This is a true outtake (if “outtake” is even the correct term) – the scene bits were cut because they would have taken the story in a direction that didn’t suit. This would have taken place in (starting in Part 7, if you’re tracking) Sookie’s condo had she not, you know, collapsed.
In these bits, instead of collapsing in his lap (minds back up to the gutters, y’all), Sookie would have gradually calmed down and realized that not only was it really Eric in her home, but that he was holding her and treating her very tenderly, and she’d have acted accordingly (according to how *I* write Sookie, at any rate).
As you’ll see, this would in no way have fit the parameters of the story I went with, but I liked these cut bits so much that I couldn’t just delete them as I normally would. Since they’re “useless” I haven’t gone back over anything much to expand, expound, and expunge where needed, so this *will* read a little…bumpy, and creative license has been gratuitously taken (heh, a writer’s privilege, don’cha know), but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
Sookie inhaled and exhaled as slowly and steadily as she could.
The chaos in her mind kept trying to tell her that she was fine, that she had nothing to fear, but she couldn’t believe it.
There was a vampire in her house!
She was being held captive on her own couch by a vampire!
Vampires were never good for her…they always hurt her in some way, somehow…eventually.
They wanted her for her blood and for her telepathy and they…and Bill…but…
But the vampire holding her on his lap on the couch wasn’t hurting her, though…in fact…he was trying to…trying to calm her down?
The vampire…she was on a vampire’s lap…in his arms…but it…but it was Eric?
Eric was really here? Her Eric, the Eric from so long ago?
That was Eric?
His scent was familiar, and so was his voice…his voice…was he singing?
Why was he singing – was he singing to her? And rubbing her back?
Why was Eric here and why was he holding her and rubbing her back and why singing so sweetly to her?
This didn’t make sense.
What was he saying…it sounded so sweet…so sad, and so sweet?
Exhaustion finally released the last of the tension from her shoulders and her stomach, even her hands, and she collapsed into the inexplicably comforting hardness of his chest.
“Eric? Is that really you?”
Her broken whisper shattered any last resistance he might have had to the woman in his arms.
He gathered her closer into the protection of his body and stroked his cheek across her hair.
“It’s me, Sookie. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.”
She sniffed and, once he gauged her intention, with his help she turned in his lap to better see his face.
“Where…where have you been? I’ve missed you!”
As the words escaped her lips, Sookie realized that she truly had missed Eric, had missed him far more than she’d ever realized, and as she looked up into his fierce blue eyes…the blue tugged at a memory that seemed too cloudy to find.
The only things she knew for certain in that moment was that her Eric was here, in her home, that she’d missed him painfully, and that he wasn’t flying away from her again, not if she could help it.
He raised a hand and smoothed away a tear streak from her soft cheek.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but I think…no, I know I’ve been waiting for you.”
He shook his head then seemed to memorize her features.
“I’ve been working, living all over the world, but not…living. Had I known you desired my presence,” he stated lightly but the strength of his gaze proved his sincerity, “I would have been at your door long before now, but I did not know.”
“And now that you do?”
The cloud seemed to be receding some, but while vague details and swirling images seemed to be partially visible on the borders of her mind, something about Eric made her feel something she hadn’t felt in so, so long.
“And now that I do, I intent to know you, Sookie.” He took a deep breath then slowly exhaled.
“Much time and distance has come between us so in many ways we’re different people now. I don’t know who you are just as you don’t know who I am, but I suspect in some ways we never did, did we,” he said, his voice trailing off as he glanced around the room.
Sookie was confused. She knew what he was saying, but felt she didn’t.
He turned his head to face her again, his gaze suddenly sharp and focused.
“Hi, I’m Eric Northman.”
The tinge of humor lurking in his eyes sparked Sookie’s own.
“Hi, I’m Sookie Stackhouse. I’m sorry I threw juice on you.”
Intermission – just for fond memories. Coffee and tea services are on the left, hors d’oeuvre, tapas, and the usual high-calorie tasty bits are on the right, and souvenir programs are at the door. We resume in 10…
Eric strode barefoot into the kitchen as Sookie was phoning in her dinner delivery order, and grinned cockily at her when she went momentarily speechless at the sight of his broad naked chest.
