Disclaimer: I own nothing related to True Blood.
After their confessions of love, Paige helped Eric clean himself up a bit before they retreated to the couch, where Paige stretched out with her back leaned against the arm while Eric promptly sprawled out between her legs, arms wrapped tightly around her waist and head resting right over her heart. Despite the joy of confessing to each other that they still loved one another, even after everything that had happened, the grief over Godric's death was not forgotten and was still weighing heavily on Eric. It wasn't long before the emotional exhaustion had him falling asleep in her protective embrace. Paige herself was content to merely hold him to her and toy with his much shorter locks until her eyes also grew heavy and she fell into a contented cat-nap, more than happy to be there for him however he needed her to be.
When Paige woke a few hours later, she sighed and leaned down to kiss the top of his head, tightening her arms around his shoulders. Even in his sleep he still looked troubled and she absolutely hated to see him like this, sad and hurt and broken because he had lost someone that he cared for deeply – it brought back memories of the only other time she'd seen him this way, when she had been the one to break his heart. An all-too-familiar feeling of guilt started to gnaw away at her but she valiantly pushed it away, reminding herself that that was the past and this was the present. Eric knew the truth now and was not only on the path to forgiving her, but also still loved her. Hopefully this meant he was ready to turn a new leaf in their relationship and start anew, which meant she would have ample opportunity to make up for her past transgressions – and she planned to start paving her road of redemption by being there for him now in this trying time and helping him whatever way she could as he recovered from Godric's death.
Paige kissed the top of his head against and trailed her fingers through his soft hair. He stirred a bit this time and she immediately froze, cringing as she realized she'd woken him up. When he looked up at her with tired, yet affectionate, eyes, however, she couldn't stop her heart from fluttering.
"Sorry I woke you." She apologized with a small smile, tracing a fingertip along the side of his face.
"I was awake already." Eric admitted with a small, half-hearted smile. "I was merely too comfortable to move." Then he frowned as he tightened his arms around her waist, chin resting against her sternum as he stared off into space with a thoughtful expression. "You would think after all this time I would be immune to the pain of losing someone I care for…" He commented idly.
Paige moved her hand to gently touch his cheek, offering a comforting smile when his eyes turned back to her. "I don't think anyone gets used to the pain of losing someone," Paige told him, "especially not someone who was as important to you as Godric was."
Eric stared at her for a moment, leaning into her touch. "Thank you." He said simply.
"For what?" Paige asked, tilting her head at him curiously.
"Being here for me." Eric answered, his eyes softening some.
Paige's heart felt flooded with warmth and she found that she could only smile warmly and nod in response. Eric then sighed before closing his eyes and lying his head back down on her chest, arms wrapped securely around her waist. Paige frowned when she felt the tension in his body and reached up to run her fingers through his hair – as she had hoped, the soothing touch made him relax some.
"You really don't look so good." Paige stated, eyebrows furrowed in concern.
"I am weak." He admitted quietly, never opening his eyes.
Thinking he meant that he thought himself weak because he was grieving the loss of a loved one – because big, touch vampires didn't feel sadness or fear – Paige nearly rolled her eyes. She resisted the urge, though, and placed a hand on his neck, forcing him to look into her eyes. "Just because you care about someone other than yourself or miss someone when they're gone, that doesn't make you weak." She reminded him firmly.
To her surprise, Eric merely smirked in response and shook his head. "I know this." He said, amusement lacing his words. "You have taught me that lesson on more than one occurrence." Eric reminded her, reaching for her hand so he could bring it to his lips – her breath caught in her throat when he pressed a kiss to her knuckles. "I mean that I am physically weak. I haven't been sleeping well since you arrived, nor have I fed in a long while."
Paige blinked in surprise then blushed. "Oh." She said with a small, sheepish smile. Then she realized what he had said and frowned in concern. "How long has it been since you fed?" She asked him curiously. As far as she knew, Eric never had a problem finding a sources for blood. Of course, she didn't know who those sources were, but honestly, she didn't really want to know. It would only awaken the green-eyed monster within.
