The Best Christmas Dream Ever

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I never thought I would say this, but my life has become increasingly dull.

 

Use to, I couldn’t turn around without stirring up another hornets nest. It all started with Bill, or I guess to be fair, with Hadley and her big fat mouth, but Bill sure as hell didn’t help matters. They ended with him though, that’s for sure. Everything kinda stopped after I staked him, the selfish bastard, I’ll never forgive him for asking me to do that.

 

There’s no more crazy religious fanatics after me, no maenad causing chaos and destroying my house, no ancient psychotic vampire that wants to drain me so he can get a tan, no more stupid were bitches that think I’m stealing their man, no more faeries that want me for a brood mare, no more mind controlling witches causing havoc and raising people from the dead, no more Vampire Authority threatening anyone I care about, no more insane vampire gods taking over other vampires, no more hep-v to make my friends sick, and no more faepires that think they own me and want me to walk eternity with them in servitude.

 

Christ on a cracker! My life was so fucked up! Thank God and all that is holy all of that is over.

 

But, now there’s nothing. I’m alone. It’s just me and the farm house. Jason is about the only one I see much of, everyone else has moved on with their lives. They deserve too though. So it’s been quiet in good ol’ Bon Temps. Half a year of peace and I’m bored out of my ever lovin mind. The first few weeks were great. I relaxed and enjoyed the peace and quiet for all I was worth. I’m over that now. I miss everyone terribly, especially with it being Christmas and all.

 

Christmas Eve to be exact. Not that you could tell by looking around my house. I don’t have the first decoration up, not even a tree. What’s the point, I’d just have to take it down again. There’s no one but me to enjoy it anyway. The only thing marking this night as special is me on the couch, watching an old black and white Christmas movie.

 

Jason is off celebrating with his new girlfriend and her family. It’s Arlene’s first Christmas without Terry, she needs to be with her kids and the rest of their family, not poor lonely Sookie. Alcide, Bill and Tara are dead. That still hurts to think about. Well, except for Bill, good riddance to his stuffy ass. Sam took Nicole and left, he had gotten really weird anyway. Jess and Hoyt are having their first Christmas as a married couple, they certainly don’t need a third wheel. Same goes for Lala and his new fella. And poor Willa, I’m not sure where she is except not with her Maker, though I’m sure he’s taking care of her from afar.

 

Eric really messed up with her. She’s such a sweet girl and she needs him, she’s still so young. Maybe once him and Pam are done with their traveling salesmen act they’ll come home.

 

Surprisingly, I think I miss them the most.  Well, Eric. I miss him more than anyone. I can admit that now.

 

It’s crazy how you can look back and see things so clearly that were so convoluted before. I was nothing but a foolish girl who thought she knew what she wanted. How wrong I was. All I succeeded in doing was pushing away the one I should’ve been holding onto with everything I had.

 

Hindsight is such a vicious bitch.

 

I haven’t seen him since the night he flew me home from Bellefleur’s, unless you count the commercials on TV. They’re all smiles when they’re in front of the camera, but I can see the boredom in their eyes. They hate what they’re doing but I imagine making money hand over fist makes it easier to deal with.

 

I had really wanted Eric to stay for awhile the night he brought me home. Being in his arms like that had stirred some things in me I thought were gone. They were never gone, I had just refused to acknowledge them. He didn’t seem as effected so I didn’t push. I probably should have.

 

So much had happened to the both of us that it would have been nice to trade stories, find out how he was really doing. I wanted to tell him how sorry I was about Nora and thank him for saving Jason-I know he only did that for me. I needed to thank him for helping me save Arlene too, and so many other things. He was always there when I needed him, always. Even if he was knee deep in his own troubles, he would stop and help me. Hell, he was literally dying and he still made time to help me. I had wanted him to know how much I appreciated it, how much I cared for him. I still want him to know.

 

Maybe one day I will get to tell him.

 

He doesn’t know it, but I invited him back in to my home that night after he told me goodbye. I didn’t like how final his words felt. I needed to do something to buffer the stab of pain I had when I heard them. He’ll always be welcome in my house if he ever chooses to come see me again.

 

I’d probably go to him if I knew where he was. Maybe. I don’t know. I could call him I guess, just pretend I was checking on him. But I’m too chicken shit. For someone who turned him away more times than was even remotely sane, I sure don’t want him to do the same to me again, even if I do deserve it. To be honest, I don’t know if I’m more scared of seeing him again or never again.

 

The thought of either makes me want to cry buckets.

 

Only once did I ever get to tell him I loved him, he deserved so much more from me that night and every night that followed. But of course Bill had to fuck it all up, that’s what he was best at. I have no doubt that if his blood hadn’t been coursing through my veins, I would’ve never had a second thought about Eric and I. No doubt at all.

 

I loved him then and after all this time apart, I love him more. I don’t have to see him everyday, spend time with him, or know him any better to be sure of that. The hole he left in my heart is truth enough.

