Pre Edit Count – 4,229 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Huckleberry by Toby Keith
The two of them just stare at each other, taking in the other from head to toe as they had wanted to in the year that had passed.
After a few minutes, Eric tells her, “I am happy you are back, Sookie.”
She smiles at the tall Viking. “I am glad to be back.”
Before she can say anything else, Eric jumps in, “I need to speak with you, and get some things taken care of. Once I do that, I can leave if you like. But you are not safe until I do so. And your safety matters…it matters much to me. May I come in?”
Sookie swallows. Reminding herself of all she has learned, and steps aside, “Please come in, Eric. I think we have a lot to talk about actually if you don’t mind.”
Eric steps in while looking down at the tiny woman he loves with his complete being and smiles. “I do not mind any time I can spend talking to you, Sookie.”
And with that the door closes.
The two stare at each other. Neither wants to break the moment with words or even movement. It’s what they want to do, but both are scared that the other doesn’t feel the same way. It is a normal reaction when you have the object of your affections before you, especially when one has rejected the other countless times.
Yes, Eric still has some of his blood in her, but not enough anymore. Those few drops had lasted far longer than they should have, but from what he understands now, it is that way for soul mates. They hold onto the blood, to anything of the other half to try to let them know how the other one is. It is a beacon to give them hints to the ones that truly belong together.
Sookie has the evidence of her memories being seared into her mind from the repetition of her Great Grandfather teaching her the lessons she so needed, but she is not sure he feels the same way. Not after all this time that she has spent foolishly rejecting him and being immature. She has no right to think he still cares. But if he does…
So both continue to stare at one another, and Eric finally breaks the silence speaking softly, “I missed you.”
She smiles. “I missed you, too. More, and less time has passed for me than you can imagine, but through it all, I missed you. I have no idea how to explain it any differently than that to you.”
He gives in to the need pounding in him, and soon has her in his arms, just holding her to him as he rests his cheek on her head, taking in her smell. He couldn’t tolerate even the small space that had been between them, not when those few words are enough to tell him that he may actually have the opportunity to have it all.
Sookie is surprised, but once his arms are around her, she feels like she is truly home now. She can find no better way to explain it. As her body relaxes into his towering frame, her eyes close and she allows herself to just enjoy the feelings in that moment. His body curling around hers, making her feel safe and treasured.
Eric smiles when he feels her body relax into his. He closes his eyes, to cement this memory into his mind. He finally tells her softly, “As much as I want this to continue, and don’t doubt me, I really want to continue this, can we talk? I wasn’t lying when I said there are things you need to know, things that I would feel safer if you knew.”
She sighs and snaps, “And that crap always will interfere won’t it?” His vampire crap. She then reminded herself that this is the world they live in. As Niall had pointed out to her, Eric has a job, just like normal human men have. She can not have all of his attention, that way of thinking is selfish and childish.
He chuckles as he leans back. His hand raises her chin so that he can look into her eyes. “It will make its appearance into our lives, but I will try to keep it to a minimum.” He loves her and he hopes that she heard that statement clearly. Because he means it, it will be their life if he can convince her to give them a chance. He will do what he can to make sure she understands this and know where she stands. Yes, vampire politics are going to raise their ugly heads and intrude into their lives, but Sookie is his. He will have her by his side through everything.
Sookie’s heart beat an extra beat when she hears that ‘our’. She nods, and takes a careful step back and smiles brightly at him. “Would you please join me in my parlor, Mr. Northman?”
Eric chuckles. He takes her hand and kisses it. “I would be thrilled to do so, Miss Stackhouse.” And with that, he escorts her into the living room.
But when she goes to leave him, he holds her hand and just asks, “Please?” The entreaty on his face is plain. He wishes for her to remain near him; he cannot allow any space between them, not when she had allowed the closeness earlier.
She slowly nods, and he pulls her to the couch beside him. Sitting down, he just holds her little hand in his huge ones, and asks, “Can you tell me?” He needs to know what happened, if there is anything else he needs to be aware of to ensure her protection.
