Sookie climbs out of the grave, her body covered in Bill’s blood, her face streaked with tears. Her hand slips on the dirt and she begins to fall. However, a strong hand reaches down to catch her. Sookie gasps in surprise to see Eric bending down to help her.
“Give me your other hand,” he says quietly. Sookie does as he asks, and Eric gently lifts her from the grave. Once she is standing beside him, she releases his hands in horror and takes a step back.
“Oh my God Eric! I’m so sorry, I wasn’t thinking!” She covers her face in horror as she realizes she has possibly infected another vampire she cares for. Her sobs begin again as she realizes she really is the angel of death.
Eric grabs her by the shoulders, shaking her lightly so she will listen to him. “Sookie, it’s OK! I’ve been vaccinated; you can’t infect me again. I promise.”
“Are you sure?” Sookie lowers her hands so she can see his face. Eric never could lie to her well; she knows all his tells. He nods his head solemnly and Sookie breathes a ragged sigh of relief.
“Will you help me cover his grave?” Sookie gestures helplessly to the pile of dirt beside the freshly dug hole, finally the final resting place of William T. Compton.
Without saying a word, Eric drops to his knees in the grass and begins shoveling the dirt on top of the empty coffin. Sookie kneels beside him. Together the two work silently to fill the grave. When all the dirt is back in place, Eric rises from his knees. He offers a hand to help Sookie rise. She takes the offered hand, and climbs slowly to her feet. Her fingers clasp his tightly as she looks at the final resting place of her first love.
“How much did you overhear?”
“I saw you close your hand on your ball of light. It’s a very brave thing you did,” Eric says quietly as he too looks at the grave of his sometime nemesis and friend. “You could have given up what made you different, what made you special. Instead you chose to keep it. I am very proud of you,” he says fiercely.
“I thought about it,” Sookie admits in a broken whisper. “Finally bein’ normal after a lifetime of feeling different . . . it sounded amazin’. I spent all day thinkin’ ‘bout how my life could be if I gave up my light. Marriage . . . kids . . . a chance to not hear every deep, dark secret that a person has; it sounded perfect,” Sookie says with a wistful smile.
“Then why didn’t you do it?” Eric stares at the woman he loves, trying to understand that is the mystery of Sookie Stackhouse. When he saw her with that ball of light in her hands, he’d been so sure she would use it to free both Bill and herself. The fact she had refused showed a sense of self and strength he’d not known she possessed. Too often Sookie had shown that she despised herself, despised what made her special. Her telepathy had not been an ability to her, rather it had been a disability; something to be hidden, feared, and resented. She never could see all the truly good things she had done with her telepathy; the lives she had saved, the crises she’d helped avert, and it had always saddened him. He loved her for everything she was, and all she wanted was to be someone else. And now that she was finally given the chance to be the “normal” human being she wanted, she refused to take it. It left him stunned.
“Bein’ a fairy is part of who I am. If I give that up, then who am I? It would be like asking you to give up bein’ a Viking. If you gave that up, who would you be?” Sookie looks at Eric curiously, waiting to hear how he would answer her question.
“You’re right,” Eric says with a soft smile. “If I gave that up, it would change something fundamental inside me, just as you giving up your Fae nature would change something inside of you. So what will you do now?”
Sookie shrugs helplessly, tears starting to fill her eyes again. “I don’t know.” Eric pulls Sookie in his arms, comforting her as she sobs pitifully. She clings to him as one would a lift raft; he is the only thing keeping her from drowning in her sorrows. Sookie’s tears eventually dry out and she remains in the safety of Eric’s embrace.
“Are you going to be OK?” Eric pulls back to brush his thumbs along the tops of her cheeks, trying to erase the stain of her tears.
Sookie nods her head while swallowing over the lump in her throat. “I think so . . . eventually.”
Eric nods in understanding. “C’mon; I’ll walk you home.”
The months since Bill’s death were not easy for Sookie. She grieved Bill’s passing deeply. The immediate days and weeks afterwards were a haze to her; she functioned on autopilot most of the time. Her brother and Jessica tried to help her get through it, but they each had their respective fledgling relationships to focus on. The only one who really got through to Sookie during that time was Eric. He checked on her daily, either in person or by phone if he was away on business. Six months after Bill’s passing, Eric offered Sookie the chance to get away from Bon Temps. She was stuck in a rut and being surrounded by constant reminders of Bill was not doing her any good. He was giving her the chance to go anywhere she wanted; he thought being a creature of the sun she would want to make use of his plantation in Barbados. Imagine his surprise when Sookie asked if she could visit Sweden. Within a week, Eric had made all the arrangements for Sookie to have a holiday in Sweden. When she left, he told her to stay as long as she wanted; there was no need to hurry home. The old Sookie would have argued about being a kept woman or yelled at him for being so extravagant; however, the new Sookie merely whispered her thanks before wrapping her arms around him tightly in a hug good-bye.