She forgot how to breathe when Eric suddenly pushed himself up a bit and moved in closer until he was eye level with her. "I haven't fed since I walked through the lobby of this hotel and was bowled over by your scent lingering in the air." Eric admitted in a low voice, his eyes burning with intensity. His close proximity and the blazing look in his eyes nearly had Paige squirming with anticipation – she hadn't realized he'd known she was there before their first initial run-in at the meeting with Isabel and Stan. Perhaps she'd underestimated just what this case had been doing to him since before they even came face to face.
Eric smiled slyly, releasing her hand so he could brush his fingers over her cheek. "I missed seeing that." He said, referring to her blushing cheeks. "And I missed seeing you." He continued, looking at her in a way that had her heart thumping wildly in her chest. "It has been a very long year and four months." Eric murmured, moving even closer.
"Trust me," Paige breathed with a gulp, "I know what you mean."
Eric brushed a lock of hair from her face before leaning in to capture her lips with his. Paige sighed as he wrapped an arm around her waist and sat up, pulling her with him until he was seated normally on the couch and she was on his lap. Paige wrapped her arms around his neck, happily returning his kiss, causing Eric to make a sound of approval that she felt right down to her bones. He deepened the kiss, his fingers sliding into her hair and making her nerves tingle with pleasure.
Paige gasped for air when he suddenly pulled his lips from hers. Eric then looked at her with a weird, quizzical expression on his face, as though he had something that he wanted to ask her but was unsure whether he should or not. Having caught her breath a bit, Paige smiled and tapped his nose with her fingertip. "What going on in that head of yours?" She asked curiously.
He hesitated a moment before asking, "Were you with anyone else? While we were apart?"
Paige was a little surprised by the question, but quickly recovered – she shook her head with a small smile. "No." He might have tried to hide it,
but it was more than obvious that there was relief in his eyes. "I tried to date other guys, but…" Paige trailed off and shrugged. "None of them were you." She accepted the kiss that Eric gave her in the next moment, but before they could get carried away she pushed him back and raised her eyebrows at him. "Were you?"
Eric suddenly looked the tiniest bit uncomfortable. "I was angry when you left and tried to…get you out of my system." He admitted, now very interested in the lock of red hair he was twirling around his index finger. "When that wasn't working, I threw myself into work instead." His eyes raised to meet hers again, unblinking and filled with truth. "There has been no woman that has meant anything since you – not even close."
She didn't doubt the seriousness or sincerity of his words, but for reasons unknown Paige still thought of Sookie and remembered what Bill had said about his fear that Eric was interested in her. She quickly pushed the thoughts away though, because it wasn't Sookie that he had gone to in his grief, it wasn't Sookie that he was lying in the arms of, and it wasn't Sookie he had proclaimed his love for – Eric was with her, Paige Collins. And by the sounds of it, he had never been able to fully move on from her, nor successfully fall out of love with her in spite of everything. With a smile she pulled him in for a kiss, tightening her arms around his neck and holding him close. If she hadn't already known it before, she definitely would have known it then – Eric Northman was The One, regardless of whether he was a human or a vampire. Paige would never love anyone like she loved Eric, nor would she ever trust anyone like she trusted Eric. He was her match in every sense of the word and she planned to do whatever she had to in order to make sure their relationship stood the test of time this time around.
Paige tangled her fingers into his hair, giving herself completely over to him and his kiss. His response was to growl low in his throat and return her kiss urgently, letting her feel all the love and desire he had for her. After a few heated moments he finally pulled away to trail his lips over her jaw and down to her neck. Paige let out a soft moan and tilted her head to give him better access, a zing of excitement racing through her.
"What have you been trying to talk to me about?" She managed to ask breathlessly in his ear, knowing she needed to get the question out before she completely lost all ability for coherent thought. Honestly Paige was amazed that she could even think about anything but what Eric's touch was doing to her, let alone able to form intelligent sentences and hold conversation.
Eric lifted his head and then cocked it to the side, staring at her with dark, serious eyes. "I have been trying to ask you to come back to Shreveport with me – permanently." Paige blinked in surprise – she had been hoping this 'talk' was about him wanting to work things out, but the fact that he actually wanted her to move to Louisiana with him was rather surprising. "I love you, Paige," Eric continued. "I want to give this another chance – I want us to be together. But I also know that we have a lot of missed time to catch up on and that it's going to take some work. Long distance simply will not do this time around." Eric sighed and caressed her cheek again. "I want you to be there, min fireytema kvinna." Paige's heart immediately swelled at the use of his favorite pet-name for her – my fiery woman. "I want to have a home with you and know that you are there waiting for me when I'm away." He told her, voice a little thicker than normal. "Say you'll come back to Shreveport with me." Eric then urged, his eyes practically pleading with her.
