Chapter Twenty-four: Dirty Dealings
“Mmm,” Sookie grinned with a delicious stretch, “that’s the best night I’ve had in a while.”
Eric laughed as he pulled his Mate lazily against his side, “Every night with you is the best.” Smiling at the sentiment, Sookie stroked his cheek while subduing a cringe. “Are you all right?” he asked softly.
“The sun’s coming soon. I should let the girls out,” Sookie told him.
“Ah, yes,” The pair rose from bed, dressing sparsely for the brief excursion outdoors. “You remember that Ludwig requested I keep us aware as long as possible, correct?”
“Oh, yeah. I forgot,” Sookie admitted.
“It is important that you alert me if it is becoming too much for you,” Eric explained. “Being as young as you are, you will be quite stressed, regardless of irritations. I do not want you succumbing to the bleeds though, so I would request that you make me aware of any discomfort as soon as it occurs.”
“What do you mean by ‘discomfort’?” Sookie asked while she ushered Mags and Junes out the door.
“Burning sensations would be the first thing you would notice,” Eric told her. “They are very mild in the beginning. Pressure behind your eyes and in your ears would follow that, coupled with a sensation of fatigue. Finally, just before the bleeds begin, you will feel a very uncomfortable pressure on your chest, which can cause the young ones to begin panting out of old habit. If you begin panting, I will let us rest, but I would request that you not let me take you that far.”
“Does sun sickness cause any damage?” Sookie asked while the dogs galloped around the yard.
“It can cause weakness into the following evening,” Eric informed her. “Insatiable thirst is often another symptom.”
“You don’t like the idea of doing this, do you?” she guessed.
“I do not,” He shook his head.
“Why?” Sookie asked, shivering slightly as the sun grew closer to the horizon.
“You are only two nights old, and have already had to deal with so much more than a normal newborn. I fear that the physical stress this will put you under is asking too much,” he confessed sadly.
“Well, I promise not to push myself too hard today,” Sookie assured him, giving his arm a comforting squeeze. “If I feel any burning sensations, I’ll let you know immediately.”
“You promise?” he asked quietly.
“I really, really do. I won’t push myself on this.”
“All right. Mags! Junes!” he called. “Inside!”
The pair turned back to the door while the dogs came loping back toward them, and Eric quickly flicked the locks before heading to the front door and arming the security system for the day.
“Is there anything you want to bring into the room with us?” Eric asked.
“It might be a long day,” he pointed out. “With my age, you might be able to stay aware rather comfortably for several daylight hours. I do not wish you to get bored.”
Grinning impishly, she asked, “How could I be bored with a Viking in my bed?”
Shaking his head amusedly, Eric told her, “Unfortunately, I will not be ravaging you during the day. I want you aware of your body on a much more investigative scale. If you intend on informing me of discomforts, they will be more difficult to discern while writhing underneath me.”
“Oh, foo,” Sookie pouted, giving her foot a playful stomp. “All right, let me grab a couple books,” She skipped toward his office to quickly peruse his bookshelves and returned with several different leather bindings. “What language is this in?” She held up a rather impressive-looking volume.
Tilting his head to read the spine, he said, “German.”
“Is it any good?”
“Will you read it to me?” she requested.
“It is very emotional,” he confessed. “It does not have a happy ending.”
Considering his statement for a moment, Sookie grinned, “Then read it to me in German. I won’t understand a word of it, but I get to hear you talking all sexy in a foreign language.”
Eric laughed, “German is a sexy language?”
Sookie shrugged, “Sure, why not?”
Shaking his head, Eric took her free hand and lead her to the bedroom. They curled up together under the covers and Sookie giggled when her Bonded brought them over their heads.
“Well, I think we’ve talked enough,” she grinned at him through the darkness of their makeshift tent. “I know what you want from me and what you expect of yourself. You’ve got a pretty good handle on my expectations. What do you say we just veg out until we can’t take it anymore?”
