Pre Edit Count – 2,212 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Hold Me Now by Red
Sookie grins and, doing what she was told, gathers food she had not thought to eat ever again. Sitting down, she smiles at her Gran. “It’s a long story, and I can only tell you so much right now. But I will tell you everything I can.” And with that, Sookie begins telling her a tale that she is happy that she gets to come back and fix now.
By the time Sookie has talked to her Gran, the morning is gone. She kept a lot out though, and now has a nagging feeling for not telling her everything. It may be because of everything that has happened to her, but she has learned not to lay all her cards on the table. Life has a nasty way of making you learn those lessons the hard way.
Adele is sitting there staring at her granddaughter in shock. The story she had just told her was unbelievable, but Sookie has never lied. Finally letting go of the breath of air she is holding, she decides to deal with first things first. Her mind is feeling cloudy, but she puts everything on a list in her head of what really needs to be dealt with first.
“You need to call Sam and tell him you have another job. Since we know he will take it badly, just tell him no more than that. Then we will talk some more.” She folds her hands on the table, and waits for this first step to take place as her mind turns over the rest of the information, getting stuck on the fact that there was a contract stating that Sookie was to marry a man named Warlow. It is probably just a name passed down. Even if it is the same one, the fact that the family made the contract means that honor is at stake. It was no worse than an arranged marriage to her mind. Sure, it would unusual now, but not when it was made.
Thinking over what her Gran said, Sookie nods, and quickly makes the call. She is not looking forward to this, but remembering everything that happens, this is the least painful method of dealing with it all.
The phone rings a couple of times before a baritone voice answers, “Merlotte’s. Sam speaking.”
Smiling at the lightness in his voice, Sookie prepares to tell him the news. “Sam, Sookie.” She runs through her options, knowing that he won’t be so reasonable if he knows it has to do with vampires. So she plans a way to tell him without mentioning vampires. He can’t accuse her of lying and at this point in their life, she has no idea about his prejudice with them.
She can hear the smile in his voice as he answers her, “Chere! What can I do for you?”
She sighs, “I am going to be blunt about this Sam, I have been offered a job that pays way more, but only on the condition I take it now.” Not that this is totally true; Eric would wait for her, she is sure of it, but they don’t need Sam fucking around on them. Not tonight – not with the stakes involved.
Sam sounds surprised when he says, “I didn’t know you are looking for another job, Chere. Can I offer you more?”
She smiles. Even knowing the truth behind his offer, she tells him the story Eric had offered earlier. “Not really. I met someone one night coming home. We haven’t allowed anyone to know about us, and well, he knows about my quirk. He asked me if I would work for him, and what he is offering… Well, Gran would color me a fool if I turned it down.” Nothing she says is untrue, and judging by how her Gran is nodding, she will agree with her. Either way, she will not go in to work. There is too much that should happen when she shows up tonight.
A sigh comes through the line. “I want to talk to you about this, but it will have to be tomorrow.”
Biting her lip, she thinks. “I may have time to stop by tonight. No promises. But I will come by when I can.” She says it to make him happier, but she is not sure when she will have time. She really remembers how upset he was when she wouldn’t date him, but it wasn’t like he hadn’t had time to try before now. No, he was content to wait until someone else wanted her.
Sounding defeated, he replies, “I wish you all the luck, Chere. See you soon, hopefully. I need to see if I can get someone to cover your shifts.”
She nods, biting her lip to not offer to help him. “Bye, Sam.” With that she hangs up the phone. She sighs, staring out the window telling herself that she will not feel guilty.
Adele is watching her, and finally asks, “Did he try to guilt you?” She has known how Sam feels for Sookie, but she is not impressed with how he just seems content to leave it like it is. Sookie deserves more. Plus, she is already promised to another.
Not paying any attention to her Gran’s mind out of long ingrained habit, Sookie’s eyes jump to her Gran’s and she stammers, “H-how did you guess?” She had never gotten a single hint that her Gran had known about Sam’s feelings.
