“There’s a goodness in you and it breaks my heart because…”
Sookie trailed off as she thought about what she was going to say. Was she really going to do this? Was she really going to allow fear and confusion rule her and walk away from love? Looking up at Eric, Sookie smiled at the hopeful look on his face. She could see his love for her in his eyes, it was as plain as day. She loved him. So why was she planning to walk away from him? Were the words of a ghost more important than the love they shared?
“There’s no shame in being alone, Sookie.”
Sookie shook her head as she recalled her Gran’s words. There wasn’t any shame in being alone; however, there was a great deal of shame in walking away from love because you’re too afraid to accept and trust in it, and that was the problem Sookie realized. She didn’t trust in it. She didn’t trust in them. She had allowed doubt to cloud her mind and let fear make a liar of her.
Eric had asked her when he couldn’t remember who he was if she would still want him if he ever remembered and she told him she hoped so. That had been a lie. She had already wanted him before he had even been cursed. She had just been too stubborn to admit it. The kiss they shared in his office had proven it. She had eagerly returned his kiss; she wanted it just as much as he had although she had refused to admit it, especially after Eric had chained her up in the basement.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized that was one of her problems. She had never dealt with that, with that betrayal. She had raged about it, thrown insults at Eric over it, but she had never actually dealt with what had happened at Fangtasia that night.
She never really had the time. After feeding her to Russell, Sookie barely had five minutes to herself. First, there was Eric’s strange behavior and his insistence that she drag Russell inside and watch him for the day. On the heels of that came the revelation of why Bill returned to Bon Temps, the night finally wrapping up with her stupidly agreeing to go with Claudine and losing a year of her life.
The fast pace of her life had just resumed when she returned. Discovering Eric owned her house and Bill was King had forced Sookie to ignore the things that had caused her to run in the first place. Once she factored in Eric’s amnesia, their subsequent relationship, and the battle with the witches, it was a miracle that she even had time to breath.
Staring at Eric, Sookie wondered if this was what she was doing now. ‘Was she subconsciously punishing Eric for something that happened over a year ago, even if to her it had been less than a week? Was she hurting him because he hurt her?’
Flicking her eyes to Bill, Sookie frowned at the self-satisfied look on his face. It was clear to her that Bill thought she was about to reject Eric as well. To Sookie, it looked as if Bill was enjoying Eric’s pain. That thought brought another one to her mind. Why was she so quick to forgive Bill when she held Eric accountable for every little mistake?
Of the two of them, Bill had hurt her much worse and yet every time he did, she made excuses for him. He loved her and he was trying to protect her. How did lying to her ‘protect’ her? How did standing back and watching while she was almost beaten to death equal him ‘loving’ her? Why did she continue to defend Bill while all he did was hurt her?
Just a few short days ago, she swore she was done with Bill for good. The pain of his betrayal had nearly destroyed her heart, so why was she now standing in his house offering him forgiveness and love? What had changed in those few days? Had he even said he was sorry? Sookie didn’t think he had. He had made excuses and professed his love, but she didn’t think she actually heard the words, ‘I’m sorry,’ come out of his mouth.
The more she thought about it, the more confused she became. It was as though there was a fog in her mind obscuring her thoughts. Nothing was clear, nothing she thought nor what she was feeling. Sookie felt as if she was being torn in two. She shook her head in a vain attempt to clear it.
‘Why can’t I think clearly?’ She thought. ‘Did Marnie do somethin’ to me before she left?’
She quickly discarded that theory as she realized the fog wasn’t a new thing. She had felt it before, though she may not have not known what she was feeling, she had definitely felt it. In fact, she realized with a start there had only been one time in the last few months that she hadn’t felt it and that was when she was in Fairy. For those ten minutes she had felt like herself again. Her mind had been clear; she had realized something was different, something was wrong, and she had acted. Sookie hadn’t hesitated or looked for guidance. She had acted under the power of her own mind and instinct.
‘There was no confusion. I never felt like I was being pulled in two different directions,’ Sookie realized. ‘I was free.’ As she thought about it, the words Bill spoke to her just a few nights before popped into her mind.
“Forgive me… I know I’m not welcome, but I’ve not felt your presence in over a year. Sookie, for twelve months I was so empty. It was though… as if… I thought you had died.”
