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Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no profit from this story. Charlaine Harris and Alan Ball own anything you recognize. The song lyrics belong to Rascal Flatts.
“Twenty years ago, she had fallen deeply in love with the thousand year old Viking vampire. Many things had changed since that wonderful night in the cubby, but the love she felt for Eric Northman and the regret she felt over her actions afterwards had never wavered.”
Timeline: Post-series
Tissue Warning!
Author’s Note
: I wrote this back in April or so, very soon after breaking up with my boyfriend of over 4 years. It was my decision and I’m much better off, but there’s a lot of me poured into this Sookie. Writing is the best therapy, as they say.I hope that I did the song and her character justice, and there may just be a companion piece coming depending on feedback and how I feel. Right now, this ending feels right but I am also getting the itch to figure out where Eric’s head is at right now. So no promises, but I’ll see where the muse takes me and I hope you enjoy reading.
Title: Come Wake Me Up

Come Wake Me Up

I can usually drink you right off of my mind, but I miss you tonight
I can normally push you right out of my heart, but I’m too tired to fight
Yeah, the whole thing begins and I let you sink into my veins and I feel the pain like it’s new
Everything that we were, everything that you said, everything that I did and that I couldn’t do plays through tonight

The night was quiet and cool as Sookie Stackhouse stepped out onto her front porch and cast her mind out to find nothing but blissful silence surrounding her farmhouse. She sighed in a mix of relief and disappointment, the way she did every night when she did this. She lifted the cold glass to her lips and took a long drink, not even wincing at the burning sensation as the alcohol slid down her throat and lit a fire in her belly. But it did nothing to calm the burning pain in her heart tonight, much to her dismay. Slowly she turned to make her way back inside of the house, leaving the door open behind her almost unconsciously.

Taking another sip of her gin and tonic, Sookie walked over to the beautiful hutch that concealed the entrance to what she still called Eric’s cubby and slowly opened the doors. Taking one last sip of her drink, she set it down on the nearby end table and climbed inside the hole. Each rung of the ladder seemed to sing beneath her feet and she felt a sense of almost relief as she reached the bottom and stepped onto the ground, turning slowly to face the bed. Their bed. She swallowed hard and tried to ignore the way that the pain in her heart intensified as she walked over to their bed and trailed her hand over the sheet where one long ago night, she had made the choice to accept Eric’s blood, to accept Eric. It was the one time she had taken blood without being hurt or coerced, and it was the most beautiful moment of her life because it was the first time she had ever known what true love felt like.

It was just too bad that she had been too stupid to realize it until she’d lost it, ‘thrown away happiness with both hands’ as Gran would have said, she thought bitterly.

Twenty years ago, she had fallen deeply in love with the thousand year old Viking vampire. Many things had changed since that wonderful night in the cubby, but the love she felt for Eric Northman and the regret she felt over her actions afterwards had never wavered. As soon as she had killed Bill and felt the influence of his blood leave her body, she had realized that she had never loved him at all–he had never given her the choice. She had barely known him when he had orchestrated the Rattarys’ attack on her and forced his blood into her.

With Bill, she knew that her feelings were all strongly influenced by the blood. But with Eric… She sighed and sat down on the bed, reaching to grab the comforter and pull it around her shoulders. With Eric, there had been feelings there from their first meeting and even though part of her had wanted to hate him for the things he did to her, she never quite could manage… and even when he had tricked her into taking his blood in Dallas, she knew that he was too honorable to use his blood to try to influence her. No, with Eric she knew that every feeling she had felt was her own because when she thought back, she still felt them all. And that was perhaps the worst part of all, knowing that she had thrown away the one she truly loved because she was afraid to trust what her heart was telling her.

“Eric,” she whispered, tears filling her eyes as she said his name for the first time in weeks. Only down here did she allow herself to speak it or to think of him and what they had almost been, what she had thrown away. She began to sob, pulling the red blanket tighter around her body and trying to pretend that it was his arms she felt holding her.

Tonight your memory burns like a fire
With every one it grows higher and higher
And I can’t get over it
I just can’t put out this love
I just sit in these flames and pray that you’ll come back
Close my eyes tightly, hold on and hope that I’m dreaming
Come wake me up

The pain in her heart seemed to grow with every tear she shed, almost as if the loss of moisture allowed the fire to grow and consume more and more of her as she cried. Soon she was gasping for breath, holding onto her chest as though she was trying to hold herself together as she broke down.

She knew that she wouldn’t really change anything about her life up until now–she had three beautiful children who she loved more than life itself and she’d had a good marriage filled with quiet affection for ten years of it. No, she wouldn’t trade the life she had lived… but the life she was living now was a different story. Her kids were raised, her husband had died in an accident years ago, and while she was able to distract herself while she was at work the nights were almost too hard to bear. She came home to an empty house that was filled with memories–most were good but even those she often found too painful to handle because they were accompanied by a deep sense of loss.

