Memories *One Shot*/Set between From Dead to Worse & Dead and Gone/OOC/M for language
*SPOILERS* For those not familiar with the books, Sookie has ended her relationship with Quinn and has just saved Eric and DeCastro from being murdered by a remaining member of Sophie’s regime by running over the vampire with her car. Eric has recovered his memories of their time together when he was under the witches spell but has been kept too busy by the Nevada take over to truly address this with Sookie. He tried the night of the takeover when they all came back and she dismissed him out of hand, quite coldly, saying that now was not the time to drag that all up again.
Again, I hated that. I like this better.
This is set three nights after she has rescued Eric and the King.
I had known he was coming. I had felt it for days building in the air around me like lightening about to strike. I had thought it would feel…scary or dreadful maybe. Instead each minute that ticked past after he made his decision carried the weight of peace and contentment. Eric was coming, and it just felt…right.
I cleaned my house, I washed my clothes, I set everything to rights and I focused on the glowing sense of peace in my heart. I would finally get to say all the things I needed to say and then I could move on. I could leave that time we had together behind me, and my anger over losing it as well. It would be painful to talk about, and devastating to acknowledge at long last, but still, when I cut into the wound and let the poison run out, after the bleeding, after the pain there would be such peace and relief on the other side.
After setting everything on what would be our stage perfectly I went to do the same for myself. In the shower as I washed my hair I let myself slide into remembering him here with me. I avoided this bathroom almost religiously since his time here, using the one downstairs as often as I could and always to shower. I had even spent the first month of his absence in baths, unable to feel the water on my skin without longing for his touch to follow it.
Eventually, I got around it, but I had never gotten over it. There was just too much loss at the end of what had been the happiest moments of my life to ever get over. If I had tried I would have fallen in completely and lost myself. As it was it had been close already.
I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin tonight, so I wore my favorite t-shirt and blue jeans. I left my shoes off, because I hated shoes. I had always hated shoes. I needed to touch the ground with my feet whenever I could. I made myself a hot cup of tea because I wanted something to do with hands both before he arrived and after. I turned on the stereo and put on one of favorite CD’s, a mix of David O’Dowda. It set exactly the tone outside that I felt inside me.
I knew he would be here around 6:30. I never questioned how I knew. I just did, and the knowing felt good. Being certain of something in my very uncertain world was just fucking excellent. I warmed a blood for him and had just placed them both on the coffee table when he knocked at the door. I ran to it, toward him, toward this reckoning that I wanted every bit as much as he did. That I needed every bit as much as he did.
“Sookie.” I shivered when he said my name and looked at me with his stormy eyes. He had flown here, I could tell because his hair was disheveled. He was arranging it back to its proper place when I opened the door. Flying, what would that be like? Before I realized it the words on my mind were out my lips. It was going to be that kind of evening.
“I wish I had asked you to take me flying sometime.” He stopped, his face blank but I could feel him now and inside him was the same mix of sadness and regret that clogged my own veins. The combined weight of our regret made it hard to breathe as it pressed in on my chest.
“Would you like to go now?” He opened his arms to me. I smiled and stepped back so he could enter. We both knew we had missed our chance for such childish delights. For tonight, for this one night, I was going to be the grown up. I could do it for just a few hours. That is how you grew up, right? You just pulled your big girl panties up and did it? You put away childish things and childish dreams and tried to think of someone other than yourself for a time. Maybe a few seconds at first, maybe whole minutes where you stepped out of yourself and thought about things from someone else’s perspective.
If you tried hard enough you might even get to whole hours when you knew that you were not the center of the universe. I was determined to do that tonight, to give him what seconds, minutes or hours I could conjure from beneath my childish self and offer them to him.
I had to finish this right. If it was over I couldn’t change that, but I could see it out with dignity and grace. That would let me look back on this with some sense of pride and kindness, rather than seeing it as just another mistake in a long line of mistakes that pushed me along. I wanted to chart my own path and the beginning was here tonight.
He sat down on the sofa his long legs and large frame taking up more than half of it. I folded myself into the cushions, bringing my bare feet up to place my knees in front of me, one arm over the back the other reaching for my tea which I balanced on my knee. Then I looked at him again.
This will be the last night I ever see you, I thought as I sipped my tea and gestured toward his warmed and waiting bottle of blood. He nodded, acknowledging my offer but did not pick it up. “You knew I was coming.” It wasn’t a question.
“I could feel you from the moment you decided to come here.”
“Our bond is strong, Sookie.”
“Yes, it is.” I balanced the tea on my knee again and rested my head on my hand propped on the back of the sofa. I had pulled my hair up in messy bun and I felt it shift a little as I tilted my head. I felt completely at peace and utterly certain in this moment. I paused to savor that feeling. It wasn’t something that I had experienced before. From that position I let the words flow out of me, each one feeling more right than the last.