Sookie repeated the words in her head as things slowly began to make sense. ‘For twelve months he felt empty and for ten minutes I felt free. I was no longer tied to them. I was cut off from them both.’ More memories began to pop into her head as she played it all over.
“You drank a lot of my blood.”
“What will that do to me?”
“Well, you’ll have keener senses.”
“Your libido will be more active.”
“Is, is that it?”
“I’ll always be able to feel you. I’ll be able to find you fast. If you’re ever in trouble that could come in handy.”
“It’s not just the blood. You know you have feelings for me. You know you can’t trust Bill. That’s not my blood talking. It’s your survival instinct.”
Sookie turned her attention back to Bill as another memory played over in her head.
“You’re connected. He’ll be able to sense your emotions. Don’t be surprised if you… feel some… attraction to him. Sexual.”
Dropping her gaze the floor, Sookie shook her head as she let out a humorless laugh. “I’ve been such a fool,” she whispered. “All this time I thought it was real when it was actually just the blood.”
“Sookie,” Eric said. Reaching out his hand, he tilted her face up so he could look into her eyes. Eric felt his heart seize as he saw the tears swimming in her eyes.
“It was just the blood,” Sookie repeated, a sad smile taking over her face. Blinking back the tears, Sookie took a step forward as she turned her attention back to Bill, “You told me that didn’t you, Bill? In Dallas, after Eric tricked me into suckin’ out that bullet. I didn’t even realize what you said at the time. Do you remember, Bill? Do you remember what you told me?”
“I… remember,” Bill said carefully. He could recall the words he said to her with perfect clarity. Bill had felt her starting to drift away from him in Dallas. Her defense of Eric in the church had solidified what he had already begun to suspect; that despite her denials, Sookie was attracted to his Sheriff. He had used Eric’s trickery to plant seeds of doubt in her mind against the much older vampire. Bill didn’t regret it then, and he didn’t now. In his mind, he had done what was necessary to keep Sookie by his side.
As he stared at Sookie, Bill wondered where she was going on this topic. Was she questioning her entire relationship with Eric? Bill could only hope that was the case. He wanted her back desperately. He craved a taste of her sweet blood. No one he had tasted in the last twelve months had been even a quarter as pleasing as Sookie, and while she wasn’t as satisfying in craving his other hungers, her gifts more than made up for her lack thereof. Besides, he did love her; well, as much as someone like him could love.
If there was a chance she would come back to him, he would take it. He had no doubt Eric would fight it. He would argue that he was lying, or exaggerating the truth as the case may be, but out of the two of them Bill was confident Sookie would believe him. He had gone to great pains to discredit Eric in her eyes and he wouldn’t stop now, not when he was so close to getting it all.
“Of course you do,” Sookie replied as she pressed a hand to her stomach. “You told me that after having Eric’s blood I’d become attracted to him, sexually…”
“Sookie, that’s not true,” Eric interrupted as he shot Bill an anger-filled look. “The blood…”
“You gave me a reason for everythin’. I never realized it at the time,” Sookie continued, speaking over Eric. “and then the dreams started and that just made me believe everythin’ even more. I never questioned it, never doubted it. Why would I? I mean, you’d never lie to me, would you, Bill? I’m dreamin’ about Eric,” she continued, not giving Bill a chance to reply, “I’ve got all these feelins’ for him, but none of it’s real, right? What I feel, what I think I feel, is just a byproduct of the blood. That is what you told me.”
“Sookie, I’m sorry,” Bill replied, feigning sincerity.
“I think that’s the first time you’ve ever said that to me, but don’t be,” Sookie said. Turning her gaze to Eric, she let out a small hiss when she saw the look on his face. It was a mix of anger and sadness and it actually caused her breath to catch in her throat. “I finally see everythin’ clearly. I can finally see the truth,” she continued, never taking her eyes off Eric, “it was the blood, but…” turning her head, she met Bill’s gaze and stared at him unflinchingly, “Eric’s blood is not the only blood I’ve had.”
“Sookie…” Bill started. This wasn’t going where he thought it might and he needed to put a stop to it quickly. He couldn’t have Sookie doubting him again.
