Story Synopsis: While Eric was recovering from the burns he sustained at the end of Season 6, Sookie was trying to learn from her past mistakes and move on. But how can she move forward when her heart belongs to a vampire who seems to have fallen off the face of the earth? This is a companion piece to “Snjóflóð,” which should be read first.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. No profit has been made from this work. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. The events in this story have been inspired by True Blood and the Southern Vampire Mysteries book series.
Spoiler Alert: Spoilers through Season 6 of True Blood.
A/N: I refuse to accept Stepford-wife Sookie, so I will be writing my own version of the last season of the show. However, I will not be starting until after the show ends so that I know what I want to retain and how much I need to fix! Meanwhile, I offer you this companion piece to “Snjóflóð.” That one-shot and this one will be the jumping off points for my version of Season 7 when it comes. I hope you enjoy!
With mixed feelings, I stared at Bill’s image on the television screen as he talked with Lawrence O’Donnell. I thought—just for a moment—about how I wished that Anderson Cooper was the one conducting the interview. He was who I watched when I wanted the news AND eye candy. It didn’t really matter that he batted for the other team either. He was still cute.
Plus—I wished that Lawrence would have pushed Bill further with his questioning. The “king” shouldn’t have been let off as easily. In fact, by the end of the interview, Lawrence seemed downright charmed by Bill’s practiced responses and mannerisms! And—for a minute—even I was a little charmed! I shook my head and sighed, reminding myself that I knew better—reminding myself just how convincing Bill’s act could be.
But that didn’t make it any less of an act.
I sighed for a very different reason as Alcide interrupted my television watching. He was incredibly sigh-worthy, after all. Thankful for the distraction from Bill and the other problems of the supernatural world, I raised my shields, turned off my thinking, and let Alcide playfully take me to bed.
It was a funny thing about the mind, however. It always seemed to turn itself back on—even when thinking led to pain—even when not thinking would have been so much easier.
The Next Day, Late Afternoon
It had been more than six months since I’d had any vampire blood. Alcide had told me three months before that he could no longer smell any vampire blood inside of me—not Warlow’s, not Bill’s. Not even Eric’s.
But—despite the lack of vampire blood—I had still felt “something” inside me—something hollow. An ache.
Wanting to know what I was feeling, but not being able to contact my great-grandfather Niall at the time, I’d sought out Holly at Bellefleur’s, which Arlene had bought from Sam when he was elected mayor in a special election. The townsfolk had opted for him over the eighty-year-old Sid Matt Lancaster because it was “war time.” I couldn’t blame them; I’d voted for Sam too because, by then, the groups of infected vampires were getting more and more common, especially in the South. And it had become clear that the federal government was going to concentrate its forces on protecting larger cities, leaving small towns to fin for themselves.
Holly had confirmed that the vampire blood was out of my system; however, she too had sensed that there was “something” still there, but she had no idea what it was. When Niall had shown up to visit a week later, he’d—thankfully—been able to explain “the something.” It was a bond that I’d made with Eric. According to Niall, a bond was more enduring than a blood tie—which is what I’d had with Bill and then Warlow. Apparently, a bond was used to create a stronger connection between supernatural creatures, so it had been my “fae-ness” that had enabled it to form. Niall told me that what I had been feeling was Eric’s life force. He’d also assured me that—unless the bond was thrice made—it would eventually fade.
In a decade or two!
He’d patted my arm paternally and had called that time period a “blink” of an eye. And maybe it was to a Supe, but, since I was mostly human, it most certainly didn’t feel like a “blink” to me!
Still—of all the vampires I could have formed a bond with—I was glad that it had been done with Eric. And, as some consolation, at least the bond helped to assure me that he was still alive—somewhere.
Eric had been MIA since what Bill had called his “berserker rampage” through the vamp camp. Despite Bill’s obvious attempts to paint Eric as inhuman in his actions during that period of time—in order, no doubt, to deflect attention away from Bill’s own murderous deeds—I’d not been able to drum up any sympathy for the humans whom Eric had slain at the vamp camp.
