How do I explain to her what she is to me? She thinks I am so strong, so impervious to needs, weakness. It's true, I used to be. But from the night she first came into my bar in her white dress with the red flowers, she was the chink in my armor. Showing me photos of women I had known, women who meant nothing to me, while I knew that the women who held the photos, who answered me back so saucily and did not fall under my spell as so many countless others had, would mean something to me. I just did not know what, as yet.

She was there with another. How could she care for one so weak? And yet she clung to him, in a sea of vampires stronger than him, as her lifeline. She seemed uninterested in those older than him, stronger than him, more powerful than him. He had some sort of spell on her. I could smell that she was untouched. I knew it wasn't his prowess as a lover that kept her enthralled. When I found out later that he had already given her blood, I knew. One so innocent would be doubly affected by our magical elixir. And when I saw her again, and smelled that he had indeed introduced her to love, I was angry and I did not know exactly why. I only knew that he had stolen something from me and I could not get it back.

When she went with him to Dallas, of course I followed. I said it was because I was loaning her out for the first time, and I needed to check up on her, make sure she could perform, but in reality, a reality I dared not admit even to myself, I wanted to keep her safe. I knew Compton was inept. And indeed they had problems just as she stepped off the plane. But we both lost her, and it took another to get her back. It took everything I had to leave her there that night, in her hotel room, with him. Battered, bruised, but not quite broken. When she cried in the elevator, it nearly broke me. And I do not break. But to see her look at herself in the mirror, see what they had done to her, it was all I could do not to scoop her in my arms, take her to my suite, give her my blood to heal her. Put her in a bath, gently clean her up, rock her until she fell asleep in my arms. All I could do was pat her, take her to the room she shared with him, set about cleaning her wounds and then leave her with him. And go to my suite and try not to destroy it. 

I was sitting in my office when Compton came in, carrying her over his shoulder and roaring at me how it was my fault, my fault. I was so overwhelmed at the scent of her blood, mixed with something else, I could hardly focus. What was that she said? Oh yes, she told him to go to hell for shaking her like a sack of potatoes. Bravo, lover! We laid her on my couch and I was instantly enraged at the sight of her poor back, ravaged with deep claw marks. I knew I had to get a handle on it, though, to assess the situation. I knelt to her level to get information from her, keep her conscious. My feisty one demanded an apology from me. Me, who never apologized to anyone, for anything. But I would apologize to her. But it wasn't good enough, apparently. Fair enough, I will rival the best Shakespearean for overdone theatrics. There, that appeased her. She's getting tired, and the doctor's ministrations are wearing on her. There you go, darling, let go. Pam removed her top and what was left of her bra, and it is time for us to begin draining the poison from her. By the gods, she has the most beautiful breasts I've ever seen. At last I will get to hold her, to taste her, even if it is with Compton glaring at me the whole time. I took her warm body into my lap, pulled her into my arms. I can feel my fangs slide easily into her neck. This feels like... home. She tastes so sweet, even with the poison. Holding her, tasting her, feels perfect somehow. It's all I can do to stop before I take too much and leave her to Pam, Chow and Compton. I left Fangtasia and went to be alone with my thoughts. 

I love her. How did this happen to me? I'm the Sheriff of Area 5, I've lived for 1000 years, vampires don't love. We feed and we fuck, we kill, we are ruthless and predatory. But as soon as I tasted her, I knew. I would do anything for her. 

