This is my comment to the ongoing debate about rape in fanfiction. There is no rape in this story but rape is mentioned. Only the word rape, though. No rapes are described or portrayed in any way.
I want to thank Suki59 for her comments and betaing. And for her thoughts on this subject (and all other topics).
Warning: This story contains discussions about rape. There is no rape in the story and also no detailed descriptions of rape.
“Wake up, Eric.”
It was a woman`s voice and the pale man with the long blond hair stirred a little bit. He was on a bed in a room with glass walls. He seemed naked but for the sheet that covered the lower half of his body. He was long enough to fill up the bed and one of his broad shoulders dug into the pillow. His hair covered parts of his face but one could still see that this was a very handsome man.
The voice was low and even if the man seemed to have heard it on a subconscious level, he didn`t open his eyes.
“Eric,” it repeated. “You have to wake up.”
The room was covered in rays of sunshine but it was still cool. There was a low hum from the air conditioning. The man moved an arm. A leg. But he still didn`t wake up.
“Eric.” This time the voice was slightly louder. More insisting. “You really have to wake up now. It`s important.”
An eye opened in the very handsome face of the man on the bed. It was a very blue eye.
“I can`t,” he whispered, his voice sounding almost drugged. “Vampire … the sun….”
The woman giggled. Not a childish giggle. It was more like water flowing down a creek – at least that was how her voice would have been described in a story. “No, you`re AH now. All Human.”
“No, I`m a vampire,” the man – Eric – grunted.
He was awake now. His eyes were open and he sat up in the bed. He looked around, apparently surprised with what he was seeing. Squinting towards the sun shining through the glass walls, he carefully stuck an arm out in a ray of sunshine. Then he stared at the arm.
“Don`t you think you would have burst into flames if you`d been a vampire?” the woman`s voice asked.
“Where are you?” he asked. “Who are you? Your voice seems familiar.”
Suddenly a woman appeared from out of nowhere. She was tall and very beautiful. She also had wings.
“Claudine?” Eric asked in wonder. “I thought you were dead?”
“I was,” the woman named Claudine said. “But I came back, courtesy of these.” She flapped her wings.
“You became an angel?” Eric asked.
“I`m certainly not a seagull.”
“And you`re not a fairy or I would have been at your throat already.”
Claudine smiled. “Actually you wouldn`t. You`re human, remember?”
With his index finger, Eric rubbed his teeth. “How can I suddenly become human?”
“Oh, you`re a lot of things, Eric. Sometimes you`re human and sometimes you`re a vampire. Sometimes you live in today`s Shreveport and sometimes you`re sent back or forth in time or you live on entirely different continents. You have all kinds of professions, though you`re usually very rich.”
“How can that be? I`m Eric Northman, a man who was turned vampire 1000 years ago. I`m sheriff of Area 5 in Louisiana and I run a nightclub called Fangtasia. I have a child named Pam and a wife named Sookie… ”
Claudine held up her hand to stop his rant. “Sookie is the reason I came here.”
That brought a different look on Eric`s face. Gone were the sleepy eyes and he sat up straighter.
“Has anything happened to her? Another fairy attack?”
“Oh, she`s been in plenty of fairy attacks but that wasn`t what I wanted to talk to you about.” Claudine smiled and looked very angelic.
“What do you mean, `she`s been in plenty of fairy attacks?` Is she dead?” Eric jumped out of the bed and walked over to Claudine but then something caught his eyes outside the room.
The room wasn`t on the ground floor but since it had glass walls, one could clearly see the streets below. And all the people. Hundreds of people had gathered in the streets. Most of them women.
“Who are they?” Eric asked, pointing at the large group of people down there. Actually there were several groups and they were all shouting at each other. “Why are some of them carrying banners with my name on it?”
“That was what I came here to talk to you about, Eric. We need to discuss your behavior towards Sookie.”
Eric cocked his brow. “I can`t see how my behavior towards my wife is any of your business.”
“I`m her fairy godmother. Of course, it`s my business.” She paused. “And put on some clothes. It`s distracting that you`re only wearing a sheet. And don`t go waggling your eyebrow at me. You do that way too much, you know.”
She waved her hands a few times and Eric was clothed. He was dressed in a pair of snug fitting jeans and a black t-shirt with a Fangtasia logo. He looked down at himself in surprise but then he turned back at Claudine.
“Is it about Freyda because …” Eric started but Claudine held up her hand.
“No, I`m not talking about your behavior in the books, though it leaves a bit to be desired too. I`m talking about your behavior in fanfiction.”
“Fanfiction?” he asked, his voice full of surprise. “What`s fanfiction?”
“They are stories about you and all the other characters in The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, silly. Well, really they are stories about all kinds of characters from all kinds of books and movies, but I couldn`t care less about what Edward Cullen is doing to Bella Swan. My concern is Sookie. And you.”
“Who is Edward Cullen?”
“Another vampire. Entirely uninteresting.”