In fact, the more information that had come out about the vamp camp—thanks to Anderson Cooper’s investigative reporting—the more horrific the story had become. Governor Burrell’s plan to ultimately exterminate all vampires was appalling enough. The sickening experiments he’d had conducted on them in the meantime—seemingly just for his own enjoyment—was an open window into just how sick and twisted Burrell was.
And, of course, Burrell’s plan to murder all the vampires using Hepatitis-V had backfired—big time.
Hep-V had mutated soon after it had been introduced, and now groups of infected vampires wandered aimlessly at night—looking for blood. I liked The Walking Dead as much as the next person. I even had a “Daryl Rules!” T-shirt. But I was already tired of the latest threat. And, of course, the infected vamps had to be even worse than “ordinary” zombies! They still had minds—at least to a certain extent. But all they wanted was blood—and not TrueBlood either.
Meanwhile, after the Warlow fiasco, all I’d wanted had been a quiet life, and I’d done my best to get it. And I’d pretty much succeeded—at least on the surface.
But—just like with a muddy pond—there was a lot hiding beneath the surface. And I had been doing my damnedest not to stir the waters—even though I knew that was cowardly on my part.
However, I just hadn’t felt brave enough before, but something inside of me seemed to be shifting.
My life had felt like an avalanche had torn through it six months before. And—as I looked in the mirror readying myself for the “pairing party” that Sam and Bill had organized—it felt to me like another one was about to be unleashed. Gran had called such events “come to Jesus” moments.
The morning after Warlow had died, I’d opened a bottle of tequila at 8:00 a.m. I’d decided that if I was gonna have a “come to Jesus” day, then I wanted to be seeing him in the flesh by the time our conversation was over.
I didn’t see him—no matter how drunk I got. But I did see all of my biggest mistakes—lining up in front of me clearer and clearer with each tequila shot I took.
Major mistake one: Bill.
I had refused six months ago—and I refused now—to see my early days with Bill as an error on my part. I hadn’t been aware of the influence his blood had over me. I couldn’t have been! Ironically, it took having a drop or two of Eric’s blood for me to feel that potential for influence and to begin understanding what Bill’s blood may have been doing to my feelings.
But I know that I’d been beginning to see the truth by the time Bill had asked me to marry him. That’s why I’d rushed to the bathroom. Luckily, Bill’s being kidnapped by Russell’s Weres had prevented me from making a grave mistake.
The first time I’d met Bill, I’d been intrigued to be sure—but also wary. By the end of that night—after I’d supposedly saved him from the Rattrays—I’d been downright creeped out by him, though still curious about the person I couldn’t hear. However, within a week, I’d thought that I was in love with Bill!
I’d realized that—had Bill not orchestrated my attack by the Rats and given me his blood—I would have likely remained wary of him. I might have let him star in some of my fantasies, but I doubted I would have developed deeper feelings for him. And the experience with the disco triplets would have no doubt left me washing my hands of Bill for good! After all, he’d let them paw me like I was a piece of meat for quite a while—as he’d sat rather creepily in the corner, just watching them do it. Yep! I would have told Bill “Sayonara” after that—no matter how curious Gran was about his past. I’d spilled whole pitchers of beer over men’s heads just for patting my ass. But Bill had allowed his so-called friends to touch me in ways that had reminded me of the abuse I’d suffered from Uncle Bartlett.
Yet—what had I done? I’d “rewarded” Bill with a kiss the very next night!?
Yes—there were a hundred moments in my relationship with Bill when I didn’t act like myself—when I didn’t think like myself.
I was naïve—maybe even ignorant—in those early days with Bill, but that was only part of the way that the deck had been stacked against me. I’d done the best that a twenty-five-year-old virgin telepath could have done in the face of a man who seemed to love her: a man she couldn’t “hear.”
A man whose blood was influencing her almost from the start.
