AN: All characters, ideas, names, and places belong to Charlaine Harris, Alan Ball, and the wonderful writers
"Pieces. I'm little fucking pieces. So many pieces I don't even know who the fuck Sookie Stackhouse is anymore! And you and Bill were always so Goddamn eager to pick up the pieces of my sorry life and put me back together, and I'm sorry, I got a little sick and tired of it. But what I didn't realize is that you still have pieces of me. You have too many fucking pieces and so I need you to come home. Eric, please come home."
Eric lowered his cell phone from his ear at human speed.
"What day is it?" He asked dazedly. He turned his cell phone over in his large palm absently.
"It's Sunday," Bill replied genially. He, of course, had grown rather fond of his new camaraderie with Eric, feeling finally accepted as one of the "grown-up" vampires.
"Sunday," Eric repeated woodenly, and then stubbornly pressed three to listen to Sookie's message again. Friday. Fucking Friday she had called him.
"Cover for me," Eric ordered Bill, and then hastily dialed Salome's secured line.
She answered before the first ring had finished sounding, "Eric, do you have good news for me so soon?"
Eric could easily picture her sauntering in her white silk robe, so confident in her sexual prowess and that she so easily could possess Eric Northman's affections.
"I have a lead on Russell which necessitates that Mr. Compton and I separate. I will be back in communication in two hours," Eric's voice was its typical monotone, but Bill detected a certain edge that he was all too familiar with. It usually pertained to his Sookie-no, not his, he corrected himself harshly in his mind.
"Eric, I will give you an hour and a half leeway but", Salome contradicted.
"Two hours." Eric hung up and took to the sky, leaving Bill sputtering after him from the ground.
Eric hardly had time to marvel at his poor excuse for a manipulation of Salome before he landed lightly on Sookie's front lawn. He experimentally sniffed, and smelled many disturbing developments but none that indicated any immediate danger.
And within moments, there she was. Standing just inside her front door, her fingertips grazing the screen before her. She was wearing her ridiculous pink sleep shirt with the cats on it. The one she had been wearing the night he had had his nightmare about Godric. The night he had felt the comfort of her sleeping beside him. The first time he had felt comfort from anyone in a long time.
He was on the porch in an instant, his fingers mirroring hers on the screen door. Through the wire mesh he could feel the warmth of her hands and closed his eyes briefly at the pleasure.
"I came as fast as I could," Eric whispered.
"You got my message," she asked. She removed her fingers from the screen and tucked her hair behind her ears, trying to disguise the gesture of wiping tears away.
"I did. As you know Russell Edgington is alive, and Bill and I have been chosen as the good-cop/bad-cop cardboard cutouts in this pathetic excuse for a manhunt."
Sookie stifled a giggle despite herself, "I assume Bill is the good-cop?"
"Naturally," he murmured, mesmerized by the way her collarbones peeked out of the neck of her night shirt. He had always loved the dichotomy of her body, the strength of her muscles, the harshness of her collarbones and hipbones, and the softness. Oh God, the softness.
"Eric…" she started.
"Don't," he interrupted coldly, "I do not forgive you. I have never forgiven anyone in my life and I do not intend to start with you. But I will come home to you after I have dispatched with Russell and rid myself of Mr. Compton's company."
She swallowed hard and nodded, fighting back the tears which were coming to her eyes.
"Please don't cry," he practically begged. The helpless expression on his face, an expression she had last seen on amnesia Eric, made her tears spill over and she buried her face in her hands.
Eric opened the screen door and closed the gap between them. He grabbed her chin between his thumb and index finger and dragged her face up. She blinked rapidly, clearing her vision. He leaned down and softly pressed his lips to hers, and then paused, tugging her bottom lip with his teeth.
"I cannot drink from you," he whispered, feeling her blood pulsing through him almost as surely as it pumped through her veins. He placed her hand over the i-stake, and in response to her confused look, leaned down and kissed her again. This time he drew her body up against him, and she reveled in the delicious stretch of her muscles as she went into a backbend and kissed him deeper. He cupped her butt in his palms. Raked a hand up her thigh. Tiptoed his lips across her collarbone only to grab her throat roughly, and then run his fingers through her hair. He had to re-learn her. The world had closed and reopened for him in a matter of days.
She pulled away from him to catch her breath.
"Eric, everything has gone to Hell in a handbasket since you left. Debbie shot Tara, and so I shot Debbie, and Pam made Tara a vampire-
"Pam did what?"
Sookie swallowed hard and took a tiny step back, her shoulders shrugging up as protection involuntarily, a grimace on her face.
Eric grinned and then laughed uproariously.
"It's not funny, Eric. Tara's real upset about it, and Lafayette and I can hardly keep her in one piece!"
Eric continued laughing as Sookie, to her embarrassment, stomped her foot, her fists clenched. At the foot stomp Eric was tempted to laugh harder but managed to control himself.
"How exactly did you get Pam to turn one of her least favorite humans into an immortal?"
"I promised her that…I'd do her a favor."
"Sookie…" Eric warned, closing the distance between them.
"I promised her that I'd find you. And fix what's wrong between you two."
Eric's smile faded and he took a step back.
"I'm sorry, Eric, I didn't want to get into your business, but it was Tara and she was dead in my arms," Sookie was now the one to close the distance and placed her palms on his chest.
"I'm not angry, Sookie. But I am sorry that you promised something over which you have no control."
"It was stupid of me, I know but-
"Yes, it was stupid. But like most of the stupid things you do, it was done with good intentions." He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead. Her heart skipped a beat at the unexpectedly tender gesture. He seemed to process it, and hastily moved to kiss her on the lips when his phone rang.
"What?" He demanded roughly, not moving an inch away from Sookie.
"Eric, I would like to know where Russell Edgington is," Salome's voice was loud enough that it carried to Sookie's ears.
"It has not been two hours," Eric's voice was sharper than usual.
"Where is Russell Edgington?"
"Bon Temps, Louisiana."