Pre Edit Count – 1,848 Words

Song I listened to for this chapter: What If by Safety Suit

A pain-filled gasp is heard on one side of the world as someone catches fire on top of a mountain, and realizes what is happening and that nothing will save him. On the other side of the world and at the same moment, another gasp sounding exactly the same occurs. There is no one here to save her this time; the one she finds she is wanting is not here.

Both realize in that exact same second that they want the exact same thing: their other half. Nothing more in their bodies, souls, minds or hearts is wanted than the other.

A bright light fills the area they are both in, and they both gasp. "I wish…" and neither have to finish the thought. Neither can finish that thought as the universe looks on…and decides to grant a wish.

The next instant for both of them, the space not even being a heartbeat, Sookie and Eric both wake with a gasp in two different locations. They both sit straight up in shock from what their senses are telling them. They feel the other, and they are not dying. And both have the same thought – 'What is going on.'

Sookie is beyond shocked when she realizes she is in her old bedroom and can smell her grandmother's cooking downstairs. Her mind tries to prove it wrong and looks at everything as being suspect, but soon she is feeling something that she never had at that time of day – a light version of her bond with Eric. That dismissed the dream aspect, one she would have liked, and that all that had happened was a horrible nightmare. So the next thing she uses is her talent, and she not only hears her Gran's mental voice, but also feels her. The reality of what this has to be makes her eyes go wide. She scrambles out of her bed and is soon down the stairs, stopping to stare at the woman who was gone when her life went to hell. Unable to help it, Sookie quickly has her grandmother in her arms hugging her tightly.

Adele is shocked at Sookie's reaction and exclaims, "Good heavens!" She hugs her granddaughter awkwardly, patting her back in that lost way people do when hugged so hard for no discernible reason.

Within seconds Sookie is sobbing in her arms, and Adele is worried for her granddaughter. Sookie is sobbing so hard that she lets go long enough to turn off the burners and soon has Sookie back in her arms, trying to calm her. Her granddaughter has never been like this no matter what has been put upon her or even when her daddy died. She had known who Sookie mourned. But that is nothing to what she is dealing with now.

The phone starts to ring, but Adele doesn't answer it. Then the machine kicks on, and Eric's voice, one that Adele has never heard, is begging for Sookie to answer. She grabs the phone from behind her while keeping one arm around her granddaughter. She is not sure what is going on, but the sound of the man's voice so clearly worried for Sookie is one she couldn't deny. And, she might just get an idea of what has set her off to be reacting this way.

She answers, "Hel-lo?"

Eric sighs in relief that someone is answering. Fighting the pull of the sun, he demands, "Is Sookie there, and is she the one crying?" He can sense her and is worried because her emotions are in a turmoil, more than normal for Sookie. There are issues between what he knew to be true and what he is experiencing, especially feeling Godric in him and not the black twisted hole he has lived with since he left him.

But for what he is sensing, he never had the sweet feeling of Sookie with him as well as his Maker. Well, he did for a precious night, but nothing to this strength. Somehow Sookie's emotions, even this twisted feeling he has, are clearer and if anything, more demanding of him than before. It takes everything he has not to try to burn in the sun to get to her. But he is not a thousand years old for nothing. Going now will do nothing for her.

The man's voice is lightly accented, and she can hear the worry, and some of the protectiveness he is evidencing by his call. How he knew that she was upset before he called is another thing Adele will want answered. But to answer his question, Adele looks down at her granddaughter, "Yes she is, but…who is this?" The voice is not one she knows, and she is slightly concerned with a stranger asking questions of her.

Eric stops for a second. He didn't know this voice, but he is willing to guess what has these feeling twisting in his Sookie. He also remembers what he thought in those final seconds. With that in mind Eric states, "I'm Eric Northman. Ask Sookie if I may speak with her, please." He needs to talk to his Sookie, especially with her so emotional right now. He will get her back, and she will never leave his arms. But for now, he has no idea what is going on. His last memory is one that says he should at least be in a lot of pain, not this…

The shock of his voice on the answering machine breaks through, especially the worry she can clearly hear from him. Sookie holds her hand out for the phone. Her grandmother gives it to her, still worried, and Sookie manages a broken, "Eric?"

She is so confused, relieved that her Gran is alive, but not sure if everything that had happened was a dream. She remembers the pain and the fact that she had been fading fast. She also remembers that what she wanted more than anything, even more than the woman in front of her, was the man on the other side of the phone. The relief and need to be with him takes her by surprise.

The sigh of relief from Eric is easily heard throughout the house since the machine is still running. Adele looks at Sookie with her head nodding to the machine, and when Sookie nods, she goes to turn it off. While she would like to listen in, she knows it is rude. She trusts that Sookie will tell her. She is looking forward to meeting this young man who obviously cares for her grandaughter, and that she in turn cares for him. She smiles as she goes to turn it off.

