Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to the Southern Vampire Novels. Sookie Stackhouse and the universe she kicks ass in were created by Charlaine Harris and consequently belong to her. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

The door to the trailer closed behind a limping Sam and I turned around. The latest battle was over and all that was left was asking myself if this was really what my life was going to be like now. Conflict after conflict, crisis after crisis; a human oddity trapped in the middle of arguments that only concerned supernatural beings. Weres, vampires, shifters – beings that mostly didn't give a damn if I made it out alive and in one piece, beings that were so much stronger than I was. Stronger and supposedly more durable. I shuddered as fresh and all too painful memories flashed before my eyes. Yet, this time I was unscathed, apart from a few bruises, and my clothes were stained with Sam's blood. I was so groggy that I could have dropped to the ground right where I stood – in the parking lot behind Merlotte's.

Drained and tired to the bone, I fumbled with the keys and got into my car. Good thing I knew the way home by heart because I couldn't really concentrate on the road. My dearest wish was shockingly simple: a shower, a kingdom for a shower!

When I arrived home, the bathroom was where I headed straight away. Everything here was unchanged and whole, which was slightly unreal but very comforting. The world kept on turning, despite the horrors I had witnessed tonight. It felt good to get out of my blood-stained clothes, which were stiff and itchy against my skin. I stepped into the shower and turned the water on, sighing with pleasure as the hot spray hit my body. But relaxation brought forth tears I had been holding back for hours. Tonight I had lost friends, had seen their mauled and battered bodies, had heard their cries of agony, had closed their unseeing eyes. I was startled by the sound of my own sobs. God, at this moment I envied Pam her indifference and Eric his pragmatism. Regular humans like me should stay away from the supernatural world, I told myself for the umpteenth time. I would try as usual and I would get entangled in their deadly games just as certain. Yeah, I was still better off than the dead but dammit, I deserved a little wallowing after tonight. I rested my head against the cool tiles and let the water cleanse me. A hell of a job.

"You look tired, lover," a familiar voice sounded behind me. It nearly gave me a heart attack.

"Eric," I hissed without turning around, "I've had enough excitement for one night. Leave me alone!"

"No," he said and I heard the curtain being drawn aside as he stepped into the shower with me. Something was obviously wrong with me because I had neither felt his presence nor heard him shedding his clothes. I needed to be more careful or, yes, even better, rescind the invitations of every damn vampire I knew. The familiar contentment flooded me at last.

Resigned, I turned to face him. "Listen, I'm tired and I'm not in the mood to play this game," I told him in a voice as gritty as I could muster. This came out not too resolute, with him being naked and wet and so very close. Eric was larger than life in more than one respect. It was a struggle to push away the warmth and happiness I always felt in his presence ever since we had exchanged blood for the third time in Rhodes.

His voice was uncharacteristically gentle. "I'm not playing games, Sookie. I felt your pain and remembered the last time you grieved and I took your mind off things." I looked up and his eyes were so blue I could have easily drowned in them. "I remember everything now, as you know, my lover." His jaw was set and he looked down at me almost defiantly. A tiny and rather nasty voice in the back of my mind told me to just rescind his invitation and let him drive back to Shreveport naked. The thought of him flying back naked was not too helpful for my composure, so I banned it instantly. But a bigger part of me remembered that shower, too, and how good I had felt that night and the morning after. Damn that gorgeous, persistent Viking!

He must have seen my struggle or felt my indecisiveness – stupid blood bond – because he closed the distance between us and pulled me against his hard chest. Eric's usually cool body felt as warm as mine under the steaming water. His big hands went to soothe me by caressing my back and that's when I lost it. It was slightly embarrassing how quickly I gave in after resisting his advances for so long but I could just as well be ashamed of this tomorrow, I told myself, and clung to him. It felt ridiculously good to allow someone else to be strong for a change. I hadn't been so close to Eric since he had regained his memory and I had always wondered, a teensy bit anxious, if this would feel different. It didn't. He looked the same, he felt the same, he touched me the same. After a few minutes of letting me sob into his chest, he turned me around gently and, once he had pushed my hair out of the way and lathered up his hands with soap, his long fingers started kneading the tension out of my neck and shoulders. A tiny moan escaped my lips and I melted into his caress. God, this felt so good. Another wave of warmth and contentment built inside my chest and this time I gave in and let it wash over me. Ever so slowly, the tension left me and I felt like myself again.

"This won't change anything," I protested weakly and mostly out of habit.

Eric didn't say anything but his silence was very articulate. He didn't believe my words anymore than I did. Thinking about anything but his deft hands on my skin was difficult anyway. The images of the night were kneaded away and replaced by others, more pleasurable ones. And then he breathed on my neck – quite deliberately since he didn't have to breathe – and his tongue traced a pattern only he could see. I shivered and stepped back involuntarily. His hands stilled on the side of my arms and I felt him hard against me. I understood what he was saying without words. It was up to me to turn around or step out of the shower.

Naturally, I turned around. Resisting Eric under normal circumstances was hard enough – normal meaning clothed and at a safe distance – but here I was, emotionally exhausted and hungry for affection after a nightmarish day. Yeah, it helped that his most convincing argument nudged me rather persistently. Some days I'm easier than others, sue me.

