And with that, Eric focused. He could see her as clearly as the night she'd walked into his bar. He reached up to touch her face.
He was tentative at first, but as his fingertip touched her skin, he possessively laid both hands firmly on her face.All he could do was stare at her and as the seconds ticked away, he finally moved laying his forehead to rest upon hers.
Closing his eyes, the only word that left his mouth was "Sookie".
The air around them started crackling and Eric immediately stiffened and instinctually moved to protect Sookie.
"Sssshhhhh. It's okay Eric. It's me. It's just me." Sookie whispered as she tightened her hold.
He stopped and looked at her with a questioning eyebrow.
Sookie couldn't help but smile. She'd always loved the way his left brow would raise in question…in challenge…in surprise, or in some devilishly knowing way.
"I'm guessing you're wondering how I'm still here….well, I've changed. Funny….you always knew there were 'two Sookie's'. It took me a while…a long while, but I finally took your advice. I started letting 'Fairy Sookie' speak for me. And….well….Fairy Sookie is pretty damn badass, if I do say so myself", she said with a big grin.
All Eric could do was continue to look at her. There was a part of him that doubted what he saw, thinking it couldn't possibly be true….not after so long, but the other part of him, the hopeful part, wanted desperately to believe.
Taking a few minutes too long, Sookie said "Eric?"
Shaken from his thoughts, he released her, raised from his knees, and stepped away. Still uncertain what to make of it all, he said, "Please explain."
"Well, it was several years after I last saw you. By that time, Bill was long dead and I'd met my first husband and had started a family. My relationship with my husband didn't turn out so good."
Sookie sighed and then continued, "Turns out he was a lot like Bill…always wanting me to be some precious little thing who relied on him and who did what he wanted — all for my own benefit, of course. He didn't like my friends much either, so that turned out to be a problem. Let's just say, I took my head out of my ass and decided to embrace who I was. That meant accepting the fairy side of me."
Feeling the scrutiny of Eric's eyes, Sookie slowly started to walk nervously around until she found herself facing away from him.
Speaking into the darkness gave her the courage to continue her story.
"Accepting being a fairy meant being with fairies, so I called my great grandfather. He came and took me and my daughter back to the Fae realm. I learned a lot…a lot about myself and a lot about the people who passed through my life. It wasn't easy and I struggled."
She started to choke up as she thought about the past and could only say, "there's so much more to tell, but I'd rather just be here with you right now."
Closing her eyes, she calmed in the silence.
The next thing she felt was the tender slide of Eric's hand in hers. Shocked and afraid to move, all she could do was gently thread her fingers through his. She gripped his hand tightly, terrified he would leave again. Her emotions were building and she couldn't stop the tears from falling.
Eric pressed closer and just held her hand. They stayed like that as the minutes ticked away, neither one saying a thing. They just stood there enjoying what had once only been a memory.
After what seemed like an eternity, Eric finally asked, "How are you here, Sookie?"
She moved to face him, but Eric refused to let go of her hand, so she moved back, her back to his chest, pulling his hand to wrap his arm around her.
"Remember when you lost your memories….that time with Marnie's spell?" Eric silently replied by tightening his hold around her. "You weren't healing so I fed you and then you fed me and you said 'we will be one'. Ah…as it turned out, it was true." Sookie shrugged.
This time Eric turned her to face him. "What do you mean it was true?"
Looking down, hesitant to meet his eyes, she paused unsure of what to say. "Sookie, what did you mean? Look at me, please."
Contemplating how she would tell him, she straightened her back, slowly raised her head, and began. "It turns out we're connected, Eric. When I went with my family to Fairy, I learned to travel back and forth between this realm and that realm. You know time passes differently, right? You remember?" Eric nodded.
"Yeah…so no one seemed to notice much when I didn't appear to age. But you can't go past a few hundred years without someone finally noticing and asking the question. It was my great grandfather who started to ask me about my ties to vampires…specifically, Bill…and you."
Sookie pulled away and started to wander again. Moving seemed like a good way to get rid of the energy that was threatening to topple her. She took a deep breath and began again.
