Naughty or Nice Contest

Title: The Ribbon

Your Pen name: LindsayK

Beta'd by: Fardareismai2

Disclaimer: Charlaine Harris owns it all... dang it.


My favorite color.

It became my favorite color because I associated it with Sookie Stackhouse, my love.

The first time I saw her she was wearing it. It was my first day of school at Bon Temps High, because I'd just moved there with my aunt after my parents passed. I wasn't getting a lot of friendly attention and didn't know my way around.

The bell rang, and I still wasn't sure where my first class was, so I simply stood there, looking around for a teacher, a kind face, someone to point me in the right direction. That's when I heard it - the most beautiful voice that God ever created.

"You look a little lost. Can I help you find your way?" the angel asked.

She was beautiful, with her flowing blonde curls and her big blue eyes. She was also wearing what instantly became my favorite color. Her skirt was a dark cranberry color, her blouse was white, and she had a lighter colored red ribbon in her hair. When she tossed her hair over her shoulder, I caught a whiff of her shampoo. Cherries. She smelled like cherries.

"Um, I'm new here, and I'm not quite sure where to go," I managed to say.

She gave me a sweet smile, and held out her hand for me to shake.

"I'm Sookie. Sookie Stackhouse," she said.

I took her hand and shook it as I told her my name. "Eric Northman."

"It's nice to meet you, Eric. Do you have your schedule with you?"

I nodded and handed her the piece of paper. Her eyes lit up and she smiled up at me.

"You have history first, with me. I'll walk with you there," she said, and handed me back my schedule before gesturing for me to follow her. Instead, I offered her my arm like my mother taught me to do. Sookie smiled at the gesture, and slipped her arm into mine.

By the time we got to that history classroom, I was in love.

Sookie helped me find all my classes that day, even the ones she didn't have with me. When the final bell rang, I found her and asked her if she'd like to have a malt with me later that night. To my utter delight, she said yes. I got her address and told her I'd be there at six, which was when she said she was done helping her grandmother clean up after supper.

I had just turned seventeen and got my license when I moved to Bon Temps. My aunt bought me a new car since she had money, and I was happy to have something impressive to pick Sookie up in, especially since it was wintertime.

She looked like a dream when she answered her door and invited me in. She had changed into a dress, but still had that red ribbon in her hair. I was lead into the living room, where I met her grandmother and her brother, Jason. They were both polite to me, and I was asked to have Sookie home by eight. I would get two glorious hours with her, and I couldn't wait to start them.

We left the house and I helped her into the car. She told me where the town diner was, and when we got there I escorted her in and took her coat, before sliding into a booth next to her. We sat in a corner, away from all the other teenagers and talked for an hour and a half while sharing three chocolate malts.

Sookie's parents had passed when she was eight, leaving her and Jason with their grandmother. She said she knew it was hard on her grandmother to have to raise them, but that she did a wonderful job. Sookie wanted to be a teacher for young children. She said she saw them as the future, and wanted to help shape them while it was still possible.

I told her about my parents' passing, and how my late uncle owned the biggest construction company in the state, which I would take over when I was old enough. Sookie was the best listener in the world. I knew I could have talked to her until the sun came up.

She took my hand when we left, and I felt like the luckiest son-of-a-gun on the planet. The next day was Saturday, and as I walked her up to her door I asked her if she had any plans. She didn't, so I made a date with her to take her to the movies, but she said I would have to come over an hour early to sit with her family. I was completely fine with that. The more time I could spend with her, the better. I received a light kiss on the cheek before Sookie went inside, and I was pretty sure I slept with a grin on my face that night.

Our relationship only grew from that point, and the next weekend I asked her to go steady with me. She happily agreed and we began spending as much time together as possible.

We were together through the rest of high school - high school sweethearts. After we graduated Sookie's Gran got sick, so while I went off to college, Sookie stayed home to take care of her. She wanted to go to college as well, to get her teaching degree, but claimed not to mind staying at home. We wrote each other all the time, and I came home as often as possible.

I planned to propose to her when I graduated, and even called her brother to ask permission. He readily gave it, and said he was happy his little sister would be well taken care of.