 

I begin to drift off with the same dream on my mind as every night lately- that he’s happy and not hurting like I am and that one day I’ll get to tell him how sorry I am.

 

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

 

The smell of fresh cut evergreen and woodsy smoke tickles my nose as the happy cadence of Jiggle Bells fills the room. Apparently I’m so desperate for some happiness that I’m dreaming up Christmas memories. I peel my eyes open to see which one it is, expecting child versions of me and Jas anxiously waiting to open a present or two.

 

What I see instead is the most beautiful Christmas tree this old house has ever seen. It’s sitting across the room, all glistening ornaments and twinkling lights. It’s top is not an inch from the ceiling and it’s so full. It must be three or four feet across, maybe even five.

 

Where in the world?

 

We never had a tree like this.

 

I hear a slight pop and my attention is drawn towards the fire place. There’s a nice little fire crackling in it and a stack of fresh cut wood is piled on the hearth too.

 

What is going on?

 

I nearly jump out of my skin when a pan clangs onto the kitchen floor, followed by a deep curse.

 

Shit! There’s a man in my house!

 

I sneak down the wall and slip the shotgun from the closet then cautiously make my way into the kitchen, gun raised and ready. It’s probably Jason, but I’m not gonna risk it considering my past experiences.

 

I peek around the door jam. “Eric!” I gasp, seeing his unmistakable figure standing at my stove.

 

He turns around, his signature smirk pulling one side of his lips up, his blue eyes twinkling, “Sookie Stackhouse. I thought we were long past this. Is that really how you want to tell me Merry Christmas?” he purrs.

 

I can’t speak, my heart is pounding its way up my throat. Not from fear either.

 

The man I wanted to see most in this world is in my kitchen on Christmas Eve and he’s wearing an apron. I must be dreaming, or maybe I’m drunk? I don’t remember drinking anything though.

 

I slowly walk into the room and put the gun down on the table, “I’m sorry, you surprised me,” I whisper, swallowing deeply. “What are doing here? Did you bring that tree in my living room?” I ask, still in shock at seeing all six foot five gorgeous inches of him in my kitchen.

 

In an apron.

 

He nods his head, his smirk more of a soft smile now, “I did. Do you like it?” he inquires warily.

 

He seems as nervous as me. That’s odd. Eric doesn’t do nervous.

 

“It’s beautiful. Thank you,” I whisper again, distracted by what my eyes are seeing. “Are you cooking? For me?” I ask, peaking around him at the pots steaming on the stove and practically every bowl, dish, and utensil I own scattered across the counters. Not to mention all the food everywhere.

 

His smirk is back. “I am. Isn’t that what humans do at Christmas? Have a feast, then sit around the tree and open presents?”

 

“Ummm, yeah, I guess so. Usually,” I stutter.

 

“Well, I was alone and you were alone, so….”

 

I take a step towards him, itching to reach out and touch him to see if he’s really here, but fear stops me. “Is this another dream?” I ask, terrified instead of annoyed like the last time we went through this. I’ve had a dozen of them in the last few months, this could easily be another one.

 

Please don’t be, please don’t be.

 

He reaches over and turns off the stove eyes, then unties the apron and pulls it off, throwing it over one of the kitchen chairs.

 

Oh my God, he’s wearing a Christmas sweater!

 

It’s black, what other color would Eric wear? But it has a snowy mountain scene stitched with sparkly thread across the bottom half, complete with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer.

 

This is definitely a dream, Eric wouldn’t be caught dead in an ugly Christmas sweater. Hee hee. But damn if I’m not going to let myself enjoy it.

 

“I like your sweater,” I giggle as he slinks his way over to me from across the other side of the kitchen.

 

Good Lord, how can one man be that sexy wearing an ugly Christmas sweater?

 

“Thank you,” he says proudly. “Pam said you would. There’s one for you under the tree.”

 

“Really? Does it match yours?” I giggle up at him.

 

He nods with a smile.

 

“This is the best Christmas dream ever.”

 

His smile turns tender and he reaches over to run the back of his fingers down my cheek, “This isn’t a dream, my Sookie. I assure you.”

 

My eyes close at his gentle touch, then slowly open again, “It’s not?” I whisper, breathless.

 

He shakes his head almost imperceptibly, “I’m really here.”

 

I throw myself against his chest so hard he almost stumbles and then promptly erupt into sobs. I think I stun him speechless, because he doesn’t say anything for a while, he just holds me, his big hands softly gripping and rubbing whatever part of me they can reach, while he rests his cheek on top of my head.

 

Nothing feels better than being in his arms.

 

He must finally tire of hearing me cry because he gently peels me off his chest and stoops down to look at me, wiping away some of my tears with his thumbs,”What are all the tears for? I thought you would be happy to see me,” he frets, but with a tiny smile.

 

“Oh, Eric. I am. I’ve missed you so much,” I gasp, going straight back into his arms.