Letting out a relieved sigh, Eric nodded, “Would you like me to read to you?”
Before Eric could crack open the book Sookie had selected, she succumbed to the rising sun. “Sookie,” Eric boomed, initiating his Maker’s Command, “rise.”
The young vampire did not budge, and at Eric’s second command, he realized that she would not.
Reaching for his phone, Eric dialed the doctor.
“She will not remain aware?” Ludwig’s voice came over the phone.
“Not at all. She is too young,” Eric told her. “I cannot fathom a magic that could raise a two-night-old. Even between my age and our Bond, I do not see her resisting the morning sun until she is at least a decade old. She is able to rise shortly after me in the early evening, though,” he offered.
“I suppose I was being unreasonably optimistic. Still, the tests I have run are particularly interesting.”
“How so?” Eric asked curiously.
“I used part of a sample in daylight. It did not smolder,” Ludwig chittered. “Your blood did not either.”
“What does that mean?” he pressed for more information.
“It remains to be seen. Maybe in a decade or so, your Mate will be able to show us more, but currently, you are right. She is too young. It might be closer to a century before she starts showing us of what she is truly capable.”
“I find that disconcerting,” Eric admitted with a scowl.
“I am certain that you do,” the doctor agreed. “Regardless, all tests indicate that she has rather reasonable variations than a normal vampire. Have you tried mixing honey with her blood?”
“Not yet,” Eric confessed. “With the trial, we were under much scrutiny. I did not wish to risk questions if anyone smelled the additive.”
“Her transition is particularly worrisome.”
“There are more concerns with her vampiric powers?”
“No,” The Viking looked down at his unconscious Mate. “I fear Godric was right, and that I was too young to create a Bonded Mate.”
“That was not really up to you. Trust me when I say that the compulsion to Bond is not a fickle one. Had you truly been consumed with doubts, you would have run. There is no running now, and I know that you would not wish to.”
“I would not,” he agreed.
“Viking, I like this Mate of yours. You know I do not say such things easily.”
“I feel juvenile around her,” he admitted.
“That is to be expected. Bonding is not something for which one can prepare.”
“Godric and Emily-”
“Are not you and Sookie!” Ludwig snapped. “Tell me a single hardship that befell them in this century! They have overcome no obstacles together. Emily never knew the hardships and anguishes that have consumed your Mate. Their story is not yours.”
“When did you become a psychiatrist?” Eric teased.
“Northman, mental health is not one I take much interest in. I am more capable at diagnosing and treating physical ailments and afflictions,” Ludwig paused a moment before adding, “Still, as I said, I like your Mate. She is the only newborn I have encountered in the last several decades that has not annoyed the hell out of me. Right now, she needs her Bonded to be strong because her hardships are nowhere near over. If that means I must fortify your resolve and confidence, then I will do so.”
“That is what worries me.”
“That she will need to endure far more?”
Ludwig paused to consider the vampire’s confession, “Merely remember that Bonding is the pinnacle of the vampire experience, one that you will bask in until your True Death. It is a transformation not only for that baby vampire in your bed, but for you as well. Be prepared to experience and feel things you never knew you could. That means your responses will need to be relearned as well.”
“I allowed mercy for a vampire who I should have condemned. All for Sookie.”
“Was she a threat?”
“Then do not fret.”
“Rides coach to your Bonded.”
“Yes, of course,” Eric nodded though the doctor could not see him. “I suppose that while she is unconscious, I should take the time to reflect and meditate on our new situations.”
“That would be advisable. Call me when you discover further developments.”
“Of course, Doctor.”
Eric quickly hung up and leaned back into bed. His arm unconsciously wrapped around her bare shoulder, and he pulled her snugly to his side. Tracing his thumb along the curve of her jaw, Eric considered his multitude of fuck-ups the previous evening, beginning with his snapping at her in the car, to bursting past her once they returned home, only to lock himself away in the den. Truly, he had acted like a child the previous night, but there was no taking it back.
