Safe and Sound

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Safe.

Twice in the past week I’ve been in Eric Northman’s arms and the only word I can think of to describe it is safe. Strange to think that the only sense of safety I’ve ever felt is in the arms of a thousand-year old vampire. Bill, for all the love I feel for him, has never made me feel safe. There has always been a bit of fear when it comes to loving Bill.

Bill is the reason I’m in Eric’s arms now. The cure for Hep V is right fucking there in the form of Sarah Newlin and Bill won’t fucking take it! I don’t understand; why the hell does he want to die? It’s like he is resigned to his fate and doesn’t want to accept that there might be an alternative. Fucking asshole! He doesn’t get that he will not have to live with the consequences of his actions, Jessica and I will. She’s still a baby vampire; she needs her maker to guide her. As for me, if Bill dies from this disease I have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life. How the fuck am I supposed to forgive myself for that?

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“Sookie,” Eric’s voice is quiet in my ear as I sob against his chest. “You need to go now before the Yakuza come down here. They already know your name; they are suspicious of why you came here earlier today. If the find you down here, it will be disastrous for all of us.” Eric’s voice is pleading with me to go. When I step back from him, I see fear in his eyes. Eric’s fear penetrates my pity-party. What the hell do these Japanese assholes have on him that could scare a thousand year old vampire?

Turning around, I see that Jessica is sobbing in Pam’s arms. What is more surprising is that Pam is actually comforting her. But I guess Pam knows what Jess is going through; Pam’s gone through the fear of almost losing her maker in addition to actually losing her progeny. Bill, the asshole, has already left us behind. Jess and I have are arms wrapped around each other as we leave the basement and then crawl our way through the tunnel that leads out of Fangtasia’s dungeon.

As  we  get back to  Alcide’s truck  we notice that Bill is nowhere to be found. I guess he doesn’t want to have to deal with Jess and I pleading for him to change his mind. Jess offers to drive which I’m more than grateful for. It gives me time to think about everything that’s happened in the last few days.

Has it really only been a week since Alcide died? It seems like it was eons ago. He was a good man; he deserved to be loved by someone that loved him every bit as much as he loved them. I wasn’t that girl, and I’m ashamed of myself for it. Alcide was the safe choice for me; he loved me more than I loved him. I could protect my heart from him. I’ve been hurt too many times to give my heart fully to someone again.

Which brings me to my first love, the one that broke my heart into a million pieces: Bill Compton. Do I love him with my whole heart? Is he my soulmate? Time and time again, I have run back to him despite every bad thing he has done to me. Is it because I truly love him? Is it because of his silence? Or is it because of his blood? I’m not the naive fool I once was; I know what vampire blood can do to a human when it comes directly from the source. So are my newly rekindled feelings of love for Bill because of the most recent infusion of his blood or is it because I truly love him? Or do I think I can give him my whole heart now because I know he is going to die? I’m so utterly fucking confused!

And then there is Eric. I sigh loudly as I think of the Viking warrior. Eric has deceived me, but he always owns up to it when confronted with his actions. He always accepts full responsibility for his actions, never places the blame on others. Bill has blamed his actions on Sophie-Anne, Lorena, The Authority, and most recently, Lillith. When has Bill ever admitted to doing something because it’s what he decided to do? If I’m honest with myself, the answer is never. But Eric, with his devil-may-care roguish attitude owns each one of his actions and makes no apologies for them. He may not always like the hand that he has been dealt, but he deals with it to the best of his abilities.

“Sookie,” Jessica’s voice breaks through my internal musings. “We’re here. Lemme check to make sure it’s all clear.” I nod my understanding to Jess, but I already know the only ones in the vicinity are those inside Bellefleur’s. Sam and Nicole are gone. I can’t say I’m surprised; after Nicole’s outburst the other evening; I can’t blame her for wanting to leave Bon Temps. And I would have berated Sam for being a fool if he had chosen to stay here over going with his child. Maybe Nicole was right; maybe we all need to get away from here. Maybe it would be best for everyone if I left too. After all, I seem to be the cause of a lot of pain and suffering.

“All clear,” Jessica calls out after making sure no one else is around I exit the vehicle quickly and we walk  into Sam’s trailer together. Just like I knew it would be, the trailer is empty save for two envelopes on the table: one is addressed to me and the other is for Andy. I pick both letters up and make my way to leave the trailer.

