Okay so this is the first thing I have written in a really long time, so go easy on me. It's basically Sookie realizing that she loves Eric and her thought process of how she came to that conclusion.

I want to dedicate it to the lovely ladies on IMDb. You girls keep me sane with your insaneness...is that even a word? LOL I'm never bored over there.

I would especially like to thank little miss V. You keep me from boredom when I'm at work and online and I want to thank you for reading this and telling me it wasn't total crap, LOL.

Without further ado...

"I love him." I said it for the third time. I can't believe I didn't see it before. Why did it take this long to realize it? Why did it have to take him getting hurt for me to realize how I felt? Does he feel the same? Surely not. We've never really talked about it. Obviously. There have been moments when he would do things that made me understand how much he cared for me. All the precautions we take are clear evidence of that. But love?

What brought me here, to this moment? Well, Bill, first of all. I was a naive girl when I met Bill. I knew nothing of the true ruthlessness of vampires and their politics. I still fell in love with him. He loved me, too. Though I still haven't figured out when exactly it was that he began to love me. When I found out he left me to be with his maker, I was furious. I was also extremely hurt. I knew he couldn't ignore the call of his maker and that he would have to stay with her if she made him. But he chose to be with her. She really must have had a hold on him. I imagine I always thought in the back of my mind that we could have worked through it. Gotten past it. Then the trunk happened. I know that Bill wasn't in his right mind. He was starving and injured. His instincts kicked in and all he saw in front of him was food. He nearly drained me. Then he…raped me. I still have a problem calling it that. I know that rape is what it was, and it was horrible. But as soon as he came to his senses he stopped. I may have felt completely different if he had finished. I'm lucky to have come out of there alive. Then I realized that I could never love him like I had before Jackson. You don't fall out of love overnight. I still loved him, I just couldn't think of him in the same way.

Some time passed and I began to think we could have another chance. I felt ashamed for feeling that way, but you can't help who you love. Then he told me the circumstances of why we met. I felt like I had nothing. The one true relationship I had was based on lies. I felt like he took my virginity under false pretences. Which he kind of did. I felt like a fool. I try to think of how I would have reacted, had he told me the truth once he realized he loved me. I still would have been angry, but maybe in time I would have come to forgive him. I don't think I can do that now. He knows he made a mistake, and not ever being able to have me again is a sufficient punishment.

Then came Eric. 'Amnesia Eric'. My second lover. He was so sweet. He was like a lost puppy. I protected him. He needed me. That was something I never felt from Bill. I almost fell in love with Eric then. When he got his memory back I knew we couldn't be together. I tried to tell myself that I fell for 'Amnesia Eric', and not the real Eric. I tried to see them as two different people. What I find funny now is that even as sweet as 'Amnesia Eric' was, I felt more comfortable around him when he was more like the real Eric. So who was I almost in love with? I think I fell in love with bits of both. Even though I ignored it at the time, it did break my heart when I had to pretend like I felt nothing for him.

I tried to move on with Quinn. What a big mistake that whole thing was. I could have been happy with Quinn. He could come out into the sun with me. He could have given me children. The mind-reading thing wasn't an issue. But, boy did he have mother issues. I shouldn't condemn him for that. It's not his fault. I know it was selfish of me to break it off with him, but tell me who doesn't get to be selfish once in a while. I wasn't willing to be in it for the long haul with him if he couldn't put me first, like I was willing to do for him.

When Eric saved me from bonding with Andre, I was grateful. I know now that afterwards I acted like a brat. When I think back on it I understand that he wasn't being manipulative. He probably weighed the pros and cons; he's Eric. But I see that he was also putting a detriment on himself. Why would a 1000+-year-old vampire want to bond with a telepathic waitress? What could possibly be in it for him, other than the personal gains? He put himself in a position where the Queen had to go through him to get to me. What a dangerous position to be in. He easily could have let me be bound to Andre and never had to think about it again. They would've been able to directly get to me and he could've forgotten about it. I remember when he once told me, "Should I just bite you, and end it all? I would never have to think about you again. Thinking about you is an annoying habit, and one I want to be rid of." He said this just after I told him what happened during the time he was cursed. He was quite shocked at the idea that he would tell me that he would leave everything for me.

Eric took care of me in Dallas when I got back from the Fellowship. He stayed with me after the Fellowship opened fire on us. He went with me to a white trash orgy and protected me there. He stayed with me when I was staked in Jackson. He took me home when I couldn't stand to deal with Bill. He even helped me rescue a gas station attendant. After we bonded he came to die with me when I had the soda can bomb. He could have simply hoped it would go off and stayed far away. Problem solved. But he didn't. When the bombing at Rhodes started I ran for Eric's room. Why? I told myself then that it was because I knew where his room was. But maybe it was something more. Then there was the Were attack after my meeting with Niall. He took a bullet for me then, too. He was weak and hurting and needed blood. But when I said no, he respected that.

About two months after he remembered our time together, we were finally able to talk. We didn't talk much. We both just knew that we feel happiest when we were together. He finally understood why he felt for me like he did. It was good that we were bonded when we had our chat, because I was able to tell that he would never hang the Debbie Pelt issue over my head. That was what I was most afraid of. I didn't care if he remembered the sex. It was amazing, and he knew it was even before he remembered. He is Eric Northman, after all. But I'm no fool. I know how powerful and manipulative Eric is. The knowledge that I had killed someone and that he helped me hide it was potent. He could hang that over my head and force me to do his bidding. But, I could tell that he simply wouldn't do that. I'm sure there was a time that he would have gladly used that information, but not anymore.