 

He swiftly and effortlessly picks me up bridal style and takes us to the living room. There we sit, cuddling on the couch for all intent and purposes, until my eyes quit leaking. His cheek is resting on top of my head again as I lay against his chest. He has one hand in my hair using his fingers to gently rub my neck and scalp and the other is being held captive between both of mine. I’ve been enjoying the comfort he seems so willing to give and looking at the white twinkling lights of the Christmas tree while I get my breathing evened out again. Every once in awhile I hear and feel him take in a slow, deep breath. He’s breathing in my scent.

 

It always used to annoy me, right now I love knowing it brings him comfort.

 

“The tree is so beautiful, Eric. How did you know I didn’t have one and get it in here without waking me up?” I whisper, hoping not to shatter the spell we’re under.

 

“A little birdy told me,” he mumbles softly.

 

Willa or Jess I imagine.

 

“It wasn’t easy to get in quietly. Getting it here at all was an accomplishment. I’m rather proud of myself,” he gloats, still his arrogant self.

 

I love that part of him too.

 

I crane my head back to look at him and have to bite my lip to keep from crying seeing the smile he has for me. “How did you get it here?” I ask, my voice only hitching once.

 

“I flew it, of course. It would have scratched my Vette.”

 

I burst into giggles picturing him flying around with a Christmas tree in one hand and balancing boxes of ornaments with the other, sparkly sweater and all.

 

He controls himself, only smirking at my girly laughter.

 

“Thank you, Eric. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present,” I whisper, voicing the first of the many thanks I plan on giving him tonight.

 

“The tree or me?” he asks, still smirking.

 

I reach up and stroke his cheek, “The tree is very, very sweet, so is that feast you were cooking up, but seeing you is definitely the best part. I really have missed you, Eric, more than anyone else.”

 

He takes my hand in his and brings my palm to his lips, giving it a tender kiss before holding it against his cheek again, “I have missed you too. More than anyone else,” he says, his smile heartbreakingly sweet.

 

I want terribly to tell him I love him, but I’m so afraid of ruining this, so I ask how he’s been instead.

 

“How’ve you been? Is everything going good for you now? I saw you and Pam on TV at the Stock Exchange.”

 

He huffs and rolls his eyes, “Things are well. My bank accounts are very happy anyway. I do not care for being a celebrity though,” he groans.

 

It’s my turn to huff, “I could tell. You may have been fooling everyone else, but I could see how much you disliked it. You’re eyes never sparkled, they always looked dull. I get very sad when I see those commercials,” I mumble, laying my head back down.

 

“You always were very smart, Sookie Stackhouse,” he says, kissing the top of my head.

 

“Hah!” I bark out with no small amount of sarcasm. “I’m about as stupid as they get.”

 

He pushes me back and scowls at me, “You are not stupid.” He says it so forcefully it could have been a Maker’s command.

 

I roll my eyes and shake my head, “I was stupid enough to keep pushing away the only man who ever really loved me for me,” I all but pout, fighting like hell not to cry again.

 

His expression softens as he reaches up and runs his fingers down my cheek, then grasps my chin, forcing me to look at him. “I am here, am I not?”

 

My chin starts to quiver under his thumb and my vision goes all glassy as my eyes fill with tears. A small shaky, “Yeah,” is all I manage to get out before I lose it again.

 

I’m once more enfolded in his arms as he soothes me. After a few minutes he takes a big deep breath and lets it out slowly, “Time and circumstances were never on our side, were they? It was not just you at fault, I was too. There were so many things I would do differently if I could go back.”

 

“Me too,” I whimper into his neck.

 

“I know, but we cannot go back, only forward,” he murmurs into my hair then lifts me off his lap to sit me down beside him.

 

I whimper at the loss of contact. Somehow my body feels colder out of his arms than in them. A tiny smile of understanding graces his beautiful face before he leans over and kisses my forehead. “Soon,” he murmurs.

 

I don’t get much time to dwell on what he means by that, because he pulls a long, thin envelope out of his jacket and hands it to me.

He’s smiling shyly if you can even imagine Eric Northman being shy, but he was right when he said amnesia Eric was a part of him. Sometimes he is very easy to see.

 

“Merry Christmas, lover.”

 

I try my best to tamp down the thrill that runs through me hearing him call me that. “Thank you, Eric. But I feel awful, I don’t have anything….”

 

He shakes his head and puts one long finger over my lips to shush me, “If your response to what is inside that envelope is what I think it might be, that will be gift enough.”

 

Oh geez, no pressure.

 

I look down at it and I’m not the least bit surprised that he’s managed to make an envelope look expensive. I rub my thumbs over the thick, deep red paper and the elegant script written across it. ‘My Sookie’ it says.  Those two little words make my heart clinch.  Of course it’s tied with a shiny, black satin bow, so I pull the ends and untie it, the flap lifts easily.

