A coordinated attack was launched across the state and by the time we realized what was happening, it was too late. Spies infiltrated the areas of Louisiana and set up bombs in key locations. Fangtasia had been one of them. Sookie and I were in the basement when the bombs went off. The building had fallen in on itself, trapping us under the rubble. My legs had been severed by the steel, concrete, and debris that had collapsed on top of us. I was bleeding profusely and was too injured to get us out. Sookie laid a few feet from me, her left arm had been crushed under a huge chunk of concrete and a steel pipe stuck out of her chest. Fires had broken out around us that could not be escaped. We were trapped. The only thing we had to be grateful for was that the two of us would bleed to death before we burned.
"Eric..." Sookie gasped reaching out to me. I stretched out my hand to hers and held it while looking into her eyes. "It hurts..." she moaned and squeezed my hand tightly.
"I'm so sorry lover," I rasped willing myself to live long enough to watch my lover die. I could feel my body begin to shut down as the blood drained, spilling out onto the floor. I knew as soon as there was nothing left, I would flake away. Nothing would be left of me but ash. I was consumed by my failure to keep Sookie safe, but I would not spend my last moments with her dwelling on things I could not change.
"I'm scared...I'm so cold." Her voice was no more than a whisper, she was fading as fast as I.
"It's alright, lover, it will all be over in a minute." I gripped her hand tightly as I felt hers slack. "I love you Sookie Stackhouse. I always have. I always will."
Sookie's blue eyes stared into mine and the fear and pain on her face was enough to kill me if my injuries didn't.
"I love you too. I..." Sookie's voice trailed off, and I heard her heart race before it came to a complete stop. Her eyes lay open, glazed over by death yet still looking at mine, but she was gone. The love of my long life was taken and I prayed that I would see her in the afterlife. I laid back my head and closed my eyes, waiting for the end.
A loud crash roused me from my torment as the door burst open. "Eric! What is it?" Pam was literally crying and her fear slammed against our bond.
I sat up in a frantic state and I gasped out in horror. I gripped my chest as a strong urge to heave came over me. I was so caught up in the moment, I didn't register where I was or the fact that I was still existing. I could still feel the echo of the pain I felt the moment I lost her.
"Pam?" It took me a second to realize that it was her. She was dressed for work, black leather corset and unbelievably tight leather pants. Her five inch spiked heels clicked against the floor as she approached.
"Eric, what's wrong?" Pam asked again, but I couldn't answer. My mind was addled. What is happening?
"You escaped? Where is Sookie? " I could barely get the words out. I was nearly choking on my grief. I scanned the area around me and it finally registered that I was no longer in Fangtasia but in one of my homes. I was in my flat in Shreveport. Which was strange since I had sold it shortly after I met Sookie, and bought a quaint country house in Ruston in hopes that Sookie and I would eventually move in together. Of course at the time, I didn't admit that to myself but that was the truth of it.
"Eric! Tell me whats going on! Escape from what?" Pam reached out and grabbed my face forcing my eyes to hers. "You're in pain. Are you injured?"
I pulled my face away from her hands and looked down at myself. I was completely nude, but my body didn't seem to be damaged. My mind could not wrap itself around what was happening and I asked again, "Where's Sookie?"
"Eric, you're talking nonsense. What's a Sookie?" Pam's expression was contorted with concern and confusion.
"PAMELA! Do not play games with me! Where is she?" I leaped up from my position on the bed and whirled on her. I knew it wasn't a dream. Sookie and I had died. I felt her death and my own.
"Eric, you're losing it. I'm calling Dr. Ludwig." Pam pulled out her phone and began to dial, but I snatched it from her hand and dashed it against the wall before the doctor's answering service could pick up. I had no idea what was going on, but there was no way I would bring anyone into this until I knew more.
"What the fuck, Eric?" Pam looked had me with wide eyes. "What has happened to you?"
"Why am I here?" I looked around my surroundings. My old flat was lush but somewhat of a bachelor pad. There were only two bedrooms and one bath. The place had a small kitchen which I had little use for, but it always helped the resale value on any property. If this is the afterlife, where is Sookie?
"Because you rested here last sunrise..." Pam snarked in a tone that said "isn't it obvious?". She spoke slow, as if I would have a hard time following her. I was going to tell her that I had sold the place years ago, but I could tell she was already worried about my sanity. In fact, so was I.
