A/N:

Hey everyone! This was supposed to be my promo for the Happily (N)ever After contest, but it was a bit hard to write and I didn't finish in time for it to actually promote the contest, but maybe it can still promote the entries! Please go here: http:/www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/u/2606362/Happily_Never_After_Contest to read the entries. They are all under the favorites. There's only 13 to read, and they're all wonderful! We'll have a poll up in the near future so read the entries so that you can make an informed decision when you vote :)

WARNING: This story deals with depression and suicide, so if you're sensitive to those things, please don't read this.


How To Disappear Completely

You know how everything slows down in the movies when someone dies? The hero or heroine's friend or loved one gets shot or has been beaten near to death, and everything just stops. The person we root for gets the chance to say goodbye, to express their love and affection one last time before the one dying is able to return the sentiment and slowly close their eyes as the angel of death sweeps along and takes them away. Then things pick back up for the hero, and while they are overwhelmed, only one thing is on their mind: vengeance. And they always get it.

Well I'm here to offer you some truth, because while ignorance may be bliss, it certainly doesn't allow us to live in reality, where my feet are firmly planted. You want to know what it's like to see someone die in reality? I'll tell you. Nothing slows down. You don't get to tell the man you love goodbye. He doesn't get to return the affection. Because as soon as that bullet goes through his head, he's gone, and you are left in shock, his blood spattered on your face and hands. One second he's there, alive, breathing, protecting you, and the next his body is lying crumpled on the floor.

The man I loved, my husband, died because he loved me enough to protect me. Because he loved our unborn child enough to make sure it lived. Only it didn't. The devastation of losing him caused me to lose it, too.

After that I became angry. At myself, at Alcide, at the man who killed him, at the police department for taking so damn long to catch him, at the fact that he died a painless death by a needle to the arm. All that anger ruined me. I lost my job, my friends, my family. No one wanted to be around me, and who could blame them?

So I lived off the life insurance money. Every night I took my wedding rings off and went to the local bar to drown myself in whiskey. Soon enough the whiskey wasn't enough. I needed to feel something in spite of the numbness. That's when the one night stands started.

Alcide had been the third man I'd ever been with, and I thought he would be the last. Within a year he was just the third on a list of twenty-four. I never slept with local men, only guys from out of town, or passing through. I never remembered anything about any of them either. The only reason I know the number is because I kept a tally. Maybe that was strange, or sick, but it was sort of my own way of calling myself a whore without saying it.

Then number twenty-five came along. The final number. I met him on the anniversary of Alcide's death. He didn't look a thing like Alcide, and that was just what I needed.

Alcide was tall, dark, and ruggedly handsome. He had been a construction worker, and he almost always wore plaid and sported a beard. Twenty-five was also tall, but pale, blond, and dressed in a button down and jeans. He was handsome, but that could have been the alcohol too.

He danced with me, and tried to ask me out on a date, but I didn't want any of that. I just wanted to feel for a moment, so I took him to my truck in the parking lot and fucked him in the front seat. Luckily for him, he was good enough to earn an invite to my house. He tried to tell me that we didn't have to, but I was having none of that. He wanted sex, I wanted sex, and he made me come during intercourse. All of that added up to me wanting him, in my bed, giving me orgasms and making me forget until I was so ashamed of myself that I made him leave and added another tally to my list.

Only he didn't leave. He fucked me until I passed out, and then made breakfast in the morning. I found him in my kitchen frying bacon.

"What are you still doing here?" I asked.

"Good morning," he said, smiling cheerfully. I wanted to slap it off his face just as much as I wanted to kiss him. Maybe it wasn't just the alcohol.

"You didn't answer my question."

"Was I supposed to leave? Some guys are decent and stay, you know. I wasn't just after sex."

"Well that was all I was after, and I got it. You were wonderful, you can go now."

"Are you always this callous?" he asked, frowning slightly.

"Yes. Don't like it? Leave."

"Look," he said, setting down the spatula, and turning off the burner before turning to face me. "I don't play games, okay? I like you a lot. I don't think you remember me, but I first met you a long time ago, when you were married. I saw you at the bar, and I was still just as mesmerized with you as I was when I met you."

I jogged my memory and tried to recall meeting him, but nothing was coming to me. Then I closed my eyes and tried to picture him, and it came to me. We'd met at a fundraiser Alcide had to attend. It was a very brief meeting, but I remembered shaking his hand.

"My name is Eric Northman," he said. "I used to work with your husband."

"Don't," I said. "Just leave. I don't do this. I don't talk, especially about him."

"I'm not asking you to."

"What do you want from me?"