 

All I can think that could be in this envelope is a check. I don’t want it to be a check. Giving him some credit for knowing me well enough to know that, I reach in and pull out the contents. It takes me a few seconds to register what I’m looking at, I’ve never seen any before, but it’s two plane tickets.

 

The first has my name stamped on it, the other his. Both of them for flights to Stockholm, Sweden leaving from New York tomorrow night on Anubis Air.

 

“You want me to go to Sweden with you?” I gasp out, reiterating my stupidity.

 

That’s pretty obvious Sookie.  DUH!

 

His smile is cautious, his words aren’t, “I do.”

 

He really does.

 

My heart is threatening to beat out of my chest right now. “Wow. That sounds amazing, but it’s kinda sudden isn’t it? Is it for work? You need me to read someone for you?”

 

I’m still in shock, give me a break.

 

He smirks and shrugs his shoulders a tiny bit, “It is, but then again it isn’t. And no, it is not for business.”

 

I wait for him to elaborate, but of course he doesn’t. “Eric. Just spit it out, please,” I beg him, near tears again.

 

He chuckles, but gives into me, “I think you and I have been kept apart long enough, don’t you?” he asks, reaching over to take my hand in his, his eyes as soft as I’ve ever seen them. “I love you, Sookie Stackhouse. I have from the moment you walked into my bar in that white dress. I have tried to quit you a hundred times, I only wound up loving you more. I think you’ve loved me just as long,” he whispers, using his other hand to cup my cheek

 

I choke out a sob, “I have. I do. I love you, Eric.”

 

He let’s out a very human sigh of relief, his eyes closing for a few beats of my heart before looking at me again. “There are no more roadblocks for me, nothing to keep me from you anymore, I removed them all. As of last week I signed New Blood over to Pam. Her first official task as the new president was to send me on a permanent vacation. I’m completely free for the first time in a thousand years. Even if I wasn’t, I’m done with waiting. I want you, I want to be with you. Completely. It can finally be just the two of us with no more distractions to get in our way. Come with me. Please?” he asks.

 

The hope in his eyes is killing me.

 

I throw my arms around him, crying my answer into his neck, “Yes. Yes, I’ll go with you.”

 

He wraps me tight in his strong arms, “You will? You mean it?” he asks, shocked and surprised.

 

I squeeze him tighter then pull back to look at him, “I mean it, I would love to go. I’m tired of waiting too. We’ve had to wait long enough.”

 

He kisses me full on the lips, then looks at me with a bright smile, “Thank you. I thought that would be a lot harder.”

 

“I’m sorry. That’s my fault.”

 

“Don’t,” he gently scolds me. “Let’s not dwell on the mistakes we made. We both fucked up and we both regret it. How about we just start over?” he whispers, stroking my cheek with his fingers.

 

“I’d like that very much,” I whimper, my tears returning.

 

“As would I,” he whispers before pressing his lips to mine for a moment, “I love you, Sookie.”

 

“I love you too, Eric.”

 

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

 

The last thirty something hours have been a whirlwind.

 

First, Eric insisted that I eat a big plate of the food he cooked while he packed up the rest for me to take with us and cleaned the mess he made. Yes, Eric Northman cleaned my kitchen until it was spotless. It’s a wonder I got any food into my stomach, it kept falling out of my mouth because it was gaped open in shock.

 

Then I had to hurry and pack, not that I had much to pack other than bathroom stuff and a few clothes. Eric had been teasing about flying the tree here, there was a huge suburban parked outside on the driveway already packed for our trip, including two suitcases full of winter clothes for me. Nothing I had would work for the frigid temps of Sweden in the dead of winter. I have a feeling all I’m going to be wearing is my birthday suit for awhile anyway. Eric is having a hard time keeping his hands off of me, not that I want them anywhere else. Unfortunately we’ve been too busy to take the time to have that kind of reunion yet. Hopefully, tonight when we make it to his cabin though.

 

We caught a flight from Shreveport just before dawn on Christmas Day. I hated to leave the beautiful tree behind, but he promised me he would have someone go over and pack up all the ornaments and lights for me to use again. Anubis handled getting us from the airport and into our hotel. Eric of course spared no expense and had us staying in a ritzy vampire place. He even came out of his day rest long enough to climb out of his casket and lay down in the bed with me. I don’t know which of us fell asleep faster once we were under the covers and in each other’s arms.

 

When I woke up, I spent the rest of the day in the hotel spa being pampered while Eric slept-it was part of my growing list of Christmas presents from him. With some help from the concierge Eric’s gift is now hid away in my luggage. I’m going to wait until we get to the cabin to give it to him though.

 

As soon as he woke he ordered me a steak dinner and we headed to the airport the minute I finished it. Our flight to Stockholm was long, but it gave us lots of time to talk and get caught up with everything that had been going on while we were apart.

 

We both realized the other was lucky to still be alive, undead, or whatever.

