lap. Her fingers played with his shoulder-length hair while she patted Lukas’ back with her other hand, “And the first time I protected the portal to Elfyria.”
“I know,” he sighed.
Sookie chuckled, “I never thought I would see the day when my Eric was afraid of me leaving him!”
“You were so helpless when I found you,” Eric whispered, “like a snared rabbit, or a bird with a broken wing. As much pride as I had in watching you heal, mature, and learn, you always looked to me for everything. I did not realize how much I came to depend on that.” Eric snorted at his realization, as if he were simultaneously amused and annoyed with himself, “Look what you have done to the mighty Viking, Sookie. You have him completely at your mercy.”
Sookie stroked his scalp lovingly, “You know it goes both ways. I might not need to look to you for everything anymore, but I still preen whenever you praise me. I think I’ll always look for your approval in everything I do. I’m at your mercy, too. You could break me with a single look of disappointment.”
Eric chuckled when he heard the crystal in the room tremble with Sookie’s power. Sookie had not made anything inadvertently blow up in quite some time, as far as Eric knew, and it amused him that the doctor’s sudden appearance had almost caused her to lose control.
“And who might this little one be?” Ludwig asked, looking pointedly at Lukas.
“You will be the only one to know the truth aside from our Bloodline,” Eric began. “He is the son of Sookie’s cousin, Hadley.”
“So he is a fairy hybrid, then,” Ludwig nodded.
“He is also a telepath, according to Sookie,” Eric continued.
“Ah, let me see him,” Ludwig held out her hands, and Sookie reluctantly handed over Lukas. The baby boy whined after he was taken from Sookie, and Sookie rose from the floor to croon at him soothingly.
“It’s okay, Lukas. Mamma’s not lettin’ you go,” She played with his little hands and feet while Ludwig looked the boy over.
“Well, he is not a fairy/witch hybrid…” Ludwig began slowly. “His presence is not similar enough to yours. If I am correct,” she frowned, making Sookie’s heart flutter anxiously, “he is a fairy crossed with an Unrealized.”
Eric’s jaw clenched, and Sookie began to panic at her Bonded’s troubled emotion. “What does that mean?” Sookie asked desperately.
Ludwig patted the young woman’s hand, “It means that he is a very special child, and could grow to fulfill a very important duty when he is much older.”
“D-doesn’t he have a choice?” Sookie demanded, taking Lukas from the doctor, and bouncing him with her nervous energy. Her hand was running from the base of his skull to the middle of his back repeatedly as she kissed the side of his head.
“Of course he gets a choice, Little Gi-…” Ludwig cut herself off, and looked at Sookie a moment before smiling. “Of course he does, Young Lady.” Eric’s eyebrows rose at Ludwig’s new name for Sookie. “I should examine you while I am here. Give your Bonded the child.” Sookie handed Lukas off to Eric, and turned to face Ludwig, “Have you been getting headaches lately?” she asked, looking into Sookie’s eyes.
“Um, yeah, every so often.”
“She has taken my blood for a few of them,” Eric told the doctor.
“Gums tender?” Ludwig asked.
“A little,” Sookie was becoming concerned.
“Congratulations, Young Lady. Your wisdom teeth are coming in!” Ludwig cackled.
“This is a good thing?” Sookie asked.
“It means that your body matured quite a bit more since I first met you. It is finally hitting its late teens or early twenties once your wisdom teeth erupt. Open your mouth.” Sookie slung her jaw open while Ludwig put on a pair of gloves and took a penlight out of her pocket. “Oh, yes, they are starting to sprout. Close your mouth.” Sookie snapped her jaw shut, and Ludwig began feeling around at the hinge of her mouth. “Hmm, they’ll need to come out,” she said knowingly. “We’ll schedule a time to do that.”
“Isn’t that a surgery?” Sookie whimpered.
“You’ll be fine. I’ll numb you up, rip them out, you drink from your Bonded, and you’ll be as good as new,” Ludwig shrugged as if this should not be an issue.