Eric watches Sookie disappear into the tiny Shreveport airport and sighs with regret. He misses her already, and has no idea how long she will be gone. Her ticket is one-way; he said he would book her return ticket when she was ready to come home. After Sookie’s departure, Eric drives to Fangtasia to meet with Pam and Willa. The drive should have taken a half hour, but given his foul mood, he is there in less than fifteen minutes. Surprisingly, the building suffered little damage after the freak gas explosion that claimed the life of Mr. Gus and his guards. At least, that was the version of events the Yakanomo Corporation received from the coroner in Shreveport. The money from the insurance company had been enough to repair the damages to the basement. After a thorough cleaning, the main area of the bar looked exactly as it had during the height of its popularity before all the shit had gone down with The Authority and Governor Burrell. Fangtasia will have its grand reopening to coincide with the launch of New Blood.
Once the dust had settled from his dealings with the Yakanomo Corporation, Eric reached out to Willa again. He offered to make her a partner in his new business venture and to be the maker he should have been from the beginning. Pam was less than thrilled with the arrangement, but she understood Eric’s sense of responsibility; she had her own regrets when it came to being a maker. Willa initially refused his offer, still hurt over his indifference towards her. However, she was smart enough to realize she needed to know more about being a vampire than the bit of knowledge she gained from Tara. She also knew she didn’t want to spend her nights working in a dive bar in Bon Temps for the rest of her existence. Eric’s plan was a win-win as far as Willa was concerned.
Willa and Pam are sitting at a table discussing the marketing strategy for New Blood. Pam is adamant that Sarah Newlin be the “face” of New Blood. Literally every container of blood will have a different picture of Sarah as well as the ridiculous quote “New me; New Blood!” Willa didn’t agree with Pam’s strategy; she thinks Eric should be the face of the product, showing the before and after effects of the blood.
“That’s why you’re the junior partner here, baby sister,” Pam says condescendingly. “Eric and I will be the spokes vamps for New Blood, but we want everyone out there to know Sarah Newlin is responsible for our salvation.”
“What the fuck for? That crazy bitch tried to kill all of us!” Willa is bewildered by Pam’s insistence.
“Because,” Pam says slowly as if it is the most obvious thing in the world. “If the human population thinks Sarah Newlin saved vampires and by extension the human race, ain’t nobody on this fucking planet that will come looking for her. By making her a martyr instead of a fugitive, no one cares about what happens to her,” Pam says with a cruel smile on her face.
“I’ll be damned,” Willa exclaims appreciatively. “So what are you gonna do with her? I can’t see keeping her chained in a basement until she dies.”
“Why not? It’s what she would have done to us,” Pam shrugs nonchalantly. “I was thinking we could have a VIV list; very important vampires. We’d charge a hundred grand a pop for vampires to drink New Blood straight from the source. Think of all the money we could make,” Pam says with dollar signs in her eyes and a smile of pure happiness on her face.
“No,” Eric’s voice is quiet but firm as he denies Pam her dream of turning Sarah Newlin into a blood whore. “She will meet her death at my hands, once she has outlived her usefulness. Keeping her alive will only cause more problems than necessary. The more that know about her continued existence, the more danger we put ourselves in.”
Pam rolls her eyes at Eric’s words. “If you’re gonna be a moody bitch because your fairy has left the fucking country, then just go after her!” Pam’s outburst reminds Eric of a toddler who has its favorite toy taken away. Pam stomps off to the basement, no doubt to take her frustrations out on their prisoner.
“She’s right you know,” Willa says softly, not wishing to have Eric turn his anger on her. “Sookie hasn’t even been gone a whole night yet and you already miss her. We’ve got a month until the launch of New Blood and reopening of Fangtasia. Go to her; show her all the places that mean something to you. I know Sookie’s hurting but I know she cares for you too. I saw it that night you came back.”
Eric vamps to his youngest progeny, kissing her softly on the forehead. “Thank you Willa. Don’t let Pam push you around while I’m gone,” he says with a smirk before vamping out of the bar.
