A/N: This story began as a one-shot, but so many of you were saying you couldn't wait to find out what happened next, that I realized I had the makings of a larger story here. Thank you to all of you who read my stories, who leave me reviews, and who put me (or my stories) on alert. You make a girl feel good.

Once again I have to thank my fantastic betas, Kristin and Gallathea. You two rock my socks. If there are any mistakes in here, they are still mine 'cause I'm a tool sometimes.

Oh, and for those of you who always bitch that my chapters are too short . . . this one is double my usual, so don't you dare complain!


I woke from my daytime slumber, and I could feel such unhappiness flow through the bond. The hum of our connection was muted now, at least on one side, but her sorrow still pulsed across to me in waves. I knew what a difficult week she'd had. I tried to come to her, but I had to be in Las Vegas to explain the events and outcomes of the fairy war, as well as discuss new strategies regarding the fallout with Felipe.

I did come to her the night of the funeral for the Were. I came not only for her, but to honor him. He was a brave man, who died fighting, managing to give Sookie an edge and save her life. It is not often that I am impressed by the two-natured, but Tray Dawson earned my respect, and my eternal thanks, for saving Sookie's life. I would make sure his woman was always protected.

We did not speak much that night, as the house was full of mourners, and Sookie was busy playing hostess, and comforting Amelia. When everyone left, Sookie began to clean. I knew that this was some sort of cathartic ritual for her, but she needed rest. I took her hands and pulled her from the sink. For a wonder, she did not argue. Without a word, I picked her up, carried her to her room and tucked her into bed. She was asleep in seconds.

All week I had been feeling her grief, her heartache, and her horror. I could tell she was having trouble sleeping. She must have been having nightmares, because as I sat in my office, I would suddenly get a jolt of terror from her so palpable, that I would be halfway to my car before I realized it was subsiding.

It was breaking my heart to see and feel her like this. She seemed broken, and I wondered if my earlier assessment and praise of her had been wrong. Yet I knew her. I knew her strength. I could feel it flow through me, through the bond, through my veins, and I knew she could get through this.

I still had not spoken to her of what I had done, of why I could not come to her that day. I still hoped she would forgive me and understand. She had to. I did it for us. The rest of it . . . well, I wasn't sure how I was going to explain that. I hardly understood it myself. For now, I would say nothing. What could be gained?

Today, however, was different. Her grief and unhappiness felt . . . fresh and raw, different from the way it had felt the rest of that week. I was sure I knew the cause, but the pain was real nonetheless, and it woke me early from my slumber. For the first time in a thousand years, I resented that I could not withstand sunlight. It kept me from her, just when I swore to myself nothing would again.

When I arrived, the house was dark. I could sense her, smell her, and hear her breathing. I found her curled up on the couch, under that hideous afghan, with her nose buried in it. The tracks of her dried tears were apparent on her face, and she looked so fragile lying there, I was almost afraid to touch her.

I watched her for a few minutes, just watched the rise and fall of her breasts as she slept. She turned and a leg peeked out from under the afghan. Anger raged through me once again as I saw the still healing scars that marred the beautiful landscape of her flesh.

My hands involuntarily reached out to trace the scars, each one burning itself into my memory, each one a vivid reminder of my failure. Never again, my love. Never again. She moaned in her sleep. It was nearly a cry, and her grief slammed into me. I brushed her hair from her face, and my fingers traced the trails of her tears.

She opened her eyes, looked up at me, and whispered, "Niall's gone. The portal is closed."

"I know," I replied. Niall had come to me a few days before, and we had spoken of a great many things. I told her he had spoken to me, but she did not press me for specifics, and I did not offer any. Instead, she looked at me; her eyes reflected pain, but also love and hope. She reached out her hand, and took mine. She took a deep breath and said, "It's time we had that talk."

"Sookie," I began, but she placed her finger on my lips.

"Me first." She looked at me, and I nodded. Then she proceeded to tell me everything. She told me how she was afraid to face me, us, her feelings the last time we were together. She told me that she never should have let me leave without telling me how she felt.

