And when he asks if she believes in God, she will say yes, without reservation. And when he asks how he'll be punished, she'll tell him patiently that's not what God is for. "God doesn't punish, God forgives." He'll know he doesn't deserve it, but he will grant himself the final grace: to hope. As we all do. As we must.
"You'll care for him?" She'll shrug, hilariously: "You know how he is..." And he'll shoulder the blame for Eric, too, but she'll be only half-joking, and will tell him not to worry about it. "Eric's pretty much... Himself..."
Sookie and Godric will notice it at the same moment: The smoke, rising from his skin. He will look to the sun again.
Sookie will get scared, drop that brave face, hold back her tears: "Are you very afraid?" And he'll smile, so beautiful. "No, I'm full of joy." But what about the pain? He'll shake his head, sweetly. Shaggy, like a lion. "I want to burn," he'll say, and she'll know what he means, but her throat wells up. She will begin to weep. "Well, I'm afraid for you."
"A human with me at the end? And human tears. Two thousand years, and I can still be surprised. In this, I see God."
The dawn will arrive. Just behind it there will be a door. Just beyond that door will be something better. Her heart will burn. He'll wave her away, out of the circle, and will remove his shirt. The flames will be blue, as she says goodbye. He will greet the dawn. He will be raised up, he will rise up, he is rising.
All the children will gather at his knee and tell him it's okay now. He is home. Luke will be there, having prepared the way. He is risen, he is forgiven too. And all the men, and all the women. Victims and monsters. His art, they'll say, he enacted on his own soul: He is risen. Their love will be just like this. Sookie's eyes, looking back at him: Grieving for him is a kindness, but understanding, a miracle. A few bumps and bruises is a small price to pay for bliss.
And when he asks them how he can be forgiven, they will explain patiently, a hundred times, a thousand times, as many times as it takes, that no one was ever judged by his worst sin. That God forgives; forgave before you thought to ask. And at the end of the infinite instant, he will finally understand, and he will unite with God, as it unfolds all around him. Why be ashamed of letting go?
The dawn arrives. Just behind it is a door. Just beyond that door is something better.