“Well aren’t you gonna open it? Why would they leave?” Jessica is perplexed by everything that is going on; her world has turned upside down overnight. Everything she has known since rising as a vampire is gone or will be gone in a matter of days. I empathize with the red-head. Nothing in my world makes sense anymore.

“I don’t need to open it Jess; I already  know  what it says. Sam made the right choice and chose to see his little girl grow up in a normal environment, not this fucked place we call home.” I exit the trailer and trudge over to Bellefleur’s since all the lights are blazing. What the hell harebrained scheme has Arlene cooked up now?

Inside the bar, Lafayette, Holly, James, Willa, and Keith are working to set a long dining room table up for dinner. Andy, Adilyn, and Holly’s kids are sitting down at a table talking. Big John is in the kitchen cooking up a storm and Arlene is dancing around to the music from the jukebox.

“What the hell are y’all doin’’?” The last time we had any kind of night-time festivities here it resulted in bloodshed and death.

“Well,” Arlene says as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “If I want business to come back, I gotta show ’em we are open. So here we are, open for business. I know it won’t be right away, but we all need some normalcy in our lives. Like Big John said, it’s like that movie ‘Field of Dreams’; if you build it, they will come.”

I’m not sure I follow her logic or her optimism but I am in desperate need of a distraction. I see Jess and James talking quietly over on the other side of the bar. Poor Lafayette looks worried; it’s the first time since Jesus that he has legitimately liked someone. I hope things work out for him and James. I gotta admit, it’s strange to see James go from bein’ in a relationship with Jess to bein’ in a relationship with Lafayette. But as long as everyone’s happy, I guess that’s all that matters. Whatever Jess has to say to James must have gone well because she kisses his cheek and comes walking over to me.

“Sookie, do ya mind if James and Lafayette take you home? There’s something I gotta do.” Jessica looks resolved and nervous at the same time.

“Sure. You gonna be ok sweetie?” I reach out to squeeze her hand. I know she is hurting just as much if not more than I am. I once said Bill is everything to me, but that wasn’t really true. He is, however, everything to Jessica. He gave her this life; he’s her father, mother, and friend all rolled in to one. The pain I feel over Bill dying is emotional, but for Jess it’s physical, mental, and emotional.

“I don’t know,” she admits quietly. “But I need to do this while I still have the chance.” She gives me a small smile before vamping out of the bar.

“C’mon Sook! Dinner’s ready, time to eat up!” Lafayette gestures for me to join them.

“I’m not hungry,” I say as I take a seat at the bar.

Adilyn looks at me with concern on her face.

You ok Sookie?

I shake my head no. I don’t know if I’ll ever be OK again.

Arlene and Adilyn have a quiet conversation before Arlene comes to sit beside me at the bar.

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“What’s the matter sugar?” Arlene leans over to hold both of my hands.

“Bill’s dyin’,” I admit with a shaky voice. Arlene looks shocked and asks me what happened. I tell her he got infected because he drank from me, that I was infected and we didn’t know it.

“Oh honey, I’m so sorry,” she says pulling me in a tight hug.

“I feel so guilty! This is all my fault! And the worst part is that there is a cure and he won’t take it. He says he wants to die. Why would anyone want to die?” I pull back from Arlene and reach for a napkin to wipe my tears.

“Well, maybe he feels like it’s his time to go,” she says softly. “Sometimes people get to feelin’ that they’ve had enough of this life and they want to move on. It’s gotta be hard ya know, always bein’ the same while the world around you changes. I mean think about it Sook; his entire family is buried in that cemetery. No parent should outlive their children. And he still lives in the same house he did when he was human. Bill hasn’t adjusted to the changing times; he’s stuck in the past. What’s he got to keep him here?”

“He’s got me and Jessica,” I say vehemently.

“Yes, I suppose he does,” she says slowly as if she isn’t quite sure she believes it. She tilts her head to look at me. “But does he really have you? You and Bill haven’t been an item in a few years. You just lost Alcide and you found out Bill’s dyin’ too. Are you sure you aren’t clinging to him now out of guilt and fear of bein’ alone? I mean the only two men you’ve ever loved will be gone within a few days of each other.”