Relearning his responses would take far greater work than he had thought. Unlike creating a typical Child, there was little to no room separating his emotions from Sookie’s. Her humanlike responses and emotions were bewildering, to say the least. Those, coupled with vampiric intensity were overwhelming. Her anger at herself had gotten the better of him, and he had unwittingly snapped.
“I will just have to love you that much more, my Bonded,” Eric whispered as he twirled a long golden lock around his fingertip. “How can someone so perfect hate herself so much? So much, in fact, that you overwhelmed my love for you with anger? Please do not hate yourself, Dear One. I love you far too much to wish to be forced to feel such a way about you.”
“Something’s different,” Sookie rose abruptly.
“Hmm?” Eric purred, his hand buried in her hair.
“I feel different,” she said, sounding somewhat surprised.
“Different how?” he pressed for her to continue though he remained lazily on his side, finger-combing her hair.
“Good different,” she assured him. “There’s this underlying calmness in me… I guess that’s you?”
“It is,” he confirmed, bringing a lock of her hair to his nose and breathing it in. “I realized many things while you rested. The most important being that I was unwittingly being influenced by your emotions. I have never truly known the repercussions of another’s emotions and I was just as blinded as you were by your presence within me. I allowed you to overpower me and I reacted to that poorly.”
“Power play?” she asked.
“Not so much,” he shook his head. “It was not a reaction to being overpowered. It was a reaction to being consumed. I was overwhelmed by your anger toward yourself, and it was too late for me to realize that I was not angry.”
“So, I was so mad at myself last night that I actually made you angry at me?” Sookie observed.
“Something like that. My anger was not directed toward you. Though you and I know what the other is feeling, we do not know what causes those feelings. I was angry, but not at you. Does that make sense?”
“Enough,” she supposed. “So, are you going to be Mr. Zen Master now to try to give me an undercurrent of calm without making me calm?”
“Nothing quite so underhanded. I am merely trying to find myself in the center of your storm. This undercurrent you speak of is just a side effect.” Sighing, Sookie began to rise from bed. “Are you all right?”
“Fine,” she replied, looking for an outfit to lay out before taking her shower. “I’ve just been in bed a whole lot lately. I want to move around. I feel a bit restless.”
Eric rolled out of bed as well and met her between the bathroom and the closet. “Company?” he asked, making his Bonded smile.
Their shower took the remaining time before true dark, and Eric felt anticipation for getting out of the house. He was just as unaccustomed to spending so much time at home though he had grown more and more familiar with it since meeting Sookie.
“Where would you like to go?” Eric asked after they had taken Mags and Junes for their nightly run.
“Really?” He was surprised she wished to return there.
Sookie shrugged, “I…sort of want a donor,” she admitted bashfully.
Grinning at her confession, Eric kissed the top of her head, “Then a donor is what you shall have!”
“Wow, you really are excited about seeing me suck on someone else’s neck!” she taunted as he opened the car door for her.
“I am excited about anything you do that exhibits vampire behavior.”
“I thought you liked my uniqueness,” she teased, sticking her tongue out at him.
Chuckling, Eric took her hand in his and gave it a kiss, “Always, but with the variations you have shown, you cannot fault me too much for being relieved at brief glimpses of normalcy.”
“It’s sort of a relief to me,” she sighed, leaning back into her seat as they drove away. “I wish there was stuff to do at night so that I could bring Mags and Junes with us,” she said after a few minutes of silence. “I hate how much time they spend without me.”
“Perhaps you are right,” Eric replied.
“Oh, you’re not going to try and convince me to give them away, are you?” Sookie moaned.
“Of course not,” Eric shook his head. “I was actually thinking that maybe we could move up north for a while. I could step down from my duties as Sheriff, we could move north, and spend the next decade or so spending quality time with the girls, letting you find yourself again.”
“You wouldn’t get bored?” Sookie asked quietly.
