They say life is made of little moments; inconsequential moments that change the course of your life forever though you do not know it at the time. For most people, it’s the day you meet your best friend . . . When your eyes meet those of the love of your life for the first time . . . The day you learn you’ll become a mother or father.
For me, those aren’t the little moments that stick out in my mind. For me, it is being a small child and hearing my mother think she wished I was normal and not a freak. It was the day Tara saved me from the kids on the playground; the first time I heard Uncle Bartlett and felt him touch me inappropriately. As an adult, it was the night I met my first vampire and the night I lost my Gran. When I agreed to be “one” with Eric though I had no idea what that meant.
And now the little moment in my life that may have the most impact is right now when I staked the first vampire I loved through the heart to save the other vampire I loved. It is the second time in my life I’ve watched Bill Compton explode into a pile of goo and blood. A part of me wonders with a kind of fascinated detachment to see if he will reform like he did the first time.
For a moment, time stands still. No one on the balcony moves a muscle. Three vampires stand in stunned silence as they watch one of their own meet the True Death. Unlike the first time I watched Bill explode – was that really only a few hours ago? – blood did not pour out of every opening on his body. In fact, his dying scene reminded me of one of those over the top, melodramatic affairs you would see in a really bad movie. You know that scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (movie not the television show, though I’ve found great humor in both since meeting vampires) when Buffy, played by Kristie Swanson, staked the vampire played by Paul Rubens? He made a lot of feigned noises about being in pain and flopped around the set, milking his one big scene for all he was worth, finally dying when he realized nobody gave a shit about his character. Yeah, Bill’s death kinda reminds me of that. He fell to his knees, his hands gripping the wooden stick I’d staked him with as if he could pull it from his body. Moans, groans, and whispered words of denial fall from his lips. He goes on and on about how he is the Chosen One, that Lilith chose him to be the new savior of the vampire race. His Southern twang goes on and on asking Lilith to save him; he can’t understand how this can be happening. What was the point of resurrecting him if he was only to meet his end a few hours later at the hands of an abomination?
You know that’s the second time he’s called me that in one night. My head whips around looking for something else to stake him with as I feel my hands warm up with my fairy light. That movement seems to snap Eric out of his reverie. He moves quickly to my side; his sister Nora comes to stand behind us, putting her between me and Jessica. Speaking of the redheaded vampire, she stands with her hands raised to her mouth, a look of horror on her face as blood tears course down her porcelain skin. An anguished sob escapes her lips as Bill’s body begins to disintegrate. His last word is a shout of denial – NO – before his bubbling remains drop to the white wooden floorboards with a loud splat. An errant thought works its way through my mind wondering who is going to clean up this mess. I’ve cleaned more than my fair share of blood and guts in the last few weeks; I’m not going to be the one to clean it up.
Jessica drops to her knees, inching her way towards her maker. I feel tears stinging my eyes, not because Bill is gone . . . again. It’s for the pain Jessica is going through. I know what it feels like to be an orphan; alone without anyone by your side.
Eric’s cool touch ghosts over my skin and his fingers capture mine in a tight grasp, reminding me that I’m not alone in this moment. My head turns just a little to look at the blood splattered Viking beside me. His head turns a fraction and I can feel his eyes on me. They are so light in color, so clear; it’s easy to think they lack emotion or depth. But I know the truth; there is a thousand years’ worth of emotions swirling inside his eyes, the only indicator that he is something more than a living statue. You have to know what to look for, something that took me a long time to figure out. When I did finally know how to read his eyes, I was too afraid by what I found in there and I ended up running away.
It’s a mistake I won’t be repeating if he’ll give me the chance.
Looking in those beautiful eyes of his tells me all I need to know. I squeeze his hand, letting him know that I appreciate his willingness to put himself between me and harm’s way AGAIN. Eric gives me a small smile and squeezes my hand in return. Our moment is shattered when Jessica’s head snaps back to us; her hate-filled eyes settling on me as her fangs click down.
“You killed him? You said he was in your blood, that you still loved him! But you killed him! How could you?!?!?!” Jessica rises slowly to her feet, her fangs down and the most menacing expression I’ve ever seen on her face. In all the time I’ve known her, this is the first time I have feared her. She looks inhuman, capable of killing me in seconds. I would be dead now if it wasn’t for my protector who placed himself between me and the advancing, grieving vampire.
“And I told you that thing wasn’t Bill! That we had to let him go,” I say from behind the protection of Eric’s back.