He’d towel-dried his hair but hadn’t done much more than finger-comb it, and she thought he looked…delicious.
The way her mouth dropped open and her eyes glazed over soothed his orange juice-soaked ego in a major way.
After she completed her order, she studiously avoided looking at him as she tossed his shirt in the washer then concentrated on filling a small bucket with warm water.
“What are you doing,” he asked solicitously from behind her elbow.
“Gettin’ ready to clean up the orange juice from the carpet in the den before it gets any stickier.”
“Need a hand?”
Sookie gulped as she stared with utmost focus into the slowly filling bucket and Eric’s eyes danced.
As she gathered some cleaning cloths, paper towels, and a brush, she realized just how tiny her kitchen actually was.
Funny how it’d been just the right size for years…
“I’ve got this. I made the mess; I can clean it up. It’s not like I’ve never cleaned up spilled juice before anyway.”
Determined to keep talking, she led the way back into the den and started cleaning up the juice.
She thought it was weird how she’d gone from totally terrified to absolutely fine once she’d realized that the vampire in her midst was Eric, but chose not to think too much about it.
Dwelling on the past had never done her any good.
“I finally got out of the waitressing business several years back but that didn’t mean I stopped cleaning up messing. When I first moved here,” she said as she worked quickly on the largest patch of juice, “I started working as a waitress for this guy who gave me a chance at his restaurant, and as time went on, I became friends with his daughter.”
Finished with the one patch, she moved to another and tried to ignore how sexy even the vampire’s feet were.
“A couple of years ago I started a catering business with a friend of mine, Misty. Her dad was the one who’d hired me but she and I became friends after a while. Anyway we own a catering company called Tasty Morsels.”
She moved on to another spaltter just as Eric answered her.
“I know. That’s how I found you.”
Sookie paused from cleaning that small spot and looked up at him.
“One of the workers carried your scent on her hand, and another, this Misty, carried one of your hairs on your shoulder. Apparently she had hugged you.”
He didn’t tell her that he still had her hair in his pocket.
She looked up at him. All that was said just a little too…innocently. She knew he’d never have actually hurt her friend, but curiosity was nipping away.
Eric rubbed the side of his eyebrow. This wasn’t going as smoothly as it could…
Sookie stood as she dropped the wet cloth, put her hands on her hips, and demanded with a narrowed stare, “Eric, what did you do to Misty?”
He held his hands out in front him and suffused his face with practiced innocence. “Nothing!”
Sookie bent over, picked up one of the wet cloths and brandished it threateningly. “Nothing? And what is your definition of “nothing”?”
Eric backed up a couple of steps and pretended he didn’t see the humor mixed in with the seriousness in her eyes.
“I may have asked her a few questions about you,” he admitted evasively.
He was secretly thrilled that Sookie had relaxed enough around him to voluntarily play…even if she wasn’t entirely playing…
With no warning whatsoever, Eric inexplicably remembered his mother using that tone with him. Granted the pronunciation of his name was different, but that tone…that loving but “let’s have the truth now” tone…
The stunned expression on his face must have alerted Sookie that something important had happened because her next repetition of his name was said with curiosity.
“Eric? What is it? What’s wrong?”
He turned his bemused gaze to her face, and shook his head before smiling broadly.
“I just acquired a new memory,” he joyously declared.
Her expression remained only curious, so he elaborated.
“From my human days. I remembered something, a memory I’d thought lost forever, from my human times – the sound of my mother calling my name.”
His booming laugh filled the townhouse, and the orange juice stain on the carpeting was immediately forgotten as Sookie dropped the sopping towel and threw herself into his welcoming arms.
After a dizzying spin around the living room, he sat down on the couch and seated Sookie so that she was straddling his lap.
“You did? You really remembered something new from so long ago?” He could almost feel her excitement on his behalf.
He nodded happily, his blue eyes sparkling with a barely contained joy.
Sookie put her hands on each side of his face.
“Ok, close your eyes right now and think about this memory, the sound of her voice.”
