A/N- This POV was originally started back in June, as a writing exercise to try to define some of Eric's actions in Dead Wrong. Several readers have requested that I publish it. This story will make absolutely no sense whatsoever to you if you have not read Dead Wrong, so apologies to anyone who will have to read Dead Wrong if they want to read this Eric POV. Readers will also note that just like in real life, partners look at things differently: events are sometimes either viewed differently or differing details are noticed. What's important to Eric may not match with the stuff that was important to Sookie and Sookie conveniently left out details of certain things in Dead Wrong, which is from her POV. The Eric POV was mostly finished before the final version of Dead Wrong. I have edited the POV in order to make it match up a little better but if there are still continuity errors, I apologize in advance. I had not written it for publication. But before you think that Pam's understanding of Sookie's departure from Bon Temps is one of those errors and send me about a million PMs, if you think Eric was going to spill to Pam about the real meaning of that note Sookie left behind, you are totally kidding yourself. And no, I didn't write a Pam POV for Dead Wrong, so please, please don't ask. LOL

The Southern Vampire Mysteries and Sookie Stackhouse Series are the creation of Charlaine Harris. I hope she doesn't mind if I play with her characters for a while.

Dead Certain

February 2006

"Live Better".

I stared at the note and felt colder than ever inside. I pulled it off the refrigerator.

She was gone.

Long gone. Nowhere even close enough that I could feel her, worn down as the bond was by more than an hour of searing pain and terror, all the pain that followed after that hour and a week and a half of emotional distress that I had felt but not really dealt with. The house was filled with her scent, her perfume. It was a hollow echo of her.

Pam's words came back to me. "You're waiting too long. Even if they're still here, you should go see her. She's not going to understand, Eric. She's not going to take you seriously. You're waiting too long. Amelia says she hasn't even mentioned the were. You should see her, call her. She's not going to understand your distance and that it's to protect her. She will misinterpret it."

And that was before the fairies got her. Before I got her to pledge herself to me without explaining my intentions. Before I had sex with her and didn't tell her I loved her in English because she wouldn't tell me she loved me. Because of her fucking cautious appreciation. Her ambivalence. Her distrust of her feelings for me. Her distrust of me. She did not understand me. Of course, I gave her too little to understand and then it all fell apart. All because I was too proud to make the first move in the emotional revelation area, no matter how insecure I knew she was. I had hopelessly miscalculated it all. I left her alone for months, saw her three times and then I left her alone again assuming that fucking fairy great-grandfather of hers would actually have the ability to protect her if it was needed. I let her down, and she was horribly, horribly abused. There are vampires and fairies that wouldn't have survived what she has, I reminded myself. And did I do anything to make it better? Not a damn thing. Sure, I gave her blood. But I said not a thing. I'd waited too long, yet again. And now?

She was gone.

I crumbled the page in my hand and turned to Merlotte.

"She's gone. She isn't anywhere near here."

Merlotte shook his head as if disgusted and said,

"You know, I think I noticed that. Can you even sense if she's okay? I mean, this just isn't like her. To just not even show up? To not call me? She was worried about making ends meet, Eric. Since Amelia moved out she was worried about her financial situation. It's not like she decided to take a vacation and forgot to tell me. She said you were married, right? Aren't you even concerned? Do you even give a damn about her? I was under the impression you did. What if the fucking fairy uncle got her? Jason said the uncle, or great-uncle, whatever he is, was still at large according to the Prince."

I registered the fact that Bill Compton had stiffened and looked rather taken aback by some of that. So she had told Merlotte we were married? Well, this was a surprise to me.

I paused for a moment considering Brigant's son. I was supposed to kill him if I found him, on Brigant's instructions. Taking instructions from a fairy… I shook my head still trying to take that one in. But I just didn't think it was his son. My gut instinct told me she'd left because she wanted to. She left to get away from all of this. From all of us. From me.

"I don't smell a fairy, or even a half-fairy. Did you, Merlotte? When you arrived did you smell anything unusual? No? I think she just took off."

I turned to Bill and just stared at him. He grimaced. He looked so gray and ill. Maybe even worse after Merlotte's little revelation.

"I got the last incoming call off of the phone in Octavia's room but it's actually from Fangtasia's dial out number," he said. "I can try to get her phone records. She left her cell phone but the most recent numbers there are from your phone and my phone, from the other night, and then from Merlotte's today. I'll see if I can get into the phone records for the house line. But I doubt I'll have anything until tomorrow."