"I gave him the short version of my time with Bill. Didn't much want to relive that time, and he didn't seem too inclined to ask for more. But…but it was my time with you that seemed to catch his interest. He seemed genuinely curious when I told him about it. And what really made him sit up was when I told him about that day in your cubby."
Sookie blew out a big breath as she continued to move wringing her hands over and over.
"It seems we had an exchange. And…so, I guess that created a connection between us. I mean, I didn't know it at the time and I assumed that my aging was affected by being in Fairy, but turns out that wasn't true. Niall…that's my great grandfather….well, he said I should've aged…maybe more slowly than normal because I was half fairy, but since I was half human, I definitely shouldn't have stayed the same."
Now it was Eric's time to move.
He started to pace as his brain was battered with thoughts as he tried to process what Sookie was saying. So much had happened during that fateful week. All his feelings had come to the surface, with no subterfuge to hide behind, and when she rejected him, his vulnerability exposed an ache like the phantom pain of a long lost limb.
Now, here she was….a thousand years later and he was the reason.
Could it be true, he wondered. He'd heard Godric speak of such a connection, but few ever attempted it. It was rare to find a vampire who wanted that kind of commitment to another creature who was not their progeny or their maker.
When his memories returned so long ago that was but one of a hundred he had of his time together with her. In retrospect, he understood the significance of what they had done, but there was very little that followed that gave him any indication that there was anything special between them.
Hearing Sookie now, he didn't know what to think, and he didn't know what it truly meant. What kind of connection did they have? And if her aging had slowed, he wondered what other effects there were.
"So you now age more slowly. Is there anything else?"
"No, no…you misunderstood me. My aging hasn't slowed, it stopped."
That caught Eric up short. He hadn't expected that, but the thought of an immortal Sookie gave him pause.
Sookie watched the reactions that crossed Eric's face and she felt unsure, once again. She knew what he had discovered about her would take some time to fully understand, but her insecurities were mounting. It had been so long since she'd seen him. When he had said goodnight that last time on her porch, she had no idea that it was really goodbye.
She could not deny that it hadn't hurt her.
She was used to not seeing him months on end, but it had never been longer than 6 or 7 months, and that had been when he was sick. When those months turned into years, and knowing he still lived, she finally had to accept that he was gone.
She moved on and busied herself with other things and other people, but it turned out whenever she started to doubt herself and where she was in her life, Eric would pop into her thoughts.
As with many things in life, you don't always appreciate them until you don't have them any longer and she learned that Eric fell into that category. There had been many times in her life when she felt stifled by the people around her…always expecting her to be the good little southern woman. It seemed they always wanted to take care of her and for awhile, she had let them.
It wasn't until she had her daughter that things began to change for her.
Adelaide had been a gift. Beautiful and blonde, Adelaide was named after her Gran and looking back, the little girl had been a spitfire. She had the tomboy in her and seemed to gravitate towards anything and everything that wasn't a princess in pink, much to the chagrin of her father. Sookie's husband, it turned out, wasn't a fan of living outside prescribed attitudes. Needless to say, Adelaide wasn't the precious little girl he had wanted.
He wasn't too fond of Sookie's supernatural friends, either. He tolerated them in the beginning, but his true feelings were soon revealed. It started slowly with a comment here and a comment there. Then he began to isolate her under the guise of wanting to have her to himself….to spend time with her and Adelaide….to spend time as a family.
She allowed it for several years before she began to miss her friends and she started to miss herself. What made her end the relationship was how she saw her daughter turn inward. Adelaide had been such a spirited young girl, but the more reclusive Sookie became, the more she followed suit.
One day when Adelaide was almost 5, she started to ask Sookie questions. It became clear very quickly that the young girl had inherited Sookie's gift.
Over the years, that gift had become a point of contention between the couple and she was forbidden to use it. Now, with Adelaide showing certain powers, Sookie was faced with a crossroad.
