Last updated: 12/11/2013
Summary: Sookie makes a life altering decision after a family tragedy. One-shot, AU.
AN: This is a dark story involving the death of a SVM character, so consider yourself warned. It takes place in an AU, sometime in Deadlocked, except the “Sookie-saved-Sam-from-death-with-the-cluviel-dor” scene never occurred. It touches upon a “what if” scenario…what might happen if there was a magic bullet offered to someone who is heartbroken and driven by grief…
Sookie stayed behind long after everyone left…long after the casket had been lowered and symbolic dirt and flowers were cast upon it. Although it was an unusually cold December day, the sun shone bright and hurt her eyes.
Sookie stood and stared down at the coffin. Her handsome, athletic, devil-may-care brother lay rotting underneath the wooden lid while the sun merrily beamed down from the cloudless sky.
She shook her head as she thought about the ceremony. After the short sermon, Maxine Fortenberry had the gall to simper “at least the funeral was on such a beautiful, sunny day.” Sookie had snarled, “Too bad it isn’t raining on everyone’s heads,” causing the woman to titter her disapproval and waddle away. She had read the bitch’s thoughts, which were less than charitable…
There had not been a “viewing” and the service had been closed casket. She had seen the body in the morgue and because the left half of his face was crushed, and due to the extensive trauma to his body, he was inappropriate for “display.” Needless to say, the mortician readily agreed with her. Michele’s funeral had likewise been closed casket.
She shook herself from her morbid thoughts and looked up at the gravedigger who had quietly approached.
“Mr. Dupree, I know you have a job to do and all, but I was wondering if you’d give me a few extra minutes to say goodbye to my brother?”
He nodded and walked away while casting a sidelong glance at her. She read in his thoughts that he also thought of her as “crazy Sookie.”
She didn’t care what he or anyone else thought of her. After all, it was what she was used to… She did, however, care that most of the funeral attendees had thought Jason “deserved what he got” for driving recklessly and not wearing a helmet. She also cared that her brother was thought of as a murderer for killing Michele, who was riding with him the night he crashed his Harley into a guardrail on a back road not far from his house. The odometer had frozen at the time of impact, indicating he had been driving over 90 miles an hour…
So yeah, Jason had been speeding. But…did that mean he deserved to die? Apparently so, according to thoughts of many of the town’s residents.
And then, if her brother’s violent death hadn’t been horrible enough, she was further traumatized when she found out that the Bon Temps Tribune ran a front-page story about the accident. The fuckers actually posted a link on their website to the accident and autopsy reports (which were considered fair game because they were “public record”).
Sookie was incensed about the invasion of her brother’s privacy and blatant disrespect for the deceased. She had called the editor of the newspaper and demanded that the link for the autopsy reports be removed but was essentially told “tough shit, free speech, the public has a right to know, yadda yadda, so fuck you.”
That wasn’t good enough for Sookie. With a little bit of sleuthing, she obtained the phone number for the president of “Media National,” the Florida based company that owned the newspaper. She had spoken to the president’s personal assistant, who listened to her tragic story politely enough before bluntly asking: “What did she want?” Well, she told her that she wanted the link to the autopsy reports taken down immediately. Within twenty minutes she had received a phone call from the Tribune’s editor-in-chief, who was all of the sudden contrite and (surprise, surprise) informed her that the reports would be removed.
While Sookie felt vindicated and relieved to have the information removed from cyberspace, the damage was done.
From the accident report, she learned that while Michele had likely died immediately at the point of impact, her brother had been thrown approximately fifty yards from where the motorcycle crashed. A woman driving the dark country road reportedly observed the motorcycle hitting the guardrail “in a shower of sparks.” The witness had heard Jason’s agonized moans and located him in the pitch-black night. Andy told her that the woman had held Jason’s hand while she waited for EMS to arrive.
Sookie later visited her home to personally thank her for trying to comfort her brother while he died.