She looks up into his face, and seeing the want, the need to know what happened, she nods, then she starts the long story, one she cannot believe had only passed in such a little amount of time, but yet for her so long ago. “I ran to my grandmother’s grave, needing to be close to her. I was hurt. I was confused. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I actually was somehow in the process of forgiving Bill when you knocked on my door. And once I saw you, it all came to me. All the questions, all the odd things, which never have added up right in my book. It was getting to be too much.”
She takes a breath, remembering that night clearly, “And then you were there. Standing in front of me, covered in concrete, so I knew that you had somehow escaped what Bill had tried to do to you. I was so happy you were alive, and I couldn’t understand why. I should hate you, you fang raped me. You gave me to Russell. But seeing you in front of me, I was just so…relieved.”
The edges of his lips turn up for a second, but he is concentrating fully on what she is saying. His eyes show the pain of the memory. He cannot deny that night, but he had tried so hard to show her his love because the second he finally admitted to himself that he loved her, he had loved her completely. Knowing that she had been mad, feeling her anger and how scared she had been through the depths of the faint bond they shared, had engulfed him in pain. He had almost given everything away with his emotions.
She blinks, not knowing how she can see so much in his eyes, then still watching him, “Then you completely tore down my house of cards. Everything that had bothered me, you aired it out into the night. Everything that I couldn’t understand why I did or allowed to happen, you exposed it. How Bill was late that one night, when he is so punctual every fucking time since then. Why he would be so interested in me, especially after how he treated me the first time we had talked. And so much more. Why I forgave him and was so fucking loyal to him when he cheated on me with his maker. Why he left me to the Fellowship. SO much more.”
She shudders as she remembers the memory, and Eric lifts an eyebrow. “I forgave him… after he… how could I?” She remembers him feeding from her, covering her mouth so that no would hear her screams and be able to help her. He had done worse than Eric ever had, and she had been so mad with Eric, but had forgiven Bill.
Seeing the pain in her face, her eyes, Eric interrupts her, “It was the blood. He took every opportunity to flood your body with it. Nothing you did was rightfully yours. I am shocked, truthfully, that you had any free will. It is what intrigued me.” And how her fire did intrigue him – enough to cause him to feel for her. He had denied it for as long as he could, but the day when he heard that she needed help in Dallas, and Bill had not even reacted, a pain had shot through his body. It was then that he realized how he felt for her. He would kill for her. He had wanted to be the one who killed the man who had tried to rape his beautiful, fiery Sookie.
She shyly smiles. But when he went to say something, she interrupts him, “Let me get this out.” When he nods, she takes a deep breath. “After you left, I needed someone to talk to. I then realized that I had no one. The first person that came to mind was the one whom I just shut the door on. The one I couldn’t understand why it was first, not really. Tara, who I would have called, I have realized is out for herself. Sam, he was too angry about me being around vampires, and I was tired of the looks from him. Lafayette, well I had got him out of trouble with vampires, and I didn’t want him involved. I never realized until that moment, that there really was no one for me. So I ran to the last person, the only person I thought cared for me.” The tears in her voice, shining in her eyes showed her how realistic she had been with herself at that time.
Eric’s heart breaks hearing this from her. But he knows now that, without the time spent without her, he would have not realized the treasure he has. However, while it may have taken them longer to get where he wants to go, he has no doubt they would have gotten there eventually. The separation was painful, but they had learned more about themselves and how they care for the other. It maybe the thing that brings them together. And if so, he will make sure she never has a reason to leave. He is hers, for the rest of his life.
Before he can say anything, Sookie continues her story. “Then in a burst of light, my fairy godmother came and offered me a way out. And I took it without a second look or even a thought. I shouldn’t have. I know that now. But at the time…” she looks up at him, and when he nods to let her know he could appreciate her thoughts at that time.
He had never planned to leave her alone. He had planned to clean up and be back the following night to make sure she was ok. He had planned to let her know his feelings. But he would have probably been harder on her, not knowing that she had no idea that she had to give up Bill on her own. If he had known, he would do what he planned to do tonight. Explain the rules.
