A/N: Remember that extended italics are dreams.
Sookie knew where she was the moment she stepped onto the roof. The dawn was approaching as Sookie walked toward Eric, who was standing in the spot where she’d witnessed his maker meet his final death.
Sookie reached Eric and stood quietly behind him as the sun rose in the east. She felt tears rolling down her cheeks as she remembered both Eric’s pain on that day and Godric’s death.
After a few moments, Eric reached his hand out behind him, and Sookie reached to hold it, moving to his side. She saw that red tears were slipping down his face to match the clear ones on hers.
“This saved me that morning,” he said quietly as he squeezed her hand.
“Huh?” Sookie asked inelegantly through her tears.
“When you took my hand that morning. It saved me from despair,” he said, still looking on as the sun rose.
“Oh,” Sookie said, putting her head onto his arm. “I know that I felt something when I touched your hand.”
“Yes,” Eric said. “I felt it too.”
“Like a spark?” Sookie asked.
“Yes,” Eric said. “It made me feel better.”
“What do you think it was?”
“It was what it always has been between us, min kära―a little bit of magic.”
“Fairy Sookie was tryin’ to make things better for you, I think,” Sookie posited.
“She succeeded.” He squeezed her hand again.
They stood in silence, both looking toward the east.
“It really is quite a beautiful sight,” he said quietly, looking at the sun, which had now risen fully in a burst of orange and pink.
“Yes, it was beautiful that morning too,” Sookie assured leaning more fully into Eric. After a few moments, she continued. “I don’t know why, but it happened really fast. He didn’t burn like you and Russell did outside of Fangtasia or like Bill did when he tried to get to me when Rene attacked me. He just seemed to disappear in a ball of blue flame and light.”
“That is how it would work for someone as old as he was, someone who does not marshal the magic within himself or herself to heal, someone who does not resist the sun. We are―especially as we get older―able to decide whether or not to heal ourselves. It was Godric’s choice to just let go of his magic; that is why it happened so quickly.”
Sookie took the opportunity to ask about the blood, “Can you control what your blood does like he was able to?”
“To a certain extent,” Eric said as he used his black sweater to wipe his eyes. “I can, in a sense, ask my blood to heal one area before another, making it more efficient for me.”
“What about once your blood is in someone else?” Sookie asked tentatively.
“Ah, I sense your meaning now,” Eric managed a chuckle as he led Sookie over to a place on the roof where they could sit and enjoy the sun. “You are continuing to question things―to use your beautiful and unique brain to work out what is true rather than just taking things at face value.”
“Yes,” Sookie admitted.
“I’m glad, Sookie. I want no doubts left between us after all this is over.”
“Okay,” Eric began. “Once my blood leaves my body, I have some agency over it. The amount of agency a vampire will have varies according to several factors. The first is the age of the vampire. The older the vampire, the stronger the blood. Since I am over a thousand years old, I would generally maintain quite a bit of control over my blood; this was true with Lafayette while I opted to use my influence over him.
“The next factor is my motive in giving the blood. If I give the blood for my own benefit, my power to manipulate the human is strong. If I give the blood for the benefit of the human―if I give it unselfishly, in other words―the power I have to manipulate is very weak. In order to form any kind of tie, you see, the blood must be given by the vampire with a clear intention. Intent determines influence, in other words.”
“Did you ever use your blood to influence me?”
Eric laughed. “You are straight to the point, min kära. I love it.” He grew more serious, “ I did try. That night in Dallas right after I’d tricked you into sucking those bullets out of my body, I attempted to compel you―through the blood―to seek me out, but you did not come to me. Then later, I compelled my blood to make you dream of me, but the results were,” he paused, “not what I was expecting.”
“Well, as you may know, a vampire can sense the feelings of a human who has had his or her blood, so I was able to sense you as you were dreaming of me, especially since you were so close to me―only across the hall in the hotel. I had forced myself to stay awake that morning so that I could influence you to dream of me. But even though I knew you were dreaming, things were not happening as I had wanted them to―as I had been told that they would happen.”
“Well, I had not given my blood to a human―except to make Pamela and then to heal your friend Lafayette―for my entire existence before you. But I learned long ago from Godric that dreams fueled by vampire blood are generally able to help the vampire establish and then maintain control over a human through a combination of lust and fear. Therefore, these are the emotions that vampires attempt to instill within the dreams.” He continued in a regretful voice, “These are the emotions that I tried to place into the dream I sent to you that morning.”