 

I tried to apologize for several things, he wouldn’t let me. He rebuffed my condolences for Nora even more. He is definitely still mourning her. I was able to get in some gratitude though. I thanked him for my house, for saving me more times than I could count, and especially for saving Jason. He thanked me too, much to my bewilderment. I couldn’t think of anything he needed to thank me for. He mentioned the night Billith tried to stake him, but I scoffed at that, he had already thanked me the night it happened. He refused to tell me what else he thought I needed his thanks for.

 

We made it from the airport to our second hotel in two nights. I was so exhausted and mixed up on what time or day it was. Nighttime is all I knew. Eric told me to shower while he handled some business on the phone. I gladly took him up on it. I climbed into the fluffy bed once I was clean and fell asleep listening to the murmur of his voice.

 

I woke about two hours ago. It’s daylight, but it’s very dim. That’s gonna take me awhile to get use to. I ordered some room service, thank goodness the staff here speaks English or I would have been in a mess! It wouldn’t surprise me if Eric told them that only someone who spoke English should answer calls from our room though. I ate the eggs, meat, and bread they sent up anyway. I’m not sure what animals laid the eggs or died for the meat, they weren’t bad, but they weren’t from chickens or pigs that’s for sure.

 

I ate by the window in the sitting area of our room, thankfully this place is vampire friendly and Eric is safe in the bedroom. Stockholm is gorgeous under its thick blanket of snow. But it doesn’t seem to slow its residents down, there are still people out and about, waddling in their thick, fluffy clothes. Snow like this would put America at a complete stand still. It’s another world here, with its old, colorful buildings, narrow streets, and the sea a backdrop for it all. I’m so glad he brought me here. Before I know it the dim sun is gone and thousands of lights begin to glow and twinkle against all the white. It’s like one of those Kinkade guy’s paintings. I’ve never seen anything more beautiful.

 

“How do you like my homeland so far, lover?” Eric asks, his cool lips on my neck causing me to shiver slightly.

 

I reach up and hold him still, turning my head to kiss his cheek, “I love it almost as much as I do you.”

 

That puts a smile on his gorgeous face and awards me with a toe tingling kiss.

 

“Are you ready to see more of it?” he whispers, kissing along my jaw and up to my ear. “We have an hour before we need to be at the harbor.”

 

“I am,” I pant, “But I think I’d rather see more of you first.”

 

He chuckles, “An hour isn’t nearly long enough for all I have planned for you, lover. As soon as we make it home we’ll do nothing else for nights on end, I promise,” he breathes into my ear.

 

I don’t know if it’s him calling the cabin our home or the promise of things he gonna do to me there that makes me shiver with delight. Probably both.

 

“Come, let’s get you bundled up. I can’t have you freezing,” he smiles, straightening up and holding his hand out to me.

 

Somehow he gets me buttoned and zipped into more layers than I can count, I’m amazed I can move at all. The second we step out the door and onto the street though, I’m thankful for each and every layer.

 

My eyes are the only bits of me not buried in thick down and they nearly scream when the cold air hits them.

 

“Holy shit! How does anyone survive up here?” I screech.

 

He laughs as he wraps me in his arms, “They stay in bed for months at a time.”

 

“I don’t blame them,” I chatter. “Eric, you need warmer clothes on. Don’t tell me vampires can’t freeze too.”

 

“I am cold, but we will be going in and out of stores, so I’ll be fine. Do not worry, lover,” he tries to assure me, taking my hand in his and pulling me along behind him.

 

Let me tell you, when you’re the size of the Michelin Man, it’s even harder to keep up with his long strides. We barely go half a block before he picks me up and carries me. “I’m sorry, lover. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. I’ll take us back and we can get in the car and ride around.”

 

“No wait. Take me in one store at least, please?” I beg him. “I can survive that long, I promise.” My clattering teeth are not helping my cause at all.

 

He scowls at me, but then vamps us away. We stop on a dime outside of a bakery. He sets me down then quickly pulls me inside.

 

I yank down the scarf covering most of my face and take in a deep breath. Mmmmm, it smells like heaven! There are glass cases full of all kinds of pastries, cookies, and cakes. And the rich smell of coffee mingles with them.

 

“Did I pick the right place?” he asks with a smirk.

 

“Yes! It smells amazing in here. I want one of everything,” I giggle.

 

“You smell better,” he murmurs, pulling off my hood and hat for me.

 

“There is no way I smell better than this place,” I argue, the idea ridiculous to me.

 

He leans down and kisses my cheek with his freezing lips, “You do. A hundred times better even,” he purrs, then breathes in deeply.

 

“Seriously?” He nods. “No wonder you’ve always wanted me then. I am like crack to you.”

 

His eyes soften with concern, “It is only the icing on the cake so to speak, it’s the insides I love the most. I would love you even if you didn’t smell good, please never doubt that Sookie,” he says, worriedly.

