Love Makes the World Go ‘Round
I wrote this back in November 2015 for the Tease the Muse contest over on Southern Vampire Mysteries/True Blood Fiction Exchange. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough interest so the contest was canceled but the prompts remain at the above link.
Prompt: What if Sookie read the SVM books before she started high school? How would that have affected her telepathy? Her self-esteem? Her choices? Her familial relationships? And whose lives could’ve been saved with this knowledge?
Summary: How would Sookie’s life have changed, if at all, if she read her first Southern Vampire Mysteries book before high school? What else would have changed?
A/N: Sookie’s birthday fell on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 which means July 4 would have been a Saturday and she would have read the first SVM book in 2003, two years after DUD was published. She is just turning 21 in this story so was born in 1998, nine years after book Sookie was born.
Nominated For: You Want Blood Awards, 2016
Sookie squealed as she opened her birthday present from Tara; the latest book in her favorite book series.
“Thank you Tara!” she squealed as she hugged her friend, “You know how much I love these books!”
Tara nodded, “I do. I know they made a huge difference in your life since you have so much in common with the heroine of the story.”
Sookie grinned wide as she opened the next present, “Jason! You shouldn’t have, but thank you!” She placed the disc of the first season of True Blood on top of the books and gave her brother a big hug too.
Adele was smiling at her grand daughter’s antics from the doorway. Those books had turned Sookie’s life around.
They had known from the moment she could speak that Sookie was special, they just didn’t know how special until she started repeating their thoughts back to them.
She read the first book when she was only 13, but it had had a huge impact on her. She had started paying attention to the different brain signatures around her; trying to figure out who was what by the way their brains registered in hers in an effort not to end up settling in life.
She had begged her grandmother to contact someone, anyone, who could give her the answers she had been after all her life. She wanted to know why she was the way she was. Finally, for her fifteenth birthday, Adele had relented and called Mr. Cataliades.
He had been more than happy to take Sookie under his wing and mentor her. Her grades had always been barely passable because no one was actually thinking about their assignments and tests, they were thinking about everything else which only ended up distracting her from what needed to be done. With Desmond’s help her grades went from low C’s and D’s to A’s in no time. She had graduated with honors and been accepted to several prestigious universities, but she had chosen to go to LSU-Shreveport since it was closer to home.
Sookie had completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work just that year and was going back in the fall for her Masters so she could eventually work with abused and neglected children from all walks of life. She wanted them to know that they weren’t alone, there was help for them out there.
When she was 16 she had volunteered with an outreach program which worked with street kids to help bring them in out of the weather and reunite them with their families or match them with services which would be beneficial to them and get them the help they needed rather than running from their problems.
Not many people knew that Sookie had an ulterior motive for going into Social Work; she not only wanted to help the children, but she also wanted to help Supes in general. There was nothing out there for them other than a human social worker who couldn’t even begin to understand the problems beings like the two-natured would have.
Sookie had long ago learned how to identify Daemons, two-natured, Fae, vampires and a few others she had come across in both her daily life and through her mentoring with Desmond.
In fact, she had already helped Hadley. She had managed to get to the problem behind the drug use which had prevented her from running off and getting herself into more trouble than she could handle. It’s been three years since Bartlet was put behind bars; Adele hoped there were many more years of hell for her brother for what he had done to her babies.
Since this was her twenty-first birthday Sookie was going out with her friends to that vampire bar in Shreveport; she wanted to see what other species consorted with vampires. She also wanted to know if the rest of the story from the books was true; was there an Eric Northman and Pam Ravenscroft. She already knew about Sophie-Anne LeClerq since Desmond worked for her. They were keeping her ability a secret, though, at least for the time being. The option was always there to go to the queen at a later time if she were accidentally discovered.
“Hookah you looks H.O.T.!” Lafayette said when he came back to pick her up later that night. Lafayette had read the books right along with Sookie. He didn’t believe half the nonsense that crazy author had said in those books, but he had to admit; even if they were pure drivel Sookie had blossomed once she started reading them. She wasn’t a shrinking violet, hiding from everybody when she was in a crowded room as the book Sookie was. His Sookie got out there and talked to people, hugged them, shook hands; she was confident in herself and her ability thanks to those books.