“Jessica,” Eric begins in a gentle, yet firm voice. “I, we,” he says gesturing to Nora who stands cautiously behind me, “know what you are going through. Losing one’s maker is the most intense pain a vampire can ever experience. No physical torture can ever compare. We are sorry for your loss,” he says with complete sincerity. However his voice hardens and takes on an authoritative tone before he continues. “But I cannot allow you to take your grief out on Sookie. She did what she thought she had to do to protect us. The Bill you knew was gone long before Sookie staked him tonight. He’d turned on me, the other vampires in The Authority, Sookie, he even turned on you,” Eric says softly.
Jessica’s tears fall in earnest with Eric’s words. “He didn’t mean it! Pam said it was nest behavior; that’s why he did all those things,” she says, though who she is trying to convince is unclear.
“Was it ‘nest’ behavior that had him killing every chancellor in The Authority that got in his way? ‘Nest’ behavior that made him call Sookie an abomination and say he never loved her?” Eric raises an eyebrow as he stares at Jessica, daring her to defend Bill’s actions. “Was it ‘nest’ behavior that made him strike you? Send you to turn Jason Stackhouse into a vampire? Or did it make him send Rosalyn after you to drag you back to The Authority and throw you in a cell to await your True Death?”
Jessica gasps at Eric’s words and violently shakes her head to deny them, but I can see the crack in her armor. She knows nest behavior isn’t responsible for any of those things. She too is a victim in all of this, just like I fell victim to Bill’s plans to procure me for the queen. I have no doubt that I would have ended up in a gilded cage in New Orleans if it hadn’t been for Eric’s interference.
I don’t know if what I have to say is going to make this situation worse, but I feel the need to let her know why I did what I did. I move to stand beside Eric yet still slightly hidden behind his body. “Jess, you have every right to hate me for what I just did. You’re right; I did love Bill Compton once upon a time. It turns out that I loved a lie. The only reason he sought me out is because he was sent to procure me for the former Queen of Louisiana. He had me beaten nearly to death so he could get his blood in me. Every time I started to question Bill or turn away from him, he found a way to hurt me so badly that I would need his blood to recover. Before I ever had Bill’s blood, I was fascinated by his silence but I thought he was a bit of a creep. But as soon as I had his blood in me, I was enthralled with him. Looking back now, I realize that it was all a lie. He engineered those feelings in me so that I would be more susceptible to him. I gave everything of myself to him, but it was all a lie,” I repeat sadly.
“But he loved you,” Jessica says stubbornly.
“Did he?” I think about it for a moment, trying to figure out if Bill Compton ever truly loved me. Most of his actions that were intended to help me were really for his own benefit. There is only one instance in my mind that shows Bill really loved me. I look at the God-like vampire standing beside me, his hand still firmly clasped in mine. The only unselfish act of love I can ever attribute to Bill was the night he set Eric free to be with me. I know Bill wanted me for his own, but something in Eric’s sweet, amnesic state made Bill release the elder vampire. But even that action wasn’t completely altruistic. If Bill hadn’t set Eric free and something had happened to him, Bill knew I would never forgive him.
Thinking about that night brings a flush to my skin, and an intense wave of longing. Eric turns his head to look at me, his eyebrow raised in silent question. I’m sure he knows exactly what I’m feeling because of our blood connection, and my blush only deepens. This man – vampire – knows me intimately, inside and out, yet has never judged me. He has been the one over the years to act unselfishly towards me, yet I’ve always accused him of having ulterior motives. Eric never controlled me with the blood as Bill did. Even the dreams were different. With Eric, the dreams were incredibly erotic; the stuff of fantasies that would make erotica and romance authors jealous because they could never create images as passionate. However, dreams about him also made me question whatever situation I found myself in. Eric’s blood in me had acted like the voice of reason when I couldn’t see the forest through the trees.
With a sigh, I bring myself back to the present situation and return my gaze to Jessica. “I suppose Bill did love me in his own way, but Bill’s first love was always himself. If he had truly loved me or you, he wouldn’t have lost himself in all this Lilith bullshit. Jess, he was a danger to you, to me, and to everyone. He nearly killed you tonight with how strongly he was calling you to him. I couldn’t take the chance that he would kill anyone else I love.”
For a few tense moments, everyone stands in silence. Tears continue to flow down Jessica’s cheeks but her fangs eventually retract. She slumps back down to sit on the balcony floor, her back pressed against the exterior wall of the antebellum home. She pulls her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms tightly around them.
