**A/N: Eric’s thoughts are in italics. Enjoy!**
When Eric rose in the cubby that next afternoon, he made a point to memorize all he could in minute detail. He fully realized that once he returned the old farmhouse to its rightful owner, he might never be allowed inside again, and so he wanted to make the most of these last few precious hours.
He started to gather the few books and odd items of clothing he had accumulated in the secure room, then changed his mind. While the items were of inconsequential value, they would now always remind him of Sookie and, especially, the way he had once seen and treated her. It was only right that they remain in the cubby after his departure.
However, before he left the small haven he did tidy everything, then rose and secured the doors after bidding it a sad farewell. He took his time visiting every room in the old house, letting his gaze flow along the now familiar furnishings and decorations that comprised his Sookie’s past. He gave little notice to the items he had replaced for her and concentrated on the things that had truly belonged to her family.
He didn’t know why she had suddenly decided that she didn’t want the place, but he knew it to be an important part of her history and was determined to give it back to her. If she wanted to sell it, burn it to the ground, or turn it into a commune, it would be her decision to make – he would simply purchase it outright in such cases.
If she chose to keep it but never again allow him entry, sadly, that would also be her decision.
He could tell by her scent that recently she had very briefly visited the house, but mourned a bit that her old scent was almost entirely faded.
Eric made one last pass through the kitchen, the living room and the bathroom where the night before he’d been allowed to salvage his pride, and then he entered Sookie’s old bedroom.
On her bed and in her closet her former scent was barely detectable even to his enhanced ability, and he sighed. Rarely had he ever felt the passing of time so clearly.
Eventually, with Godric’s letter tucked safely next to his chest and one last lingering look at the old house, he flew toward Shreveport.
Doing the right thing had never felt so…lonely, but it was a necessary first step.
Once he arrived at his Shreveport residence the first item on his agenda was to shake off an annoying sense of melancholy that had followed him from Bon Temps. He was Eric Northman, for fuck’s sake, and one of the many items on the list of things thousand-year-old vampires didn’t do was mope around.
He changed his shirt, but decided not to shower…the scent of the cubby on his remaining clothing and person was strangely comforting.
After draining a couple bags of donor blood, he went to his study to reply to his Maker’s letter…a task he never thought he’d have the privilege of doing again. The words seemed to flow from his pen with surprising ease considering the wealth of feelings and thoughts he’d been dealing with since Godric’s passing, and the resulting ‘novel’ wasn’t as long as he’d thought it would be, either. It was, however, only the first of what he hoped would be many such correspondences.
Of course the idea of being able to converse with Godric face-to-face teased at his heart, and he savored the thought. If his Maker truly was able to figure out how to visit this so-called human realm…
Eric didn’t dare hope for such a miracle, especially since apparently being under the wrong sun had such a detrimental effect on the old guy. He would gladly do without that one last hug, that one last glimpse into his Maker’s soul, to keep Godric safe.
Now finished with his letter, he glanced at the clock to see if it was too late to call his Sookie. Surprised to discover it was only a little after 9:00 pm, he grinned a grin only slightly less devious than it could have been as he reached for his phone.
As he dialed the number now stored in his memory, he considered what he would say to her now that he realized how…
Well, that was fast…and not much to work with, either, but at least she didn’t sound angry…
“Good evening, Ms. Brigant. May I have a moment of your time?”
“Cut it out, Eric. What do you want?”
Still not sounding angry…always a plus…
He laughed then, the genuine sound rising from deep in his chest. In some ways his Sookie would never change.
“My apologies, lovely Sookie. I have replied to Godric’s letter and I wanted to know if you would be willing to take it to him?”
“Yes, of course I will.”
I know it’s more for Godric’s sake than mine, but I’ll sure as hell take it.
“Thank you. When are you planning to visit the other realm? Also, since you’ve returned here, I need to return to you the deed to your house.”
“My… Eric, you can keep it, really. And I wasn’t planning on going back for a while, but…ok, maybe…um…tomorrow?”
He heard some papers being shuffled in the background and wondered if she was really so busy that she had to consult a dayplanner of sorts. Considering how little he actually knew about her in the past – much less now – anything was possible.
It ate at him that knew so little about her, about who she really was, about what was going on in her life and who she was spending her time with and… Wryly he wondered if she would be willing to fill out a questionnaire.
He started pacing as he scoured his brain trying to think of something, anything, to keep her on the phone longer.
Ah, well, at least she’s still talking to me…
“Tomorrow would be perfect. Shall I meet you at your…in Bon Temps, or would you rather I come to you at your hotel room?”