I want to angrily reply that I’ve always been in love with Bill, but I can’t. If I really think about it, the first emotion I feel when it comes to Bill is guilt, not love. I gave myself to him again and promised to stay with him because I feel guilty and I’m tryin’ to do everything I can to make his last days here on earth comfortable. Yes, I do love him, but it’s the kind of nostalgic love a person has for their first love, not the romantic, set my pulse racing kind of love.

But Arlene is wrong too; I’ve loved three men in my life though she doesn’t know it. Once again my thoughts turn to Eric. If I really think about it, every time I think of Eric it sets my pulse racing and it’s like my heart speeds up. But it doesn’t make sense; we were only together a few days. You can’t fall in love with someone in the span of a week. . . Can you?

“You’re right,” I tell her softly. Arlene squeezes my hand again and smiles at me encouragingly. “I’m scared to let go and be hurt again. But I can’t hold myself back from lovin’ someone. I did that to Alcide and it wasn’t fair to him. I won’t do that ever again.”

“C’mon, dinner’s gettin’ cold. When’s the last time you ate a decent meal?” Arlene leads me to the dinner table where everyone else is gathered, eating, talking, and laughing like it’s a normal night. In a way, I suppose it is. This is our new normal.  Before I forget, I pass Andy the letter from Sam. He looks at me strangely but I tell him to open it. Sam’s letter to Andy is short and sweet; I quit. Yup, that about sums it up. I explain to everyone that Sam and Nicole packed up all their belongings and left town. They press for more details but I have none. Like me, they aren’t surprised given Nicole’s outburst the other night at my house. I’ll give it a few days before I call Sam, make sure he and Nicole got wherever they’re goin’ and are settled in OK. Maybe I’ll visit them one day and see the baby.

Dinner is a loud, boisterous affair that leaves everyone laughing and feeling happy. I’m able to even crack a smile and laugh a few times throughout the night. But in the back of my mind, I’m still thinkin’ about the current dilemma I find myself in.

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After dinner, all of us work to clean up before the vampires escort the humans home. I’m following after James and Lafayette when I hear my name called from the shadows. Turning around, I see Eric standing beside a big tree. I tell Lafayette and James to go home, that I’ll be alright. Lafayette gives me a hug before reluctantly letting me go. I walk slowly to Eric’s side, every step I take making my heart beat faster and faster in my chest, almost like a hummingbird’s wings. As I finally reach Eric’s side, James and Lafayette drive by, waving at me but I don’t pay any attention. I only have eyes for the vampire – no – man in front of me. I’ve never looked at Eric as a vampire; I’ve always seen him as a man, a very virile, handsome one at that.

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“Good evening Miss Stackhouse,” Eric says with that smirk that I’ve often wanted to smack off his face. But tonight I don’t see the condescending twist of his lips; I’m looking at his eyes. Those beautiful light blue orbs really are the windows to his soul. Maybe it’s the first time he’s showing me, or maybe it’s the first time I’m really paying attention but I can see each one of his emotions: longing, sadness, love, determination, and the one that scares me the most, loss.

“What are you doin’ here?” My eyes move over every inch of visible skin, reaffirming that he’s still healed, that this terrible disease isn’t going to take him from me too.

 

“Well, I came to talk to you . . . about Bill,” he says as the determination in his eyes dominates all the other emotions present. He gestures for me to walk with him.  As we approach the picnic benches in front of the bar, he sits down on the bench and pats the space next to him.  I am nervous and reluctantly do as I am told.  Eric settles beside me, curling his large frame so he doesn’t seem as imposing. Huh, now that I think about it, Eric’s always stooping or leaning down so I don’t feel intimidated by his height. It’s not his physical size that has ever intimidated me; it was his personality and emotions.

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“Bill asked me to come talk to you, wanting me to convince you to listen to his reasons for why he refused to take the cure,” Eric begins in a business-like tone. If he’s going to act like an adult about this, I guess I should too.

“I heard his reasons in Fangtasia; he has none!” So much for being an adult, but I can’t get over this sense of hurt I have inside me. I cross my arms over my chest defensively, trying to hold myself together.

