“Can you pack Sookie a bag with anything that she’ll need for the next few days?” Eric asked his youngest progeny. It had been a bumpy road for the both of them with Eric actually being the instigator in repairing his broken relationship with Willa.
“I also need you to stay here until the cleaners arrive. We can’t have law enforcement involved, especially where fairies are concerned. They should not be long. They’re paid to be quick and meticulous.”
“Whatever’s needed. Sookie doesn’t need any more stress,” Willa replied as she watched her friend fidget in the front seat of the car.
Eric knew he had been a shitty Maker to Willa and had turned her for all the wrong reasons. At the time he reasoned with himself that Willa had wanted to be turned. No one could have predicted that Nora would become infected, setting off events that became the catalyst for driving Eric away. Never in his one-thousand-years had he been so careless with his well-being, but, at the time, he thought he had nothing left to live for.
Godric was dead.
He’d finally gotten his revenge for his human family.
Nora had just died.
Sookie had once again rejected him and it seemed as if he’d never get the one woman he wanted.
He was careless and ended up becoming infected with Hep V. If it weren’t for Pam finding him while he was in a deep depression in France, he would have long ago met his final death. She had given him a reason to live, revenge against Sarah Newlin, but when he saw Sookie’s tears at seeing him infected, he knew he had to live. He couldn’t die and cause her pain. He needed to live and protect her. This was Sookie he was talking about, who was always in some sort of trouble.
Needless to say that after being cured from Hep V, Eric knew that he needed to change his life. He needed to be a better Maker to his youngest Childe. She deserved it, although from what he could tell at the time, she had done an incredible job in her new life without a Maker to guide her.
Once Willa no longer resented him for leaving when she was a newborn, Eric had requested a favor that he hoped she would accept. He needed someone to look out for Sookie and he didn’t think she would appreciate it being him. He had stayed away and relied on Willa to provide him with updates on her well-being and her needs.
Willa nodded her head as she looked up to the vampire who had become very special to her in the last few years. She could clearly see the worry that creased around his eyes as he looked back at the car that held her friend and his…
“Eric, what exactly is she to you?” Willa asked upon seeing the intense emotions fleeting across her Maker’s face. Maybe more was going on than just her Maker protecting the telepath.
“Mine.” He said the word firmly, nodded, then returned to his SUV.
Eric and Sookie had both been quiet as they made their way out of Bon Temps and onto the highway. It was Eric who broke the silence as they neared his safe house that was closer to Bon Temps than Shreveport.
“Willa’s going to pack a bag for you and bring it to Fangtasia for us to pick up tomorrow night.”
“Can she bring it to wherever you’re taking me? Where is it we’re going?” Sookie asked as she held onto the door handle. She had never been in a car with Eric driving before and wasn’t sure if she’d want to again. He certainly didn’t handle a car like Bill had; like an eighty-year-old woman.
“I’m taking you to a safe house that no one else knows about and I’d prefer to keep it that way,” he replied as he glanced at her.
“Not even Pam?” Sookie asked. She couldn’t believe that he’d hide anything from her.
According to Willa, Eric and Pam had become closer than ever with the reopening of Fangtasia and New Blood. If she was honest with herself she was jealous of their relationship, but now wasn’t the time to think about such things. Someone had killed her husband and was most likely after her. If it wasn’t for Eric, she didn’t know what she’d do or where she’d go. Although she and Willa had become friends, she’d never been to her house and wasn’t about to go only because Eric had mentioned it. Sookie knew how much trust was involved for a vampire to reveal their resting place and didn’t want to be there if Willa wasn’t ready to bestow that trust upon her yet or ever. That’s why she was shocked that Eric was taking her to one of his safe houses.
“Not even Pam,” Eric said breaking her out of her thoughts. The shock must have been evident on her face as Eric asked, “Why are you surprised?”
“It’s nothing,” Sookie replied, and then looked out the window.
Eric decided not to push her right now, but he wondered what he’d done that had caused this riff between them. They hadn’t seen each other for over four years and he’d only stayed away because that’s what he thought she wanted but they’d parted on pleasant terms, or so he thought.
If she was uncomfortable and no longer wanted to be in his company then he’d keep her safe and step back out of her life even if it broke his heart to let her go once again. Maybe their time had come and gone, and he was meant to spend the rest of his existence alone.
Eric let out a sigh and almost chuckled to himself. Why was it when he was around this particular woman he would do many human things such as sigh and have all these unwanted human emotions? He hadn’t stopped caring or loving Sookie over the years. He thought about her the moment he rose in the evening and many more times than he’d care to admit in a single night. Somehow being in her presence once again had magnified each emotion by a hundred and he was hoping they wouldn’t prevent him from keeping her safe.