“What am I supposed to do now?” She stares forlornly at the remains of her maker. Despondency settles around her shoulders like a cloak. I wish I could go to Jessica’s side and comfort her, but she won’t accept that from me. Not now, not ever. Hallmark hasn’t yet made a greeting card to cover this situation, and even if the company did, what would it say?
Sorry I staked your maker, but it was for the greater good. My deepest condolences.
Somehow I don’t think that will be a big hit for them.
Nora moves towards Jessica, dropping down in a crouch to be closer to the grief-stricken girl. In some ways, Jessica is still a scared teenager. She’s had to grow up quickly since becoming a vampire, but she still has a lot of emotional growth left to do. She went from her human father’s house, to Bill, to Hoyt, and back to Bill. She’s never had to rely on herself. I don’t think she’s ever had a job outside of Merlotte’s, and to be honest, she wasn’t very good at waitressing.
“Would you like me to help you gather his remains? We could give him a proper burial if you like.” Nora speaks to Jessica as one would a cornered animal. Her voice is soft and soothing, her accent making her words seem lyrical.
Jessica nods her head at Nora and takes a deep shuddering breath. Nora looks to Eric and me. “I think it would be best if the two of you leave.”
I turn to go, but Eric stops me because he has not let go of my hand. He stares stonily at Jessica. “You will not retaliate against Sookie or her family at any time in the future. This ends tonight or I will end you myself. Are we clear?”
Jessica’s eyes widen at Eric’s threat and she shrinks back from him. She looks to Nora as if the British vampire will protect her, but Nora does nothing. In fact, Nora has picked up the wooden stick that I had used on Bill. With a broken sigh, Jessica mumbles, “Yeah I got it.”
Not wishing to test her resolve any further, I scurry through the doors taking me inside Bill’s room. My eyes look around at the modernized room, yet I don’t really see it. I’m remembering my times in here with Bill . . . the hours spent talking, loving, and fighting. Nothing about this room looks as it did when I shared my life with Bill. A tear slips down my face as I realize that all of it is gone; it’s finally over. I know most people have their first relationship end, but my relationship with Bill never seemed to be truly over. It’s kinda hard to get over your first love when he’s your next door neighbor and he’s a constant fixture in your life. Every time I said we were over, he’d turn up again a few days later and it’s like nothing bad had gone wrong between us. Even with how much I hated him for what he did to me, and how much I came to love Eric, I still couldn’t let Bill go.
But I have to let him go now. I staked him.
Eric takes my hand again, bringing me back to the present. He squeezes my hand as he wipes the tear away from my cheek. “Let me walk you home,” he says gently. I nod my head as my lips part on a trembling breath.
We walk quickly through the Compton home, but I pause when I get to the open front door. I look around one last time, somehow knowing that this is the last time I will ever be in this house.
“Goodbye Bill,” I say softly as my hand grasps the door knob. The door closes behind us with a soft click, signifying the end of Bill Compton in my life. With my head held high, I walk down the steps and start on the path that will take me back to my home. Technically still Eric’s home, but it’s mine in the way that really counts.
We walk in silence along the dark wooded path. Eric and I steal glances at each other when we think the other isn’t looking. When we get past the cemetery, I think of the first time we walked this path together. A small giggle escapes my lips as I remember Eric patting the flower arrangement he’d placed on top of the buried Were’s grave. Eric looks at me with his patented eyebrow raise which only makes me giggle harder. His lips separate, I’m sure to ask me what I find so funny in this moment, but he stops himself. Perhaps he thinks my humor is a form of hysteria. Maybe it is. Who else would find it humorous to be walking along a moonlit path, covered in blood and gore, as he escorts me to the safety of my home so I don’t end up murdered by a grieving, vengeful vampire because I killed her maker, my former lover?
Pam would find my humor funny, just as long as it wasn’t her maker I’d staked. Then she’d drain me faster than Jason doing a beer bong.
Our walk continues in silence until I can see my – our – house breaking through the trees. Eric’s step falters for a moment, and I turn my head to look at him. He’s doing that thing again where he always tries to make himself seem shorter than what he is; head down, shoulders hunched. Gran would scold him to stand up straight. She’d say God gave him his height so he’d stand tall above the others. If God had wanted Eric to hide in the crowd, he’d have made him shorter.
A sad smile spreads across my face as I think about my Gran. I miss her so much. I’ve needed someone to talk to these last few weeks with everything going topsy-turvy. Gran wasn’t a perfect woman, but she wouldn’t have judged me for any of my actions. She’d know the right words to comfort me, to make me see reason, and she’d have helped me figure out what was in my heart a hell of a lot sooner than I did.