“Sookie,” Eric’s voice scolds me like a petulant toddler, which isn’t that far off the mark. “He has his reasons; I listened to him articulate them just a bit ago. I think you will be very interested to hear them.”

“What are they?”

“You; he’s doing it for you,” Eric says softly, in a pained voice.

“How is Bill dyin’ supposed to be a good thing for me? How is making me live the rest of my life with the guilt of knowin’ I’m the reason he got infected and died supposed to make me feel better about his decision? How am I supposed to be ok with knowin’ it’s all my fault?” My voice has risen with each word I spoke until I am shouting with everything I have inside me. All my frustrations, my hurt, my anger, my fear come out of my mouth in a shrill scream that I swear could break glass and bust ear dreams. Eric patiently sits there letting me get all my emotion out until I start crying, then he pulls me in his arms to hold me close. His big, strong hands move up and down my back soothingly. I let out every single tear that I’ve held in since this entire fucked up situation started. I’m crying for Tara, Alcide, Holly, Arlene, Bill, Jason, Jessica, myself, even Eric. All of us have been sufferin’, yet we’ve all been fightin’ so hard to survive. I don’t understand what’s the point anymore. My tears soak Eric’s shirt, making it stick to his skin. But Eric is oblivious; he continues to hold me, soothe me until I’ve nothing left in me to shed.

“Why is it that I always feel safe in your arms?” My voice is muffled but I know he can hear me because his arms tighten fractionally. You’d think I’d feel like I had a boa constrictor around me because of how little wiggle room I have in his arms, but he makes me feel protected and cherished.

“I told you before, I will never harm you,” he says simply, his lips buried in my hair. I feel my heart swell when he repeats the same words he had used in his drunken, memory-less state.

“Why?” I feel fresh tears forming in my eyes. I don’t really know what I want him to answer; I have so many whys that need a resolution. Why does he feel this need to protect me? Why does he look at me as if I hold all his happiness in my hands? Why did he fall in love with me? And most importantly, why does he still love me?

Eric pulls back so he can see my eyes. He surprises me when he pulls a handkerchief from the pocket of his leather jacket and gives it to me. He smiles shyly at me, boyish even; a look that reminds me of the Eric sitting in the cubby promising me I’d be happy if I kissed him. Here’s another why I need answered; why do I keep thinking of when Eric was hiding with me? I keep finding reminders of that sweet, loving Eric in the brutal killer in front of me.

 

“There have been few in my existence that I’ve cared about . . . A handful of vampires . . . You,” he admits almost reluctantly, a wry smile on his face. There is pain in his eyes when admits he cares for me. I feel so ashamed, and I start to cry  in earnest.

“Why do you care about me Eric? I’ve been so horrible to you!” I sob loudly as the tears fall rapidly down my cheeks. “I’ve turned my back on you so many times. You’ve always been there when I needed you. Hell, you bought and fixed up my family’s home, and I never even fucking thanked you! So why the hell do you care about me?” I put my head in my hands as my body is overcome with harsh, wracking sobs. The enormity of my selfishness and stupidity slaps me in the face. When I really think about it, since Dallas, it’s been Eric that has truly been the one to protect me, to take care of me, and yes, to love me. Eric, even when I didn’t know it, was looking out for me and trying to take care of me, even if it meant sacrificing himself.

“Sookie,” Eric’s voice is so pained, so full of love that I can’t help but cry harder. “Please stop. I hate to see you cry.” He lifts me in his arms, settling me on his lap as he begins to rock me gently from side to side, humming a wordless tune I don’t recognize.

“You know I was human during the Age of Vikings,” he states when I finally begin to settle down. “My people were passionate, loyal, fierce, and stubborn. I don’t know if you knew that about me,” he says tongue-in-cheek, and I can’t help snorting in response. Not the best thing to do when I’m a blubbering mess, but thankfully I have his handkerchief to clean myself up. I feel Eric press his lips in a quick kiss against my head before continuing. “We valued those we loved above all others. I’m not giving up on you Sookie Stackhouse,” he says with a quiet strength and dignity I could never hope to have. “I know you will never choose me, but I will always be there for you. I will always do what is best for you.” Eric exhales heavily before continuing. “And that is why you need to speak with Bill. You need to hear his reasons.”