Seeing the look of hurt on Sookie’s face, Eric continued quickly, “However, as you dreamed that morning, I felt no fear from you and not much lust either. I felt companionship, comfort, love, and at times guilt―but I never felt fear. I was a bit at a loss, I think. So I mustered all my influence and sent Lafayette a dream too to test whether that would elicit the desired reaction. It did; lust and fear mixed in him, and I felt him fall under my influence even more. With you, my attempts at influence had an opposite effect. I felt that after I’d sent you that dream, I had no influence over you whatsoever; in fact, you seemed to have gained some hold over my feelings.”
“Must have been disconcerting,” Sookie said sarcastically.
“Indeed,” Eric said, a twinkle in his eye. “I finally fell into sleep, and when I rose, the first thing I did was talk to Godric about it.”
“Oh?” Sookie asked curiously. “What did he say?”
“He actually laughed at me when I described the situation.” Eric scoffed, though his tone betrayed that he was fondly remembering his conversation with his maker, a conversation which Sookie realized must have been one of their last.
Eric continued, “He told me that he was happy that he’d lived long enough to see me meet my match.” Eric’s eyes grew darker as he now understood the hidden meaning in Godric’s words. “He told me that I had unwittingly formed a rare type of tie with you, a kind where a vampire acts with unselfish motives toward the human. I spent about twenty minutes arguing with Godric, telling him about my desire to take you from Compton, telling him about the smell of your skin and blood, and assuring him that I wanted you only because I desired to fuck you, bite you, and use you for your telepathy.”
“Thanks so much!” Sookie said, hitting Eric as hard as she could on his arm. “Ouch,” she exclaimed as she pulled back her fist.
Eric laughed, “Would it be better if I pretended like that hurt, lover?” he purred.
“No,” Sookie pouted. “Just keep talking, and you better hope that your story gets better because I’m feeling pissed off at you right now.”
Eric threw up his hands in surrender. “Do not worry, min kära. I think you will like the next part. After I had gone on and on about how I could not have made the second kind of tie, Godric ordered me to shut up and sit down.”
“Yes, I thought you would like that,” Eric laughed. “Godric made me listen silently as he described the rare kind of tie in greater detail, and I realized―much to my own shock―that this was indeed the tie type that my blood had made with you. That was the only explanation, given my ineffectiveness in controlling the tone of the dream and my inability to compel you, despite the strength and age of my blood. Godric told me that I would still feel your emotions and know if you were in danger. He explained that you might even dream about me, but unlike with the other type of tie, I would have no real dominion over my blood inside your body. In fact, the more control I tried to take, the more my own blood would rebel against me in a sense.”
“But you seem to have intended to make the other, more common, kind of bond, right?”
“Yes, and that was my best argument against Godric’s theory until he convinced me otherwise.”
“How did he do that?”
Eric paused. “This part is not easy for me to confess, not even to you, min kära. It seems there are two situations in which the second kind of tie is forged. One is when the motive for making the tie is unselfish, but I initially felt that my purposes were selfish that day. However, when I thoroughly analyzed the moment, I realized I also wanted the tie I made with you to weaken the tie you had with Bill, and it did. I thought at the time that this helped only me, but I have come to see that part of me may have known that you needed it too in order to fight Bill’s influence over you.
“Right before the bomb went off, I had been angry at Lorena’s treatment of you and frustrated by Bill’s inability to adequately shield you from her. It was my own instinct to protect you, more than any other factor, that caused me to get between you and the bomb’s blast, so at the moment of your taking my blood, I might have been acting unselfishly. The truth is, I am uncertain.”
“What is the second thing that could have caused this kind of tie, according to Godric?” Sookie asked, already suspecting what the answer might be.
“Love,” Eric answered simply. “Godric told me that I loved you. He said that was the only clear explanation for the second type of tie being formed.”
Sookie looked a bit shocked. “But there is no way you loved me then! You even said that you didn’t understand love when we talked in the church.”
“True,” Eric said quietly. “And I mentioned all these things to Godric before he finally convinced me that I did indeed love you.”
“How did he do that?”
“Simple,” Eric said. “Godric was my maker. He could feel my emotions, and unlike me, he could feel them objectively. He told me that every time I saw you or your name was mentioned, he felt love from me. He was certain, and I could not doubt him.”
“Shit,” Sookie said inelegantly.
