Title: I Remember
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters in the Southern Vampire Mysteries. They belong to Charlaine Harris. I just want to make Eric happy for a while.
Author's Note: This story picks up right near the end on Dead to the World, just after Sookie comes into contact with the memory-restored Eric. Eric has just woken up and Sookie has just realized that he remembers who he is, but not their time together.
"Did we make love?" he asked hopefully. "Did you finally yield to me, Sookie? It's only a matter of time, of course." He grinned at me.
"Haven't I turned you down enough times for you to give it up?" I asked, but it didn't have the punch it should have. "I'm not going to have sex with you," I said, mentally adding "again."
Eric stalked closer to me with his head cocked to one side, inquisitively. "Sookie, you should know better," Eric said with a smirk.
I started putting up the walls in my brain. Usually it was to keep out others' thoughts, but at this moment it was to keep from being aware of my own. "Eric, I have no idea what you're talking about," I replied with a big, fake smile. Although, I was worried I knew exactly what he was talking about.
"You've had my blood. A lot of my blood. I can tell things about you. How you're feeling… and right now, you are terribly sad and disappointed," Eric said, somewhat confused by this but still cocky.
"You must be reading my feelings wrong, because I'm ecstatic that you can finally get out of my house. I can hardly stand being around you for two minutes and you've been here four days," I said. My voice was a little shaky, despite my best efforts. I'd been holding myself together pretty well with the shock of it all, but I could feel the cracks seeping in. Eric needed to leave. Now.
Eric took a few steps closer and took my arm. He closed his eyes and took a deep unnecessary intake of breath. "I'm not reading them wrong. They're getting stronger."
I started thinking about kittens and rainbows and sunbathing, anything I could to make myself happy, but his touch made me want to cry. It wasn't gentle or even sexual, it was casual. He was touching me only to get more information from me; to read me better. He opened his eyes to stare into mine before reaching out. His free hand moved my hair from my shoulders, allowing him to examine both sides of my throat. I was gladder than ever that my Eric had preferred an artery in a more private location. Then his eyes lit up and he smiled. Apparently the real Eric had that same preference. And then I did something I shouldn't have; I involuntarily reached down to hold on to the edge of my robe. Eric's smile deepen as he looked down at my hands, clenched around the thin fabric.
"Well, I was going to see for myself, but now… I'd still like to see for myself." Eric's eyes met mine and they were blazing with intensity and pride that he had found me out.
"Eric, please…" I didn't like to beg, but I felt so weak. I was sick at the thought of what this would mean for me. He sure wasn't going to give me everything that was his and make the vampires who owed him fealty honor me.
His hand had begun reaching for the edge of my robe when he stopped. He looked up at me, but I couldn't meet his eyes. A tear or two had fallen in the mixture of sadness and fear I was experiencing. Eric hesitated, frozen. "You and I did make love," he said, with only the hint of a question. His voice was cool, unemotional.
I bit my lip and nodded. What choice did I have other than to admit it? He, for all intents and purposes, already knew. He'd simply saved me the embarrassment of getting the visual proof.
"More than once." This time there was even less question in his voice. "I can feel your blood in me."
I tried to stop the tears, because they just weren't helping anything, and I felt like I cried way too much for my own good, but they kept coming. "But you don't remember," I said in a whisper, with no hope he would contradict my statement.
Eric shook his head and let his arms fall limp at his sides, much against his nature. "No… I wish I did," he said, but the leer I would've expected in his tone wasn't present.
My eyes darted up to meet his and I blinked away the tears. "What? No, 'Why don't you refresh my memory and take of that robe?'," I asked bitterly. I was doing my best to push away any thoughts that the real Eric might be anything like my Eric, and I guess that came out as bitter.
Eric looked up quickly, and I saw what looked like a flash of hurt. He chose to ignore my question, however, "Do you have… feelings for me?"
Well that was unexpected, to say the least, and my mouth hung open slightly as I searched for the proper response. I swallowed and got out of the angry, defensive stance I'd taken, "I have feelings… for the Eric I spent the last four days with. An Eric, that, as far as I can tell, is nothing like you."