"Why are you here?" Even when I did live here, she only stayed on very rare occasion.
"You didn't show up for work tonight and when I felt your...panic, I rushed over. I thought you had been attacked." Pam was eying me like a freak show at a carnival. I walked over to the window on the far right side of the room. The flat was on the third floor and all the windows had light tight shutters on them that would automatically open after sunset. When I looked out the window the ground was clear of snow. This winter had been particularly cold and we had actually gotten snow, but as I gazed out, it obviously wasn't winter anymore.
"What is the date?" I was trying to work out what was happening in my head. Have I been asleep for months? Am I dead, finally and truly. Is this hell?
"Its July twenty-first. Why?" I felt dismay fill the bond and I abruptly cut off my bond to her. Five months I had been out, how is this possible? Then something occurred to me.
"What year is it?" I was careful to keep my tone even. I was upset enough for the both of us. Have I lost my mind? Have I traveled back in time or ended up in some alternate universe?
"You really have lost it..." Pam shook her head.
"Just tell me!" I ordered and Pam's back straightened in anger.
"2004," Pam spit back at me.
"How? How did this happen?" I had not meant to say it out loud, but my mind was moving a mile a minute and the same question kept popping in my head. Pam didn't answer, she just stared at me in horror.
"Give me your phone."
"Help yourself. You threw it against the wall," Pam bit back at me.
"Find mine then." I whipped my head around and gave her a hard stare. Pam sighed and grabbed my phone from the nightstand and handed it to me. If Pam was telling the truth, Sookie would probably be at work.
I dialed the shifters bar from memory, "Merlotte's." A woman answered but it wasn't Sookie. It was a voice I didn't recognize.
"Is Sookie Stackhouse in tonight?" My voice was strained and my anxiety skyrocketed as I waited for her response.
"Yeah, hang on," the breather huffed, but I let out a sigh of relief. Pam cocked an eyebrow at me but remained silent.
After a moment, I heard the voice I longed to hear, "Hello?"
"Lover?" I choked out as my eyes stung with unshed tears. My confusion and fear was replaced with the happiness in knowing she was alive.
"Excuse me, who is this?" Sookie's voice was stern and I could hear her irritation. It was the best sound I had ever heard.
"Sookie, lover, it's me." I prayed to the gods that she would know me. Maybe she also has been moved through time?
"Hey there, buster! I am not your lover and I have no idea who you are. You must have me confused with someone else." My happiness at knowing she was alive well outweighed the brief twinge of disappointment that she didn't know who I was.
"I'm sorry to have troubled you." I reluctantly hung up the phone, but when I turned back to my child, I could not wipe the smile from my face. Any world that my lover still lived in was a world I wanted to be in. I may not have known the how and why I was here in this time and place, but all I could think of was having my lover back with me.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on?" Pam rested her back against the wall and crossed her arms over her chest.
"I will when I figure it out myself." I walked over to my closet and grabbed the first things my hands touched, a pair of blue jeans and a black Fangtasia tee-shirt, and put them on. My first order of business was to see for myself that my lover was alive and well. Hearing her voice only solidified the longing in my heart. I had to see her. I pulled on some boots and walked towards the door.
"Where are you going?" Pam followed behind me. When I tried to leave, she flashed around me and pushed the door closed.
"Get out of my way," I growled. I knew Pam was worried, but I was still her master.
"No!" Pam screeched. She flinched when I opened the bond so she could feel my anger.
"No? You dare defy me?" I backed Pam up against the door putting my hands on either side of her, caging her in.
"Master, you're acting insane!" Pam glared at me. "Please, tell me whats going on or at least let me call Ludwig."
"As I have said, I will explain what I know when I know more. Now move." I sneered at her as I pushed her aside and pulled open the door. "Go back to Fangtasia. I will meet you there later." I walked out not bothering to look behind me and this time Pam did not try to stop me.
I took to the sky as soon as I exited the building. My mind was set on one thing and one thing only. Not even the gods could keep me from her. The wind was warm as I flew and the stars shown bright in the sky. It was a full moon tonight and I hoped that I would catch Sookie at the bar without her shifter boss to make things difficult. I really had no plan in mind as to what I would say or do when I saw her. If I had come back in time, Sookie would not even have met me yet...if the time line remained the same, but none of that mattered. I just needed to see her. The bond I once shared with my lover was no more and I could not help but feel the emptiness that accompanied the loss.
