Four years later…
Pam climbed into her van to head towards Bon Temps, as she had every evening for the last ten years , knowing Eric would be calling her at any moment. As expected, her phone rang only moments later.
“Master,” she answered.
“Pam,” he barked, “I need you at Sookie’s house now. She’s not here and it appears she’s been gone for some time. I can’t feel her in the bond. Meet me at Compton’s.”
She closed her phone and chewed on her lip in an attempt at keeping her fluctuating emotions in check. For ten years she’d been subjected to not only her own sadness and turmoil, but that of her maker’s as well, each and every night as his memories returned. However, tonight everything would change.
Tonight was the ten year anniversary of Sookie Stackhouse’s death. Pam had come to the decision to end her master’s pain and let him meet his true death if that was his wish. She’d known years earlier how obsessed Eric was with the young telepath, but she’d never imagined how much he’d truly cared about her. Even though the concept was foreign to her, Pam had no doubt he truly loved her.
For ten years, she’d been subjected to his pain and grief over her death. For ten years, she’d selfishly held onto her hopes that the following night would be the one in which the spell would take hold and she’d have her master back. Back to the way he’d been before she’d come into their lives. While Pam had come to like and even respect her master’s bonded, she now cursed the day Sookie Stackhouse ever set foot into their bar. ‘If only they’d never met her,’ she’d thought for the thousandth time before pushing the thought away. ‘What ifs’ would do no good because nothing could be done about it now.
A short while later Pam pulled into Bill’s driveway, with him opening her door as soon as she’d turned the engine off. She’d never imagined she would come to respect Bill Compton much less like him, but his actions over the previous ten years had changed her mind. He remained in Bon Temps even though she knew staying after Sookie’s death hurt him almost as much as it did Eric, but his loyalty never wavered. While it was out of his devotion to Sookie that motivated him at first, she now believed his loyalty had come to include her and her master as well and it wasn’t something she would be forgetting any time soon.
“Have you decided?” he asked having known her intentions of ending their ten year charade.
“Yes,” she softly replied, “it ends tonight.” Even though she’d anguished over the decision to let her maker go it was still difficult for her knowing that this was truly his final night. She would rise the following night on her own for the first time in her existence and it terrified her, but she couldn’t keep him here any longer. She couldn’t subject him to the pain he felt each night for an eternity because she no longer believed any spell would ever work to dissolve his bond with Sookie. Even after her death their lives were so entwined that he not only would not go on without her, she now knew he simply could not go on without her.
Pam was so caught up in knowing her bond with her maker was about to come to an end that she didn’t even realize Amelia was there as well, until she wrapped her arm around Pam’s shoulder, giving her a slight squeeze of support. A small sob escaped her throat as Amelia said, “We’ll be here with you. You won’t have to go through this alone Pam.”
No more words were said as they walked the path from Bill’s house to Sookie’s grave for possibly the last time with each of them caught up in their own thoughts. They came to a stop behind Eric who sat on his knees atop his bonded’s grave; his body shuddering as his memories returned. The bouquet of white roses Bill had left earlier that evening in remembrance of the pure love Sookie had felt and shown to her friends and family were nothing more than shredded petals and stems dangling from the clenched fists of her beloved Viking.
Only a moment later Eric registered their arrival and he turned to face them never once trying to hide the evidence of his bloody tears asking, “How?”
Pam paused before speaking knowing tonight her answers would be different than the ones she’d repeated every night for the last decade. Tonight she would be apologizing; tonight she would be saying goodbye.
“On this very night ten years ago Sookie was murdered by Victor Madden. The moment I found you cradling her lifeless body I knew you would leave me. Once your need for vengeance was satisfied with Madden’s final death I knew you would meet the sun so I had Amelia bewitch you with a spell to try to make you forget Sookie. But it never truly worked and, like tonight, every night for the last ten years you rise with no memory of her, however even in her death your bonded refuses to leave you. Each night your memories of her slowly return until we come to the point of where we are right now.”
Before Eric could say anything else Pam continued on, “I am sorry for failing you, master. I failed to keep your bonded safe. I failed in my attempts to take your grief away.” Tears fell from her eyes as she admitted, “I failed you as your child by refusing your wishes and keeping you here for my own selfish needs. I am sorry, Eric.”
The pain flowing across their shared bond was staggering, but before Eric could lash out in anger over what they had done he felt something else from Pam; acceptance.
Realizing what it meant, he reigned in his anger and asked, “You are letting me go?”
A slight nod was Pam’s only reply. She slowly approached her maker and came to stop only inches away before falling to her knees in front of him. She couldn’t bring herself to meet his gaze, feeling the disappointment flowing into their bond, along with his anguish knowing she’d let him down. Pam steeled herself for the rebuke she was about to receive from her maker when he tipped her chin up to look him in the eyes. She was surprised when, instead of reprimanding her as she’d expected, he instead apologized, saying, “I am sorry Pam. I am sorry for failing you as your maker; for not being strong enough to go on without her; for not being strong enough to go on for you.” He placed a kiss on her forehead and whispered against her skin, “Forgive me, my child.”