He'd hinted that he wanted her to move in with him in the past, had even been brave enough to outright ask her once or twice, but Paige had always been reluctant to agree because of her own doubts and worried. This time, however, it was different. Gone were her fears of long-term commitment – now that she had lost Eric and experienced what life would be like without him, she knew that the only way she would feel whole again – that her life would actually feel complete – was if she was with Eric.
Paige smiled and nodded her head, immediately drawing a wide, pleased smile from Eric. "Okay." She agreed. "But I can't come right away." Paige added, raising her eyebrows at him. "I have to tie up some loose ends back in Houston and see about getting transferred to the Shreveport branch of the C.A.V.D." Paige told him firmly, knowing he probably wouldn't be overly fond of the fact that she wouldn't be coming with him right away.
To her surprise, Eric merely frowned a bit and then sighed. "I suppose I can handle the wait." He agreed, albeit begrudgingly so. "After all, I have been waiting for nearly a year and a half – what's a few more days?" He asked. Then Eric frowned at her, eyebrows furrowed together. "You wish to remain with the C.A.V.D. even though we are back together now?" He asked, not sounding keen on the idea. "Wouldn't you rather do something less…dangerous?"
Paige smirked in amusement but was touched by his concern nevertheless. "It's my job, sweetheart." She reminded him. "And I didn't join just because of you," Paige continued, even though Eric had had a rather large influence on her decision to join, "I started working there so I could help protect vampires. Besides, it's not always dangerous." She didn't want to give up her job anyway, feeling like she'd finally found her calling. Paige felt like it was a part of her now.
He grumbled out an unhappy response, so Paige decided to shut him up the best way she knew how – she kissed him. Eric forgot to be displeased and returned her kiss enthusiastically, making her sigh and press closer to him, wanting to feel as much of him as she could. Paige knew that there was still much that they needed to discuss and that they had only barely scratched the surface, but with everything that had been happening she decided to put and further serious conversations on the back burner and save the conversation for a rainy day. Right now, she just wanted to revel in the fact that she and Eric were back together and that things finally were starting to feel right for the first time in a very long time.
Eric's kisses were starting to become more urgent and his touches more bold – Paige gasped when his hand slid underneath her shirt and trailed along the skin of her stomach, awakening goose-bumps on every inch of her skin. His lips left hers again and pressed eagerly to her neck, drawing a sigh of pleasure from her. Her hands happily explored the terrains of his firm back before sliding up into his hair, her fingers closing around the blonde locks at the nape of his neck. Suddenly she was filled with the desire to let him doing something that she'd never once allowed him to do before – they were together again, and Paige knew that if she had anything to say about it that it would be for good this time around. She now wanted to give herself to him in a way that she never had.
"Bite me." Paige whispered in his ear, emboldened by the love and desire she felt for the vampire lavishing attention on her.
Eric immediately pulled back and did nothing to hide his shock, eyes wide and chest heaving the slightest bit. "What?" He asked lowly, as though he were unsure whether he had heard her correctly or not.
Paige raised a hand to his face and traced her thumb over his bottom lip, watching the path it took for a moment before then moving to close her hand around the back of his neck. She tried to urge him forward, her body practically on fire for him, but the infinitely stronger Eric wouldn't budge an inch. "I want you to bite me, Eric." Paige told, staring into his eyes seriously.
"I'm yours, Eric Northman." Paige interrupted, making him immediately fall silent. "I'm yours heart, body, and soul. And I trust you like I trust nobody else." Paige continued, watching as his eyes, if possible, darkened even more. "I want you to have all of me." She told him firmly, not breaking their intense stare so that he would know she was telling the truth.
Paige nearly smiled in triumph when his fangs suddenly appeared. But instead of doing as she had instructed and leaning down to her neck so he could taste her blood for the first time, he merely swallowed hard with what seemed like uncertainty, his eyes searching her face as he raised a hand up to her cheek. "Paige…are you sure about this?" He asked quietly, more than aware of her past reluctance.