The second I uttered those words, I regretted them. His face fell, and although it was only for a second, he looked anguished. I scrambled, "Eric, I'm sorry. This isn't your fault. I didn't want to say anything about it. You vampires and your damn sensing! I wanted to just let you go and try to forget about it."
"All I want is to remember it," he said, in a tone I didn't recall hearing come from his mouth before. He was looking at the floor now. I was scared. Scared because I was about seventy five percent sure Eric was tricking me. He was probably going to start laughing soon, once he saw the look on my face. But I couldn't help going to him. I spanned the couple of steps between us and placed a somewhat shaky hand under his chin and made him look up. His eyes reminded me of my Eric, when I'd first found him and he was lost and confused. "Why can't I remember?" he asked.
It was so complicated, but I made it as simple as I could, "A really powerful witch, the one you met with, she cursed you and took your memory. We fought her and won, and we had her fix you. So I imagine it's now reversed and you can remember everything but the time when you didn't, well, remember anything." He took this all in as best he could, but I could tell he was still confused. And then it was like he wiped his mind of it. Eric had a new focus. "How do I get it back?" he asked.
"Get what back?" I asked quickly.
"The memory of the past few days with you," he said simply. "I want to remember what happened between us." His voice was soft but passionate, and I believed that he truly did want to remember. The problem was that I wasn't so sure that I wanted him to remember. Specifically, I wanted him to remember everything up until we got home from Shreveport.
"I don't know, Eric. I'm sure they've killed Hallow by now and I would think she would be the one to do it," I said, half of me hoping I was right, the other half crying out for his memory to be restored.
"We have to find out," he said.
"Well, Pam is probably on her way now. She'll be here soon. We can ask her when she arrives," I said, and I reached out and took his hand. It had only been a few days of intimacy with him and I already had instincts that would have to be broken. I quickly realized what I'd done and snatched my hand away as if I'd been burned. My hand wasn't even back at my side before Eric had taken it again. I gasped softly, staring at our entwined fingers. I had a flash of the first night he was here, and falling asleep just this way.
"I've had… feelings for you… at least since Jackson," he said, also staring at our hands, "That's when I first… acknowledged them."
I laughed uncomfortably. These words were normal for my Eric, but not for the real Eric. The feelings he's speaking of couldn't possibly be of the same variety, though. "Eric, it's no secret you've had feelings for me. You've made it very clear, your intentions for me, ever since the first time I met you." This wasn't news to me, or anyone who'd ever been around the two of us together.
Eric sighed, he was uncomfortable as well. He dropped my hand and turned to walk towards the living room. I followed after a moment and watched him sink into the couch. I hesitantly came to perch beside him. He stared blankly ahead of him, "I'm not talking about those type of feelings."
"Oh." That was all I could think to say in response, because I was in no way sure of where this conversation was now headed.
He turned to look at me, and stared for a while, both of us silent. Then he sat up and turned to me, reaching his hand up to run it through my hair. "I can't explain what these feelings are. Possibly because it's been… a very long time since I felt much of anything."
I was getting flashes in my mind of the conversation I had with my Eric. A very different, and yet similar conversation. "Do you… care about me?" I asked, somewhat timidly.
His eyes blazed again, "Yes." And there was the slightest anger mixed into his voice, at how he could have slipped up and let that happen.
"But you don't love me," I said with conviction. If my Eric hadn't loved me, certainly the real Eric didn't.
"I don't know what love feels like," he said. "I only know that I've wanted to be… close to you, for some time now. And to find that I have been, very close to you, and I am empty of those memories… To not even remember experiencing it…" He didn't finish, but I could fill in the blanks based on the look in his eyes. He was aggravated. And sad. I reached between us and took both of his hands in mine. I was at a loss for how to continue. We sat in silence for a few minutes, motionless.
"Could you ever… have feelings for me?" he asked, "And not just the version of me you were with the past few days."