“Okay,” Sookie pouted at the thought of her teeth being ripped out.
“As for your little one, I will be by on Thursday to give him a proper exam. He is in decent health right now. He could use a little more weight, though. I’ll yank out your teeth on Thursday, too, Young Lady,” She pointed to Sookie sternly. “That way I know you won’t dodge me, since you’ll have that baby on your hip for his exam.”
Sookie scowled at having been figured out as well as manipulated, but nodded in agreement without any more fuss.
“You three have a good evening. I will see you on Thursday,” Ludwig made her final goodbye, and vanished in her usual manner.
Letting out a small sigh, Sookie looked at the baby in Eric’s arms. Lukas was nuzzling into her vampire’s chest, and she could feel his brain slowing down while he succumbed to sleep once more.
“I’m going to put him back to bed,” Sookie said as she reached for the boy. Eric handed him off easily before leaning against the frame of the couch. “I’ll be right back,” she called, already in the hallway.
Eric leaned his head back against the body of the couch and closed his eyes. He listened while Sookie crooned to Lukas. He felt her heart fluttering in her chest when, he assumed, the baby made some loving or dependent gesture toward her.
Sookie returned, rubbing her eyes free from the beginnings of fresh tears, “I can’t believe how much he makes me want to cry!” she laughed at herself. “I thought that was a pregnant woman thing!”
Smiling at her antics, Eric opened his arms for Sookie to fall into, “Many women get emotional over infants, not just the ones who have given birth. As I have said, your connection to him is one made very strong by your likenesses. Empathy plays a very strong role in what causes you to be so emotional toward him.”
“I guess.” Sookie hugged him tighter as she said, “Although I feel sort of… I don’t know a word for it,” she admitted. “I think I’m afraid I only care about Lukas because of what he represents, not for whom he truly is.”
Nodding in understanding, Eric spoke softly, “He is still so very young, and his personality is new to both of us. Currently, I only have the patience for him that I do because of what he means to you. Eventually that will change, I suppose, and I will care for him in his own right. I can only assume the same will happen for you. There will come a point when your concern for him will no longer revolve around his gift or horrible parentage. You will begin to long for his laughter and smile. You will cry because he skinned his knee, or fell off of his bicycle.” Eric’s hand was smoothing her hair while he contemplated their future. “In time, I am certain we will become a family for him.”
Sookie thought about all of this while Eric continued running his cool hand through her hair.
“Sookie,” the girl flinched at Pam’s voice suddenly in her head, “can you tell Eric my long-term commitment has come to a head?”
“Don’t you own a friggin’ cell phone, Pam?” Sookie grumbled right back.
“I do, but this is so much more convenient than going to my purse.”
Sookie swore under her breath before telling her Bonded, “Pam says some ‘long-term commitment’ has come to a head.”
The woman did not miss the way her Bonded’s shoulders tightened, and she felt anticipation blooming inside him. “What sort of commitment was it?” she asked, her eyes narrowed.
Smiling at her, Eric rose from the couch and kissed Sookie’s head, “I do not wish to tell you.”
“Any particular reason why?” Sookie asked, eyebrows now raised. When all he could offer was a shrug, Sookie shook her head, “Whatever. When will you be back?”
“It depends on some circumstances,” Eric grimaced. “More than likely, it will only be two or three hours. However, I might be detained until after sunrise.”
“Well, since it’s probably Sheriff stuff, I’m gonna assume it’s really not any of my business,” Sookie shrugged, but paused when she felt Guilt tug at her heart. “… Until you went and started feelin’ guilty, that is.”
“I have to go, Sookie,” Eric kissed her one last time before leaving.
Sookie wandered around the house, looking for something quiet to occupy her time. Normally, she would have called her brother or Angie under such circumstances, but given that she had just seen them, she opted to crack open a book and read.