Eric is running his hands through his hair, slightly annoyed that it seemed to have grown out to the length it had been when he died. He let it go for a period of time, Pam convincing him it would look good for his image at Fangtasia. Now it is a nuisance, and one that he can't wait to remedy.

He turns his attention to the woman who holds his heart in her hands. Searching the bond, he feels the sense of relief and an echoing need in her for him that has him asking, "Sookie? What is going on? I felt you, but before that, I woke…to feeling Godric…" He lets her know his shock in feeling Godric, knowing she would understand why he is so shocked, and that this reality is one he is trying hard to wrap his head around. And it is one that he needs to figure out to be able to protect her, too.

Sookie gasps when she hears about Godric being alive. Something throbs inside of her at the knowledge that the kind vampire she had greatly admired in the short time she had been able to know him still lives. It is something that makes sense, but she is still in shock about finding out her Gran was still alive. Thinking, she tells Eric, "Gran is alive." She heads outside of the kitchen, knowing that this conversation should not be overhead.

Eric is obviously in the same place as she is, waking up with the memories of a time that did not yet exist – how else would he know to look for her? She can feel his confusion, and his determination. And hopefully…just hopefully, he is still hers.

Tears still streaming down her cheeks, she looks at her Gran as she passes her en route to her room. Whatever is going on, she has no idea, but somehow knowing Eric remembers her and that timeline is a huge relief.

Feeling the hope in her, Eric sighs in hope and relief of his own, begging her, "Sookie, please… You know how crying makes me feel." He teases her but hates knowing that she is upset, that there is nothing he can do. He cannot even bring her here since he doesn't know which home he is currently in. Eric also doesn't want her leaving her house since they have no idea what threats are out there right now. Too much has happened recently to trust any but himself with her. Not anymore.

She gives a choking laugh as she wipes her face, getting herself under control. She remembers clearly when he told her how crying makes him feel, and it seems it has never gotten better for him. "What is going on, Eric? Last thing I remember was Warlow dying." Sookie is leaving out the part of her dying, not wanting him to know about that unless he needs to. What he tells her next is enough to drive that thought out of her head.

Eric swallows, "I remember dying." His voice is blank as he himself cannot think past that moment when he realized it was all over - the moment he realized that she was everything to him, and that he was going to lose her forever.

Sookie's heart stops, and she barely gets out, "Dying? Eric, what the fuck?" No! She almost lost him not only because of her foolishness but also from him dying?

He closes his eyes knowing that this will not be easy. "I expect the moment Warlow died is when my sunbathing ended. I didn't expect it to, and well…" How to tell her at that moment he had wanted to be close to his sun, but she had rejected him again, so he didn't care. He went to be with the only sun he could be with, no matter how deadly it is.

Sookie shakes her head, not understanding why he would do that. He has existed for so long, why would he just give up? "Eric? What the hell? Why?" Is he still wanting to give up?

He leans forward and rests his arms on the tops of his knees as he holds the phone by his head. He contemplates the answers to her questions. "I needed a break. I felt like I was losing everything. Life was going so far out of control, and losing you…" And that is where he had to stop. Losing her was the thing that he could see tipping him over the line. He needed her but Bill had told him she was with Warlow, and he had been done. He had freed his Pam, and once assured she would be ok, left.

Sookie just shakes her head. "What do you mean losing me? Why would that make you want to sunbathe?" Her heart is pounding, as she tries to make herself realize he is with her right now.

He tells her in a dead voice as he replies, "Bill told me you had agreed to be Warlow's bride." And that had been a bitter pill to swallow indeed, and one that he is going to work with a passion to prevent from happening this time around.

Thinking back to what had happened before, she opens her eyes and tells him, "I too felt my life ending. We killed Warlow, but to do it, I was dying. I never wanted him, Eric. He disgusted me, and I truly learned what it meant to be claimed. I felt trapped, trapped to the point that even death would not free me. I killed him to save myself, happy to die as long as I was free." She is blunt, needing him to know her own mistake, but also needing to let him know how miserable she had been and to what lengths she would go to keep herself free.

He blinks trying to understand what she is saying, that she was dying at the same time he had been. "But then why would you agree to be his?" If he had known this before he had left, he would have taken Sookie with him to ensure her safety, and then he would have staked the asshole himself.

She shakes her head. "Because it was the only way to save you." She said it softly, still lost on how close she had been to losing him. What had happened that they were both dying?

He chuckles dryly. "And that is why you fucked him?" That had stung him when he had smelled it…the woman he loves being with another man. No man wants that.

She answered just as dryly, "Like you fucked your sister hours after telling me you loved me? We can play this game if you like." She had been hurt thinking that again, it was another example of how much she sucks as a lover.

