He’s Not There, Chapter 5: Bad Dreams

Chapter 5: Bad Dreams

I was dreaming of the sun.  It was high above me, not sunrise nor sunset, but the full light of day. As I stood on a sandy shoreline, my bare feet being caressed by the waves of a broad, blue ocean, I could feel the iciness of the water in contrast to the heat of the sun on my shoulders. Suddenly I remembered that I would burn in the sun, and alarmed, I looked for somewhere to hide, but there was nowhere to go but beneath the beach sand.  Maybe if I dug very quickly – I began to dig as fast as I could with my hands, but no matter how fast my hands moved at vamp speed, the hole I was trying to dig did not grow any larger.  The sandy walls kept collapsing, filling the space back in.  I was going to die here in the sun because I couldn’t make a hole large enough to hide in.

“Are you building a sand castle?”

Sookie was strolling towards me unhurriedly along the sand, dressed in a sundress, her feet as bare as my own.

“Sookie, please help me! I will burn if I can’t hide from the sun but I can’t get the hole big enough –” I said desperately.

Sookie laughed at me.  “Of course not, you silly Viking! You need more water to hold the sand together. Come on!” She held out a hand to me.

I took the proffered hand and running and laughing, she led me into the waves.  Ankle-deep in the water, she splashed playfully at me.  I started to laugh with her, only then remembering again that I was under threat from the deadly rays above.  “Sookie –” I began anxiously.

“Eric, you’re safe.” Sookie waded towards me in the water and pressed her sea-dampened hands to my face.  “See? You’re not burning. Not a bit!”

She was right.  Nothing was happening to my exposed skin, except that I could still feel the gentle heat from above.

“Come on,” she said eagerly, tugging at my hands again.  “I want you to fly with me!” And then Sookie threw her arms around my neck and clung to me, beaming up at me expectantly.

I grinned shyly down at her and then scooped her petite body up closer to mine, holding her securely as I rose carefully with her into the sunlight.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” Sookie breathed in my ear as we sailed over the sparkling water and the endless stretches of sand.

I looked at her, her blonde tresses twisting in the air currents, her hazel eyes shining at me with pleasure. “You’re beautiful,” I murmured in response.

She smiled at me bashfully and then pressed her cheek against mine as we looped lazily in the sun.

“What’s that?” Sookie said with sudden tension as we were gliding over the water a few moments later.

I turned to see what she was looking at.  A thick bank of dark clouds, bolts of lightning flickering in their depths, were roiling up on the horizon of the ocean and rapidly moving towards us.  It didn’t seem like a natural storm, but something eerie and strange, born of dark magic.  The wind that had been supporting us helpfully began to buffet us more roughly, and I felt the air grow rapidly colder.  Sookie shivered in my arms, pressing her face into my chest against the growing volatility of the atmosphere.

I anxiously began to look for somewhere safe for us to shelter, but everywhere I looked was open to the tempest headed our way.  As the blackening clouds began to flicker with disturbing multi-colored lights, I finally touched us down on the sand. The wind was rapidly growing louder and harsher and I had to shout to Sookie to be heard: “Down in the sand, Sookie! I’ll protect you with my body.” This time, working together, Sookie and I were able to clear at least enough space in the beach soil to put Sookie safely beneath me between two berms of sand. I sheltered her small body beneath mine, my large hands protecting her head as she lay beneath me, trembling. I ducked my own head as low as I could as the sand began to swirl around us in a gritty vortex.

I could feel the sand scouring my skin, and it stung, but I thought of nothing but keeping it from harming Sookie’s more easily injured flesh.  The roar of the debris-laden wind and the booming cracks of lightning rolled over us where we huddled, then gradually began to fade into the distance.  When I finally dared to raise my head, the sand and the water had been tossed and shifted, but remained essentially the same.

The sun, however, was gone.

There weren’t even stars or the moon to give us light; instead, we were surrounded by a foreboding sea of darkness.  Even my vampire eyesight couldn’t distinguish the sand from the water from the sky in the inky blackness.

“Eric.”

Sookie’s voice sounded strange, choked.

I looked down at her, still wedged beneath me and I could smell the salt water of tears. “Sookie? Are you all right?”

Sookie began to sob deeply, pushing her hands against my chest.

“Sookie, what’s wrong?” I begged anxiously.