“I swore I was done with you for good,” Sookie pressed on, refusing to give him a chance to spin his tale until she had said her piece. For too long she had been quiet where Bill was concerned, but no more. She had a voice and she was determined to make it heard. “You hurt me worse than anyone else ever has. You broke my heart and you made excuses for it, as if it wasn’t your fault, as if you were the innocent party. You stood back and watched while the Rattrays beat me half to death just so you could get your blood into me. Everythin’ we had was built on a lie and a violent act…”
“Sookie, that’s not true,” Bill argued as he interrupted her. He couldn’t believe this was happening. “I love you…”
“So you claim but, do I love you, or is just the blood?” Sookie retorted.
“My blood can’t make you love me,” Bill replied. “That is real.”
“Yet Eric’s can make me love him, right?” Sookie spat, her anger growing as she began to understand just how badly Bill had manipulated her. “What I feel for you is real, but what I feel for Eric is just the blood.” Sookie shook her head at the absurdity of that statement. She couldn’t believe she had once fallen for that.
“Four days ago I swore I was done with you. I’d moved on, I was happy…” Turning to face Eric, Sookie smiled at him as she added, “I was in love and he loved me more than anythin’. He was willin’ to give everythin’ up, for me, to be with me, and I said no. Not because I didn’t want it or want him, but because I knew it wouldn’t be fair to him. I loved him enough to risk my own heart by tellin’ him the truth. That is what love is. You? You offered me lies and excuses. A year ago you sat in my livin’ room and swore you would kill everyone who knew my secret, but what you really meant was you’d kill everyone who knew yours. It wasn’t me you were protectin’, it was you.”
“Sookie, that’s not true,” Bill defended. He could see he was losing her and he had to find some way to stop it. “I love you. I might have made some mistakes, but everything I have done has been to protect you.”
“No, everythin’ you have done has been to protect you.” Sookie replied taking a step toward Bill. “Lyin’ to me doesn’t protect me. The truth might hurt, but a lie hurts worse. You’ve been lyin’ to me from the second you walked into Merlotte’s and you’ve never stopped, even now you continue to lie to me.”
“Sookie, please. I…”
“Four days ago I was happy,” Sookie continued, ignoring his interruption. “There was no confusion in my mind or heart. I loved Eric and you were in my past. I didn’t know if what Eric and I had would last, if he’d still want me when he got his memories back, but it didn’t matter. That’s the risk you take when you get into any relationship and it was worth it. I don’t regret it for a single second. I was happy, but I’m not happy now. I’m miserable. I feel like I’m being torn in two, and I didn’t understand why until just now. You see, I’ve been angry with you before. I’ve walked away from you and each time something’s happened to change my mind. Do you know what that somethin’ was, Bill?”
“Blood, Bill. Blood,” Sookie informed him. “Do you remember when I took Jessica to see her family? You were so angry with me. You physically threw me out their house,” she smiled when she heard Eric growling at the news that Bill had manhandled her. “We were fightin’, I was so angry at you for the way you were treatin’ me and Jessica. Maryann attacked me, you gave me your blood, and I forgot all about it. Isn’t that remarkable?” Shaking her head Sookie continued on, still refusing to give Bill a chance to explain, “Then there was Jackson. You nearly killed me in the back of that van. I had every reason to walk away from you and I did. I told you it was over, but one night and angry sex later, I forgot all about it once more and took you back again. You fed off me,” Sookie growled, her eyes filled with anger. “Just days after you nearly drained me, you fed off me again and never even asked for permission.”
“I was wrong,” Bill replied, feigning contrition. “I shouldn’t have bitten you then…”
“Yeah, you were and yeah, you shouldn’t have,” Sookie agreed. “Every time we had sex you fed off me, whether or not I wanted you. Not once did you ask me if it was okay. Not once did you wait for me to offer my blood to you…”
“I am a vampire, Sookie,” Bill defended. “Sex and feeding are intricately linked…”
“Yet Eric managed to restrain himself when he made love to me,” Sookie retorted, taking a small sliver of pleasure at the look of disgust that crossed Bill’s face. “Me and Eric made love for hours and not once did he bite me or even attempt it. The only time he took my blood was when I offered it. Eric had been silvered all day, he was weak, and hurtin’, but he still never attempted to feed off me. That is twice Eric has resisted attackin’ me after being injured. He had the self-awareness to pull back before he took too much, but you’ve never had that, have you, Bill? You nearly drained me in the back of that van…”
“I had been tortured,” Bill interrupted, his voice taking on a gruff tone. The night was not going the way he expected and he didn’t like it.
