Sookie’s thoughts warred with each other. She had a very hard time reconciling the emotionally-overcharged Viking breaking down in her arms with The Bastard who had kidnapped her, imprisoned her in his filthy dungeon, held her down so that Russell fucking Edgington could fang-rape her, and who subsequently fang-raped her himself only to then leave her bleeding out on that table in Fangtasia.
It was hard to consider that the blond giant coming so understandably unglued in her arms was the same idiot-asshole who had then had the gall to order her to guard the fuck-wad who had so painfully ripped a gash in her neck before almost draining her. It was just as hard to remember that he was the vampire who had thought of her not as a person but as his asset – someone to use at his convenience and with little regard for the consequences of his actions.
As she patted and rubbed his back comfortingly, she knew she was holding the ‘Son’ who had lost his ‘Fader’, and her own tears began to gather and fall in compassion. She knew how badly she had missed her grandmother and parents, especially her own Daddy, and couldn’t imagine the loss compounded by having known them for over a thousand years before they were suddenly gone from her life.
This Eric, this person who was good and kind and loving and loyal who lived inside that hard, bitter, condescending vampire shell, this was the person she…didn’t hate.
Maybe even liked.
Ok, maybe more than some.
She had seen a completely new side to him in Dallas. Regardless of what he said, from the way he had acted toward his Maker in that basement, in that house, and on that damned rooftop, she knew he loved; she knew he felt very deeply a ton of emotions that he would prefer to keep very private. She also knew that he only felt that love and all the other sweet, nice things associated with it for Godric, and probably to a much lesser extent toward Pam.
Seeing this further proof of his ability to love felt weird. Seeing him break down like this made him seem uncomfortably… real.
Finally his sobs ended, and he loosened his hold on her enough to lean back and look into her tear-streaked face.
He raised his hands and wiped her tears away with his thumbs. Even in the midst of such turmoil, for some reason he hated to see her cry.
“Godric truly…lives?” This simply was not possible, and yet, his scent… his words said in her voice… In ainm an Athar agus an Mhic agus an Deartháir.
Eric was afraid to believe it. Was it too good to be true, or was it…true?
“Yes,” she replied with a sniff and a smile as she remembered the ancient vampire. “Yes, he does. He’s in Fairy, and he’s doing perfectly fine.” Eric started to speak, so she quickly added, “I don’t know if he can come to this realm or not, though, but he’s going to find out if he can.”
Eric remained silent as the pondered this new information.
How had Godric gone to Fairy instead of to his final death? Why? And if he had been there all this time, why hadn’t he returned to visit? Why was he only now looking into the possibility?
None of it made sense, and he clutched the thick letter as if it were a lifeline.
Suddenly becoming uncomfortably aware of just how close she was to his large, strong body, Sookie took a couple of steps back then turned to call to her the large basket she’d dropped. When she turned back around, the sight of the big blond Viking staring down at his lost Maker’s letter made her heart soften even more.
Seeing the expression of Eric’s inner turmoil so visible on his handsome face, she did something she hadn’t thought she would ever do again. She invited him into what she no longer thought of as her home.
With the heavy basket floating in the air behind her, Sookie walked over to Eric and patted his arm.
“It’s dark and chilly out here. Why don’t you come in the house, get cleaned up, and read your letter there?”
If her fairy-enhanced vision weren’t so strong now, in the full dark she would have missed the look he gave her – it was as if he were seeing her in an entirely new light.
Humbled, grateful, and speechless from a new realization, Eric simply nodded.
The awe in his eyes – for her – made Sookie’s heart give a strange throb, which reminded her that she knew she couldn’t trust him. What had he been doing here, and obviously waiting on her at that? She sighed – it only meant that he was wanting something.
Really, how often had he ever called or dropped by just to chat?
Sick of being vampire crack and a bit disgusted with herself for almost falling for his crap again, she turned and headed back toward the house, oddly certain he would be following soon.
Eric, meanwhile, had suddenly become aware of the fact that during his long association with Sookie, he had never done anything truly worthy of the consideration that she had shown his Maker, and certainly nothing worthy of the consideration she was currently granting him.
While it was true he had taken bullets for her during the attack on the nest, it had been his fault that she was there in the first place. It had also been his fault she had been put into the position of needing Godric to rescue her from the FoTS bastard. And even if he had offered himself in exchange for her and his Maker’s safety, he had mainly been trying to save his Maker, and, once again, Sookie would never have been in that situation if it hadn’t been for him.
It went without saying that everything that had happened to her in Fangtasia, from her kidnapping to almot being drained, was solely his fault.