"I don't know," I said honestly. "The you I was with… was very different from the one I'm used to."
"How was I different?" he asked, moving closer to me.
His proximity and soft voice were making me feel things that were not productive at the current time. "Well, you were kind to me, sweet even," I laughed, "The first night you were here, you curled up in my bed beside me and I fell asleep just holding your hand." Eric raised his eyebrows questioningly. I raised mine right back, "You asked. And I'm telling." He motioned with his hand for me to continue. "You said very nice things to me. You told me… that I was beautiful." I had to bite the inside of my mouth after I'd said it. I was telling the truth when I said no one had ever looked me in the eyes and said that to me. And now, the person who had said it was gone. I sucked it up and continued with my description. "You were very protective of me. You wanted to take care of me. You were… well somewhat old-fashioned. It was like you were from another time. But it felt nice, to feel taken care of. Even though I knew it wouldn't last." I very briefly considered describing our incredible sexual experiences, but I thought better of it. I was sure it would lead to another one happening in the here and now, and I wasn't sure yet if that would be a good idea.
"I was really all of those things?" he asked, and the look on his face was unreadable.
"Yes," I said, feeling that there were many ways I could've elaborated upon it, but decided to keep my mouth shut.
"And you were going to just let me go?" he asked suddenly.
I took a steadying breath, "I didn't think I had much choice. I thought that even if you remembered or were told what happened, it wouldn't make any difference. You'd still be back to you. What good would telling you do?"
"You think I could leave knowing what had passed between us? That's your opinion of me?" he asked, and his anger could not be ignored.
"Eric…," I breathed in, choosing my words carefully, "Up until you lost your memory, the only signals I got from you were that you wanted to have sex with me. Not take care of me, or be my boyfriend, or take me out on dates. So I thought that if you knew we'd had sex, and that I had enjoyed it, you'd expect me to be available for that activity any time you desired it. That you'd have even more power over me, with that bit of knowledge. And now you have that knowledge, and although you aren't enacting your power just yet, I'm still fearful that you will."
Eric sighed, "I cannot blame you for feeling this way." He stared into my eyes then, doing his best to show the sincerity of his next words, "But I assure you, that that will not be the case. No matter how badly I want you, I will never force myself upon you." I nodded just slightly in acknowledgement of this statement. "And I cannot use your feelings against you, when I feel so much for you in return," he continued, more softly. I let the truth of his words sink in, and he changed topics before I could respond.
"Your description of me without my memory sounds like a very selective part of my personality," he said, and it was barely above a whisper. He was somewhat annoyed, but I ignored that because what he said made the wheels in my brain start turning.
"It's almost like she erased the memories of everything you had done as a vampire… But you still had the vampire instincts. She must not have been able to get rid of those. It was you, but without all the baggage," I said, fumbling through my theory. I was making it up as I went, but it sounded almost plausible.
"Yes. And possibly even many of the things I did as a human." He wasn't as excited as I was by this revelation. Again, we were in silence. All of this information and lack of information was a lot to take in for both of us.
"You are beautiful," Eric said. That was unexpected, to say the least.
"Thank you," I replied, becoming suddenly very interested in the blank television. His hand reached up to touch my face, I twitched at first, but then I relaxed my cheek against his palm. I closed my eyes and pretended he was my Eric. And then his lips brushed mine. He was gentle, and I felt with my heart that this, in fact, was my Eric. His arms wrapped around me and held me to him tightly, but just enough that I felt safe. My legs were pulled up onto his lap and my hands roamed across his back. Just as I felt things start to pick up and the intensity of the kiss start to build, he broke away. Eric gasped unnecessarily with a look of shock on his face. His eyes were open and staring straight ahead, but he wasn't looking at me.
"An image just flashed in my mind… I think I remember," he whispered.
Oh goodie, a cliffhanger! : ) Lucky for you chapter two is right around the corner. All you need to do to get it soon is to push the green button below. Reviews make me happier than most anything. And if I'm happy, I'll post chapter two.