Summary: (AU) Ready to settle down after years of roaming, Eric Northman is scouting his new territory when he comes across a tiny child, dying from wounds sustained in a car accident. That baby is Sookie Stackhouse. How will their lives be changed because of this early meeting?
July 1, 1992
ERIC NORTHMAN POV
It was my ninth anniversary—my ninth year in Louisiana.
I had become the sheriff of Area 5 in Louisiana on July 1, 1983 and had signed a thirty year contract. I was almost a third of the way done.
I had chosen the position for three main reasons. First, Area 5 was relatively close to my maker, who was the sheriff of Area 9 in Texas. At my top speed, I knew that I could fly to Godric from Shreveport, the largest city in Area 5, in just under three hours. Second, I chose the position because the Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq, was known for her lack of involvement in her sheriffs’ affairs. As long as they sent in their tithes accordingly and kept the peace in their areas, she stayed out of their business—and their hair. I had liked the idea of being mostly autonomous in an area that was mostly rural. After a thousand years of exploration—which had turned into roaming somewhere along the way—I figured that I would try to put down some roots for a change.
The third reason I chose my little slice of northern Louisiana is somewhat difficult to explain. Yet that reason has becoming the guiding purpose of my life: Sookie Stackhouse.
“Tell me our story,” the precocious ten-year-old ordered me.
“Which part?” I asked, amusement rippling through my voice.
“The beginning,” she instructed.
I smiled as Sookie snuggled in one of the quilts I had gotten to ensure her comfort and warmth. The night was warm, but my cabin—built on the property northwest of the Stackhouses’ family home—was built into one of the few legitimate hillsides in the area. And it had been built mostly with rock; thus it stayed cool in the summer, but a fire could warm it well in the winter.
Sookie was half-sitting and half-lying on the small couch I’d put into the room for her. My three-room cabin was the very definition of basic with a small kitchen and living area in the main room, which was about twenty feet by sixteen feet. Behind the kitchen, there was a small bathroom—put in with Sookie in mind. Further into the hillside was a light-tight bedroom that I’d put in for myself.
“Eric,” she said with her adorable pout, “start! Gran says I have to be home by midnight. Come on—it’s my birthday,” she added, her brown eyes pleading her cause. “You gotta tell it on my birthday.”
I chuckled. “Well—it all started when the vampire queen told me that I could be her sheriff in this area.”
“But you weren’t sure if you wanted to be,” she chimed in.
“Nope. I wasn’t,” I agreed. “I’d never been to Area 5 before, so I told Sophie-Anne that I needed to scout the region—in order to see if I wanted to live here or not.”
Sookie smiled. “And that’s when you found me.”
I nodded. “Yep. It was my second night looking around Area 5 when I smelled you.”
“My blood,” Sookie said with an impish grin.
“Yep,” I replied, trying to keep my tone even. Anytime Sookie was hurt—whether it be emotional or physical—it cut me to the quick. The first time I’d seen her was no different.
“Then what happened?” she asked.
“Well—smelling your blood, I tracked you down, and I found out that you and your mother had been in a car accident.”
“‘Cause she’d hit a deer,” Sookie said.
“She had,” I responded. “Your mother was unconscious in the front seat of the vehicle, and you were in the back—crying and hurt.” I didn’t tell her that my fangs had popped down when I first smelled her blood and that for a split second, I had contemplated draining her before I got ahold of my bloodlust.
Sookie, exactly one year old at the time, had been hit by some of the glass from the shattered windshield of the old car.
“I had a big cut,” Sookie supplied. “I gotta scar on my leg.”
“You did have a big cut,” I recalled. Her face had been tattered with several shallow lacerations, but it was the large piece of glass protruding from her leg that was threatening her life.
“So you made me better with your blood.”
“Yep,” I responded. As soon as I’d controlled my baser instincts and had avoided draining the child, I had pricked my finger and had fed her my blood. Though a tiny thing, Sookie had latched onto the wound quickly, as if intuiting the intention of my blood. Her eyes, so big and luminous even then, had shifted something in my very existence, and I still wasn’t sure what that was or why I’d let it happen.
Maybe she’d found my soul.
I’d carefully taken the glass from her leg, and—knowing that she might not survive even with my blood unless I helped the wound to close—I had licked the slice, helping it to seal. The fact that she still had a small scar despite my efforts was proof that she’d almost died.
And—from that moment on—I had been bound to the little girl before me.
By the magic that enabled bonds to form.
I loved Sookie as I had loved my own human children once upon a time. But I also loved her beyond that. I was waiting for her—waiting for her to grow up.