Not another word was spoken until they pulled up to the house.
Sookie’s eyes widened after catching a glimpse of Eric’s safe house. This wasn’t even where he lived. She couldn’t imagine how grand it must be.
“If this is your safe house, I can’t imagine what your regular house must be like. Maybe one day you’ll show it to me,” Sookie said before she could even stop herself. She was even more embarrassed when she caught the odd look on Eric’s face. Maybe he didn’t even want her here, let alone the place he called home. If that was the case, she’d figure out someplace else to go. As it was, Sookie hated that she was putting his life in danger once again.
Eric vamped out of the car and was at Sookie’s side, holding his hand out for her to take. He knew it might be difficult for her to get out of the SUV but thought it was better than his corvette.
After helping Sookie from the car, he escorted her to the front door. Keeping her hand in the crook of his elbow while her other hand was carefully cradling her belly, he flipped the doorbell open, revealing a secret keypad where he scanned his fingerprint and put in the eighteen-digit passcode. He decided after putting in his code he’d have to make Sookie’s shorter if she decided to stay here.
Pushing the door open, he held his arm out letting Sookie enter.
Sookie walked inside the entry and looked around as the lights came on with each step that she took. She turned around to ask Eric about the lights and noticed that he was still outside by the front door.
“What are you waiting for?” she asked. She was then instantly alarmed. Maybe he had sensed some sort of threat. She felt her hands start to tingle as her body became alert and ready to defend itself and the life within it until she saw an almost sheepish smile on Eric’s face.
Her body instantly calmed. Sookie hadn’t seen that look on his face since Eric had been without his memories; a look at the time she thought she’d never see again once he got his memories back. Maybe Eric was right and he really was still her sweet amnesiac vampire, only more.
“You have to invite me in,” Eric stated quietly. He had been watching Sookie’s emotions flit across her face and was surprised by more than a couple of them.
Trust and love.
He was certain of it, but why? Would he ever understand the woman in front of him? He didn’t think so and truthfully, where would the fun be in that?
“You have some serious explaining to do, Eric Northman,” Sookie said after a few moments of opening and closing her mouth, her hands on her hips.
Yep, she was angry. Most likely she’d be furious just as he knew she would be.
“We have much to discuss before we rest,” Eric answered.
“Won’t you please come in, Mr. Northman?”
Eric had a slight smirk on his face as he stepped inside, which only pissed Sookie off more. He quickly schooled his features before she rescinded his invitation. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to put the house in her name. Eric had only wanted a safe place for her where no Supe could get to her. If she ever found out how much he’d spent to do that very thing… No time. They had much to discuss and for him to show her.
Turning quickly, he locked the door and set the alarm. He wouldn’t put the house on lockdown until after they had talked. He wanted to explain a few things before she panicked.
Eric was quickly by her side holding out his hand. A small smile spread across his face when he felt the warmth of her hand in his. He couldn’t remember the last time he had truly smiled or the last time he’d felt… complete? Whatever this feeling was, it felt right and he hoped it wouldn’t end after their discussion or ever, but that was too much to ask right now. Or maybe ever.
“Let me show you around quickly before we settle down to talk.
True to his word, Eric showed Sookie around. She was surprised by the decor of the house. It definitely didn’t seem like anything Eric would like and she mentioned it as they wandered through the house.
According to Eric, he had never spent any time there except to make sure the security system met his specifications. The furniture was already here when he bought the house. The only items he had added were to the secure downstairs area. It was equipped with a wall of monitors and computers, and two fully furnished bedrooms and bathrooms. After a thorough examination where Eric found everything as he wanted it, he signed the deed over to Sookie.
That had been almost three years ago.
Once a month a maid came to clean so that if Sookie ever had need for the house, it would be ready for her. There was even an expensive coffee maker that she’d be lucky if she ever figured out how to use it and some food in the pantry that would never go bad. Sookie was astonished that Eric had done all of this. He’d even thought of her precious coffee that she had given up while pregnant.
Once they had taken a tour of the house, Eric brought them back into the living room upstairs. Sookie placed herself on the ugly, but comfortable couch and Eric sat down in an overly flowered chair across from her.
They stared at each other for a moment before Sookie’s patience started to wear thin. She crossed her arms over her chest before she spoke.
“How about you start with why this house is in my name?” Sookie asked, now agitated.
“You know why. I wanted you to have a safe place to go in case you ever needed it.” Eric answered, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees.
“You could have put it into anyone’s name who isn’t a vampire. So why me?”
