Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters in True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. So neither copyright infringement nor offense is meant. I simply want to make the characters do what I wanted them to do for a while. I am especially “unownerly” when it comes to this story. You will recognize a lot of the dialogue throughout as being quoted from Season 5 of True Blood, though I’ve tried to use Eric’s thoughts to make this story “different” from its source. That said, I claim no ownership to the quoted material and have placed it in bold so that it is set apart from my own words.
“The Guardian wanted Nan followed to make sure she carried out his orders,” Nora informed. “I saw an opportunity to save Eric, so I took it.”
“So nobody in the Authority knows about your relationship?” Bill asked.
“And they never will,” Nora responded with a slight shake of her head.
In truth, I was following Bill and Nora’s conversation with only one ear; my mind was elsewhere.
“Fuck Sookie Stackhouse,” I thought to myself, recalling my refrain from earlier that night.
Fuck—it had been a long night!
Wasn’t Nora’s presence supposed to make me forget about Sookie Stackhouse? I scoffed. I sounded winy even to myself, but—still—I kept my blood focused on my bonded.
I was feeling resolve from Sookie, but also self-loathing. It was as if she had transferred all of her negative emotions right onto herself, and I didn’t fucking like that. I felt her insecurity. I felt her guilt. I felt her sadness.
Earlier, Sookie had left Bill’s house feeling heart-broken. Although she couldn’t have named what was at the undercurrent of that heart-break, I knew; it was our bond, pulling at us both. Her blood had been longing for mine—just as mine longed for hers.
Would keep longing for hers—possibly until I met my final death.
That was the price of a bond. That was why Godric had always seemed melancholy when speaking about the bond he’d once formed with a human. Finally, I understood.
I checked my bonded again. Her feelings had shifted. She was numb.
I assessed Pam through my bond with her. She was already resting for some reason, but not yet dead for the day. She felt uncertain and a bit pissed off—which was par for the course for her for the last several days.
Only after checking Sookie again did I let myself assess my own feelings. I was glad to see Nora—very glad. I was confident that she would save my ass. But I also felt something else—something I didn’t fucking like at all! Regret.
Right after I’d kissed Nora, I had started to feel a gnawing. I realized almost immediately that this instantaneous eating away of my Nora-induced comfort had been caused by guilt. I felt as if I’d been unfaithful to Sookie.
Unfaithful! Since when had vampires been faithful creatures? Hell! Even in my human life, I hadn’t been “faithful” to my wife in the modern-day sense. I had provided for her and the children she bore me. I had seen to her comfort and security. But I had lain with others, especially new thralls taken after battle. And I had never felt a moment of regret for any of my actions!
I looked down at the pavement and tried to expel my new and unwelcome feelings of guilt. “Fuck Sookie Stackhouse,” I said to myself. She’d rejected me—made it fucking clear to me that she didn’t want me or the life I would have offered her.
Therefore, I shouldn’t fucking be feeling guilty!
She had turned her back on our bond. And she had no fucking right to be making me feel like I was the jackass because of some misguided notions about fidelity I knew she would possess. But here she was—in my head, at least—with her hands on her fucking glorious hips giving me a look.
“Fuck Sookie,” I said to myself—again—realizing those words had become my mantra. I got only a small sense of satisfaction out of that realization.
What was there to be faithful to anyway? An idea? A hope? A bond she’d formed with her Eric? Well—she’d fucking rejected the real Eric fucking Northman, and that included hers! So she could go fuck herself!
I was tempted to bend Nora over the nearest crate and fuck her until the sun rose, just to prove the fucking point that I shouldn’t feel—didn’t feel—guilt.
Of course, I knew that I was lying to myself—even as I had the thought.
Yes. I did—for, perhaps, the first time in my more than thousand years—feel guilty for following my instincts. I felt guilty for taking a kiss from a woman who had always been a place of comfort and affection for me. I felt guilty for getting aroused by the smell of fire and blood in the air. I felt guilty for licking a smidgen of Hayes’s blood from the lips of a beautiful woman.
I fucking hated guilt!