“Eric had nearly been burnt to a crisp the first time, and chained in silver all day the second,” Sookie countered. “Yet he still managed enough restraint. Eric was more concerned about hurting me than getting his fill of my blood.”
“I couldn’t help myself, I didn’t…”
“Know what you were doing,” Sookie finished for him. Seeing Bill nod his head in answer, Sookie snorted out a laugh. “You didn’t have enough self-awareness to not drain the woman you claim to love, but you did have the presence of mind to put your hand over my mouth to keep me from screaming for help. Even after all that, I still forgave you. I can’t believe I was so stupid… Well, it wasn’t all my fault, was it? I mean after you drained me, you did fill me back up with your blood.”
“I saved your life!” Bill defended while he straightened his shoulders. As far as he was concerned, he had done Sookie a favor that night. She was dying, she wouldn’t have survived much longer, and despite the torture he had suffered at the hands of Lorena, as soon as he could he had gone to Sookie and healed her.
“My life wouldn’t have needed savin’ if you hadn’t almost drained me!” Sookie retorted. “We seem to have this pattern where I’m hurt or dyin’, and then you magically show up and save me. I am always grateful, I thanked you, and I thought I owed you. Hell, I thought you were a hero! But the truth is I was only hurt or dyin’ because you put me in danger in the first place. You stood back and watched while the Rattrays almost beat me to death so you could get your blood in me. You drained me in the back of that van after my dumb ass saved you from your crazy Maker… who you cheated on me with, but then I forgot all about that after you gave me your blood. Just like I forgave you for your part in feedin’ me to Russell, again, after you gave me your blood…”
“That was Eric’s doing,” Bill argued. “He was the one who fed from you that night. He should answer…”
“Shut up!” Sookie spat, having enough of Bill’s interruptions. “Yes, that was Eric’s doin’, but you didn’t do anythin’ to stop it. In fact, you encouraged it with tales of how my blood let you walk in the sun.”
“I had no choice…”
“I said, shut up!” Sookie snapped. “That’s your excuse for everything! ‘I had no choice. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just followin’ orders, blah, blah, blah.’ Do you ever take responsibility for your own actions? Be a man, Bill, own up to your own mistakes!”
“I will admit I have made mistakes when it comes to you,” Bill began unsurely, “but everything I…”
“Have done has been for you,” Sookie finished drolly. She let out a small laugh as she shook her head. “I think I’m gonna have that embroidered on a hanky and carry it around with me; it’ll save me havin’ to hear it over and over again. You can screw up again and I’ll pull it out of my pocket. Bill, nothing you’ve done has been for me. It’s been for you, it’s been so you can manipulate me.”
“That is not true!” Bill replied indignantly. “I fought Russell and Sophie-Anne for you. I tried to save you when Rene attacked you; I risked my own life by walking in the sun. I became King because of you.”
“You did,” Sookie admitted quietly, making Bill smile. “You walked out into the sun when Rene was attacking me. At the time I thought that was so brave. Of course now I’m wonderin’ if you knew you wouldn’t burn like vampires normally do? Did you know back then that my blood would allow you to walk in the sun, Bill? Did you already know I was a fairy?”
“No!” Bill replied ardently. “I had no idea until Claudine told me…”
“Claudine,” Sookie repeated cutting him off. She shook her head wondering if he was really going to try and claim her fairy godmother told him the truth about her when she wouldn’t even tell her. “This would be the same Claudine who repeatedly told me you were tryin’ to steal my light and I couldn’t trust you? The same Claudine that hated and feared all vampires? Really, Bill, you’re gonna have to try better than that.” Looking at Bill, she could see he was going to stick to his story so she decided to take a gamble, “The same Claudine who told me she never told you anythin’?”
Sookie smiled sadly as she saw a look of panic flash through his eyes and in that moment she knew the truth. “You’ve known from the start, haven’t you?” She was surprised at just how even her voice was as she stared at Bill. ‘I guess nothin’ really surprises me when it comes to Bill now.’
