A/N: Okay, I probably should've worked on chapter 4 of Dead All Round, but I had an idea so I ran with it. Review, please! They make me feel all squishy inside :)
Also, I borrowed some dialogue from the actual story, in some places. I'm 'tweaking' it (major You've Got Mail moment there).
This chappy here is dedicated to my awesome beta, Starbubblez!
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine. All Charlaine Harris's. Stop teasing me about it. Yeah, you, the one with the face and the hair.
I shall sleep, and move with the moving ships,
Change as the winds change, veer in the tide;
My lips will feast on the foam of thy lips,
I shall rise with thy rising, with thee subside;
Sleep, and not know if she be, if she were,
Filled full with life to the eyes and hair,
As a rose is fulfilled to the rose leaf tips
With splendid summer and perfume and pride.
-Algernon Charles Swinburne
I run on and on.
I do not know why, or how I came to be here.
Who am I? I am not human—this much I know. Vampires are accustomed to the cold detachment of the dark. I can see well—all too well. I can see the things in the trees moving, chilling me. Broken shards slice my feet as I run. I do not feel the pain, my fear is too overwhelming. The bitter cold slaps at my skin. I register the sensation, I do not feel it - I am the undead. Am I running from something? That is cowardice… I do not feel like a coward. Am I? Is running from fear a habit? Am I a strong man? I have strength enough to run through the slithery tendrils which surround my feet, threatening to trip me and trap me in them. Do I have strength enough to keep running? Strength enough to fight if danger appears? I feel like I must keep running. I must get to where I am going. Perhaps something awaits me there? Where am I going?
A woman, close behind my blazed trail calls out. Is she speaking to me? She asks if she can help me. Does she know who I am? Does she know why I am here? Does she know why I am running? Am I running from her? Will she kill me? Do I know her? Is she my wife? My sister? My daughter? 'She cannot be my mother' I think as I look at her briefly, she is too young. She is not a vampire and she is alone, able to be dealt with if she proves dangerous.
I hope I do not die. I will not die. I do not want a final death. But, what if I am caught? What if this woman has something to do with… my current state? Does she have more people with her? Will I be brought down swiftly? Or will my death be prolonged?
The woman calls out to me again, panic present in her voice. She is running after me, running too fast to be purely human. Is she after me? My fangs descend. She calls out 'Eric'. Who is Eric? Am I he? Who is this woman? I turn around, whoever I was, the man I am now dislikes all these rhetorical questions. I wheel around to face the strange woman—she must be dangerous, to be alone at night. I do not want to kill her though. Killing women is distasteful.
"Stay back, woman!", I warn, my voice is deep, though I can still can hear the raw fear reverberating through it.
"What are you doing out here?" she asks.
"Who are you?" I ignore her question. I have no answer for her. She replies that I know her, she seems agitated and tired.
I am still ready to attack.
"What's up with you? Where's your car?" The mystery woman asks. She talks comfortably—knowledgeably with me. She must know who I am!
"You know me? Who am I?" I ask, careful not to seem too excited.
Her face (which, I might add is attractive) flickers with surprise. She seems to think I am joking with her.
"Of course I know you, Eric. Unless you're Eric's identical twin… Do you have a brother?"
I retract my fangs, slowly. She knows me. She is not dangerous— she could have attacked me already if that was her desire. I release myself from my defensive stance.
"I don't know", I reply honestly, "Eric is my name?"
She looked lost (join the club) for moment and tells me my name is Eric Northman. Again, she asks why I am here. I tell her I don't know that either. I think she gets the message now. I can tell because her suspicious look has faded.
"For real? You don't remember anything?" she shivers sympathetically, her eyes glued to my bare chest.
"For real", I echo. She tears her gaze from my chest and her gaze turns...sad?
She tells me I am a vampire and that she does not want to be hurt. I agree with her, I do not want to be hurt either and yet, I also find that I do not want to hurt her. She leads me to a car after exclaiming at my bare and bloodied feet.
I drive away with this strange but courageous woman to a place I do not know.
I learn many things on the trip. There is a vampire named Bill that is her ex-lover, who resides near to where I was running. Was I running to him?
"This is where you live?" I ask the woman, aghast. There is nothing inherently wrong with her house, I just don't want to go in.
The woman rolls her eyes at me. With her sarcasm, she puts me firmly in my place. It is just a home…tentatively I follow her closely at her side, clutching an awful brown monstrosity of a blanket that she threw around me when I first entered the car. I don't want to be far from this woman. She is all I know. I do not want to be lost again.
I don't even know her name.
Inside her home, it is… warm, in a country way. It is all buttercup yellows and light blue trims. I refrain from asking myself how I know what a buttercup yellow looks like.