My head drops against Eric’s shoulder in defeat, but I nod my head in agreement. I’ve been on this emotional roller coaster and I need for it to come to an end. I don’t know what to think or feel anymore. My body and my mind are both exhausted.

 

Eric rises to his feet with me still in his arms. Once again, that feeling of safety envelops me like a warm blanket, and I sigh contentedly. It feels so nice to have this moment of peace after all the shit I’ve been through, even if it is short-lived.

“I’ll give you a lift home,” Eric’s deep voice vibrates in the ear I have pressed to his chest.

“You don’t have a car,” I say looking around at the empty, dark parking lot of the bar.

“I’m aware of that. I have other methods of transportation at my disposal,” he says with his signature smirk back in place. Before I can question him, Eric lifts us gradually into the night sky. I panic and clutch at him tightly, afraid of falling. But I loosen my grip as I remind myself that Eric will never hurt me. He loves me.

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Imagine my shock when I realized that I love him too!

I knew I loved Eric, but I had convinced myself that I loved an Eric that didn’t exist, an Eric without his memories. I convinced myself that it was his blood that made me have feelings for him. They were lies I told myself because I was afraid to love Eric Northman fully, because I knew he wanted everything and would settle for nothing less! However, the truth smacked me in the face several times tonight because the only safe haven I had was in Eric’s arms. Within his arms, I felt cherished, protected, loved, and at peace. In spite of everything going on, I felt . . . normal.

Our flight through the sky was unhurried, and I was able to enjoy the beauty of the stars and moon. Looking down, I felt no fear because I knew Eric had me. Bon Temps looked so tiny from the air; it made me realize there was more to the world than this tiny bayou town. I wanted to experience more of the world than what I had, and I wanted Eric to be the one to show me.

We landed at the base of the steps leading up to my porch and Eric sets me back on my feet. The entire flight was silent and now I feel self-conscious so I do what any girl does when confronted with the vampire she loves, but doesn’t know how to tell him knowing he still loves her but wants her to speak to her first love for some closure: I ramble. “I didn’t know you could fly. That’s just so amazin’. I’ve never seen Bon Temps like that before.”

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He smiles indulgently but says nothing. His head turns to the side as if he hears something. When he looks back, his eyes look so pained. “Your phone is ringing; I’m sure it’s Bill wanting to talk to you.”

“You can come in if you want,” I offer before walking up the steps. I turn around to find him still standing there with his back to me. His head is bowed and his shoulders are hunched in. “Eric?”

“You should go inside; Bill is waiting.”

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“I need you to do something for me before you go.” Eric straightens his shoulders before turning around. Whatever emotion was bothering him a second ago is gone from his lovely face. I let out a big sigh as I do what I should have done long ago. “I know I’m not in the best place emotionally right now. I’m still reelin’ from Alcide’s death and I have Bill’s impending True Death to deal with too. No matter what he says tonight, I’m gonna have a lot of guilt because he got sick from me. And I’ve let that guilt and my loneliness cloud my judgment.” I sigh heavily again and close my eyes as I take a giant leap of faith. “What I want to know is if you are gonna leave me now too? Or are you gonna give me the chance to love you like the way you love me?”

Eric’s mouth opens in shock. Before he can say anything I hurry on. “I’m not sayin’ it will happen tomorrow or the day after that. I need to heal and get back to bein’ me. For too long I’ve tried to hide who I am to fit into a mold of  what other people wanted me to be. You, Eric Northman, are the only person to see me as who I am and accept me for what I am. You always try to do what’s best for me. . . You love me. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to realize it and I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. But I want the chance to love you. I want to finally be one.”

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I have more that I need to say, but the words get stuck in my throat.  Of course the words are stuck in my throat because Eric’s lips are attacking mine with a gentle insistence that makes me weak in the knees.  That feeling of safety envelopes me again as his long, muscular arms wrap around me, lifting me up so we are the same height.  My arms and legs wrap around Eric’s torso, hoping to give him the same sense of being cherished that I get every time I’m in his arms.  Eric’s lips feather kiss me from my lips down to where my pulse beats wildly in my chest as I struggle to draw breath into my lungs.  I feel as if I’m suffocating but at the same time I feel as if I’ve been set free.