Those books had taught her that everyone is different, they have their own abilities and lives. Just because someone is thinking something that doesn’t mean they believe it, it just means they are curious about whatever. They had also taught her that there were plenty of people out there who, while not just like her, were different enough that they felt isolated. Now Sookie went out there looking for the different, the ones who thought of themselves as freaks, just so she could prove to herself and them that they weren’t any more freakish than the next person.
In his opinion she had also avoided the one pitfall that just about guaranteed that she would continue thinking of herself as defective; she avoided Merlotte’s at all costs after her initial interview a few years back. She had been looking for a summer job to help with the cost of keeping up the house and had interviewed with the shifter. She had not been impressed by his manners or his thoughts.
He had immediately picked up on her sweeter than normal scent and had proceeded to do everything but pee on her in order to claim her as his. When he had called to offer her the job she had said ‘thanks but no thanks’ and looked further afield for work.
Sookie giggled, “Thanks, Lala. You know, you clean up pretty nicely yourself.” He smiled and bowed to her, “Of course I does. I’m Lala, there ain’t nobody else who even comes close!”
She giggled and blushed slightly as she grabbed her sweater and purse on her way to let Adele know she was on her way out.
Tara was waiting in the car for her cousin and best friend. She, too, had read the series along with Sookie and had taken some of the ‘advice’ given to heart. The books and television show had helped her actually understand that her life was not the norm. There were families who didn’t dive into a bottle of JD every chance they got. There were children who weren’t beaten to a pulp simply for burning the toast or opening the curtains. She had gone to the school counselor and told them what her life was like. The state had taken her away from Lettie Mae and put her in foster care until Sookie had gotten Adele to agree to take her in so she could still be close to her family. Tara had spent the years from 14 to 18 under Adele’s tender mercies and had thrived.
She’d had a steady boyfriend in JB DuRone for the last few years and he had proposed no so long ago; their wedding was planned for the following spring.
As part of the school initiative to get their students involved in the community, they had had a mandatory 40 hours of volunteer work over the course of their four years of high school in order to receive their diploma. She and Sookie had decided to aid the seniors. They went around to the homes of the elderly and offered to help them with the yard work, cooking, cleaning; whatever needed to be done which they could no longer do or could only do with the aid of another. This had brought them to Jessie Compton’s door not long after they started ninth grade. His yard looked like an extension of the woods which surrounded the property and the house looked like it would cave in on him at any moment.
He had gladly accepted the help. There was some work which they couldn’t do because they didn’t know how but they had spoken to the coordinator of the volunteer program at school who had been with them when they talked to the church elders. Mr. Compton’s house was now quite sturdy and either she or Sookie went over several times a week to bring him meals and to help him with the cleaning. Every so often he would even consent to being driven over to Adele’s or out to The Descendants Of the Glorious Dead meetings. His health was failing, though, Tara didn’t think he would see the end of the year.
They were standing in line at the door to Fangtasia, contemplating what it was like inside and wondering if being bitten was everything they had heard it was when the lady at the door who was carding came into view. Sookie took a deep breath, “Guys, she looks just like I imagined she would!”
Pamela Ravenscroft had just come into view and she did indeed look a little like Alice from Alice in Wonderland minus the blue headband. Sookie was beside herself with glee; if Pam was real then the odds were favorable that there was an Eric Northman as well, she couldn’t wait to meet him!
As they got close to the door, Sookie took her driver’s license out of her pocket in readiness for when they actually got to the door. Pam took her license and looked at it then looked at Sookie then back at the piece of plastic in her hand, “Is your name really Sookie Stackhouse or did you have it changed because of those silly little books?” she asked.
Sookie was taken aback, she hadn’t expectedfor the vamps to have read the books as well, “Well, my name really is Sookie Stackhouse and has been since the day I was born to Corbett and Michelle Stackhouse 21 years ago today.”
“I suppose you have a cousin named Hadley Delahoussaye as well?” Pam was not pleased by this turn of events. If this were true…Pam grinned, perhaps some excitement was about to come into her life after all.
“I do, but she hasn’t been anywhere near you know who; we figured out what made her turn to drugs and the bastard is now serving out a life sentence courtesy of the Federal Penitentiary.”