“I owe you an apology, Eric. When you told me you got your memories back I did not treat you fairly. I have no excuse for being such an ass to you, but I did think I had my reasons.” He moved to speak but I went on quickly not giving him the chance. “I didn’t really of course. Treating anyone that way is wrong, you most of all because of all that you…that we had been through.” I took a deep breath and looked at him. He had slipped off his leather jacket when he came in and was in one of his black tank tops, his long legs in his usual black jeans and his boots. He must have dozens of those outfits, I thought as I sipped my tea again. He did not try to speak again in the silence of my pause, he only stared at me as intently as I was looking at him, waiting.
“I had tried so hard to forget, you see. To press all of it down until I could get past it that I couldn’t face you bringing it up again. That and I wasn’t ready for you to tell me that now that you knew how you felt in that time you knew it was a big mistake.” He moved then and I was sure he would say something now so I hurried on. “I had never felt like that before, you see? That time with you was so unlike anything I had ever known before that even though I couldn’t look at it directly I couldn’t bear for you take it away from me either. That was why I couldn’t let you speak that night. I said it all very badly and I am sorry for that, but I wasn’t ready to face it then.” I let out a shaky breath focusing on making myself not cry on keeping my voice steady and on keeping this moving until the wound was open all the way.
“I am ready now. I am ready to accept that you do not love me. I am ready to accept that I am only asset to you that you need to keep in order to maintain your standing with the new King. I am ready to accept that if you had been in your right mind here for those few days you might still have tried to get into my bed, you always made that desire plain, but you would not have been so…open with me because that is not who you are.
“You are the vampire Sherriff of Area Five and you do not open yourself up to feel anything. Maybe because you don’t want to, or maybe because you can’t. The way you were with me then…it’s not your fault that I let myself pretend that you cared for me. That you genuinely cared about my brother getting his fool self abducted. That you needed anything from me other than comfort because your world was upside down. I did all that, and for a moment it…” I could feel the sob pressing to get out as I went on laying myself bare, but I pushed it back down hard, swallowing.
I would not be weak, goddamnit! No, not now. Not halfway through what must be done!
“For a moment it was everything I had dreamed of in my secret heart of hearts. To have someone to care for me, who wanted me to be theirs.” I could stop the sobbing but only because I let the tears run free now. I let them go and felt the pressure ease in my chest enough to take a ragged breath. Just a little more I told myself. Just a little further and then he can go and I can cry this out and leave this behind me. Just a little more.
“I did that, not you. It was so wrong of me to pretend like that, to let myself get swept up in dreams while your world was falling apart and you were just looking for anything to hold on to. I am so, so sorry, Eric. You deserved better. You deserved better then and you deserved better when you remembered what had really happened. I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough to give it to you then. I hope…I hope that me saying it now makes up for it all at least a little.”
I had been looking in his eyes the whole time I spoke, begging him to believe me, begging him to hear me and I suppose begging him to take it easy on me when he finally told me what I knew was coming. He had every right to be angry with me and the way I had behaved toward him. I had hidden too long in my paltry justification that what I did was acceptable because he was not always an honest man himself, failing to see that my actions had nothing to do with his. I could hardly hold the measure of rule on his behavior when I was so willing to treat him reprehensibly in his darkest moment. I set my tea back on the table and looked at him, still refusing to wipe my tears and holding the sobs inside me. Just a little more and I could let go. He would be gone soon.
“So, you can go now, Eric. I am sorry, but I know that after all this you don’t really want to stay.” I didn’t move, I was holding myself together with threads. He could see himself out. I expected him to leave in flourish, free of this crazy telepathic barmaid once and for all. I didn’t know I was holding my breath until he spoke.
“Well, thank the gods you got all that figured out.” His tone was sarcastic and cold and I saw my worst fears coming at me. He was going to take his pound of flesh before he left. It wasn’t like I didn’t think it could happen. I would have to go a little further, but I had earned his ire, so I would take it. Let him speak his piece and then he would go. I let out a shaky breath and braced.
“I mean really, Sookie. It was all so terrible for me here with you here being kept safe by you, being welcomed into your bed and experiencing the most incredible sex of my long existence was something that you should apologize for. Do it again.” I dropped my head, resting it on my knee as he went on.
“You got it all so wrong, woman. Did you manage that alone or did you call in some of you idiot friends to help you put together this montage of self-blame and bullshit?” My head jerked up and I saw him sliding toward me inch by inch on the sofa as his eyes burned blue fire. I opened my mouth to speak but he cut me off this time. Again, I guess I had it coming.
“If I had retained my memories I would have married you, right then. What I shared with you was as real for me as it was for you. I would not have taken it away from you, silly woman. I would have spent every minute between then and now showing you that it was real. That I was real. That we were real.” He reached me then and his hand slipped up behind my head his fingers tangling themselves in my hair. “We are still real. Just as real as we were then, except that I know now the full range of my power, of my authority and of my love for you. Stop trying to push me away and hold onto me like you once did. Believe in me as you once did and see that there is nothing I have not done or would not do for you!”