We had managed to work out an arrangement between us. We decided that it was just too dangerous to be together in the open with the takeover. Anyone wanting to get to him could easily use me. We decided not to label what we had either. He didn't seem like the relationship type and I didn't want to push it. Especially when I had that feeling again. It was the feeling that I had something that was mine; no one else gave it to me. And no one was deceiving anyone. I couldn't see the harm. Somehow, I knew that he would be faithful to me. So it began and has been going for about 8 months now. We would see each other almost every night. He was careful to go home after he got done at Fangtasia, and then he would fly to my house. If it was going to be a late night for him, I would drive to his house during the day and park in his garage so no one would know I was there. Then I would leave the next day and nobody was the wiser. Some nights, more recently, we would sit and talk for hours. Or we would watch a movie and I would fall asleep in his arms. It was so comfortable. It was easy being with him in a way it hadn't been with Bill.

On the night of our most recent meeting, he was supposed to come to my house. About the time he would be leaving Fangtasia, I felt a sudden anger and an unspeakable amount of pain through the bond. I had never felt anything that strong from him while he was that far away. Once I caught my breath I immediately got the disposable phone Eric gave me. He told me that if there was ever trouble to use it as nobody could listen in. He had one too. I called it. I got no answer. About 15 agonizing minutes later the disposable rang. It was Pam. She told me that Vamps from another state made an attempt on Eric's life. They weren't successful, thank god. Apparently these vampires knew that since the takeover Eric's area was the only one bringing in good revenue. They thought that by killing him it would cripple the new regime enough to take Louisiana. They caught and killed the stupid idiots. In the back of my mind I was extremely relieved that the attack wasn't related to our...relationship...thing.

I was relieved that Eric was okay. Pam said he would need a few days to recover. They had shot him with silver bullets and almost got him with a wooden arrow, like the assassin used in Rhodes. I asked her if I could come see him. She told me no! I was furious! How could she say, "No" to me! I was his…well…we were bonded! She calmly informed me that it wouldn't be a good idea as Victor was there overseeing the attack and we wouldn't want him finding out about our 'secret' meetings. I figured that Pam had known. She doesn't miss anything. I cried myself to sleep that night, and couldn't manage to think about why.

So now I had a few days to do nothing but work and think. I worried about him constantly and couldn't stop thinking about how devastated I would have been had the arrow hit its target. That's what made me re-hash all my relationships. While both Bill and Quinn have been there for me, Eric was the only one who was consistently there for me. Even before he 'had' me. I kept trying to 'probe' the bond. I hadn't really explored the connection before now. I could feel that he was weak, but getting stronger. I couldn't pinpoint exact emotions, but his general mood seemed to be 'pissed'. At the vamps that tried to kill him, I'm sure.

Pam called me on the third day after the attack and told me that Eric was fully healed and that Victor had left. I asked her when I could see him. She said he had some matters to attend to at Fangtasia, but that he would see me the next night.

The next day I was a nervous wreck. I didn't have a clue why. I should be happy that I was going to see Eric again. I should be happy that he's better. I should be happy that I was probably going to get some loving tonight. But I wasn't. That's how I ended up where I am now. I love him. It would hurt me immensely if he died. And that scared the hell out of me. Should I tell him? What if he doesn't love me back? He's Eric; of course he doesn't love me back! I glanced at my watch and realized that I have been sitting here for an hour marveling at my recent discovery. It was dark out. Shit. Eric would be here soon. What the hell was I going to do? I jumped when I heard a knock at my door. I was a little wobbly as I walked to the to the door to open it. When I did I saw all 6' 4" of Eric. I was overwhelmed. And I fainted.

I woke up later in my bed. I was snuggled up into something big and cold. I moaned appreciatively and wrapped my arms around him. Then I remember why I fainted. Oh, shit he can feel my sudden schizoid moods.

"Lover, I have been known to make women pass out from pleasure, but you are the first to faint merely from the sight of me." I snorted. Cocky bastard.

"I'm sorry. I don't know why that happened, but you can be damn sure it wasn't from the sight of you!" He laughed. It was the laugh I loved. That deep rumbling in his chest was one of my ultimate comforts.

"I think I know why," he said with a little too much emotion in his voice. "I've had a lot of time to think, Sookie. I'm more of a target than I had originally anticipated. That makes things very dangerous for you. These vamps were small-minded idiots, but they still managed to shoot me. I am very fortunate they didn't know about you. If they had hurt you…Sookie, I…"

He couldn't seem to say it, but that was okay, because I couldn't either. But in that moment, it was as though both of us admitted it to ourselves, and to each other through the bond. It was an awe-inspiring sort of feeling. Love flooded the bond and we both grinned at each other like fools. Then he kissed me. It was different than any kiss we had ever shared.

I knew in that moment that we would face this together. We would continue to keep our relationship a secret. For my safety, we would have to. Maybe in time, it would become safe for us to make it 'un-secret' but for now, I could live with this. Because you do things for the ones you love that you wouldn't do for anyone else. I would die for Eric, I was as sure of this as I was that I loved him. He would call me a fool if he knew, but the man would take bullets for me. Why couldn't I risk my life for him? As he began to undress me, I finally let myself give in completely. I gave him my soul. And he gave me his…


So, what did you all think? Be honest! And please review! I'm gonna go hide in a corner now...