Pam’s eyes widened momentarily, too fast for the humans present to spot, but Sookie saw it and grinned, “If you would like we can sit down somewhere less noisy and compare notes.”
Pam grinned but then growled at those in line, “Perhaps another night breather.” Sookie just laughed, took back her license and walked on in with Lafayette and Tara right behind her.
It didn’t take long for them to find themselves on the dance floor. The music had a strong bass beat which was easy to grind to so they got down to it, dancing as a threesome until they decided they needed a break.
Sookie was just about to call for a break when she felt hands on her hips and coolish breath on her neck, “Ms. Stackhouse?” She nodded as she ground back into the one behind her. “I hear that you really are her.” That almost sounded like a question. Almost. She nodded again, enjoying the music and the mystery of the person still holding her hips.
Sookie found herself suddenly facing the other direction; face to chest with her mystery dancer. “Eric Northman I presume?” She quipped.
He grinned down at her, “I am. Would you consent to come to my office where it is quieter?”
She nodded, “After I get something to drink. I’m parched.”
“What’s your poison then Ms. Stackhouse? I will have it delivered to my office.”
She shrugged, “Today’s my twenty-first birthday; I don’t know what I like.”
“Are you driving?” He asked. She was surprised that he had asked such a common sense question although she shouldn’t have been.
She grinned, “Nope. I came with a couple of friends so one of them is driving.”
Eric grinned back, “Well then, would you be willing to let a vampire who hasn’t drunk alcohol since he was human order for you?”
Sookie blushed a shade which really complimented her white sundress, “I guess so if you think you can get it right.”
He laughed, “Oh, I think you’ll like this, Ms. Stackhouse.” He put her hand in the crook of his bent arm and led her back to his office. Once she sat down on the couch, she pulled out her phone and sent out a quick text Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Am in Eric’s office! Less than a minute later she received U go, girl! from both Tara and Lafayette which caused her to laugh.
At Eric’s confused look she explained, “Sorry, I was letting my friends know where I was so they won’t worry.”
He nodded, “Understandable.” Just then there was a knock at his door and Pam walked in with a drink for Sookie and two bloods for herself and Eric and plopped her fashionable butt into the chair opposite Eric’s desk. “Okay blondie, out with it, why are you really here?”
Sookie frowned at Pam’s directness. She appreciated honesty, but there was a limit to what she would put up with, “First off, you could have asked nicer.”
“You should have known I’m blunt to the point of pain if you read the books as you say you did.”
“Oh, I read the books. You should know that I don’t abide by rudeness if you read the books.”
“They made a great pair, didn’t they?”
Sookie laughed a little, “Yeah, they did. Now, I really am here to celebrate my birthday. I was also hoping that the rest of the storywas as accurate as the early books were about my life and I would get to meet the two of you.”
“Well,” grinned Eric, “here we are, in the flesh, now what are you going to do with us?”
“Pick your brains of course. I want to see how accurate Ms. Harris was because I want to thank her for saving me from a life of heartbreak and settling for less than I deserve.”
Pam and Eric looked at each other; this Sookie certainly was different from what they expected if they should ever run across her. She was a refreshing breath of fresh air. She was strong and confident in herself as opposed to questioning every thought she had.
“So, Billious Bill won’t be gracing our fine establishment then?” Pam quipped with a fangy grin.
“If he does, give me warning so I can get my gran and me as far away from Bon Temps as possible! I want nothing to do with the lying, cheating asshole!”
“So these books made that big an impact on your life then?” asked Eric, finally getting down to business.
Sookie nodded, “They did. Hadley’s drug problem stemmed from the abuse she received from Bartlette. He is now serving a life sentenc in the state pen, hopefully being cornholed by some butch who’s using him as a dick warmer. Hadley went to a rehab program and finished it. She’s now married to that Remy guy and expecting their first child in a few months and is living in Bon Temps, close to her family.
“I’ve just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and I’ll be starting my Masters in the fall.
“Desmond mentored me from the time I was 15 so I was able to learn not only how to control my telepathy but about the supernatural world in general.
“The queen doesn’t know about me just yet since I was a minor so she couldn’t touch me.