“Sweetheart, please you have to understand. I wasn’t completely sure. Sophie-Anne never told me outright what you were and could do. She only ever implied it,” Bill said, trying desperately to spin a tale to get him out of the predicament he was in. Sookie was never supposed to know he knew what she was and the effects fairy blood could have on a vampire. He wasn’t lying when he said Sophie-Anne never told him specifically what Sookie was and what her blood could do. No, that knowledge had come from Hadley herself… after he’d met Sookie.
However, Sookie didn’t need to know that. She didn’t need to know that he hadn’t spent the full three nights in the ground with Jessica when he turned her. Bill had only spent one night in the ground with her before he dug himself out and sped off to New Orleans to learn all he could about his little telepath. She didn’t need to know that while she was being targeted by a serial killer, he was pumping Hadley for all she knew about her cousin. She certainly didn’t need to know that while she was trying to uncover the identity of a killer and free her brother from jail, he was enjoying the many talents of her cousin. Sookie had forgiven him so much, but even Bill didn’t think she would forgive him if she ever found out he had cheated on her repeatedly with her own cousin.
“I do understand, Bill,” Sookie replied her tone strangely strong despite the pain she was feeling. “I understand perfectly… You lied to me… again. You knew all along what I was and what I could do. Everythin‘ you’ve said and done has been nothin‘ but an attempt to manipulate me, and like an idiot I fell for it every time. You lied to me about why you came back to Bon Temps. You lied to me about what vampire blood does. You lied to me about knowin’ what I was, even now you’re lyin’ to me.”
“That is not true, sweetheart,” Bill argued staunchly. He was desperate to make her see things his way. He couldn’t lose her now, not when he was so close to finally having her for his own again. If he could get Sookie to go back to him, he would be almost unstoppable. Her abilities would only aid him in his rule as King, and Bill was sure that as long as the blonde fairy hybrid was by his side, Eric would protect his rule. He knew Eric wouldn’t do it for him. No, given the chance the Viking would rip his head off and send him to his True Death, but if he had Sookie by his side then Eric would do anything in his power to protect her. Eric would never hurt her, and his death would hurt Sookie. In Bill’s mind it stood to reason that Eric would protect him as well. “I have made some mistakes when it comes to you, I’ll admit that. I am sorry…”
“No, you’re not,” Sookie said, interrupting him. She was sick and tired of hearing Bill’s excuses and halfhearted apologies. She knew he didn’t mean them. She wasn’t even sure Bill thought he did anything wrong. Any apology he gave her came with an excuse tacked on to the end. ‘I’m sorry I stood back and watched you be beaten half to death… but that was before I loved you. I’m sorry I cheated on you… but that was Lorena’s fault. I’m sorry I almost drained and killed you… but I had been tortured.’ Every single ‘I’m sorry’ was followed by a ‘but.’ “Because, Bill, if you were sorry, sincerely sorry, you wouldn’t keep doin‘ it. You wouldn’t keep tryin‘ to manipulate me into doin‘ what you want. You wouldn’t keep lyin‘ to me. You’re only sorry you got caught. If it wouldn’t have been for Eric, I’d still be in the dark about why you came back to Bon Temps. Hell, I might’ve been the nightly late night snack for your old Queen…”
“That would have never happened,” Bill denied firmly while ignoring her other claims. He had said he was sorry once, he wouldn’t keep repeating himself. “I would have never handed you over to Sophie-Anne.”
“You also wouldn’t have told me about her and the real reason for you returning to town would ya?” Sookie challenged, no longer willing to let it go. Although she didn’t need to hear Bill’s reply, she already knew the answer. He would have never told her. He would have kept her in the dark forever. What was worse was she would have let him, she was ashamed to admit. If Eric hadn’t ripped the blinders off her eyes she would have still been ignoring her instincts and believing any word that came out of Bill Compton’s lying mouth… No more. She was done burying her head in the sand when it came to him, or anyone else. She was done listening to the bigoted people of Bon Temps and ghosts. It was time she made up her own mind. It was time she followed her heart.