So, Sookie had done what she’d sworn never to do the first time she’d seen Jane Bodehouse break her leg trying to stand up from the bar stool–she began to drink to drown out the pain and the regrets. Most nights, it worked and she would fall into a dreamless sleep and wake up ready to repeat the process the next day. Work, talk to the kids, drink–rinse and repeat with a side of church on Sunday and that was the life Sookie Stackhouse now led. Sometimes, like tonight, she would find that not even alcohol was enough to dull the pain and she would allow herself to succumb for just one night. That was when she would find herself down here in the cubby where she had given Eric Northman her heart, wishing that he was still here with her.

Turn the TV up loud just to drown out your voice but I can’t forget
Now I’m all out of ideas and baby I’m down to my last cigarette
Yeah you’re probably asleep deep inside of your dreams while I’m sitting here crying and trying to see
Yeah, wherever you are baby, now I am sure you moved on and aren’t thinking twice about me and you tonight

Pulling out her phone, Sookie pulled up the YouTube app and even as she wondered why she was intent on tormenting herself she typed ‘Eric Northman Nu Blood’ into the search bar. Within seconds, thumbnails of Eric’s smiling face filled her phone and she clicked on the first video. The second she heard his voice and saw his smile, she was overcome by a fresh wave of sorrow and began crying even harder. One of the questions she always tried to keep buried sprung to the forefront of her mind, one that she wished she had a way to ask him. Did he still love her and if he did, why had he never come back for her? But when he smiled for the camera, she remembered how it had been so long since she had seen him smile when he was around her and she realized that it was her own fault. Why should he come back when he thought that she didn’t want him anymore?

She reached into the pocket of her shirt and pulled out her battered pack of cigarettes–another habit she’d once promised herself she’d never start. She slid the last one out of the pack and between her lips, pulling the lighter from the pack as well as she cursed herself for forgetting to buy another pack before she came home. She was still crying and trembling so hard that it took her several minutes to light the cigarette, but with the first draw she did feel a small bit of relief come over her. Mentally, she knew that it was false–just a chemical reaction caused by her body’s addiction to the nicotine but she just couldn’t bring herself to care about why it made her feel better, just that it did. She smoked slowly, still watching the play-list of the Nu Blood commercials play as she tried to ignore the way hearing Eric’s voice still caused her heart to skip a beat.

Sookie couldn’t help but wonder where he was right now. The last she had heard, he’d sold Fangtasia and disappeared into parts unknown with Pam at his side. That had been just before her husband had died and she often wondered how different things might be right now if Eric had waited just two more years–she had been past her grief over Beau’s death and had finally put her life back together. She’d wondered even then how different things might be if he was still in Shreveport and she could go to him, apologize for all of her mistakes and ask if she could have another chance.

But wondering didn’t change what had happened–Eric was gone and she was alone with her broken heart night after night, wishing that she could find a way to put things right. And sometimes her mind would whisper cruel things to her about how she had thrown away the love and trust of a good man who did not give such affections lightly. Why should he ever spare her another thought, it would whisper to her on nights like these–and she knew it was right.

Trying to imagine where he was right now, Sookie closed her eyes and envisioned him. He was wrapped in the arms of another woman with brunette hair and caramel colored skin, thrusting into her and muttered in that old language he had used when making love to her, once upon a time. She shuddered and opened her eyes, wondering for the millionth time what that language had been and why she’d never bothered to ask him. The tears flowed faster and harder as the pain in her heart got harder and harder to take, until she was sobbing once again.

Did Eric ever feel any of this, she wondered? Did he ever think about the love that he had shared with her? Sometimes she doubted it… but then she’d seen what he was like when he truly loved and when he’d lost that love. She had seen it with Godric, hadn’t she? She’d seen that Eric Northman was not one to forget someone he had loved, even if it would make things easier. No, deep down she thought that Eric still remembered everything and once again, she wished she had a way to contact him.

Tonight your memory burns like a fire
With every one it grows higher and higher
I can’t get over it
I just can’t put out this love
I just sit in these flames and pray that you’ll come back
Close my eyes tightly, hold on and hope that I’m dreaming

I know that you’re moving on
I know I should give you up
But I keep hopin’ that you’ll trip and fall back in love
Time’s not healing anything
Baby, this pain is worse than it ever was
I know that you can’t hear me, but baby I need you to save me tonight

When she had smoked her cigarette down to the filter, she put into the ashtray and lay down on the bed, pulling the blanket with her and covering herself again. She closed her eyes and tried to think about what she would do, even though she knew she would come up empty for the millionth time. Eric Northman was a thousand year old vampire–he had a lot of practice in disappearing and not being found again, and she knew from the numerous private investigators she had hired that he had done just that again.