I landed in back of the building. I was not sure what night it was, but from the nearly full parking lot I assumed it must be a Friday or Saturday. I walked around to the front of the building and noticed her old crappy car in the lot. I walked over to it and peered in the window. I noticed the old blanket in the back seat, the one she had given to me the night she picked me up off the road so long ago. The memory of it was as painful as it was pleasant, so I pushed the thought from my mind and set to my task.
I steeled myself as I walked into the bar. I caught her scent almost immediately. The sweet fragrance that was undeniably my lover's stood out amongst the wretched stench of the other humans in the bar. My first instinct was to scour the area and search out my Sookie, but if she didn't know who I was, I did not want to scare her off.
I could feel the eyes of the patrons boring into me, but I ignored them and took a seat at table in an area of the bar that the smelled strongest of her. I wasn't seated but a moment before I heard the tinkling laugh of my lover as she exited the kitchen with a tray full of food. Her hair was up in her signature pony-tail and she was wearing short black shorts and a white Merlotte's tee-shirt I could almost see through. My eyes were fixed on her as she walked to the table across from mine. My undead heart ached and the need to hold her in my arms was almost overwhelming, but I knew that I couldn't just scoop her up, not yet anyway. I pushed the image of her as she died out of my mind since just the thought of it had me nearly gripping my chest. My eyes bore into her and I focused on the here and now. I could not get over how young and innocent my lover looked, unmarred by the harsh events that had plagued her over the years. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on, she always was.
"Two burgers Lafayette, with fries, and a basket of deep fried pickles. Just let me know if I can get you anything else." Sookie smiled at the couple in the booth. I could see the strain on her face and even though I couldn't feel it, I could tell she was struggling to keep the thoughts of the patrons at bay.
When she turned away from the table she finally noticed me. She stopped dead in her tracks and for a moment, I thought she might have recognized me, but then I realized she was just noticing the void of my mind. A fleeting expression of surprise flashed across her face before she wiped it clean and approached my table.
"Hi! Welcome to Merlotte's. What can I get ya?" Sookie smiled at me and this smile was genuine. I grinned back. A familiar blush flushed her cheeks and her scent grew stronger. I inhaled deeply, relishing her unmarred scent. I had to force my fangs to remain retracted.
"A True Blood, please," I replied politely. I knew how much Sookie appreciated manners and I wanted to make a good impression. I suddenly wondered if Sookie had met Compton yet.
"I'm not sure if we have any." Sookie leaned over to me and whispered, "You're our first vampire." She pulled back and her eyes sparkled with excitement. "Let me check. I'll be right back." I could see the awe in her features as she turned from me and went to the bar. I always imagined what it would have been like if I had met Sookie before Compton did. It seemed I might get that chance after all.
After a brief discussion with her co-worker, she came back to the table with a bottle of True Blood in her hand. "It's your lucky day. We had two left that weren't spoiled. I hope it tastes okay." Sookie looked concerned and I almost laughed. She could have served me battery acid in that moment and I wouldn't have noticed.
I took a gulp of the awful synthetic stuff and smiled back at her in reassurance. "It seems fine." Shit always tastes like...shit.
"Oh good," Sookie sighed. I wanted to keep her close. I wanted to take her home with me, but I was sure she would refuse. My Sookie would never venture to go home with a stranger, but we wouldn't be strangers for long if I could help it.
"Sookie, do you have a break coming up? I would love if you would join me." I purred at her, turning on my classic Northman charm.
"How do you know my name?" Her smile turned to suspicion and I cursed myself for my error. I had to think quickly.
"I heard the redheaded one call you by your name." I casually took a sip of the bottled blood and continued, "Sookie is a uniquely beautiful name, for a uniquely beautiful woman." Sookie's blush returned and she averted her eyes from me to scan the area for onlookers. They were watching, but I could have cared less. "So, can I convince you to join me, for a drink perhaps?"
"I appreciate the offer, but we are pretty busy tonight." Sookie looked at me abashed. I could tell she was not used to getting much attention. By the time Sookie and I had met, she had already dealt with the talk of the residence of Bon Temps. Bill had caused quite a bit of trouble in the area.
"Another time then? Tomorrow night, dinner?" I was a bit disappointed that she didn't agree right away, but she wouldn't have been Sookie if she did.
"Are you asking me out to dinner, or are you asking me to be dinner?" Sookie sassed back but gave me a sexy smirk.