She smiles at the man before her. “I was there, in the land of Fae, and it was so wrong. Everything felt off to my senses. I saw Barry there, and then I saw my granddaddy Earl there. I went up to him, and he told me he had been there an hour. I then told him he had been missing for over 20 years. My godmother came back, offering me some fruit that was glowing. I looked around, and it was like everyone’s minds opened to me at once, even the fairies. I immediately knocked it out of her hands. It was what was keeping them all there. If they wanted to leave, they couldn’t, not after swallowing the fruit. Then two fairies came to take my arms to force me to eat it, and I fought them off, exposing the world for what it was, what the fairies were.” She shudders. The memory of that haven being so desolate, and the faeries torn clothing bombarding her minds eye.
“They looked like goblins. I shot their Queen and they scrambled to her assistance. When they did so, I grabbed my granddaddy’s hand and we ran. As we ran, they were shooting at us with their light, the ground and rocks exploding around us as they missed. As we ran, we seemed to go from one world to another. In front of us was a man who looked like one of the elves from Lord of the Rings. He introduced himself as Earl’s daddy, Niall. Then he began scolding me. He actually pulled all my memories out of my head and proceeded, later with Granddaddy’s help, to show me what I did wrong. He told me that he did not have the time to teach me about the world that I was and had been part of, but he would teach me how to stop being stupid.”
Eric couldn’t help but grin. He can tell from her voice it had been one for the books.
She grimaces at his grin, but she acknowledged he has a reason. So she admits, “But it was a lesson I needed. I needed to know how many times I endangered everyone around me. Neither of my Granddaddies pulled any punches. He also showed me other things.” And at this she blushes. He had taught her the supernatural had no boundaries such as nudity. He told both of them they needed to get over it. From there, he had even shown her the dreams with Eric. And shown her the difference between her dreams of Bill, and what she dreamed with Eric.
And Eric couldn’t help it, “Do tell me, lover. What other things?” He can tell it is something to do with him, with the way she is not making eye contact with him, and he suspects it would be the blood dreams.
She looks up quickly at him, then remembering what her grandfather had told her, she blushes. The dreams are not from Eric. But at the same time, it is really him in them. His blood treats her the way he truly would, and to make her understand, it helps her dream. Everything in those dreams is real, it would be the way he would treat her in real life, just as Bill’s exposed his true self in his dreams.
He can’t help the laugh as he watches her. He raises her chin again, and he tells her, “I can’t say I am happy that you were gone, but I am happy you have grown, Sookie. Not that it would really matter.” She was meant to be his. And he would have accomplished it, any way he could.
She stares at him, and daringly says to him, “Because you would protect me.” She believes that from the bottom of her heart and soul. Eric has always protected her when he had known she was in danger. He had even protected her when she had not known the dangers that were around her.
He stares into her eyes, and breathes with hope, “Always.”
A tear slides down her cheek at not only the word confirming what she knew, but how he said it, and the way he looked as he said it. “I am so sorry, Eric. I have no idea why…”
She stops. Closes her eyes, then once she is under control, she gathers her courage and opens her eyes. She looks him directly in the eyes and starts to speak confidently. “My lessons also showed how wrong I was about you. You were always there, when you knew I was in danger. You always saved me. And I treated you so horribly. I would dream of you, but they were not what I would expect with the dreams.” Her face twists, “And when I said all of it was shown, I mean that even the sex dreams were shown. But it showed me what I refused to face. That I truly did care for you. That I have since Dallas.” She bites her lip then continues before he can interrupt her. “And you have come through for me, every…single…time.”
He quickly tells her, “And I will always do so.” But he had not missed her saying when he had known she was in danger. That quickly let him know there had been times when she had been in danger and he had not known about it. He quickly skims through the past; he can remember her waking him during the day once before, but other than that, he couldn’t think of another. It just told him it was before she had his blood.
She smiles and placing a finger on his lips, “Since you can’t seem to be able to say anything, let me get this out.”
When he smiles and kisses her finger, she continues, “Well, needless to say, I learned a lot. I was also told to tell you that I should have been a Renfield. Only something called a Soul Bond will rid me of all the blood that doesn’t belong to me. I was also told to choose wisely. That I knew the one who would give the right Soul Bond, the one that will cause my lifeline to be tied to theirs, and that would travel the ages with me. I was forced to face the fact that even as I was before I went to Faery, that I will outlive everyone, that I had actually slowed my aging already. I also already acknowledged that there is nothing here for me anymore.” Her lips twist with the acceptance of that. It had been a hard truth, and coming back, she knew that it was the correct decision. No one here had really held out hope for her beyond the vampire in front of her. But, she was going to have a hard time giving this house up. It means too much to her.