“Is he in my area? Because he needs to report in if he is.”
“I think he was in your area in a few fanfics, but never mind him. He has way more fans than you have but his wife, Bella, does not have a fairy godmother so she`s treated even worse than Sookie is.”
Shouts from the street made Eric turn his back on Claudine and look at the people on the street.
“Why are they shouting at each other?” he asked.
“You`re changing the subject, Eric,” Claudine replied but then she came over to stand next to him. She pointed at one group. “They disagree on the kind of fanfics I came here to talk to you about. The ones where you`re not treating Sookie very well.”
Eric turned his head in her direction. “So you weren`t referring to the way I`m treating Sookie?”
“Well, yes I am. But not the way you`re treating her in the books. I wanted to talk to you about your behavior towards Sookie in fanfics.”
“What`s wrong with it?” He turned his head back and glanced at the people on the street. “Why do some of them have signs saying `Eric is not a rapist?` Of course, I`m not a rapist. Ask Pam. Or Felicia. They`ve both said so to Sookie.”
“That`s in the books. You are a rapist in some of the fanfics and that`s what the people down there disagree upon.”
“Why is anyone writing me as a rapist? Don`t they know that I myself have been …. Don`t they know I would never do this?” Eric looked at Claudine.
She flapped her wings a couple of times. “I`m not sure but apparently some of them think it`s very hot when you rape Sookie. Rape is a big fantasy for some women.”
Eric stared at the people shouting in the streets. “They could write about Appius raping me,” he suggested after a while. “At least that would be true.”
Claudine laughed. “No, the writers would never get any positive reviews.”
“What are reviews?”
“Oh, they are the currency when it comes to fanfic. People seem to measure a story`s success by the number of reviews it has,” Claudine explained.
“And stories about Appius` raping me wouldn`t get reviews? I thought sex between two men was also a big fantasy for some women? Slash, I believe they call it.”
Claudine nodded. “The point is that no one wants to think of you as gay. They hate Appius for forcing you to have sex with him.”
“And yet they enjoy reading about my forcing Sookie to have sex with me?”
“Sookie loves you. She`ll always love you in fanfiction even if she starts out hating what you`re doing to her. Besides, you`re hot no matter what you do. If you beat up Sookie, anally rape her while she`s crying, put her in a cage or whip her against her will, you`re still hot.”
“I am? Why?” Eric slid his hand through his hair.
“Everyone loves Eric Northman and you can do nothing wrong. Well, unless you and Sookie don`t have sex at all. That would be very wrong. But any kind of sex, forced or willing is good.”
Eric turned towards the window and stood quietly for some time, staring at the people below.
“So I`m always a rapist in fanfiction?”
That had Claudine laughing again. “No, very far from it. Usually you`re a very romantic guy.”
“Romantic?” Eric turned around and stared at Claudine. “Don`t they know me at all? I`m not a rapist but I`m also not romantic. I`m a vampire.”
“As I said, you`re not always a vampire. And in most fanfics you don`t behave like yourself. It`s part of the thrill, rewriting you. Putting you in different settings. Making you and Sookie fall in love with each other in different ways.”
That put a smile on the tall blond man`s face. “So Sookie and I are always falling in love in these stories.”
“In a few of them she`s falling in love with Alcide,” Claudine started to say but was stopped by a growl from Eric. She put a hand on his arm. “And she is very often recently divorced from Bill. But I would say that in 95% of the stories you and Sookie fall in love.”
“That`s good.” He stared back at the street. “But why are these women so upset?”
“Do you see that group over there?” Claudine pointed. “They want the people who are writing rape fics and fics where you are violent towards Sookie to put up warnings so that they don`t have to read those fics.”
“So why don`t those writers just put up warnings?”
Claudine shrugged. “I`m not sure. Some of them probably don`t realize that they are writing rape fics.”
“How can you not realize that when you are writing a fic where I`m raping Sookie?”
“They claim that it`s BDSM or that Sookie could have said no.”
Eric glanced at Claudine. “Isn`t that what rape victims keep hearing? That they could have said no?”
“I suppose it is.” Claudine didn`t seem to give it much thought though.
“And how can people not see the difference between BDSM and rape? One is voluntary and has safe words. The other … is not.”
“I can`t give you a good answer there. They might be afraid of getting fewer reviews if they warn people that you`re a rapist in the story.”
“I thought people were turned on by my raping Sookie?” Eric frowned.
“Apparently only if they can pretend you`re not raping her.”
“But what is the other group saying?” Eric pointed at a large group of women who were shouting at the first group.
“Some of them feel that you can`t fall in love with a man who`s raped you or beaten you up. That it`s making a mockery out of all the women who`ve been raped or beaten up by a spouse.”
“What are they doing about it?” he asked.
Claudine pointed at the street. “As you can see, they are voicing their concern. Loudly.”