“You – you stole my l-light –” Sookie wept. “You stole my light!”  She began to strike me with her fists, screaming.

As I looked at her in horror, I startled awake.

It felt as if it was still daylight, but because the dream had been so vivid, I was momentarily tempted to see with my own eyes if the sun was still there.  Fortunately, my head cleared before I could act on my paranoia and I didn’t leave my bed. But it took me a long while to go back to sleep again.

When I finally woke up with the sunset, I just lay there for a while. Unlike humans and their euphemistically phrased “human needs” that usually needed to be addressed on waking, I had no compelling reason to get up unless I wanted to.  And I didn’t want to.

I lay there in the dimness of my room, unmoving, feeling the darkness almost like a weight that pinned me down.  Vampires— being dead— can be exquisitely still, and I remained completely unmoving, just staring into the blackness.

I was a creature of the dark. It was all I would ever know again.  I don’t know how long I had been undead or if I had ever adjusted to the darkness before I lost my memories, but after the wonders of the morning, I knew exactly what I was missing.

And that knowledge fucking hurt.

Eventually, I rolled over, setting off the motion-sensitive lights, and I was surprised to see that Sookie had left a damp washcloth and towel draped over a rung of the ladder while I was asleep. I silently got up and cleaned myself of the blood that had pooled in my ears and beneath my nose from having the bleeds earlier in the day.

I heard Sookie moving around upstairs (human stuff to do), and I stood there for a moment, bath linens in my hands, looking up the ladder that led to the human world above me. The world full of sunshine and sparkling water and heat – a world full of life – that I could never again enjoy fully as I had that morning.

I went back to bed and curled myself into the dark again. Somehow, my bleakness felt familiar, as if I had mourned and missed something or someone like this before.

 ~*E&S*~

It was about an hour after sunset when I heard the cabinet doors that hid the entrance to my room open from above.  I was faced away from the ladder that led down to my room and I didn’t turn as the motion lights tripped again, this time set off by Sookie’s tanned legs coming down the chute.

She had showered and changed since I had last seen her that morning; she was still in dark shorts, but now she wore a white t-shirt with a bright green hoodie over the top.

“You’ve been too quiet,” she said, coming to stand near my bed.  I could feel her concern for me. “This isn’t like you.”

“Yes, it is,” I responded flatly. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew this was not the first time I had felt like this.

“No, it’s not,” Sookie began with a disbelieving laugh.  “The real Eric –”

I cut her off sharply, stung at her implication. “I am real!”  It hurt that she would dismiss my feelings so lightly. Especially because I didn’t like the idea that she considered biting asshole me to be more real.

She must have felt my frisson of anger.  “Yes. You are,” she conceded tightly. She knelt down beside my bed and tried to soften what she had said. (But meant.  I could feel that. She really didn’t see me as real, I thought numbly.)  “I meant the Eric with his memories. Not much gets him down. Sure, he’s a –” I could see her choosing her words carefully. “—a rascal and a troublemaker.” I listened carefully, trying to make sense of how rascal and troublemaker equated with the feelings of intense fear and anger she had harbored towards me when we first met what now seemed a lifetime ago. “And most of the time, I’d like to slap the smile off his face,” she said lightly, “but he’s a happy vampire.”

I flinched.  Because I knew she was wrong.  Or maybe biting asshole me was usually happy, but I was not, at least not tonight.

“I’ll never swim in the sun again,” I finally said sadly. “Never feel the heat on my skin.” I looked at her golden locks framing her face and remembered how they had resembled a halo in the sunlight as she had come to me in the water that morning, as well as how they had glowed in my dream.  “Never see the daylight in your hair,” I added with a slight smile at the memory.  At least I had seen it once. I hoped if I ever regained my memories, I would not lose those I was making with Sookie.

“Well, the night time’s not so bad.  You’ve still got the stars in the sky,” Sookie said, consolingly. I could feel that she didn’t really believe it herself.  She would never be satisfied not having the sun again. I could feel her attempting to protect me from the truth as if I were not capable of bearing it. Did she think I was too weak to accept reality?

“Don’t,” I said sharply, sitting up.  “I’m not a child.”

“I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better,” Sookie said genuinely.  She meant what she said, but I could feel that part of her desire was driven by her discomfort with what I was feeling; no, who I was. For some reason, she was disconcerted that the biting asshole she had described to me was not here and I felt her pity for me.