Thinking about how incomplete she had felt over the years, she couldn't bear the thought of Adelaide suffering the same fate. Her daughter had already begun to withdraw having no one to play with but them, and the few times Adelaide had exposed her gift, her husband was instantly angered, blaming Sookie for their daughter being a 'freak' just like her.
After several outbursts that left Adelaide scared, the mother's love inside of her forced her to act. She finally did what she had to do to protect her daughter and to give life to what she, herself, had learned to hate — she left and reunited with her Fae family.
It had not been an easy transition. Longstanding issues of her own regarding her heritage had made turning her back a simple act, but learning to love herself proved no easy feat.
Niall met them with open arms and did what he could to provide the comfort and support they desperately needed.
Adelaide was able to flourish, taking in the new environment with relish. She made friends and grew to love her newfound relatives.
Sookie, however, struggled.
The guilt she felt over family and friends who had perished, as well as certain past decisions, stuck with her. She wanted nothing more than to shake those feelings, especially as she watched her own daughter enjoy the life that laid before her.
One evening as she and Adelaide lay upon the grass watching the beautiful clear sky, Adelaide asked her why she was sad; she wanted to know why Sookie wasn't happy.
Sookie didn't know how to respond, but finally told her that her mommy just felt like something was missing. As children are prone, Adelaide simply asked her 'why', but Sookie had no answer. Adelaide asked again and followed with wanting to know if Sookie was unhappy being a fairy. That last question immediately brought back a memory….a memory of Eric Northman.
Eric — the one man who challenged her to be who she was, who gave no apology for embracing the supernatural part of her.
She sighed, as she thought of how she missed that and how she missed him. She never knew exactly why he left, but thinking about him inspired her to take his challenge. She would do it for herself and for her daughter. She would learn to love Fairy Sookie and maybe, just maybe it would be a small homage to a man who, unbeknownst to either of them, held a small piece of her heart.
The years passed and Sookie learned how to develop her powers. Niall trained her tirelessly until Sookie surpassed even his expectations.
Outside of her telepathy and her 'microwave fingers', she discovered she had many powers. It wasn't until Niall was surprised about her ability to teleport that she began to learn that she was more different than she had known.
Niall had expected that being half human would have muted many of the powers that came naturally to a full fairy, but Sookie was different. Even Adelaide couldn't do what Sookie could do. Teleportation and telekinesis turned out to be just a few of the many things she could do.
It wasn't until a few hundred years had passed that Niall began to ask questions about vampires.
It had been so long since she had talked about them, especially about two particular vampires, but Niall persisted. Sookie was reluctant and refused to give much detail until Niall finally told her why he wanted to know. It seems that he was perplexed by some of the powers she exhibited and was very surprised by how she didn't age at all. Even Adelaide aged….slowly, but she aged to the point of looking the same age as her mother.
Sitting in a chair across from Niall, she began to reminisce and share with him the memories of the two vampires who had once been her lovers.
Thoughts of Bill were unpleasant to discuss. She had finally come to see him for who he was and understood how manipulated she had been by him. Thinking back, she had felt nothing, but the embarrassment of someone who had been duped. She could barely muster a modicum of anger for the man who had been her first love.
Then the subject of Eric came up.
What a whirlwind that week had been. She was amazed at how alive she had felt during that time and, even now, her heart felt light at the thought of him.
Niall pressed her for information and his interest piqued when she brought up the exchange. She hadn't quite thought of it that way at the time, but looking back, that's exactly what it was. Once she was done sharing all that she could remember, Niall sat back and stared at her. He kept staring until she finally expressed her discomfort.
"My dear Sookie. Your vampire….he never told you?"
"Told me what? And whose vampire?"
"Yours, my dear. Eric…your vampire. You exchanged blood with him. He didn't tell you the significance, I take it."
"First, he never was my vampire and second, no he didn't tell me. So I'm gonna ask you to tell me. What does it mean?"
"Hmpf…Not your vampire, so you say….regardless, you have a connection to each other. You had a mutual blood exchange, not something vampires tend to do easily, and with his words 'we will be one', he was telling you. You. Are. One. He doesn't age, so you don't age. I would guess that he is a powerful vampire, am I right?"