"Try redial on the phones," I said.

"You sure? It's a risk because if she did call someone and they have her, they'll know we're on their trail and have more time to cover their tracks."

"Do it," I said soberly.

"I can try to make the call private and see if the redial will still work but it might erase the number.

"Just redial the number, Bill. Try the kitchen first and then the bedroom."

Compton picked up the phone in the kitchen and hit redial. We waited for the call to connect. The three of us leaned in to listen. Luckily, it went straight to voice mail.

"You have reached the voice mail box of Special Agent Sara Weiss. I am sorry that I am unable to take your call at this time. Please leave your name and phone number and I will return your call at my earliest convenience."

Bill looked at me. I looked at Sam, puzzled.

"That's got to be that FBI lady who was here questioning her about the bombing in Rhodes," Sam said "She was with some agent from Rhodes, asking about how Sookie found all those people. Tray Dawson said that Amelia and Octavia were all worried about their being onto Sookie. Could they have just taken her?"

I still held the crumpled note in my hand. Live Better. All I could think of was that time when I had told her, less than a year before, when she was shot, that she must be living wrong. The time I was a real asshole. The time I'd basically threatened to kill her. When I was so angry that I didn't know why I felt the way I did about her that I threatened to kill the human that I loved. The human I wouldn't tell anyone, even myself, that I loved. Who was mine, and now, was gone. My woman. The one I'd now evidently lost. And I had lost more than just the individual. I had lost… quite possibly everything. Yes, I was definitely going to be losing even more because of her and now I had gone and lost her on top of it. Everything was in shambles because of rescuing her. And I never should have had to be rescuing her in the first place. Why had I ever even left her alone?

Had the FBI taken her? My gut said no. My gut said that when she saw no way forward, like the true survivor she was, she made a path through the wall and went a different way. Something that I wholeheartedly understood and had done myself more than once. She had completely changed course and dropped everything to do so.

I looked at Bill and Merlotte. "Well, she either took off or the FBI or Dermot Brigant took her. But I'm betting she took off."

Merlotte looked at me as if I was clearly to blame. He glowered at me darkly, shaking his head. He thought I was one cold bastard.

"Like I said, it's not like she'd decide to take a vacation and forgot to mention it. Something happened to her. And I mean on top of what already happened to her, which was bad enough. She was so upset yesterday after you left the bar. I caught her almost crying so many times after you left. What the fuck did you say to her? She really cared about you, you fucking asshole. I think she even loved you. Did you care about her at all?" He looked from me to Bill and then back to me. "You know, if she really took off, I say good riddance to the both of you. She's had nothing but trouble because of you people. Don't look to me to tell you a damn thing if she comes back." He strode out the front door of the house and slammed it after him.

Sam Merlotte was telling me that the woman I had pledged myself to, had effectively married, really cared about me, loved me. Words that I had been unable to extract from her myself. I had thought she was inscrutable, playing games, that night I'd been with her. What did she want? What was the game? Did she hate me? Hate loving me? Pam had always said that she was just so insecure. I'd thought she was outwardly so cold, so distant that night we were together. But what I remembered from before, what I felt in spite of everything, was that she loved me. And was afraid that she did. What had I done to make her less afraid? I remembered her taking care of me. Her kindness, her gentleness, her happiness. I remembered my… feelings… I had asked her to marry me. And she sent me packing back to my real life. Said it wasn't right. Pam had said for months that there was no way that I could repay how kind she had been to me. I kept waiting for her to try to extract something, anything for what she had done. But she never did.

How many times had I flung her kindness back in her face with my arrogance or intimidation? Pam had gotten so disgusted with my attitude. Had told me that she was really just very insecure after everything with Bill Compton, that I misread her and that she returned the affection I did not want to admit I had. And then when I finally did remember, I had left her alone for months. I had… broken something. In her. In me. For more than a year, I had only made it worse. She loved me. And what had I done with that? I had fucked up the one thing that had made me happier than I had been in centuries. Maybe happier than I had ever been.

I looked over at Bill. "Get the phone records just in case," I said.

I looked at the crumpled note in my hand.

Live Better. It was clearly a message. A send off. She had had her fill. Spilled over the edges. Tipped over. Broken.

My fucking pride had finally really done it. Too proud to just set her straight on how I felt. Too proud to fight with her to keep her safe. Too proud to tell her the simple truth. And now?

She was gone.

I pushed the note into my pocket, strode out the door, and flew.