Cocking her head to the side slightly, Adele leans back in her seat, still sitting like a lady, and she tells Sookie, “There is plenty you told me, and some you haven’t told me yet. Is there some reason you are hiding some from me, sweetie?” She needs all the information Sookie can give her to make this all work out right. She frowns as she realizes that she is getting a headache, and dismisses it.
Sookie glances down, and she tells her, “Looking back on some of it, I am embarrassed. And some of it, Gran, well to be blunt, vampires can glamour. If you knew everything, one of them might come by and try to get the information from you.” She looks up at her Gran, letting her know she is just trying to keep her safe.
Sighing, Adele looks down at the table. “Sookie. I think it is time for a full disclosure. You already told me my time in this world is short.” She folds her hands carefully, planning to make Sookie understand that she has obligations to meet.
Sookie immediately tells her, “No Gran!! Eric is going to claim the family, he will protect us all!” She knows Eric will keep them all safe. He told her he loves her, so he will protect those she loves. He’s got to.
Looking into her granddaughter’s eyes, Adele tells her, “Sookie, it isn’t like I am young. My time on this earth is finite. Now that you know where your grandfather is, well, we need to figure out how to get him from this Queen’s hands, and you need to get the warning out. And this Warlow… Are you going to really pit Eric against him?” She lifts an eyebrow at her granddaughter, planning to use guilt and anything else she can to have Sookie do the right thing.
Sookie just smiles. “Warlow? He is the easy part, Gran. There is Russell and so much more. We need to get ready for the Authority and everything else. But we will. Eric wants me to write down all I remember so that we can refer back to it, if we forget somehow.” She is getting an uneasy feeling about this. Her Gran was supposed to be happy about Eric, not trying to tell her that she is being selfish wanting to be with him. But what if she is right?
Closing her eyes, Adele says, “Sookie, tell me everything.”
But Sookie did something she had never done before. She read her Gran’s mind. ‘If Sookie is the one that was agreed to in that contract, she needs to get over this silly infatuation with this other vampire. Family honor comes before an infatuation. She may have come back, but her coming back when Warlow dies, isn’t that a sign it needs to be fixed?’
Sookie bites her lip, and then gets up. “I am going to my room. The excitement has been a little too much for me.” She grins at her Gran. “I am so glad to find that you are alive. Life has been so hard since you died.” With that she gives her a hug, and then heads to her room.
But not without a last peak into her beloved Gran’s head. ‘I need to get my hands on that log she is writing. If she is right, then I need to read through that contract and contact that Warlow person. It can’t be as bad as she makes it out to be.’
A tear slips from Sookie’s eye as she heads upstairs. The last of that girl in the white dress falls to the side, gone into the void.
Eric wakes and, as he has since Sookie had his blood in Dallas, he checks for her. He finds her determined, but sad. He sends her comfort, not knowing if their fledgling bond is still here, but he will not lose her. Not when they both are getting this second chance. He wants her to know he is here, and that he will be by her side as fast as he can.
Speaking of second chances, he calls his Maker again. When Godric answers his phone, Eric breathes a sigh of relief. “Godric.” Knowing that he can reach out to him makes Eric determined that the travesty of the last timeline, Godric’s leaving, leaving will not happen.
Godric’s voice is puzzled. “Eric? What is wrong? I have felt you in a state since I woke this evening. What is wrong, my Child?” He is not liking whatever has Eric this worked up. He has been upset in the past, but this is…more.
Eric cannot help the smile he gets from hearing his beloved Maker’s voice and he answers him, “Something wondrous, Master. Can you spare some time and come to me? Or would it be best for me to come to you?” He will be happy to grab Sookie and bring her to Dallas so she can experience it the right way. However with their luck, something would happen. Then he frowns. Maybe something did happen and that was why Godric lost his will to live around this time.
Godric doesn’t hesitate – it’s as if something is drawing him there. “If you need me, my Child, then I will come to you. Will tonight be too early?” He has plans, but Eric’s torment is more than he thought he would have felt from his Child. It had broken through his barriers and had caused him to rise earlier tonight than normal. No, he will be by his Child’s side and help him get whatever this is settled.