“Shit indeed,” Eric answered.
“So, that’s why he wanted me to take care of you?”
“Huh?” Eric asked.
“Up here on the morning he died, he asked me to care for you.”
“What did you say?”
“I told him that I wasn’t sure I could because of the way you were, and he said he had to take the blame for that.”
Eric chuckled. “That sounds like something you would say. And like something he would say too.”
“Yeah,” Sookie said quietly. “When?”
“When did you start loving me?”
“Oh! That’s what you want to know,” Eric said playfully.
“Yeah,” Sookie said just as playfully.
“I thought a lot about that, actually,” Eric said, becoming serious again. Initially, I felt that if I could analyze what I felt, I might be able to get rid of it.”
Sookie hit him again. “Don’t try to do things like that!” Sookie said, the hurt clear in her voice.
“I’m sorry,” Eric said, touching her cheek lightly. “Honestly, I didn’t know how to react to the feelings that were opening up in me, first because of you and then because of Godric dying. It was all a bit,” he paused.
“Overwhelming?” Sookie asked.
Eric nodded and then was silent for a moment. “I wish I could say that I felt love for you at first sight, but I cannot. That first night you walked into Fangtasia, you were like a breath of fresh air, but it would be a lie to say I fell in love with you then. Lust―yes. Interest―hell yes. Did I want you for my own?―Abso-fucking-lutely yes! But I did not love you then.”
He continued, “I thought for a while it was when you slapped me in Fangtasia, but then I realized that I already had love for you before this point. Then I thought it might have started when Bill brought you in the night before, when you were near death because of the Maenad attack. I had felt fear then, fear that you might die and that my life would be emptier somehow without you. As you can imagine, I stifled that emotion as soon as I felt it at the time. Then, I thought back further to the time when I’d come to Merlotte’s to collect Bill to take him to the tribunal. Do you remember when I looked at you across Merlotte’s?”
“Yes,” Sookie answered. That look had made her breathless, despite the fact that she was upset over Bill.
“I realize now that I loved you even then. I felt guilt that you would be hurt when I took Bill away. And I felt jealous that he had your love and not me, but again, I pushed those thoughts away and told myself that I should be celebrating that you would be left without Bill and that I could swoop in and take you for myself.”
“But you didn’t do that.”
“No, that was most unlike me.” Eric laughed, “At the time I told myself that I was going to challenge myself by trying to win you over―that the victory would be sweeter that way.”
“So when was it?”
“I finally realized that the feelings of love that had been growing steadily in me began the night Longshadow was killed by Bill.”
“Ironic,” muttered Sookie.
“Why?” Eric asked.
“Bill told me that was the night he first began to love me.”
“Well you were magnificent that night, lover,” Eric said, pride clear in his voice.
Sookie scoffed, “Why? On account of the fact that I had blood all over me and looked like a human bloodsicle?”
“No,” Eric answered seriously. “You surprised me that night when you looked me right in the eye and required that I make a deal with you to turn over any guilty parties you found to the police. You should have just done what I asked without questions, both for your own safety and for Bill’s, but you stood up to a thousand-year-old vampire, and you made a deal YOU could live with. You didn’t flinch, and you didn’t consult Bill.”
“So you fell in love with my stupidity?” Sookie asked, dumfounded.
“No, I fell in love with your fire, Sookie,” Eric stated with raw passion in his voice. “I think I knew in that moment that you were made for me, even if I couldn’t acknowledge that to myself at the time. You are beautiful, you are supernatural, and your smell attracts me like no other. But it is your fire that I love most of all. You challenge me, and in that moment, I realized I respected you. And respect is not easily earned from me. Your other attributes made me look, but that fire was what hooked me. Every time you challenge me, you make me think about things differently, and that in and of itself is a small miracle.”
Speechless, Sookie stared at Eric in open shock. Finally, he asked, “When did you know you loved me?”
“Hey, who said I loved you?” she asked playfully.
“I say,” he said moving to his knees in front of her. “Please say that I’m right.” He looked at her with the intensity of a thousand years of longing; her love for him opened up even more.
“Of course I love you,” she said.
“How could you not?” he joked, the twinkle quickly returning to his eye.
“I can think of some reasons,” she joked back.
He rose and walked a few steps away, looking at the sun.
“I can think of some reasons too,” he said earnestly.
“Hey,” she said, getting his attention. “I’ll have none of that kind of talk. When I tell you that I love you, I don’t want you getting all melancholy.”