Eric actually laughed at that, “Dear One, I could never get bored with anything that involved you. Besides, it would not be the first time I have lived reclusively.”
“I’ll think about it,” she relented after a moment’s consideration.
“That is all I ask,” he nodded while pulling into the Fangtasia parking lot. He frowned at the overabundance of cars for so early on a weekday.
Shaking off the suspicion, Eric went to Sookie’s door and opened it for her. She tentatively took his hand and began looking around anxiously.
“What is it?” Eric asked, his body on high alert with her unease. The excessive amount of vehicles became a red flag.
“I have a bad feeling,” Sookie answered apprehensively. “The minds here are strange. I feel like I’m being spammed.”
“Spammed?” Eric asked while they moved toward the club.
“Yeah, Jason used to do it to me all the time. When he really didn’t want me to listen to him, he’d intentionally think really hard about trivial matters. If I asked him something, he’d ignore me and just keep thinking stupid things,” she explained.
As the couple entered the back door, and then proceeded through to the club floor, Sookie was nearly blinded by the onslaught of flashbulbs.
“Detective! Detective!” a voice yelled. “When did you become a telepath!?”
“What do you hear?”
“Can you access privileged information!?”
“The public has a right to know if their privacy has been breached!”
Sookie stumbled back into Eric’s chest at the abusive strobes of flashes. There were several phones recording her as well as taking her picture. More phones were being used as recorders, and judging by the state of the press agents’ dress, they had made their way into Fangtasia disguised as club goers.
“Excuse me! EXCUSE ME!” a voice boomed above the collected paparazzi. The blitz of flashes ceased as a man in a black suit and tie shoved his way through the ring of reporters. “I am Special Agent Tallouis with the FBI. Ms. Stackhouse, I need you to come with me.”
Eric made a move to come between the agent and his Bonded, but Sookie took his forearm and shook her head. “It’s all right, Eric,” she whispered. Turning back to Tallouis, she nodded, gesturing for him to lead the way. When they passed the front door, Pam’s eyes were wide and confused. “It’ll be okay,” she whispered hoarsely to her Bonded’s Child.
Agent Tallouis opened the back door of a nondescript, black car and ushered the vampire inside. Sookie was not surprised to see the vampire sitting next to her.
“Magister,” Sookie tried to keep the worry out of her voice.
“A telepath, eh?” Jorge shook his head. “I thought there was something special about you.”
“It’s just the media. I don’t know where they get this crap,” she complained. “The precinct knows I’m hyper-observant. It was probably just a bad joke going around the departments that the reporters ran with.”
“Is that all?” he asked, looking deceptively disappointed.
“Yes,” Sookie told him firmly.
“Well, bad joke or not, you have put us in quite the position,” the Magister shook his head.
Sookie frowned, asking, “What do you mean?”
“Vampires can remain in the public eye as a whole, baby vampire. We cannot protect our dealings when a single one of our kind jumps in the limelight.”
“Believe me, there was no jumping. I was pushed!” Sookie snapped, frustrated that the Magister was trying to paint her into a corner. The whole charade of media and government officials was just a slew of normal humans that had been glamoured into playing a role and hopefully scare the newborn vampire into showing her hand. Worse yet, Sookie could not call the Magister out on his farce without giving herself away.
“Be that as it may, you are our unwanted poster child. World-wide, do you know the name that falls from the lips of humans when they are asked to name a vampire? I will give you a hint. She’s three nights old,” he was smirking in a way that unsettled Sookie.
“I can’t help that. Sophie-Anne-”
“Is truly dead, and we can’t bring her back for another staking now, can we?” Jorge asked. “The Council has decreed that you be erased.”
Sookie swallowed hard, “I’m Bonded! You can’t without a trial!”
“Only if it meant we were planning on ending your existence. No, no… We have no interest in extinguishing the Viking’s flame. As a matter of fact, he has become almost compliant since Bonding, especially now that we have a string of his that we can pull at our need and desire.”