“You can’t be glamoured into letting anyone in,” he replied only to be met with an annoyed look. “Because this house is for you. For you to be safe. I couldn’t risk your safety to someone who could be glamoured,” Eric said heatedly. He stood from his chair and started to pace.
Why did she have to be this way? Couldn’t she just be grateful that he had the forethought to prepare a house for her? No! Of course not. This was Sookie Stackhouse or Johnson, whatever the hell her name was. He finally stopped pacing after a few minutes and stood by the fireplace.
“Eric,” Sookie called to him with worry. He never lost control like he just had and that worried her. She put her hands down and struggled to raise herself from the couch. She kept sinking down into it from the extra soft cushions and her screwy center of gravity.
Eric turned toward Sookie and upon seeing her struggle to get up and the worry he heard in her voice, he quickly put himself in front of Sookie causing her to fall back onto the couch.
“Sit… please. I don’t want you to strain yourself,” Eric said as he looked down at her with confusion in his eyes.
“Then stop towering over me and sit down here,” Sookie said as she patted the cushion next to her.
“You’re sure?” Eric asked with a strange look on his face that Sookie couldn’t interpret.
“You don’t have to sit next to me if you don’t want to,” Sookie replied as she looked up at him, “but I’d like you to.”
Eric promptly sat down on the offered cushion turning his body toward hers. Once again, they took each other in from head to toe.
Sookie noticed that although Eric hadn’t aged over the last four years because he was a vampire, she could see the weariness in his eyes from having lived for so long. She also noticed that once his gaze had landed on her stomach, it hadn’t left.
“I know I’m big, but there’s just a baby in there,” Sookie stated as she rested her hands on her stomach. Eric’s only response was to nod his head. Did he have some weird thing about pregnant women? “Does my being pregnant bother you?” She asked quietly.
“No,” he said shaking his head in answer and to get rid of his thoughts. “I’m sorry. It seems I’m the one making you uncomfortable.”
“It’s alright. I thought maybe you didn’t like pregnant women or to be around them,” she said with a shrug. “Something like that.”
“I have to say the last time I was around a pregnant woman, it was my mother when she was pregnant with my baby sister, but I’m… indifferent to pregnant women.”
He couldn’t say that he didn’t care if any woman was pregnant except for her and that she was carrying another man’s child. A mangy Were at that.
“Are you happy?” he asked with a gesture toward her swollen belly. He was unsure if she was happy or not, but she had never looked more beautiful. She was glowing more now than she ever had in his eyes. She’d always had a slight glow about her as if she was a star herself but now, it was like she was his own personal sun.
“I am,” was her simple reply.
“Good, it’s what I’ve always wanted for you.”
“I want the same thing for you,” Sookie answered back.
Eric gave a slight nod to show he heard her. Inside, his unbeating heart ached with the thought that she wanted him happy, but she wouldn’t be the one to see it. He knew he’d never be truly happy without her.
“Eric, you don’t look happy. I thought with the huge success of New Blood and Fangtasia, you’d be happy.”
Eric shrugged his shoulders, “It’s impossible to be truly happy all of the time, especially when you’ve lived as long as I have.”
“When was the last time you were truly happy?” Sookie asked unsure if she really wanted the answer. She had never asked Willa about his personal life over the years and had only seen him on the TV a few times doing his horrible car salesman like ads for New Blood. Although she had assumed he’d moved on to bigger and better things, she didn’t need it confirmed.
“When I stayed with you while I was cursed,” Eric replied.
She looked into his eyes and could see that he was telling the truth. It had taken her awhile to be able to read him over the years, but she finally realized how expressive Eric’s eyes were compared to his stoic face.
“Really? But it was so long ago.”
“Not really. In over a thousand years, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been truly happy. So in comparison it’s not been that long to me.”
There was no way he was going to tell her that those had been the longest years of his existence, especially now when he could see that tears were about ready to spill down her cheeks.
“I was happy then too,” Sookie told him with a sniff.
“Then why didn’t you choose me, choose us?” Eric asked, his heartbreak written all over his face.
“I was so scared and stupid back then,” she answered, shaking her head. “I was afraid that the real you, the thousand year old vampire, Sheriff of Area Five, Viking Sex God, who could have anyone in the world he wants, the man who had his memories back, wouldn’t want me for long. I also knew that if I gave my entire heart over to you and you got tired of me, I wouldn’t have been able to get over you.”
“I told you I loved you, that I was still the same man who had just spent a week with you, loving you. Do you know how many people I’ve said those words to in all of my existence? I would never have proclaimed my love for you if it wasn’t true!” He stated furiously, his voice rising with every word.
Sookie stared at the angry vampire before her. His fangs had snapped down and he looked like he was about ready to get up and pace some more.
