AN: An Eric and Sookie story. And not all is as it appears. 🙂 Thanks to Alan Ball and Charlaine Harris for the use of their characters.
It was pretty slow in the Emergency Room for a Friday night. There had been a few patients, including the usual suspects – those patients who sought the company of the ER staff out of loneliness or having nowhere else to go – but there was nothing particularly interesting or complicated during this evening. Working in Emergency Medicine, you could usually count on those head shakers, like objects residing in places they shouldn’t, or a diagnosis or trauma that required a surgery or a hospitalization, but that was not the night the staff and physicians at LSU Medical Center were experiencing. No, tonight they had a sore throat, a croupy child, a sprained ankle, and a drunk. They should probably thank the heavens for a quiet night, but it made for a very long shift.
It wasn’t until 3:00 am that their quiet night took a turn. A car accident. Those can run the gamut from mild to major and, unfortunately, this one fell into the major category. This was a single car accident, with one male victim. At minimum, he had a head injury and had lost consciousness, and he was being transported to them by paramedics.
The moment the call came in, the physicians and staff kicked into high gear preparing for the ambulance’s arrival. Once they were set-up, they waited, with hearts pumping and adrenaline racing through their bodies. This was the calm before the storm, as they waited in anticipation for all hell to break loose.
Ten minutes later, with sirens blaring, the ambulance arrived. The paramedics quickly rolled the unconscious male through the ambulance entryway into the waiting arms of the medical staff. There was electricity in the air from the enormous surge of energy that engulfed the room, as the doctors and nurses began their assessment.
Once in the trauma room there was a rush as the patient’s head injury was evaluated, his blood pressure checked, labs drawn, x-rays taken, and an exam for internal injuries and broken bones begun. Monitors beeped as heart rate, oxygen intake, and pulse were continuously measured. Controlled chaos permeated the room as the doctor, nurses, and techs performed their duties.
Although he remained unconscious, the doctor determined that the patient suffered from two broken ribs and a pretty decent concussion, all courtesy of one hell of an impact with the steering wheel. Thankfully, his internal organs managed to escape injury and a CT of the brain showed no swelling.
The patient’s blood alcohol was also checked and came back negative. It seems, barring any other medical reason, falling asleep at the wheel may have been the cause of the accident. It was difficult to be certain until the patient woke or family members arrived who could share his medical history, but the doctor felt confident that there would be a good medical outcome.
Jason Stackhouse listed a sister as his emergency contact. A phone call had been placed and she was now on her way in. The doctor hoped that speaking with her would eliminate any need for further medical intervention and that Mr. Stackhouse could be admitted and monitored as they waited for him to regain consciousness.
It was close to 4:00am when the doctor heard footsteps in the distance. Someone was running. They were not the heavy footsteps of a large person. He could tell that the person was small statured. A few minutes later he heard the southern lilt of a female at the front desk. He heard the inquiry and knew this had to be Sookie Stackhouse. The double doors opened and he saw a tearful, distraught blond being escorted by the receptionist. This was his cue.
“Ms. Stackhouse? I’m Dr. Northman. I’m the one taking care of your brother.”
“Oh my god, how is he? Is he okay? Please let me him be okay.” Sookie pleaded with fresh tears falling down the trail of her recently dried ones.
Eric Northman was not someone who was affected by emotions. He spent his entire existence keeping his distance and staying controlled. He was steady and quick-thinking, with impossibly fast reflexes. His bedside manner may have been considered a bit chilly by some, but his skill as a physician was beyond reproach. He was a standout in emergency medicine. Yet, here he stood surprisingly affected by the anguish of the young woman in front of him.
“Ms. Stackhouse, your brother is stable. As I’m sure you were told, he was in a car accident. He sustained a concussion and two broken ribs, but I think he should recover nicely.”
“Oh god…thank you Dr. Northman. Can I see him?”
“Certainly. He’s still unconscious, but he’s stable. Perhaps the he might find the sound of your voice soothing.”
Sookie tentatively followed the doctor as he led her to her brother. God….Jason. He was always finding trouble. Mostly, it was women, but this…she never dreamed of anything like this.
