Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings etc are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers or any media franchise. No copyright infringement.
NOTE: This is a one shot I wrote for Kittyinaz’ January 2015 writers contest. She graciously created the banner and allowed it’s use. The story is set in that small time between Sookie’s time with Lochlan and Neave and the arrival of Appius.
The amazing banner was created by Kittyinaz who dwarfs us all with her writing, her art and her amazing generosity of spirit.
Sookie stood on the shore of her brother Jason’s pond. The reflection of the moon on the water spilled in a rippled arrow toward the far shore. She found herself smiling. The pond was not large, but it had a dock and there were fish. From where she stood she could look up the hill and see the back of the house where she grew up.
Sookie didn’t live here anymore. She now lived across town in her Grandmother’s house on Hummingbird Lane. When her parents had died her Gran had taken in both Jason and herself. The good woman had raised them as her own. When Jason got older, he moved back to this house; their parents’ house and he’d been living here ever since. But in all these years, Sookie had never seen him throw a party like this. Jason had a new girlfriend. Michele, with a single ‘l’. He was thinking she might be the one, and Sookie thought he might be right. Michele was steady and she knew how to keep Jason in his place. Anyone could see that Jason Stackhouse was crazy about her.
It was April in Bon Temps. Not too hot, but not crazy cold either. Michele had mentioned that it would be fun to have a theme party. She’d asked Sookie and Sookie had said without even a thought, “Gone With the Wind.” It was Sookie’s favorite movie. There had been days recently, when the thought of Scarlett standing on the hill, shaking that turnip and promising herself that she’d never be hungry again had been all that stood between Sookie and a feeling of deep despair.
Sometimes Sookie reflected on the events in her life. She was still recovering from a terrible ordeal. She couldn’t believe that this had been part of her life. She had been captured and tortured by people who wanted to damage her great grandfather. The trauma lingered still. It had taken months for her to heal physically, but she had scars she would probably carry the rest of her life. Most days she wondered if she would ever truly heal mentally. But for every step she took forward; every time she slept through the night or found she didn’t shudder when someone approached her, she had one person to thank. Eric Northman.
Eric had held her. He had cried with her. He had refused to leave her alone, even when she begged. He had held her at night and made love to her, knowing that she wasn’t able to be open to him as she had in past. It was because of his patience and his pushing that she had slowly recovered herself.
Sookie found herself thinking about her life – the steps and experiences that had brought her to this moment. Sookie lived and worked in Bon Temps, Louisiana all her life. She hadn’t had an easy childhood. Sookie had been born a telepath. No one could explain why that was. What she did know was this: knowing what everyone was thinking all the time could sure put a look of crazy on your face. It had taken years to learn how not to let folks know that she could hear all their random thoughts – the good and the bad. ‘Crazy Sookie.’ That’s what they used to call her. There was a time when she had seen herself that way too. But it occurred to her, standing and looking out into the night, that something had changed.
That change had started the day she found out she wasn’t the only ‘different’ one in the world. She’d been curious when she had heard that vampires were real. Then meeting one and finding out that she couldn’t hear his thoughts had been a real eye opener. She realized there were people in the world that she could have friendships with and not worry about hearing hurtful things. Being around vampires was restful to her. As time passed, she learned there were other creatures who were restful too – two-natured who could shift into animal form. With each revelation, Sookie realized she felt less alone.
Sookie had become more comfortable with her own difference. She had learned how to control her telepathy. Then she had learned to use it to help others.
But she hadn’t really started to love herself until she saw things through the eyes of Eric Northman.
There was something about him, like a low voltage electrical current. He could be calming, or he could irritate the hell out of her. She loved him. She was ready to admit that to herself. She might even be ready to tell him. What was not certain on any given day was whether that was good or bad.
She remembered Gran telling her once, “Sookie, there are two kinds of men in this world. There are boyfriends and husbands. Boyfriends are spark and light and romance and they make your heart beat fast. They are the highest highs. But then they are also the lowest lows. Husbands are less drama and more patience. They aren’t sprinters; they are the long distance. They are dependable and that may not always feel exciting, but you never have to worry about spending long nights all alone.”
Sookie used to think that she had a good idea what Gran would think of Eric. “Boyfriend,” she’d say. “Boyfriend all the way.”
But lately, Sookie wasn’t so sure.
On those days that things were good, he looked at her in a way that made her feel like a princess. When he talked with her, it was as an equal. He didn’t see anything strange about her. He always seemed to be proud of her – when he wasn’t mad at her about something. Sookie grimaced. The latest fighting thing had been the status of their relationship. Eric would tell people they were married. But Sookie didn’t feel married. And she didn’t like Eric telling people they were. The waving of a knife in some vampire mumbo jumbo moment just didn’t feel like a ring and to have and to hold.