“There would have been no need,” Bill replied stiffly, hating to be backed into a corner. “It would have only hurt you like it did. I wanted to protect you and spare you the pain…”
Laughter spilled from her lips at Bill’s words and she doubled up as she clutched her stomach. “Oh God. Bill, even you can’t believe that crap,” she said through her laughter. “You wouldn’t have told me to spare me the pain? Bullshit, Bill! It wouldn’t have been me you were tryin‘ to protect, but you! That’s all you’ve ever tried to do. You wouldn’t have told me not cause ya wanted to spare me the pain, but cause you wouldn’t run the risk of losin‘ ya little fairy fountain. You knew that if I knew the truth, ya wouldn’t have been able to keep ya hold on me. Well guess what, Bill?” Sookie spread her arms out as she asked the question. “I did find out,” she continued answering before he had a chance to reply, “and ya haven’t kept ya hold of me. Cause I’m done! I’m done with you, I’m done with your lies, I‘m even done with ya stupid fuckin’ haircut. I ain’t playin’ ya games no more, Bill. I’m walkin‘ out that door,” she jabbed a finger in the direction of the front door, “and I ain’t ever walkin‘ back in it and if ya don’t like it, tough! Cause I don’t care what you think anymore!”
Bill stood speechless as he listened to Sookie tell him what she was going to do. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing and he wondered from where all her fire was coming. The Sookie in front of him was not His Sookie. His Sookie was a meek little thing who did what he said. She was easy to manipulate. He had been doing it since the night he met her. He didn’t like this Sookie.
Turning to face Eric, Sookie smiled at the proud look in his eyes. She couldn’t believe she was going to walk away from him like she was on the words of a ghost and several mouthfuls of Bill’s blood. Deciding to lay it all on the line, Sookie raised her head and met his gaze unflinchingly. “A few nights ago you asked me if I would still want you after you remembered who you were and I said I hoped so. I’m sorry, Eric, but I lied to you that night…”
Eric felt his heart seize in his chest at her words and he was sure she was going to reject him as well. Seeing her tear into Bill had been a thing of beauty and he had wanted nothing more than to lay her down and make love to her until dawn. The Sookie who had stood up to Bill and told him how it was going to be was his Sookie. It was the Sookie who had stood up to him and slapped him. It was the Sookie he had fallen in love with. Eric could feel ice forming around his heart as he prepared for her rejection. Even as he prepared for it, he swore he wouldn’t give her up without a fight. He loved her and she loved him. He knew she did.
“… The truth is,” she continued, having a good idea what he was thinking. “I wanted you long before that night. I’ve wanted you since the night in Dallas when you offered yourself to the Fellowship of the Sun in exchange for me and Godric. I fought against my desire for you, telling my mind it was just the blood, but I see now I was wrong. I wanted you before I even had your blood. I wanted you then, I wanted you the night we first made love…” She ignored the growl of displeasure coming from Bill at her words. More than once Eric had been forced to witness her relationship with Bill, she figured turnaround was fair play now. “I wanted you when we exchanged blood and, Eric…” she reached for his hands, taking them in hers.”I want you now. I love you!”
Eric could barely believe his ears. He was so sure she was going to reject him that he never even imagined she was instead going to proclaim her love for him. He could feel a lump forming in his throat when he heard the words he had been dying to hear for over a year.
“I’ve made some mistakes, and I’m sorrier than I can ever express,” Sookie went on, wanting him to know everything. “If you’ll still have me, I’m yours…”
“If?” Eric repeated. There was no if about it. She was his just like he was hers. Cupping her face in his hands, Eric swooped down and pressed his lips to hers in a passion-fueled kiss. He poured every ounce of love he felt for the telepathic blonde into the kiss; silently telling her how much he loved her. “Mine,” he growled against her lips as he broke the kiss.
“Yours,” Sookie agreed smiling brightly.
“No!” Bill shouted, breaking into the haze that descended over the happy couple. He couldn’t believe Sookie had chosen Eric over him. His blood should have clouded her mind so much she wouldn’t know up from down. She was supposed to have gone with the familiar, the comfortable, not the new and exciting. She was supposed to have chosen him. “I won’t allow it!”
“You can’t stop it,” Sookie retorted never looking away from Eric. She knew that was where she was supposed to be, in his arms.