He started to speak, but she simply hushed him and stroked her thumbs softly over his eyelids while silently encouraging him to think.
As he stilled so did she. Moments later his eyes popped open, and she tried to ignore the red rimming his lower lids.
“You remembered something else?” She whispered to keep the mood quiet.
He nodded, and she grinned widely.
“Good. You can tell me all about it later. The food will be here in a few minutes, so I want you to go to the bedroom, close the door, and crawl in the bed and relax. Concentrate. You never know, you might remember something else!” Her voice rose a bit in her excitement on his behalf, but she didn’t care.
She hauled herself off his lap and pulled his hand to encourage him to get up and follow her suggestion.
Eric was almost in shock. Vampires past a certain age hardly ever remembered anything new from their human days. Generally they rose with most of the recollections they would have, but once in a very blue moon something new would creep in. He was lucky in that he remembered a great deal from his human times, but to be gifted with something new at his age…it was virtually unheard of.
Sookie had given him this miracle, a miracle that had led to another one. Not only did he remember the sound of his mother’s voice – the sound of his mother’s voice calling his name no less – but he remembered the context.
He gladly followed her suggestion and secured himself in the bedroom. Not only was she showing him a kindness in encouraging him to recall as much as he could, but he also needed a few minutes to himself to savor the experience.
Eric curled onto his side and brought her extra pillow to his chest. Savoring the moment, he closed his eyes and allowed the sound of his mother’s voice to call to that part of his mind that maybe, possible, held further unknown treasures of his past.
In an instant his heart had flown back well over a thousand years. He had just reached his pre-teenage years, old enough to do most of a man’s work but still young enough to gleefully tease his mother and father in the privacy of their quarters.
It had been raining earlier that day.
His chores were finished and he and his mother and father were sitting near the hearth while his mother… She was sewing something… His father was whittling…working the wood to create… He was making…something…
Eric forced himself to relax and be grateful for the hazy scene that was slowly appearing in his mind. Sookie’s pillows carried her scent and he allowed it to soothe him.
It had been raining earlier…but they were warm and almost dry from their chores as they rested inside the large room.
Even then he had been aware of his “elite” status, well, the “elite” status of his family, and knew their quarters reflected that in their larger size and in the larger size of their hearth.
Thanks to the weather it wasn’t very bright in the room. Since the rain had stopped his mother had opened the wooden shutters on their two windows to let in what day…
His breath caught.
He was remembering daylight even though it was heavily dimmed from what he guessed was cloud cover from the previous rains. He surveyed the memory with a new mind’s eye to search out and capture the now-odd glow of the sun’s light – what minuscule bit there was – in a room not blaring with artificial illumination but with warm fire-glow and candle light.
What soft light that did filter into the home of his heart was more than enough to soothe his sun-starved senses.
It wasn’t a specific recollection but he remembered then that as the sun sank lower or if a colder wind blew, his mother would go around the large main room tidying the area and securing windows.
Windows then had been a precious if heat-sucking luxury. Windows now held an entirely different feeling.
Eric relaxed as he greedily absorbed every detail he could and committed it to his now eternal vampire memory.
And then he heard the gruff murmur of his father’s voice as the elder man spoke kindly to his mother.
In his mind’s eye he saw his father’s large, strong scarred-up hand as he held out the object of his industry to his mother. He saw neither person’s face, seeing only what he would have noticed during that brief moment in time.
His mother took the surprisingly delicate item into her own smaller hand and turned it side to side as she admired his handiwork, and Eric recognized it for what it was.
A wooden spoon…carved with quiet pride for his mother by his father probably over a period of weeks during his rare downtimes.
The memory went dark at that moment, but Eric didn’t mind. He had a feeling that Sookie’s voice, specifically the caring if faintly exasperated tone of her voice – a tone used by his mother on more than one occasion – had unlocked a door that wouldn’t be completely closed any time soon.
He would savor these new memories for the gifts they truly were.
The passing of several hours went without notice until eventually Sookie quietly opened the bedroom door. Somewhere between awareness and downtime, a state he’d only ever been able to achieve around Godric, Eric listened as Sookie opened a drawer, removed some fabric, then eased the drawer closed. Afterward she tiptoed to the room’s en suite bathroom and had a quiet shower.