“You think I’m weak,” I stated bleakly, unable to look at her face, fearful of what I would see. He must be able to protect her better with his ruthlessness and apparent lack of sentiment.

“No!” Sookie said emphatically.  I could feel surprise from her that I had interpreting her feelings that way, but I still could not meet her eyes.

“You want the Eric who doesn’t feel.” I continued grimly.  For a moment, I was strangely jealous of this stranger whom she appeared to miss even if he frightened her.

“It’s not that,” she answered, and in turn I was surprised to feel that she meant it.  And then I felt a tiny little pulse of attraction for me from her; for me, the me who was here with her, not the intimidating monster who lurked in my past.

“If you kiss me, I promise to be happy,” I said softly. I heard her heart leap in her chest and I raised my eyes to her at last, giving her a teasing half-smile.  At the moment, I didn’t care which of us she was truly attracted to, so long as I was the one who was here with her making her blush. Maybe I was as big an opportunist as my biting asshole self after all.

She was staring at me, her mouth opened in astonishment as if my request had caught her off guard. But she was not frightened or disgusted; instead, I could feel she was tempted.

“No,” she finally drawled, but with a smile as if she suspected me of teasing her.

She had a beautiful smile, made more so by the fact that I saw that it actually reached her eyes.

“Why?” I asked lightly.  I shifted to face her more directly and was happy when she did not back away from me.  “It’s only a kiss,” I said playfully. Even if it would mean more than that to me.

Her eyes had fixated on my mouth just as mine was focused on the lush pinkness of hers.  I leaned in slowly and was about to press my lips to hers when I heard a noise at the door upstairs.

I straightened abruptly. “Someone’s at your door.”  I looked at her, startled, and then up at the ceiling as if I could tell who it was from here.

“Don’t come up,” Sookie instructed me firmly, leaping to her feet and hurrying to the ladder.

Just as I was able to hear her conversation with the wolf earlier that morning, I could hear Sookie and her visitor at the door.

“Sookie.” A male voice, with a Southern accent.  Not the wolf.

“Bill,” Sookie replied in greeting.

Bill, the ex-lover vampire who wanted to kill me. I hadn’t forgotten the name or the threat.

I could feel Sookie’s surprise and her worry for me.  I heard her close the door to the house as she stepped outside with the vampire and they exchanged polite civilities.

“What do you want?” Sookie asked her visitor lightly.

There was a long, awkward pause before the vampire replied. “Eric.”

I tensed.  Did he know I was here? Had Pam or the wolf revealed my whereabouts?

“Oh, he’s gone,” Sookie replied, just a shade too quickly.

“Wasn’t it just the night before last that you were begging me to get him out of here?” The vampire sounded skeptical.  I couldn’t overlook the reminder that Sookie had viewed me as an unwelcome housemate and had apparently been seeking help in evicting me.

“But then he told me he was leaving and I could stay,” Sookie said blithely.  “I thought you’d come through for me,” she had added as if grateful for the favor.

There was another long pause as the unseen vamp digested the information. “Did he say where he was going?”

“Nope,” Sookie answered casually.  I could feel her tension releasing; she felt the vampire had believed her lie.

“You see…” the male voice continued almost apologetically, “We’ve searched his farm on Öland and his apartment in Paris and his plantation in Barbados…” Öland? Paris? Barbados? I frowned at the list of properties the vampire listed as belonging to me and wondered what they told me about my past. “I mean, we looked everywhere,” the voice continued.  “This is the one place that he owns that my guards haven’t searched.”

Guards? I thought back to the mansion I had seen in my first night of exploration and wondered if this was the vampire that lived there.

“So with your permission…” the male voice trailed leadingly.

“Or without it?” I felt Sookie’s anger flare, along with a moment of fear for me.

“I’d rather you agreed.”  The voice was smooth and polite, but firm.

I felt Sookie’s steely resolve. “I’m not going to let big goons with guns stomp around my clean house,” she answered as the stakes were nothing more than mud on her immaculate floors rather than my exposure.

“It will only be me.” The response was light, but I heard the determination.

“I don’t care who owns it on paper.  This is still my home. There’s not going to be any search,” Sookie said insistently.

There was another pause before the vampire moved towards the door, muttering, “I’m sorry.”