In fact, I would challenge anyone to try to do better in my shoes. And I would call him or her a liar if he or she said it was possible!
Yes—during my “come to Jesus tequila-fest,” I had relived all of the moments when I should have doubted Bill. But rose-colored glasses plus a blood tie I didn’t understand had been reason enough for me to let myself off the hook about those early mistakes.
However, that didn’t mean I was blameless. On the contrary, I had made a grave mistake when it came to Bill. My error was that—even after I’d known about his duplicity—I let myself begin to trust him again. And trusting him—even just a little—was a fucking mistake! And a bullet in my gut in the graveyard gave him all the reason he needed to put more of his blood into me.
During shot number four of the tequila, I’d realized something that the stress of the time had made me blind to: the witches hadn’t been carrying guns with regular bullets in them, and the bullet that had been lodged in me until Bill’s blood had forced it out was made of lead. At best, the shot was friendly fire—a mistake. At worst—my being shot was a calculation on Bill’s part. But it didn’t matter. The damage was well and truly done once more of Bill’s blood was in my system.
But—my even bigger mistake than trusting Bill? Ironically, I made it because I wasn’t ignorant of the potential effects of vampire blood by then.
I understood almost immediately that I felt love for Bill again, and I also figured that it had to have been his blood that had caused it. I mean—really! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had a dream where I was the fairy-salad in an Eric-Bill sandwich. Maybe that kind of thing was some women’s fantasy, but—for me—the idea of a threesome had never been appealing. It had just never seemed “comfortable” for the woman when I saw flashes of such things from people’s thoughts.
Anyway—in questioning my “new” feelings for Bill—I had done right. What I had done wrong—very wrong—was in categorizing Eric’s blood in me the same way that I’d categorized Bill’s. I’d questioned Bill’s, so I’d begun to question Eric’s as well.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty. But—at the time—it had been like I couldn’t see at all! Actually, that’s not true. The fact was that all I let myself see was the pain I would feel if I learned everything with Eric had been just as much of a fabrication as everything with Bill. So I’d grouped the two vampires together and had run from both of them because—paradoxically—that had been much easier than running from just Eric would have been.
Looking back, I know that comparing Eric to Bill was the biggest mistake I have made in my life—bar none. And that error snowballed into my committing more and more mistakes.
Major mistake two: the whole situation surrounding Tara’s death. Yes—Tara was undead and was now coming to grips with being a vampire, but who had I been to play God and blackmail Pam into “making” Tara—all in order to alleviate my guilt?
And why had I felt guilty? Debbie fucking Pelt! She’d come to kill me, but had killed Tara instead. However, instead of owning to the fact that I had killed that she-bitch before she could shift and come after me and Lafayette too, I’d tried to hide everything. And—instead of letting Tara go—I’d begged for Pam’s help because I couldn’t stand the thought of Tara dying for me.
Maybe I’d been right to feel guilty, but—at the time—I’d felt guilty about the wrong things. I should never have felt like I was responsible for Debbie’s actions. Debbie—despite having multiple chances—had decided to get high on V and kill me. That was her doing! Tara had valiantly tried to protect me. That was her choice! And I would have done the same for her. I should have honored Tara’s sacrifice. My mistake had been in not protecting Tara by letting her go. My mistake had been in not calling the police and admitting to killing Debbie—even if I got sent to jail for the act.
Major mistake three had come on the heels of my previous blunders: Almost sleeping with Alcide when I was drunk and depressed six months before. I’d felt guilty about killing Debbie and I’d been torn up over Lafayette’s words to me. I truly had felt like the angel of death then—like a plague that killed anything it touched. So I’d intended to “use” my friend to feel better. Thank God for my gag reflex—because if I’d not thrown up on Alcide, then I would have ruined our friendship. Yes, I had eventually started a relationship with Alcide, but—if I would have allowed myself to sleep with him just to use him—I would have become the kind of woman who couldn’t look at herself in the mirror without cringing.