The next time I had reason to contact her, it was because of bloody Compton again. He was missing. The fool had lied to her, run off with his maker and disappeared. Idiot. I had to sit in her kitchen, break her heart, scare the life out of her. I hate this part of my job. Normally human emotions don't bother me, and humans rarely surprise me, but when she asked me to kill Lorena, I was shocked. Sookie never condoned violence, at least against humans. But, what is the expression? "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?" Never truer than in this case. I knew she would go to Jackson to find Compton, so I called in a favor and asked a Were to guard her. Little did I know he would end up getting her more injured than leaving her unprotected. Seeing her, staked on the floor of a bar, shook something loose in me that I thought was dead. Holding her hands in that bed in Russell Edgington's compound was the only time in my life I've ever been able to glamor her. Taking her pain is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. Feeling her wake up in my arms is one of the single greatest joys. Laying there as she took my blood, willingly this time, I can't describe the pleasure. Feeling her soft warmth against my chest, her mouth against my wrist, feeling my life force begin to flow within her, stirred passions in me I didn't know I had. I couldn't contain myself. I know she was embarrassed. I wanted to tell her not to be, that only she moved me this way, but then that idiot boy came with clothes for her and we had to move on with our plan to rescue Compton. She succeeded, as I knew she would, but something went wrong and I found them, locked in a trunk. She looked dangerously pale and scared, Compton guilty. I knew he almost drained her, but if he touched her without her consent, I would stake him, damn the consequences. I listened to them argue in an empty apartment, then she suddenly turned to me, me, and asked me to take her home. Your wish is my command. 

I wish I could give what happened to me when I was cursed the proper gravitas. Even now that I remember what happened before, during, and after, it's hard. I know I clung to her, but it's hard to imagine. Even now, knowing what she is to me, I don't let myself cling to her, except for a few moments after we make love. I wish I could let go and cling to her again. Clutch her to me and never let her go. I wish I could get back the time when I didn't remember what happened. I wish she didn't have to go through those months. How awful it must have been, knowing we loved each other but knowing I didn't know. I knew, I just... denied. Pushed away. Why? It wasn't until the idiot tiger led the enemy to my door and threatened to take her that I knew I would do anything, anything, to keep her with me. And I sat her on bed and I remembered. Yet still I wouldn't surrender to her. Idiot! I was wasting time and she doesn't have eternity. Yet.

How do I convince her to accept this gift, the biggest I have to give? I can't even get her to accept a car. Jewelry. Silly material things that mean so little to me, but mean everything to her. Mean she is a "kept woman." I would keep her with me forever, if she only knew. This gift I want to give her, it costs nothing, yet it means everything. It means seeing her every night for the rest of my life. It means no secrets. She would know everything about what I am, who I am. We would be truly equals, partners, in everything. She would no longer be my "human" or my "pet" in the eyes of the vampire world but my mate. 

I will have to open myself up, truly, and let her see me for what I am, what I have become since knowing her. Not the same vampire I was before. 

I sit her down on her bed. I ask her to not speak until I am done, to let me finish. I know it is hard for her, but it will be hard for me too, so please, wait. She nods, clearly apprehensive. I leave the room, come back with a large trunk. I kneel in front of her. 

This, my love, is my box of your life. Or rather, my life with you. I've lived long enough that I've learned not to become too attached to things, but as you will see I've become rather attached to you. Here is the napkin from Fangtasia the first night you came in. I kept it. These are pieces of glass I removed from your arm in Dallas. I know you kept the bullet from me - I kept the glass from you. This is a piece of your shawl from Jackson, and your stake - yes, I kept the stake. How could I not? It almost killed you. And it was the first time you willingly took my blood. To me, that's a beautiful memory. I have every note you've ever written me in here. This is a photo of you from the Shifter's bar - minus the Shifter, of course. I've become quite a thief when it comes to stealing photos of you in the sun, I'm afraid. I have a whole collection in here. This one the witch took of you sunbathing is my favorite, with your sunscreen on your nose, sticking your tongue out at her. I have napkins from every time you've served me at the Shifter's bar, I have something from almost every time we've been together. 

Sookie, I love you. You give meaning to my whole existence. I want to ask you to accept the only true gift I have to give. I want you with me for eternity, my love. Every night when I wake up, every morning when I go to sleep, I want you in my arms. I don't expect you to answer now, it's a big thing to consider. I have a big trunk, my love. I will spend the rest of your life waiting for an answer.