I'd gone home on a weekend in early December of 1941, when everything changed. Christmas was our favorite holiday, since it was the first one we shared together. I made it a point to spend as much time with her as I could in December. There was a Christmas-themed carnival at the high school that weekend, and Sookie had to be there with the children that would be performing a little play. She'd taken up volunteering at the church to help with the Sunday School kids, and told me that she truly enjoyed it. I made sure to be there, and I was glad I did because the way her face lit up when she watched the children made the extra trip more than worth it. That, and her ever-present red hair ribbon, which always made me remember how we met.

Almost as soon as the kids were done performing, a young man came running into the gym, and I knew just from the look of him that something was wrong. He ran to the town minister and frantically said something to him. The minister's face paled, and he went up to the stage to make an announcement. Whatever it was, I knew it would be bad, so I wrapped my arm around Sookie's shoulders and pulled her to me.

"Eric? What is it?" she asked.

The minister got everyone's attention, and then he told us. Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese.

I heard an audible gasp from Sookie, and her hand came up to cover her mouth like it always did when she was shocked. I looked down into her tear-filled eyes, and I knew that she knew.

"No, Eric," she said.

"I have to," I replied, and her tears spilled as I pulled her to my chest.

"If everyone could please just go to their homes and stay close to their radios, we'll have a town meeting tomorrow morning at eight. Nobody panic; just spend tonight with your loved ones. I'm sure we'll know more tomorrow."

Sookie helped get the children back to their parents while I retrieved her coat. I walked her home, and as soon as we got there I rushed to turn on the radio while Sookie checked on her grandmother. When she came out she was still crying a bit, and immediately came to sit with me on the couch.

I wrapped my arm around her and gently rubbed her shoulder while we listened to the news. There wasn't much new information on our local stations, but one thing was for sure; we were at war.

The next morning Sookie and I went to the town meeting. Right after, there was a recruitment meeting for men wanting to enlist. I stayed for it while Sookie went back home.

The meeting was very informative, and we were told about a new division in the army called Paratroopers, where the men jump out of airplanes behind enemy lines. It was obviously more dangerous, but the training, as well as the money, was much better. Jason and I were the only ones in our town to volunteer for it.

Sookie cried again when I told her what I had volunteered for, but she also said that she was comforted that at least I would be surrounded by the best-trained men in the military. She put on her strong façade at that moment, and I was never more grateful. I knew she was strong, but I had to know she would be okay if anything happened to me.

Because I enlisted, I had to drop out of school, which meant that I couldn't wait until after I graduated to propose anymore. The war changed everything. The night before I was to leave for my training I got down on one knee in Sookie's living room, and asked her to be my wife.

I'll never forget the look of pure happiness on her face when she said yes. She cried for a brief moment afterward, and said that she was happy, but afraid.

"I'm afraid too. We all are. I'll tell you one thing, Sookie. I'm going to go over there, and I'm going to serve my country. I'm going to protect you in the process. Then I'm going to come back and marry you. We'll be happy, we'll have a family, and all of this will be worth it. I promise."

I left the next day, along with Jason, and the last thing I saw of Bon Temps was Sookie in a red dress, with a red ribbon in her hair, waving goodbye.

I trained for almost two years before we were shipped to England to further our training while we waited for something big. The training was hard, but it was the best the Army offered. The first time I jumped out of a plane was exhilarating. I thought I would be nervous or afraid, especially knowing the danger, but I loved it. Of course, that was when I jumped out over a field in Georgia, not behind enemy lines in Europe. Sookie kept me going those two years with her constant letters of support. The first one she ever sent me included the red ribbon from her hair. It even smelled like her. I had to hide the ribbon during my training so it wouldn't be taken by the sergeants, and by the time we got to England I kept it with me at all times.

On June 6, 1944, we invaded Normandy. The whole thing ended up being a mess for the airborne. Nobody was dropped on their respective drop zones, and it took a while to get to the rest of my company. We took out some guns that were firing on the beaches, but we lost a lot of men. I managed to find Jason that night, and was relieved that he was okay. I knew Sookie would be devastated if she lost both of us.

I sent letters and looked at Sookie's ribbon as often as I could. The war had given the color red a different meaning to me, but that ribbon would always remind me of her.