Of course, I eventually did become that selfsame woman when I used Warlow, and that brings me to major mistake four.
Now—don’t get me wrong. Who would have suspected a vampire in someone you saved from an apparent vampire attack? In the morning! While the sun was out! Moreover, Warlow’s skin had been warm like a human’s—or a fairy’s.
And the whole situation with his killing my parents only because they’d tried to kill me first was fucked up beyond all recognition! When I’d fucked Warlow, I’d been as raw emotionally as any person could be. My brain had been turned off because—simply put—it couldn’t take anymore. So I’d used him for his body—just as I’d intended to use Alcide when I’d been drunk out of my mind.
Mind off, body on. It had not been my finest hour.
I’d “heard” so many women thinking about how they’d had sex with people because they wanted to feel better—because they wanted to forget their pain, if only for a little while. Those episodes with Alcide and Warlow had happened because I was trying to do just that.
Of course, if I had been thinking, I would have recalled that every woman I’d ever “heard” thinking about such a thing, had ended up feeling worse than before—dirty in a way. I’d been no different.
My mistake after having sex with Warlow had been in imagining that he might have a little bit of morality—and sanity. I’d tried to see a little good in him even after my brain had popped back on and I’d learned that my great-grandfather had been sent into another dimension by him. Plus, there was the fact that Warlow had killed all the fairies in the club, whom I’d basically gift-wrapped for him! Yeah, giving Warlow the benefit of the doubt—even for a second—had been a major screw-up!
Major mistake five: Sam. When I’d told him that I figured that he and I might end up together, I knew in my heart that I would have been “settling” if that’s how fate would have worked out. I guess I just wanted Sam to tell me that he still wanted me like he once had—instead of putting me into my proper place and letting me know that he’d moved on. I had deserved his anger back then. And I was glad that he’d reacted the way he had. Otherwise, I would now have an even bigger regret. Thankfully—Sam and I were friends again, at least to a certain extent, but I could still feel the distance between us. I couldn’t blame him for that.
Major mistake six: Eric. Not only had I lumped Eric into the same category as Bill, but also I hadn’t followed my heart where he was concerned. When he gave me back my home after Bill became Billith, I had wanted to yell out the same word I’d yelled out to him one other time: “Wait.”
Instead, I’d rescinded his invitation because of my misguided hope that I could be “normal.” Thus, in one fell-swoop, I’d ignored both who I really was and also the man I still loved—not because of his blood in me, but despite it.
I hadn’t seen Eric again after that. I never spoke another word to the man who had honored my wishes so faithfully that he’d left me alone, just as I’d asked. Oh—he’d factored into my decisions after that night. Part of agreeing to Billith’s plan concerning Warlow had been to make sure that Eric would be safe. Yes—I’d wanted the others, including Tara and Jessica, to be safe, but it was Eric’s face I’d seen when Bill told me about his dire predictions at the vamp camp.
And it was Eric I had thought about while I’d listened to Bill drone on and on about his experience as a “god” on television. Other than that, I’d done a pretty good job of avoiding the “reformed” vampire during the last six months.
I’d come to terms with the fact that I would always have a kind of “soft spot” for Bill. Despite his actions and intentions, when I was with him, I had been a young woman having her first relationship with a man. I had been a woman moving through so many rites of passage—my first “real” kiss, my first sexual experience with someone else, and my first time feeling romantic love. Now, I knew that those things were all influenced by Bill’s blood. But they were the only “firsts” I would ever get—even if they weren’t altogether real.
So I had figured I had two choices. I could look at every moment with Bill as an extended manipulation—where he systematically took my control away from me and abused me both body and soul. Or I could try to see my first relationship as a learning experience. As a matter of fact, both options were the truth.
However, focusing on the first option would have meant continued pain for me and continued power for Bill. So the second option was what I’d chosen.
I’d figured out that I couldn’t let a relationship change the essence of who I was—whether that change was caused by vampire blood or my own insecurities. Or both.