“As you wish, milady,” Eric said bowing. He returned to sit by her side. “Do you know when you first loved me?”
“Hmmm, I admitted it to myself for real just yesterday. I mean I admitted that I loved the whole you and not just the amnesia you.”
“Well, that’s a comfort,” Eric said, the playfulness returning to his voice. “It was the sex that did it, wasn’t it?”
Sookie shook her head. “Nope.” She paused, “I actually don’t know when it happened. I’ll think about it and tell the real you tomorrow.”
“You don’t know?”
“Hey, mister, you have had a long time to think about all this, and I just got rid of my blood ties and bond a couple of days ago. Give me a break!” Sookie exclaimed playfully.
“Fine,” he grumbled, though there was a smile on his lips. He reached out to grasp her hand and brought it to his lips. “I’m glad you love me, min kära. It doesn’t matter when it started as long as it never stops.”
She squeezed his hand back. “I’m glad you love me too.”
“Will you tell me about it―the dream I tried to send to you?”
Sookie nodded. “Well, we were in bed.”
Eric’s face lit up, “Oh were we now? Perhaps, my sending powers were greater than I thought?”
Sookie smacked his arm again, this time making sure she didn’t do it so hard that it would hurt her in the process. “Hold your horses, buddy. We were just talkin’.”
“What did we talk about?” Eric asked curiously.
“Mostly, it was about whether I should become a vampire or not.”
“You would make a good one, min kära.”
“That’s what you said in that dream too.”
Eric’s expression turned serious again, “He will do all that he can to try to convince you to be turned, you know. He―no we―can no longer imagine a world without you.”
“I just don’t know about that, Eric. I don’t wanna be a vampire―at least, that’s where I stand right now.”
“We can be very convincing,” he said, again changing the tone of the conversation and leering at her.
“Oh, I’m sure you could try,” Sookie returned, picking up on Eric’s playful vibe.
“We have many, many ways to try to convince you, lover.”
“I look forward to you trying,” she said as he drew closer to her. “Wait,” she said, right before he kissed her. “I’m not gonna have my first real kiss with you be in a dream!”
“But we have kissed before,” he said, looking a bit confused.
“I know, but it’s never been with you and me―both―totally whole and totally willing, except maybe in the dreams.”
“What about that time in my office?” he asked.
“Well,” she said coyly. “That was real nice, but you kind of made me kiss you.”
“I remember you jumping right in after a couple of seconds,” he smirked.
Sookie blushed. “Well―still―you were talkin’ about dyin’ and everything. It wasn’t really both of us wantin’ exactly the same thing at exactly the same time.”
“And then the others were when I had amnesia,” he added.
“Exactly―or in the dreams.”
“So that means that the dreams don’t really count, and you can kiss me,” he said hopefully.
“Oh no you don’t, mister,” Sookie said as Eric’s lips once again drew closer to hers. “As much as I might want to, I’d feel almost like I was cheatin’ on him.”
Eric looked confused, “But I am him.”
Sookie shrugged. “I didn’t say it made sense. Anyway, the real you still has some work to do before I’m completely won over.”
Eric drew her hand up to his lips again and placed a light kiss on her palm, “Then I will―very reluctantly―settle for this and hope that the real me doesn’t fuck things up.”
Sookie’s lips turned up into a smile. The couple settled in next to each other and looked off into the morning light, sharing a comfortable silence.
“I kept his shirt, you know,” Sookie said after a while. “Godric took it off before he died. I always meant to give it to you, but the time hasn’t seemed right.”
“I know,” Eric returned quietly. “I found it when I was sorting through your home, salvaging what could be saved from the Maenad.”
“It wasn’t destroyed, was it?” Sookie asked, suddenly worried.
“It was not,” Eric answered. “I found it the first night I was there by its smell. You had put it in a box that seemed to be full of other small treasures you’d held on to―keepsakes, I believe. This box was not damaged by the Maenad.”
“I’m glad,” Sookie said. “Did you take it?”
“No,” Eric shook his head. “It wasn’t mine to take; it seemed to belong where it was, so I let it be, though I admit that I moved the box into Adele’s room, which is where I did most of the repairs myself. I liked the idea of it being close. It’s up on the closet shelf in there now.”
“Thanks,” Sookie said.
“For somehow knowing what I need before I need it.”
“Right back at you, min kära.”