On September 17, 1944, Operation Market-Garden commenced. It was the Allies attempt to end the war by Christmas, which I sincerely hoped would happen. The airborne divisions were to land inside German-held Holland to seize key bridges, which would leave Germany wide open for attack. Thirty-nine thousand American, British, and Polish paratroopers successfully dropped into Holland, but we were quickly pinned down by Panzer divisions. The operation was a failure, and more than five thousand paratroopers lost their lives.

By that December, we were in Belgium in the Ardennes forest. We didn't have winter clothing, and lacked a good supply of ammunition. There were forty-eight divisions along a six hundred mile front from Switzerland to the North Sea. We were in Bastogne. It was by far the hardest Christmas I'd ever endured. Thoughts of Sookie and her warmth were what kept me going when I wanted to give up. The Nazi's made a last-ditch effort, and it was a tough time for all of us. We lost a lot of men… including Jason.

I knew that Sookie would get the news around New Years, and I wanted nothing more than to let her know I was okay and comfort her. Losing Jason was tough for me too. We'd bonded while fighting together, and he'd pulled me out of more than a few sticky situations, always telling me that he'd kick my dead ass if I didn't make it back to his sister alive, and in one piece.

Shortly after we entered Germany, I finally received some letters from Sookie. She was attempting to stay strong, even in her letters, but I could tell how devastated she was about Jason. Her grandmother passed two days after they found out, so she had to plan two funerals. Her letter ended with a threat to kill me if she had to plan my funeral as well, which made me smile because I could imagine the smile on her face as she wrote it. I knew her greatest fear was to be alone. I wrote her back right away.

My Sweet Sookie,

I'm so sorry about your grandmother and Jason. Jason talked about you all the time, and missed you very much. He threatened me every single day to take good care of you. We will all miss him. I wish I could have been there when you got the news, and I promise I'll make all of this worth it when I return. We will get married right away, and we'll start a family. You'll never be alone.

Things are quiet here right now, and it's actually looking good for us. I'm sorry I missed another of our Christmas's, but I swear to you that I will never miss one again. The next one we will spend wrapped in each other's arms, I promise.

I love you with all of my heart, and I can't wait to make you mine.


Your Eric

Almost two months later I received another letter from her.

Dear Eric,

Words cannot express how much I miss you. I pray every single day that this war will end and find you home, safe in my arms. The entire town has been so supportive with Gran and Jason's passing. I got a job at the school even though I don't have my degree. A teacher's husband was killed, and she needed to leave for a while, so they hired me temporarily. I love working with all these children, and they serve as a wonderful distraction from all the horrible things I think about you going through.

Thank you for your words about Jason. He was the best brother a girl could ask for. He had a letter to me with his personal effects, and he had some wonderful things to say about you. I'll let you read it when you get home.

I can't wait to spend another Christmas with you. I've been knitting you sweaters to wear in the wintertime. Cranberry red. You'll look so handsome in them.

I love you so much, my beautiful Eric, and I can't wait to become your wife.

Be safe.


Your Sookie

In May, the Russians made it to Berlin and discovered that Hitler had committed suicide. Within a week the Nazi authorities agreed to an unconditional surrender, and May 8, 1945 was declared V-E Day for Victory in Europe.

It was such a relief to know the war in Europe was over, but I didn't allow myself to celebrate just yet. The war was still going in the Pacific, and they would ship us all there to fight. Until then, we were stuck in Germany, bored out of our minds, and all we wanted to do was go home.

The army came up with a points system to send some men home. Each solider received a specific amount of points for things like time in service, combat awards, purple hearts, number of children, and if they had the magic number of eight-five points, they could choose to go home.

Somehow, by the grace of God and thanks to the minor wounds I'd sustained and my combat awards, I had exactly enough. I struggled with my decision for a couple of days because I felt like I was abandoning the men that had become my family, but they all convinced me to go home to Sookie. They said Jason would have kicked their asses had they made me stay.

I decided not to tell Sookie I was coming home. I wanted to surprise her. When I finally arrived in Louisiana I could barely contain my excitement. I was home, and I was going to see my angel. Nothing could have brought me down. I got a cab at the airport and made the driver stop so I could buy some flowers for Sookie.