I’d just learned too late to say what I should have said to Eric the last time I’d seen him: “Wait. I love you. Don’t go.”
I sighed. As of this morning, I knew that I was now in danger of falling into old patterns again—of letting myself accept an evolution of my relationship with Alcide—even though my true feelings for him hadn’t grown. Staying with Alcide would be the easy thing—after all. But I’d learned that doing the “right” thing was better even if it was harder.
I would be hurting Alcide when I broke off our romance, but he was starting to think of me more seriously than we’d agreed was “okay” when we’d started seeing each other. Back then, we’d discussed how we both wanted to keep things casual. He was still getting over Debbie. And I was still getting over—everything. I had been perfectly happy with our arrangement, but—even though that casualness was still what I wanted—I could tell that it was no longer what Alcide wanted.
However, it had become very clear to me that you don’t always get what you want.
I had tried. Six months before—after my “come to Jesus” day— I’d woken up with a crushing tequila hangover and a four-step plan.
Step one: never drink tequila again.
Step two: make sure Bill understood that I didn’t want anything to do with him.
Step three: find Eric and tell him I’d made a mistake.
Step four: get a job—since I figured I no longer had a place at Merlotte’s.
I succeeded at two of those steps. I’d not touched tequila again. And Alcide had given me a job as the secretary for his construction company only a day after I’d started looking for work.
Thankfully, my job was great—no doubt the best part of my life at present! I got to work mostly from home—though I now went on site visits with Alcide. Thanks to the computer system Eric had put into the house—I was equipped with high-speed Internet and all the fixings. Plus, I’d also found a state-of-the-art tablet that I could take with me during site visits. With that, I could help Alcide prepare estimates or place orders right on the spot.
Though Alcide had given me a chance because of our friendship—I surprised us both a little when I turned out to be really good at the job! I organized the schedules for his crew and even designed ads and then a webpage, which I had been able to teach myself how to do thanks to a book on web design that Eric had added to my library. I never found out if he’d added it for himself or for me. Maybe he was planning to design a new webpage for Fangtasia. Or maybe he’d known me well enough to know that doing something like web design would appeal to me on multiple levels.
In the end, it didn’t much matter who the book had been for. I read it and then the other new computer books I found on my new bookshelves. And I went flying into the twenty-first century with them. And—in so doing—I found something I’d been missing for a while: pride in myself.
As for my attempts to convince Bill that we were really through? Well—I had told him that, while I appreciated his help with defeating Warlow, I thought it was best if we no longer had any association with each other. In return, he told me that he would “respect my wishes and stay away” until I “realized that we were meant to be together.” Telling him that that wasn’t going to happen had seemed pointless, so I’d just stayed away from him since then; all I could do was to hope that he’d get the message someday.
And—as for Eric?
I’d looked as best as I could, but I hadn’t found him.
First, I’d swallowed my pride and gone to Tara and Willa, begging them to help me find their makers—since Pam, too, had disappeared. But neither of the fledgling vampiresses had been willing or able to help. Willa had told me with contrite, sad eyes that she could no longer feel her maker at all. And Tara had told me to “fuck off.”
After that, I’d asked Holly and Lafayette if there was any way to find Eric or Pam using witchcraft or his blood—which had still been inside of me at the time. But there was nothing they could do.
When they couldn’t help, I’d taken out a partial loan on my restored home to get enough money to pay a private investigator to try to track down Eric, but that, too, failed. And—after three months—it came down to a choice: either I could take out a full mortgage, which was something I wouldn’t be able to make monthly payments on, or I could stop paying the private detective.
The thought of losing Gran’s home—and, just as importantly, the place where I’d fallen in love with Eric—had been too much for me. So I’d given up that part of my search.
Then I’d gone back to Tara. Her attitude toward me had grown more bitter, rather than less, over the months. She blamed me for Eric’s disappearance and, therefore, for Pam’s. But I did discover that Pam and Willa were doing okay. I also discovered that Tara could still feel Pam through their bond, but she couldn’t track her maker.
