What Kind of Man?/TBS4/OOC/NC17/Eric & Sookie
Amnesia Eric free from pride and unburdened by emotion shines some light on his previous actions and helps Sookie to see things differently.
“Are you mine?” I wanted her to say yes. I could feel myself inside her loving her veins with every heartbeat. Her actions were contrary to what I felt from her. Scared and angry by turns which told me that she knew more than my name. It was a strange confusing feeling that I had cared enough for her to share myself and that she had cared enough to let me only to hold herself back from me now. I needed to understand what had happened between us.
“No!” she snapped at me. Why did that hurt?
“Would you like to me mine?” Perhaps I had not asked her before I lost myself?
“No!” She crossed her arms defensively. That told me clearly that she did want to be mine, but could not admit it. I could feel the anger in her veins now churning.
“You know why!” I grinned.
“No, sorry I don’t.” She huffed, pursed her lips and looked down. She was angry that I had forgotten.
“That’s just like you isn’t it?” I felt my eyebrows go up in surprise.
“Is it?” She turned around and paced away now sighing and holding herself tighter as though she didn’t trust her hands if she let them out from under her arms.
“Yes it is!” she snarled at the wall. “You turn my whole life upside down on a pretty regular basis!” I frowned.
“I can’t explain it all to you.”
“Why not?” Her shoulders shook and I smelled her tears. She had been fierce when she punched me, and tender when she washed my feet. This was new. What could have happened that would make this woman cry? “Sookie, how do I turn your life upside down?” She sat down on the bed keeping her back to me which was worse than her tears. Her face was comforting, familiar in some way even though I had no memory of it before she picked me up. I could feel that I knew her and her words told of a strong connection between us if I had such power over her.
“This is just so fucked up. I mean you do all these shitty things to me and then forget and if I tell you what an asshole you are it feels like kicking puppies.” Asshole? Puppies?
“I don’t know what I did, but I am sure there were reasons for it, even if I can’t remember and you don’t understand them.” She flipped around then breathing fire.
“Reasons? Reasons?” she stood stalking toward me. “What possible reason could you have for feeding me to a three thousand year old vampire?” Her pain bothered me, but I felt nothing other than remorse for her emotions. I had no memory of that event so it was easy to fall back on logic.
“How old am I? Do you know?”
“Like a thousand,” she said dismissively.
“So, he was older and more powerful than I am?”
“And yet you still live?”
“You tricked him into the sun and shackled yourself to him. You were burning up when I came and saved you.”
“Why did you save me if I fed you to him?” Her face scrunched up again, first anger and then I saw the question in her eyes. Her arms tightened again, holding herself back from seeking the answer to that question. She was afraid of something and she convinced herself that it was me, but it wasn’t me. Her punch on the roadside should have told her that. It certainly told me that. “Why?” I pressed her again.
She went to move around me and climb the ladder again. “You can leave, but the question will always be there until you answer it.” She stopped and turned back to me.
“This, this is what I meant when I said you turned my fucking life upside down. You press me like this! You demand things like this! You make what you want more important to me than what I want!”
“Ah,” I said understanding dawning on me. My sound provoked her. She threw her arms down from her middle and stalked toward me.
“You are in love with me.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“The only way I could upset your life with my words, my questions, my demands is if you loved me. Only love has that kind of power.”
“You are seriously out of your fucking mind,” she snarled.
“I feel you in my blood, woman. I feel my blood in you. It doesn’t lie to me like your words do.”
“Blood you tricked into me!” I looked at her sharply.
“We were in a bomb explosion and you stepped in front of me to shield me. Then you told me that the silver would kill you and tricked me into drinking your stupid controlling blood when I sucked the silver out of your chest.” Again, no memory and no emotion other than hers gave me a clarity that she was definitely lacking.
“So, I love you, too. That explains this feeling I have when you are near.”
“What?” she gasped out, her face a mask of disbelief and shock.