As we were pulling back onto the highway there was the sound of a loud horn, and then the glass in the window broke. I felt my head hit something hard, and then… nothing.

When I woke up I knew I was in a hospital, but I didn't know who I was. There was a man in white writing on a clipboard, and he saw my eyes open.

"Welcome back Lieutenant Northman," he said with a smile as he walked over to me. He shined a flashlight in my eyes.

"What happened?" I croaked out, and then took a sip of the water he handed me.

"What do you remember?" he questioned.

I tried hard to remember something. Anything. I couldn't. I didn't even know who I was.

"I don't remember anything," I said, and the man's eyebrows drew together.

He placed a hand on my shoulder. "What's your name, son?"

"I don't know."

Over the next few hours I talked to a lot of people. Nurses, other doctors, someone that claimed to be my aunt… Meeting her was the most difficult because I could see the sadness in her eyes. She told me my name, Eric Northman, and that I'd gone off to fight in the war. I was unaware there was even a war going on. She kept mentioning someone named Sookie, but I didn't know who that was either.

Eventually I talked to a different doctor who told me that I had amnesia. She said that it was very rare, and that most likely my memories could come back, but I needed to prepare myself for the possibility of it not happening. She told me that I was okay to go on home with my aunt, but that I needed to take it easy for a while and not stress over trying to remember everything.

On the drive to my aunt's house I asked her who the Sookie person she mentioned was. Her eyes welled up.

"Sookie is someone very special to you," she said.

"Special how?" I asked, and looked down at my left hand. I didn't have a ring on or any indication that there had been one there, so I didn't think I was married.

"She is… was… your fiancé. You proposed when you enlisted. She's a wonderful girl, and was simply devastated when I told her about your amnesia."

"I'm engaged?" I asked.

"Not anymore sweetheart. She said she wouldn't feel right keeping you tied into any obligations to her, and she gave me back your mother's ring. She loves you very much. You fought with her brother in Europe, but he was killed. Her grandmother passed just after. She's a very strong woman."

"Please, stop," I begged. "I can't take all this. I can't know how amazing she is, yet know that I've broken her heart when she was most likely depending on me."

"I'm sorry," she said. "Would you like to meet her?"

"Why would I do that? I was going to marry her, so she must love me. It would only hurt her."

"But what if it helps you remember?" she asked, and that made me pause. "She doesn't expect anything from you, I promise, but I know she would love to try and help you. I also think it would help her to see that you're okay. She's waited so long."

"Maybe," I said.

Two days later, that maybe became a yes. My aunt invited Sookie over for dinner, and I found myself extremely nervous. I didn't know if all my memories would come flooding back at the mere sight of her, or if I would be disappointed when they didn't. I had a lot of nice clothes in my closet and made sure to dress up for the occasion. I was pacing around the living room and sweating by the time a knock sounded at the door.

My aunt told me to wait in the living room while she answered it. I heard her before I saw her, and closed my eyes at the sound of her voice. It was absolutely beautiful and caused my nerves to calm somewhat. One thing was for certain, my body still remembered her.

A few seconds later she rounded the corner, and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw me. She was gorgeous. She had long blonde hair and big, stunning blue eyes. Her figure was that of a true woman, and her cranberry-colored dress fit her beautifully. I watched as her eyes glistened with unshed tears, and before I knew what was happening she was in my arms, hugging me while she sniffled against my chest. I caught a whiff of her hair. Cherries.

All of it seemed so goddamn familiar, but I still couldn't remember.

She pulled away quickly, and apologized.

"I'm so sorry. I know this must be very confusing and overwhelming for you, but I haven't seen you in so long, and it's such a relief to see that you are okay," she said as her tears slowly slid down her cheeks.

"It's okay," I said, but the words couldn't have been much louder than a whisper. I was so mesmerized by her. It just felt so right having her in my arms, and my heart ached when she pulled away.

My aunt intervened then and we all sat down to dinner. I asked Sookie if she had any letters from me or anything that she thought would help me remember, and she agreed to let me look at my letters to her.

I went to her house the next day for lunch, and after we ate she took me to the living room and pulled out a stack of letters.

