Finding his way back into broadcasting, even in podcasts leveled Eric off in his head. They fell into a comfortable rhythm with each other that they both enjoyed but didn’t question and discuss out loud, perhaps fearing that to acknowledge it would shatter its delicate nature.
When Eric woke up every morning Sookie had breakfast ready. They would eat slowly, making comfortable small talk about the weather and the farm and his podcast from the night before. It was in those early morning conversations that Sookie revealed that she always been a fan of his show. He had felt his cheeks turn pink at her admission. The sense of pleasure made him curl his toes inside his shoes as he thought of her listening to his voice carry over the airwaves through the night.
After breakfast they would take a slow walk around the farm, through the field, over the stream and all the way to the fence that cordoned off the Northman property. It was on one of these walks she explained how she had made a fortune on stock with knowledge from the future. That money was how she had bought the farm. That money was now what they used to live on since it was crucial they remain below the radar.
It was hard for him to be here, there were ghosts just like he had feared when he found out this was where they were headed, but they weren’t scary ghosts, just fond memories of a happy time in his life, laced with melancholy for the loss of his family. As they walked he felt himself smile as the memories played through his mind of times long past and this too helped to heal the trauma that had left him paralyzed and unsure of what to do.
After their walk they would return to the old farm house and he would make lunch. The first time he had made tuna sandwiches with cheese for her, smiling like an idiot when he set the plate down for her. Her look of amusement followed by her sounds of pleasure as she devoured the food pleased him in some primal way he had not expected. He was in awe of how much she could eat.
“It’s my supernatural metabolism,” she said around a mouthful of pickle while she reached for another sandwich. “It takes a lot to keep this body running at peak form.” He had taken the chance then to peruse her form and found himself thinking of the many meanings of ‘peak form’. He had been sitting there for a long while lost in his thoughts of her form when she realized he had stopped eating. The look on his face made her tingle. She could have looked into his thoughts to see what exactly was on his mind, but it wasn’t necessary and felt like a violation of their delicate truce. Swallowing, she asked him if something was wrong jarring him back to the kitchen with her.
“No,” he said blushing again. “I was just thinking.” When he didn’t offer to explain further she let it go but she really wanted to ask.
After lunch Eric would retire to the sofa to read. Newspapers, novels, magazines, anything he could get his hands on. She wanted to get him a tablet but he had said he preferred the old school versions. Moved by some unexpected impulse she had sat down beside him one day and asked him to read to her.
He had been knee deep in a novel by Delia Hunter, All Alone it was called, and the faces he was making as he turned the pages had drawn her to him, curiosity burning. “What?” he had said, laying the open book down on his chest. He had been stretched out on the old sofa, shoes and socks off. Only his face had shown any movement in over an hour.
“I like the sound of your voice. Read to me?” she asked again. He looked at her for a long moment and then turned on his side, and pulled her down next to him, spooning her from behind, his long arms reaching around her to hold the book out. She had closed her eyes and let his voice take her into the story. His voice was low and gravely, right in her ear, his breath brushing the side of her face. It didn’t matter what he was saying, his tone, the feel of him behind her, around her relaxed her completely. She fell asleep there, not needing to rest, in fact she rarely slept at all, but there with him such a feeling of peace came over her that it just happened.
He read until he felt her completely relax, then he stopped, placed the book behind him and snuggled her closer to him following her down into slumber. He never dreamed or worried when they slept like that, and that reading siesta soon became a part of their routine that he looked forward to more than anything else.
When they woke up in the late afternoon Sookie would go out to check the farm and the wards and then come in to start dinner. Eric would record his podcast for the night, adding music now thanks to the nifty licensing that she had purchased for him. He enjoyed the growing email responses he was getting to his broadcasts and would spend a good amount of time going through them and preparing his responses.
After the podcast was uploaded they would eat dinner together, talking again, but evening conversations were always different, more intense somehow than the ones they had during the day. “Tell me about your life in the future, before me,” had asked her one night after a second glass of wine. She had just finished and picked up her own glass as she studied him the dim candle light that she had added to the table tonight.
“There was no ‘before you’ for me. You were the first thing I ever knew.” He leaned in closer, captured as much by her face in the candle light as he was by her words.
“What do you mean?”
“You know how I was made?” she asked him, waiting to see if that caused him to flinch and pull back. When he only nodded she let out a breath she had been holding. “I was born in a lab. There were care givers but they were distant and didn’t interact with me as I grew. I had an accelerated childhood, and grew to maturity in months rather than years. I was curious about what was outside the door where the care givers came and went, so, when I was the equivalent of about eight human years old, I broke out to see the world beyond the door.” She took another sip of wine and he saw her eyes become distant as she went back to the future.
“I made it all the way outside before you caught me.”
“I caught you? Oh, you mean older Eric?”
“Older Eric?” she turned her head to the side, her long blonde hair falling down to frame her face in the shadows.
“Yeah, that is how I think of me from then.”
“Oh,” she said, putting her glass down on the table. “The facility where they made me was an old military base in Nevada. There was a sign that had ‘51’ on it. They had been teaching me to read, that was how I knew. Later, after I was here, I found out about Area 51 and what the humans think is happening there.” She laughed then, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “They really aren’t that far off, you know? They just think the aliens come from outer space in ships. It never occurred to most of them that the invaders would be from another dimension parallel to their own. That they would pass through some invisible doorway and stake their claim here.”