“I’m sorry, Eric,” Sookie finally replied as she reached out for his hand. “If I could do it all over again; I’d choose you.” She was surprised when he laced their fingers together.
“I could feel your heartbreak and confusion that night, but I thought if I gave you a little time, you’d realize your feelings for me. I couldn’t understand how you could love Bill again after all that he’d done to you.”
“At the time I didn’t know either. I just woke up and loved him again. It was just like that, but now I know differently. When the witch took you, I was shot in the stomach. I don’t know if you knew that or not.”
By the mixture between anger and regret on his face, he definitely didn’t know. Sookie decided to continue and try to explain what she’d learned over the years.
“Alcide found me.” Sookie stopped for a moment when she thought she heard a low growl coming from Eric, but decided to carry on. “He carried me to my house and Bill fed me his blood while I was unconscious. When I woke up, I was worried about you and knew that I loved you, but also loved Bill. It had me so confused and there was so much going on at the time, I didn’t have time to question where these feelings were coming from. A couple of years ago, I finally figured out with the help of James, Lafayette’s vampire boyfriend, that it was Bill’s blood that made me think I loved him. He had given me blood just a couple of days before you had come back to Louisiana and once again, my feelings changed for him making me think that I loved him. Some night, and it doesn’t have to be tonight, I’d like for you to explain to me why your blood never tried to manipulate me into feeling false feelings for you.”
“That’s simple. It was never my intention when I gave you my blood to manipulate you in any way,” Eric answered truthfully.
“Even in Dallas?” Sookie asked skeptically.
Eric let out a light chuckle, “Even in Dallas. At the time, I had no idea that Compton was keeping you in the dark about vampires and their ways. I assumed you knew that eventually the silver would leave my body, but I was very happy to get my blood into you.”
“Why if not to manipulate me?” Sookie asked finding this hard to believe, but if she went by what she could read in his eyes, she knew he was telling her the truth.
“I didn’t understand it at the time, all I knew was that I hated that I couldn’t find you if you were hurt or in trouble. What could have happened to you in that church if Godric…” Eric paused and she could see him swallow before he continued. “I liked knowing that I could find you if you were in trouble. Speaking of blood, before you go to sleep I’d like it if you’d take a couple of drops of my blood in case anything happens during the day or if I’m not with you.”
“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” Sookie said looking down at her pregnant belly.
“It won’t hurt the baby. It might make him or her a little stronger, but nothing else. It’s only a couple of drops. Nothing more,” Eric explained.
“Can I think about it?” Sookie asked. She was unsure if she wanted vampire blood in her even if she knew that his blood wouldn’t manipulate her.
“Of course,” Eric said with heat in his voice. “I would never force you to take my blood.”
“I know and thank you for that,” she replied gratefully.
“For your security, I’d like you to stay downstairs until I’m up for the night. The whole downstairs area is what I think you’d call a panic room. Even if the house were to catch on fire, you’d be safe. In addition, the walls are all lined with iron, mercury, and silver to keep out vampires, witches, Weres, and fairies. There is also a lockdown mode that can be used for the whole house, upstairs, or downstairs. It will bring down silver shutters with iron in them down over the windows, and six inch thick partitions that go over the doors. The door to get downstairs is a foot thick with iron, silver, and mercury in it. No one should be able to get in with the house on lockdown and no one should be able to find us here since no one knows of this house.”
Sookie’s eyes grew bigger and bigger as Eric explained all of the security measures that he had put into place for her. To say that she was astounded was an understatement. She couldn’t believe he had done all of this for her when it seemed as if he didn’t want her in his life anymore. Once again, tears welled up in her eyes with gratitude for going out of his way to do this for her, and because once this was over she was afraid that she wouldn’t see him again unless it was to keep her out of trouble.
“Don’t cry,” Eric pleaded with her. “I know you think it’s too much, but I did it for your safety. Please don’t,” he pleaded once more when a lone tear started down her cheek. “I hate seeing you cry.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just all of this,” Sookie said and gestured toward the room. “You did this for me and… you should know that pregnant woman are highly emotional and can cry at the drop of a hat. You might want to take that into consideration before you want me to stay here.”
“Crying or not, I want you here. How about we go downstairs and you can take a nice hot shower to help you relax? Once you’re done, we can continue talking,” Eric said gently as he took in the woman next to him and realized she might need to take a little break.
Meridian came up with these awesome lines and graciously allowed me to use it in my own fic:
Eric, what exactly is she to you?” Willa asked upon seeing the intense emotions fleeting across her Maker’s face. Maybe more was going on than just her Maker protecting the telepath.
“Mine.” He said the word firmly, nodded, then returned to his SUV.