Eric pointed at a group standing close to the first group they`d discussed. “Why are those people carrying signs about freedom of speech and censorship?”
“They accuse the other group of censorship and denying them their freedom of speech.”
“Can they delete the rapestories?” Eric asked.
“No, of course not. Only the people who write the stories and those who own the sites where they are publishing their stories can delete them. But some of the people who write about your raping Sookie don`t like it when they are criticized for it. So they claim the people who voice their opinions against romanticized rape are book burners.”
“So basically the people making me rape my wife only want the freedom of speech to go one way? They want to have the freedom to write their stories but want to deny people the freedom to criticize those stories?” Eric asked. “You`re sure they aren`t vampires because that`s really diabolical?”
“No, they are ordinary women. Some of them want to test out new waters when it comes to their writing – explore the dark closets, so to speak – and some just do it for the reviews.”
“I thought you said one didn`t get that many reviews if one warned the readers about rape in a fic?”
Claudine frowned. “I`ve already explained this to you, Eric. Most of these stories hide the fact that they are about your raping Sookie. Some of the writers won`t even admit that their stories are about rape or domestic abuse when they are confronted with the fact. But they get plenty of reviews as long as they are not clear about the fact that the story is about rape.”
“But I thought you said rape was a big sexual fantasy for many women? Wouldn`t they get more reviews if they`d screamed from the rooftops that their story was about rape?”
“They claim rape is a big sexual fantasy is but apparently they don`t want to admit it because they seem very offended when someone accuses them of writing about rape.” Claudine waved her hand at the group.
“I can see two of them holding up a sign saying `My fic is not about rape.` What are they about then?”
“Oh, those stories are definitely about rape. Only, you don`t jump Sookie on a deserted street. You force her because you have something she needs desperately. The fans of that story claim you aren`t raping Sookie but that she is a prostitute for having sex with you.”
“They are calling my Sookie a prostitute?” Eric`s voice got very loud.
“Actually, in that story you`re calling her a prostitute.”
“I am?” Eric`s hands curled up into two fists. “But Sookie is everything but a prostitute.”
“Sookie is a lot of things in fanfiction. Like you are.”
“Among other things.”
Eric sighed. “Can`t I tell them that I don`t want to rape my wife? If I`m that popular, they should listen to me.” He looked at Claudine, a frown on his face.
“I don`t think they would believe you.”
“Would they listen to my creator? To Charlaine Harris?” he asked. “I believe she`s a rape victim herself. I`m sure she doesn`t want these stories.”
“Oh, they would definitely not listen to her. Charlaine Harris isn`t very popular among a lot of fanfiction writers.”
The frown on Eric`s brow deepened but he didn`t say anything.
“So how can I get them to stop making me rape Sookie?” he asked.
“You can`t. If you complain, you`ll be called a book burner.”
Eric and Claudine were quiet for awhile, looking at the crowd who`d now started throwing rocks at each other.
After some time the sun began to set and some of the women began to go home. A few of them had blood running down their faces and one of them was crying.
Eric went back to the bed and sat down. Then he looked at Claudine who was facing him.
“Why are you here, Claudine? Obviously it`s not to stop me from raping Sookie because you told me yourself it was out of my control.”
“No, I`m here to tell you that since the writers aren`t going to warn their readers, you have to warn people whenever you rape someone,” Claudine explained. “Some of the readers are rape victims who will be triggered when they accidentally read about rape. And a lot of readers just hate accidentally reading about Sookie being raped by you and then falling in love with you.”
“Why don`t they just stay away from those fics? I think one of the signs down there said `If you don`t like it – don`t read it` and I agree with that person.”
Claudine`s eyes narrowed. “How can they stay away from the rape fics if neither you nor the writer tell them that you`re going to rape Sookie in the story? When you pretend it`s a romantic story and suddenly the readers have a rape smack in their faces?”
“So you`re saying I have to keep on raping Sookie whenever a writer wants me to but that I can shout out a warning before people read about that rape?”
“Exactly!” Claudine smiled.
“Why can`t I just be myself?” Eric asked, letting out what sounded like a huff.
“Creative freedom. The writers have to be allowed to play around with you a little. Like in this story. You would never have asked this many questions – you wouldn`t have talked this much if you`d been you.” Claudine looked at Eric and he looked at her.
“And you would have eaten me,” she continued with a lopsided smile.
“Indeed. I would have drained you dry.” Eric let his tongue run over his teeth.
“Well, actually you would have burned up with all the sunlight in the room.”
“I`m sure I could have managed to get a little sip out of you before I burst into flames.”
“I don`t think so because I would have been dead. Really dead. That angel thing was just for this story. I don`t exist anymore.” She bit her lip.
“Right. So it`s a good thing writers can make these little changes.”
“I would say so,” Claudine said.
“I just wish I didn`t have to rape Sookie anymore.”
“I do too. But warn people next time, okay?”
And with that, the angel, the man, the bed and the room with the glass walls were gone.