After that, there had been nothing I could do until Niall showed up. I’d asked for his assistance, but the bond didn’t help my great-grandfather find Eric—because Eric and I’d had only one exchange. Three were needed for a human—even a fairy-human apparently—to track a vampire.
So all that I knew was that Eric was alive. Basically, as long as the bond existed, I would know that Eric did too—at least for a decade or two until the bond faded.
After I’d learned about the bond, I did try to “use” it. I would try to “fill it” with my affection for Eric, my longing for another chance, and my contrition for my mistakes. At first, I was systematic about it, trying it at various times because I had no idea where in the world he might be. But nothing happened.
As time moved on—I realized that Eric wouldn’t reappear unless he wanted to, and I seriously doubted that any lingering affection he might have for me would be motivation enough to draw him back. He’d said his goodbye to me the night he’d given me my house back, and Eric wasn’t the type who would pine away hoping that I would change my mind.
No. He’d cut his losses and was truly gone forever.
Having run out of supernatural options—and money that I could spare—I’d had to give up my search for Eric. The only thing I still did was say a daily prayer for his safety, even as I tried to send affection to the bond.
I imagined that—if he felt anything at all—it was likely annoyance at my continued effort to connect to him through the bond. But I couldn’t stop myself from my daily attempt. I think that a part of me was expecting an angry phone call from him one day—telling me to stop bothering him.
Still, that daily prayer became a part of my new routine, which entailed throwing myself into my work and—at least, at first—trying to salvage my various friendships.
But, truth be known, very few people wanted to be around me anymore—not that many of them ever did. Though Sam and I had patched things up a bit, I knew from his head that he didn’t want me anywhere near Nicole, who was carrying his child. Arlene now looked at me like I was a freak when I went into Bellefleur’s, and she was very happy when I didn’t ask her for a job. Lafayette had started seeing someone new and worried that being around me might get that person killed. Tara, at least, had reestablished a relationship with Lafayette, so that was something. But she had continued to make it crystal clear that she didn’t want anything to do with me. I think under different circumstances, Willa and I might have been friends, but she counted on Tara too much to want to rock the boat by befriending me.
Jessica and I didn’t spend much time together anymore, for, when we did, she would always try to convince me to give Bill another chance. When I would tell her that Bill and I were through, she would try to convince me that he’d changed. Then, she would tell me how miserable he was without me. Sadly, Jessica and my friendship had cooled because my resolution concerning Bill hadn’t wavered.
I didn’t even see Jason much anymore because—after I’d shared my concern with him regarding his strange relationship with Violet—he’d been told by his vampiress paramour that he had to “choose” between us. He’d picked her.
The only person in Bon Temps who didn’t have reservations about being my friend was Holly, but she had a lot on her plate since she and Andy Bellefleur were planning a wedding. And, of course, Andy had never been a big fan of mine. Thus, not wanting to upset Holly’s life, I had declined when she’d asked me to be a bridesmaid since I read from her thoughts that Andy and she’d had an argument over her asking me.
That had left Alcide as the only person who didn’t have a reason or the inclination to avoid me.
Alcide had tried to “court” me all along—beginning the day after I had taken the job with him. Alcide—to his credit—had never pressured me. But he hadn’t let me forget his interest either. And—like clock-work—he had asked me out every Friday night.
Seven weeks ago, I had said yes. He’d taken me to a movie—one of the last to be shown before a curfew had been imposed in Louisiana due to the increase of infected vampires. We’d had fun, and I’d laughed for the first time in what felt like forever. I’d said yes when he’d asked me out again.
Four weeks ago, after Alcide and I’d had a long conversation about what we expected from each other, we’d had sex for the first time.
Two weeks ago, a group of Hep-V infected vampires had attacked Alcide’s neighborhood in Shreveport, and the National Guard had combatted them by cordoning off several blocks and then burning them down. Alcide had lost his home, so I’d let him temporarily move in with me.