 

I pull him down to me by the collar of his leather jacket, “I don’t,” I whisper against his lips before kissing him deeply. We probably get a little carried away, but when we finally unlock our lips no one seems to be paying us a bit of attention.

 

“Show me what you want and I’ll order for you,” he tells me, taking me by the hand and pulling me up to the glass cases.

 

“I already told you I want one of everything,” I tease him.

 

He nods his head and starts speaking in rapid Swedish to the guy behind the counter.

 

I jerk on his arm, “Eric! I was kidding! If I ate all that I’d be as big as the side of a barn.”

 

He gets a wicked grin on his face. “More for me to love then. And better handles for me to grip,” he whispers in my ear.

 

“Uh un, no way mister. I am not gonna let myself get any fatter.”

 

“You are not fat,” he nearly growls at me, his expression fierce.

 

“Okay. Thank you,” I squeak.

 

He sighs deeply, eyes closed and everything, then looks at me, his face gentle once more,”I’m sorry. I do not like to hear you speak badly of yourself. You are perfect just the way you are.”

 

I stretch up on my tip toes and give him a quick kiss, “Thank you, my love. So are you. Order me whatever you want to, but don’t forget the coffee.”

 

His smile lights up his beautiful eyes and makes my heart swell. He kisses my forehead then turns to order so I find us a table.

 

A little over an hour later we are loaded up onto a good sized fishing boat, cruising through the icy waters, two big boxes of pastries included. I thought the captain would drive us out to the island, but of course I was wrong. Eric is behind the wheel looking right at home, a satisfied smile gracing his face. We left the captain on the dock.

 

I’m sitting in the seat beside his, mesmerised by all the dials, screens, and switches in front of us and him too. He looks so happy.

 

“When was the last time you were at sea?” I ask him.

 

“I had a sailboat I harbored down in the gulf back in the seventies I would go out on from time to time. It’s been about a hundred years since I’ve been in the seas of my homeland though. Pam hates it up here,” he smirks.

 

“That’s not surprising. Pam hates pretty much everything,” I laugh.

 

“True, but she has a rather large dislike for my windy shit hole as she calls it.”

 

“I bet I’ll love it then. I can’t wait to get there,” I smile over at him, excitedly.

 

He laughs loudly, “One of the many reasons I love you, Sookie Stackhouse. Simple things make you the happiest.”

 

“You know me well,” I agree. “It does have heat and a bathroom though, right? Please tell me I don’t have to track through twelve feet of snow to use an outhouse.”

 

He sighs, “It’s too far off the coast to run electricity to. We’ll use wood for heat and I’ll fly you to the outhouse. You can hold it all day until I wake up, right?” he asks, completely calm.

 

“Eric!  You cannot be serious,” I squeal.

 

“If you don’t think you can I’m sure there’s an old bucket around somewhere I can dig up for you to use. You can just dump it out the door when you’re done.”

 

Gross!

 

“I guess I can handle using a bucket if it means I don’t have to go outside and freeze my ass off,” I grumble. “How long are we gonna stay again?”

 

He roars with laughter. There are literally tears of blood running down his face he’s laughing so hard. He stumbles over and wraps me in his arms, making both of us shake with his amusement.

 

“You mean ass vampire. It’s not nice to tease.” I whine, but I’m not able to keep the smile off my face. It’s impossible not to, when he’s so happy. I’ve never seen him this happy and carefree. I love it.

 

He cups my face with his big hands, his smile so wide it threatens to split his face,”I love you so much,” he chuckles.

 

“I love you too,” I snarl at him in mock anger.

 

He leans down and kisses me sweetly, keeping his lips soft and gentle. I’m whimpering by the time he releases me.

 

“I had the place upgraded while you were in Faerie. There’s a shed out back with five generators in it that can run around the clock. I promise I won’t even let your pinkie toe get cold. And there’s a bathroom too. It cost me a fortune, but I couldn’t have you freezing your perfect ass off every time you needed to pee,” he tells me quietly.

 

I smile up at him, loving how he always thinks to take care of me, then…. “Wait. Did you say when I was in Faerie?” He nods. “But, Eric, that was so long.…”

 

“It was soon enough for me. I loved you before you left, but it took you being gone before I realized it. I had a whole year to think about you and the changes you brought out in me. I nearly went mad before I figured it out,” he chuckles.

 

I don’t think it’s funny at all, it breaks my heart.

“I’m so sorry, Eric,” I whimper.

 

“No. None of that. We made a pact, remember? No apologizes. You are worth all that waiting and more, I promise. And it’s Christmas, there are no tears on Christmas, even I know that,” he smiles, brushing my hair back from my face.

 

“I promise not to cry anymore if you kiss me.”

 

Yeah, I’m sneaky.

 

He smirks. “Seems like I remember making a similar promise to you, but you wouldn’t kiss me.”

 

“We got interrupted. That wasn’t my fault,” I pout.

 

“We did get interrupted, but I still think you were going to hold out on me. And I was so sweet then too.”

