"Ok, so let me get this straight" Sookie says, as she pours herself a second cup of coffee. She and Eric is at her kitchen-table, he on one side and her on the other. Between them, there are only two cups of coffee, and the vast plane of the table. "You ARE married, to Isobel. You married her when you both were 18? But you've never been married, by definition? Only on paper?"

"Isobel came to Sweden as a political refugee when she was sixteen. She had no family left alive; all of them had been slaughtered back in her country and she had fled on her own. And although she had every reason to be granted asylum in Sweden, somehow they denied her after dragging the decision on for two years. They threatened to put her on a plane back, and she would have been killed." Eric's eyes pleaded Sookie to understand. "I had to marry her, it was the only thing I could do to prevent her death."

Sookie believed him, and she nodded slowly. "Ok, I get that. I get that you married her to save her life. But why did you stay married to her, all of these years? And why didn't you tell me? Was it because you knew I wouldn't sleep with you if I knew you're a married man? Eric…" Sookie slowly extended her hand across the table to gently touch his fingers. "If you had trusted me, and told me this story, I would have believed you, you know."

"That's the thing I regret the most, Sookie. I should have told you, and I should have told you where I was going and what I was doing…" His voice trailed off and he captured her hand in both of his, and caressed it. "The thing is… When I'm with you, I can't think straight. It's like my whole view, my brain and my body… Well, it's… Occupied. Completely. I see nothing else than you. I smell nothing else. I feel nothing else and… I…." Eric suddenly dropped her hands and stood. He ran an impatient hand through his hair and started pacing back and forth in the small kitchen. He needed to tell her, he needed her to know how much he wanted her, craved her. But for the first time in his life, he felt uncertain, and almost shy. What if she doesn't feel the same? What about Bill? He sighed. He was not used to this insecurity, but he knew. He loved her, no matter what. He would still love her if she choose Bill, even if she had chosen Bill already. He couldn't change his feelings. Eric stopped his pacing, and dragged his chair around the table and seated himself in front of her, their knees touching lightly. He gently stroked her cheek with his knuckles and waited until she met his eyes.

"Sookie… I love you. I need you. I can't imagine my life without you anymore. Please tell me I'm not too late."

Her eyes widened and the blue of her irises was completely surrounded by sparkling white. He could hear her breathing catch and then speed up, and her mouth, that beautiful mouth, opened slightly. She was silent, and Eric could feel his own heart pound in staccato, and his palms were slightly damp with anxiety. "Please, Sookie… Say something. Please, I'm so sorry, I should have told you… I love you. Please…"

Sookie could feel he body hum with electricity. It was like every nerve-ending, every synapse, every cell of her body was jolted back to life with his words. Her dead soul sprang to life as soon as she saw him getting out of the car in her yard, but his words re-animated her, made her feel again. The terror she had lived through, every agonizing second of Bill's cruelty, every doubt she had ever had… His words and the sincerity she saw in his eyes and felt in his tender caresses eradicated all of it. She was bruised and battered, but the pain was no longer important. It was there, it was hers, but at Eric's words it seized to matter. She had no idea why she knew she could trust his words, but she felt it, through-out her entire being, his words were true, and her soul sang to her, tendrils of her once shattered heart reached out and latched on to his. She felt so close to him, as if their beings, once two, was now joined to one. It was almost like a thread of light should appear between them, joining them in a tangible way. It was as if she had a direct line to his feelings because she felt them, as if they were her own. Dazed, she slowly raised her hand and extended it, letting it hover between them. Eric mimicked her actions, and their palms met, his large hand and long fingers dwarfing hers, and the electricity humming in the air suddenly exploded into lightning and both their breathing hitched from the power. Their eyes were locked together, and his blazing blues told Sookie everything she needed to know. He was hers.

With a physical need more urgent than anything Sookie had ever felt before, she closed the distance between them and gave him a kiss conveying everything she felt and everything she wanted him to know. Eric's arms went around her, feverishly trying to feel all of her simultaneously, and his strength made her feel safe, although she winced a little when his fingers brushed over the bruises left on her neck from Bill's torture. Eric, recoiled, and the anger she saw burning in his eyes at the realization of the pain she had been put through only set her more at peace. Eric had her, she was safe.

Eric studied her torso as he slid her top off her, and gently traced kisses over every mark and scratch he found. "Mine, Sookie. You're mine." Eric looked steadily in her eyes, and vowed: "Bill will pay."

"Later. We'll make him pay later. Now, make me your again." Sookie took Eric by the hand and led him through the old farmhouse, to her old bedroom where the bed was made up in soft, light yellow fabrics, and the sun made small particles of dust dance in front of the window.

Their love-making was slow and adoring, each touch telling the other of love and devotion, happiness and safety. His hands and body worshiped her, and made the world right once more. At the edge of bliss, before they leapt together, Sookie could feel her wounds close and heal; the bits and pieces shattered by cruelty, mended by the careful and honest love of her Eric.

He held her, as they both slowly descended back to reality, and his caresses soothed her ragged breathing.

"I love you, Sookie. More than anything in this world. And I want you to be mine in every sense of the word." Eric tilted her chin to make her look at him and continued: "In about a month, Swedish law will recognize my divorce. All the papers are signed." She watched him in confusion as he hastily got up from the bed, in glorious nudity and the beauty of a Norse God, to rummage through his pants left haphazardly in a pile on the floor. He returned to the bed, but instead of lying down beside her once again, he kneeled down and took her hand in his large one. "Sookie Stackhouse, I love you and will worship you 'til the day I die. Will you do me the extreme honor of becoming my first and only real wife?" He extended his hand to reveal the most stunning ring she had ever seen, nothing at all like the huge diamond she had seen on Isobel's finger. Instead, this was more subdued, with intricate pearl and diamond patterns. "It was my grandmother's." Everything about it was perfect, just like Eric.

With tears in her eyes, all she could do was to gasp a breathless "yes" and then "Take me home".

A/N: Sorry sorry sorry, after all of this waiting you had to do, is this really all I could come up with? Really, guys, I've been through hell with this one, please forgive me, R&R and maybe my muse will shorten her vacation in the Alps…