"They're in order so you can start at the beginning," she said. "I'll just let you read, and if you need me I'll be in the kitchen."

Almost all the letters were the same. Me telling her how much I loved and missed her, and that I couldn't tell her much about what we were doing, but that I was fine and couldn't wait to marry her. All in all, they didn't really help me realize anything except that I was obviously deeply in love with the woman in the kitchen.

I went into the kitchen to see the woman in question, and she stood up from her chair quickly, looking at me nervously. It hurt me to do it, but I shook my head at her, letting her know that the letters hadn't worked. Her head dropped in disappointment, but she quickly recovered.

"I want to help you remember," she said. "Would you consider spending some time with me? Maybe I could tell you about us?"

"I don't know," I said, and immediately regretted the hurt I knew it caused her. "I just mean… I don't want you to get your hopes up and be disappointed constantly. Maybe… maybe it's better if you just moved on."

She gasped and covered her mouth with her hand as her eyes welled up with tears.

"You're still young, and you're so beautiful," I continued. "You could still find a good husband. I can't be that for you now."

"Please leave," she said without looking at me.

"Sookie," I began, wanting to comfort her, but knowing I couldn't without hurting her.

"No," she said, holding one hand up it a 'stop' gesture. "You and I were high school sweethearts. You went to college while I stayed home to take care of my sick grandmother, but you came back as often as possible to be with me. We were together when we found out about Pearl Harbor, and I supported you when you decided to enlist. You asked me to marry you before you left, and in every single letter you promised me it would all be worth it. I understand that none of this is your fault, that you didn't ask to lose your memories, but you standing here, telling me to give up and move on… you're breaking my heart."

I didn't know what to say, so I stood there, staring at the beautiful woman I knew I loved. I simply couldn't let her think I was the same person when I didn't even know who I was.

"Please," she begged as another sob shook her frame. "Please go."

I left before she could see the tears that had begun to fall down my face.

I didn't see Sookie for a couple of months after that day. My aunt asked if she could invite her for dinner constantly, but I always said no. I started working at my late uncle's construction company, which I was poised to take over if I wanted it. Apparently I had been going to college for a business degree so I could help run things better.

I went into the town diner, Merlotte's one afternoon for lunch when I saw Sookie again. She was also having lunch, and she was there with a man. I felt a pang of jealousy, even though they didn't look like they were together like that. They were finishing up when I sat down and I watched Sookie give the man a hug before he left, feeling another wave of jealousy wash over me. There was something about him that seemed so familiar though, and before he walked out he saw me and paused like he wanted to say something. Instead, he looked back at Sookie, who gave him a tiny shake of her head, and then he nodded at me in a respectful way and left.

Sookie grabbed her purse and started to leave, but as she walked past me I touched her arm gently to stop her.

"Eric, please don't do this," she whispered. "It's too painful."

"Please sit with me," I said. "I need to talk to you."

Reluctantly, she sat, and thankfully, she did listen to my plea. I told her I was ready to hear about us, that I wanted to remember, and even if I couldn't, I wanted to know her again. To my surprise, she agreed.

We spent the next few weeks getting to know each other, and the more time I spent with her, the more I fell for her, but I still couldn't remember anything. I knew it was frustrating her, and I felt like I was disappointing her. Every time she told me a story about us, she would look hopeful, like she was waiting for my memories to come back, but each time they never did, and she would look so hurt.

The same thing happened with my aunt, and it was becoming very stressful. I began having headaches all the time from the stress of trying to remember something, anything. I finally decided that I had to leave Bon Temps. I couldn't keep disappointing the ones that loved me. It would be painful to leave Sookie, and I was sure she would hate me for it, but I had to do it.

I went to her house on the night of Christmas Eve. She'd told me that Christmas used to be our favorite holiday, and I remembered in my letters that I mentioned it a lot. I hoped she wouldn't hate me more for leaving on that day, but I couldn't let her live with false hope constantly.

She knew when she opened the door to me that it wasn't a happy social call, and she immediately asked what was wrong.

"I have something to tell you," I said. She invited me in, and we went to the living room so I could break my bad news to her.

"I'm leaving, Sookie," I said. This time her eyes didn't well up with tears, and she didn't gasp, she sat there with a strong exterior even though I could see her heart breaking again.