Even then, I’d been upfront with Alcide, making sure that he knew that—though I was happy to be in a relationship with him and happy to share my home with him until he could get another—I wasn’t yet ready to give my heart to anyone. And—for a while—Alcide’s thoughts had been lined up with mine about the limits of our relationship. But that was now changing as he got comfortable in my home and in the routine of us living together.
By contrast, I was coming to realize that I would never be able to give Alcide more than I already was. I regretted that Alcide was starting to feel as though he were in love with me. I regretted that he was beginning to think of me as “his” in that possessive way that Supes had.
I sighed. As long as we’d kept things in the ‘friends with benefits’ zone, I’d been happy to have Alcide’s companionship. And I knew that I would miss it, as well as the comfort that came with his touch. But I also knew that I had to break things off before he got too attached to the idea of us being permanent.
Maybe I was heartless. But at least I could reconcile myself with the fact that I’d been completely upfront with Alcide about my feelings. Plus, Alcide and I had been on the same page—until now, that is.
As of this morning, Alcide had begun thinking of me and him as “us.” I’d heard that thought from him as clear as a bell as we’d walked into the church together—me channeling Gran so that I could seem like a “proper lady” to a town full of people that thought I was responsible for most of the vampire woes in the world and Alcide holding onto me as if it were his “job” to protect me. The one thing I knew best about Alcide was that he had an instinctive need to protect “his woman.”
Again, I thought about how easy it would be to just let myself stay with Alcide. We could get married and maybe even have a family. I wouldn’t have to be alone.
But I knew I would eventually cause a lot of damage to Alcide if I tried to live a lie with him.
Simply put, Alcide didn’t have my heart. My heart was stuck in a single moment in time: the moment when Eric had told me that the man he’d been when he had no memories was still there and that he loved me with everything that he was.
And—even though Eric had left—I couldn’t seem to get my heart to move past that moment in time, not even for a good man like Alcide Herveaux.
I wanted to go back to that moment—to stifle my fear about vampire blood controlling me. I wanted to go back and tell Eric that—despite the fact that more of Bill’s blood was inside of me—I knew that my feelings for Bill weren’t real. I wanted to go back and tell Eric that I loved him, and that—even though I was afraid—my heart would be his for as long as he wanted it.
But I was no time traveler. In fact, when I’d asked Niall if it were possible, he’d simply looked at me, laughed, and then walked away. I didn’t get the joke. But—then again—I knew I probably didn’t deserve a second chance with Eric Northman.
I sighed. In truth, I didn’t hold out much hope that I’d ever see Eric again. I mean—why would he come back for the woman who had not even given him a real chance—the woman who had rejected him and then rescinded his invitation for no damned good reason.
No. Sadly, I couldn’t go back in time—no matter how many times I tried in my dreams.
So I’d done the only thing I could do; I’d locked Eric Northman into the most sacred part of my heart, and I’d moved on—determined not to ever take love for granted again.
Arguably, I was already breaking that promise with Alcide, but I knew that his love for me wasn’t really the sweeping, all-encompassing kind—not the kind he’d felt for Debbie. Alcide’s love for me was “comfortable.” But—if he settled down with me—I knew that he would realize that he was “settling” soon enough.
Thus, I knew I had to speak with him—but, as always, timing wasn’t on my side. Instead of us having a heart-to-heart conversation, we were expected to be at Bellefleur’s for the “pairing party.” And—since pairing up was a concept that I supported, even though I didn’t intend to do it with the likes of Bill—I did want to go. I planned to offer my blood to Tara and Willa—just so that I could assure myself that they would be okay. I didn’t figure either of them would take me up on that offer, but it would be out there in case they ever got desperate.
“Hey—you ready to go?” Alcide asked from behind me.