A retort on his lips, Eric hesitates to reply, and thinks. If what they are feeling is real, they needed to – "Sookie, we can argue about this. What would it really prove? Either way, I admit to my faults. How can I fix us? What can we do to make this work? Do you even want to make us work," he asks her, wanting to know what she is thinking. This is what made them fail before, this unwillingness to talk…

Sookie stops pacing and getting her temper up. She thinks about what he says. Then she sighs; he is right. "Truly? I want to love you. I want us. I want to be that girl in the white dress for you. But how? There is so much…" She chokes up, not knowing how to explain it to him. But with all that has happened, she knows her heart. She wants Eric Northman.

Hearing this, he smiles a true grin, and replies to her, "I repeat what I said earlier on that night. You will always be that girl to me. If you want to make this work, we can do this. I know that was the last wish I made, when I realized that this was it, that I was dying. My dying wish was to have a chance with you. To let you know I love you, and always will." He is honest, and that honesty is very evident in his voice as he tells the only woman he will ever love like this his feelings. He had been shown that time is just too short for other things.

She puts a hand to her mouth, and as a choked sob comes out, he tells her gently, "What did I say about your tears, Sookie?" He is nervous, but the response as well as the emotions he is getting from the bond are telling him that chance is a very real possibility.

She has a burst of laughter, but he can still hear the tears. She wipes her face, staring outside and then she realizes, "What the hell? Eric how are you awake?" He can't help the small laugh that comes out as she realizes that here they are talking about things while her vampire is up during the day.

Eric chuckles, a true one, as he lays back on his bed. "I told you, I woke up from dying. I felt you, and I needed to make sure you were alright. Then I was going to plan out how to make you understand that you are mine. And I am yours. Always, forever." He is thinking of what all he needs to get done, he will be ready for his Fae this time. He will be able to do anything for her. It is times like this he loves his vampire brain.

She can't help the sob that came out at his words, but she quickly gets control over herself. "If you had talked to me more like that, it may have been sooner." There is a smile on her face, and her voice is soft, caring.

Eric grins, but then he frowns as their odd circumstances come back to him, "Sookie, what is going on? I know I can barely feel you, which is very odd. But I know I am feeling Godric." And there is a small smile on his face as he probes that space, amazed by the living bond he had taken for granted for his thousand years.

Sookie pauses. Her mind is racing, and soon she has a bad feeling. She asks, "What day is it Eric? Do you have a calendar or something?" She is hoping it isn't, because that means all the drama is about to start. That this early dreamlike time is coming to a close.

He stops what he is thinking as he realizes where she is going with this. Smiling, he compliments her as he searches for what she is asking, "That's my girl." He glances at his cell phone, then tells her the date. "It's August, five days before I met you." The date is seared into his brain.

The date also is in her brain for the same reason, she connects the dots in what today could possibly be. Sookie gasps, "The night I met Bill." There is a growl in her voice as she remembers that night. He was an asshole, and now that Sookie can really think about it, there are plenty of reasons why she should have never been with him.

Eric growls. His fangs dropping down as he thinks of the one person who has managed to fuck up everything he has tried to do for Sookie. The man who has defied him, who treated him as an equal when he was not even close. All this Eric took, just for the chance to be with the woman who so captivated him from that first meeting.

Sookie begs then, "Eric, this must mean we are back to when my life changed. When Bill walked into my life for the first time. Please be there." She is willing to beg or do whatever; she doesn't want to deal with Bill. He fucked up so much of her life, and she wants there to be another outcome.

Eric is still growling as he gets up and makes his way to his computer. He grabs a rag and wipes the blood from his face. "Sookie, this is important. Do you feel Bill?" He needs to know what he is working with so far, to be sure that there is nothing of Bill in her. If so, then Eric has a chance. A slim one, but a chance to have his love be his, and no way that the Queen can claim he knew of Bill's prior involvement .

She stops, searches her blood, then she replies, "Oh my stars…Eric, the only person I feel is you! And like you said, barely…" She frowns as she tries to figure it out, but her mind is too busy gibbering at her at how much longer she has Gran and all the other things coming their way.

He nods, his computer coming up. "I will be there at first dark. Sookie…will you take more of my blood? I…" He tries to think of a way to get her to do without a fight. He needs her to have his blood; there is no way Bill can claim her if she has his blood in her. He will want to make her his in every way, but this is something he needs to have happen as soon as possible. The other parts can wait for her to love him first.

Breathing heavy as her mind is filling with all that happens in the next few days, she begs him, "Anything. Just, please save my Gran… please…" She is close to collapsing, tears in her eyes. Eric will fix this… he has to fix this!