“You can meet me here at the hotel at…um…is around this time ok?”
Ahh, so she was still at the hotel…good to know…
“That would be fine. Maybe we could go out to dinner before you leave? I’ve heard good things about several new human-vampire restaurants here in Shreveport…”
He let his voice trail off in hopes his words would spark her curiosity.
“I don’t think so, Eric. I have a lot to do tomorrow.”
Nope. Guess not. Oh, well, it wasn’t as though this was going to be either quick or easy…but at least she didn’t say “no” to later?
“As you wish, but just so you know, my invitation will remain open.”
Eric was already mentally preparing a rather large florist order.
“Ahh, ok, well, I’ve got to… Hey, can I ask you something?”
His ears perked up and his eyes glittered at the pure curiosity in her voice and with the notable fact that she was extending the conversation.
“Of course, anything.”
Eric forgot to add on his customary cautions.
“What does ‘In ainm an Athar agus an Mhic agus an Deartháir’ mean? I didn’t have a chance to ask Godric before I left, but it was obviously something that meant a lot to you and him. He insisted that I repeat it often enough to get it right so that you’d know what I was tryin’ to say.”
Although her pronunciation of the words was noticeably less precise than the evening before, Eric was still impressed with her effort. The subject at hand, however, was near and dear to his heart, and he wanted to give the explanation the weight, and the time, that it was worth.
He cleared his throat before asking, “Do you have a few minutes?”
After a moment of silence, she replied, “Sure, um, yeah. Take your time.”
Her voice was somewhat softer than before, which told Eric that she was prepared to truly listen.
“Back then, when I first rose, there were no reliable or trustworthy forms of communication. While Godric kept me by his side for far longer than is required by a Maker, still, short trips apart were sometimes necessary. After what you would call my baby-vamp years were over, our partings would last longer, going first from a few nights to a few weeks, and so on until years, until decades would pass.”
In the way of any good ancient storyteller, he paused to let her consider his words and to allow the feelings evoked by his words to sink in.
“During those times, survival was never assured, even for vampires, and so we needed to develop a way of passing reliable information to each other should certain situations arise, especially if the information were of life or death importance. But as I said, we lacked any sort of dependable, trustworthy forms of communication. While our exchanges were mostly in written form as even glamoured messengers couldn’t be trusted to remember everything correctly, to prove that the message truly had come from the other and could therefore be trusted, we developed a code phrase. ‘In ainm an Athar agus an Mhic agus an Deartháir’ very roughly translates to ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Brother‘.”
Eric was quiet for a minute as he became lost in the memories.
Finally, with a laugh, he added, “Godric enjoyed the word-play on what he still considers a new religion.”
As hoped, Sookie laughed a little at his humor, but then stayed silent for a little while until she softly replied, “It’s just so hard to imagine how very long y’all been alive. You both must have seen and done so much.”
The sweetness of her voice sent a tingle down his spine.
In a noncommittal tone, Eric replied, “Yes. We have.”
Fuck! I finally have her talking and of course I have no idea what the fuck to say.
Silence again reigned for several moments until Sookie finally spoke, her voice somewhat more professional, “I’d like to hear some of your stories sometime. Godric has told me some things about his life, and it was really interesting. But, yeah, um, so I’ll see you tomorrow night at around 9:00, then. Goodnight, Eric.”
Suddenly he remembered one of her lectures so long ago about telephone manners.
Eric pondered the conversation as he connected his phone to the charger.
That…that went well… There was no screaming, no yelling, no tears shed by either of us. She’s agreed to see me tomorrow night, and she actually asked a question and listened well when I spoke…and I listened with both my ears when she spoke, too, so that was good.
She’s still in her hotel room…need to send her flowers.
He grabbed up his phone again then spent almost an hour with a well-known Supe flower shop. A bouquet of red roses in full bloom, interspersed with baby’s breath and the softest, wispiest of ferns, surrounded by daisies was scheduled to be delivered to the front desk as soon after opening as the florist could manage. In the center of the bouquet stood a single purple hyacinth surrounded by its own baby’s breath. He hoped she would understand the meanings, but regardless, it would be a striking bouquet.
As he replaced his phone on the charger, he found himself once again thinking about Sookie.
I wonder what papers she was shuffling around? Will she want to talk tomorrow evening? Is there anything I should…
Oh, fuck – what the hell has Godric told her?
**A/N: Here’s the site where I found the language of flowers info if you’d like to decipher his intentions: http://thelanguageofflowers.com/ Ok, so that was their first official convo after Eric’s epiphany. Words were spoken, and I think words were heard and considered, too. What did you think?**