“No!”  I felt Sookie’s anxiety spike as I heard her move to block his entry.  A silent standoff ensued before I heard him roughly move her out of the way, which made my fangs pop out.  How dared he fucking touch her? My hands were on the rungs of the ladder as I heard her hiss, “How can you?” I hesitated, listening.

“I have to! It’s my responsibility,” the voice growled back.

Sookie’s voice dropped too low for me to hear the next part, but then I heard her say forcefully, “When have I ever lied to you? Ever?”

Another long moment and then I heard the door open and footsteps on the threshold.  My bond with Sookie swelled with anger and disappointment and worry for me.

I braced for the sounds of the search and pondered what I would do when I was found. Should I fight? Should I let myself be taken peacefully? I tried to think through my choices, but without knowing what kind of threat this Bill posed, it was hard to choose the best option.

Strangely, it had fallen silent and still upstairs and then I heard the vampire say quietly, “You’re right.”  My bond with Sookie rushed with relief and I relaxed my own muscles warily. “Goodnight.”  Footsteps led across the porch and vanished and after a moment, I heard Sookie come back into the house and quietly shut the door.

A moment later, she was coming back down the ladder to my room.

“That was Bill?” I asked and she looked surprised.  I gestured up at the ceiling and then at my ears.  “Vampire hearing,” I reminded her.

She looked embarrassed, as if she was going back over her conversation with Bill (and Alcide?) to be sure she hadn’t said anything awkward.  “Yes,” she finally answered shortly.

I looked at her solemnly.  “Thank you for not revealing my presence.”

She shrugged.  “Until we know Bill didn’t have anything to do with what happened to you, it’s just as well.”  I felt a pang from her.  She didn’t want to believe Bill was involved, but she wasn’t sure.

“Why does this Bill have guards?”

She sat on my bed with a sigh.  “He’s a vampire authority,” she answered vaguely.

“A Sheriff?” I raised my eyebrows at her inquisitively.

Sookie snorted. “No. Normally that would be you.

Fuck.  “I’m a Sheriff?” I hadn’t been expecting that.  “I thought you said I owned a bar,” I said perplexedly.

“You do own a bar,” Sookie said defensively. “In fact, I guess you got your vampire dungeon or whatever in the basement of that bar. Kind of like vampire jail.”  Sookie’s feelings for me noticeably cooled when she mentioned the basement.  I wondered with dismay how much acquaintance Sookie had with my vampire jail.  Jesus, would the negative shocks about the “other” me ever stop coming?

Sookie stood up briskly. “Listen, we can talk more after you have a shower.  You still smell like lake water from this morning, you know. Come on. And I have some TruBlood in the fridge now, too.”

~*E&S*~

After a quick shower, I sat on Sookie’s couch drinking a TruBlood.

It. Was. Vile. But I swallowed it without commenting.  It was sustenance and Sookie had gone out of her way to get it for me.  She sat at the other end of the couch, her arms crossed in front of her, watching me thoughtfully as I sipped at it.

I wanted to ask Sookie about myself, but I was finding I was afraid of the answers.

I’m not a child.

She had protected me enough, I thought.  I had to face the truth about myself, however hard it was. Maybe start with the easy things there were to know.

“Sookie.”  I rolled the TruBlood bottle between my hands.  “This morning at the lake, you called me a ‘Viking.’” I glanced up at her face.  “Is that what I am – what I was?”

“So they say,” Sookie said, sipping at her own glass of sweet tea.

Jag är en viking. It did feel right.

“And that makes me how old?”

Sookie was quiet for a moment before replying. “More than 1,000 years old.”

I had lost 1,000 years of memories?  Even if I wasn’t sure there were things I wanted to remember, I was suddenly aware of how much had been taken from me at the hands of the witches.

“And I’m Sheriff of – where?”

“Area 5 in Louisiana.  Basically all of the north around Shreveport.  I guess.”  Sookie frowned.  “Honestly, you vampires aren’t exactly all that forthcoming about how it all works.  So I can’t tell you much about it.”

“Why Louisiana?” I was puzzled.

“Why not?” Sookie asked with a raised eyebrow.

“The properties your Bill mentioned… Öland. Barbados. Paris?”  I shook my head.  “No offense, Sookie, but why would I leave Paris for Shreveport?”