"I was asking you out to dinner, although if you offered, I would be crazy to turn you down." I wanted to leer at her, but I reined it in. Hell, I wanted to do all sorts of wicked things to her, but I am a patient vampire and she is worth the wait.
"You know, you haven't even told me your name." Sookie looked at me coyly, before we were interrupted.
"Sookie, can ya bring us a pitcher?" Sookie's brother called out as he walked in the door accompanied by a few of his acquaintances. They took their seats at a table nearby. I wanted to tear his head off for his disturbance, but Sookie would never forgive me for that.
"I'll be right there," Sookie replied back before turning her attention back to me. "I'm sorry, busy night and all," she shrugged.
"No problem. The name is Eric Northman and you have yet to give me your answer about dinner."
"I don't know...I mean, I don't even know you." My sweet, suspicious little lover was rightfully cautious, though she had no need to be. I would give up everything I had for her, even my existence.
My approach did not seem to be working so I scrambled for a way to make this go my way, "If you do not wish for me to pick you up we could meet at my club in Shreveport. We can have a couple of drinks and if you feel comfortable enough, maybe you will let me take you out to dinner afterward. If not, we can part ways." It pained me to say it, but I was not about to take no for an answer.
"Alright then. It's a date." Sookie beamed at me and I mirrored her expression. I was elated at the prospect of making her mine again. This time I would do it right. I pulled out my business card and handed it to her. Without even looking at it, she shoved it in her pocket.
"Wonderful. Until tomorrow night." I stood and towered over her. I couldn't resist leaning down close to her ear and inhaling. I was pleased when she didn't lean away. "I will count the hours until I can see you again, Miss Sookie," I whispered before I straightened and turned from her, making my way to the door. It took everything I had to leave her there.
When I got outside and out of view, I leaned up against the building and closed my eyes. The pang of anxiety I felt at leaving her here alone gave me great pause. I knew I needed to get back to Fantasia to find out what happened. The memories of Sookie's and my death still rattled in my mind, and by some miracle I had ended up back here in this time, in this place, but the how and why eluded me. Who had done this? Who had given us this gift of a second chance? It was no small feat to send a man, or vampire in this case, back through time and I wondered if and when this mysterious benefactor would make themselves known.
My internal struggle was cut short when I heard the creak of the front door and the voices of men. I launched myself into the air and headed towards Fangtasia with purpose. No matter who or what had saved us, I was not going to squander this opportunity, and armed with the knowledge of the past, I would change the future. This time nothing would get in my way.
My thoughts consumed me as I flew towards Fangtasia. No matter how I looked at my situation, I couldn't see the whole picture, there were so many pieces of the puzzle still missing. I couldn't even imagine who would be strong enough to pull this off.
I was only minutes from my destination when I was hit with pain and dread so acute that I nearly plummeted from the sky. In this time, I only shared an active bond with one other and I pushed myself to fly even faster. As I landed in the rear of the club, I could hear the shrieks of my child coming from inside. I rushed to the door and ripping it open with force, dashed inside following my bond to find her. I could not stand the thought of losing someone else I loved.
I couldn't have prepared for the scene I walked into. Pam was hovering about five feet from the ground. Her body was surrounded by a sickly green sphere which crackled and whirled with energy. Her limbs hung limply and her eyes were rolled back in her head. I charged over to my child and stuck my hands into the sphere to try to pull her out of it, but as soon as I touched it an electric charge ran through me and I was thrown across the room. The wall stopped my backwards trajectory and I slumped to the floor as my body convulsed. I felt like I had stuck my keys into a electrical socket.
After a few hazy moments, I shook myself and got to my feet once again. I scrambled to figure out how to release her from the anomaly. Scanning the room for something, anything, to aid me in my task, I picked up a chair and threw it at Pam hoping to knock her loose, but it exploded into pieces as soon as it touched the sphere, sending deadly shards of wood flying through the air. I admit, this wasn't the best plan I ever had, but I was desperate. I dodged the flying shards before searching for another method to save her.
I needed something to break the current that encompassed her. A half baked idea ran through my mind and I bound over to the bar. There was a rubber runner on the floor that ran its length. It was the only piece of non-conductive material long enough to get around the sphere. I thought if I could loop it around her, I might be able to drag Pam out. I pulled the runner off the floor hastily and sped back to her side. I was just about to try my harebrained idea when I was interrupted.
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you."