“I was told when I get back that I need to choose, and to choose quickly and wisely. They then gave me the time to think and helped when I had questions. Then Granddaddy went to live with his daddy in the real Fae, and they sent me back to us running for our lives from the crazy Queen.” She smirks, knowing that she had nothing to worry about, but those that had pursued them had no idea. They had been a tribe of subFae, what her Great Granddaddy called Not-Fae, who could no longer bear children. They had brought the hybrids there to bring life back to their world.
She looks to him, “See I had to return, because only I could close the portal to here from the Not-Fae, the outcasts. I did so, while also making Mab believe she killed my Granddaddy. I came here, only to find my home filled with strangers. The rest, I think you know.” She remembers falling to this time, and the pure grief that had filled her, knowing that she wouldn’t be able see her Granddaddy again. And letting her grieve for all that will come to pass also. It is what happens when you grow up.
She sighs after finally having gotten it all out. But she had needed to tell him to help cleanse her soul and he needed to hear.
Eric is smiling, his eyes actually glowing with the joy he is feeling. He asks, “I take it you have done as you were instructed?” He has a chance, he can actually feel the hope growing and rushing in him.
Sookie nods, her eyes never leaving his.
His grin gets bigger, and he pulls her closer to him. “And there is a reason for telling me all this?” he questions.
Her nod is felt by him and he gives himself a private moment to rejoice. He rubs his face on her hair, scent marking her. She will be his by the end of the night. He may not have her in all ways, but she will give him what he truly wants, her heart. He wants all that she gave to Compton and more. That twit had not deserved even a look from her.
Sighing in relief, he finally gives her a kiss on her hair. Holding her to him, he tells her, “I will be quick, then we will talk more. Your house belongs to me right this minute, but I wish to give it back to you as soon as possible. I do not like you being unprotected here. I also want to let you know that the maenad had somehow actually infected your house.”
She looks up at him, her face showing him some confusion, while she knows she can’t stay here, this house will mean something to them for a long time to come. He had hopefully already answered this need. This house will be a stronghold for them, if she will allow it.
He runs his hands through her hair, calming her. “I managed, with the team, to dance the knife’s edge and get in front of the rot and tear it out. I wanted you to hear it from me first. I tore your house down to the foundations. As much as could be saved was. Anything that showed the original workers love or anything we found that meant anything to you was given to the witches to save. I did all I could.”
Sookie nods, shocked to her core.
He gives her a minute, then softly tells her, “I replaced it all. And while I worked on it, I was given the information that time runs differently where you were. So I wanted to make sure you had one place that you would feel at home when you returned. I ended up adding a light tight space for me here, but I won’t use it anymore if you wish it of me. We found that the presence of a being limited the Rot, and so I stayed here often to make sure that we would have time to get it out before the house was destroyed.”
She looks up at him, “You stayed here, where people knew you were here, to try to save the house?”
He nods. “You love this house. I wanted to make sure you had a place to stay no matter what. It has meant much to me many times in the past thousand years to have somewhere to retreat to when life seems to get crazy. I wanted you to have the same.”
He smiles at her, but continues, “Also, since we had the house down to that level, I added many layers of protections for you. There are spells that once the house is signed back into your name will activate. No one with intentions to hurt you will be allowed close to the house. It has been made so that vampires cannot get inside by tearing the house apart. I have iron and mercury mixed in, hoping that it will help keep you safe from all Supernaturals. If nothing else, you can take haven in the light tight space until someone can get to you. It will survive all, even a direct nuclear blast.” Though he will still have to see if the iron affects her. He had known she is Fae, but according to everyone, iron had never affected her. Though he had been livid to find out Compton had her taking Iron pills not knowing if they would affect her or not. He could have killed her!
Sookie just stared at him shocked. She finally asks, “Why?” Why do all that for her? Before he had any idea when or if she was coming back, nor if she will accept him when she came back. She could see her immature self throwing a fit by now. If she had even allowed him into the house.
He looks at her gravely. “I wanted you safe. You are not the only one who has made unsafe decisions in the past. But unfortunately, the ones I made have severe consequences. So I wanted to be sure you would be safe if those decisions of mine come back to haunt you.”