“I wish you could have met my Gran,” I say out of the blue. “She would have hated you at first, saying you had more pride in you than Satan has souls in Hell.” Eric chuckles at my words, knowing that there is truth to them.
“She would have said you were high-handed and that you were in need of a good tanning of your backside.” My lips spread in a wide smile as I think about Adele Stackhouse trying to discipline the incorrigible Viking Vampire Sex God beside me. The smile falls from my lips as I continue speaking in a more serious tone. “But eventually she would have seen the good in you; the love in you that you keep hidden away. She would have loved you for everything you’ve done for me. Everything you still do for me,” I say thickly as fresh tears sting my eyes.
Our eyes meet and for a moment, I see my Eric in his eyes; that sweet, lovable man who would do anything and everything to make me happy. His eyes look down at his feet before he begins speaking to me.
“I do not trust Jessica not to come after you. She’s young and irrational. It would be better if you leave this place. I have money. Enough for you to go wherever you want. Start a new life,” he says in a rough voice.
What?!?!?! He wants me to leave Bon Temps? Give up my home? Leave my brother and my friends? What about him? Does this mean I’ll never see Eric again? Panic bubbles up inside me at the thought of leaving everything here behind, but my voice is oddly detached as I respond to Eric’s plan for me to start a new life.
“I can’t just leave Bon Temps. Everything I’ve ever known is in this town; all my friends and the only family I have left.” Even if he isn’t exactly thrilled with me at this point, Jason is still my brother. It would kill him if I up and disappeared so soon after coming back from the Fae realm.
Eric nods his head as if he expected me to say that. His steps slow down, as if he is trying to prolong our conversation and keep me from going inside my ancestral home. “You staked him . . . to save me. I never expected that from you,” he says in a tone filled with awe.
“I never expected it from myself. Bill’s not the only one who’s changed. My life, it’s so different from how I thought it’d turn out. I’m not who I thought I’d turn out to be,” I tell him as I mount the steps to the porch.
Eric stands on the ground, putting us at eye level. The last time he and I were eye level was when I asked him not to go, to stay here with me. “Well to me you’ll always be that girl in the white dress . . . the one who walked into my bar,” he says with a faraway look and smile.
That shy smile of his is back again and my heart clenches seeing it. Eric once told me there are two Sookie Stackhouses, and there is truth to those words. I’ve tried so hard to keep human Sookie and fairy Sookie separate, and it’s created a dichotomy inside me. The two sides of me have been at war with each other, fighting to assert their domination over me. Yet I cannot truly be happy with my life until I accept that I need both Sookies to live in harmony. There is no human me or fairy me; there is just me. Ever since Eric regained his memories, I’ve been thinking there are two Eric Northmans: my sweet, lovable Eric that was a blank slate and then the vampire Eric hardened by a thousand years of memories. Looking at him here in the moonlight, covered in blood, his eyes shining with love for me, makes me realize that there is only one Eric Northman.
And the only Sookie Stackhouse loves him with every beat of her heart.
Little moments . . .
This is definitely the biggest little moment of my life.
While I’d been having this monumental epiphany, Eric had walked past me, pulling a copy of my house keys from his pocket and unlocking the door. He stood outside the door, waiting for me to walk inside before him. He looks so ill at ease, so awkward; it rattles me, just as it did when he had amnesia. Is this what I do to him? Has my stunted emotional growth reduced this confident warrior to an insecure teenager? Here I am judging Jessica for her lack of emotional maturity but mine isn’t that much better.
Hello pot; this is kettle. Guess what, we’re both black.
With a sigh, I trudge up the steps, feeling every ache and pain, physical and emotional, which has been inflicted on me this night. Eric nods his head once, letting me know that he too is tired.
“Would you like something to drink?” The perfect Southern hostess Gran raised comes through despite my weariness. If he says yes, I don’t know what I’ll offer him. Tara drank the last True Blood. Am I really willing to offer him my blood if he says he’s thirsty?
The answer to that is an unequivocal yes. I will give Eric anything he wants. It’s the least I can do; he made sure I had a home to come back to. He’s protected me; he’s made sure that I have a life worth living.
I owe him everything.
“I’ll take a pen and paper if you have it,” he says as he stands awkwardly by the door.