It was a shred of comfort, albeit cold. True, he didn’t die alone in the dark…and at least Gran wasn’t forced to bury her grandson as she had her two children. But the images she got from the woman of her brother’s final moments were permanently branded into her brain. Her thoughts had haunted Sookie night and day since then.
She suspected they always would.
She knelt by the open grave and did something she hadn’t done in a long time.
She prayed. But when she prayed, she felt nothing. Today, God was not there to comfort her.
She got back up and dusted off her knees before plucking two roses out of a nearby sympathy spray. She dropped one on the casket and took another one as a keepsake, to press between the pages of their family bible, along with the lock of her brother’s hair she had requested from the mortician.
After she returned home, she stripped out of her funeral attire and went straight to the bathroom.
She turned on the shower and as she waited for the water to heat up, she looked in the mirror. A stranger stared back at her. Suddenly, a black wave of grief crashed over her, swallowing her whole. Her stomach turned and she began retching into the toilet, to the point of experiencing painful dry heaves. Afterwards, she fell to the floor and sobbed.
Somehow, she managed to finish her shower and then crawled into bed, dripping wet.
The next thing she knew, the sun was shining brightly through her bedroom window. For just a split second, she thought Jason’s death had been a bad dream, but then the sharp razor’s edge of reality slashed through her chest, causing a crushing pain in her lungs.
She sat up in bed and gasped for breath as tears began to stream down her face. Helpless to stem the tide of grief, she screamed in anguished rage. She cried until her head felt as if it would explode.
After the tears finally ebbed, she got up and threw on a pair of sweatpants and Jason’s flannel shirt she had taken back from his house. She gripped the collar and inhaled deeply. It was bittersweet since it still smelled like his cologne and just…Jason. The familiar scent triggered a round of hyperventilation that drove her to her knees. She sat heavily on the floor for several minutes until she finally was able to get ahold of herself.
It had been like this after Gran died, these private breakdowns. She generally held it together while in public, but when she was alone, well, there wasn’t anyone around to see her fall apart, was there? And now…she truly was alone in the world, even more so since Eric was betrothed to Freyda and her fae kindred were sealed in Faery. The only one left was Hunter, and she had agreed to keep her distance from him until Remy contacted her for assistance.
She steeled herself to go downstairs and make coffee. She forced down half a cup and then had to sit immobile while her stomach threatened to rebel against the unwanted contents. After several minutes, convinced she could keep the coffee down, she went to the hall closet and got out a jacket. She slipped on her old hiking boots she kept by the back door and trudged to the graveyard.
When she got there, she sat by Jason’s freshly turned grave. The ground was cold, but she ignored it. He was buried next to their mother. Gran was on the other side, next to her father and aunt Linda. Sookie supposed she would be next in line, to lie beside Jason in the remaining family plot when her time came.
There was a temporary marker in place while his headstone was being engraved, and so his grave felt…incomplete somehow, less “official.” She looked at the lone floral spray that remained. She had taken a potted plant home with her and asked Tara to distribute the rest of the flowers and plants to anyone else who wanted them. Sookie made sure she saved the cards so she could thank the senders…when she got around to it.
As she often did with Gran and her parents, she began to talk.
“I had a bad feeling when you told me you got that damned motorcycle. But you were so proud. I remember you laughing at me, telling me not to worry, that you knew what you were doing. But…you didn’t, did you?”
Angry tears started falling hot and heavy down her face. “God damn it, Jason,” she whispered.
She sat with her head on her knees for some time, long after her weeping had ceased. When she came back to her senses, she realized she was quite cold and her back ached from sitting on the hard ground. She got up and stoically headed back to the house.
After kicking off her boots in the foyer, she went into the kitchen and poured herself some water from the tap. She knew she should try to eat, and so after rummaging around in the fridge, she pulled out a casserole that one of the ladies from the church had dropped off. She heated up a small plate of the bland noodle-based dish but couldn’t get more than a couple of bites down. Food just seemed to stick in her throat and tasted like ashes in her mouth.