Sookie apparently hadn’t considered that before. She wrinkled her brow thoughtfully.  “I don’t know.  Maybe something to do with your Maker? He lived in Dallas until –” She stopped and I felt sadness and regret seeping through the bond towards me.

“Until what?” I asked. “You know my Maker?” If I was 1,000 years old, how old must my Maker be?  My mind reeled.

“I met him,” Sookie answered softly.  “Before he met the sun.”

I felt a rush of horror.  “My Maker met the sun?”

Sookie shook her head at me.  “You don’t want to hear that story tonight,” she said gently.  “Your Maker’s name was Godric and you lost him only last year. It will only make you sad.”

I had to ask, although I was afraid of Sookie’s answer. “Was it my fault he met the sun?”

Sookie was shocked at my question.  “No, Eric, of course not. Why would you think something like that?”

“I don’t know.”  Maybe it was because I was constantly hearing bad news about myself.  Why couldn’t I have driven my Maker to leave the world?

Speaking of Makers…

I had been immersed in my own feelings since this morning, so I hadn’t paid much attention to the other bonds twisting through my emotions, but suddenly I felt a powerful rush of sensations from Pam: Anger. Fear. Horror.

I dropped the TruBlood bottle.  Fortunately, I had drunk most of the unpalatable liquid inside and it didn’t spatter more than a drop or two on Sookie’s living room rug.

“Eric! What’s wrong?” Sookie sat up on her end of the couch, her hand reaching out to touch my arm in concern.

“P-Pam –” I stuttered.  “Something’s wrong.” I looked at Sookie, uncertain of what to do.  “I should go to her—” It was what a good Maker would do.

“What is she feeling?” Sookie asked.

“Anger. Horror.”  I paused.  “Pam seems to feel anger a lot, but the horror is new.”

Sookie rolled her eyes at my observation of Pam’s anger management issues, but she rose from the couch. “Eric, unless we know who or what happened to Pam, you shouldn’t go. What if it’s those witches again?” She picked up her cell phone from the table in the center of the room.  “Listen, I’ll call her and check on her, okay?”

I paced as she dialed.  Pam’s feelings now had sorrow, embarrassment and frustration added to the earlier mix.

“Pam? Eric felt something.  Are you okay?”

I felt a pang of regret from Pam and I could hear her voice through the speaker of Sookie’s phone. “Sookie, tell Eric I’m fine.  It’s …nothing he needs to worry about. Seems like he has had a hard enough time already today without fretting about my problems. What the hell have you been doing to him?  Is he okay?” Pam’s voice was sharp with worry.

“He’s fine, Pam,” Sookie said firmly.  “A little bothered at being stuck in the house for so long, but he’s fine.

“He better be,” Pam snarled.  She must have heard me growl in the background because she added contritely, “Sorry, Sookie. Just take good care of him. Please.” There was a pause before Pam added, “Tell him I’m trying to fix things.”  She sounded and felt desperate.

After Sookie had hung up the phone, she sat back down on the end of the couch.  “Well, she says she’s okay…”

“She’s not being entirely truthful,” I said simply.  “But she does not seem to want me there, so I will not go.” I sat back down on the couch heavily.

Sookie reached out and stroked my arm comfortingly.  “If Pam wanted you there, believe me, you’d know.  She’s not one for holding in her thoughts,” she said reassuringly.

Sookie must have realized her fingers were brushing up and down on my arm because I felt a little trickle of embarrassment and then she pulled her hand back into her lap as if ignoring what she had just been doing.

“Can I get you another TruBlood before I go to bed?” Sookie asked. “I didn’t get any sleep last night and haven’t caught up enough today, either, so I think I’ll go to bed early.” Sookie tried to hide a yawn behind her hand.

“No, thank you.”

“What about you? Did you get any sleep today?” Sookie said considerately. “I saw you used the washcloth and towel I left for you. Judging from the blood on them, it didn’t look like you got much rest.”

“Not as much as I should have,” I admitted.  “I should probably go back to bed, too.”

“Well, then, come on.”  Sookie stood up and walked me to the door that hid the entrance to my room.  “Maybe we’ll all feel better after we’re rested up. Even Pam.”

“Sookie –” I said, pausing outside the open doors.  “Goodnight.”  I looked at her and added teasingly, “I don’t suppose I could have a goodnight kiss?”