“I won’t let you,” Sookie hissed. “You have no evidence to support your claim!”
“Do we really need it? If we allow the media to run this story about you, the real FBI and CIA will come knocking. They do not hold much respect for Bonded vampires.”
“Tell me what you want, and I’ll tell you what I’m willing to give.”
“I want to give you an opportunity, Sookie,” Jorge grinned at her. “The opportunity to have a free, clean start to your new existence. I want to give you a purpose for that gift of yours. That is what you wanted, wasn’t it?”
Sookie’s eyes narrowed, “You glamoured my brother.”
“Why would you say such a thing?” Jorge actually frowned. Was the Stackhouse boy wrong? Can she hear vampires too?
“Jason is the only one other than Eric that I told I needed a purpose for my hyper-observation!” Sookie spat. “I know for damn certain Eric wouldn’t tell you such a thing about me. Jason, though… He can be glamoured.”
“If I did glamour your brother, do you really think you can hide behind the pretenses of hyper-observation?”
“You will never hear me call it anything else,” Sookie spat. “Besides, how can you think I’m telepathic? Why the hell would I walk into a club full of reporters, knowing what they were about to bombard me with?”
“Oh, Sookie,” Jorge shook his head, “you are boring me with your resistance. I am a busy, busy vampire. Let us cut through this pretense and get to the point,” ‘You will tell me soon enough whether you are telepathic or not’, “I am offering you the chance to disappear once and for all. The Council is prepared to utilize the world’s strongest coven and do a mass memory wipe. You and your Bloodline as well as a few choice representatives,” he straightened his tie importantly, “will be the only ones in existence that will remember who or what you are. You can explore a limitless existence! No friends or family to mourn you. No enemies. No spotlight to shy away from. Wouldn’t the world be so much more exciting for you if you did not have to hide?”
“Assuming that what you think of me is true, what do you get out of it?” Sookie demanded.
The Magister’s grin returned, “We would, of course, request your assistance in human and two-natured investigations. Only the most controversial, of course. Much like the Ancient Pythoness, we would only drag you out of the cupboard for special occasions.”
“And what would I do when not at your beck and call?” Sookie asked through her clenched teeth.
“Whatever you wish, travel, become a recluse. I do not care. Merely stay out of the limelight and refrain from creating new enemies whenever possible. Perhaps you can teach your Viking some restraint in that regard at the same time.”
“I don’t want to be your lap dog, Sir,” Sookie reached for the door handle. “Besides, even if I were a telepath as a mortal, it doesn’t mean that I still am.”
“Think about it, Youngling. Talk to your Mate about what you are being told to do.”
“Told or asked?” Sookie looked at him sharply.
“You might find you will not be asked again. You might also find that generosity is the precursor of a threat.”
Sookie swallowed reflexively and felt her fangs began to distend out of fear. Taking a deep breath, she willed her incisors back into their human façade before she spoke, “I hope you haven’t told your superiors I would come without a fight.”
“I hope you enjoy the little box the humans will put you in,” the Magister smirked.
“I was doing a perfectly fine job of putting myself into a box before anyone else tried,” Sookie opened her door slowly and placed a foot onto the curb. “The thing is, I don’t know that I can trust you and what you’re promising. I don’t know if you were hoping I’d scare like a child and run to you for protection, mercy, or what, but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to talk to my Bonded and ask what he thinks is best for us, fighting you or following you.”
“And if I told you that this is the only chance you will get to accept?” the Magister demanded.
“Then you wanted this to turn into a fight. You don’t corner a child and scare them into making a decision unless you are a monster. I am not a child and I am not afraid of you.”
“But I could still be a monster,” Jorge grinned devilishly.
“I’m prepared to believe that,” Sookie nodded, “but I’m still not afraid.”
With that, Sookie climbed out of the car and strode back into Fangtasia. When she arrived back on the floor, she was not surprised to see all of the reporters subdued, their phones, cameras, and recorders confiscated, and Pam busying herself with deleting footage.