"I want to take you on a date. One that doesn't include alcohol and sex."

"Why?"

"Because I want to get to know you."

"If I say yes, will you leave?" I asked. I had a killer hangover, and I wanted to be alone.

"Yes."

"Then fine, I'll go on a date with you."

"Great," he smiled, triumphantly. "I'll be back tonight."

Instead of just walking out the door, the bastard had to come over and lay the mother of all kisses on me first. My heart was pounding as the screen door slammed shut and his vehicle sped down the drive.

I didn't want to think about what had just happened, or about Alcide, or the night before. I walked over to the stove and stared at the scrambled eggs he'd been cooking in the skillet. The oven was on, so I opened it to see what was in there and found a plate with bacon on it keeping warm.

The inevitable thought hit me, the one that always did. How long would it take if I just put my head in the oven and breathed deep? Would I just fall asleep? Did I deserve that peaceful a death?

I closed my eyes, and saw Alcide's disapproving face. Then I heard his voice in my head telling me I was a coward if I did it.

Suddenly I was slamming the oven door shut and turning the dial to the off position, and then I was on the floor, sobbing.

By the time Eric showed up that night, I was good again. At least as good as I could be. I had a bit of whiskey in my system, just enough to numb me. I masked it by brushing my teeth just before he got there.

He looked very good. Nice jeans, a button down shirt, styled hair, and a bouquet of daisies. I smiled at the flowers. I hadn't had fresh flowers in the house in years. My vase was actually covered in dust, and I had to rinse it off before I could put the flowers in it.

Eric gave me a kiss on the cheek and complimented me on how I looked, then he helped me into his car and took me to a nice restaurant.

"I thought we'd just go to the bar and dance," I said.

"Why? I wanted to take you somewhere nice."

"I just… I'm not used to this, okay? If you can't handle that then you might as well drop me off at the bar."

"I can handle it, but what I can't handle is you acting like you don't deserve this. You're damaged, I get it. Something awful happened to you, and that fucks a person up, but you get through it, and you move on. Nobody expects you to be the same as you were."

"What the fuck would you know about it?" I yelled at him.

"Because that's what my brother thought, too, before he shot himself in the head."

Fuck.

"Eric, I… I don't know what to say."

"Don't say anything. Just take a deep breath, and go on a date with me," he said, giving me a small smile.

"Okay," I said, and took that deep breath.

The date actually wasn't bad. Eric could make me laugh like no one had been able to since Alcide died. But for those few hours that I was with him I didn't think about Alcide, or our unborn child, or the way he died, or even the way I'd behaved in the time since. All I thought about was how good it felt being with Eric, how he made me feel wanted, and not just for sex.

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt happy.

It scared the hell out of me. Not only because I wasn't used to the feeling anymore, but because the last time I'd been happy I was with Alcide, expecting a baby and arguing about starting a college fund so soon. Thinking of him made me feel such guilt for feeling happy with anyone else.

Eric took me on four more dates before he finally decided to ask me about what happened that day. I think it was because I trusted him, or maybe because I just needed to talk about it, but I told him.

"We were at the bank to open a savings account. I was twelve weeks pregnant, and Alcide wanted to start putting money in it for the baby. He was a planner that way. We were waiting in line when the man came in. He was alone, and he had on a mask. Alcide stepped in front of me, and told me to stay quiet. The guy had some sort of grudge against someone who worked there, and we found out later that he was on drugs. He was threatening to shoot a kid, and there was a split second where Alcide thought he could get the gun, so he lunged for it, but the guy saw and didn't hesitate to shoot him. Just like that, he was gone. I remember screaming, then the guy ran out. What happened after that, I don't really like to remember. I lost the baby the next day. I can still remember how he felt standing in front of me. I still feel the heat of his body, and remember the way I was gripping the back of his shirt. Sometimes I wish I couldn't remember any of that, but most of the time it's all I cling to."

When I finished explaining it, Eric wrapped his arms around me and told me he was sorry that everything had happened to me. Then he said something that surprised me. He asked where in the hell my family was.

"All I really have is Jason, and he was around for a while, but he couldn't deal with me when I didn't just get over it like he wanted. And Alcide's family blamed me for the miscarriage, so they don't even talk to me. I'm better on my own anyway," I said, pulling away from him.

"No one is better on their own, especially not after something like that. There are people that care about you, Sookie. Your brother does care, he just didn't know how to help. I care."

"Yeah, well, you're the only one that's ever acted like it."

"And that's not your fault. I'm here for you. I want to be here for you."

"I know you do," I said.

"I'm not so sure you do."

I stood up from the couch and started pacing in front of him.