 

“You’re still sweet, you just don’t want anyone to know it.”

 

He leans over and smiles against my lips, “I’m only sweet for Sookie.”

 

“I love you all the more for it,” I whisper, then glide my tongue across his top lip, while my hand runs much further south.

 

“You do not play fair, Miss Stackhouse,” he growls lightly.

 

“I had a good teacher,” I giggle before he attacks me.

 

If the sensors hadn’t went off we would have rammed into the dock twenty minutes later.

 

Once we both got unflustered and quit laughing Eric got us moored to the dock.

 

“Would you like me to take you in first and then the luggage or vice versa?”

 

“Uhmmm, I think I’ll wait. If I don’t the luggage may not make it inside until tomorrow.”

 

“Smart girl,” he smiles, grabbing up as much as he can get through the small wheelhouse door with. “I’ll be back soon.”

 

He makes three trips before it’s my turn, but those only took him about a minute each. Vampire speed definitely comes in handy sometimes. He shuts down the boat, then helps me out onto the deck, holding onto me tightly so I don’t slip and fall off into the icy water. He locks the door behind us then picks me up as he starts to hover.

 

“Ready to be home, lover?”

 

“Yes, please.”

 

Before I’ve blinked twice he is setting me down onto the small wooden porch of the cutest little cabin I’ve ever seen. Of course it’s covered in snow, but it also has white lights dripping down from its steep roof. It’s clapboard sides are painted a deep red and it has thick, wavy glass windows. One with a small Christmas tree in it.

 

“Oh Eric! I love it! How did you get the lights up and the snow shoveled off so fast? You’re quick, but not that quick,” I question him.

 

“One island over lives a nice fellow by the name of Gundersson. He keeps an eye on the place for me. I called him up and asked him to make it woman welcome,” he smirks down at me.

 

“Ya’ll did good, now hurry, I wanna see the inside,” I bounce on my toes.

 

He laughs, but opens the door and leads me in. “Welcome home, lover.”

 

It’s perfect. Small and tidy, the floors, ceiling, and walls are all made of weathered wood and it’s sparsely furnished. There’s one tiny, grey sofa beside the door, the spindly but brightly lit christmas tree is adjacent to it. There’s a round table with two chairs across the room in the kitchen, which is actually more of a kitchenette, and a bed sits in between the two areas, smack dab in the middle of the cabin. That’s it, other than the few built in cabinets and the stand alone fireplace beside the bed, that’s roaring nicely. There’s a door in the end of the wall to my right, just past the bed, that I assume is the bathroom or maybe Eric’s light tight space.

 

“You like?” he asks wrapping his arms around my waist from behind and resting his chin on top of my head. “I know it’s not much, a shoebox really. I guess now you know why Pam hates it.”

 

I squeeze his arms tighter around me, “I think it’s perfect.” I turn my head and smile up at him. “Thank you so much for bringing me here.”

 

His face blooms into a huge smile just before he kisses me. “I was afraid you wouldn’t like it. I still have the hotel booked if you decide you’d rather stay there.”

 

I spin around in his arms, reaching up to stroke his cheeks as I shake my head, “Call them and cancel, I love it here, I definitely want to stay. Just us, okay? I couldn’t understand a word of the voices in my head while we were in Stockholm, but they were still there. Here there’s complete silence and you. Nothing but me and you. I didn’t realize until you invited me up here how much I wanted that. I wanted to be with you more than anything, but I never thought of us going away like this. You couldn’t have made this trip any better,” I assure him, adding a few soft kisses to his cool lips for good measure.

 

His smile turns devilish, his eyes dark and gleaming, “Are you certain there isn’t anything I can do to make it better?” he purrs, pulling the zipper of my coat down slowly.

 

I play dumb. “Nothing I can think of,” I say in my best airhead voice.

 

He chuckles, “Sookie, my dear, dumb does not suit you.”

 

Two beats of my heart later we’re both naked as the day we were born, our clothes a  shredded pile on the floor and he’s laying me down gently on the bed. “I want to ravish you, but I’m determined to take this slow so we both thoroughly enjoy it.”

 

“I don’t care how, I just need you, Eric.”

 

Those are the last coherent words either of us speak for quite sometime. Only moans, gasps, and growls fill the air around us. We make love like it’s our first time all over again and we’re back in the forest under the moonlight, learning the other’s body with tentative touches. We love like we’ll never see each other again after tonight, desperate and pleading for more. More is what we give to each other too. He leaves not an inch of my skin untouched, nor I his. We laugh with happiness the first time we explode together, then cry with tears of joy when our blood mingles together in our veins again. I’ve never felt more complete than when he’s flowing through my heart and I feel his happiness with each beat it makes.

 

He’s over me now, smiling down at me, his beautiful heart in his eyes, just quiet and staring as his thumbs stoke my temples and cheeks softly. I’m sure I look the same to him, looking up, stupid smile on my face as I run my fingers through his hair and over the stubble on his strong jaw.