“What did that FBI agent want with you?” Eric demanded.
“Nothing. I didn’t talk with the FBI at all. I spoke with the Magister,” Sookie explained. “Eric, we need to talk. Not here. Not at the house. Somewhere random. I don’t trust the Magister any further than I could throw him… Oh, scratch that. I’m a vampire now, I could probably throw him pretty far,” Her eyes glazed over as she began visualizing such a scenario, but then she quickly shook her head to clear the image.
Eric placed his arms on her shoulder, “That is fine, but you need to drink something. This is too much stress for a newborn to deal with while so depleted.”
“Fine,” Sookie looked around. “I’ll take her,” She pointed to one of the reporters.
“Is that wise?” Eric asked in surprise.
Sookie looked around before zipping over to the bar, grabbing a pen and paper, and jotting down a message. She handed the scrap of paper to Eric.
~Not a real reporter. I’ll explain when we aren’t here anymore.
Eric sighed, pulled a matchbook from his pocket, and set the note ablaze before stomping it out on the floor. Once the evidence was gone, he took the “reporter’s” hand, and pulled her in the direction of his office.
“Finish taking care of this mess, Pam,” Eric instructed.
Once the trio was alone in Eric’s locked office, the older vampire hurriedly re-glamoured the woman, and Sookie fed quickly.
“Sookie. Sookie, stop!” Eric commanded, making the newborn yank away from her donor’s neck. She took a deep, steadying breath, and sealed the wound before Eric dismissed the wobbly brunette. “This must be serious if you are that distracted.”
“Quite,” Sookie confirmed, wiping her bloodied lips on her forearm before licking it clean. “Can we go now?”
“Yes,” Eric frowned, taking her hand in his and leading Sookie out the service door. Without another word, he wrapped his arms around Sookie’s waist and took off into the night sky.
“Holy Christ!” Sookie shouted, clutching her Bonded’s middle when her feet left the ground.
“Ah, I forgot you have not flown with me before,” Eric realized, chuckling at her shock and exhilaration.
“Slow down, slow down!” Sookie squealed as the ground beneath them flurried past at a dizzying pace.
Eric relented on his speed while descending into a forested area, landing beside a small creek. When their feet were firmly on the ground, Sookie began stripping off her clothes before forcefully yanking at Eric’s pants.
“I know you did not bring us out this far for a fuck, Lover,” Eric purred as he began tugging away his shirt.
When they were both naked, Sookie dunked their clothes into the creek and turned to look at her Bonded worriedly.
“What in the hell happened, Sookie?” Eric asked softly.
“The Magister glamoured Jason into telling him about my gift. He glamoured all of those people into pretending they were reporters. He forced their minds to run on an infinite spam until they saw me and bombarded me with accusations and questions. He was trying to catch me off guard, to make me panic,” she explained rapidly while beginning to pace. “He offered to do some global glamour or something to erase my existence from the minds of humans. He wants me to be like the Ancient Pythoness, some secret judge that they keep stowed away for special events. Eric- Eric!” she began sobbing. “I’m so scared!”
“Shh, shh,” Eric wrapped her into his arms. “I will never let them take you. They cannot take you from me.”
“They don’t want to take me. They want me off the grid, out of the public eye. There’s… There’s so much! I don’t know what to do. I don’t know,” She buried her face against his chest and took in a deep breath of his scent. That alone settled her rising fear to a more manageable level. “In a way, the Magister was trying to paint me into a corner so I would accept, to scare me enough into thinking it was the only avenue. I don’t know what to think, Eric! I don’t know if he was trying to help while getting something out of it in return, or if this is some ploy to make me the Council’s pet? I was too scared to push into his mind to find out anything, I didn’t want to do anything suspicious. Then that thought about confirmation from the horse’s mouth…”
“You believe we were bugged?” Eric guessed at their state of undress.