She swatted at my arm playfully. “No! You crazy Viking – you just go right on to bed.” But I saw her smile.

I may have lost the sun, but if I could look forward to enough of Sookie’s smiles, maybe I wouldn’t mind so much.

~*E&S*~

I opened the door to Sookie’s room slowly.  She was sprawled among a tangle of sheets, one leg exposed, sleeping soundly.

Suddenly a hand fell on my shoulder and I whirled.

It was a young man – no, a boy; small, with dark hair and dark eyes, dressed in loose white clothes.  “Hello, Eric.” He smiled at me and caressed my cheek with the edge of a finger.

The boy moved around me and approached Sookie’s bed.  I tensed as he trailed one hand up her bare leg lightly, but what finally drove me to action was when he leaned in close to smell her. Suddenly I knew he was a threat to her, no matter how young he seemed.

I zipped over to the bed at vamp speed and pushed him away from her with one hand, so hard that the mattress beneath Sookie bounced slightly. “Don’t. Touch her,” I warned the boy, taking an aggressive stance.

He stood on other side of the bed, looking down at her.  “She’s beautiful,” he observed softly.

“Who are you?” I demanded.

In answer, the boy’s fangs descended with a pop.  “Dricker med mig.” Drink with me. “Vi kommer att rinna henne och gå i solen tillsammans.” We will drain her and walk in the sun together.

“No,” I bit out.  I would never harm her. I was beginning to love her, I realized.

In a flash, the boy was on my side of Sookie’s bed, his hand clutching my throat in a crushing grip.  Although he was much smaller than me in size, it seemed effortless for him to use that one hand to force me to my knees in front of him.

“You are incapable of love,” the boy pronounced. “You are damned.

No! “She can redeem me,” I insisted.  I could be a better person – even as a vampire – if I had her love to guide me.

The boy laughed in my face and shook his head as he replied.  “You cannot be saved. You are a creature of death and the living are good for only one thing. And it is not love.”  He smiled at me kindly as if instructing me in an essential truth. “Drick nu.” Drink now. His other hand grabbed the back of my head and inexorably forced it down towards Sookie’s throat.  “Sluta kämpa din natur.” Stop fighting your nature. He leaned in to whisper in my ear. “Drink.

Unable to escape his physical control, I stared down at Sookie’s pale throat, where I could see her pulse beat.  The intoxicating scent of her blood was rising up on the breeze blowing in at Sookie’s window, drawing me in.  I tried to resist, but I felt my fangs spring out involuntarily. Sookie stirred in her sleep, arching her neck slightly, inadvertently enticing.

And then he did not need to force me any longer; I sprang forward and sank my fangs into the front of Sookie’s throat, drinking her thirstily as the boy latched onto her wrist with his own fangs behind me.  Sookie awoke with terrified screams as I savaged her with my teeth.

I jolted awake, my fangs erect. I sat up, flooding my room with light at my motion.

I had to be sure she was okay.  The dream had been so real.

I slipped through the darkened house until I came to Sookie’s bedroom door. Just as in my dream, I opened it slowly and stepped in, approaching her bed, peering anxiously into the dark.

She was lying, very still, in her bed.  She was covered up, unlike my dream, but she was not moving.

I moved in closer, leaning over her bed, trying to verify that she was alright, looking for any sign that she had been hurt, whether by myself or anyone else.

Suddenly Sookie awakened, and startled by my unexpected closeness, scrambled to sit up at the head of her bed.  “Eric! What the hell!” I felt her fright and realized with embarrassment that my fangs were still out aggressively.  I straightened awkwardly and quickly withdrew them.

“Uh –” I swallowed. “I had a bad dream,” I explained.

Sookie’s eyebrows rose in surprise.  “Okaaaay,” she said, drawing the word out. She reached over and turned on the light beside her bed.

“Do you want to tell me about it?” She patted the mattress beside her, inviting me to join her on the bed.  I carefully lowered myself down, vigilant to keep distance between us as I lay down, although what I wanted to do was bury myself in her lap and beg her to hold me.

“There was a boy – a vampire.  Dark hair, dark eyes, small, but very powerful.”  I licked my lips, reluctant to tell her the rest.  “He threatened you and he forced me to –” I stopped as she waited. “He made me drink from you, telling me it was my nature.  Even though I didn’t want to,” I ended adamantly.