“Does that mean you’ll think about it?”  Eric’s quiet chuckle against my skin makes me smile.  For the first time in a long time, I am truly happy.

Eric pulls back to look at me with the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen on his face.  “You have no idea how happy you’ve made me Sookie Stackhouse,” he says in a low voice filled with love and happiness.  I smile happily in return.  Eric said it best when he was without his memories; this is best, this is right.

Eric places one last tender kiss on my lips as the phone begins to ring in my house again.  He lowers me to the ground so I am standing on my own two feet and brushes a strand of  my hair back from my face “Bill is calling you,” he says quietly.

“I know,” I say solemnly.  I really don’t want to answer the phone.  What can Bill possibly say that will make this situation any better?  If he truly wants to die, nothing I can say will change his mind.

“Do you want me to stay?”

I smile softly before leaning up to kiss his lips.  “I appreciate it, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.  I need to do this on my own.”  The ringing of my phone stops.

Eric nods gravely.  “Stay out of trouble Miss Stackhouse.”

“You too,” I demand.  “Be wary of those guys at Fangtasia; they don’t trust you.”  He needs to be careful; I’d hate to lose him now when I just got him back.  That Mr. Gus guy seems like a total dick and he’s looking for any excuse to cut Eric and Pam out of whatever their money-making scheme is.

“Don’t worry Lover,” he says with a wink.  “Mr. Gus and his thugs have outlived their usefulness.  I have a plan that will get them out of our lives once and for all.”  His expression changes to one of smoldering lust.  “And then, when you’re ready, you’re going to invite me in.  So I can protect you . . . or have passionate primal sex with you,” he ends with a wink.

I shiver again.  His teasing words are the match that ignites the fire in my blood; the fire that’s really only ever existed for him.  Everyone else has been a poor substitute.  I shift as the ache between my legs and low in my belly builds.  But my lips curve as I too remember my words from long ago.  “You’re not gonna distract me by talkin’ nasty.”

Eric’s smirk becomes more pronounced.  “I already have.”  The ringing of my phone interrupts us again and Eric’s expression changes to one of frustration.  “I need to go.”  Neither one of us wants him to leave, but there are responsibilities we both need to see to.  He presses his lips to my forehead firmly, whispers ‘I love you’, and then vamps off.  The ringing of my phone starts again and I stomp into my house to answer it.

***

I did as Eric asked and listened to Bill’s reasons for wanting to meet his end.  My emotional state bounced around like a Ping-Pong ball during that particular conversation: guilt, sadness, anger, disgust, loathing, every negative emotion you can have I felt during that talk with Bill.  At the end of his conversation, I realized one thing: he never loved me.  Oh I know he said he loved me, and that he was doing this for me, but he was wrong.  If I wasn’t a fairy, would Bill have ever noticed me?  More than likely, the answer is no.  All Bill has ever seen me as is a vampire’s possession because of my blood, my telepathy, and my light.  And like a possession, he wanted to use me one last time to give him the “ultimate kindness”; using my supernova to end his existence and we would both be free from the otherness that tortured us so.

Did I mention that he was a fucking asshole?!?!?!?!

I wanted to grab a stake and end him right then and there when he said the only reason vampires were drawn to me was because of my light and I was only drawn to them because of their darkness.  I know I haven’t made the best decisions when it came to vampires; Warlow instantly comes to mind.  But I know that I’m not attracted to all vampires, and I wouldn’t be willing to spread my legs for just anyone which is what Bill seemed to imply.  He made it seem as if I’m a goddamn fangbanger!  When Bill left he asked me to think about what he’d said, and I promised him that I would.  However, I’m not thinking about it the way I think he wanted me to think about it.

I’m not giving up being a fairy; I may not like it, but it is part of me.  I tried to give it up before, and Jason of all people, made me see the error of my ways.  And just because I give up being a fairy doesn’t mean I can’t pass the trait down to a child if I should choose to have any.  Did Bill ever stop to consider that when he was thinking of the “ultimate kindness”?  Hell no!  Part of me wants to march across the cemetery right now, throw a silver chain around his neck, and drag his weak ass outside so he can meet the sun like any other self-respecting vampire would do if they wanted to end their existence.