Eric flies as fast as he can towards Dallas. Sookie’s flight from Shreveport took her to Dallas where she will then grab another flight to take her to New York. Eric had been annoyed that Sookie wouldn’t allow him to book a private flight for her; she considered it too extravagant. Now Eric is grateful he’d let Sookie have her way; the delay between her connecting flights will allow him to catch up with her in Dallas. Once there, he will arrange for a private flight to Sweden.
Landing at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, Eric quickly makes his way to the departures board, looking for the gate of Sookie’s flight. Finding the information he needs, he vamps his way through security, glamouring the necessary attendants so there is no delay keeping him from the woman who holds his heart in her hands. Eric finally arrives at the gate, scanning those waiting for the blonde telepath. Eric frowns in frustration; she is nowhere to be found. And her scent is not in the area. Fear begins to take hold of him; what if something happened to her? Eric’s phone begins playing Sade’s Sweetest Taboo; only one person in the world has that ringtone so he hurries to answer it.
“Sookie where are you?”
“I’m sitting in the bar waiting for you to buy me a drink,” she sasses through the line.
Turning around, Eric keeps the phone to his ear as he scans the area looking for her. “And how did you know I would be here?” He begins walking towards the bar, having found the object of his desires. She’s sitting in one of the pub style chairs, her legs crossed daintily with the skirt of her blue dress pulled down over her knees. The sliver of skin exposed between the dress and her boots is covered by nude-colored stockings. Her beautiful hair hangs in soft waves around her face and shoulders. Her face is free of make-up except for the shimmering pink gloss on her lips.
Rather than answer him through the phone, she waits for him to stand in front of her. “Because you missed me as much as I missed you,” she admits confidently as her hand rests over his non-beating heart.
“I thought you needed to get away,” Eric whispers fervently as his eyes close in ecstasy to feel her hands on him. Every time she touches him there is a jolt of electricity that makes it seem as if his heart is beating again. It’s fitting; his heart has only beat for her in the last thousand years.
“Running away isn’t going to solve anything,” Sookie admonishes me gently. “I don’t need to go away to know what’s in my heart.”
“And what is that?”
Sookie smiles indulgently at the vampire before her before she leans forward to place her lips against his in a chaste kiss. “My heart belongs to you Viking. You’ll never have to doubt it again.”
Six months later . . .
A lone figure sits in the shadows and begins speaking. “Are you fatigued?” A light shines on the figure to show Eric sitting in a white chair wearing a gray suit with a black shirt. His eyes remain unblinking, as if trying to glamour his audience. “Plagued by veins and uncontrollable cravings? Do you fear the True Death?”
“Hi! My name is Eric Northman,” he says rising from his seat. “I’m a thousand-year old vampire and president and CEO of New Blood.” He turns to gesture to the banner hanging behind him showing the logo for New Blood, Sarah Newlin’s face with the tagline ‘From Vampires, For Vampires’.
“Not too long ago though, I was just like you; sick, despondent, waiting to die.” His face moves into a horrified grimace. He looks like a sad puppy dog before he smiles maniacally, like the Joker from Batman.
The infomercial continues as Eric introduces Pam to discuss what he was like when she found him in France. Sookie giggles quietly as she sits on her couch watching the latest infomercial for “New Blood”. Eric’s performance in the commercial reminds her of a cheesy wedding disc jockey; it’s over the top and pathetically fake. It reminds her of the televangelistas from the 1980s. Jim Baker’s got nothing on Eric Northman! At least Pam doesn’t look like Tammy Faye Baker! Though in Pam’s own words, she does look like a republicunt.
“Seriously?!?!?! People are buyin’ this shit????” Sookie giggles again as she sees Eric flash his fangs at the camera. “And I thought the infomercials with the Sham-Wow guy were bad! This takes the cake!”
“Lover,” Eric’s voice is filled with mock-hurt as he jumps over the back of the couch to sit beside Sookie. He nuzzles her neck affectionately before pulling back to pout pitifully beside her. “You’re supposed to support me in all my endeavors; it hurts that you mock my acting abilities.”
“I’m not mocking your acting abilities,” Sookie says with a laugh. “But it’s definitely not worthy of an Oscar. Maybe you should stick to what your best at.”
“And what’s that Lover?” Eric shifts on the couch to lean over Sookie, forcing her to lie down against the pillows. Her legs spread to cradle his hips so that their lower halves are pressed together. Eric lowers his head so that he’s nuzzling against Sookie’s skin.
Sookie grabs Eric’s chin to bring his lips to hers. The kiss they share is by turns passionate, innocent, demanding, gentle, but most importantly, loving. Sookie releases Eric’s lips to stare at him with rich, brown eyes filled love. “Loving me.”
~ The End