 

It hits me then that in a thousand years he’s probably never been this open with anyone except Godric and Nora. I doubt he ever has been with Pam despite how much he loves her. Their relationship is much closer to a parent and child one than anything else. I know there are things he has shared with me and not her, but I ‘m sure she knows sides of him that I don’t. I’m surprised at how much that makes my heart ache. I suddenly want every piece of him to be mine. I want to count every one of the thousand rings that mark the age of his heart, to know every crack it holds from the lives he’s lived. Even though I don’t think he’s shown another human his soul the way he has me, I can’t help but wonder how much more I would’ve been shown were I a vampire. His Christmas present has a bigger meaning now I guess.

 

“What’s wrong? I do not care for the look on your face or what I’m feeling. What did I do?” he asks, worried.

 

I shake my head and cup his cheeks tenderly, “You didn’t do anything wrong, you’re perfect just the way you are. All of this has been perfect. I’m just thinking.”

 

He scowls, “You’re not happy.”

 

“Yes, I am! I’ve never been happier, Eric. I swear to you,” I promise him, doing my best to let him feel that truth.

 

He stares at me hard and I can almost feel him searching through my soul for my deception. “You want more. You are not content.”

 

I sigh, knowing this stubborn man won’t let this go. “Stay here, I need to get your present,” I tell him, trying to squirm my way out from under him. I get almost off the bed before he grabs my ankle and pulls me back down.

 

“You are my present,” he growls playfully, nibbling up my leg.

 

I giggle but manage to get away and over to my suitcase. I dig the box out, then find a pen out of my purse to add something to the tag. I stand up and turn towards him, the look on his face while I’m walking back to bed does all kinds of crazy things to my insides. I’ve never felt more beautiful than when he looks at me.

 

I climb back onto the bed and stretch out beside him, propping my head up on my hand, handing him his gift with the other. “Merry Christmas, Eric.”

 

“You didn’t need to get me anything, Sookie. You coming here, knowing you love me, tonight, all of that has been more than I hoped for,” he says sweetly, leaning over and kissing the top of my head.

 

“I know, but I want to give you this. I picked it out all by myself.”

 

He reads the tag, “‘All my love, forever, Sookie.’ Which part did you just add?” he asks with a smirk.

 

“You’ll figure it out, I’m sure. Open it.”

 

He carefully tears opens the paper covering the small box, then lifts the lid, which creaks like all jewelry boxes seem to. He stares at its contents for so long I sit up beside him, worried the jeweler didn’t get it right. It looks exactly like I asked for it to though.

 

“Eric?”

 

“Where did you find this?” he asks quietly, fingering the small red stone set in the middle of the three pewter triangles hanging from the chain.

 

“It took some convincing, but I had a jeweler make it for you while we were in New York. I had to use your name to get credit for it. I think it cost more to have it rushed than what it’s actually worth. I’ll pay you back once the holidays are over and I can transfer the money into your account.”

 

“I don’t care about the money. Sookie do you know what this symbol is?”

 

“Of course I do, silly. It’s a valknut. I picked it on purpose. I know it has several meanings, but I picked it because of the life over death one. You’re the valknut to me. You may have been dead for a thousand years, but you’ve lived every one of those years to the fullest. I’ve never thought of you as dead. Never will,” I tell him.

 

“And the red heart?” he asks, rubbing his thumb over it.

 

“That’s me. My heart, my life. They’re yours now. I know you’ll love them more than anyone else could, they’re both safe with you,” I whisper softly, kissing his temple.

 

He smiles brightly for a few seconds, but it fades to a look of awe when he feels the meaning of my words through our bond.

 

“Your heart and your life?” he whispers, hopeful and scared all at once. “Sookie, are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

 

I nod my head.

 

“Now which one of us is dreaming?” he laughs nervously, still not believing me.

 

“It’s not a dream, well, maybe in one way it is. You gave me my Christmas dream, so I’m returning the favor. It was the ‘forever’ I added to the tag. You can turn me, whenever you’re ready. I want everything with you, Eric. I want every part of you too.”

 

“Sookie, you already have all of me. You’ve had me for much longer than you realize.”

 

“I know I have, but you deserve the same from me. I can’t do that stuck in this fragile human body.”

 

“You mean it, don’t you?”

 

“I do.”

 

“You want to spend forever with me? A forever as my lover, my bonded, my child, my sister, my mother?”

 

“You’re my everything, so it’s only fair I’m yours,” I tell him, giving his lips a lingering kiss.

 

“Put it on me?” he asks holding the box towards me.

 

I quickly take it from the box and unto the latch, putting it around his neck. I take in my gift laying over his sweet but silent heart, “Pretty nice Christmas dream huh?”

 

“The best Christmas dream ever,” he smiles as bright as the sun.

 

Good thing since I’m trading it in for a forever with him.