“I can and I will,” Bill replied taking a step forward. He puffed his chest out as he glared at the couple. “I forbid it. As King I have that right…”
Eric growled at Bill. He couldn’t believe he was actually trying to pull that kind of shit. Eric knew Bill wouldn’t be happy, but to actually try and pull the King card was beyond pathetic. As if he would let something as insignificant as a crown keep him and his love apart. He opened his mouth to speak when he felt a warm hand on his chest and he smiled as he looked down into the warm eyes of his lover. Seeing the glint in her eyes, he shut his mouth and waited to see what she was going to do.
“You’re only King here, Bill,” Sookie said, taking both vampires by surprise. “You can say what you want, do what you want, but you’ll never stop me and Eric from bein’ together. If we have to leave Louisiana to be together, well, that’s a small price to pay. I love Eric and only Eric. In this you are powerless.”
“No,” Bill growled refusing to concede. “I am your King. I refuse to let you leave.”
“You’re not my King, Bill,” Sookie retorted coolly. “I’m not a vampire. You have no jurisdiction over me. Now, you might be Eric’s King, but…” She laughed as she flicked her eyes between the two of them. “I’d really like to see you try and force him to do something he doesn’t want.”
Eric chuckled at her words, knowing she was basically daring Bill to try something and get his ass kicked. “I’m sure he would love to try, Lover,” he said, grinning at the shiver that went through her at the term of endearment. “However, my Sheriff contract is with The Authority alone, not the state of Louisiana and it became void when Nan so carelessly issued the death warrant against me, the warrant that our most gracious King discarded. Thanks to their most generous actions, I am no longer tied to the state of Louisiana, nor am I indebted to its monarch. I am free to leave whenever I desire. So what do you say, Lover, where would you like to go first? Paris, Milan, Stockholm, or maybe Barbados?”
“I don’t care where we go,” Sookie told him truthfully. She hadn’t been kidding when she told Bill she didn’t care if she had to leave Louisiana to be with Eric. There was little for her left in the state. The year she was away told Sookie her friends didn’t need her. They had all continued on with their lives in her absence. They had all given up on her, all of them but Eric. “As long as I am with you, I’ll be happy anywhere.”
“You will never be without me,” Eric promised as he lifted her into his arms and sped them to the door. He paused by it and looked over his shoulder at Bill. “Your Majesty,” he said mockingly before pulling the door open and walking through it.
Flying them to the old farmhouse, Eric landed on the grass in front of the house and carried Sookie up the porch steps. “Are you sure you want to leave?” He asked her as he lowered her feet to the ground and let her stand. “You know if we go the state will be weakened and Bill will probably be overthrown.”
“I know,” Sookie admitted while she moved into Eric’s arms and wrapped her arms around his waist. “Before I might’ve cared, I might’ve felt guilty about wantin’ to get away, but all that changed when he tried to forbid us from being together.” Looking up at Eric, Sookie smiled as she continued, “Bill will never stop tryin’ to manipulate me. As long as we are all here, he will never leave us alone. I might not want to kill him, but that don’t mean I have to save him. I want to be with you, Eric, just you. That’ll never happen if we are stuck here. There are too many people who don’t want us together. I‘m done listenin’ to anyone else. I’ll stay here if ya want, but…”
Laying a bruising kiss on her lips, Eric cut her off dead. All he wanted to hear was that she was sure. She wanted to leave, but was willing to stay if it was what he wanted. Eric knew she was speaking the truth when she said too many people didn’t want them together. His Child was at the top of the list, right next to Bill. Well, fuck them, and fuck her! No one was coming between him and Sookie again. “I’ll show you the world,” Eric promised as he broke the kiss. “I will show you everything. I will give you anything your heart desires…”
“Silly Viking,” Sookie chided playfully. “You are all my heart desires. Now, what d’ya say we get out of here before anyone comes lookin‘ for us…”
Eric grinned and he lifted Sookie into his arms again. “Hang on tight, Lover,” he said as he took to the air. He was sure the two of them would return someday, but that day was far away. For now everything he needed was in his arms, and he was never going to let her go.
Bill watched in disbelief as Eric and Sookie disappeared from view. He couldn’t believe what had just happened. He had lost Sookie, and his oldest, most powerful Sheriff. His foolish actions had just weakened his state considerably.
He had lost…