He placed the spare pillow back in its original position in hopes she would join him afterward, and returned to mentally reviewing the precious new memories.
Two shocks to his esteemed system in as many nights, not to mention how his well-crafted strategies for bringing Sookie back into his life had been preemptively shot all to hell…there was a lot to consider.
Sometime later he felt her slide onto the bed beside him, and was glad that by then he had found his balance once again. He rolled over to discover that she was resting on her back and staring up at the ceiling.
“Did you remember anything else?” Her quiet voice felt to him as warm as a blanket fresh from the dryer on a cool night.
“Yes,” he replied with hushed joy, his voice as intimate as hers in the calm semi-darkness. Light from a dim nightlight peeked through the partially open bathroom door to help keep the hybrid from banging her toes in total darkness. “A few more memories have resurfaced, and I have reason to feel that more may come, too.”
He sat up and leaned toward the foot of the bed to grab the folded light blanket and spread it up to their waists as he reclined even closer to Sookie than before. Once again on his side, he slowly placed his hand on her flat stomach and absently smoothed his thumb over the material of her sleep shirt.
“Most vampires have powerful memories, some of course better than others, but in general we rise with what memories we’ll have from our former life. It’s not unheard of for vampires to recall new bits and pieces as they go, but it’s not common, either. By the time a vampire is around 500 years old, though, they are resolved to having lost everything not already remembered. That your voice…,” his voice broke.
Sookie turned toward him and slid an arm around his waist in support. Despite their height difference, when she turned her head on her pillow, she was able to face him perfectly. Eric kept his arm about her waist and drew her a little closer.
A moment later, he continued, his eyes now locked with hers. “That your voice brought back to life the memory of my mother’s voice…you do not know how much that means to me. I had come here tonight wanting to reconnect with you. I had wanted to know if we could find again at least the promise of what we once had. Instead you have given me so much more.”
Some night he would tell her how much her subsequent actions had meant to him, how much her encouragement and the time alone to welcome then come to terms with the new memories had meant to him, but not just now.
Right now he had his Sookie in his arms, well, his arm, and the night was still relatively young. Speaking of which…
“Do you have a light-safe place where I can spend the day?”
A strange look crossed her face before she burst out laughing. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.”
At his raised brow, she laughed again, and the sound was music to Eric’s ears.
“When I moved in here these drapes came with the place. They’re the expensive kind that look like regular curtains from the outside but are completely light-tight even at the top, so get comfy, old man.”
Eric solemnly regarded Sookie for a long minute. From what he had pieced together from Misty and from Sookie herself, she hadn’t had an easy time after Compton’s bullshit, and in fact probably still had a ways to go before she reached what would become her new “normal”, but his Sookie was a survivor.
She’d been…bent, bent and bruised and it would probably take him a while to discover the depths of the damage and longer still to help her repair it, but he would do it.
Sure, he owed her for caring for and protecting him during the witch’s spell, but it was far, far more than that.
It would be a slow ride, a ride his libido was quickly coming to realize wouldn’t actually happen anytime soon no matter if they shared the same bed or not, but it would be well worth the wait.
He burst in his own deep, contagious laughter.
“Who are you calling old man? And what’s with the blue nail polish anyway?”
**A/N: There you have the outtake in all its blocky, piece-y, probably badly punctuated glory – it is what it is. As you can tell, the story itself continued on in a vastly different vein and I’m satisfied with how it went.
I am, however, considering writing a bit of a “week-ish later update” that would mainly show interaction between Sookie and Misty, perhaps even bringing in a bit of Pam (no sudden Sookie-love will be happening on her part as she *is* TBPam in all her snarky, Sookie-hatin’ glory, but she’s a more grown-up Pam and that deserves to be mentioned). Hope this didn’t ruin the fantastic opinion y’all of course have of my “extremely brilliant” writing abilities…but I didn’t want to give it too much time since, yeah, it is what it is – an outtake in all its questionable glory. Reviews/comments are adored!