The wind rippled the water. Sookie breathed in the spring air and allowed her thoughts to calm. Spring was her favorite time of year. There was something about the scent of the earth in spring – like growing, bountiful things full of promise. It made Sookie remember how different things were for her in Bon Temps now. She had friends. Some were human. Some were not so human. She had more family than she had known and they wanted to be around her. She was invited to things like christenings and weddings and baby showers. Most days now, she felt like she was normal; like she fit in.
Eric Northman might be high handed, but because Eric treated her like she was valued, she felt valuable. Because he treated her like she was worthy and interesting and sexy, she took that on herself. No one had so much faith in her.
Sookie looked down at herself. She wished she had been able to arrange a real hoop skirt, but the dress she did have was pretty and elegant and romantic with lace at the neck and a ruffle. She had her hair up in a chignon. Michele assured her she looked as pretty as any belle at Twelve Oaks or Tara.
When the party started, Sookie stood with Jason and Michele to welcome folks. Michele had hired a small band from town with an accordion and a fiddle to play dance music. Jason and his buddy Hoyt had put down a wood dance floor in the backyard.
Sookie turned from the water to look back at the white Christmas lights that twinkled around the back of the house. She could smell the barbecue. She had taken a lantern with her to light the path to the water’s edge. It was kind of romantic. And that was the problem. Sookie was all dressed up but no hope of seeing Eric Northman.
Eric had boss trouble. But that wasn’t really the half of it. Boss troubles in vampire speak usually meant people losing limbs or being killed. Sookie had started to appreciate just how close Eric was to one of those two options most days. The appointed regent of his territory, Victor, made no bones about hating Eric. Victor went out of his way to make trouble for Eric. Eric would tell Sookie little things about having to keep two sets of books or having to put in lots of extra hours to stay ahead. But Sookie could also feel the general undercurrent of unhappiness that was probably Eric through the bond they shared.
It seemed so unfair that they had come so far, only to be faced with trial after trial.
Of course she had asked him to come tonight. She reminded him how crazy she was about Scarlett and Rhett. She had heard the sorrow in his voice as he apologized. “I am so sorry dear heart. Victor has announced that he intends to visit me tonight. I will make it up to you. I wish it was otherwise.”
Even though she understood, there was some small part of Sookie that felt betrayed. She wondered, not for the first time, if all of this was worth it. But then she thought of his smile and his beauty when his eyes landed on her and his whole face would light up. And, in spite of herself she found herself smiling.
She turned back toward the water one more time and came face to face with Eric Northman. He was hovering over the water. Her smile turned into laughter. She set down the lantern and leaped into his arms. And he caught her, his arms coming around her waist and drawing her into him until she felt surrounded by his embrace. Her cheek lay next to his chest, and she breathed in his wonderful, dry scent.
He brought her firmly to shore and made sure she was on her feet. Then he stepped back and made a bow. For the first time she saw his outfit. He was wearing a black tuxedo with long tails. His shoes were black patent leather. His shirt was white with a ruffle and his bowtie was white too. And she realized he was wearing the same outfit that Rhett Butler had worn when he bid for Scarlett’s hand to lead the Virginia Reel.
“Eric? I didn’t think you could make it.” Sookie couldn’t take her eyes from him. He stared down at her with a quiet intensity. His blond hair was tied tightly back. It seemed almost silver in the moonlight.
He stepped forward and took her hand, first in one of his own hands, then in both. He studied her hand as if searching for something. And then he brought her hand to his lips. He kissed the back, and then turned it to kiss her palm. He laid her hand against his cheek. Sookie found herself melting into his touch. Then he raised his eyes to her own. “My lover, I could not go through this night without seeing you. I was able to distract Victor and get away.”
“Oh, I am so glad you did!” And Sookie found herself laughing. “Eric Northman! Where did you find that outfit?”
Eric stepped back and struck a pose. “You did say everyone was wearing costumes. Did you think I only know about lycra and spandex?” Sookie found herself blushing as she remembered the hot pink outfit and how she’d found herself lying on top of his car hood. When he leered down at her with a knowing eye, she pursed her mouth and pushed back from him.
“Oh, now you’re just fishing for compliments! If I tell you how good you look I’ll need a wheel barrow to get your ego up the hill!”
Eric threw his head back and laughed. Then he stepped forward and wrapped his arm around her waist. He pulled her to him and said,” You need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” And then he showed her in no uncertain terms that he knew how all the kissing should be done. When she was breathless, he took her hand and led her up the hill. The band had started. Under the lights Sookie and Eric spun round and round to Amelia’s Waltz and Blind Mary. There were other dancers on the wood floor under the stars that night, but Sookie could never remember any other face but her Viking’s.
In the hard days that came with the arrival of Appius, Sookie found her thoughts returning to that night. They had stayed on the dance floor, twirling in each other’s arms until the band had quit. Sookie knew that for the rest of her life, she would always have that moment, in the arms of her lover; a perfect moment; a moment that would tide them through forever.