"I can't keep hurting the ones that love me, and there's so much pressure for me to remember. There's too much familiarity here with no memories to match it. I'm leaving tonight, and I'm not sure where I'll go, but you deserve to know that I'm going and why. You've been nothing but supportive of me this whole time, and I can't thank you enough for it, but I have to go."

She took a deep breath and stood up, so I did as well. She walked me to the door, and gave me a hug.

"I do love you still, Eric. I always will," she whispered, and then I left.

When I got back to my aunt's house I told her the news as well and began packing. I spotted my army bag in my closet and pulled it out. I'd never looked into it because, frankly, I wasn't sure I wanted those memories back. Taking a deep breath, I opened the bag and dumped its contents onto my bed. There were uniforms and fatigues, a compass, an army shovel and flashlight… nothing really significant. Then I found a box, which I held for probably five minutes before opening it. Inside I found my medals, my purple hearts, a bundle of letters from Sookie, and a single red hair ribbon.

I set the box down, and pulled out the ribbon. It was faded slightly, a little dirty, and the ends were frayed, but I knew instantly that it was Sookie's. I held it with one hand and touched it with the other. It was still soft.

I closed my eyes, and when I did everything came flooding into my brain. I was bombarded with images and memories, like they were all dumping back into my brain through an hourglass, but I was forced to review every single one at high speed. The shock of it brought me to my knees. I saw myself as a child with my parents, and then I was at their funeral as a teenager. I was moving to Bon Temps and started school on a cold day in December, but met the love of my life when she escorted me to history class. We were sharing chocolate malts, and kissing in my car at Lover's Lane. Then we were graduating high school and I was going off to college without her. The Christmas Carnival when we found out about Pearl Harbor. Me proposing. Her saying yes. Training. Jumping out of an airplane. England. Letters from Sookie and that red ribbon in my pocket. D-Day. Fighting. Blood, so much blood. Bastogne. Losing Jason. Germany. My points. Going home. Flowers. The car accident.

When I finally remembered everything it felt so much like waking up from a dream and not knowing what was dream, and what was reality. It took me a while to process it all, but I finally looked down at that ribbon again and knew that I had to get to Sookie. I'd made her a promise, and I was going to keep it.

I grabbed the tiny box from my sock drawer and threw my coat on as I ran down the stairs and out the front door. I didn't want to stop and explain anything to my aunt. All I wanted was to be with Sookie. I sped to her house, thankful that the roads were clear. She'd kill me if I killed myself trying to get to her, and the thought caused me to laugh because I knew it was true. I knew it, because I remembered. Finally.

There was still a light on in her house when I pulled up, and I checked to make sure I was presentable and had what I needed. I slowly walked up the steps, and knocked on the door. Sookie answered the door as she was trying to tie her robe on over her nightgown.

"Eric, what on earth…" she began, but stopped when she looked in my eyes. "Oh, my stars."

I took one step closer and pulled her to me before I kissed her harder than I ever had before. She kissed me back passionately and wrapped her arms around my neck. When I finally pulled away we were both breathless.

"Everything?" she asked.

"Everything," I said, and then got down on one knee as I pulled the tiny ring box from my pocket and opened it. Her hand covered her mouth as it always did, and her eyes filled with tears, but they were happy tears this time.

"Susannah Adele Stackhouse, will you marry me?"

She dropped her hand, and held it out for me to take.

"Yes, Eric. I will marry you."

I smiled and slipped the ring onto her beautiful finger, which I kissed before standing up and kissing her lips again. We finally noticed that the door was still open, and Sookie shivered from the cold air so she invited me in. She went to the kitchen to make us some tea, and when she brought it to the living room she seemed uncomfortable.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I'm in my nightgown," she blushed and pulled her robe around her tighter.

I grinned and scooted closer to her, wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her to me. I nuzzled her neck and breathed her in.

"I'm going to see you in a nightgown and hopefully much less every night for the rest of our lives. There's no point in being embarrassed," I told her.

I was pleased when she relaxed into my body and let me hold her after I'd said it. She had always been very shy and held back when we kissed before, so I understood her sense of embarrassment, but I was over it. We'd been apart for too long.

