Sitting on the Queen's plane I can hear the soft hum of the twin engines as I stare at Eric's coffin. After working with Barry to find the survivors I called Mr. Cataliades to find out where the vampires had been taken. Since it was daylight they had to be stowed somewhere until dark and had been taken to a basement not far from the bombing site. The demon lawyer gave me directions and informed me that the Queen was arranging transportation for the survivors in her retinue to get out of Rhodes. I took a cab to the building and soon after we were escorted to the plane.
Sunset is now roughly an hour away and I'm in a private cabin towards the back of the aircraft. Normally I don't think I would have been allowed access to a vampire while they were vulnerable but after my efforts today no one argued when I insisted that I be near Eric. The concession was that we would be given a private chamber so that I wasn't around the others when they woke. Considering that some of them were injured it was as much for my safety as it was theirs. I've been around vampires long enough to know that accidents happen.
It's strange to look at this coffin and know that my bonded is inside, temporarily dead. I knew that vampires were dead during the day of course but seeing Eric in a coffin is a different thing altogether. It forces me to think about the fact that he was almost killed today – finally dead – and I briefly entertain the idea of climbing in there with him. That seems like some sort of breech of etiquette though so I restrain myself and wait for him to wake up.
I don't understand the significance of the bonding ceremony that Eric and I performed in that hallway but I have a feeling that it was a big risk for him. Questioning Andre the way he did couldn't have been very safe and I'm thankful that he stepped in when he did. I've always trusted Eric and it doesn't bother me that we are bonded, whatever that means. I've felt tied to him since he had amnesia anyway and find myself thinking of him as 'my Viking.'
Suddenly I feel a hum of emotion that isn't mine and before I can sort out what it is the lid to Eric's coffin opens. He sits up like something out of a Bela Lugosi movie and we just stare at each other for a long moment without saying anything. Finally I find my voice and speak without really thinking.
Eric's eyebrows furrow slightly, no doubt confused to wake up on a plane and see me staring at him.
"Yes?" he asks.
"You asked me a question in the ballroom and I dodged it. The answer is yes."
Understanding slowly washes over his features and he climbs out of the coffin coming to stand in front of me. Slowly he drops to his knees putting us at eye level for a change. Taking my hands in his he searches my face before responding. The expression on his face is one that I haven't seen since he was Amnesia Eric. This incredible vampire, this thousand year old warrior is on his knees and the emotion that I see in his beautiful features is… hope.
"You loved me Sookie?" he asks, his voice barely above a whisper.
My throat is too clenched to speak so I nod in response.
Eric is silent for a long moment and I start to wonder if I made a mistake by admitting this. Just when the silence is becoming too much he asks, "And do you love me still?"
I see now why he took a moment to speak. His throat is as tight as mine and now blood tears are pooling in his eyes. I can't believe that the Viking is crying and it shakes me to my core to see him so vulnerable again.
"I do," I manage to squeak out.
"Say it, Sookie. I need to hear it," he says. "Please."
"I love you, Eric. I never stopped."
I see a single tear escape and run down his porcelain cheek before his mouth crashes into mine and we are kissing like it's our last moment on Earth. The hum I felt earlier is louder now and washes over me in warm waves. Pulling me forward from my chair, Eric leans back on his feet and I straddle him there on the floor.
My own tears start to flow and mix with his as we kiss desperately, salt and blood. He breaks our embrace and lays hundreds of tiny kisses on my face, my eyes, my neck. "I love you, Sookie," he breathes between kisses. "I love you, I love you, I love you."
"I thought I lost you," I sob. "I was so scared that I wouldn't get you out in time. I thought…" I sob and hold him tighter.
"I'm here, lover." he whispers in to my hair. Pulling back slightly he meets my eyes before continuing. "You saved me, Sookie. You came for me and Pam when you should have been running out of the hotel."
I nod. "As soon as I knew what was going on I ran straight to your room. I didn't have a key so I had to make a maid give me a master."
"You came straight to me?" he asks with surprise. "Not to Bill or Quinn?"
"You were all I could think about. They never even entered my mind," I respond and for the first time I feel slightly guilty that they really never did. "They're okay though. I told Mr. Cataliades what was going on and he started some sort of evacuation. The queen got out too but she's hurt pretty bad. He says it will take a long time for her to heal."
"She's lost body parts then. They grow back but it's a long, painful process." Eric says. "We're on a plane. The Queen's?"
"Yes, everyone in her retinue was offered transportation; most of them took it. I have no idea where we're going. I was too busy trying to get to you to ask."
"Get to me? Where were you?"
"After I got you and Pam out I helped find the others. There were a lot of vampires that didn't make it but still plenty more that were buried in the rubble. I helped find them and got them covered until they could be transported." I pause for a moment before adding, "Andre didn't make it."
Eric goes still and is silent as he processes this information. I start to slide off of him so that I can sit beside him but he gently holds me in place.
"No, lover. I've been too long without your touch."
The door opens and Pam strides in, quickly scanning the room. With vampire speed she is beside us and she drops to the floor, hugging us both. I didn't jump this time; I guess my nerves are just too worn out after all that's happened. Still, the oddity of the vampire sandwich here on the floor does not escape me and I chuckle before removing one arm from Eric to hug Pam.
"Thank you, Sookie," Pam says before leaning back on her heels. "Alright, that's enough sappy shit," she says and her monotone is back in place. "We're landing in New Orleans soon. The Queen lost both of her legs and Andre's finally dead. This is not good, Eric."
"She will be vulnerable to a take over while she heels and without Andre to guard her she will be even weaker," Eric agrees.
"Wait a minute," I interrupt. "You mean her legs are – what – going to grow back?"
"Yes. Vampires can grow back anything they lose – except for our heads, of course. It's a long and painful process though. She will be unable to rule during this time and will probably be challenged," he says.
"We have to either get as close to her as possible or as far away as we can, and fast. The shit's going to hit the fan," says Pam.
Eric looks at me for entirely too long before responding, "Closer. Much, much closer."
It sends chills down my spine.