"What do you want from me, Eric? Are you just trying to fix me? Do you just want the good karma from it? Or do you actually like me? Because I'm not sure how you could. Do you have any idea how I've spent the last year?"

I stopped pacing, and stood in front of him. Maybe I was trying to make him disgusted with me. I don't really know. I just wanted him to go away. I wanted the understanding, kind, supportive man to go away, because I wasn't ready for it. I needed all of that too long ago, and I'd learned to live without it.

"I've been with more than twenty men in a year. I spend most of my day looking at the inside of a bottle. I go out looking for sex. Meaningless sex. I don't work, I don't do anything. I'm completely fucked up. Why the fuck would you want me?"

Eric stared up at me, unflinchingly, and with a very intense look on his face. He stood up, his height making him tower over me, and took my face into his hands just before he kissed me. It was soft, and sweet, gentle.

"You're not going to scare me away, so stop trying," he said.

Maybe that was what I needed. Someone to stand up to me, to not run away when it got hard. Whatever it was, it hit me right in my heart, and I started to cry. Harsh, heartbroken sobs. Eric wrapped me in his arms and pulled me back onto the couch with him.

I let myself sink into him, momentarily forgetting myself and enjoying the warmth and comfort he offered me. He crooned quietly and whispered sweetly to me about all the things life still had to offer, all the things we could do together. What he didn't understand is that none of it meant anything if I didn't have Alcide. I couldn't let him go, and since I couldn't bring him back, there was only one option available to me.

He didn't leave until the next morning, but promised me he'd be back again that night for a date. I told him I'd cook him dinner.

I lied.

I didn't even buy groceries. Maybe it was cruel of me, but I wanted him to believe it was all okay. I didn't want him to worry. I knew he would be the one to find me, and that was how I wanted it.

I waited a few hours before I did it, just to be sure that I really wanted to go through with it. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew it was time. Eric had cared too much. I wasn't ready for that, and I never would be. I didn't want a real life again. It just wouldn't work. I wanted peace. No more pain. No more shame or guilt. No more sorrow. Just peace.

I stood in front of my bathroom mirror to write out the note.

I'm not sorry. I want this. I'm too scared of the future. I want to see Alcide again. You were so much better to me than I deserved. Please don't hate me for this. I'm not as strong as you are.

With that, I swallowed the bottle of pills, and sat on the floor in my bedroom. I laid the note on the floor, and set the pill bottle down next to it.

Despite the disappointed look on Alcide's face as I saw him in my mind, I smiled. I was so relieved I would get to see him again soon.

For the first time since he died, I felt truly happy.

~o0o~

Before heading back to Sookie's house, I stopped to get her another bouquet of daisies. Her old ones were beginning to wilt and I thought she might like some fresh flowers again. I smiled as I climbed the steps to her back door and knocked. Despite everything she tried to tell me to scare me off, I wouldn't let it.

She didn't come to the door right away, so I knocked again. It wasn't until the third knock that I started to get worried. Her car was in the driveway, so I knew she was home. I pounded on the door, and called her name a few times, but she still didn't come. It was possible she could have been in the shower though. The door was unlocked, so I headed on inside, and dropped the flowers when I didn't hear the shower running.

I rushed to her bedroom, glancing in every room on the way to make sure she wasn't in them before continuing on. My heart stopped when I reached her room. She was on the floor, propped up against the bed, a pill bottle and piece of paper on the floor next to her.

I fell to my knees in front of her, grasped her shoulders, and shook her hard, screaming at her to open her eyes. My fingers checked her neck for a pulse, but if there was one it was too faint for me to detect. I pulled my phone out and called 911, then continued to try and rouse her until they got there.

"Why did you do this?" I asked her as I cradled her in my arms and stared into her beautiful face. There was the faintest of smiles on a pair of lips I hadn't kissed nearly enough. I smoothed some of her hair back and started talking. "You didn't think of me, did you? You didn't think about how I'd feel when I found you. You think no one cares. I care, Sook. I care. I could love you. I want to love you. I want your pain to stop just as much as you do. You can't leave me like this. I don't want to remember you like this."

I kissed her forehead and blinked back the tears that had pooled in my eyes. My brother hadn't thought about those things any more than Sookie had. I prayed she would open her eyes, gasp for breath, or squeeze my hand. Nothing. She was gone.

"What about me, Sookie? What about me?"

I barely registered the ambulance sirens growing close as I held her close and traced a thumb over her bottom lip, hoping she might take a breath. Something, anything, to let me know I was wrong.

She didn't.

She was really gone.


A/N: Thank you for reading! I do plan on doing a follow-up to this one, and maybe it won't be so unhappy.