She immediately nodded. "I don't want you to feed on anyone but me from here on out."
Eric smiled then, looking slightly predatory but, at the same time, also very sexy, and nodded before pulling her into a hungry kiss. She made a noise of approval and returned the kiss as one of his hands tangled into her hair, holding her to him for a few moments as his lips claimed hers possessively. Finally he pulled his lips from hers to trail a path down her jaw and to her throat, his other hand now on her lower back and pressing her into him as she tightened her grip on his shoulders, hanging onto him for some sense of balance. As his lips showered the tender skin of her neck with kisses his chest heaved and she could have sworn she felt the hand on her back begin to tremble. Or maybe it was just her that was trembling, honestly she wasn't entirely sure anymore.
Suddenly his fangs were gently breaking the skin of her neck. Paige gasped, one of her hands flying to his head to hold him in place as he groaned loudly against her skin, mouth sucking hungrily on her neck. She felt a slight stinging sensation but was surprised to find that the experience wasn't nearly as painful as she'd thought it would be. In fact, it was actually rather…pleasurable. Then again this was Eric, the vampire she loved with her entire heart and soul – Paige was sure that had it been anyone else, her reaction to the situation would have been very different.
When he finally pulled away some moments later he leaned his head back again the couch, chest heaving and eyes closed as he seemed to savor what had just happened. He ran his tongue over his bottom lip to sweep up the remnants of her blood before looking at her with darkened eyes, his cheeks holding just the slightest bit more color to them now. Paige smiled before leaning in to give him a gentle kiss that he was happy to return – she didn't feel weird or degraded in any way now that he'd fed from her. In fact she felt safe, cherished, and as though she'd just granted Eric one of the greatest gifts she could give him.
"How do you feel?" He asked a bit uncertainly, his eyes searching hers intently.
"Good." Paige reassured him with a nod. "How do you feel?"
He let out a deep breath and shook his head a bit, smirking at her. "Never better." He told her, making her heart skip a bit. "You're incredible, Paige." Eric said with amazement in his eyes, his fangs gleaming in the artificial light of the lamps in her hotel room as he stared up at her intently. "I love you."
They moved forward at the same time to share another kiss, both making sounds of approval. Just as they started to get carried away this time, however, a knock suddenly sounded on the door separating her room from Gary's. Eric pulled away with a low growl and shot a dark look in the direction of the door, the interruption clearly irritating him, but Paige merely sighed in resignation, the haze of desire clearing enough for her to remember that it was probably for the best if they couldn't take the moment further. They'd only just reestablished their relationship – as badly as she wanted him, in the end it was probably a better idea to wait to take that step until she was sure their relationship was ready for it.
"Paige?" Gary's muffled voice sounded through the door. He didn't open it, however, obviously knowing it was possible that Eric was with her and that it would be wiser for him to leave them alone. "You awake? It's almost time for checkout."
Eric immediately frowned at hearing that. "Yeah, I'll be ready to go in a minute." She called back before smiling sadly at Eric – Gary acknowledged that he'd heard her and told her he'd check back again in ten minutes before giving she and Eric their privacy again.
"You have to go already?" He asked, his frown deepening.
Paige sighed and nodded regretfully. "Unfortunately. We've got a mound of paperwork waiting for us back in Houston and our flight leaves at noon – I'm sure we're gonna be in for a stern talking to from our superiors too if Nan Flanagan already got to them." She added with a huff, rolling her eyes a bit. "That should be fun." She shot sarcastically.
Eric looked disappointed for a split second before smirking at her – with his hair askew from her enthusiastic fingers and his cheeks a bit more colored from her blood, he made for a breath-taking sight. "You could just wait until tonight so I could fly you back myself." He suggested with a small smile. "It would be much easier and much faster."
Paige laughed and shook her head, kissing his forehead. "No, sir – you need rest." She told him sternly, poking him in the shoulder. When he pulled a grumpy expression, she continued. "Just think of it this way – the sooner I get back to Houston, the sooner I can come to Shreveport." Paige bribed, wagging her eyebrows.