Taken aback by what she was hearing, she stuttered as she said, "Yeah…yes. He's the most powerful vampire I know. I mean, his maker…Godric, he was powerful, but he met the sun. So…Eric…I think he's powerful."
"Niall, what does that mean…hmmmm?"
"Well, my dear, I think you and yo…this vampire are connected in a way that is rare. He is in your blood and you are in his."
"Oh god…it's the blood again! Dammit, I thought I was done with that bullshit!" Sookie cried.
"What do you mean 'again'? Sookie, if you think that this is a repeat of what you had with Bill, you are wrong. To be connected does not come easily. It's not the mere transfer of blood. There must be more."
"More what? There isn't any more. I don't know what you're talking about."
"Ah, but there is, Sookie. The connection cannot exist without love. Both parties must love the other."
Sookie had difficulty comprehending what Niall was saying.
Had she loved Eric? Truly loved him?
She had said the words right after he had regained his memories, but the more time passed, the more she attributed her feelings to his blood and to Bill's blood. Could she have been that wrong?
She didn't know, but what she could be sure of was the fact that it was Eric who liked her…all of her. He liked human Sookie and he liked Fairy Sookie. He understood the two sides of her better than anyone else did, including her.
Niall broke her out of her thoughts and said, "I think that's enough for today, don't you. You have much to think about. And your powers…I believe we'll discover that they are linked to your Eric." And with that, Niall left Sookie to herself whistling as he existed the room.
Irritated, Sookie grumbled "my Eric…pft. What the hell have I gotten myself into now?"
Sookie spent several days thinking about nothing but Eric.
She thought about that week and she thought about the months leading up to it. She recalled the things he said and the things he did and how looking back now put them all in a different light.
She thought about whether she had really loved him and that one thought gave her countless sleepless nights. The one thing she couldn't deny was the feeling she felt when she thought of him.
She knew it was different.
It was different from Bill, it was different from her husband, and it was different from any other lover she had.
The more she thought about it…about him, the more she came to accept that she had loved him then and that she loved him now.
Sadly, they were not to be. She had missed her chance. She had let her pride and her fantasy of love scare her away from him. Bill's blood hadn't helped, but if she had really opened her eyes and dared to look, she would've known.
Many years passed and she still thought of Eric from time to time. She had always wondered how he was doing and what it would be like to see him again. She couldn't help herself to wonder if he still loved her, thinking it couldn't possibly be true after so many years.
And now she found herself in a place she'd never imagined — in his presence.
And that brought with it the answer to her question. The fear inside grew. She wanted him to love her. She had had many dreams that he still did, but now he was really here…right in front of her and she was scared.
Eric's growing silence only exacerbated her insecurities and her impulse to run. She had long since outgrown that trait, but here she was thinking about how quickly she could just disappear.
She slowly began to back away from Eric, but then stopped. She wouldn't do it…she wouldn't run. She would take her lumps. She'd spent close to a thousand years wondering and now she figured she was about to find out.
Eric processed what seeing Sookie again meant and all he could come up with was one thing….he loved her and she was his.
And with that, he was on her in a blink of an eye. His lips pressed against hers as he kissed her possessively. Her question answered, Sookie reacted instantly and kissed him back pouring as much love as she could into their embrace.
And Eric felt it.
He finally felt what he had so longed for all these years.
An hour earlier he had been prepared to meet the sun and now…now everything had changed. He softened his kisses, savoring the feeling of her in his arms.
He had no idea that a small amount of her blood had taken refuge inside him all those years ago, but he felt it come alive the moment their lips met and his heart took its one and only beat.
Their kissing slowed until they were left forehead to forehead. Eyes closed, they both concentrated on the feel of the other and the connection that flared between them. It was breathtaking and it left each of them without words.
Finally, Sookie opened her eyes and Eric soon followed. She looked into his beautiful baby blues and uttered one word, "You." Eric backed away to see her face and looked at her in question.
Sookie couldn't help but smile when she saw her favorite eyebrow raise ever so slightly. "You, I choose you."