Just as she was getting into the adrenaline-fueled experiences of Robert Langdon hunting for a bomb in the Vatican, she felt Eric’s end of the Bond explode. Shock, Anger, Fury, Disbelief…
The terror went on and on, and Sookie found herself clutching her heart while she screamed through the Bond, “Eric, what’s wrong?! What happened!? Are you-”
“I am not physically injured. That is all I can say.”
Despite trying to get more answers from him telepathically, her Bonded had shut her out of his head, or was doing a marvelous job of ignoring her. Instead of wasting her time trying to chip away at his resolve, she next went to his Child.
“Pam, what happened to Eric-”
“He is not under attack. That is all I can tell you.”
Sookie growled in frustration before going to her Bonded’s Maker, “Godric-”
“I have already spoken to Pam, Sookie. I cannot tell y-”
“STOP IT! I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BONDED!”
“You do, but he will tell you when he is able. Right now… The matter does concern you, and it is extremely delicate. Please, remain calm.”
“Remain calm when I am able to feel Eric, and he seems as if he’s about to start murderin’ people?!”
“It will be all right, Little Sookie. Relax. He will level out shortly, but, right now, he has a job to do,” Godric’s voice in her head sounded both concerned and sympathetic. The last time she had heard that tone from her Bonded’s Maker, it had been while she was coming to terms with having accidentally killed her grandfather, Fintan, who had only tried to protect her.
“It can’t be fairies. Claudine would have warned me!”
“It is not the Fae.”
“Then who? No one else would come after me!”
“Sookie,” Godric tried again, “please, just be patient. Eric will handle things, and all will be well once more.”
“I’ll try, but someone better give me some answers soon!”
Sookie ended the telepathic conversation there, and flopped onto the couch. Every so often her heart clenched as though it were about to shred into a thousand pieces. She felt as if a knife was being twisted over and over again into her chest. Eric was so furious and dismayed that Sookie could not help but fear that someone had found a way around their Bond, and had made a play for her, trying to take her from him.
It took all of her strength not to drive to wherever he had gone. It took all of her willpower not to use their connection through the Bloodletting Blade, to be by his side instantaneously.
“Eric,” she whimpered, clutching the upholstery of the couch as another painful throb tore through her heart. “Eric, please, let me in?”
“You found him?” Eric was practically skipping into Fangtasia.
Pam nodded, “Yes, it only took me five years of scanning DMV photos to do it.” Her expression clearly stated that her sacrifice warranted certain compensation.
“What is his name?”
Holding up a printout of a driver’s license, Pam told him, “Carter Wright, age 42, resides in fucking Avon, Mississippi, which is why it took me half a decade to hunt him down. I had to sift through all of the Louisiana licenses before moving on to Mississippi.”
“All?” Eric frowned at her melodramatic claims. “You were only looking at the pictures of men, thirty to fifty-years-old, blond hair, brown eyes, over five-foot-nine.”
“That was still a fuck ton of pictures!” Pam complained.
“I am sure,” Eric agreed patiently. “Now, I have business to which I must attend.”
“Enjoy!” Pam called after him as Eric tore out of the back entrance of his club and into the sky.
Eric flew as fast as he could to Avon, Mississippi, grateful that, over the years, he and Sookie could sustain a much larger distance from each other without suffering from Separation Sickness. He had anticipated this evening for a very long time, ever since the evening he had driven home from the police station and His Sookie had told him of the man who tried to purchase her from her guardian, Bartlett Hale.
Unfortunately, information about the prospective buyer was minimal. He and his Bloodline only had the man’s image in their heads from an inadvertently shared thought of Sookie’s, but Eric had run with the information. After giving the search criteria, every DMV photo that fit the description was acquired, illegally, for Pam to sift through in her spare time during the day. Of course, his Child had huffed and complained, but Eric knew how much Pam desired the end of the monster who had bargained for ownership of Sookie.
Later in the night, Eric landed in the front yard of Carter Wright. When he knocked on the door, he could hear a TV muted within the dwelling. Soon, the door swung open, and Carter Wright stood before Eric, his arms crossed over his chest.