She lifts an eyebrow. He hesitates. “I will tell you about it later. But I want to make clear some things first.”
He sighs, and holding her close, “I am sorry. I found out much while you were gone. I found out that I assumed something very wrong. I assumed Compton or even Merlotte would have taught you something about the Supernatural world and our rules. Instead I found out that you had no knowledge of how things are, that you don’t even know what a pet would normally know. And I am so sorry.” He nuzzles her head.
Then taking his own deep breath he starts out, “When a vampire claims you as his, it means that no other can touch you. Often this is shown with the fact you have some of his blood or semen in you. A stronger, older, or a superior to that vampire can take you from him. All those times I wanted you, I could have taken you. But I wanted something from you, something that I couldn’t take. The only other way that the ownership can be revoked is by the party being claimed. Normally this will require the individual to ask for protection from that vampire’s superior or again, an elder vampire.” He swallows, and continues.
“Being claimed this way is often the way younger vampires have fed when we were hiding what we were. But the giving of ones blood to control someone as a Renfield is illegal now. Unfortunately, it has to be caught red handed or the Renfield needs to claim such status. You had repudiated Bill in front of me. It counts, as at the time, I was not only his elder, but also his superior. But this also means that you can be claimed by any vampire if you don’t know how to answer these claims.” He is looking in her eyes, trying to get her to understand. Because if he is going to claim her, he wants her to know what her options are.
“Since you are another Supe, there are more courtesies than normal. But basically it just matters if the vampire had asked permission to give you blood. It doesn’t matter if it is a life and death matter. As a Supe, you have the right to deny it, and the giving of the blood in such a circumstance would call for a witch to burn it out. It is painful, but this way the vampire couldn’t control you any longer.” He gives her a look, letting her know he knows that this is exactly what he suspects Compton of doing.
“The only way the claim cannot be gainsaid by another vampire is if you are a Supe, and that is if any other Supe could claim for you, or if you voluntarily enter a blood bond. A blood bond is blood mutually exchanged by two beings willingly. When done three times, it is often called a Soul Bond, because the two are tied by their very souls, no matter what. Even if another changes you, you will remain the bonded of the vampire you exchanged with three times.”
Sookie’s eyes are large as she takes in the information he is sharing with her willingly, that he is answering her questions on what a Soul Bond is and what had been done to her before.
He takes a deep breath. “Right now, Compton is King. I allowed this only because I was too busy searching for you to care for the state properly. He is competent. Nothing else. But where we go from here, if you allow me to assume that there is a ‘we’, will be decided by both of us. I will promise you I will not make decisions if possible without your input.”
He then takes a deep breath and takes his future in his hands. “I love you, Sookie Stackhouse. I will love you for the rest of my life and into whatever is beyond this life. I will do whatever you need me to do to allow me to be considered yours. I will say that Compton has not been as quiet as he tried to insinuate earlier. Your gifts are known to many. I am willing to help you find a way out of this, even if you do not wish to be mine. I am sorry for ‘fang raping’ you as you termed it earlier. If I could have thought of another way out of the situation, I would have done it. But I did not know that you did not know of our laws. It shocked me how you clung to Bill thinking it saved you, when it was worth nothing at the time. But then, I guess I never let you know you could be mine either, not without mocking it. I admit I tricked you into taking my blood in Dallas, but I did it because you had gotten hurt, and Compton obviously did nothing. If it hadn’t been for the fact that some person came up and yelled that you needed him, I wouldn’t have known. I came for you, that night. Finding my Maker was a bonus by then. But I came to the church ready to murder them all to save you.” His arms tighten around her. To this second, and probably each time he thinks on it, he cannot help but be angry at Compton. And to know there were other times, it is not acceptable.
His eyes meet hers. “I sacrificed myself at that church for a chance for you to be saved. I saved you at Godric’s house because you were first in my mind. Not Godric, you. I admit I took advantage of the circumstances, but I couldn’t think of you needing me, and me not being able to be there for you. I can also admit I enjoyed feeling your feelings. Though now, it has faded to me only knowing if you are alive or not. I mourn that loss. I treasured the feelings every evening I woke with them.”