They couldn’t even find Pam, which only convinced her more that her suspicions were correct. He didn’t want himself to be found and since Pam went with him, he had covered both of their tracks as completely as he could. The only question she still had was why didn’t he want to be found? Nu Blood was still the top selling synthetic of choice and he was still earning money off of that and she hadn’t heard anything about him being in trouble from Jessica, who had recently become the sheriff of Area Five and remained one of her close friends.

Try as she might to find another reason, Sookie could only ever come to the same conclusion she always did–he must not want her to be able to find him… and the thought made the pain intensify until she thought it would surely split her in two. “Oh, Gran,” she whispered brokenly, “What have I done?” Her words echoed in the small space and came back to her unanswered, as they always did. And try as she might, she just couldn’t even imagine what Gran might say to her right now. It seemed like a sick joke–Sookie Stackhouse had finally accepted and embraced who and what she was the way Gran had always wanted her to, just in time to lose the one man she had ever fully given her heart to.

And whoever had said that time heals all wounds had lied, lied, lied, she thought to herself bitterly as she turned to bury her face into the pillow to conceal the loudness of her sobs. Each passing day seemed to make the ache in her heart more unbearable, the absence of him from her life more apparent even though she tried desperately to ignore it. Alcohol and cigarettes could dampen the pain, but she always knew it was there–it felt like what she had plucked from an amputee’s head once, like there was a phantom limb that just ached but you knew there was nothing you could do to ease the pain. Her heart felt like that every single second of every single day and she knew with a certainty that absolutely terrified her that it always would.

“Eric,” she sobbed into the pillow, clinging to his memory and the memory of their time together with every ounce of strength she had left to avoid losing herself to the waves of pain crashing over her. If only’s crashed through her head… If only she had been brave enough to trust in her own heart that night so long ago when she had saved him from burning at the stake… If only she had never been shot and Bill had never given her more of his blood… If only she hadn’t been so stupidly stubborn when he signed the house back over to her, thinking that she wanted to be the girl in the white dress again when that girl was dead and gone, never to return. Why hadn’t she been smart enough then to realize that? Innocence, once lost, can never be regained and she had soon come to realize (though not soon enough) that she actually liked the person her struggles had made her.

Even when Eric had returned with Hep V, she’d known that she loved him… but she had been too guilty about infecting Bill to deal with her feelings then. Then when Bill walked away from the cure that she knew Eric had risked his life to provide for someone he didn’t even like, all because she had asked… She had sought solace in his arms, but still she hadn’t told him. There were just so many missed chances, so many times she could have told him the truth… But it was only once she had killed Bill and mourned him that she was finally able to see clearly… and Eric was gone by then.

Tonight, Sookie Stackhouse was not the brave girl she had once been. She was a mere shadow of her former self, the one she had thought she wanted to get rid of to go back to being the meek southern belle she had been before she’d met her first vampire. But tonight, she would have given anything just be back to her former self… because even at her lowest then, when she had found herself betrayed by Bill at the Authority just before he turned into Billith… she had been so much stronger than she was now. Tonight, she knew that the only one who could save her from all of this pain was the one person she could not find and would most likely never see again… and that thought caused her to gasp out in pain. She needed Eric more than she had ever needed anyone in her life… and she was the one who had pushed him away. The thought ate at her more than she cared to admit.

Tonight your memory burns like a fire
With every one it grows higher and higher
I can’t get over it
I just can’t put out this love
I just sit in these flames and pray that you’ll come back
Close my eyes tightly, hold on and hope that I’m dreaming
Come wake me up

Oh I’m dreaming
Come wake me up
Oh I’m dreaming

Hours later, Sookie slowly woke to the darkness of the cubby. She rubbed her puffy eyes as she realized that she had cried herself to sleep once again. “Typical,” she muttered as she slowly sat up, grabbing for her phone to check the time. Luckily, she had woken up just in time to get ready and still make it to the office on time, she thought as she swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood up, slowly letting the blanket fall back onto the bed with a sigh.

The pain had receded to a dull ache again now, and she knew that she had made it through yet again as she climbed up the ladder, out of the cubby and slowly shut the doors behind her. She carried her glass from the night before into the kitchen and washed it quickly before returning it to the cabinet, the normalcy of the routine comforting her more.

As she prepared for yet another day, Sookie spared one final thought for Eric and she said a silent prayer that he was okay and that maybe, if God was feeling giving, maybe he would find his way back to her. Then she pushed his memory back into the darkest recesses of her mind and slammed the door behind it, preparing for another day of her nightmare.