Ever since they were kids, Jason could find trouble. He was wild and undisciplined. Always seeking adventure wherever he could find it. Often that adventure had to do with some girl. There was no denying, Jason was an attractive boy who grew into a handsome man. He was by all accounts a girl magnet, with his legion of “followers” watching his every move. Of course, he would also wound the hearts of girl after girl, but for some unknown reason there would always be another girl or two waiting to move into the next open slot.
Jason had his share of male friends, too. He was just downright likable, basically a good guy, who loved sports, worked hard, and got along with everybody.
As Sookie breached the barrier of privacy that the curtain provided, she saw her brother laying on the gurney with a bandaged head. He had an IV in his arm, pulse oximeter on his finger, blood pressure cuff surrounding his bicep, and there was the beeping of the EKG in the background. Even though the doctor reassured her that Jason would be fine, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by seeing the wires and monitors and bandages.
Eric Northman stood behind her. “I know it looks worse than it is, but really, I do believe he’ll be fine.”
“Thank you” Sookie whispered. She wanted to trust what he said, but it was so hard after seeing her brother. She moved to hold Jason’s hand and started to cry. The thought of losing Jason brought back the memories of losing her parents and her Gran. He was all she had left and she couldn’t fathom the thought.
Eric watched the young blond as she hovered over her brother. Something about her tugged at his otherwise cold heart. He heard many a crying family member or friend in his time. He was not particularly bothered by crying and big emotions, although if it was an exceptionally bloody night, his found himself more annoyed than anything else. But her tears evoked something unfamiliar in him, something disquieting.
Unsettled by her, he quietly disappeared seeking refuge in the cold night air. Eric took several deep breaths to clear his nostrils of the antiseptic hospital smell, of dried blood…and of her. Ten minutes later he found that he could refocus and decided it was time to go back in. He took a quick peek in the main core and saw that Sookie was still with her brother, holding his hand with her head on the bed. He stood there watching for a few minutes never taking his eyes off of her. Realizing what he was doing, he shook his head as though to shake off her hold on him. Irritated with himself, he turned and walked to his office.
Sookie laid there with her brother for close to an hour before the nurse came to tell her that they were getting ready to admit him into the hospital. She could stay while they transferred him, but once he was in his room, she would have to leave and come back later in the day. She didn’t want to leave Jason. She was afraid if she left him, she wouldn’t see him again, but the nurse reassured her and insisted that she go and get some rest. Sookie finally agreed knowing she’d be no good to Jason if she was exhausted and got herself sick.
Sookie walked out the door into the parking lot. She was exhausted and couldn’t believe that the sun would be rising soon. It was still dark, but when she looked into the sky, she could see the slight glow of light in the horizon letting all around know that a new day was about to begin.
As she continued to her car, she couldn’t help but reminisce about the last few hours. In spite of both her physical and emotional exhaustion, she felt relieved that Jason would be okay. Her thoughts drifted from that relief to that of Eric Northman. She was too preoccupied earlier to give him much thought, but now, with crisis averted, he stood out in her mind. He was tall and blond and had blue gray eyes that showed the storm that belied his cool demeanor. Now that she was thinking about him, she acknowledged how attractive he had been. He was probably the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
Stuck in her own head, she suddenly felt as though someone was watching her. She stopped and looked in every direction until her eyes met his. He was staring at her from the door she had just left and now she matched his gaze. It felt like hours had passed even though it was probably minutes. His face was hard, absent of any expression and it confused her. Finally, his gaze broke as he looked to the sky. His eyes re-engaged hers and moments later, a smile broke his previously expressionless face. The smile caught Sookie off guard so much so that she didn’t even see him leave. He was just gone.
A chill washed over her and it spurred her to get to her car quickly. Once she was in her car, she started the engine, gripped the steering wheel, and took a deep breath. She’s not sure what just happened, but it had unnerved her. She began to pull out of her parking space while trying to shake the weird feelings she had. She laughed at her own silliness and began to drive. Right now all she could think about was going home, so she pointed her car in the direction of the sunrise knowing sleep was awaiting her.