“Lafayette’s alive and well and in the bar. Tara’s engaged to be married next spring and in the bar as well. Gran’s alive and well. Old Jessie Compton was alive when we left tonight, but he’s on borrowed time now.” Sookie stopped to take a deep breath. “So, what’s changed for y’’all?”
Pam looked at her maker who nodded, letting her answer, “The biggest difference now is that that waste of vampire blood, Alexei is no more. He was ended just as soon as we found out he still existed.” Sookie glanced at Eric, who was nodding in confirmation of Pam’s words then took up the story, “Appius came to me in horrible pain once Alexei was finally dead. He is currently in a treatment program suggested by Ludwig. Appius was nearly at the end of his rope, he was contemplating commanding me for help, when his youngest child,” Eric grimaced. He hated admitting he was related in any way to the former heir to the Russian throne. “Was ended. It nearly ended my maker. Alexei’s madness was eroding what little bit of sanity was left in Appius so by the time he was ended Appius was more relieved than anything.
“He loved Alexei like he was his son so he could not bring himself to end his progeny even though he knew it needed to be done.”
Sookie looked a little skeptical, “So your maker is still around?”
Eric nodded, “He is although he’s not quite as bad as the books made him out to be. He can be sadistic when he wants to be and there have been times he’s made my life a living hell but, for the most part, he’s let me live my life while he lived his.”
“So he won’t sell you…”
Eric interrupted her with a sigh, “No. I told him about the books and how much seemed to be parallel to my own life and he said the only reason he could see that he would do such a thing would be to keep Alexei and himself from being forced to meet the sun.”
Sookie still looked skeptical, “How was he ended then if Appius would have done anything to spare their lives?”
Eric and Pam both grinned, “Your great grandfather owed me a favor.”
“Niall did it?” she almost yelled.
Pam nodded, “He did. If Eric had tried his maker could have commanded him to not harm his other progeny or any number of other things designed to hurt Eric in some way so he called in the favor with Niall.” Pam shrugged, “It was better than the alternative.”
“I suppose it would be!” Sookie said and shuddered, “Being forced to marry someone, taking you away from the one you truly loved would be horrible!
“Have there been any other changes?”
“There have. Sophie-Anne broke off negotiations with Arkansas and is now married to Texas. She has created more opportunities for vampires within the state. In exchange for volunteer work, most especially after Katrina, they get a break on their tributes. She has found more allies in part to help each other keep de Castro from the gates. Louisiana is stronger than ever before thanks to those books.
“We were able to get ahead of groups like the Fellowship with things like volunteer work and charitable donations and we made certain that Newlin Sr. wasn’t killed so his son had no reason to become as he was.
“The hate mongers are still out there as they always have been, but there are more who are accepting or willing to give us a chance.”
“All those positive changes just from a series of books? Wow!
“What about Quinn?”
Eric growled. “The tiger,” he said with derision, “Was fired from E(E)E when it was discovered just how deeply he was entrenched in de Castro’s organizations. The last I heard he was back in the pits fighting to make sure his mother and sister remain alive.”
Sookie shivered, “I almost feel bad for him.” Eric and Pam both glared at her. “I said almost, guys. He could have made different decisions a long time ago, but he didn’t.”
Eric nodded in agreement as Sookie asked, “So where do we go from here Mr. Northman?”
He grinned, “I thought you would never ask. I suggest dinner and dancing in a quieter place on Friday night or we could have a picnic dinner as we watch the fireworks on Saturday night.”
Sookie goggled at him, “A date? You want to take me on a real date?”
Eric laughed, “Of course. If there’s nothing else I learned from that series it was that Sookie and Eric were doomed from the beginning; they never had a chance to get to know each other. They never got to have a real date or be each other’s best friend.”
Sookie beamed at him, “It seems like we’re going to get that chance. How about dinner and dancing and if things go well we can do the fireworks the next night?”
Eric nodded as he stood, “That is acceptable. Now I suppose I should return you to your friends.” She nodded and stood as well.
Their first date went extremely well and they continued dating and getting to know each other. They were pledged and married 18 months later, January 1, 2011. Jason walked his sister down the aisle and Adele was sitting front row center, proud as a peacock and happy as can be that her granddaughter was going to be able to live out her dreams.