I’ve been tossing and turning in my bed, trying to get to sleep, but I’m too agitated, too emotional, which is why I’m able to sense the presence of four human minds outside my house.  And they aren’t thinking in English, in fact they sound an awful lot like those Japanese guys from Fangtasia.  It’s the Yakuza!  FUCK!  Grabbing my cell phone and the gun that I’ve started keeping next to the bed, I quickly move downstairs towards Eric’s cubby.  Alcide had told me the cubby was actually a panic room, and could survive almost anything.  He said if I was ever in trouble to get into the cubby and wait for help to arrive.  I’ve smartened up; the old Sookie would have run outside trying to fight them all off, but survivor Sookie has learned to pick her battles.  Sometimes it’s best to let someone else fight for you.

My cell phone starts ringing as I’m at the entrance of the cubby.  Justin Timberlake’s “Sexyback” is startlingly loud in the otherwise quiet.  Only one person in the world would have given himself that ringtone . . .

“Eric!!!  The Yakuza are here!”  I am whisper yelling into my phone as I try to get the cubby doors open with one hand.

“No Lover, the Yakuza were here.  I have dispatched all of them,” he says in a business-like tone.

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“Oh,” I say while straightening up.  “Well do you need some help?”  He did just kill people to save me; the least I can do is help with whatever he needs.

He laughs loudly.  “Still trying to be the gracious Southern belle I see,” he teases.  “But no, I do not need any help.  I have their bodies gathered for disposal.  I merely wanted to see you before I go.  Can you come to the door for me Lover?”

After ending the call, I place my cell phone and gun on the table near the door.  Feeling self-conscious that I’m wearing a ridiculous nightshirt, I open the door to find Eric gazing down at me with a predatory look in his eyes.  His face and body are splattered with blood and his fangs are on display.  There is something seriously wrong with me that I find this sexy.  I want to push him down to the ground and do very wicked things to his body with my mouth and hands.  As if he is reading my thoughts, Eric takes a step towards me, putting him flush against the barrier that prevents a vampire from entering my home.

“Invite me in Lover.  I have protected you.  You know what comes next,” he says passionately with a heated gaze.

Yes, I do know what comes next, and I want to invite him in so badly.  I know I said earlier that I needed time to get my head on straight, that I wanted to grieve for Alcide and Bill.  But one thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that time is precious, every moment could be our last.  Look what happened here just a few minutes ago.  I would have been dead if it hadn’t been for Eric’s interference.  We need to take advantage of every moment we’re given, so I’m not wasting anymore.

Stepping back from the open door, I watch as Eric’s eyebrows rise as I move away from his grasp and not into it.  Crossing my arms over the front of my body, I lift the nightgown over my head and drop it on the floor.  Eric growls appreciatively at the sight of my naked body.  Keeping my eyes on his, I walk backwards until I’m on the landing of the stairs, with only a short set of steps leading upstairs.

“It looks like you could use a shower.”  Eric growls again as he watches me walk up the final set of steps and disappears from his sight.  I know he can hear me in the bathroom turning on the water in the shower.  Once the water is just right, I smile and pull back the shower curtain to step inside.  It’s time to wash away the past and take a step towards my happily ever after.

“Mr. Northman, won’t you please come in?”

~ The End

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10 Responses to Safe and Sound

  1. jules3677 says:

    Nearly perfect story. ‘Cept Bill didn’t die. Honestly that would have make it perfect. Is it strange that I crave the lovely words ‘Bill is no more, I have tortured Bill for many many day and he has been ended’? Think its me. You described Sookie’s confused emotions & feeling well.

  2. gwynwyvar says:

    Yay. Perfect.
    And I do the the head bobbing Eric lol

  3. Claire says:

    Love it 🙂 if only shower time was that much fun for me haha great story 🙂

  4. ericluver says:

    Fantastic. Really love it. If only….

  5. Jackie69 says:

    Loved this story ! Everything was written perfectly…Take care

  6. msbuffy says:

    Now that’s an ending! I love this story!

  7. kleannhouse says:

    love your ending better. KY

  8. valady1 says:

    I was poking around on Gyllene’s blog and found the HEA contest, and then your wonderful story. Just read this for the first time and I love what you did. Sookie grows a brain and finally realizes what has been right in front of her for so long…a true HEA

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