Eric grins, one that only Godric and Pam have ever really seen. “I will be out at my Bonded’s place, gathering her to bring her back here.” He can’t wait to hear Godric’s comment…
Godric is speechless. Did he hear Eric rightly? Bonded? “Eric?” he searches the bond to see if true feelings exist there or not.
Eric’s grin gets bigger as he pushes his hair away from his face. He will ask Sookie, but he is seriously thinking of cutting it off. He liked it shorter, and he has a feeling she did too. But he will ask. And that alone makes him grin.
Godric asks, “Is this a case of a fuck and feed you decided to keep?” He is confused and being cautious. Eric had locked his emotions away, and Godric accepts all blame for that. It is something he is thinking about trying to fix now that he will be by Eric’s side.
Chuckling, Eric informs his Maker, “This is a case of someone I fell in love with and who agreed to be mine. This involves that story I need to tell you. Fangtasia isn’t safe, but we three need to talk.” He will enjoy letting his Bonded meet his Maker when she is not fighting for his life, nor watching him leave Eric.
Catching the phrasing, Godric then asks, “Pam?” What has happened? Eric always includes Pam, but this time it sounds like he is not trusting his Child. Most unusual.
Eric growls as his mind goes through everything that had happened and how his Child had treated his love. “She needs to grow up first. You will understand once you hear what happened. Godric…. You don’t know how good it is to hear from you.” He sends a burst of affection to Godric and smiles when he feels him accept it. He has missed his Maker so much these last few years.
Godric frowns. This is not normal for Eric. But he will make his way to him and see if he can discover what is going on with him. Eric is normally calm and while he can rage internally at something that happens, this is more… like Eric when he first rose as a vampire on that long ago night.
Feeling a jab of Sookie’s emotional pain, Eric sighs. “I hate to tell you this, but my Bonded’s emotions are getting worse. She is not in pain, but she is truly upset about something, and I need to go to her.” He is not liking how Sookie’s emotions are steadily getting worse. He must get to her and, if necessary, extract her from whatever is going on that is causing her such pain. His mind goes over all he has done to have his place ready for his Bonded and he’s making sure that he hasn’t forgotten a single thing
Godric can’t help but smile. Maybe vampires can change. His Child is an example of this. “Go. I will find you and help if need be.” He encourages his Eric, and he will be flying at his top speed to find out who has broken through the tough exterior that he had ensured surrounded his Child’s heart.
Eric nods, then hangs up. He heads into his closet and grabs a tank and jeans. He dresses quickly, brushes his hair, and then heads out of the house after grabbing his boots by the door. As he slides into his Corvette, he hopes idly that his Bonded will agree to him getting his hair cut, though it isn’t like it won’t grow again.
Soon he is on the road and enjoying the drive out to her, knowing she is waiting for him.
Eric is turning into the driveway, having made the 40 minute drive in less than 20, and frowns as he makes out the potholes and gouges in the dirt road in front of him. In the previous timeline, he had it repaved when he had bought the property. Then he looks up at the house and for the first time sees it as it was before the Maenad had taken it. While it was lovingly kept up, there were things that could be improved. He shakes his head. He had thought that all the damage was from the Maenad, but it looks like while the house had been cared for, Bill had never tried to fix Sookie’s house for her. It was just more proof that Bill never cared for Sookie the way she should have been.
Now he can do it right. Now he can love her and show her how she should be treated. There is much he wishes to show her. While he cannot be himself in front of others, it will be all she will see when he doesn’t have to posture. Then he frowns. No. He will treat his beloved and Bonded the same no matter where they are. If others think him weak for it, he can correct their thinking very quickly. Let all know that Sookie is loved and worshiped by him.
With this thought firmly in his head, along with the decisions he has come to, Eric pulls up and, while getting out of the car, hears the screen door slam and looks up. Sookie is running to him, and he opens his arms to catch her, holding her close to him. At that second he realizes how close he had been to losing this forever. He will never allow that to happen again. He buries his face into her hair, enclosing her into his body as much as he can, protecting this woman who is everything to him.
He holds her closer when he feels her sob, and his hand holds her head to him as he rubs her back. He hates her tears, each one feeling like acid as she cries. He wants to know what has hurt her, who dared to make this beautiful woman cry, and to heal whatever is making her sad.