“Well, shit,” Carter seemed to laugh to himself. “Eric Northman really did give a shit ’bout findin’ me.”
Eric frowned, “I did not know you prior to today.”
“But I bet y’all heard a lot ’bout me,” Carter replied, almost proudly.
“Too much to allow you to live,” Eric assured with a snarl. “How do you know this?”
“Come on in, Northman,” Carter laughed, shaking his head.
The vampire was surprised, to say the least, at being openly invited inside when Wright knew exactly what Eric’s intentions were. Remaining on alert, Eric followed Carter into his living room.
There was a newspaper article taped on the wall. Eric recognized it as the article about Fangtasia’s Grand Opening, and it featured a picture of himself, Sookie, Pam, and Longshadow standing in front of the club.
“I recognized that girl pretty fast,” Carter explained. “When I knew she’d took up with a vamp, I figured my days was numbered. Tell me, she still a perfect doll?”
“Excuse me?” Eric whirled around from looking at the newspaper pinned to the wall.
“She still drift out?” Carter twirled his hand. “She did that a lot when Hale used on her. It’s what made me want her,” he explained dreamily. “That vacant, doll stare she got. Like she could just release her mind and take anythin’ Hale dished out… Fuck, I wanted to break that stare! But she got away ’fore I could take her on.”
“She never told me you witnessed her abuse,” Eric frowned.
Carter snorted, “How you think Hale found buyers?”
“Excuse me?” Eric snarled.
“Product marketing!” Carter was laughing with so much inhuman pleasure, Eric wanted to break his jaw. Instead, he watched as the sadist walked to his VCR and popped in a new tape.
There was a split second of static before the image of a young girl, suspended from a ceiling, came onto the screen. Eric’s jaw clenched at being shown such a video. The child could not have been much older than fourteen. Her blonde hair covered her face, and her rear was the main focus of the camera.
Eric reached to turn off the video when, suddenly, a switch struck the bottom of the girl’s foot and a terribly familiar voice cried out in pain, a single, plaintive note of agony, but one Eric had heard before. His eyes snapped back to the screen, and he stared at the girl with incredulity and an all-consuming need to be wrong. No, no. Do not let it be-
“No more climbing trees for you, right, Sook?” Another terribly familiar voice, a voice he had made certain would never be heard on this Earth again.
No, no, no… Eric shook his head while red tears coursed down his face. His cellphone was ringing. Sookie’s voice screamed in his head. “I am not physically injured. That is all I can say,” Eric tried to placate his Bonded.
“Now this? This is exactly why I didn’t hide when I found out about you and Hale’s little doll,” Carter whispered in satisfaction. “It just feels too fuckin’ good to make a vamp cry in pain. Worth anythin’ you might do ta me!”
Eric turned his blood-streaked face upon Carter Wright, taking one step closer. Carter’s satisfaction wavered from his expression when Eric took another, slower, step toward him. “Are there more tapes? How many buyers did Hale have?” The tape was still playing in the background, escalating Eric’s rage with every sound of the switch against her skin, and every suffering, agonizing noise Sookie made in response.
“I look like his bookkeeper?” Carter demanded.
“Tell me and I will kill you much quicker than I plan to right now,” Eric snarled.
When Carter stared at him in delighted defiance, Eric quickly glamoured him for the truth. Hale had been very discrete in his sale of Sookie. This had been the only tape, created as a lure for Wright. Apparently Carter Wright’s predilections were very well known in the area’s community of monsters, and Hale had made a direct offer.
“You made me work for it. That means you will not die any sooner than I am satisfied,” Eric growled after he struck the man over the head, knocking him unconscious. The vampire extracted a pair of gloves from his pocket and put them on before taking the tape from the VHS player.
With the tape and Wright, Eric left, locking the doors behind him. He threw Wright into his own car and drove off into the slowly ascending dawn.