That seemed to do the trick – Eric grumbled for a second before finally admitting defeat and giving her his blessing to leave with Gary as planned. She finally managed to pull herself away from him and his unyielding kisses a couple of minutes later and then stood from the couch, walking over to the closet under his watchful gaze so she could begin collecting her things and packing them into her suitcase. Eric only lingered on the couch for a few moments, eyes trained on her intently, before coming over to help her – she quirked an eyebrow at him in amusement as he pulled a pair of jeans out of her grasp and hastily stuffed them into her bag.
"The faster you pack, the sooner you can leave – the sooner you leave, the sooner you will be able to join me in Louisiana." He excused his behavior a bit huffily, making her laugh and then nod her head in understanding.
With his help her things were packed in no time at all. After doing one last sweep of the room to make sure nothing had been forgotten, Paige walked over to the conjoining door and opened it, not too surprise when she saw that Gary had already packed his personal belongings and was now finishing rounding up some of the gear that they had brought along with them. He paused what he was doing and looked up when the door opened before smirking, taking in her slightly disheveled state with a knowing smirk.
"Eventful morning?" He asked, lifting an eyebrow. Paige immediately blushed, silently trying to convey to him that Eric was still present and that he should shut his mouth by widening her eyes at him – he didn't seem to get the message until Eric suddenly joined her in the doorway and slid an arm around her waist. "Oh." Gary said, straightening up some but not looking overly surprise by Eric's sudden appearance. "What's up, Eric?"
"Hello again, Gary." Eric said in a tone that was exceedingly polite for him, effortlessly holding all of Paige's bags in the hand that he didn't have on her waist. "I trust you're having a good morning." He added conversationally, obviously knowing that he was one of Paige's closest friends and that it would be a good idea for him to make nice with the human man.
"Yep." Gary confirmed. "Not as good as yours." He added under his breath, immediately making Paige glare at him with unimpressed eyes.
While Paige resisted the temptation to call Gary a smartass, Eric merely ignored the remark and looked down at her. "This is all of your belongings." He said, indicating the bags in his hand. "Do you need help packing anything else?" He then asked, looking back and forth between Gary and Paige.
Paige shook her head just as Gary zipped up the last bag he'd been stuffing equipment into. "Nah, I already took care of it all. But thanks." Gary said as he stood to his full height again. His cellphone then made a beeping noise, making him sigh in annoyance and roll his eyes before he pulled the device from his pocket to see who was trying to contact him. "Headquarters…again." He announced with a shake of his head. "We should get a move on. Since someone turned off their cell phone this morning, the boss has been all over my ass all morning wanting to know when we're due back so we can get this Fellowship debacle into the system." Gary went on to explain, looking thoroughly irritated. "Thank you for the back-up, partner." He added with a huff.
Paige, knowing Gary wasn't actually mad at her, just smirked and crossed her arms. "Welcome to my world, Gary dearest." Paige said with a sickly sweet smile, since she was usually the one being pestered by the higher ups.
Gary just mumbled something under his breath before proceeding to start gathering up the rest of their things. She started to move away from the doorway so she could go and help him, but Eric stopped her with a gentle hand and shake of his head. Though he had never been fond of displays of affection in front of others, he pressed a kiss to her temple and smoothed some of her hair back before going over to help Gary with the bags himself. Paige grinned as she watched the two, knowing that they hadn't gotten off to the best start and that the over-protective and very possessive Eric probably wasn't all that crazy about her friendship with Gary. The Viking vampire seemed to be going out of his way to be friendly though, and she had a feeling he was doing it just to please her. Paige decided to leave them to their male-bonding time and rounded up their room keys, stuffing them into the envelope they had come in before waiting patiently for Gary and Eric as they got everything situated – there wasn't much conversation had between the two but they weren't arguing either, which seemed like a good sign to Paige.
"Ready?" Paige asked once they finally had all the bags in hand and looked like they were ready to go.
While Gary said 'yes' and nodded his head, Eric frowned at her, clearly unhappy with the fact that they were about to be separated again and so soon. He nodded his head once, however, deciding not to voice his displeasure.
Paige moved to open the door for them and then motioned them through first. Gary lead the way and immediately started for the elevators once he was in the hallway, but Eric lingered behind so that he could walk next to her after she shut the door behind them. She smiled up at him and watched as he moved the bags he was carrying to one hand so that he could lace his fingers with hers.