Sookie sobs in relief as she holds him to her, glad he is here. It has been pure torture as she waited for night to fall and for Eric to wake. She wrote only what she told her Gran; she’ll have to tell Eric the rest of what she remembers when her Gran isn’t around. She is confused with this version of her Gran, and since she’s been in the house, all she has heard is how her grandmother plans to call Warlow. She had snuck in and grabbed the contract from where it was hidden and has it tucked in a bag she carried out to meet Eric. Nothing is how she imagined it would be. She expected her Gran to react to Eric the same way she had to Bill.
When she calms down enough to be able to tell him, she whispers, “My Gran is bound and determined to give me to Warlow. I stole the contract on how to get hold of him from where it had been hidden. It’s in my bag. Eric, what do I do?” She is panicking, not knowing how she is to deal with all this. This is not what she had thought would be happening!
Holding her closer as she weeps, Eric says to her, “Invite me in, Sookie. If you do not want to confront your Gran tonight, then we will go back to my house and I will make sure your belongings are gone tomorrow. I will also do a walk through to see if I can smell any other Fae objects in your house tonight or tomorrow. If she personally knows something, I may not be able to stop her. But Godric is coming.” The last he says with a smile; Godric’s coming will be able to help him with a lot of this.
She looks up to him and searches his eyes. Then she frowns as her eyes look over his hair and she demands, “What the hell, Eric? What is up with your hair?” Her head turns slightly to the side as she blinks. She never thought he was as attractive as he was later with shorter hair.
He can’t help the laugh. “I admit I have been hoping you don’t like it. I guess we reset completely, which doesn’t make sense as I can detect your blood.” He smiles down at her, holding her as close as he can, but still letting them converse. He missed this, the simple fact of being with Sookie. And her scent?!?!?!? He is about to drop fang on it. He wants nothing more than to rub himself all over her, sink his fangs in her neck and fuck her. The only thing that will be better is when has his scent mixed with hers. That thought alone is enough for his fangs to drop.
Reaching up and running her hand through his hair, she giggles at his purr in response. “As much as I like this, I think I like it shorter. I liked the way it flopped when you didn’t have whatever you used in it. But this… this is not what I imagine. This reminds me way too much of how you were when you met me.” She looks away, briefly. She has no idea why she hated him so irrationally then. Could Bill really affect her emotions to that level?
Not knowing what is going through her mind, Eric laughs at her. “When I first desired you, decided to make you mine. When you first sassed me. Please say you have that dress.” He leers at her, his grin still in place as he lets her know how much he wants her to say she still has that dress. He will make sure copies are made of it since he has too many fantasies of him tearing it in one way or the other. He never found it when she left, nor found where she got it.
She laughs shyly and hands the bag to him. “Not here, but it is in the house.” She never knew he liked that dress. It had been a victim of the Maenad stay in her home. She had felt a a pang of loss when she saw it on someone and torn to shreds.
He looks at her seriously as he puts the bag in his seat for now. “I really love that dress. It has been part of my dreams for such a long time.” The last is said as he cradles her face in his hands as he looks down at her. He can see the changes that being sent back to this earlier, easier, time have given his Fae. She is softer, life has not abused her, and he will do much in his power to make sure she stays that way.
She smiles. “Mr. Northman, will you please come in?” And they laugh at the reminder of the first time she had invited him in.
He sasses back at her, “For passionate primal sex or for protection?” He leers down at his beloved, enjoying that they have these memories, and can laugh about them.
The two of them stare at each other, until Eric finally leans forward and kisses her chastely. And leaning back just enough to stare into her eyes, he says to her, “I love you, Sookie Stackhouse.” His voice is deep, but low in volume, not wanting another to ruin this moment that he fully admits to her his feelings face to face.
She smiles at him, her eyes bright. “Well that is a good thing, since I love you too, Eric Northman.” She puts her hand on his face and he turns to kiss it, never looking away from her.
And at that second, everything was perfect.
Final Count: 3,848 words
Fairfarren ~ Wendy