Her eyes never left mine as she spoke, and as she continued, they filled with tears. One spilled over, and I wiped it away, resisting the urge to lick my finger after. All I wanted to do was to gather her in my arms, and to make her feel safe and whole, but I had to let her get through it. I had to let her come to this on her terms.

She told me that when Neave and Lochlan had her, she thought of her friends and loved ones, even praying to see the shifter's face, but that I was the only one she begged for in her mind. Her words seared me.

She apologized for her cruel words at the hospital, saying that I was the only one who saved her time and again, and that she knew I would have moved mountains to be with her if I could. I had moved mountains, only they weren't the ones she expected. I hoped she would still be so forgiving when I explained. Then she went on to tell me of her great-grandfather's parting words, and the revelation she'd had, but more important was what she said afterward.

"I'm done hiding Eric. I'm done denying my feelings. I'm done pretending there is anything better out there. How could there be?" She took a deep breath, squeezed my hand and said, "I love you Eric, and I am yours if you will still have me."

Mine. I love you Eric, and I am yours . . . The words I had longed to hear for so long and now I feared she would snatch them back. For now, I would take it. I would take whatever she was willing to give me, for however long she was willing to give it. Our time was finite anyway.

I pulled her to me, gathering her in my arms. Her head was tucked into my chest, and her small arms wrapped around me, squeezing me as hard as she could. My nose went into her hair, inhaling her scent, that uniquely, tantalizing scent that was just her. It was stronger that night.

"My lover, you have no idea how happy you have made me." I lifted her chin, and looked deep into her eyes. "I told you then that I will always be honest with you. You didn't want to know how I felt, but it is time you did. I love you. I am what I am. I am Vampire. I am over a thousand years old. I am a sheriff, with all the politics that entails, and yet, all I have, all I am, is yours."

Her arms reached up, and wound themselves around my neck as I bent to her, capturing her lips with mine. I stood and carried her to her room. I laid her on the bed, breaking from our kisses only to make sure she was okay, that this wasn't too soon after Neave and Lochlan and all her grief.

I didn't even need to ask. Her eyes burned with desire, and she growled lightly, pulling me back to her. My hands roamed her body, inflaming her with every touch. Our clothes fell by the bed, some in shreds, as we desperately sought to touch each other, feel the smooth glide of skin on skin. My lips skimmed her neck, nipping at the spot behind her ear that always drove her wild. I trailed...

*********NOTE**********

SORRY FOLKS, A VERY SAD, SMALL MINDED PERSON WITH WHAT APPEARS TO BE A VERY EMPTY AND BORING LIFE, HAS TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO GO AFTER ALL STORIES THEY BELIEVE ARE INAPPROPRIATE FOR THIS SITE AND REPORT, SO THE STORIES WILL BE TAKEN DOWN.

NEW LIFE WILL REMAIN HERE ON FFN. I WILL BE EDITING THE CHAPTERS, SO AS NOT TO OFFEND THE THOUGHT POLICE, AND BECAUSE I DO NOT WISH FOR ALL THE LOVELY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT THAT HAVE BEEN OFFERED HERE OVER THE YEARS TO BE DELETED, BECAUSE THE OWNERS OF THIS SITE REMOVE EVERYTHING WHOLESALE, WITHOUT CHECKING ANYTHING OR WARNING TO THE AUTHORS. AFTER THE CUT THERE WILL BE ELLIPSES ... WHICH WILL INDICATE THAT THE REST OF THE CHAPTER HAS BEEN [EDITED] OUT, BECAUSE I AM NOT GOING TO SECOND GUESS WHAT WILL OFFEND THESE NINNIES ON ANY GIVEN DAY.

HOWEVER, ALL MY STORIES WILL REMAIN IN THEIR FULL, UNCENSORED FORMS ON ARCHIVE OF OUR OWN. SEE MY PROFILE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

We collapsed onto the bed, and when I came to my senses, I began to frantically check her, making sure she was okay. She mumbled sleepily about being pillaged by her Viking, and then drifted off.

I had not lost control like that in a few hundred years. Not since the last time I caught a fairy, and I realized that Niall's parting kiss had imparted much more than just a healing connection.

Fucking fairies.