"How?" she asked.

"Your hair ribbon. I finally saw it, and everything came back."

I felt her smile against my chest at my answer, but she didn't say anything.

"Why didn't you tell me you were coming back?" she asked after a few moments' silence.

"From the war?" I asked, and she nodded. "I wanted to surprise you. With what happened, I don't think it would have made a difference though."

"No, it wouldn't," she said.

"What did Bill have to say to you?" I asked. She pulled away and looked at me. "In the diner? When I didn't remember I thought you were seeing him, but now I remember who he is."

"He wanted to tell me what an honor it was to serve with you and Jason. He said the two of you talked about me all the time, and he wanted to see you, so I had to tell him about the accident. He realized that you and I weren't together anymore, so he told me that he knew you loved me more than anything in life, and that somehow you would end up with me, I just needed to give you time. I wanted to believe him, I really did, but I couldn't until you stopped me and said you wanted to get to know me. I knew it had been getting bad, so I was prepared for what you did tonight."

"I'm sorry about that," I said.

"No, it's okay. I understand why you did it," she said and let me pull her back into my arms.

"Did you get Bill's address? I'd like to send him a letter."

"Yes, I have it. I told him I'd contact him if you ever got your memories back."

We sat in silence for a while after that, simply enjoying each other's presence. It felt so good to have her back in my arms, and understand me enough to not ask a million questions about everything. I didn't want to think about the war, or my amnesia. All I wanted was Sookie.

"Sookie?" I whispered into her hair.


"Can I kiss you?" I asked. I knew it wasn't appropriate, I knew I shouldn't even be in a house at night alone with a single woman, but I also knew I wouldn't leave her again. Not even for propriety's sake.

She turned in my arms and looked me in the eyes. An understanding seemed to pass between us, and she stood from the couch and went to the front door to lock it. I got up and turned off the lights while she put our teacups in the kitchen sink, and then she led me by the hand to her bedroom.

She wouldn't let me turn the light on even though I desperately wanted to see her, and told me that we would have years ahead of us for that. I let her undress me before I undressed her, and then we lay down in what would be our marriage bed together. I loved the feel of her soft, warm skin against mine, and briefly had a flash of how cold I had been in the forest just a year ago. This was infinitely better. This was what I had dreamed of to get me through those cold nights.

After some nervous kissing and touching for both of us, we made love. It was as slow as I could make it, and more than perfect. It was exactly how I'd imagined my first time… our first time.

After, we lay in each other's arms, breathing heavily and grinning like fools in love. She was so warm and soft, and I never wanted to let her go.

"I love you so much, Eric," she said.

"I love you too," I said as I pulled her tighter against me.

We drifted off to sleep, and when I woke up the next morning we were still tangled up in each other under the blankets. Sookie stirred and then sat up quickly, the blanket falling away and giving me my first look at her nude breasts. She caught me staring, gasped, and quickly covered herself, causing me to chuckle.

"After what we did last night, you're covering up?"

Her eyes welled up with tears again, and I was suddenly afraid she regretted it.

"Oh, no honey," I said, sitting up and tucking her hair behind her ears. "I didn't mean it in a bad way. It wasn't wrong; we're getting married. If I hadn't lost my memory we'd be married already," I rambled, trying to calm her.

"It really happened? It wasn't a dream? My Eric is back?" she asked as she cried, and I realized that she wasn't upset about what had happened, but relieved that it was real.

"Yes, my love. It was real. I remember everything. Look at your hand," I said, gesturing to the ring.

She looked down at her left hand and smiled.

"You kept your promise," she said, and I grinned and pulled her body to mine.

"Yes, I did. Merry Christmas, Sookie," I said as I ran my fingers through her cherry-scented hair. "Merry Christmas."

First of all, HUGE thanks to Buni and Ehee for doing this contest. I wasn't expecting to write for it at all, but this idea came to me and I went for it! More thanks to FDM for being a fudgeawesome beta! You rock!

I got inspiration from the series Band of Brothers for the events in the war. If you're interested in WWII at all, you should watch the miniseries because it's just amazing.

I hope everyone liked the story! I can't wait to hear what you thought!