Instantly replying to her and the emotions he is getting from the faint bond, "Anything, Sookie. I will kill Bill if you wish it. I just hope that you smelling like me will make him back down. It's too late for me to make it where none know about you. Hadley will have already told the Queen about you. The only thing I can think of is Bonding you to me, and me claiming your family. I rather give you the time-"

"Don't you dare, Eric Northman! You know what my last thought was of? You. I was wishing that I could go back and fix all of this. I was in so much pain, and I wanted you. You have always been there, I don't know why I didn't see this before, but I wanted you so badly." She fires off at him. Time? Didn't they just discuss how time ran out on them?

He smiles. A pure boyish smile that Sookie would have recognized. "I'm…Happy. I am happy. I will be there. I want you to go and write down everything you remember. We will fix this. And I will see you at first dark." He promises her, his own mind working on what he may need to do. He needs to have the home that was just completed, that he had planned to live in with his telepath. He is already sending emails to have the home readied for her, complete with clothing or anything else she may even remotely need. He will take care of his Fae.

Sookie smiles at the joy she is hearing in his voice. "I will. Oh, cheese and rice, I don't remember my work schedule for today. I don't remember so much…" She trails off trying to remember back to that simple life, and slowly coming to realize that life is really not for her. She shies away from the thought.

He soothes her over the phone, "And it will be all right, my Sookie. I will be there. If you don't mind, I rather have you work for me. I have some ideas that will keep the bitch from you. We will need to play smart, to outsmart them all." He is already typing up the contract he has made in that other life, one that everyone he had check it out deemed airtight.

She looks up to the sky, then sighs. "I… don't know what to do. I can't live off of you, Eric. My pride…" She hates herself, but even while trying to think through it, her Gran's voice comes through telling her that she would be laughed at and thought a gold digger.

Reading through the contract, Eric soothes her again. "Don't get me wrong, Sookie. I will have you work. But we need to make this believable. We need to get ourselves in play so that there is no chance that anyone can say otherwise. I am printing out a contract, and will have my day person bring it on out to you. To begin with, you will become my new day person. My new Day Person/Manager of Human Resources. You will be in charge of the bar right now, but I will have you over the rest as soon as I can. I know you know how to run it, and it will be more believable if we have this in place. Sookie, take a deep breath, and just read it over and sign it. As soon as you can, read Bobby. If anyone asks, we met one night when I was in Bon Temps as I was out and about." He smirks as he is making sure it is all ready, and sends it out to be printed and taken to his love.

Sookie laughs. "Just fudging the lines there, Eric?" Hearing him take control makes her feel better. She is not one to like being controlled, but with Eric it never feels like he is ignoring her; it is always like he knows her well enough to protect her while always taking her wishes into consideration. Why didn't this ever occur to her before?

He smiles as he finishes adding the last touches to the contract, putting in the clause she had bargained him into when she found his embezzler. Which reminds him… He makes a note of a few things he needs to change soon in his bar.

"The more truth, the better." He turns serious, "Sookie, trust me." He needs it to make this all work.

She takes a breath, remembering the last time he asked that of her, how he has been there each and every time she has ever needed him, even when she didn't know she did. She remembers him trying to take care of her, even the repairs to her house.

Then she smiles. "We need to talk, Eric. But I do. I always have." A huge revelation, but a simple one all the same.

He grins, elated, and tells her, "I promise we will have that time. Don't lose hope, and don't let go of your decisions. I will always be here for you. I love you. Now, talk to your Gran, and we will fix this. Call your shifter and tell him you quit, telling him sorry, but you got a better offer. And I will be there tonight." He promises her as he continues to make everything ready in case she needs to stay with him.

She smiles. "I love you, too. See you soon, Eric." She is smiling at him, and her voice is tender as she answers him, promising herself to try harder.

He smiles as he is working. "Soon, Min Sookie." He hangs up and sighs as he drags his hands through his long hair. There is so much to do. First and foremost, he needs to make sure Sookie is safe. So he sends out his messages, he gets everything in order, then he places a call to his Maker, relishing in the fact that he can do so. Finally, he lays down back in his bed, and before letting go, thinks of how he may have his Sookie by his side tonight.

Sookie hangs up the phone then, looking up to the sky, whispers, "Thank you. Thank you for this second chance. And help me not to fuck it up." She then closes her eyes, remembering Eric as she last saw him, and wonders. With that she heads back inside and smiles at her Gran who is sitting at the table.

Adele lifts an eyebrow, telling Sookie, "Now, you get yourself some food, and sit right on down. I think we need to speak." She needs to know what is going on, and why her granddaughter is so much calmer after that man talked to her. Well… this could be a good thing!

Sookie grins and, doing what she was told, gathers food she had not thought to eat ever again. Sitting down, she smiles at her Gran. "It's a long story, and I can only tell you so much right now. But I will tell you everything I can." And with that, Sookie begins telling her a tale that she is happy that she gets to come back and fix now.

Final count: 4,653 words.