I chastised myself again. And, again, I reminded myself that I ought not to feel any regret. Sookie’s decision had been clear—crystal-fucking-clear! And it wasn’t as if I was going to give my fucking “heart” to Nora. Fuck! I couldn’t even find that organ at the moment. I was pretty fucking sure it was under the boot of one Sookie fucking Stackhouse!
The fact that my dick was still in my pants and still able to function was a fucking miracle―especially since my balls seemed to be on hiatus―and I refused to feel fucking guilty because of that!
Except that I did.
“Fuck Sookie Stackhouse!” I thought again—this time even louder in my head.
To avoid yet another rehash of why I shouldn’t be feeling guilty, I tuned back into Bill and Nora’s conversation, hoping for a distraction.
“We were only connected through our maker,” Nora said. “And Godric is gone.”
I looked at Nora when she said that, remembering the call I’d given her after Godric’s death. Because of the magic used to sever her from Godric’s influence, Nora had not known that he’d met the true death, so I’d had to explain to her what had happened to our maker.
There had been guilt on my part that night too—guilt that I couldn’t stop Godric. As I’d spoken to Nora, I’d craved comfort―but not from her that night. I’d craved it from a beautiful blond telepath, who had already returned to Bon Temps while I’d been in my day-death.
I’d actually told Nora about Sookie that night—though I’d kept my emotional entanglement with her to myself. I’d simply told my sister that the telepath who had been helping me find Godric had stayed with our maker to the end.
I’d told her of Godric’s shirt, which had been delivered to my room a few minutes after sunset. I’d told her of the note that had been with the shirt. It had read simply, “He did not suffer. He said he was full of joy. And he died in a beautiful blue light. There was no pain. None.”
The note had been unsigned, but I had known who had written it. After carrying the note around with me for almost six months, the penciled words had begun to fade, and the paper had begun to wear. So I’d placed both the note and the shirt into a hidden lockbox that housed many of my most precious possessions.
Sookie’s report of the “blue light” had caused ambivalent feelings within me. On the one hand, it had comforted me—and especially Nora. It had meant that Godric had truly let go—that he’d not activated the magic inside of his own body to resist the burning orb. That had confirmed that his death would have been, for the most part, painless. On the other hand, I didn’t understand how Godric could have given up so completely that he’d not fought against death—against the sun—in any way.
Bill interrupted my thoughts. “As a Chancellor of the Authority—I mean—you’re taking a huge risk. Why would you choose to . . . .?”
Nora interrupted him, “Because I would do anything for Eric.”
I looked at my sister sincerely, feeling all of the emotions of the last weeks bubbling inside of me. “And I would do anything for you,” I vowed.
She responded with a smile in her eyes. Again—there was that comfort that I desperately craved.
Never one to become overly sentimental, Nora looked away after a moment and spoke once more to Bill, “And because you did what you did protecting us from the necromancers.” She chuckled ruefully. “That we would reward you for it with the true death speaks volumes about how,” she paused, “out of step the Authority’s current agenda is.” She paused again. “I’m not alone in this belief.”
Nora continued talking about factions in the Authority that I already knew about. She also spoke of a plan she’d had in place before my and Bill’s “stunt” with blowing up the car, but I found myself tuning out again as I checked on Sookie. Gods—part of me hated myself for doing that! But—again—I couldn’t help myself.
Sookie was fine—or at least as fine as she’d been when I’d last “looked in on” the bond five fucking minutes ago! Still—I hated her unrest.
I kept my feet moving forward with difficulty. Nora’s talk of Godric had had an unexpected consequence: it had made me long for Sookie—my bonded one. Sookie was the only one who could take away my pain; of that, I was certain. Nora could offer comfort, but she could not heal me. I knew that only one thing—only one person—could, but, still, I kept walking.
I could not—after all—go to my bonded for many reasons. Reasons that seemed to be growing exponentially by the minute.
Bill was saying that he was sorry for fucking up Nora’s extraction plan when I tuned back into their conversation.
“Don’t be,” Nora intoned looking at Bill with her patented half-smile. “It was badass.”
I smirked a little. First, that explosion had been rather badass. Second, it was clear from Nora’s tone that she was flirting with Bill—at least a little. My sister was always one to wrap people around her dainty and deadly fingers. I mused and was amused for a moment: Nora and Bill? Who knows?
