For those not familiar with the books, after her house nearly burns down, Sookie calls Eric for help with her friend Tara who has fallen in with a bad vamp named Franklin. He has traded her away to another vamp named Mickey as they often did before the Great Revelation. Eric still wants to know what happened when he stayed with her and she has refused to discuss it with him to this point. Seeing his advantage in her needing a favor he agrees to help her if she tells him what transpired between them. Reluctantly, she agrees. He comes to her, she tells him, enjoying that he can’t remember their time together.
He gets on knees for her, and muses out loud that perhaps his life would be easier if he ended her here and now, kissing her softly in between words that not even she feels threatened by. When Mickey the trouble vamp shows up outside her room she tells Eric they have to stop and he says, “No,” kiss, “no”, kiss.
From there it all goes to hell and the moment is lost. I hated that. I like this better…
People think that time is a constant. That it never changes its tempo or its beat, ticking consistently and regularly though everything around it changes. Those people have never opened their doors to a man like Eric Northman.
My heart stopped, time stopped and in this frozen still I realized that I was completely full of shit. I knew what he was going to want when I called him for help. I could have called Bill, I could have called Sam, fuck I could have called the Chuck Gathers and the action news team at Shreveport channel 6 news but I had called him. I knew he would want me to tell him what happened, more than that I knew he deserved to know. I had lied to myself about him being the only place I could go for help because I had missed him. I needed to see him. I needed him right here with me because without him I felt so all alone that I couldn’t stand it.
I had kept myself surrounded by people but it had only served to highlight that he was gone from my life. I had feared he would be when the spell was broken and I had run from that. I had been running from that at a break neck pace since that moment he had come into my kitchen asking me what he was doing there.
I knew he would get his memories back. I just never fucking figured that the price would be the new ones he had made with me. His time with me, that bubble of love and safety had not merged with his other memories, instead that pocket universe we shared had ended for him. It had not ended for me. I was stuck there. Playing those moments over and over the things he said and the things he did. The things we did.
I spent my time when I could look at it thinking he was lucky, that I was protecting him from feeling what I was feeling. I knew he would want those memories back for this favor I was asking. I had maneuvered him and myself into this moment because I could not be in this pocket universe all alone anymore.
Tonight, again, I had nearly died. Shot by some crazy lunatic who could not face the truth of her existence. My first thought when I hit the ground bleeding was regret. Regret that I had not told him the magic and wonder of those few days. Then I felt shame for being someone that I didn’t like. That was just my pride and the price of that was too high. If I had died tonight he might have never known what he had hidden so well from himself about himself. Something that by some twisted hand I had been allowed to see, to feel and to love.
I had loved him. He had loved me. In a world so full of hate and darkness love was the one light that could heal it all and I was foolish and wrong to curse that light and stumble through the dark.
“You have to invite me in, Sookie.” Time was moving again, at least for him and he was reminding me that he had never been invited here. I heard something more in his words. I heard that he wanted to come in from the rain and the doubt of not knowing. I held out my hand and said what I had wanted to say for weeks now.
“Please come in, again, Eric.” He took my hand and stepped into the room. I closed the door and turned to face him, to face myself. “Please take a seat.” He sat down on the small love seat and I sat next to him wincing at jarring my wounded shoulder. His eyes at once landing on my face, gauging my pain but he did not speak. Once I settled and the pain went to a dull ache I took a breath and faced him.
“You want to heal me, but you don’t know why.” His eyes widened slightly but he didn’t speak. “It’s because of what happened, when you were with me. You took care of me then and though you may not remember it, part of you wants to do it now as you did then.”
“Yes,” he said quietly.
“I cared for you, too. I picked you up in the side of the road at two in the morning. Your feet were torn and you were so lost.” He leaned closer then, listening as if I were speaking the secrets of the universe. I suppose I was, just not this one.
“You didn’t know me, and you were scared, but you didn’t show it. I know because you climbed in bed with me that night and I held your hand. It put me at ease, too. I felt the tension leave you as well. That small thing made everything all right enough in your new world for you relax and have at least a moment of peace.” He took my hand again, perhaps trying to recreate the feeling. I would have thought it impossible until it happened. The tension drained from me as he touched me, with this new memory in his arsenal.
His touch had purpose and meaning and reassured me that this was right. I felt him relax as well and knew that some of the magic from our little pocket of time was seeping out around us. “Just like that,” I said looking at our hands in wonder. I let myself enjoy it a little before I went on. There was still so much to tell.