In the time that Alcide and I had been together, his thoughts had become easier for me to read; however, I still kept my shields down when I was at home in order to “rest” them. Thus, several of Alcide’s thoughts came at me all at once as he put his hand on my shoulder and looked at my reflection in the mirror. His thoughts told me that Debbie would have looked beautiful in the color I was wearing. His thoughts then moved to his desire to keep me away from vampires so that they wouldn’t destroy me as they’d done Debbie. His thoughts told me of his desire to protect me—to protect what was his. His thoughts told me that he worried that I’d let Bill manipulate me into pairing up with him. He imagined being in his wolf form and killing Bill as I watched.
I quickly put up my shields and took a deep breath before glancing at myself in the mirror. I cringed a little before turning around to face Alcide. “Sure. I’ll meet you downstairs in a minute—okay?”
He nodded and left the room.
I closed my eyes and said an extra prayer for the vampire I loved. I tried to imagine my love for Eric feeding into our bond.
Selfishly, I prayed that Eric could somehow give me strength to get through the avalanche of pain that I knew was coming that night. I was sure that it would be difficult to keep out all of the negative thoughts that I was certain to be bombarded with. I was sure that Tara would tell me that she’d rather drink Clorox than partner up with me. I was sure that I’d have to deal with Bill in all his brooding glory at some point that night. And I was sure that all of that would just be an appetizer for the difficult conversation that Alcide and I would be having later on.
Before I’d agreed to date Alcide, he’d told me that any romantic relationship we had wouldn’t affect my job or our friendship. I hoped that would hold true. I planned to tell him that he could continue living with me until he had his home situation figured out, but that the romantic part of our relationship needed to end since we now saw two very different outcomes for our relationship.
I just hoped that I wouldn’t hurt Alcide too much.
I grabbed my purse from the bed and sent one more little burst of love to the bond, wondering for the thousandth time if Eric could feel it—wondering for the thousandth time if he would welcome it if he did.
Somewhere in Europe
The cloud that covered my thoughts faded away, and I quit struggling against the chains that bound me.
The disease that ravaged my mind also prevented me from sleeping through the day, though my instincts were still intact enough to recognize the danger of the daylight.
Every day, the Hep-V affected me more and more as my mind became less and less familiar to me. I still didn’t know if I’d somehow contracted the disease from Nora or from one of the humans I’d fed from while I was healing from my burns, but I did know that the disease had stripped me of much of my control.
I had lost myself almost completely five months before and had gone like a rampage through villages in northern Sweden and then Norway. Pam had tracked me through my destruction. About three months before, I had suddenly felt better—or, at least, enough like myself to realize the danger that I posed to myself and others.
I’d let Pam catch me and had instructed her to chain me with silver before I lost myself again. She wrapped the silver in leather to prevent burns to my flesh, but she kept me contained in a silver-lined, light-tight room just in case I broke the chains.
Even through the cloud, I knew that Pam was desperately seeking a cure for me. She also fed me about ten bags of blood per night, yet my thirst seemed unquenchable.
As a thousand-year-old vampire, a single bag of blood a week should have been more than enough to sustain me. But I thirsted to the point of insanity when I was not feeding.
The only reprieves I had from my disease came in short bursts of energy that seemed to come from the bond Sookie and I had started in the cubby. It was as if those bursts were enough to keep the madness at bay for a short time.
Unfortunately—in my state—it had taken me weeks to figure out their origin.
During one of my reprieves, I’d realized that Sookie must have been somehow sending the bursts, and eventually I’d also realized that the bursts came at a fairly consistent time each day.
Unfortunately, this time occurred when Pam was dead for the day; thus, I hadn’t been able to communicate my findings to her because—by the time she rose—my disease had reclaimed my ability to reason.
But, today, there had been a second burst—an unexpected one—and it was still night. For the first time in months, I felt the ability to call Pam to me. I would tell her about the bursts. I would tell her that Sookie Stackhouse might be the key to giving me back “myself.”
A/N: I hope that you enjoyed this piece. I do intend to write a complete version of Season 7 of True Blood, but I’m not sure when.
Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing with my other stories. Thanks for all your continued support!
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