But—flirting and thoughts of my bonded aside—the practicality that had reigned inside of me for a thousand years reared its head, “So what do we do now?” I asked.
Bill gestured toward an old box car—now little more than a rusty eyesore within a village of similar eyesores.
I shook my head slightly. Humans certainly knew how to pile up waste.
Bill opened the doors of the storage container. It was sound and would do for the day.
Nora agreed. “Wait for me inside—will you? I have to call New Orleans and lie my ass off.”
Bill and I both moved toward her a little: me because I just loved watching Nora do one of the things she was best at—lying—and Bill because—well—probably because Nora just had a way of drawing people in.
“I strongly recommend holding still,” she chastised in that tone that I knew would begin to grate on me sooner rather than later. But for now, it was charming; it always was at first.
Gods—I appreciated my sister. She was exactly the kind of distraction I needed to get my mind off of Sookie fucking Stackhouse, whose fucking sorrow had now returned with a fucking vengeance. I pulled myself from the bond, promising myself that I would not check it again until right before I fell into my day-rest.
While Nora was showing off her magnificent skills, lying about our escape and Hayes’s unfortunate demise, all of which she called a “hiccup,” Bill turned to me and spoke in a whisper, “I knew you had friends in high places, but a Chancellor of the Authority? Who else knows about this?”
“No one,” I said quickly. “Not even Pam.”
Bill gave me a surprised look.
I had thought about telling my progeny about Nora, but Nora’s position demanded outright secrecy. Hell, the severing spell done by the Authority to remove the maker’s ability to command was designed—also—to convince that maker that his child had met the true death! And if the vampire joining the Authority had progeny, similar spells were conducted.
Officially, Nora was dead—even to me. And I had never had a reason to tell Pam, who had never met Nora, about any of it.
Plus, I knew that Pam would have been too trigger happy to use that information to get us out of one of the piles of shit we’d found ourselves in over the years. Hell—I hadn’t even tried to use my connection with Nora in the aftermath of the Magister’s death or when Russell was loose. I figured that Nora was giving me all the help that she could from the inside anyway. And contacting her for more would have compromised her safety and her position.
I watched as Nora finished her call. I walked toward her, feeling myself drawn in by the familiarity of her—the surety. She was a great liar. Hell, I knew for certain that she’d lied to, glamoured, and fed from a pope once—just because we’d made a bet about it—but she’d never lied to me. And I’d never lied to her.
She’d never been one to lie to herself either. Nora had always been a compelling mix of ambition, compassion, and ruthlessness; she was unapologetic about that mix too. When someone did something she thought was wrong, she killed him or her—ruthlessly—or she made him or her suffer dearly. When she saw a true victim, she did the opposite.
And—always—she’d had a grand “vision” for herself. The day that Godric told her about the existence of the Authority was the day that she’d decided to become a part of the governing body behind the scenes of all vampire politics. I knew my sister well—knew that her desire to be in that body was born from both her personal ambition to be powerful, to never be the victim herself, as well as her aspiration to make the world a better place as she saw fit.
As a “good” brother should, I had always teased her for being a bit “hokey.” But, truth be told, I could use a little hokey right now. And I could certainly use a little Nora. She would not—had never—turned her back from me.
She would not tell me that she loved me in one breath and then leave me in the next. She could be trusted to offer me comfort without complication, and—after Hurricane Sookie—a little simple comfort would be nice.
I looked at Nora and tried to erase the self-judgment that was once again seeping around the edges of my conscious mind. That nagging voice was still telling me that I was being unfaithful to Sookie by even thinking of taking pleasure and comfort in Nora. Once again, I was pissed off by that voice. I swept away that feeling—or at least I tried to.
“Fucking blood bond!” I thought to myself. “It doesn’t matter to me now anyway!”
I was, of course, lying to myself again, but sometimes a lie was more “practical” than the truth.
Nora chose that exact moment to give me a little smirk and say, “Even the best of liars can be ended.”
