Sookie was full of anxiety by the time she pulled up outside the old farmhouse. It had been over four years since she last set eyes on the place and she found she had missed it. Despite what she had said the night she left, the old house was her home. It was where she had been raised from childhood and no amount of running or denying it would change that.
Unbuckling her seatbelt, Sookie opened her car door and climbed out of her new vehicle. She let out a sigh as she gazed upon her old home. It didn’t look any different than the last time she was there… Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The last time she was there the place looked as if a bomb had gone off; the Yakuza attack having all but destroyed the front of her house.
Sookie smiled while she climbed up the porch steps. Jason had done a good job of seeing to the repairs, and she would have to remember to thank him properly the next time she saw him.
A lick of paint and new windows may have repaired the house to make it look the same as before the Yakuza had shown up and shot it full of holes, but the same couldn’t be said for Sookie. It had taken much more to fix her, and while her appearance might not have changed much, she had. She wasn’t the same woman she was when she left. Too much had happened for her to ever be that woman again.
She had once told Eric that she wanted to be the girl in the white dress again, but her time away had taught her that she would never be that girl again. That girl was innocent in the opposing way that Sookie was now ruined. She had been through far too much to be able to trust blindly ever again. It took Sookie a while to accept that and, when she had, she had mourned for that girl, the one who believed in fairy tales and thought love could conquer all.
She had clung to that girl refusing to let her go. She had foolishly believed if she could be that girl again, then everything she had been through couldn’t have been as bad as it was and couldn’t hurt as much as it truly had. She had clung to that girl like a dream in an attempt to use her as a shield against reality.
Once she finally let her go, Sookie had been forced to face the pain of her past; not just for her choices or the mistakes she made, but her own culpability in the events that led her to where she was over those four years. It had been easy for her to blame Bill, Eric, and vampire shit for all her problems, and a large part of that blame had been accurate. Vampire… Supe shit was to blame for many of the problems in her life, but she had to accept the part she played in all the trouble too. She wasn’t as blameless as she liked to claim. She had made her fair share of mistakes and fucked up more times than she cared to remember.
The time away had given Sookie the peace she so desperately needed to put her life in order, to come to terms with what and who she was. For as long as she could remember people had been trying to label her; she was crazy, a freak, a telepath, a human, a fairy. She had long denied who she was, tried to be who she wasn’t, and she got lost somewhere along the way. She had tried to be what other people told her she was. She had tried to live in the mold they tried to force her into just to please them. She sacrificed her own identity to make others happy.
For the first time in her entire life, Sookie was comfortable in her own skin. She had finally accepted who and what she was, and now embraced it. She was no longer ashamed, nor afraid, of who she was and her capabilities. The time away had done her a world of good, yet, at the same time, she had her regrets. She didn’t regret leaving. She had needed to do it for her own peace of mind and in order to heal, but she did regret the circumstances that surrounded her running away. As much as she wished she could have worded it another way, she knew that was what she had done. She could dress it up any way she liked, but in her heart she knew it was exactly what she’d done.
If she could have gone back in time and changed things, she still would have left, but she would have first faced her problems. She had taken the easy way out by running. She had been hurting; physically, emotionally, and mentally and, instead of confronting those problems and dealing with those causes, she had run away like a thief in the night.
Leaving had given her the time and space she needed to heal and grow as a person, but it hadn’t given her any opportunities to confront the issues that made her leave in the first place. The pain that caused her to leave that fateful night had never left her. It was a constant presence, a reminder to tell her that she would never be whole until she allowed it. The pain might have diminished slightly over the years; it wasn’t as prevalent in her mind, but it was always there. It was inescapable. For over four years she had lived with a dull ache in her heart and she now knew it was finally time to treat it.
If Sookie was being brutally honest, she knew she should have dealt with it years ago, but fear had kept her away. For all her new strength and courage, when it came to matters of the heart she was still as fragile as the next person. She had been broken twice before, and it was the fear of being broken a third time that had kept her away for so long.
Now she was back and she was done running. As much as she loved her time in the realm where Niall had taken her as well as the years she had spent on the West coast, neither of those places would ever be home. For better or worse, Bon Temps was her home.
Running her hand over the smooth wood of the porch handrail, Sookie smiled sadly while recalling her last return after running away. It now seemed like a lifetime ago when she stood on that porch after returning from Fairy. She could recall the night clearly; she could even smell the fresh scent of flowers that had been planted in her front yard. Both Bill and Eric had found her that night. They had sensed her return and come for her as soon as the sun permitted it. That wouldn’t happen this time. Oh, Sookie had no doubt they were both well aware that she was returning by now. Eric would have learned it from Willa while Bill… Well, Bill would have stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and eavesdropped when Jason and Willa were discussing it.
However, neither of them would feel her in their blood. Not long after she had left Sookie had undergone a ritual that expelled all the vampire blood from her body. It had been incredibly painful and, at one point, Sookie was convinced she was going to die, but she had endured the pain and survived. For the first time since Bill Compton had walked into her life Sookie was free of vampire blood and its influence.