“Yes. Fangtasia too. Maybe the house. I don’t know,” she admitted. “He doesn’t know who all I can hear. I tried to imply that I lost my ability, while never admitting I had one, when I was turned, and that Jason didn’t know that I was “normal” now. It didn’t sound like he believed me.”
“Then we will just have to show him it is true,” Eric replied.
“How?” Sookie whispered.
“Let us try to run away for now, Sookie. Abandon Bon Temps and Shreveport. I will step down as Sheriff like we discussed, and we will go up north. Perhaps if we can remain out of the public eye for a time, hide what you can do, the North American Council will back off and realize that you were being honest.”
“I don’t want to go,” Sookie sobbed. “I don’t want to leave yet.”
“I know,” Eric murmured into her hair. “She will understand though, Sookie. She did not want you to mourn forever, and she will understand why you had to run.”
“I’ve never really, truly ran from anyone but myself before,” she cried.
“It will be all right, my Bonded,” Eric reassured her. “It would be best if we left North America. The Magister only oversees this continent, and there is an entirely different Council in Europe. If we make our plea now, explaining the harassment my Bonded has received, I am certain we will be granted an emergency deportation for all four of us.”
“The girls?” Sookie looked at him hopefully at the mention of “four.”
“Yes, the girls,” Eric told her.
“Won’t it be suspicious if we run like that?” Sookie asked.
Eric scowled, “When I inform the European Council of the treatment you have received in North America, they would be shocked if I did not take this course of action!”
“This is really that bad?” Sookie asked in surprise.
“Sookie, Bonded couples are not to be treated in this manner. The trial the other night was not something a newborn should have been meant to endure, let alone a Bonded newborn!” he told her. “The Ancient Pythoness should have been in attendance to save you that sort of circumstance!”
“How soon will we have to leave?” Sookie asked.
“Are your dogs up to date on their vaccinations?”
“Of course,” Sookie frowned.
“I can get us out of here by tomorrow night.”
“Won’t they quarantine the girls?” Sookie fretted.
“Not with the wheels I am about to grease,” he told her. “Shall we adorn our sodden clothing now?” He gestured to their submerged garments.
“Y-yeah,” Sookie nodded stiffly.
Going back toward the creek, Sookie picked up the soaked bundle of clothes, apologizing profusely for ruining Eric’s cell phone. “What about Trent? And the Captain?”
“You may call them when we are safely in Europe.”
“I can’t say goodbye?” Sookie asked sadly.
“No, Dear One. I am sorry. We cannot risk the North American Council or Magister catching on to our plans.”
“I’m sorry,” Sookie wept. “I’m sorry I’m doing this to you! To us-”
“This is nothing you could have protected against, Sookie. This is not something you should have needed to protect against,” Eric comforted her.
“Why do I feel responsible for it then?” she wailed in distress.
“Because it is being done to you for something that was never yours to control, but has dictated your entire life.”
“What about Pam? And Godric and Emily?” Sookie sobbed into his chest.
“We have all survived without each other before, Sookie. We will do so now. For our Bloodline this is not goodbye, but, see you later.”
“I’m going to be locked away again,” Sookie sniffled.
“No,” Eric sighed, rocking her back and forth. “You will not be locked away. I would never do that. We can go to Sweden! I will teach you the language, and we will go out so that you can learn to speak with the locals. Oh, Sookie, you will see snow, and I will teach you to ski. The dogs will get to play in the drifts and run around. I promise will not let you be pushed back into that loneliness,” he told her firmly.
“O-okay,” she sniffled.
“Okay?” he pulled back with surprise.
“Y-you promised,” she stammered. “You always keep your promises to me.”
“I will make you happy, Sookie,” he promised further. “I swear; by Christmas this whole mess will just seem like a tiny shove to get you past the doorway of a new adventure.”
“I love you, you know?” Sookie whispered around another sniffle.
Smiling at her declaration, Eric kissed the top of her head and whispered, “I do know, and I love you too.”