“What do you mean what? You just told me I shielded you to protect you with my own body, my own life. If I am as old as you say then obviously I don’t take risks like that often.” She blinked at that, her mouth coming open slightly.
“If you felt anything for me then you would never have tricked me into taking your blood!”
“I obviously don’t know the whole story, but I believe that love would indeed drive me to claim you, to protect you.”
“Yes, why else would I take those actions? You are very lovely but I am sure I could find blood and sex with others if that was all I wanted. I am also sure that I would not risk my life for just those things. They are too plentiful.”
“We’ve never had sex and other than removing the silver we have never shared blood.” Her arms came up again. Defensive, protective. She wanted those things with me. Why didn’t we have them?
“You belonged to another then?”
“Why didn’t he protect you? Where was he that you needed me to survive the explosion?”
“With his maker.”
“A maker cannot be denied. It is a good reason to not be with you.”
“No, she’s a crazy bitch who attacked me. Your maker sent her away after he saved me. Bill was walking her out when it happened.” She was looking at the floor again and her sadness touched me.
“You know my maker?” I asked her reverence in my tone. She looked up.
“Godric was a good man.”
“Was?” I was on the edge of an answer I didn’t want. I couldn’t remember but I knew it. I could feel it in my bones.
“He met the sun the day after the bombing.”
“Willingly?” She nodded.
“I was with him because you couldn’t be.”
“Yet, the idea that you love me is foreign to you? Why else would you do such a thing if you did not have deep feelings for me that matched mine for you when I shielded you from the bomb? How could you not know this? It is in our every word and deed that you have told me.”
“No!” she said still denying what was so plain to me.
“Do you deny me now because I am less than before?”
“No. You’re twisting things, making them into something they aren’t!”
“I assure you that I am not. I can’t remember loving you, or feeling anything for you before you picked me up tonight. My vision and reason are unimpeded by emotion. I see things as they are, and that seems to be different than you perception of things.”
“Very different,” she said to me coldly.
“What has clouded your ability to see what is between us?”
“There is nothing between us!”
“Then why did you stop for me?”
“I wish I hadn’t!”
“I don’t believe that, but if you do, there is little I can do to change that. I should go. There is still enough time for me to find a place in the ground before sunrise.” I turned and reached for the ladder one foot on the rung when she called out.
“I don’t know, just stop! I need to think!”
“No, you have thought too much already. You need to let yourself feel what you are trying so hard to hold back.” She guffawed and turned away a moment before turning back. “Do you still belong to another?”
“No,” she said quietly, sadly I thought. I moved to her side in two long strides.
“Then why not think over my words and see if the truth can rise through your memories? I can feel your pain as if it were my own. It tells me that this, that I, am very important to you. It would be a mistake to dismiss that and not give yourself time to explore and accept those feelings.”
“You don’t usually give a shit about feelings,” she snarled at me.
“Based on what you have told me tonight about us, I doubt that very much.” Her face twisted into a mask of disbelief, pain and confusion. I pulled her to my body, holding her close to me in an effort to comfort her. She fought me a moment, but then she settled her head on my chest and let me hold her. This too felt familiar. “I have held you before?”
“It feels good.” She took a breath and sighed.
“Little bit.” I smiled at her still resisting. She must love me very much to fight it this hard. I must love her just as much for me to still be trying even when everything I was had been stripped away. Her touch quieted all the fears that had gripped me this night.
“Will you stay with me for a bit? We could talk some more before day comes?”
“I am very tired, Eric. I need to sleep.”
“Then sleep beside me?” I expected her to breathe fire on me again. Instead she just moved to the bed and lay down, letting me wrap my long frame around her body from behind. She sighed in contentment, putting her arm over mine snuggling down. She was on the verge of sleep when she whispered.
“What kind of man are you?” I didn’t answer her, but I lay there for a long time thinking about her question. I was still thinking when the daylight took me away.
When I awoke the house was empty. I sat up triggering the automatic lights and saw a note on the pillow next to me.
Had to work. Be home around 11:00.