“You wondered and asked me if we had been lovers because you could feel me in your blood. I explained the things that you knew already about how that came to be and that you were not my lover. You were uncertain of things, not knowing who you were, but seemed comforted by the fact that the old you had wanted me as much as the new you did. It…comforted me, too, to know that the essential Eric was still in there, somewhere.”
“You were so open and sweet. You sensed that I needed you and you came to me in the shower after a really crappy day. You washed my back and waited for me to decide if I would have you.” I stopped there, lost in that moment, my most favorite of memories.
“And did you choose me, Sookie?”
“Yes. You letting me decide without all the smartass remarks blinding me to your goodness and your desire to be wanted in return tipped it for us. Your actions showed that you cared for me and I was able to finally see what that meant to me.” He sat back slightly then, absorbing my words, tasting them.
At last he knew we were lovers.
“You shared blood with me?” he asked still looking at our hands.
“Several times. A lovers exchange you called it.”
“I could feel that our connection was strong when I awakened that first night.”
“That would be why.”
“Did I please you, Sookie? Were we good together?”
“The best, even you said so. Of course, you couldn’t remember anything else, so I won’t hold you to that.”
“What else did I say?”
“That you would bring me to your side and all that owe fealty to you would also owe it to me.” He exhaled then, showing more than anything else the impact of my words…his words. “The night before we fought the witch you said that we could leave, skip the war, and come back here. That you would care for me and we could spend our nights knowing each other’s bodies in every way.”
“That sounds like marriage,” he said quietly. I smiled.
“That’s what I said.”
“But you turned me down?”
“You weren’t you. I wanted it. I had come to care for you more than even I knew at the time but it would not have been right to make that decision for you, or to allow you to make it when you had no idea what you would be giving up.”
“Perhaps I did know.” He looked at me then, pinning me with his stormy blue gaze. “Perhaps I was thinking about what I would be giving up to go back after our time together.” I blinked, shocked. I had never considered that.
“I thought when you got your memories back and could really make a decision about what you wanted that you could decide then, but…”
“The witch wasn’t done, yet. Even in death she plagued me with her spell and the loss of the time I had spent with you.” I smiled a little thinking how he had put it so well. “Why did you call me tonight, Sookie?
“Because you said you wanted to know and because I needed to tell you. I almost died tonight and I realized that if I did you would never know what happened. It felt so wrong to leave you like that, but also, I didn’t want to be trapped in these memories alone anymore wanting something that I could never have. At least now you’ll know why I might morph into an uncontrollable bitch monster when I see you with someone else.”
“Because you will be jealous?”
“Oh, yeah.” My eyes were watering now but I made it stop and pressed it down. I didn’t want his pity. I couldn’t stomach that.
“Jealousy, it is a bad thing to feel. I have some experience with it.” I nodded, keeping my head down as I tried to get my emotions under control. “I have felt it eating away at me since the first time I saw you on someone else’s arm.” My head jerked up. “I wanted you that first night. Since then it has only grown in depth and dimension until there is little else that I can think of.” He slid toward me then and at the last moment to his knees on the floor so that he could come up between my legs directly in front of me, pressing his body to mine. His face was a hair’s breadth from mine. His eyes drilled into me as he spoke.
“You are so much trouble, Miss Stackhouse.”
“I could…I could say the same about you, Mr. Northman.” I think I quit breathing.
“Do tell,” he said leaning in and kissing my neck softly. I closed my eyes and tried to remember that I knew words and was fully capable of speaking them.
“You sweep in and turn m-my life upside down. You show me the things that I have wanted for so long and then you take them with you when you go.” He kissed my neck again and I felt myself aching in new places from the memories he conjured.
“I didn’t choose to go.” I took a deep breath and my uninjured arm came around him. “I didn’t know I was leaving…so much behind.” He jostled my wounded arm then and though I managed to not show the pain he must have felt it because quick like a snake he was back in front of me, his gaze filled with concern. “Will you let me heal you?”
“A lovers exchange?” His eyes fluttered partially shut and he looked so happy I expected him to purr any moment. Instead he sat back down next to me and pulled me into his lap carefully settling me before offering me his bloody wrist. I melted back into him, so solid behind me, so dependable, still caring even with a thousand years under his belt.
Moments later I was healed and he was kissing my neck again, taking deep breaths in my hair. “Your scent haunted me,” he whispered. “I was covered in you when I woke up. Every bit of me was marked by you in some way.” His mouth moved around to my ear. “I knew we had been lovers, my Sookie.” I moaned softly and shifted in his lap completely seduced by his tone and now his honesty.
“Why didn’t you just tell me then?” His large hand came up to cup my breast.
“I was waiting for you to decide if you would have me.”