Waiting to see if she’d grow up to choose me—as my soul seemed to have chosen her.
Waiting to see if the feeling about us was right.
“I’m gonna marry you one day,” Sookie announced. It was not the first time she’d made such a proclamation.
“But I am a vampire and you are a fairy,” I said playfully. “And you know that our two species dislike each other—very much.”
The little girl shrugged and looked nonplussed by my comment. “You love me and I love you. And you’re friends with Grandpa Finn, so not all vampires and fairies are mean to each other.”
I chuckled. “I cannot deny your logic, little one. But friendship is very different from marriage.”
She shrugged again, obviously not caring at all about the millennia-old strife between fairies and vampires.
“I am gonna marry you,” she said again, her chin jutting out stubbornly.
“But it is still many years before you come of age, little one. I’m sure you will find someone better by then,” I said teasingly.
Her nose scrunched up as if she were smelling rotten eggs, and her little head shook from side to side. “Nope. I want you,” she said intractably. “You are mine. My Eric,” she claimed.
Though human and fairy, Sookie sometimes behaved very much like a vampire.
She tilted her head as if studying me. “Why else would you not get any older? You have to stay the way you are to wait for me to catch up,” she added with certainty.
I couldn’t help but to smile at her. “You know what I have said about this. What Adele and Finn have said too.”
She sighed as if put-upon. “I know. I have to wait until I’m done with college before you can be my boyfriend.”
I chuckled. Sookie had announced her plans to be a lawyer one evening when we were watching an old Perry Mason episode together. She’d been four years old at the time, and her plans hadn’t shifted. When she’d proclaimed that I was to be her husband not a year later, Adele, Finn, and I had sat down and discussed the ‘rules’ with Sookie, and one of them was that she needed to understand all of her options before settling for a vampire as a mate. Not surprisingly, she’d stubbornly resisted the notion; however, she’d eventually accepted the ‘rules.’
“But after college, you’re gonna be my boyfriend and marry me,” she said firmly.
“We’ll have to see. Remember, you might change your mind. And—until then—you must consider other alternatives for yourself. You might fall in love with someone else, Sookie,” I said, keeping my own voice even. The real probability that Sookie would choose another ate at me, though a big part of me knew that would be best for her.
“But I don’t like human boys,” she said mulishly. “They think girls are gross. Even nice ones like Hoyt think girls have cooties.”
I chuckled. “I was once a human boy, and I can assure you that their thoughts will change on the matter. And then there are Weres and shifters and demons and fairies that you might meet.”
She scrunched up her nose again. “I don’t wanna marry a fairy,” she frowned as her face became clouded with remembered sorrow. “Fairies killed Mommy and Daddy.”
“Yes,” I said softly. “But not all fairies are bad. You’re part fairy, after all. And there are other part Faes whom you might meet in the future.”
She scoffed. “I know, and Grandpa’s a fairy too, but I don’t have to like it. And that’s why I’m gonna marry a vampire. Well—that and because you are my vampire.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle again.
The outspoken Sookie had made her own preferences known regarding her future marriage many times over the years. She’d decided that I was her “prince”—her words, not mine. And she wasn’t to be dissuaded.
For my own part, I’d always treated Sookie in a way that was unlike any conventional relationship I knew of. Being so much older than her—both physically and mentally—I treated her like a daughter or a younger sister in a lot of ways. I watched out for her. I made sure that all of her needs were met. And I spent time with her. But I also felt more for Sookie. Given that she was only ten, that “more” was not a romantic feeling as much as it was a feeling of inevitability. The moment I’d laid eyes on the infant in the car, something in me had altered irrevocably.
Before that moment, I’d been listless. But I’d also been selfish and certain of very few things. One of those things had been that humans were only good for what they could do for me—which, most often, meant giving me blood and/or an orgasm.
But when Sookie’s eyes locked into mine from her tiny car seat ten years before, she had made me blink. And—in blinking—I had seen the possibility of my life being more than it had ever been before. Even nine years later, I couldn’t name what that “more” would entail, but I knew it had something to do with the girl who was now dozing off on the couch.
I’ve never been one to believe much in fate—beyond thinking that it was what I made for myself. I’d also discounted notions of romantic love and soul mates as the imaginings of humans who were looking for meaning in their insignificant lives.
My priorities were simple. I obeyed my maker. I trained my child. I made moves designed to secure my own future and fortune. I drank the blood I needed to live. I fucked the people—women or men—who elicited my lust. I survived time itself. I adapted.
But Sookie coming into my life seemed to both slow down and quicken my existence. My presence in her blood changed me, even as it anchored me to myself.
When can you expect more? I’m going to try for Fall 2015