She must have been coming home from work last night when she picked me up. Our talk came back to me along with her sleepy question. I was no closer to an answer now than I had been then. I looked around this room. She had told me when she brought me down that this was my room, in her house. I shook my head again and wondered what the hell had been wrong with us that we couldn’t see what was so fucking plain.
Why would I have a room her house? Because I wanted to be here with her. It seemed so obvious that clearly one or both of us had a terminal case of stupid. I picked up one of the books and some papers fell out. Reaching down I picked them up curious.
I felt the ghost of a pen in my hand, almost the edge of a memory.
You’ve been gone for almost a year now. Everyone else has given up on you ever returning. I cannot. I need to believe that I will see you again so that I can tell you all the things that burn inside me. Things I should have said before. No, I don’t want to rehash the past. I want to think of the future. That is what I need to believe in, invest in and hold on to.
Damn, some rehashing of the past would have been most helpful right now.
I was so very bad at finding the right words to show you the way to all the things I wanted you to see and know. You fought me so hard it was easy to throw my hands up and let it go. That always worked at least for a while but I kept coming back to things I wished to tell you, share with you. I was sure in some ways that if I could just get over the next hurdle, solve the next problem that I would be able to come to you and find that magical mystical combination of words that would get you to see there was so much more to me than you ever dreamed. I held back because I feared that as much as I desired it.
To be this old and have come this far I needed to think that I knew myself. But every time we met you showed me things that I didn’t know, brought out things that I had no longer believed about myself. What if together we uncovered something that neither of us was prepared for?
What if neither of us liked the man I was? Am? I don’t know. I regret nothing I have done in my long existence but what if all those things are too many things? I could lie or never tell you, but then there would always be those things between us. Holes so big that we might fall in and lose each other.
Sometimes I wish I could just start over. Forget the past and just be with you. Make new better memories of a life that I have only dreamed of for a thousand years.
Well, looks like you got your wish. I stopped and thought about what I had learned so far. I was an asshole. I had never told her how I felt. Feel? Why was that so hard even now when I was separated from the man who had written this letter?
But such wishes are foolish and childish. You deserve neither of those things. I don’t know how to be what I want to be trapped in what I am. If you ever return I am going to try. If you give me the chance I will tell you that I never gave up hope, that I missed you every night with an ache that knows no solace. I would tell you that I bought this house to keep it safe for you and presumptuously made a place for myself in it so that I could be here with you.
I don’t know where you are, but I think that the Fae have taken you. I have been trying to find a way to get into Fae and find you but so far I have had no luck. I will not give up though. Either you will return to me or I will find a way to come to you. There is no other option for me, Sookie. There is just you and I won’t give up.
The letter stopped there and I sat down hard on the bed. She had been taken to Fae, which was why I had all these books and why I own the house as Pam had said last night. I felt bad for the man who had written this letter. He had lost her after all. Did he even know she had returned? I would tell him if I could but I didn’t know how to find him.
Even if I could find him, did he want to be found? He had wished for me, the clean slate, and the chance to start over free from the past. But he had waited, he had loved long what I was just beginning to love now. Between the savage broken nose and the tender foot washing how could you not love her? She was a continent of mysteries waiting to be explored.
I suspected last night that she was special, but in reading this she was special enough to make a thousand years of memories seem like more than a fair trade. Clearly, despite my admiration of her I had seen nothing yet of what she was truly capable of being to me.
But would I love her as he did? Did I need that thousand years of different roads and experiences to appreciate this one or would it take another thousand to appreciate her as he did? As I had? I looked for more letters but that was the only one. My thoughts were a jumble that kept coming back to one question I couldn’t answer.
What kind of man are you?
She came in the backdoor shortly after 11:00. She jumped when she flipped on the light and found me sitting at the table. “Why are you sitting here in the dark, Eric?”
“Is that who I am? Eric? I don’t remember him. How can I be him?” She set her purse and keys on the counter and crossed her arms again. My questions made her feel defensive?