Knowing these were her last moments with her maker, Pam set aside the emotionless façade all vampires normally wore and instead embraced her true feelings for her sire. She reached up to hold his face in her hands and pulled him down placing a kiss on each of his cheeks before leaving one last chaste kiss upon his lips and inhaling his scent that soothed her like nothing else could.
“There is nothing to forgive, master,” she assured him.
Bill and Amelia silently watched their exchange each of them feeling both sadness and relief that it was almost over. Dawn was less than an hour away and neither one would leave until Pam was ready to go.
No one was prepared for what happened next.
The unmistakable sound of ‘Pop‘ a few feet away caused all of them to turn with the vampires immediately taking on a defensive stance. Their postures straightened when they saw that the fairy before them was none other than the Prince of Fae Niall Brigant. He hadn’t been seen since he’d closed off the portals between their two worlds after the Fairy War.
Looking at Eric he said, “We must speak.”
Instantly assuming the voice of a sheriff, he looked towards the eastern sky and replied, “Well then you should speak quickly, for my time is limited.”
Taking in their demeanors and seeming to understand what Eric was alluding to, the tension immediately left Niall’s posture. A regretful expression came upon his face as he said with sincerity, “We have known each other for a very long time Viking. You are a formidable warrior; a respected sheriff; an intimidating vampire. You are unmistakably the most fearsome of your kind on this continent, but what is most impressive about you is that you are truly a remarkable man. My great-granddaughter could not have found one more worthy of her than you.”
Eric was still too far gone in his grief over Sookie’s loss to fully appreciate Niall’s praise, but he still responded with, “And I doubt you opened the portal between our worlds to tell me this. Speak your piece but know that once the sun rises, I will be no more.”
Niall appeared to be remorseful as he said, “Your intentions for when the sun rises is what I came here to ask of you for the sake of your bonded; my great-granddaughter.”
Confused, Eric asked, “You came here to ask me to meet the sun? I assume you haven’t seen what I’ve been through every night for the last ten years? My show of grief over HER DEATH wasn’t ENOUGH FOR YOU?” His voice had risen in decibel as his anger grew. No one had suffered the death of Sookie Stackhouse more than he and he would be damned if he let that fairy spoil his last moments on earth. “LEAVE!” he ordered.
“Sookie’s spirit has been stuck in between the worlds of her human life and her place in the Summerland since her death,” Niall quickly explained.
Everyone stilled at his statement before Eric finally said, “Explain.”
Niall took a deep breath before launching into his tale. “As you know Sookie had the essential spark of the Fae despite her humanity and I’d always assumed because of that she would pass on to the Summerland when her time on earth ended. Because the essential spark was missing from her brother Jason, when her spirit didn’t visit her cousin Claude, as should have happened as he was the Fae relative next above her in age, I assumed I’d been wrong and the amount of humanity in her prohibited her from entering into our eternal paradise.”
He paused as remorse colored his features before continuing, “My son, Dermot, was killed yesterday by one of the few remaining former followers of Breandan left in this realm. As Dermot’s spirit passed from his living body, on his way to speak to me before moving onto the Summerland, he came across Sookie’s spirit. For her, she has spent every moment of the last ten years in her own kind of purgatory. Dermot told me she was aware of him and her surroundings, but she didn’t how much time has passed. She begged him for a way to come back to her human life. She begged to come back here to you.”
Eric’s unbeating heart clenched hearing of his bonded’s turmoil and anguish, but he was completely unprepared for the true depth of what Sookie had been going through until Niall explained, “It’s your blood bond. Eric, she can still feel you and your emotions. She feels your pain over her death and it’s not that she can’t move onto the Summerland, she simply won’t move on knowing you haven’t moved on from her.”
“But I can’t feel her!” Eric exclaimed. He forced himself to remain still and closed his eyes as he searched within himself for any sign of her to no avail. After a few moments he met Niall’s gaze with his own and admitted, “Nothing.”
“How is any of this possible?” Amelia asked unable to hold her tongue for one more second, feeling horrible, knowing Sookie had been in limbo for all of these years.
“I honestly don’t know,” Niall admitted. “I know of no other vampire-fae blood bonded couples, for obvious reasons, but perhaps her spark was much stronger than anyone could have guessed.”
Amelia smiled for the first time that night as she affectionately said, “Or perhaps she was more stubborn than any of us imagined.”
Niall turned back to face Eric ruefully admitting, “I came here tonight to tell you of Sookie’s plight. The only way I can think of to end her misery is for your bond to end in this realm.” The look he gave Eric left no doubt of what he’d been prepared to ask of him.