It had been a strange feeling; having complete control over her life and emotions had been both a welcome experience and a troubling one. It wasn’t until she no longer had any vampire blood in her body that Sookie really began to understand just how lost she had become. As soon as she was free of vampire blood, Bill’s in particular, Sookie realized just how much and how ruthlessly he had manipulated her. With her mind clear and emotions her own, Sookie finally put her feelings for Bill Compton into perspective and at long last laid them to rest.
She knew Bill wouldn’t accept that though. From keeping in touch with Jason over the years, Sookie knew Bill was still obsessing over her. He had been trying to find out where she was ever since the night she left. Of course the only people who knew where she was would never tell him. Niall would have sooner staked the Civil War vampire than tell him where Sookie was and Jason would have never betrayed her by telling Bill her location. Bill couldn’t even glamour Jason into revealing her whereabouts thanks to Niall. The Stackhouse siblings’ great-grandfather had gone out of his way to develop the means for Jason to become immune to glamour, not that it had stopped Bill’s attempts. Bill had tried everything in his power to find out where she was. He had even gone as far as having Jessica try to seduce the information out of Jason, something the baby vampire had only been too happy in attempting.
Luckily, Jason had been serious about staying away from Jessica. Hoyt’s reappearance in Bon Temps had been the kick Jason needed to stay away from the redheaded vampire, much to her chagrin.
Grabbing her keys out of her purse, Sookie unlocked her front door and stepped into the farmhouse for the first time in four and a half years. As she made her way to the kitchen, Sookie wondered when Eric and Bill would arrive. She knew they both would sooner or later. The question on her mind was when. Would they wait until the wedding to see her, or would they just show up at the house?
Bill, Sookie realized, would show up as soon as he discovered she was back. He wouldn’t wait for the wedding, one to which he hadn’t been invited but still found a way to attend. Sookie snorted while recalling Jason telling her Bill would be attending his wedding as a guest of someone who had been invited. Sookie thought it was quite pathetic, the lengths Bill had gone to just so he could attend Jason’s wedding.
Eric, on the other hand, Sookie wasn’t sure about. She didn’t know if he would come to the house, approach her at the wedding, or wait until it was over. She knew from talking to both Jason and Willa that Eric was waiting for her return. Sookie shook her head at the thought. Trust the Viking to do the opposite of what she expected. She thought Eric would have moved on by now, but she thought he had moved on before she even left. Then again, the truth was not as she believed; after talking to Willa months prior, Sookie wasn’t sure what to believe anymore. She knew what she saw in Mr. Gus’ head, and she also knew what Eric had told Willa, yet the two things didn’t mesh. His story didn’t match with what she had seen, but Sookie didn’t believe he was lying. There was definitely more to the story than met the eye, and Sookie was both anxious and dreading to find out.
One thing she was most certain of was that she had to talk to him. She would never be able to fully move on with her life until she did. There was far too much left unsaid between them. She knew from speaking with Willa that Eric was still in love with her; Sookie wouldn’t lie and say she no longer had any feelings for him, she did. He was still in her heart and he always would be, but that didn’t mean they had a future together.
Ultimately, Sookie knew for a fact she didn’t have a future with Bill. There was no love in her heart left for that vampire. Her feelings for him were gone completely, even the negative ones. It would have been easy to remain angry with him or even hate him. He had certainly given her enough reasons over the years, but Sookie found the mere thought of it tiring. She wouldn’t waste her energy hating Bill. He wasn’t worth it.
Checking the time, Sookie noticed she still had several hours until sunset and she decided to use them to her benefit. Neither vampire might show up, but she wanted to be ready just in case. Never again would she be unprepared and put on the defensive when it came to Bill. She knew she would never really be able to predict Eric’s actions, she never could. Bill, however, was surprisingly predictable in his behavior. She hadn’t realized before she left, but her time away had given her the opportunity to reflect on not only her own actions, but that of her vampires as well.
Once Bill learned she was back, she knew it would be only a matter of time before he came knocking on her door. He wouldn’t wait longer than two nights; for a vampire he was quite impatient. He would try to get to her before Eric, and he would spin a pitiful tale about how empty his life had been in her absence… Just not empty enough to not fuck any female who smiles at ya, right, Bill? Sookie snorted internally. She had heard all about Bill’s attempts to fuck her out of his system. Apparently, fangbangers loved a poor soulful vampire mooning over his lost love. Sookie hadn’t been able to contain her laughter when Jason told her all about Bill pining for his lost love over a New Blood at Bellefleurs’. It seemed some of the single ladies of Bon Temps, the term ‘ladies’ applied loosely, just flocked to Bill wanting to ease his pain any way they could… Meaning they spread their legs for him like he was Elvis, The King.
No, Bill’s actions she was positive she could predict. He would lie and try to manipulate her. He would gloss over their last encounter to try and make her feel guilty for leaving him in his hour of need. It was Eric’s actions she couldn’t predict and, if she was honest, it was Eric she wanted to see. She honestly didn’t give a damn about Bill. He wasn’t the vampire she constantly had on her mind. He wasn’t the vampire she had missed.