An odd request, but I turn to head for the dining room. There’s paper in the sideboard. Gran always made sure to keep pens and paper in every room. She said you never knew when you would need to write something down. When Eric had the house redone, he continued her tradition. I don’t know how he knew it given the amount of destruction wrecked by Maryann and her disciples and then Russell’s wolves. The corner of my mouth lifts in a half-hearted smile as I open the drawer with the paper and pens. The quality of the pens and paper has definitely upgraded since Eric began stockpiling these items in the house. With the items in hand, I turn to Eric who thanks me quietly. Taking the requested items, he moves to the dining room table. He pulls out a chair and sits down. It makes me smile to see how precise he is with his movements. My smile quickly turns to horror when Eric uncaps the pen and stabs himself in the wrist.
“ERIC!!! What in God’s name are you doing?”
“Giving you back your home.” In an elegant script, Eric’s hand moves across the paper, writing that from this moment, he is returning the deed of the house to me. “I’ll put the deed in the mail,” he says as he continues to write. Once he finishes writing, he caps the pen and sets it beside the pad of paper. Eric rises to his stately height, pushing in his chair. With the precision of a surgeon, he rips the top sheet off the pad of paper. As Eric turns to me with the piece of paper in hand, there is a slight tremor in his normally steady hand. My own shaky hand rises to grasp the page.
“It’s the least I can do.” He smiles faintly before letting go of the page. Once I am the sole possessor of the page, I can feel the magic pulsing around us; it throbs, like a heartbeat. Unfortunately, the energy expels Eric from my home. It’s not like the energy that propelled Bill out of my house; that was violent, angry, bitter, and heartbroken. This time the energy is full of regret, as if the magic wishes it could keep Eric inside my home. It gently sweeps him out of the house, opening and closing the front door quietly. He stands on the other side of the door, a mixture of yearning and remorse on his beautiful face.
“Good night Miss Stackhouse,” he says softly. There is a note of finality in his voice. He’s leaving me?
“Eric Northman don’t you dare give up on me! You get your ass back in this house right now and tell me why you are telling me good-bye! I didn’t like it the first time you did it, and I damn sure don’t like it now!” Running towards the door, I fling it open intent on keeping Eric there by any means necessary; I’ll stun him with my light if I have to. Grasping the sides of his soiled jacket, I tug on it trying to pull Eric in the house, but I can’t get him past the threshold. I cry out in frustration, thinking he is fighting me.
“You have to invite me in properly Sookie. Telling me to get my ass in there isn’t going to work,” Eric says with a smirk.
A giant weight is lifted from me hearing Eric flirt with me. Flirting has always been safe; it’s what both of us have fallen back on when we aren’t able or willing to admit how we feel. It makes me feel like we’re going to be OK. Leaning against the door frame, I raise my eyebrow as my lips curve in a coy smile. “Is there a way to keep your mouth out there, but bring the rest of you inside?”
“Now why would you want to do that Lover? I remember you loved the things I can do with my mouth,” Eric purrs as he braces his hands against the door frame. His body is positively vibrating with energy, the same type of energy that built between us that night in the woods as we stared at each other. It had felt like he was a hero returning from war and I was the woman waiting to welcome him back with open arms. It pulses between us, like the ache that is building between my legs. Eric’s fangs snap down as he inhales deeply and his eyelids flutter in ecstasy.
“Invite me in Lover,” he says in that sexy baritone. My thighs rub together with his words. I swear, Eric’s voice is enough to get me off. He could read the damn yellow pages to me and I’d still find it to be the sexiest thing imaginable. As much as my body is onboard with the idea of Eric and me seeing how many more surfaces of my house we can add to the list of where we’ve had sex, I need to know that this is going to last longer than just tonight. I need to know he isn’t going to try to walk away from me again.
“If I let you in, what exactly is going to happen?”
“You know exactly what will happen,” Eric says as his eyes darken. “Don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten our time together? I haven’t,” he says as he leans closer to me. “It’s hard to forget the only woman I have ever loved.”
He still loves me. Oh thank God!
“Eric Northman, will you please come in?” There are tears in my eyes as I invite the man who I love more than anything into our home. Once the magical barrier is gone, Eric’s lips capture mine in a kiss that is filled with relief and love. However the fire that has always simmered between the two of us erupts like a volcano and I find myself in Eric’s arms with my legs around his waist.
For just one night, I want it to be only about Eric and me. We will love each other without interruption from the outside world. Push the problems with my brother, Governor Burrell, and Warlow off till tomorrow. The few precious hours we have remaining until the sun rises are to be spent with Eric and me showing each other how we really feel.
No more running; no more indecision. It’s me and Eric together. I don’t know what’s going to happen as we move forward, but I know we’ll get through it. Where Eric goes, I will follow.
~ The End