He then closes his eyes, this part will be hard to admit but he will continue to be truthful. “But right afterwards, I hated them. Knowing that you didn’t return them hurt me. When I told you I didn’t know what love was, it was true. What I felt for Godric and you was much deeper than that. Love was too paltry a word to use. But coming back here, when I felt you pulling away from me, it hurt. And feeling the raw hole from Godric’s loss didn’t help.”
His eyes turned inwards as he relived those days, that because of his vampire memory, he will always be able to recollect as though he is living through them again. “I felt you were upset when you arrived home, but not enough to cause me to come to you. I foolishly wanted you to call for me. You had the ability through the blood I had you take. But again, my arrogance made me assume you knew this. If I had known you had no idea, I would have been here. But once I heard what had been going on, I made a mistake. I went to get information from the Queen. While I was there I started to realize that something was not right with Compton.”
He shakes his head at the memory. He couldn’t play the fucking game because he felt her, and knew she needed him and he was there playing a fucking game! “I was kept there. Until Compton was the hero again. He had told the Queen I was becoming an issue. So they decided to make me sell Vampire Blood. I was caught in a catch 22. If I told that she was doing this, I would be given the True Death for treason. If I didn’t and I was caught, I would be sentenced to the True Death. I had no other choices. With all this going on, I fucked Yvette. It meant nothing to me, it was a way to relieve the stress I was feeling. Or so I thought. Yes, I fucked her for all those hours, but what you never asked, was did I get off once? No. I haven’t had sex since then, because you see, when you meet your other half, your body will not allow you a release. Without meaning to I became monogamous to you.”
He stops and looks at her. “Though I would willingly give it all up for you, I cannot do it without you knowing the truth.”
Shaking his head, Eric promises her, “I promise you only the truth. I will not treat you as Compton did. But when you came to me that night when I was fucking Yvette, I was still upset. I had planned for Compton to be taken for me to question him, too many things were not adding up in his treatment of you. Instead, I found out that had not happened. And it never got better. I was caught completely in a trap not of my making. But I worked it to save us both. I sent you to Jackson, thinking I was saving you. Instead, you got in more trouble, if possible.”
He shakes his head at how his Sookie always seems to attract danger. “I went to Jackson, hoping to save you, Pam and I. Instead I found a bigger clusterfuck than even I could handle. Then to have you there, looking at me to save you, I couldn’t do it. So I told you that you meant nothing to me. My fangs dropped not because of anger at you, but at myself for being forced to tell you this lie.” His fangs drop with the memory. It had been the hardest thing he had ever done. Telling the woman he loved that he didn’t care for her had made him so angry, angry to the point he had been savage with everyone and everything around him.
He laughs wryly at the memory of all that happened. “It never ended. I found out that Compton was sent to procure you for the Queen. I was on a time limit because the Magister was torturing Pam for selling of V. I managed to make sure Lafayette was nowhere close to being implicated, even ordering my own Child to cover for him. He had agreed to help when I explained it all to him, then I glamoured him to know none of it. But he did agree to do that for me.”
Eric had to laugh at the memory of Lafayette staring at him in silence, his mouth hanging open. “He told me that I was so fucked up that it would be a favor to me to get rid of the V. We had a plan, and it worked perfectly. He sold it, and then the authorities caught those that he sold to, never able to implicate him due to Pam and me glamouring him out of their memories.”
Sookie could not help but actually feel proud of her friend. “He did it of his free will? You didn’t force him into it?”
He shook his head. “No. He is your friend. I would do nothing to harm anyone you care about it. No matter how much I wanted to after you left.” He could not hide the growl as he thought about her friends. All but Lafayette had given up.
He shakes himself and looks down at her. “I did what I could to save us both, while getting revenge for my family from the man who had murdered them over a thousand years before. Then when it came down to it, I chose you. I chose for you to live. But to my surprise, you came outside and saved me. Then gave me your blood.”
He sighs. “Since then, I have worked exclusively to have you by my side, but only by your choice. There is plenty of stuff up in the air, but I wish to know one thing. I love you, Sookie. I believe with all my soul that you are my other half, my soul mate. Are you willing to give me a chance to make you mine?”
Her answer shocks him. “No.”
Final count: 6,039 words.