When I looked up, I saw that his eyes were blazing with an intensity and need I had rarely seen there. I realized that I felt it, too, his lust in addition to my own. Rising on tiptoe, I reached out, grabbed his face and pulled him into a kiss. As if he had been waiting for my permission, he took this as a green light, and rightly so. His hands were suddenly everywhere and he returned the kiss as if he was on fire.

My hands travelled down his back to the most perfect and delectable part of him. Eric had the finest butt I'd ever seen and grabbed and so I did just that and let him know how much I appreciated my right to touch. Soon enough, he moaned under my caress and started moving against me in a way that made my brain take its leave. I sure couldn't remember why we hadn't done this sooner. He bent down and his tongue trailed the water pearling down my neck. Hot, open-mouthed kisses and his soft lips sucking on the sensitive skin just over my collar-bones turned my blood into liquid fire. I bit back a groan as his hands finally found my breasts. If there was a handbook on how to drive a woman insane with lust, Eric must have written it. Hopefully, he had it published.

"I missed you, my lover," he whispered and rubbed his face against my neck as if I was something precious and especially fragile. The words turned my knees to jelly. Yes, I had missed him, too. No sense in denying it now, was there? My right hand found its way between our slick bodies and curled around his hard length, showing rather than telling that I returned the sentiment. Eric let out a strangled sound that went straight to my…my hootchie, making me ache for him. His mouth found the nipple of my left breast and, after circling it several times, he bit. Pain and pleasure – my body responded immediately and I felt his arousal as sure as mine as he sucked my blood from this sensitive place. My arms fell limply to my sides but he held me close and steady. And then I felt one long finger sliding into me, exploring and preparing the way for what I had once called a gracious plenty. My head was hazy with need and desire and I moaned with approval as his finger built up a steady rhythm and slid in and out, in and out.

"Eric," I breathed and he released my breast, straightened and looked at me with eyes that were darkened with longing. Even with his fangs out he was the most beautiful man I knew. All of a sudden, the shower seemed too small for what was going on between us but I wasn't sure if I could wait till we made it out of the bathroom. Luckily, Eric decided that this was the right time to remind me that he was strong and more than human and he lifted me up with no difficulty at all. I looked into his deep blue eyes, unblinking, and then locked my arms around his neck and crossed my legs behind his waist, so that he could enter me. I gasped when he did. I hadn't thought it possible that anyone could reach so deep and for one moment I forgot how to breathe. His eyes were still fixed on mine, holding me as securely as his arms held my body. I wriggled against him, showing him that it was okay to move. Eric seemed to consider something as he lifted me up a little. The air around us was thick with an unnamed tension and I was about ready to burst.

"I love you," he said abruptly, fiercely, and thrust back into me. Something unlocked inside my chest and I was overwhelmed by a wave of pleasure that wasn't wholly physical. I kissed him hard in reply, one hand gripping his back, the other buried in his hair. Using his narrow hips for leverage, I strained the muscles in my legs and pushed down every time he thrust up. 

I was seeing stars before long. My whole body trembled, dancing on the edge, as we moved in an accelerating rhythm. His grip tightened. With every push I felt an echo of his arousal, the blood tie creating a spiral of intensifying heat that was mind-blowing and unstoppable. When I tumbled over the edge, I was unable to make a sound. My mouth formed a silent oh and then I fell and dragged Eric along.

When I was able to focus again, I saw that Eric had extended one arm against the tiles, bracing himself. He looked as shaken as I was. Oh God. I had never felt something so intense. My body was still trembling from the force of our climax – and, yes, I had felt his as clear as he had felt mine. The water had turned cold without any of us noticing. I disentangled myself from him and found that my legs were as wobbly as my emotions.

Wordlessly, I turned the water off, took his hand and pulled the shower curtain aside. The fluffy towel felt good against my skin and the action gave me time to collect my thoughts. When we were all dried up, I gestured him to follow me into the bedroom. Naked and a little cold, I crawled in my bed and he followed suit, looking thoughtful and distant. I couldn't have that.

"That was…something," I said tentatively, turning to face him and pulling the blanket over us both. Eric was on his side, too. He cocked one blond eyebrow, probably questioning my sanity. His long hair clung in wet tresses to his face and formed damp spots on the pillow.

"You could say that." His voice was rough around the edges but his eyes were wide and non-threatening. My body was heavy with exhaustion again but it was a different kind of tiredness.

"I have a way with words," I said, smiling. He grinned in reply, knowing all about my Word of the Day calendar of course. The following silence was more comfortable and I leaned forward to kiss him. His lips were cool and soft and moved lazily against mine. I budged closer to him and he turned on his back, so that I could settle against him. His arm wound around me and I couldn't help but snuggle up to him. He smelt like the Eric I had shared a bed with a long while ago and I knew then.

The real Eric was ruthless and demanding and could be infuriating as hell. The real Eric had so many facets they made you dizzy; after making you laugh one minute he made you shake with anger the next. The real Eric created more problems in my life than he solved and he was pretty unapologetic about it. The real Eric was as sleek as his Corvette and a manipulating bastard. He was also very dead. Yet, I loved him right back.

He was unbearably smug for days when I told him so.


Reviews make me as happy as showers with Eric!