“You are Eric Northman. You just don’t remember right now.”
“I do.” She stopped and pursed her lips. “But I didn’t know everything about him. In fact, I knew almost nothing.”
“Why did you never wonder about this man you loved?” She hugged herself tighter and looked at the floor.
“It’s not that I didn’t wonder. He just wasn’t the kind of person you called up and had over for dinner so you could get to know him. He was…distant, completely out of reach unless he was in my face with his fangs down and being bossy.”
“Bossy?” She snickered.
“Oh, yeah.” She didn’t deny that she loved him…me. She said he was me. She looked as tired as I felt.
“Come,” I said standing and motioning for her follow me. She snickered.
“Yep, just like that.” She followed me though. I went to the sofa and pulled her down beside me taking off her shoes.
“Lay back on the pillow,” I said and started massaging her feet. She let me do it for a minute and then as I had last night she jerked back from my hands laughing.
“It tickles. Sorry. I appreciate the thought.” Shaking my head and smiling at her I pulled her leg back and gently worked the muscles in her lower legs with my hands. Her eyes closed in appreciation and she let me continue. After she relaxed I paused and pulled the letter from my pocket handing it to her.
“It’s for you. I found it in one of the books downstairs.” She opened it and skimmed it quickly, then looked at me. I just looked at her waiting for her to really read it. She sat back and read it slowly. I saw her chest heave once and her hand came up to her face to wipe off a tear. She folded the letter and then folded her arms again. The position placed the letter over her heart and her hand pressed it hard to her skin. Did she even notice?
“Did he know that you had returned from Fae?” She nodded, still not looking me in the eye. “What happened?” She wiped another tear a smile flitting over her face.
“He, you showed up here as soon as it was dark the day I got back and told me that you had never given up on me. Then you came back the next night and told me that you owned the house, so you owned me and that I was yours.” I sat there shocked at how badly all his, my hopes had turned out.
“The letter did say he was bad at finding the words.” She snickered again.
“Yeah, he did. He was. If he had just- “she stopped. “If YOU had just talked to me like you did in this letter things might have gone very differently.”
“Different how?” She shrugged.
“I don’t know. From my point of view it had been much less time, only a few hours, but I had thought of him, you, too. Argh! This him you thing is making me crazy.”
“Me, too. I’ve been struggling with it since I rose. What did you think?” She was silent a long time and I expected her to not answer me. I was surprised when she did.
“I don’t know exactly. When I was escaping Fae I had to jump off a cliff. It was the portal back and it was big and wide and deep and scary as hell. As I stood on the edge of it I thought of Eric. I thought of how he would leap and never think twice. I thought how much I admired…no, how much I loved that about him. His stupid reckless ability to charge right in and fuck things up with his fangs down and his smile that made me want to just…feel that way, too You know? So fucking alive. So fucking right on the edge of every single second. I only felt that way with Eric. I jumped because all I could see was his face. I jumped because all I wanted to see this face again.” She looked at me then, finally and I felt an electric charge run up my spine.
She was magnificent.
But she wasn’t mine.
She was his. The Eric that had been a thousand years in the making. The Eric that she had painted so clearly with her words that I could practically see him standing here in the room with us, arms akimbo daring the world to just try and fuck with him so he could spit in their eye and laugh.
Fuck, I could love a man like that, too. But I couldn’t be him. I was someone else. Someone different without those experiences to shape me and make that devil may care motherfucker that held her heart. I opened my arms for her and she came to me, settling against my chest. She wiped another tear and I kissed her head softly. “He loved you very much.” She made a strangled sound and held on to me tighter. “I know from that letter that he will find his way back to you, Sookie. I could feel it in his every word. He wouldn’t let you go then and I know in my heart that he won’t let you go now. Just as you found your way back to him, he will find his to you.”
“What if he doesn’t want me anymore?” I chuckled at her.
“I don’t think you need to worry about that. I know what kind of man he is. He’s the kind that never gives up.”