Knowing that Nora wasn’t actually referring to my inner monologue, I focused on my sister and read her eyes. I understood the risk she was taking for me and for Bill. She was imperiling her position and her life. Yes—Nora was exactly what I needed: the surety of someone who would take a risk for me.
Nora looked over at Bill, “I hope you both understand that tomorrow night you’ll be saying goodbye to the lives you’ve known forever. If you come back—if you ever return—it’ll be the true death of me.”
Nora was looking back at me now, her eyes shimmering with seriousness and maybe even a little fear.
I recognized the gravity of the moment. I felt that gravity pulling at every cell of my body even then—trying to pull my blood to the blood of a fairy-human who was now half the state away. I’d known that I would not be able to return to Sookie Stackhouse before Nora had spoken, but hearing the words out loud felt like a silver dagger probing at those tiny shards of my heart that Sookie had left behind in her wake.
“I understand,” I heard myself saying, but it was another lie. I didn’t, in truth, understand very much at all in that moment. I didn’t understand when exactly I’d lost control over my emotions. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just hate Sookie Stackhouse and go back to the emotionally distant vampire I’d been before. I didn’t understand how I was going to survive the fortnight if I didn’t do just that. I didn’t understand why my feelings for Sookie only seemed to be growing, despite the fact that she had rejected me. And I especially didn’t understand the fucked up choice she’d made that had hurt three individuals, instead of just one.
I didn’t fucking understand Sookie’s math at all!
But I did understand that I’d likely never see her again, and looking at Bill’s face, I knew that my ex-monarch also understood that fact.
“As do I,” Bill said, confirming my thought.
“Fuck Sookie Stackhouse,” I thought to myself. Both Bill and I sounded like we were being led to a fucking firing squad, not being given another chance at life.
“Good,” Nora said, “let’s get some rest.”
I followed her into the box car and helped Bill secure the door. I double-checked to make sure the space was light-tight, my eyes taking in the structure of the container quickly. It was sound. I thought briefly about going over to where Nora was settling down in the corner, but I didn’t.
Instead, I sat down near the door and stretched out my long legs. It was only five minutes until dawn, but I was more than ready for it to come so that I could escape into sweet oblivion for a little while.
It had been a long night. Almost being burned at the stake, being burned figuratively by the taste of Sookie’s blood as she’d healed me, being rejected by the only woman I’d ever truly loved, killing Nan, being captured by the Authority, blowing up in a car, and meeting Nora again.
Yes. It had been a very long fucking night.
And I felt—for lack of a better word—”tired,” even though my body wasn’t lacking in blood. I lay down on the rusty floor of the box car. The cold metal felt good to me; it felt appropriate somehow.
With my last act of the long night, I allowed myself to examine the bond I’d begun with Sookie. It was just as strong to me in the boxcar as it had been in Bon Temps, a fact that I both loved and hated. My bonded was now immersed in sorrow. I wondered briefly what had happened to overwhelm her. I wondered if part of her sorrow could be about me.
I also wondered when the fuck I would find my balls! I shook myself a little. Tomorrow night, I was resolved to put Sookie out of my mind. What good would it do to keep checking the bond? What good would it do Sookie or myself?
Even if she were dying, I couldn’t help her at this point!
No—tomorrow I would forget Sookie Stackhouse, but in the last moments of the night, I simply felt her through our bond. I closed my eyes and followed the flow of my blood—into and out of the bond. I’d been surprised to find that the bond was similar to an organ in my body. It was a physical thing. It took up space in my body—latched, unsurprisingly, onto the organ that used to pump blood through my body. That organ no longer beat, so now my blood simply drifted, activated by and responding to the magic that kept me from permanent death.
It seemed as if the magic within my blood cells prickled with Sookie’s sorrow as those tiny orbs drifted through the bond.
I fell into death, knowing my own sorrow was a twin to hers.
A/N: I hope you are still enjoying this! In this chapter, I wanted to show Eric trying to resist the bond between him in Sookie. He’s still bitter because of Sookie’s rejection; however, he cannot help himself when it comes to checking on her. As for Sookie–yes, I’m still “mad” at her for rejecting Eric, but, she’s young and trying to deal w/ a lot at once.