Shame and guilt flooded through him.
Before now, yes, he had come to realize that he was unworthy of her actions on the night of Godric’s ending; it was a truth he didn’t particularly enjoy but had to accept. Even so, he had still only judged her in terms of her worth to him as an asset: a telepath – a telepath whose body he wanted warming his bed and whose blood he wanted warming his stomach, yet still only an asset. He had never truly bothered to see her as a person, much less as her own person.
While she was gone, Eric had almost convinced himself that he missed not so much her as her usefulness, but at the back of his mind, he knew it was more. He simply hadn’t wanted to admit it – he was a vampire and vampires didn’t…
According to his reception at her hotel room door,. he also hadn’t wanted to admit just how badly he had fucked up with her, either. Even when he had been trying to get her to listen to him, he had known his excuses were flimsy at best, but he hadn’t really cared. As long as she went along with it, as long as he got what he wanted, it hadn’t mattered. Instead of walking away victorious, he had fled with his tail between his legs with the memory of her pain ringing in his ears and staining his sight memory.
However, fact that he hadn’t ‘won’ stung more than the fact that he had betrayed her trust and her body. As much as he wanted her – her body, her blood, and her services – she hadn’t been a person then, nor even when he had risen that afternoon. She had simply been the means to an end.
Now, in the face of her caring compassion and generous nature, and in the warmth of her understanding and commiseration, he finally understood.
And it hurt.
It hurt knowing just how badly he had underestimated and marginalized her, just how casually he had used her.
She was smart, very smart, only it was a native intelligence he had not had the sense to recognize or appreciate until now. His greatest abuse of her nature to date could have been completely avoided had he simply talked to her, had he simply set aside that half hour, hell, that fifteen minutes it would have taken to discuss his plan with her. He most likely would have gained her approval, but there was a strong chance that she would have come up with a much better plan to rid them of Edgington.
He would never know.
Regret filled his heart. Even upon rising earlier that very afternoon, his main thoughts concerning Sookie had centered on discovering what he had to do to ensure the use of her telepathy at that damned conference.
He had decided that he would even apologize (again) for whatever she wanted him to…so long as it ‘bought’ him the use of her mind and, hopefully, her delicious body, too. When he hadn’t been able to find her in Shreveport, he had decided to swing by her old house as almost a matter of habit – a habit he hadn’t wanted to risk feeding since the night of her return. When he had seen a vehicle parked in the yard, he had landed to investigate, and sure enough the scent told him it was Sookie.
He had followed her scent and light footprints until both stopped abruptly. Knowing of her heritage, he had then investigated the area thoroughly, walking silently and intently inhaling until he finally located the Portal he suspected must be nearby.
Then he waited. He knew that at some point she would return, and when she did, he would be ready. He intended to force her to listen to him, to hear his best excuses and fall victim to his most practiced sorrowful looks. Her anger with him didn’t set well, and he did want to make things better between them.
And he was sorry – sorry he had been ‘forced’ to use her in his plans to save himself, and her, too, of course, from the cruel insanity that had been Russell fucking Edgington.
He was sorry that he had been ‘forced’ to use her in an attempt to save his Maker.
He was also certain that he would eventually be ‘sorry’ that he would be ‘forced’ to coerce her assistance with the upcoming Conference.
The sudden realization of what a selfish bastard he was sickened him. He had thought he’d felt badly over his treatment of her before, but it was nothing like this. Something about her seemed different somehow, and that “something different” seemed to call to that place within himself that made him see her for who she really was, for the person she really was.
Yet, even knowing him to be the selfishly manipulative, arrogant, high-handed bastard that he was, she had still offered him proof of his Maker’s existence, had offered him the comfort of her arms as he broke down, and was even now offering him the use of the privacy of what once had been her home.
Eric lowered his head. After a moment he straightened up, squared his shoulders, and followed her to the door of the house still selfishly registered in his own name.
**A/N: Thank you for waiting so patiently for more of this story. In the next chapter or so Eric will tell Sookie more about the meanings behind In ainm an Athar agus an Mhic agus an Deartháir – your patience about that is also appreciated. Now, I I had a hard time with this chapter. I wanted to show that Eric *had* missed her, that he *had* realized that he’d treated her badly, and that he *had* felt guilty for it. The thing is, however, he hadn’t really, truly realized that he had been considering her nothing more than an attractive, tasty asset that he could use when he wanted, then set aside until she would be useful again. While he felt uncomfortably vulnerable things for her, the vampire part of him had not realized that she was, indeed, her own person. I hope that translated well? What did you think? of the chapter?**