It was then, as they started towards the elevators at a slow, leisurely pace, that it really hit her – soon she was going to be leaving Houston behind and would be moving to Shreveport so she could live with Eric on a permanent basis.
Paige shook her head to herself in wonderment – had someone told her a few weeks ago that she and Eric would be back together and making the very serious decision to live together and start a new life with one another, she would have laughed in said person's face and then kindly reminded them that Eric Northman hated her guts. But as it was, Lady Luck had decided to smile down on her and had not only given her the love of her life back, but had also given her the hope of a new, happier future with Eric by her side – oh, how strangely things worked out sometimes. She'd come to Dallas expecting only to find Godric, but had ended up finding love again instead.
Paige glanced up at Eric, a happy smile on her face, then pressed a kiss to his shoulder through his sweater as they ambled along since it was impossible to reach his lips at that particular moment. The gesture made him look down at her for a moment before he offered a smile and then kissed her temple, making her sigh contentedly.
They reached the elevators much to quickly for her taste and Eric finally released her hand so he could set down the bags he'd been carrying and then wrap his arms around her – Gary turned his back to them so they could have a moment of privacy, suddenly very interested in the painting hanging opposite of the elevators. "I better not go down with you." Eric said regretfully. "If I do, I may not be able to say goodbye." Paige nodded her head in understanding, then watched as Eric pressed the button to summon the elevator car. He turned his attention back to her before resting a hand on the side of her neck, eyes darting over her features as though trying to memorize what she looked like. "I don't care what time of day it is – call me as soon as you land so I know you made it to Houston safely, do you understand?"
Paige nodded in agreement just as the elevator dinged and wrapped her arms around him, standing on her tip-toes so she could give him a kiss goodbye. He kissed her lingeringly in return, arms wrapped tightly around her waist, before they parted again and reluctantly moved away from each other. "I'll see you soon, I promise." She told him, already making quick work of rounding up their bags.
"Good." Eric said with a small smile. He stooped down to sneak one more kiss before pressing his forehead to hers. "I love you, Paige."
"I love you, too." She reciprocated with a warm small, receiving one last kiss from him before he finally took a step back to put some space between them.
Though Paige didn't want to leave him, she smiled at him one last time before finally stepping into the elevator. Gary moved to join her, looking a little awkward after bearing witness to their affectionate gestures, but paused when Eric stepped in his path and pinned him with a serious look. "Take care of her, Gary." He instructed. Then, to both her and Gary's surprise he extended a hand to shake hands with the man.
For a few seconds Gary stared at Eric's hand as though he'd never seen one before, then he slowly grasped it and gave it a firm shake. "I will." He said firmly, nodding his head.
Seemingly satisfied, Eric nodded his head once before releasing Gary's hand and stepping out of the way. Gary then joined her in the elevator, dutifully ignoring the fact that Paige blew Eric a kiss, making the vampire smirk a bit and then raise a hand in farewell. "See you soon!" She said just before the doors shut.
Now separated from Eric again until she arrived in Shreveport, Paige sighed regretfully and leaned against the metal wall of the elevator car. Gary almost immediately turned to give her a look, his eyes filled with dozens of unanswered questions. "'I'll see you soon'?" He repeated, quirking an eyebrow. "Is there something you would like to tell me, P-Col?" He then asked, though judging by the look on his face, Paige was fairly certain he was already starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together himself.
"We'll talk about it on the plane." She said with a smile, already wondering how Gary would react to the news that she planned to move to Louisiana and whether or not he'd put up a fight about it. She then wondered if he'd want to join her, since he had no close family and Texas and, therefore, no real ties binding him to the state.
As soon as they were done checking out at the front desk, they carried their bags out to an awaiting car to pack them away in the trunk. Paige paused so that she could look up at the hotel one last time and smiled to herself, knowing she was going to miss Eric like crazy but also knowing it wouldn't be long before she was back in his arms. It was a little daunting to think about the fact that she'd be leaving everything she knew behind – her friends, her job, her family – but Paige couldn't help but feel excited once she remembered what waited for her in Louisiana. Paige had her Viking – her love – again and was about to be travelling down a new, exciting road with him. There was no telling where that road would take them, of course, or what might happen from here on out, but they would be facing the future together.
And that was all that mattered.
The End…or is it?