She went over to her answering machine and saw the blinking light indicating she had several messages. She played the first few seconds of each one before erasing them, since they all seemed to be generic sympathy sentiments. She stopped when she heard Eric’s velvet bass.
“Sookie, I know you said you need time alone after your brother’s funeral, but I am worried about you. Please call me when you are able. I also have…good news. I just spoke to Cataliades. He says he thinks I have an excellent case for getting out of the Oklahoma contract. I will be in touch if I do not hear from you soon, lover.”
Well, that was something. She loved Eric and was glad to hear he was taking the initiative to get out of the quagmire his bastard maker had pushed him into, but she was so numb…it was as if she had split, detached from herself. It felt like she was watching a copy of herself go through the motions of life.
She drank the rest of the water and headed back upstairs to her bedroom.
She was about to climb onto her bed, but then paused.
She turned and headed to the bathroom. She opened up her makeup drawer and pulled out the round green talisman, so like a compact in appearance. She held it up to her face and breathed on it. Surprisingly, it seemed to warm to her touch and subtly vibrate. She straightened up as a thought occurred to her.
A terrifying, dangerous thought.
A blasphemous thought?
She walked back into the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed. Here, literally sitting in the palm of her hand, was the power over life and death. A once in a lifetime, one chance in a zillion, not to be squandered, ability to wish for anything she wanted. On some level, in a third person detached sort of way, she knew she wasn’t in her right mind, that she was crazed with grief…but it was only a small whisper of reason in a maelstrom of heartbreak.
She ignored it.
Could she use the cluviel dor in such a way? Would it offend God if she did? Would it be like that story about the monkey’s paw, where the heartbroken couple’s dead son returns as a zombie?
She gripped it tight in her fist and lay tucked in a fetal position on the bed. Unheeded, tears began to soak into the pillow.
She whispered, “I wish Jason had never gotten that motorcycle and that he lives a long, happy, and healthy life.” She held her breath and waited but nothing happened.
She sighed deeply, though it did nothing to ease the knot inside her chest.
Well, it didn’t work.
It figured…duplicitous fucking fae.
She put it on her nightstand and stretched out, quickly falling into an exhausted, dreamless slumber.
She wasn’t aware when the cluviel dor began rotating rapidly and opened to flood the room in brilliant light…
She woke to the sound of banging on the front door. She shot up in bed, her heart pounding in her chest. She glanced around the room, disoriented in the dark. She had slept through the day, apparently.
She suddenly remembered her wish, made in pain and grief before she had fallen asleep. She got up, nervously smoothing her hair as she crept down the stairs. As she tiptoed to the door, she noticed that the knocking had stopped but the doorknob began moving back and forth, as if someone was jiggling it to gain entry.
She felt a thrill of terror for a moment but then…she caught the thoughts of the person standing on the porch.
She threw the door open.
“Jesus, Sook! You deaf? I been out here knocking forever and freezing my ass off! I was hoping you’d have dinner ready. I’m starving and Michele’s out of town.”
Sookie smiled, feeling all the while that her heart would burst. “Come in, Jason. I’ll make you dinner. Anything, anything you want and it’s yours.”
Jason laughed, his eyebrows raised in surprise. “Wow. Anything, huh? Well, all I’ve got a hankerin’ for is Gran’s fried chicken. That okay?”
“Yeah, like I said, anything you want.” She began shaking as she stared at him. She closed her eyes and began sobbing.
Jason closed the door. He stared at her, worry etching his face. “Man, what’s wrong sis? You look like you seen a ghost!” He pulled her to his chest and hugged her.
She cried into his chest for some time but finally took a deep breath and pushed away from him. With trembling hands, she reached out and held her brother’s face. He was warm…and so very alive.
She shook her head. “Nothing’s wrong. Everything is just right.”
She gave a watery laugh and hooked her arm in his while escorting him to the dining room.
After he sat in his usual chair, she kissed his forehead, eliciting a confused grin from him.
“Welcome home, Jason,” she whispered and then went into the kitchen to prepare dinner.
AN: Dedicated to the memory of my beautiful sister.