The only change Niall’s story had to Eric’s original plan prior to his arrival was to further cement Eric’s resolve that this would be the final night of his existence. Even if he hadn’t decided to meet the sun before Niall arrived, he wouldn’t have been able to continue on with the knowledge of what Sookie had been going through. As Hallow’s curse had proven, Sookie was his heart’s desire and choosing to meet his true death would be his final gift to his bonded. He didn’t fail to miss the irony that it would be yet another gift that she wouldn’t have wanted from him, and if the circumstances were any other, he would have smiled at the thought of facing her ire.
The sky began to lighten in the eastern sky so Eric turned to Pam and pulled her into an embrace. “You are my greatest achievement,” he whispered against her hair. “It is your time now to become a maker. You are ready.” Giving her a final kiss on the top of her head he released her from his arms and watched Amelia replace him by wrapping her arms around Pam. He gave her a small smile of gratitude acknowledging her with a “Witch,” and a nod. Amelia smiled back with teary eyes and her own nod saying, “Viking.”
Straightening his posture, Eric turned to face his longtime rival for Sookie’s affection and let out a stern, “COMPTON!”
Bill’s eyebrow rose in a very Eric-like fashion and he nodded his head in deference to the elder vampire while maintaining his gaze as he questioned, “Sheriff?”
A small smirk played across Eric’s lips before saying with genuine sincerity, “Thank you for assisting my child for all of these years.”
Bill was stunned by Eric’s gratitude and could only think to say, “You are welcome.”
Niall and Eric stood together side by side and watched the other three make their way back to Bill’s house where the two vampires would be taking shelter for the day. When they were no longer in view, together they turned towards the east, in companionable silence.
“What would you have done if I’d refused to meet the sun?” Eric asked as they awaited his first sunrise in over a thousand years.
Niall smiled responding, “Let’s just say that I’m grateful you made the choice on your own, for I would have truly hated having to make that choice for you.”
Eric couldn’t help smiling at Niall’s words and for the first time since he’d risen earlier that evening, in a decade really, he finally felt at peace. He recalled his thoughts from earlier that evening as his memories of Sookie were returning and how he’d wanted everything she’d had to give, only now knowing the depths of just how much she’d truly given of herself to him. Now he would be doing what he’d never fathomed prior to her arrival into his life; he would be giving his everything, his life for her. He also knew that hers was a more noble sacrifice, as his was in part so that her spirit would be released into the Summerland, but it was also out of his own selfish need to end his grief over the loss of his bonded. He simply couldn’t bring himself to go on without her.
Each of them stood stock still as the first rays of dawn crept over the horizon, with Niall breaking the silence between them saying, “I came to visit Sookie one final time before I sealed the portals between our two worlds and told her you were a good man and that you loved her, which I now know, more than ever, to be true. If it is still your belief, I truly hope that at your end your Valkyries fly down on their winged horses and carry you back to Valhalla, for you are a true and noble warrior.”
Smoke started emanating from Eric’s body as the sun crept higher and as he listened to Niall’s words he realized that for him, Valhalla would only exist if Sookie was there with him.
Later that evening…
Pam rose from her daytime rest feeling the ache in her chest from no longer sharing a bond with her maker. The void she now felt where their bond used to reside within her threatened to overwhelm her emotions, but she pushed them down knowing she had to press on. She’d forced herself to stay awake that morning and screamed out unashamed of her anguish when she’d felt the moment Eric Northman was no more. Pam welcomed death to take her then, if only while the sun remained in the sky, for the brief respite it would bring to her battered emotions.
She decided to take the advice about coping with the loss of a loved one she’d read once in Dear Abby and would just try and get through one day, or in her case night, at a time in the hopes that eventually she would adjust and perhaps even learn to be happy again. Well, as happy as Pam could be.
A few hours later she sat her desk at Fangtasia, attempting to lose herself in the stacks of Area 5 paperwork, when there was a knock at the door.
“Enter,” she called out.
“Like maker, like progeny,” she heard in the rich baritone voice she remembered in an instant.
Inhaling deeply, Pam frowned and stared at the smirk he wore when he said, “My Grandfather gifted me with his magic to mask my scent since I chose to remain in this realm.”
“What can I do for you Claude? It must be important for a fairy to willingly enter a vampire bar.” Pam smirked unable to hold back her snark, “and a Fae fairy at that.”
Claude gave her a mock reproachful look responding, “Tsk tsk Pamela. Haven’t you heard that tolerance for one’s lifestyle choices is all the rage these days?”
Having used up her patience for the fairy, Pam resumed flipping through the paperwork before her while saying, “Get on with it Claude, I’m a busy gal. Sheriff and all you know…”
His next words had her dropping the papers from her hand as her head shot up to look at him.
“Sookie appeared to me this morning, just after dawn, before moving on to the Summerland. She wasn’t alone.”