My knees parted as he leaned into me and pressed his lips softly to mine. His kiss called to mind the memories of our nights together. Passionate soft kisses that burned with a hot passion that belied his chilly lips. He pulled me to sit on his lap as his hands pulled down my hair and he pressed his chest to mine. “I have missed you so, even when I didn’t know what I was missing and now that I do, nothing means anything without you at my side.”
That did it. His words knocked loose the sobs in my chest and I threw my arms around him and buried my face in his shoulder as my brain spun around in crazy circles making the room spin with it. I closed my eyes and held on to him like I had once before so long ago when I let myself believe that he would always be there to steady me. As I cried out all my pain on him be soothed my back with his large hands and whispered to me in a steady stream his memories of everything.
“You were so tired but you stopped for me. You brought me home and your strength and confidence in me gave me strength and confidence in myself. You took care of me and the first thing I thought was how I wanted to be the one taking care of you, Sookie.
“When you told me that I had made you work for me I understood why you were not my lover and I vowed that if you would give me a chance, I would work to be the kind of man who deserved that chance. That I would cherish you. I cherished you, Sookie every moment that I was here, and every moment since I got my memories back. I have cherished you.” I held him tighter then, really bawling feeling like I could never stop this river of tears that might have started over him, but his words were touching wounds and scars that predated my knowledge that he even existed. I had never been cherished before. Until he said, I didn’t even know what it was, let alone that I needed it and wanted it desperately.
“The first time I kissed you, oh I remember that first kiss here in your house. It was beyond words. I have no way to tell you what that was like for me. It was holy and profound. It was my first kiss and it was everything a kiss should have been.” His voice was getting lower now and I had to struggle to hear him over my crying, but I forced myself to quiet because I needed to hear him.
“Now I remember each and every kiss that I have ever had in my long life and still it is the kiss by which I measure all others. Even if you never kiss me again and make me go tonight and I never see you again it will be the kiss by which all others are measured as long as I walk the night.” Unable to speak and ask him to stay I locked my arms tighter around his broad shoulders and pulled my legs in tight around his waist. I had thought I was ready for him to disappear into the night forever, but if he left me like this now I was sure it would kill me. All the poison was running out of me through my tears and I was feeling lighter by the second as he healed me with his words.
“I long for those care free times here with you. I liked my life before, I thrilled in the political games and intrigue of vampire aristocracy but now, it makes me tired and I resent it because it always seems to serve no purpose but to take me from your side. I don’t want to do it anymore without you. That is why my first thought the night of the takeover was to come to you. To protect you above all others, Sookie. So that if I met my true death your face would be the last thing I saw. Nothing meant more to than you then or now. Nothing.” His last words were a whisper into my neck and they made me shiver in his arms.
I could feel the truth of them and his love for me in our bond. It was so strong that I wondered at how I had not felt it before. It was too big and bright and strong to hide. I quieted in his arms, feeling his love for me, and I for the first time thought of my love for him. How I had let myself believe we might have a future in those moments when I let myself love him. He sighed contentedly as my love washed over him validating I suppose his rightness in opening his heart to me tonight.
I was out of words. I used them wrong more often than not so I followed the feeling in my heart and pushed it out him, begging him to see and understand that I had thought I was setting him free of an unwanted obligation when this night had started, and that now I knew how wrong I had been. I wasn’t unwanted. I wasn’t an obligation.
I wiped my tears now and sat back to look in his eyes. He looked at me as he had that night when he had first made me his lover and I had to close my eyes because it hurt in the core of me to see my strong Viking so open and bare before me. I kissed his forehead softly and then moved on to his cheeks, moving slowly, holding my lips to his face until I needed to move on and worship another piece of this beloved man. When I finished I sat back again, my small hands on his long graceful neck.
“Thank you,” I whispered to his lips just before they pressed themselves to mine. He melted me like butter on griddle, sizzling puddles of kissed Sookie running down him lap. He possessed me completely with his mouth and his hands and I lost all sense of myself as I had promised to do at the beginning of this evening. There was only him for me, and his need and I could feel how much he needed to be reassured as he had just done for me.
I lacked his competence with words so I offered myself to him, holding nothing back now. I opened the bond between us and let him feel what he meant to me. From the groans and shakes that passed through and from him I could tell that he had heard me.
“Take me to bed, Eric. Love me like we have all night.”
“Like we have every night,” he answered as he picked me up and spirited me away. Tomorrow there would kings and ships and sealing wax. Hell, there would probably even be a shifter walrus, knowing our luck, but there would also be us. That made everything possible and nothing impossible in every tomorrow that was to come.