Sookie was silent for a moment. “It sounds like you are describing Godric,” she finally said.  “At least physically.  The actions you describe – that is not the Godric I met.” She shook her head at me. “What else?”

He told me I was damned.  That I couldn’t love. And then he made me kill you.

And yet, I had felt something for the boy in the dream, some deep connection with him that made his words, his perception of me critical, even as I wanted to reject them. I wanted his approval, even as I resisted his direction to harm Sookie.

I couldn’t even begin to explain the conflict I felt; the emotions were too deep.   I realized that tears were beginning to rise in my eyes and I rolled away from Sookie to hide them.

“Eric?” She asked from behind me.

“He said other things,” I said hesitantly. I wiped at my eyes. “I don’t know why I’m crying.”

“Godric was your Maker.  You loved him,” Sookie said.

You are incapable of love. Wouldn’t a Maker know their child? I didn’t want what the boy had said to be true.

“You miss him,” Sookie added.

“He said I was evil,” I finally confessed.

Sookie’s hand stroked my hair comfortingly.  “It was a dream,” she said, as if that would make Godric’s words to me less true.

I rolled towards her and looked up into her face as her hand remained tangled in my hair.  “Am I evil?” I trusted her to tell me the truth.

“No,” she answered after a moment’s consideration. “You’re not Gandhi, but – no. You’re not evil.” I felt that she believed what she was saying, and I rolled over further, placing my head on her lap as her fingers continued to stroke my hair. I wanted to believe her more than anything.

If only I could always feel the way I felt when I was with Sookie.  “I like being next to you,” I said quietly.

Sookie laughed to herself.

“Why are you laughing?” I asked, looking up towards her face.

“It’s just that – if someone had told me a week ago I’d be curled up in bed with Eric Northman, stroking his hair, I would’ve –” She snorted as if the very idea was ridiculous.

I raised my head to see her eyes. “You would’ve what?”

“It’s just – you weren’t always like this,” she finally answered.

“Like what?” I asked, puzzled and curious. My hand rested on her thigh, as I stared up at her, but she didn’t move it.

“Gentle. Sweet.” She smiled a little.  “But it suits you.” I studied her face, feeling her comfortableness with me at that moment.  “It’s what Godric would have wanted,” she added, “To see you like this.  He was the most – human of all the vampires I’ve ever met.”

I lowered my head to her lap again, wanting to believe Sookie’s view of me and of Godric rather than the nightmare my subconscious had shown me

“It’s strange to miss someone you don’t remember,” I whispered. Sookie’s fingers continued to run through softly through my hair. I nuzzled against her lap, closing my eyes. “Would it be alright if I stayed here ‘til sunrise?”

“As long as you promise to keep your hands and your fangs to yourself,” Sookie answered firmly.

I opened my eyes. “I promise,” I vowed, grateful that she was willing to let me take comfort in her presence rather than force me back down into the dark where I might dream bad things again.

I turned in the bed, facing away from Sookie, settling my head against the other pillow.  Behind me, I felt her turn to spoon behind me, although not so close as to press up against me.  Feeling her willingness to console me through our one-way bond, I reached behind me to take her hand and pulled her right arm around me with a contented sigh. As I settled in to sleep, I tucked her tiny hand, cradled in both of my large ones, into the space between my chest and my chin.  “I would never hurt anyone as beautiful as you,” I whispered, reminding myself as much as I was reminding her, and perhaps reminding my memory of Godric as well.

I felt Sookie’s astonishment, although whether it was at my promise never to hurt her or at calling her beautiful, I didn’t know.

And for the rest of the night, I slept soundly, at peace in Sookie’s arms. And I did not dream.

A/N: I’m sure that Godric’s longer encouragements to Eric to drink Sookie are not exactly how they were said on the show (they sound similar, but not the same) but you can blame my reliance on Google translate.  If someone has more accurate translations, I will be happy to correct it.

We really are getting close to the AU part of things, I promise! Heads up that I may not update weekly in the month of May due to a busy RL schedule (and the reading of a certain 12th SVM book!) but I hope many of you will want to hang in there even if I post more slowly. Thanks for reading! VXOXOXOXV (Hugs and kisses – with fangs, that is!)

One response to “He’s Not There, Chapter 5: Bad Dreams

  1. Pingback: Chapter 5 of He’s Not There | Eric Eric Eric

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