He wanted to hear about that, needed to hear about that, but not tonight. Tonight he wanted to hear about her. He was about to redirect her when she did it herself. “You were the first person to ever touch me. The care givers were afraid of me because they knew I could read their minds.” His eyes grew wide.
“You can, um, read my mind?”
“I can. But I don’t, unless you are in danger. To do so just because I can doesn’t seem fair, but I suppose you can feel me, with your empathic talents, so is there a difference?” She paused. “Can you feel me, Eric?”
“Yes,” he said softly, he had been feeling her since they started this conversation, but hadn’t realized it until she asked him. He had always just done it. Now that he knew what he was doing, it was something he tried to be more conscious of. “I’m working on shutting it off, but it’s harder sometimes than I expected it to be. Especially when I want…When I want to know.” She nodded her understanding, not angry that he was being less careful with her than she was with him. She knew it took time to master your gifts and make them work for you, rather than forcing you to work for them.
“It’s ok, Eric. I get it.” He smiled at her and waited for her to go on.
“When I got outside it was all dust and darkness. The sky was a mass of rolling black clouds and flashes of lightening. Drastic environmental changes had been part of Warlow’s plan to claim this world. Most of world looked like what I saw and the magic that still traveled the atmosphere pulled at me. Even then, years after the final battle it was so strong it felt like it was pulling me apart. I covered my ears and crouched down unable to move. It was so overwhelming I was just frozen there, unable to go back or to go forward. It was then that you came.
“You swept me up in your arms, covering my head with one of your large hands, holding me tight to you, you ran back inside and slammed the heavy metal door blocking out the rogue magic and the sound that had crippled me. Your face…” her voice trailed off as she looked at the past future again made him ache in his chest. He could see himself holding the small blonde girl almost as if he was there already.
“Your face was so sad when you looked at me. I wanted to make the sadness go away. I knew even then that I couldn’t do that, but I never knew why.” He never told her about his Sookie, Eric thought. Why? And then he knew.
She had no need to know. To tell her about the Princess would do to her what the revelations on the crystal had done to him and for no good reason. She was 500K13, not his Sookie, as the older version of himself had said in the download. He had tried to protect her from knowing that she wore the face of his lost love.
She had stopped speaking while Eric was lost in his own revelations. “That was the first time I had seen you, but I saw you often after that. In my life you have been my father, my brother, my son, Eric Northman. There was no before, there has just always been…you.”
“So, I made you, and then you made me?” She smiled faintly.
“More the first than the second. I didn’t raise you, I only protected you.”
“And did you have to protect me often?” She shrugged.
“As often as I needed to.” He accepted that, feeling that there were things it would do him no good to know just as there were for her. Her words had left him reeling and he needed time to process them before they went further down this road together. Putting it down for now he stood and loaded their dishes into the dishwasher before taking her hand to lead her to the sofa for the next part of their ritual.
“What shall we watch tonight?” he asked, moving to the stack of DVD’s that grew every time they went out for supplies.
“Something bigger than a babies arm,” she said giggling behind him. He loved it when she giggled. She was doing that more as the days passed.
“Really?” he raised an eyebrow and turned to her. “Pump Up The Volume, again?”
“It’s my favorite!” she said bouncing up and down a huge grin on her face.
“It’s a Twinkie of a movie,” he said teasing her.
“Oh! Do we have some Twinkies left? That would be great right now!” A few minutes later they were on the sofa, Sookie eating Twinkies watching as Christian Slater faked masturbation his basement while he broadcast his pirate radio show. “He reminds me of you,” she said leaning closer, continuing to devour her snack cake.
“I have never played Ice-T and talked about my dick!” he said feigning insult.
“But wouldn’t it be cool if you did?” she teased him back. He smiled and raised his arm so she could lean against him.
“No. He really reminds you of me?” She nodded, her head bobbing against his shoulder as she watched.
“Yes, he saw something wrong and used the power of his voice to try and change it.” He thought about that a moment and decided he liked the comparison after all. Caught in the high of her appreciation of him his mouth got in front of his brain.
“Well, if I take my shirt off, will you take your top off to be like me?” he asked referencing the scene where the shy radio pirate meets his lady love for the first time. He figured she would laugh and eat another Twinkie.
“Maybe,” she said in a quiet serious tone as she stared the screen. “Try it sometime and see.” He opened his mouth and then shut it again, looking at screen, too.
“OK,” he finally said and felt her relax against him again. “I will.” She slipped her hand into his, slowly threading her fingers through his. Nothing else needed to be said right then, it was a perfect moment all in itself.
A/N- So, I do like PUTV, and Christian Slater’s character in that movie is part of the inspiration for Eric’s character in this story. It’s not IMDB top 100, but it’s worth checking out if you ever get the chance, and of course the soundtrack is awesome, too. Tonight’s musical selection is from that soundtrack and some great person included the scene they were talking about! I love it when a plan comes together! Enjoy! *warning, her shirt does come off, so you might want skip it if boobs offend thee.*