She exclaims softly at my bloodied feet, "Oh, Eric," and retrieves a pan filled with warm water. She tells me to take my jeans off— I assume because they are dirty at the ends. I do not laugh at her sweetness. She may be the only thing I know, but I do not 'know' her. I cover myself with the blanket out of respect. She seems shocked at this action - I don't know why. The woman points to a chair nearest to me and I sit myself down. Slowly, she guides my feet into the warm water. I can feel the warmth spread up my toes. The heat is blissful and relieves my anxieties. Whoever she is, she is taking care of me. Washing my feet delicately, the woman takes her time. Each gentle swipe is like a new wave of comfort washing over me. I think it is her company that calms me also, she seems very peaceful. I do not know how long I was running but I felt lonely beyond belief. I owe this woman so much.
She pats my feet dry and I take the time to notice her. She has sky blue eyes and golden blonde hair, a small pretty nose and full lips. She has lightly defined cheekbones and is incredibly short. She looks tired, from the circles under her eyes and the droop of her shoulders. She needs sleep.
"You were out at night", I say quietly. I do not want to seem intrusive (but I do want to know) or judgmental. She should have been at home safe, warm, protected.
"I was working", she says, pointing to her clothes. Her shirt has the words 'Merlotte's Bar' embroidered over the left breast. She should not be working. Where is the man in her family? I ask her about that and she reveals she has a brother. How does he abide by himself, letting her work this way? Does he not care for her safety?
"Your brother lets you work so late at night?", I could not help myself. My forwardness irks her, however. She scowls at me, saying "Jason has his own problems, Eric!".
"I think I'm gonna call Pam. She'll probably know what's happened", she says effectively changing the subject. I am intrigued and frightened by her statement.
"Who is Pam?", I ask. Is she the one who did this to me?
"Your second in command, now shush while I call her".
"What if she no longer owes me fealty?", I ask. I am acutely aware of the panic starting to roil beneath my skin.
"We need to know, either way", she replies calmly pressing buttons on a device. Someone named Chow speaks to her on the other end of the device. He sounds stressed and concerned. His tension rises further after my woman asks if they are missing anyone. I leave her to talk, since my blood is waiting for me in the kitchen. She is a smart woman.
I trust this stranger wholly.
I return to her as she ends the conversation, my anxiety not diminished even after the meal. My woman looks at my hair sadly.
"Listen Eric, you're gonna stay here the rest of tonight and tomorrow. Pam is gonna come see you tomorrow night as soon as she's able too—until then I'll keep you safe".
"You won't let anyone get in?"
"I'll do my best", she replies smiling slightly at my childish fear. I am frightened, enough so that I trust a strange and small human woman to keep me safe.
"C'mon, I'll show you where you're going to sleep", she says leading me to a small bedroom. She opens a cupboard and reveals a secret chamber built beneath the hatch, it loos dark and slightly damp. It felt… moody. The chamber was dark and promised uninterrupted solitary. I do not want to be alone with a man I have no knowledge of, even if I am talking about myself.
"Do I have to get in now?", I ask. She looks immensely tired. It is selfish, but I don't care. I want to stay with her for as long as I can.
"No", she replies, "But you can't forget to get in there before sunrise. You can't forget that, can you?"
I think for a moment before I shake my head, "I'll know I won't let that happen. Can I please stay in the room with you?", I ask politely, treading carefully. She looks as if she might fall asleep at any moment.
Her brother ought to be ashamed.
"Alright", she says walking into the larger bedroom across from my hiding place. She cleanses herself, whilst I sit in a chair mulling over the information I have learnt today. I feel like a blank white canvas, that finally sports a little colour.
She slips into her bed and audibly groans at it's softness, her warmth selling me a picture of comfort. I join her, under the already warm blankets. She seems surprised, but resigned to my presence. She does not tell me to leave and for that I am immensely thankful.
"Woman?", I ask. I need to know her name. I should know who I am indebted to.
"What's your name?"
"I'm Sookie, Eric. Sookie Stackhouse".
I still have no answers to my own questions - except that I am named Eric Northman and am owed fealty by someone named Pam. I also knew that this mortal woman's name was Sookie Stackhouse.
I felt calm. "Thank you, Sookie", I whispered.
"Hmm…your welcome", she replied sleepily. Her warm hand moved beneath the patchwork quilts until she found mine and clasped it. Sookie drifted off to sleep. Her touch soothing me as I curled up against her side, watching her body move with every breath. I do not let go of her hand, I don't seem to be able to. I close my eyes and listen to the regular intervals of her breath.
I stayed until the last possible moment, the sun threatening to rise and catch me unprotected.
I crept into my secret hiding place feeling like I had come home.